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Honda Odyssey vs Dodge/Chrysler minivans



  • Yes. A simple little amenity like a padded armrest on the front doors. The bottom of the line Honda Accord LX has padded armrests on the front doors so why is Honda too cheap to add the same little comfort item on the Odyssey?

         Luxury sedans have separately controlled temperature for the driver and front passenger. Why is Honda too cheap to include this item on the Odyssey?

         We had ordered a Granite Green 1999 Honda Odyssey LX-C on March 16, 1999 and would have enjoyed the Magic Seat and very nice, flexible 2nd row seating (on all 99 Odysseys except the base Odyssey LX-B that had a 2 passenger bench seat for middle row).

         As a previous poster stated "people vote with their wallet". Here are the FACTS on how people voted with their wallets:

  • Carleton1,

    Nearly every available Odessey sold, most at or above MSRP.

    Did every available Caravan, Windstar, T&C and Econoline sell? No. Most that did sold below MSRP, and the year end deals are really good bargains.

    I bet WalMart sells more china than most high end department or specialty stores. Is that where you recommend buying china?

    Guess what? Most people who buy china at WalMart will be happy with it. Most people who bought a Caravan, Windstar, T&C or Econoline will be happy with it. Some buyers are a little more discerning and are willing to pay a little more, wait a little longer and possibly even "endure" an armrest that isn't as comfy as the living room couch because they value the slightest margin in safety and reliability more than others.
  • akin67akin67 Posts: 62
    Lets look at those numbers another way shall we? Lets also look at how much the sales figures have changed relative to last years year to date numbers.

    Dodge Caravan 306,501 down 11%
    Ford Winstar 165,167 down 19%
    Chrysler T&C 130,97 up 43%
    Honda Odyssey + Acura MDX 155,509 + 26%

    The only reason I included the Acura MDX numbers is because Honda opted to produce the MDX on the Odyssey plant despite severe Odyssey shortage. Hopefully 2002 with the new plant in Alabama Honda can try and catch up to demand.

    Also keep another thing in mind. Honda sells both vehicles at full MSRP and almost throughout every region in the nation there is a waiting list that is at least weeks long. No incentives, no rebates, no 0% financing. Can you imagine how many more people would have opted for the Odyssey if they didnt have to wait months for it? Peope are speaking with their wallets some people just aren't listening.
  • Oh yeah, one other comment about the Econoline numbers. Those are largely used as work vans, with industrial racks on top for hauling ladders, PVC pipe or whatever or people haulers in shuttle situations. Their sales are completely irrelevant in a discussion about Honda vs DC minivans, but I suspect you know that. Sales figures that are not compared to supply also lack some relevance. Relevant facts tend to favor the Honda.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Lets back that up a little, why are DC people so happy lifting out that heavy rear seat to carry something. Yea, I know they say that they don't do it often enough to warrant a magic seat. If my seat weighed that much I wouldn't do it either. Like I said before the armrests don't mean anything to me as at my height they are to far forward. I have had 3 caddys before wife got Odyssey and all had dual-zone control of air/heat and in the nine years we had them they all stayed on the same temp.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Right on. As long as we are reaching out into left field in order to get our point accross, why not say that Ford trucks outsell DC vans too, so must be a better vehicle than the DC van. Just think if Honda had the plants to build and sell all the Odysseys they wanted to and sold them all at 0% and huge rebates what would happen to DC vans. They would go out of business.
  • dkrabdkrab Posts: 77
    If total sales are really an indicator of which van is "better," then the Windstar must be great! If you compare only similar vans, you can't count the Caravan numbers because it is short wheel base. Only the TC and Grand Caravan should count. This counting of total sales is just plain silly. It assumes all things being equal, which they are not. Supply is not equal, incentives aren't equal. I think the only way the Windstar did so well is because Ford has heavily discounted them. It isn't better than the DC long vans, and all reviews of the vans bear that out. So, that's proof the discounts and 0% etc. work to move the iron. Why should be not assume it has helped inflate the DC sales as well?
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Who muddyied the water first. Who through in the Ford Vans. Who makes such a big deal out of a worth soft armrest instead of a worth something magic seat.
  • Yes, but safety and reliability came first. Both the T&C and Ody would hold our triple stroller with the back seat up.

