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Honda Odyssey vs Dodge/Chrysler minivans



  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    Well you just gave us another reason to stay out of WI and Honda owners will claim all DC owners drive like an a*****e...thanks a lot!!
  • DTKWOKDTKWOK Posts: 131
    that putting a lot of money and mods into any vehicle will give you some performance. Hope you were alone in the van at the time (can't stand people who: (1) race on public roads and (2) race wih passengers on board). Just don't get into an accident in your old school van, okay?

    BTW, I'm sure that the driver in Ody figured out you weren't stock and also, the 3.5 is only single head cam, not DOHC.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    And here is the E-Mail of my sister telling of her daughter and son-in-law's T&C transmission failure recently (Name of town deleted for security reasons):
    "They have driven over 150,000 miles. They have needed it to pull their trailor, so I'm sure that put extra stress on the transmission. With your loving care, I'm sure your Caravan will prove dependable as ours. It will cost around $1500. They had it towed to ????(free towing as Chrysler is fixing transmission)."
    FYI my sister's 86 Caravan they got USED had 170,000 when they sold it. It is still providing outstanding service for 3rd owners. The T&C with transmission failure was purchased USED.
    As with almost all owners of DC minivans, they love it so much they will KEEP it.
  • DTKWOKDTKWOK Posts: 131

    Is the transmission the 3 or 4 speed auto? No, I am not challenging your claim, just curious. BTW, how long do you intend to keep yours? If almost all DC owners keep their vans, then how come there is such a huge used market for these things? (By most, it infers greater than 50%, right?) Am I missing something here?
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    The T&C is either an LXi or Limited and has the 3.8L V6 with 4 speed and tan leather interior and is a model between 1996 and 2000. I have seen it but do not know the year.
    Apparently some members of the Town Hall can not believe that so many people (that I know personally)can have excellent experience with a DC minivan while NONE have had reliability problems. I can understand as I had BAD experiences with 5 Volkswagens....2 purchased NEW and 3 purchased as Used. I also had an ugly experience with the NEW Volvo I purchased and so did a co-worker with a NEW Volvo.
    Most people who buy NEW DC minivans keep them for a long time. The ones who get problems usually bought one that had been abused as a fleet, rental, etc. where the driver did not own it. Since DC minivans are THE minivan of choice for Fleet, Rental, etc. there are obvious many of these that are sold when about 1 year old with 30,000 miles.
    I would like to rent an Odyssey or Sienna to be able to drive it enough to see how they drive in the real world experience. Do you know where I can rent one?
  • DTKWOKDTKWOK Posts: 131
    I have a friend who has an old Dodge van (pre-Daimler) who claims to have over 200,000 miles on it, I believe it was a 4 banger turbo with a manual transmission? I haven't personally seen it myself, but am willing to keep an open mind about it. The fact is, I know of more people that have had serious tranny problems than success stories, people including friends, friends of relatives, co-workers, and especially independent mechanics - they're the ones who deal with these things day in, day out. IF DC can prove excellent reliability (say for a total of 10-15 years) then I'll consider one, but before that, I'll take my good Honda experiences with me.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    We got it March 20, 1999 as the GG Ody LX-C we ordered March 16 would take 5 months to be delivered. I had planned to trade it in on a 2001 or 2002 Odyssey...or if it had no problems, sell it to one of our daughters.
    We have looked very closely at all minivans at the Annual Auto Show each January with special attention to Odyssey, Sienna, and DC minivans. GM FWD appear cheap with less comfortable seats. The Windstar is difficult to access rear seat and seems to have less legroom in 2nd and 3rd rows. The Quest, Villager and MPV seem much smaller. We have not yet seen a new Kia Sedona.
    Now that we have driven it 30,710 miles since March 20, 1999 my wife likes our 99 GC SE better than the Odyssey, Sienna or 2001 DC minivans. For her, the Ody glove box intrudes into her legs as a front seat passenger. She does not want to take a chance on getting ANY new minivan and parting with our zero problem 99 GC as there is a remote chance of getting a vehicle with problems with any brand.
    I have purchased some excellent vehicles (63 Impala, 67 Impala, 80 Impala, 87 Chevy R-10, 91 Astro CL and now 99 GC SE)and some bad new ones (71 Vega, 71 VW Super Beetle, 72 Volvo and 80 Chevy Citation) plus some bad used ones (65 VW Pickup in Germany,71 VW Bus, 77 VW Bus) and some that were average: 65 Buick Special DeLuxe, 76 Chevy Nova, 78 Impala wagon, 81 Chevy C-10 pickup...all NEW plus a used 50 Chevy sedan and 65 Olds Delta 88.
    Summary for all vehicles:
    6 Excellent for 32 %
    4 Bad for 21%
    4 Average for 21%
    2 Average for 11%
    3 Bad for 16%
    (Rounding off accounts for the wrong total of 101%)
  • I am currently working on the choice between Odyssey and Town & Country.
    I have '96 LXI with 97K; just replaced transmission, head and A/C is apparently next. Not particularly pleased with that rapid trio of repairs!
    The Odyssey has power at a higher range of PM (slower starts), interior noise, mediocre interior, 2 disc/2 drum brakes. However, it seems to be holding $$ value.
    The DC vans have better ride, smoother power, better accommodations, more features; but don't hold $$ value as well.
    My choice is now whether I buy a vehicle that is comfortable and more user friendly or a rather plain mini van for economic future reasons.
  • dave210dave210 Posts: 238
    It's a toss up. I myself have owned three Chrysler vans and the 2001 is far better built than the 1996. Granted, I was lucky that after 48,000 miles, my 1996 LXi was perfect other than the phantom windshield wipers and phantom door locks it had, which were fixed.

