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Honda Odyssey vs Dodge/Chrysler minivans



  • hayneldanhayneldan Posts: 657
    First Re-read posts 2157 and 2183. Then count to 10. Examples "DC still using an antiquated suspension component"(but according to Edmunds still rides better than Odyssey)"Many states passed along subsidies and tax breaks for AMC and Chrysler.Lots got flushed in the deal" (And Honda didn't get any Tax breaks from Carolina and Canada to build their plants there?) Get real! Hey I'm not faulting you for buying the van of your choice. I've driven all the minivans, including the Odyssey and Kia Sedona. I'm still happy with my first year model 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan ES and haven't had any problems or seen or driven anything that has something I feel I want or need yet. No, I don't work for DC or any dealers. P.S. I'm 6'4" and don't come anywhere near hitting my head on any part of the roof or door in the drivers seat of my 96. However, I did hit the rear door mechanism in the roof sitting in the passenger seat on a 94 model without a adjustble passenger seat. That one had only one rear sliding door. No such problem on the 96 and newer.
  • You hit it spot-on in your comparison of the Ody/DC vans. Our '00 Ody was totaled last April (hit by an uninsured idiot while parked at my in-laws), and we were originally going to buy an '02 EX w/leather, but guess what??? Here in southern Calif., Honda dealers were still demanding MSRP + at least 1K worth of added-on krap - just like when we bought our '00.

    My wife and I were quite impressed with the most recent iteration of DC minis. As you pointed out, the Ody does indeed excell in several areas (noteably handling, engine performance and interior ergonomics), but the DC surpasses the Ody in overall smoothness/ride and luxury features. I also found the front seats in the DC (at least in the T&C Limited) to be more comfortable than those in the Ody, by a small margin.

    The clincher, however, was The Deal. The Chrysler dealership we visited had several new '02 T&C Limiteds for $8K off MSRP ($5.5K dealer discount + $2.5K customer cash). The final net deal worked out to almost $2K less than a comparably equipped Ody. The DC dealer also gave us 4.9% financing for 60 months. That was pretty much the icing on the cake for our deal. My wife also got to choose the exact color she wanted. The dealer's sales staff were also very pleasant and didn't pressure us to buy on-the-spot, but we did anyway. It just seemed like too good of a deal to pass up.

    Nine months and 11K miles later, we are still very happy with the T&C - no problems yet (knock on wood). I am not trying to say, however, that the DC van is necessarilly better than the Ody. Having been on both sides of the fence now, I don't consider myself loyal to either one. They're both nice people/stuff movers, which is why people buy minivans - certainly not to impress the neighbors.

    One thing I do miss about the Ody, however, is that absolutely dandy v-tech engine. It would wind right up to the redline and still sound as smooth as velvet. The DC 3.8 pushrod motor has a bit more bottom-end thrust, but it scolds you (loudly, I might add) if you go beyond 5,000 RPM.

    But then, I guess only an idiot would try to redline a minivan, huh? (P.S., my wife usually drives the van. My own personal car is a Pontiac Vibe GT with a six-speed - and it gets redlined every time I drive it!).
  • interesting dialog about the two vehicles. however, living in buffalo, ny i want a great snow vehicle. my mazda tribute is super in the snow but too darn small. to the best of my knowledge, only mini with awd is the dc . haven't read all 2000+ postings but wonder how many go for the dc awd because honda doesn't have it?
  • tasillotasillo Posts: 51
    Jeez, now the minivan wars have become political fodder... Let's agree that Uncle Lido was the salesman of the millennium in convincing the US Govt. to bail out his moribund company and leave it at that!

    Honda and DC both make a great van. Ford, Toyota, GM, not even close. We chose the Dodge on the basis of equipment levels, pricing, availability and driving feel. The 15 minutes spent in the Honda were not enough to convince me it was worth the 3k more and surly, arrogant dealer who had 1 in stock with $2800 in stupid add-on equipment.

    So far, our 2001 GC ES has been very satisfying. Everytime I remove those 3rd row seats to carry something I wish I had the Honda, but never any other time. As far as comparing with BMW, it's apples to oranges. However I do own a '00 740iL so I feel qualified to make the comparison. Where it counts (on the road), the DCV vans are not disappointing. We regularly drive 600 mile days, all interstate, from Atlanta to S. Florida. 2 kids, 2 (heavy) adults and a full load. The Dodge maintains 80+ mph at 21 mpg with the (great) A/C going full blast. It has never felt unstable or less than confident on the road. I can honestly say every time I make that trip in it, I am impressed by it's capabilities. I'm sure the Honda is equally capable.