    I don't know why you keep ignoring the biggest glaring counterpoint - People can't "vote with their money" when demand is greater than supply. I think the percentage of available vans that sold at or above MSRP would be a better indicator.

    Immediate availability is a requirement of many buyers. The Ody does fail to meet that requirement.
  • dkrabdkrab Posts: 77
    How many DC vans are short? It's relevant, because they are sold to a different niche in the market that Honda does not cater to. What's the breakdown on the GM vans? I can agree to lump all the rebadged ones, but weed out the Astro and whatever else is in there. They are different vehicles to serve a different niche. Ford, too. How many of those are Windstars? If you have to lump them together to "prove" a point, it seems to me you have just demonstrated that you are willing to manipulate the data to reinforce your point rather than changing your view based on the data. Honda has never gone after every niche in the market the way the Big 3 have. They find a niche and do very well filling it. If they wanted to really make the numbers look good for themselves, they would come out with a shorter van for less bucks. But they seem content with the niche they defined and filled. I can't see any fault in that.
  • akin67akin67 Posts: 62
    Once again the authorities seem to believe the better van is the Odyssey even if it is comparing a Long term test of the 1999 Odyssey to the 2001 Grand Caravan.

  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Well now that DC has the best armrests, did they ever put some development money into fixing the now famous drone noise on the AWD, and FRT. drive vans? I doubt it, they just let you guys whine for a while and you go away.
  • No one said it was, just that it seems to be better than in other worlds. You said someone traded their Ody out of disappointment. At least she wasn't engulfed in flames like some DC owners. I know, that is a pretty rare problem that only affects a few owners. The same seems to be true with the Hondas - most people have no problems. And a big difference is how problems are dealt with. How many DC owners get their transmissions replaced for free when the van is out of warranty and there is no recall?

    I tire of this. I came back to the boards after a long absence to get some specific info. I will disappear again and you can have the last word.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    It is pointless to use sales numbers as the sole criterion for popularity - sure, Honda sold 120,000 Odysseys, vs. 480,000 Daimler-Chrysler vans. DaimlerChrysler has two plants (two enormous plants) in North America to produce minivans - Honda until recently had only part of the output of a fairly small plant (in Ontario) to build the Odyssey - constrained further in 2001 by the fact that it also builds the Acura SUV in the same plant. Toyota builds the Sienna side-by-side with two other models that together in sales outnumber all the DaimlerChrysler vans (put Camry and Avalon sales together and you're approaching 500,000 per year, just there) - the production capacity isn't there.

    For 2002, Honda adds another 80,000 Odyssey vans to its production capacity - a more telling tale for 2002 will be to see who loses the most, as Honda adds sales toward 200,000 a year. I'd venture a guess to say the Sienna will remain fairly constant in sales - but that you'll see the steepest dropoff at DaimlerChrysler, despite its having the more current product.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    The DC people like to throw up those sales #'s, than using that mentality I which they would explain why DC doesn't outsell the Accord? Geez, the Accord doesn't even use the large 0% and big buck rebates. Please help me to understand the logic, or is it because they are trying to justify their purchase of a DC van and don't really care about anything else. Maybe it's just people buy what they want or can afford. Even KIA gets some suckers, so why shouldn't DC.
  • phkckphkck Posts: 185
    Guess I am a "DC people". Let's get over this number issue. Yes, we could afford an Odyssey. Even considered it strongly. Still hold the Honda in high regard. We "DC people" also have an Acura in our garage.
    I guess this forum lends itself to the black and white thinking so many posters have adopted (on both sides).
    I don't think I am a "sucker" to buy a DC mini-van. Just made an informed decision and voted with my wallet.
    Hopefully, all the future mini-van owners can get some real benefit from this forum. And not think we are warring factions.
    Just my 2 cents, Paul
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Well it looks like to me the DC van owners will never admit that the Odyssey is better or vise-a-versea so maybe it's just time to put this one forum to bed for good, as I can never see anything of importance coming from this thread. It will be us vs them as long as they make the 2 vans and this thread is open.
  • phkckphkck Posts: 185
    We will never admit defeat!! or whatever. I think when you resort to referring to DC owners as "suckers" you lose just a bit of credibility with the rest of the forum readers.
    Just glad we all have choices.
  • dave210dave210 Posts: 238
    damtthews3 wrote:

    "It also didn't take Honda 10 or 12 years to fix their so called problem transmission like it did Chrysler. Actully only about a 1 1/2 tops, and the jury is still out on DC's trans"

    Now I'll be the first one to admit Chrysler has had problems with their transmission, based on my friends' encounters on their 1992, 1994, and 1996 vans, but considering that there haven't been numerous (that I know of) reports of transmission failures on the 1998 and newer models on this board and in magazines, why is it that the "jury is still out" on DC's transmissions?

    It's only been two years since the majority of Ody transmission failures and "the jury" (a.k.a. dmatthews3) comes up with a free bill of health verdict, yet "the jury is still out" on the Chrysler, who hasn't had a majority of transmission failures since the 1997 model year? I'm not getting it.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    The Odyssey had trouble with transmissions in the 1999 and some 2000 model year vans, at least. Dmathews and his gang, after a little more than a year of a supposedly trouble-free transmission in the Odyssey, gives it a "clean bill of health." Meanwhile, as the reliability and quality rating of the DC minivans continues to improve year after year, especially with the transmission, dmathews3 says "the jury is still out on Chrysler transmissions." Dave120, I don't get it either.

    We have two rescent Chrysler products with the 41TE 4-speed Chrysler transmission. The van has over 30k miles with no problem and the PT has over 12k miles with no problem. Both shift as smoothly as they did the day we drove them off the lot. Look at consumer reports and how the rate of transmission related problems in DC minivans has shrunk over the last few years. If that isn't enough, look here at the boards at More Odyssey owners seem to be complaining of transmission falures than do DC minivan owners. Even look at the long-term Grand Caravan ES they are testing, which has no problems.

    As for edmunds long-term road test of the 2001 Grand Caravan ES, they already had their mind made up on what is the best minivan. I think it is safe to say even the sensible Odyssey owners here would agree with that, especially after reading the totally biased and anti-Chrysler introduction to the road-test. My gosh, whoever wrote that must really hate Chrysler for whatever reason. Most of the monthy updates are dominated by them making small problems they have had with the van into a big deal and then turn them into a reason not to buy the van.

    Oh well, no matter what dmathews says, I know Chrysler transmissions have greatly improved over the years, and are now ready for prime time...finally. Just look at the facts.


    Some interesting facts from the link:

     Edmunds paid $29,970 for the 1999 Ody EX

     MSRP was $26,215 = Edmunds paid $3755 Above MSRP

     Edmunds sold the 1999 Ody EX for $22,000

    Using traditional math that equals a depreciation of $7970. However, using creative bias Edmunds claims their 1999 Ody EX depreciated only $369.

        Why didn't Edmunds buy a Grand Caravan EX that has a LOWER MSRP than the Odyssey EX and has many features NOT had on the Odyssey EX?

  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    4aodge says: Meanwhile, as the reliability and quality rating of the DC minivans continues to improve year after year, especially with the transmission, dmathews3 says "the jury is still out on Chrysler transmissions." Dave120, I don't get it either.