    But the 2001 truly does seem to be more upscale and solid than the 1996. About the resale....well it's crap. There's no getting around it. It's up to you, because the 2002 Odyssey with factory leather and navigation will be around $30,000. Now for that kind of money, you could also get a new 2002 T&C Limited or get a T&C LXi for less than or equal to the $30,000. The MSRP may be $36,000 on a Limited, but I only paid around $30,000 on mine.

    So getting a good price on a Chrysler van is not a problem. The resale is more the problem, but I guess that is more up to the individual about whether or not they want to save 4-5 grand in the long run based on resale, but then forgo the luxury they've become accustomed to in a Chrysler.

    On the plus side, if you've been truly burned by Chrysler, than the Odyssey may bring you more peace of mind knowing it has a better history than the Chrysler. But again, the 2001 and on Chrysler vans are truly more refined than the 1996-2000 vans.

    2002 Honda Odyssey EX main features

    - leather interior
    - navigation system
    - power driver's seat
    - digital automatic climate control
    - foldaway third seat
    - second row buckets/bench
    - fold away tray table
    - power doors
    - homelink garage opener

    2002 Town & Country Limited main features

    - leather/sued interior
    - dual heated power seats
    - memory for driver's seat, mirrors, radio presets, and pedals
    - triple zone digital automatic climate control
    - tip forward buckets to third row
    - power/manual doors
    - power liftgate
    - 4 disc CD changer
    - automatic rearview and driver's side mirror
    - trip computer
    - compass/temperature readout
    - homelink garage opener
    - power adjustable pedals
    - power removable center console
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    It really depends on what you want now. It's hard to know what would happen 4-5 years from now. I really don't concern much about resale value. Let say you paid $30,000 for a new Honda or a DC today. After 5 years, even the Honda's resale value is $5000 (unlikely) higher than the DC, you are paying about $2.74 more per day. That's about the cost of a cup of Starbucks. Well some people here might tell you to add the cost of replacing the tranny or other stuff if you own a DC vans but do they really know that would happen? The new Honda might give you the leather but would they use the same uncomfortable padding (MY OPINION) as the current cloth seats? Or will it still be a bit noisy than the current DC vans? You definitely will get the "magic seat" only from Honda if this is what you need and I am not sure if the new Honda gives you the power liftgate. Again, this is your money and we are not driving or riding your van.
  • tlf4flftlf4flf Posts: 3
    Just wanted to update you on our GC LE that had 243,000 miles at the beginning of June. We now have 254,000 miles on the minivan. Contrary to some guesses, I am not a salesman. I am a country lawyer with four kids, one in college and two in high school. The van has hauled dorm stuff, building supplies (we have a 100 year old house), bicycles and tons of teenagers to every possible sporting event, concert and school function. Our LE has virtually every option that you could get in 1996. The little stuff is starting to fail, but the body is in great shape, the tranny is still working like a trooper, and the engine is only using a quart between oil changes.
    My secret? We let the engine warm up briefly and start the first trip of the day slowly. I do drive fast (5 speeding tickets in 3 years) but I don't stomp on the accelerator unless I have too. We also change oil in both the engine & tranny religiously. We have a great Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep dealer in our little town in Iowa.
    We are starting to look at 2002 Town & Country Ltd.s as our next vehicle, now that the kids are more "mature." Depending on cash flow, we'll probably replace the 96 LE in Dec./Jan. The eldest wants the 96 for college. She claims it'll be a great car pool vehicle for weekend visits from college. If she takes it to college, it may even get to set still for a day or two. We'll see . . .
