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Honda Odyssey vs Dodge/Chrysler minivans



  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    Our 2000 Town & Country IS faster but our 2001 PT Cruiser FEELS faster. There is a difference, although it is hard to explain. I'm not a speed freak and I'm not obsessed with numbers. After all, I do drive a van just like you.

    BTW, I was a major factor in us getting a Chrysler van in the first place. I've been a MOPAR fan since I can remember and have always valued the flexibility and cargo capacity of vans. You can ask my parents and they will tell you I was the main reason why they ended up with TWO Chrysler vans as opposed to vans from Ford, Honda, or whoever else.

    No, my dad does not work for DaimlerChrysler.
  • tony1034tony1034 Posts: 32
    I recently purchased a 02' EXL RES Odyssey. I paid MSRP $30,190. I looked at the Grand Caravan Sport. The GC was stickered at @ $28,200 w/o leather or DVD. My Odyssey w/o leather or DVD stickers for $27,190. I think 3K was a bit high for leather and DVD system, but I wanted evrything from the factory under the factory warranty and I never owned leather before. The Dodge dealer offered the GC to us for INVOICE. They also had another 3K in rebates. That brought the GC down to @ $23,500. I compared everything on both vehicles from the magic seat to the 8 vs 7 passenger seating, power, comfort, reliability, etc...etc... After 3 years the residual value on the GC was a mere 31%. While the Odyssey was 62%. I couldn't believe how much the GC depreciated. I thought the Odyssey beat the GC in all the important areas to me (safety, 4 wheel disc brakes, side air bags, power, driving characteristics, convenience and looks). I want to note that I used to own a 98 Caravan and drove it for 18 months. I think this Odyssey beats my old DC hands down in every category. We traded the DC for a 2000 Maxima, which I still drive. It was hit last week and I ended up renting a 02' Dodge GC Sport (The exact same van we were looking at a few months ago). Driving the GC and Odyssey back to back really made me feel the differences between the two. The GC drives like a truck. It's sloppy and the tires suck for traction. The power is weak compared to the Odyssey. I think the Honda will roast the GC 0-30, 0-60 and 1/4 mile. The 5spd Honda is nicer than the 4spd GC and the braking on the Honda is better. The Honda drives more like my Maxima than a minivan. I also don't like the layout on the GC. As for the magic seat issue, I've been using the GC rental as my personal pickup truck hitting Home Stinko. Lugging that heavy rear bench is no fun, so i just left it in and crammed everything on top of it (what do i care, it's a rental). The headlights are not as good driving at night as the Honda's. The Honda's leather interior is firmer and some may feel it is a bit uncomfortable compared to the GC, but I like them better. My wife likes the cuishy GC seats, but she's 5'2" and under 100 lbs. This is only my opinion, so please no bashing, but I think my experience owning a Caravan and renting this one, has made me very happy in my decision to buy the Odyssey. I would have no problem buying a Dodge/American car, but I just can't see spending over twenty or thirty thousand dollars on a car that I'm not happy with or can't drive into the Earth for 7-10 years.
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    I doubt the rental car you got was the Grand Caravan. USUALLY, rental companies only carry those short wheel base vans. Also, I think the Grand Caravan has the split bench and a bigger (smoother?) engine. Anyway, I am glad you like the Ody.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    I don't think so. You are comparing a top of the line Odyssey to two DC minivans that are not nearly as well equipped. I don't know about your 1998 Caravan, but comparing it to a 2002 Ody EX is hardly a fair comparison. Same goes for the rental car you drive, which all have the smaller 3.3 engine instead of the larger 3.8 available on the EX and ES models. Not even the Grand Caravan Sport you came close to buying can compare with the 2002 Ody EXL.

    As for tires, edmunds seems to think the traction of the Michellin tires (not used on rental cars) on the 2001 and 2002 Town & Country is much better than what is offered on the Odyssey. Also, notice edmunds described the 3.8 engine in the T&C has "refined" and said it performed just as well and sometimes even better than the more advanced engines offered in some of the competition.