    Then 4aodge says: Oh well, no matter what dmathews says, I know Chrysler transmissions have greatly improved over the years, and are now ready for prime time...finally. I don't get it either. In one sentance you say one thing and the last sentance you say finally. Yea like about 12 years give or take. Remember, that trans was used before the minivan got it so life didn't start with the first van.
  • cavillercaviller Posts: 331 see sales figures trumpeted as some magic reason why one vehicle is better or more reliable than another. A troll on the Saturn newsgroup used to post monthly sales figures and spam them across all the auto newsgroups in an effort to slam Saturns. Every time Saturn had a decline in sales, his commentary blasted them because it must mean their quality was dropping. Of course, he was never able to respond to his critics as to why the top rated cars of the time occassionally had sales drops, or why some twin cars had sales changes in opposite directions since their quality/reliability must be the same. When he then trumpeted that his favorite had higher overall sales as an indicator of reliability or value, he was hard pressed to explain why Ford Escort (in the late 80s and early 90s) was the sales leader, even outpacing his Japanese favorites. Many other factors affect sales than the one or two people try to extrapolate from the figures.

    Another favorite tactic of this person was to use usenet anecdotes as some evidence of quality or reliability. He'd sometimes refer to Consumer Reports or JD Power, but only if it supported his bias. In years where Saturn did well in those surveys, he would all but ignore them, but in years where Saturn was below average he touted them regulalry. Always good for a chuckle.

    Anyway, the Consumer Reports reliability ratings will be published again in the April edition, which will will go to press in less than 2 months. Their online subscriber area has the latest data which should reflect what goes into the new ratings in the April magazine. Of course, the average problem rate last April was 0.2 problems per vehicle in the last 12 months, so the differences are all pretty negligble anyway. It would still take years for even the most dependable minivan to have even one more problem than the least dependable. Still, here are the current ratings for overall and transmission reliability:

    Odyssey: Overall / Transmission
    1994: NA / NA
    1995: BTA / <2%
    1996: BTA / <2%
    1997: BTA / <2%
    1998: BTA / 5 to 9.3%
    1999: AVG / 2 to 5%
    2000: AVG / <2%
    2001: BTA / <2%

    GC/T&C: Overall / Transmission
    1994: WTA / >14.8%
    1995: WTA / >14.8%
    1996: WTA / >14.8%
    1997: WTA / 5 to 9.3%
    1998: AVG / 5 to 9.3%
    1999: AVG / 5 to 9.3%
    2000: AVG / 5 to 9.3%
    2001: AVG / <2%

    BTA=Better Than Average
    WTA=Worse Than Average

    If you believe Consumer Reports, the DC minvan transmissions did appear to improve after 1996. Still, in no year is the overall or transmission reliability better than that of Odyssey, and it is usually worse. If you want to pick on Odyssey reliability, then Brakes (before '00) and Power Equipment (after '98) would be the areas where it does poorly. Still, the DC vans were not standouts in those areas, either.

    Each minivan has it's advantages. Some prefer smaller, some bigger. Some like a folding seat, some like a split rear seat. Some prefer creature comforts and convenience, others safety. Some want the lowest price, others the best value for the money. To each their own. Personally, I'm glad there are so many choices available.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    I don't care how long it took Chrysler to fix the 41TE 4-speed automatic transmission. It could have taken them 50 years to fix the darn thing as far as I am concerned. The bottom line is, it's fixed. If you go out today and buy a 2002 DC minivan, your chances of having a transmission falure are smaller than they have ever been since the 1980s. Period. End of story.

    Also, no one here said that Chrysler has a better reliability history than Honda. However, I have tried to point out that, indeed, not all is happy in Odyssey land and the vehicle does have it's fair share of problems. Especially when you consider that it is a Honda, a company respected for it's high quality.

    If you are going to say 10 years from now that you aren't going to buy a Chrysler minivan because it took them at least 10 years to fix their transmissions, even though they are currently "rock solid", than I would say you are foolish. What kind of reason is that not to buy any car?