    When the time comes to trade it in, I'm sure I'll longingly think of the Ody's resale. However knowing the Dodge cost me almost 3k less up front and nothing to own in 2 yes and 30k, I assume I'll get over the 2k or so difference.

    Overall, both vans are head and shoulders above the competition. The new Toyota will be interesting, however this will be their 4th design of their people mover and they haven't come close yet. Ford may get it right as they seem to have a grasp of the US market now, we'll have to see about the quality. The GM vans are not scheduled for replacement anytime soon so we're stuck with the Euro-American compromise of the current Opel-based Venture/Montana platform.

    My 2 cents...
  • AWD was a big selling point for me larry. Of course it never snows here (Denver) anymore, but at the time I thought it would be useful! But the biggest clinchers were 1) the power liftgate (my wife is all of 5') and 2) SHE liked the looks of the T&C. Never argue with the wife, especially if it's her wheels.

    BTW -- the few times it has snowed the T&C AWD performed fabulously. And she really appreciated the heat grid in the windshield below the wipers, wish I had that on my X5.
  • bdaddybdaddy Posts: 171
    "DC still using an antiquated suspension component"(but according to Edmunds still rides better than Odyssey)"

    Maybe it rides better, if you prefer the ride of the DC. Is it antiquated - yes, therefore, statement true.

    I'll leave the discussion on government bail-outs for another thread. I'm still waiting to hear about all of my inaccuracies. I expected a list of at least 10 or 12 considering I've been posting in this thread for over a year. What is my "inaccuracy percentage" in your book - like .005%?

    I'll end this discussion by saying you're right - you're always right and I bow to your knowledge and expertise. I (we) are all lucky to have you here with us. DC is the best MV out there. If Edmunds says it, it must be so. (I don't remember where they said that but if you insist, it must be so.)

    "So it is written, so it is done."

    B-Daddy - Newly appointed, official Town Hall post accuracy checker.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    For those who don't want the extra bulk of the Ody and the Grand Caravan/Town and Country, GC still is, I believe, the only manufacturer to offer short wheel base versions. My wife really preferred the much shorter length and resulting manueverability of the Caravan, and it still can seat 7 in reasonable comfort.

    We have managed to do well with the short wheel base Caravans for, believe it or not 18 years and counting, including being on our 6th straight year and counting of moving two college students in succession into and out of dorms and apartments. Our first was an '85. Our second is a '96 SE Sport and currently is at 64,000 miles, with only one repair, to the AC, last summer. Yes it was an expensive repair, but we have never had it back for anything else except two minor recalls, and the normal maintenance services. The brakes are even still original and are good for at least another year. Van is smooth and quiet as the day we drove it home and when freshly washed, looks nearly new as well. Hard to beat, and you could get a new replacement Caravan similar to ours for well under $20k.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Heh, and I thought my Quest was suffering in the ground clearance department.

    I read that DC has a "surfer" version that's at the car shows now.

    Steve, Host
  • ed12ed12 Posts: 100

    1. The government never loaned Chrysler anything. The banks loaned Chrysler the money with guarantees from the govenment
    2. The loans were paid back two years early.
    3. As part of the deal, the government required Chyrsler to throw in a large block of stock which at the time was almost worthless. Because of the success of the K car, the stock soared and the treasury department sold the stock for a gain of $275 million dollars. As a taxpayer, I wish we could have more bailouts like that.
    4. As a previous poster said, let us not go down the tax incentive path. The state governments have now given Japanese car builders billions in tax credits.
  • leebealeebea Posts: 25
    Wow!! Not your mother's minivan.
    Lee B.
  • pat84pat84 Posts: 817
    Oh lets not go down the tax incentive path again.
    What States, and how much per state was given Japanese car builders ?
    BTW Chrysler is now a foreign car CO. Daimler bailed it out a second time.
  • I bought the Honda for two reasons.

    First: Honda's legendary quality. I have not been disapointed. 58,000 miles and still on the original set of front brake pads. Not keeping score, but it seems Ford and Chrysler are constantly recalling vehicles for warranty campaigns.