    What I'm trying to say is that I don't think your comparison is very fair nor accurate. Would it be fair to compare a 2002 Town & Country Limited AWD to a 2001 or 1998 Odyssey LX? I don't think so. But I too am glad you are happy with your new van.

  • tony1034tony1034 Posts: 32
    Hi Tom, Adam,

    Thanks for your comments. The rental is indeed the longer Grand Caravan. It has all the power options, but does have the smaller 3.3 liter engine. My 98' had the 3.3 as well. I agree with Adam that the 3.8 liter in Dodge/Chryslers is a more competitive engine than the 3.3. I also don't know if the T&C is better than a GC. Isn't it just a more luxurious van than the Dodge, but has the same engines, drive trains and suspension? Also the body parts are the same except the grill, tail lights etc? I also don't know what they exactly changed on the 02' from the 98' Caravans, but it appeared to me as just cosmetic. I got rid of the 98' back in 6/99 for the Maxima, so it's been a long time since I had it. I just wasn't really that impressed with it. The Maxima impresses me as does this Odyssey. Also, I'd like to mention that an EX Odyssey lists for 27,190. Most GC's that list for this or less aren't fully equipped w/ power doors, bigger 3.8 engines (most have the 3.3), etc. Actually the Honda only comes as an LX or EX. You can get the EX w/ leather, leather and DVD, or leather and NAV. All the little options like power windows/seats/doors, side air bags, 4 whl anti-lock brakes, the seating, etc are all EX standards. The Dodge definitely offers more options to those shopping for what they want(I had no choice on the power doors, or any of the options). Also, If you just want a van for the cargo space, but don't want to spend an arm and a leg, the Honda is not the answer. The LX is @25k. You can get a Voyager for what? under 18k. My comparison is really the rental vs my Honda. I just mentioned the 98' DC to point out that I've owned and driven a DC for 18 months. As for the tires, the rental has Good Years on it. Is this the standard tire on DC and T&C? My manager has a new Chrysler and he too said the tires have bad traction and is going to replace them even though they are brand new. The Honda has Michelins, but I am a huge fan of Dunlops.
  • tony1034tony1034 Posts: 32
    The GC I looked at for $28,200 was an EX Sport. It too had the 3.3 liter engine, but had the better seating (buckets in the middle w/ split bench in the rear), removable console (nice option, one of my disappointments w/ the Honda is the cheapy snack tray. It seams out of place in an interior bathed in leather), power lift gate (not offered on the Honda), driving lights (an expensive Honda accessory), and I can't remember the rest.

    That's what you gotta love about this country. The FREEDOM to choose. God forbid everybody had to drive the same car. And can you imagine what Honda, Ford, Dodge, etc would charge for their vehicles if they had no competition? When I first went to Enterprise for the rental, they offered me a Chevy (GEO) metro. I would rather walk than drive in that death trap. But people buy these cars, love them and would buy them again. There is a car/van/truck out there for everyone. They make their choice for their OWN reasons, not b/c someone told them.

    P.S. Don't always believe what you read either. For enough money, a magazine will print and say anything. I'm sure everyone on this board can find an article that says the Honda is better, the Dodge is better, the Ford is better, ...You get the picture.

  • bdaddybdaddy Posts: 171
    If you really like reading that the Dodge/Chrysler vans are better than the Odyssey, check out Heraud's reviews at MSN Carpoint. I find his reviews laughable and biased with no basis for comparison (totally subjective with no benchmark data). You'll probably enjoy them.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    I like your comments made about freedom of choice in this country. I totally agree. But getting back to the topic at hand, DC uses Michellin tires on the more expensive models such as the Town & Country LXi and Limited, Grand Caravan EX and ES. The Grand Caravan Sport and SE, which you owned and rent, use the cheaper Good Year Conquest tires which does not offer the traction and performance of the more expensive Michellin s.