    My family recognizes that Honda makes a good product, but in Iowa we like to buy American, and why would we switch brands when the last two minivans we bought racked up over 250,000 miles? Oh, by the way Honda followers, a disappearing seat does not mean that you have evolved from a higher order of primates, soooo be nice when discussing the relative merits of the minivans.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    This is as honest and fair as possible:
    I drove my sister's 2001 Ody EX that had 3677 miles on odometer today (228.4 on trip meter). It read 3712 (263.3 trip)at the end. Our 99 GC SE read 30809 (trip 226.8) at beginning and 30843 (trip 260.8)at end. Either the Ody gas gauge is way off or our GC gets much better mileage as the Ody fuel gage read 1/3 of way between Empty and 1/2. Our GC gage read 1/3 way between half and Full.....
    The Ody odometer registered 34.9 miles while exactly same drive GC registered 34.0 miles. Now for the comparison:
    Ody 3.5L has slight edge 65-75 MPH acceleration while GC SE 3.3L has slight edge starting to 30 MPH. Equally quiet. Equally smooth ride. Ody auto climate control worked VERY WELL...our manual control cooled just as efficiently. Ody front fan has about 12 speeds while ours has 5. I could not detect noise from Magic Seat well nor did the stereo sound very badly.
    Our GC had more engine noise under acceleration than did Ody. Ody seats more comfortable for me than our GC SE but the 2001 GC SE and Sport and all Voyagers are also better than our 99. I liked horizontal crease in Ody seats as my back felt less sticky than with our seats. Temperature was 97 F when I drove Ody and 101 F when I drove GC.
    At MSRP the Ody is the best buy. At actual prices paid it is difficult to choose. Depreciation is moot to us as we keep a very long time or give to a daughter. Reliability is moot also as our 99 GC SE has had zero problems.
  • But what about the all-important padded vs. non-padded armrest comparison???? ;-)
  • odd1odd1 Posts: 227
    What am I supposed to write about now? You can't do this to me. I'll have to go find some die hard GM fan, on the what's wrong with GM thread, to pimp now.

    Cincy mike-LOL
  • odd1odd1 Posts: 227
    Twenty years ago you could have gotten petty much the same statement regarding customer loyalty from the Detriot big three. Never say never about anything.

    I didn't mean that they didn't change anything on the transmission for over a decade but, that it took them that long to accomplish any significant reduction in tranny problems.
  • odd1odd1 Posts: 227
    Weren't you trying to post your story on the dumbest thing I've done in a car thread on the news and views board?

    For the safety of the rest of us. Please tell us when you are on the road since, you clearly feel you own the whole thing.
  • I have to admit, that report was much more balanced than I expected. Kudos.

    You are correct in observing the fuel gauge problem. Obviously, there is not that huge a difference in the gas mileage. We have had our Odyssey for 3 weeks now and have noticed the same thing. When the gauge gets all the way on empty, my wife fills up the van and only puts 14-15 gallons in it. It has a 20 gallon tank.

    I saw on another board that Honda's official explanation for this is that because of the magic seat, the fuel tank is very shallow, which makes it difficult to accurately measure the fuel level.

    Actually, it works out fine for us. I have been trying to condition my wife for years to fill up at 3/4 of a tank, instead of running it to empty. I think it's better for the engine to not be using the gas from the bottom of the tank, where all the dirt accumulates. Anyway, it never took, but now she fills up at 3/4 of a tank anyway, even when she thinks it's on empty.
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    Very good. Now all we need is a test drive report from Hotspur.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    For those of you who haven't seen it yet:

    Click here for the specs.

    Vans, SUVs, and Aftermarket & Accessories message boards
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    Very attractive package. How about some pictures on upgrade/modified exterior (I hope it isn't as boxy as the current one)
  • odd1odd1 Posts: 227
    People on their fourth or fifth mini-van are pretty much done with the "mini-van years." Unless, of course they are trading them in in less then two years. I know some people will kept driving vans but many will go away from the kid limo market. 10-15 years down the line if they are fortunate enough to be around grand kids then they will look at vans again.