    Once again, the bottom line is Chrysler has and is continuing to improve reliability. Don't believe me? Just look at Consumer Report ratings over the years, news articles, and even happy owners of DC minivans such as Carl and myself. Chrysler reliability has improved, whether you believe it or not.

    2000 Town & Country LX
  • How else can you explain the BTA for the 1998 Odyssey? (Here are the numbers taking directly from your posting):
    Overall / Transmission

    1998: BTA / 5 to 9.3%

    WHILE the 1997 GC/TC in the EXACTLY identical category is rated WTA?

    GC/T&C: Overall / Transmission

    1997: WTA / 5 to 9.3%

    .......Careful reading of Consumer Reports indicate CR is "NOT Recommended for purchase" due to unreliability, distortions, and flagrant bias.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    I don't care if DC fixes or don't fix any of their problems, my point is as long as you and a couple of other DC people continue to stir the pot about the Odyssey, I will continue to slam you right back. If you don't want to hear me rant than don't stir the pot, as I have a BIG SPOON!
  • OK, I lied - I came back.

    Carleton1 asks why the overall score of the Ody was BTA one year while the overall score of the GC/T&C was WTA in a year when both rated the same amount of trouble with trannies. Carleton1 suggests it is because CR is biased. I would like to suugest that possibly it is because the overall score takes into account more than just the tranny rating. Duh!
  • Since their material is biased, distorted, and unreliable. End of discussion.
  • dave210dave210 Posts: 238
    Why is it said that Carleton and 4adodge are "stirring the pot" when all they really say is that Chrysler has more creature comforts than the Honda, have gained an improved reliability rating compared to years past, and also state that like all things, the Odyssey have problems, too?

    All are true statements. The Chrysler offers you much more bang for your buck, and is getting better and better in their reliability and quality. And the Odyssey, while a GREAT van (and I'm not being sarcastic) does have problems also (like anything).

    If you intend on trading in your car every two to three years, financially the Honda is probably better since, yes, it does hold it's value quite well.

    Yet, it should be noted that my friend, who just traded in their 2000 T&C LTD on a left over 2001 T&C LTD, only lost $8,900 on the whole thing. He originally bought the 2000 (with a $34,800 sticker) for $29,450. He got $19,400 trade on the 2000 and got the 2001 T&C for $28,300 (with a $36,460 sticker) Not too bad when you take into account the real prices they paid. If you look at the depreciation from MSRP, yes the vans do VERY crummy in the resale department, but the key into not getting screwed on a Chrysler is waiting for the right deal. Still, the Odyssey does fair better from MSRP and is a better value overall if you don't care for the luxuries on the Chrysler.
  • cavillercaviller Posts: 331
    Carleton1 uttered:

    "How else can you explain the BTA for the 1998 Odyssey? (Here are the numbers taking directly from your posting):
    Overall / Transmission

    1998: BTA / 5 to 9.3%

    WHILE the 1997 GC/TC in the EXACTLY identical category is rated WTA?

    GC/T&C: Overall / Transmission

    1997: WTA / 5 to 9.3%

    .......Careful reading of Consumer Reports indicate CR is "NOT Recommended for purchase" due to unreliability, distortions, and flagrant bias."

    Arbarnhart is exactly right. Quite simply, transmissions are not the only category. Many other categories contribute to the overall rating. I only included the transmission category since that is what was being discussed.

    In the past, you have also posted reliability figures from CR's breakdowns, so I know you have seen them. Though you later deleted those posts, I assume you are still somewhat familiar with their ratings system. It seemed good enough when you used it to tout the DC vans' performance in some sub-categories some months ago, yet now it is, "biased, distorted and unreliable." Interesting.

    Consumer Reports certainly has its flaws, but none as serious as the many flaws with your preferred method of using anecdotes from friends and online forums for reliability comparisons.
This discussion has been closed.