    Bdaddy, I've read Heraud's review of both the Odyssey and DC minivans. He rated the DC minivans 72 percent and the Ody 68 percent. That's pretty close. In his defense, the winner of these comparisons and reviews depends on the criteria that was used in rating them. Heraud seems to be more interested in performance and drive more than anything else. That is why I think the DC minivans got a slight edge over the Odyssey. Even edmunds (who I think always shows bias in every van review they publish) described the Town & Country as "a driver's minivan." They rated its engine, transmission, handling, braking, tires, ect the same or higher than the 2001 Odyssey.

    My point is, each reviewer looks for different things when evaluating a vehicle. That's why carpoint offers several reviews of any particular car by different people who all have different expectations for the car they are evaluating.

    Edmunds slammed the Town & Country repeatedly saying it was over priced and too expensive when it was covered in leather (an option Honda didn't have until just this year) and many other features not found on the competition. If price was an issue, they shouldn't have compared a 35k dollar luxury van with all the bells and whistles to a spartan box like the 2001 Ody was, in comparison.

  • ody01ody01 Posts: 100
    Most reviewers prefer Odyssey because of Magic Seat, most power, most luggage space. Low price main consideration prefer Kia Sedona. Most feature chose Chrysler. Ugliest van prefer Previa and now Sienna.
  • pat84pat84 Posts: 817
    After we have selected and purchased our minivans, who cares what any reviewer writes ?
    BTW if I had to pick one minivan that has been called "boring, boxy and dull" in TH forums, it is the Odyssey.
    In keeping within this topic, since I owned a 96 DC and now drive a 99 Odyssey, I have to say that I still miss the Infinity Stereo most of all the features. The Honda stereo is severely lacking in comparison.
    The DC had the windshield wiper heaters, a true delay feature on the rear window wiper, and better roof rack. With the exception of the Infinity sound system, I do not consider these extra features, just better executed on the DC than on the Honda.
    I firmly belive that competition between all the manufacturers improves the product.
    BTW space on TH is free. You might want to consider that and use some articles, adjectives, adverbs and complete sentences. Just my $.02
  • bakalarbakalar Posts: 2
    Is there any way to protect yourself from this Ody transmission problem? Actually had one go out within the first 100 miles. This is a deal killer. Or is this the exception? Appreciate any feed back.
  • jasonrupjasonrup Posts: 13
    St.Louis may build some LWB vans (lowlines) I never said they didn't - I don't know and don't care, but as I mentioned they do build all of the SWB vans, Windsor Assembly only builds LWB. Honda better watch out though, I can bet you that the next generation DCX vans will be more radically styled and will be based on the Pacifica platform (more room) with a drop down rear bench and a 4 wheel independent suspension - it may be speculation but it's only common sense.
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    I have no doubt that DC will invest in new sheet metal and neglect updating the engines and trans. That's the history of this manufacturer and the Euro mgmt. is not smart enough to recognize the problem. Honda has nothing to worry about from DC IMO.
  • ody01ody01 Posts: 100
    bakalar say Ody transmission problem. Ford 3.8L engine head gasket problem. Toyota 3.0L engine sludge problem. My 2001 Ody EX no problem 13000 miles. Pacifica 3.5L engine never used DC minivan.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    Oh give me a break! Chrysler won't invest in updating their engines and transmissions? What are you talking about? They already have! It's no secret and it certainly isn't a corporate lie. Pick up a business magazine or go read the automotive editorials and reports at Detroit Chrysler has started and improved numerous programs designed to improve quality across the board on all their vehicles and the results are showing. Not only do Chrysler products have a higher quality look on the inside and out but their transmission and engines are lasting longer and giving better performance at the same time. Just look at Consumer Reports or the awards from JD Power if you don't believe me.

    Chrysler vans were ranked #2 in initial quality according to JD Powers. I doubt the Odyssey was #1.

    As for engine and transmission performance, it too has improved with the latest generation of Chrysler vans. You don't believe me? Just ask edmunds who said the Town & Country's 3.8 12V OHV performed just as well if not better than many of the competition's more advanced engines. Both the 2.4, 3.3, and 3.8 engines were overhauled for 2001 and now give better performance and are cleaner running, not to mention they were all refined to deliver much smoother acceleration.