    It is those who are on their first or second van that will determine which makes will have the brightest future.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    I agree that it is those who are on their first or second minivan that will determine which makes will have the brightest future. However, there is a good size group of people who have been owning DC minivans since the early 80s and 90s who love them and are very loyal to the Chrysler brand for that reason. Some have driven their DC minivans well over 150k miles and trust their vans like they would no other, including Honda. The brand-loyalty factor, at least when it comes to minivans, will always play in Chrysler's favor simple because they have been around making these cars for so much longer than anyone else.

  • odd1odd1 Posts: 227
    You missed the point. Many of those that have had vans that long will revert to cars once they no longer need a kiddy limo. It is new parents in their twenties and thirties who are the future market for mini-vans and they have not formed any brand loyalty for the most part. Detriot had those same words about customer loyalty twenty years ago and look what happened.

    You also forget many others including myself have no loyalty to D/C vans due to their many problems and transmission eating habits that we have too much experience with.

    It comes down to the old adage about building the better mouse trap. I look forward to great compition in this market trying to get my money.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    REASON: Comfort. We prefer the higher seating position of driver and front passenger. We got a used VW Bus in 1977 but it had too little power with no heating, a/c, etc. and needed too many costly repairs. We tried a used 1977 Bus in January 1979 but it too needed too many costly repairs and the selling VW dealer would not honor the written 30 day / 1000 mile warranty. Traded it in on a 1980 Impala 4 door sedan in October, 1979.
    We got our first pickup(NEW 1981 Chevy C-10 for my drive to work vehicle) and have not purchased a sedan since. Gave it to oldest daughter when we got a new 1987 Chevy R-10. Recently gave 1987 R-10 to youngest daughter. Got a 91 Chevy Astro and gve 80 Impala to our youngest daughter. Traded Astro in on a 99 GC SE. I did NOT like the GC for 8 months or more as I preferred the panel doors of Astro, the larger 27 gal fuel tank, higher seating of Astro.
    However, my wife's positive feeling toward the GC was greater than my dislike. As the GC has had zero problems and we have driven it more, I find I like it more and more all the time and now overall I prefer the GC to the Astro. The separately controlled temperature for driver and front passenger was not missed until we got it in our 99 GC SE. Overhead console with compass/outside temp/Trip Computer is NOT a necessity but now that we have had it, we would really miss it.
    I did not miss power steering until we got it on a 1965 Buick. Nor did we miss air conditioning in a vehicle until we got it in 1969 as an add on to our 67 Impala while living in Oklahoma. For me, the Odyssey seats are more comfortable than the seats in our 99 GC. When the weather is hot, the horizontal creases in Odyssey seats keep my back from getting sweaty better than do the seats of any other vehicle.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    No odd1, it is you who have missed MY point. I understand what your saying about new parents in their twenties and thirties who will be the future market for minivans. However, there are many people who have been owning and loving DC minvans for much longer, since the 1980s when they were first introduced.

    A good number of these people will continue to come back again and again to Chrysler if and when they want another minivan. Not all people give up vans as soon as all their kids are in college and people with famlies are not the only ones to buy minivans.

    Many long-time DC minivan owners will not be marching over to their local Honda dealerships to buy an Ody just because of a "magic seat" and supposedly good long-term reliability. It's going to take a bit more than that to lure someone away from a vehicle type they have been driving for almost two decades, in some cases.

    For example, one of my best friends traded in his 1988 Plymouth Grand Voyager in 1998 for a Town & Country LXi. Their first Voyager gave them a "fair-share" number of problems but their new T&C (61k miles) has not suffered from any major problems. When I asked them if they had thought about buying anything else, she said she had sat in the 99 Windstar and the 99 Ody and replied, "neither could even compare in terms of comfort and design." As I said, it's going to take a little more than a "magic seat" to lure away loyal, long-time DC minivan owners from Chrysler who have had great experiences with their vehicles.

    Oh well, only time will tell what company will get the last laugh when it comes to dominance of the minivan market. While I think it's pretty safe to say that no one can remain on top forever, but DC just might do it. They have a great looking, versatile, powerful, safe, and relitively cheap vehicle that has attracted people to it for the last 2 decades. It should be interesting to see what happens in the next few years.