    In addition, every year Chrysler improves the reliability AND performance of their 41TE transmission. The 4-speed that is in our 2001 PT Cruiser is the same unit that is used in our 2000 Town & Country, but is MUCH, MUCH smoother and efficient. All of those improvements were made in only a year's time. And I'm confident the performance and reliability of a 2002 41TE would be even greater than that of the unit used in our 2001 Cruiser.

    Ody01, you only have 13,000 miles on your Odyssey. And yes, Honda did have a problem with the transmissions in the earlier 1999 and 2000 Odyssey vans. It is nowhere near as large in scale as the one Chrysler had with it's vans, but its still a problem. Unless, of course, you can honestly tell me Honda quality has declined THAT much.

    41K miles on 00 T&C NO PROBLEMS
  • pat84pat84 Posts: 817
    Not to be inflammatory, but saying that the same transmission is smoother and more efficient in a PT Cruiser than in a T&C is not saying much, considering the weight difference.
    There were some bad components from a supplier that caused some initial problems with the Odyssey ( and I think Accord) transmissions. Honda replaced them under warranty. Honda does stand behind their product.
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    Judging from replacement 41TE trans supplied by DC I can tell you that there is no noticeable improvement compared to original.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    "Judging from replacement 41TE trans supplied by DC I can tell you that there is no noticeable improvement compared to original."

    Judging by that statement alone, I can surmise that you have no clue what you are talking about.
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    You may surmise whatever you please.

    The fact is that my replacement 41TE trans performs no better than the original and I would warn anyone contemplating purchase of a DC van to expect early failure of trans. Notwithstanding the 7/70 warranty, you will also have to convince the dealer if there is anything wrong with it short of total failure.

    I would also advise anyone not to purchase until DC puts Gen 4 seatbelt buckles in ALL seating positions, not just the front row.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    "The fact is that my replacement 41TE trans performs no better than the original and I would warn anyone contemplating purchase of a DC van to expect early failure of trans."

    That would explain why the shift quality of our 2000 Town & Country is much better than that of our 1998 Grand Caravan 3.3 or how we have gone through two DC vans with no problems whatsoever. Or how my friend has 65k miles on his 2000 Town & Country Limited with no serious problems.

    Chrysler has sold 9 million minivans. I'm sure only a fraction of that number have experienced serious problems with their vans. I'd love for you drive a 96 T&C and tell me it gave the same performance as a new 02. If you said yes, I'd call you a liar.

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Let's avoid the name-calling, present and future.

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  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    I drove two new 02 GC's this year and trans was OK but so was mine when new. Most mechanical problems develop over time and will not be apparent during test drive of a vehicle that only has a few miles.
  • pat84pat84 Posts: 817
    I am sure that DC has improved it's transmissions since 1996. They have upgraded the transmission fluid , too.
    I owned a 96. I traded it in at a significant loss with 72k miles on it for a Honda Odyssey. I now have 58K trouble free miles and it drives just like new.
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    Pat 84 is sure DC improved its trans but bought a Honda. I will check out Honda when I can tolerate their cheeky salesmen again.
  • pat84pat84 Posts: 817
    I try to be positive, and not disparage others choices in minivans. I had a great experience buying my Odyssey. A new owner bought out an older dealership. In the process, two Odysseys ordered by the old dealership and for which there were no waiting customers were arriving in two weeks. I got the second one. 2 1/2 months after I had been driving my Odyssey, another dealer called and said the one I was on the waiting list for was in. I told him to give it to next in line.
  • ody01ody01 Posts: 100
    Looked two dealers. All salesmen both dealer very nice, not pushy. Drove Odyssey demonstrator no deposit yet. Got my 2001 Odyssey where refundable deposit option. Kia salesman pushy when looked again at Sedona.
  • odd1odd1 Posts: 227
    Did you see Edmunds acceleration times in their Odyssey 2002 test drive? Don't read the article beyond the times. You aren't going to like it.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Looks like the only thing that the DC vans are faster at than the Odyssey is depreciation.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    I read the entire review about three days ago. Based on many of Edmunds past biased and incorrect articles and reviews, I wasn't too surprised.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    As was I by your answer.
This discussion has been closed.