  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    A neighbor Kurt J. got a NEW 2000 GC LE after being completely satisfied with a 96 GV SE w/3.3L that he traded at about 80,000 miles. He traded in an 88 Caravan w/3.0 L when it had about 80,000 miles. Had valve seat problems with Mitsubishi 3.0 L engine in Caravan but otherwise no problems with any of his 3 DC minivans.
    Our daughter's friend Julie got a used 96 T&C LXi she loved. Started having a few problems with airconditioning so they shopped around. They could not find another minivan they liked as well as T&C, so they traded 96 in on a 99 T&C Limited.
    Our local Dodge dealer has provided supurb routine maintenance. We had purchased mostly Chevrolet vehicles and had been completely satisfied. However, in early 1999 my wife did not like climbing up into an Astro and the Venture seemed primitive and crude compared to DC minivans, Odyssey, and Windstar. We are looking at all minivans and it will be difficult to select one as DC, Odyssey, and Sienna each has distinct advantages.
  • odd1odd1 Posts: 227
    I'm not talking about those that love their D/C. I'm talking about those of us that feel burned by D/C. I never said "all" van drivers will revert to cars once they no longer need a kid taxi. I said many. I would suspect that over half will not get vans once they are past "the mini-van years."

    My personal feeling is that D/C hasn't had any real compition until the last 3 or 4 years. It takes people a while to look at other options when buying new vehicles. Like I've said I look forward to the compition. D/C has improved already from it and when D/C has longer improved reliability record I will consider one again.

    I agree that the disappearing seat is overrated unless you need to haul alot of large items. On the other hand it is nice not to have the third seat taking the parking spot up in the garage when you do need the space for hauling. I don't miss wrestling with seat the very few times I've needed the cargo space.
  • pat84pat84 Posts: 817
    Grand Caravan Sport last week. I was impressed.
    After owning a 96 DC which I traded in on a 99 ODY EX, I would like to add a few comments.
    The 01 is a vast improvement over my 96. The headlights are at least as good as the Honda on low beam. A little better on bright.
    The fit and finish were noticable improvements over the 96. It rode well, handled well and, in general, I was impressed at how much an improvement was over my 96.
    Since it was a rental, it did not have a premium sound system. The radio "seek" button could never lock on a station. That I attributed to rental abuse.
    I did prefer the DC handling to the ODY.
    The DC had the 3.3 engine. As far as acceleration it was much slower than my ODY.
    I had to allow more space pulling out from a stop to merging with moving traffic.
    The seats were at least as comfortable as my ODY.
    The actual differences between the 01 DC and my ODY were so small that I was surprised. That is probably because I was comparing my ODY to a 96 not an 01.
    Now the infinity sound system in my 96 was a 10 compared to Honda's 6.
    I believe either choice is a good one.
  • ukrickukrick Posts: 66
    Got this from the Honda News web site.


    *Class leading 240 Horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 (regular unleaded fuel)

    *First minivan with standard 5-speed automatic transmission

    *First minivan with standard front and side air bags

    *First minivan with available factory-installed DVD entertainment system

    *Standard four wheel disc brakes (rear disc brakes added)

    *Improved Noise Vibration Harshness (NVH) dampening

    *Improved ride with same sedan-like handling

    *Available leather trimmed interior (EX)

    *Enhanced interior utility

    *Freshened exterior styling

    *New Colors (Redrock Pearl, Evergreen Pearl, Havasu Blue Pearl)

    No information about pricing yet that I could see.

  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    The 2002 Ody has some very nice features that are now standard on all models, including the LX. This improvement should really increase the level of competition even more in the minivan market. However, being the sceptic that I am, some of the "firsts" mentioned above for the 2002 Ody don't seem correct.

    The 240hp 3.5L V6 is certainly the most powerful engine currently offered in any minivan. However, some sources point out that Chrysler will put the 300m 253hp 3.5 V6 engine in some of their 2002 model vans (Town & Country, Grand Caravan). I suppose we will have to wait and see.

    First minivan with the 5-speed automatic transmission? I think I remember someone saying here one the board that the new Kia Sedona also has a 5-speed automatic transmission. I've already seen one or two of these vans on the road.

    In addition, for 2002 Chrysler is also offering a DVD video system that is available when you purchase the car. The DVD video system is not made from a third-party company but through Chrysler's OWN parts company, MOPAR. There has been a 2001 Town & Country in the showroom of the local Chrysler dealership with a MOPAR DVD system for the last few months.

    Anway, I'm not trying to knock the Ody or Honda on this one. Afterall, no other minivan offered both standard front and side airbags for front seat passengers. That is an excellent safety feature that is to be appreciated. However, it seems to me that some of their "firsts" are not really "firsts" for Honda at all. Considering, other 2002 model vans will be offering the same features ( possibly engine, transmission, built in dvd system).
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