    Second: Honda's loyalty to it's customers. Huh, you say? Honda does not sell vehicles to Commerical Fleets, Car Rental companies ect. So when I go to trade it in, I will get a substantially higher trade in percentage because the market is not flooded with used Honda vehicles. Everybody and their brother is driving DC's and Windstar's. Just be prepared to be shafted come trade in time. The Blue Book, Black Book prices for these vehicles are inaccurate by a wide margin if you decide to trade when a fleet or rental car company unloads their used vehicles in your market.
  • pat84pat84 Posts: 817
    You didn't say what year Honda you had. Maybe you have an 00 or later on which Honda extended the warranty on their transmission to 100K miles. It amounts to an admission that their transmissions are not up to the Honda reputation for reliability. I got 68 K on my 99 Odyssey before the transmission failed catastrophically. I traded in a 96 Grand Caravan with 72 K miles on the 99 Odyssey because the transmission was failing on the DC. The DC at least got me to the Honda dealers and it still had reverse. Not much difference in reliability between the two in my book.
    BTW my 99 had 3 recalls. They also extended the warranty on the throttle body because of many owner experienced problems. Legendary Honda Reliabilty my rosy red.
  • I find this all very interesting - we are currently analyzing if we will keep or sell our 01 Odyessy. I love the van's drive/feel/look, but find the $500/mo payments really hard to swallow and not sure if we are getting $500 a month enjoyment out of it. Thinking we can get a decent used DC, and a warranty, for around $300/month.. Our Ody. has NOT been perfect - one door handle has completely fallen off, the power doors are "phantoms" and grind, particularly when it's cold, the power lock system does NOT assure you that all the doors will lock - or come UNLOCKED and BEST OF ALL - the power door system pinched me and my 16-month old daughter so hard that it scraped skin off my arm and ankle. It was SCARY!
  • By its very nature any automobile is not perfect. Designed and assembled by imperfect humans. Yes Honda extended the warranty on my 01 Odyssey to 100,000 miles. But I go back to the loyalty issue. Crysler would wait until NTSB orders them to recall the vehicles! Your arm isnt long enough to write down all the Crysler recalls in the past 15 years! Proof is in the recall numbers. Also, why is it there are no Crysler products in the top 10 best sellers list????????
  • hayneldanhayneldan Posts: 657
    Checking the site reveals the following for 2002 models. consumer compaints Honda Odyssey 53, Chrysler and Dodge combined 21. recalls Honda 1, Chrysler and Dodge combined 2. Sales figures, Damlier Chrysler, Dodge and Chrysler minivans YTD November, No 1 377,477 sold, Honda Odyssey 118,503 sold. Source By the way it's CHRYSLER not crysler.
  • I have driven most every minivan out there now. I am a loyal Honda fan. I own 2 Honda products with 200,000 miles on the odometer. When it came time to get a minivan it was logical that I would go with the Odyssey. I am very pleased with the quality of the Honda products. Before I made my purchase, I rented a GC for about a week and I borrowed my friends Odyssey when I could. The bottom line is that all things being equal the Honda Odyssey is the better van of the two but not by much. The Odyssey has the superior engine and transmission and reputation for reliability and high resale. The DC/TC is more comfortable to ride in and is quiet and smooth. I really didn't consider other minivans because in my opinion because the above two are the ones to beat. The best Japanese design against the best American design. In the end it came down to price. I was put off by the Honda dealers sticker price take it or leave it attitude. Although I could have bought a brand new TC for about 3,000 less than a comparable Odyssey, I decided to buy a used TC which is a tremendous value. I got a one year old TC for almost half of what a brand new Odyssey cost to buy. It is pretty hard for me to imagine that the Odyssey is that much better. If you want the best buy the Honda. If you want the best value pick up a used TC or GC and laugh all the way to the bank.
  • I too purchased a used GC and the savings was substantial. Yes, mine had been a rental in its previous life but it was in great shape and only had 14000 miles. I have had it for 7 months and haven't had any problems (other than that somebody had installed the crossbars on the roof rack incorrectly). It is unfortunate that the number of DC vans sold to fleets drags the resale value down for those that buy new but it sure makes for a great bargain for those of us willing to buy used.
  • I am trying to decide between used versions of the DC Limited and Ody EX-L. I like them both a lot but have concerns about the Limited's long term reliability. I drove a 1999 model with 86K miles on it to see what it is like at this point in its life. I was blown away!!!! This van drove as if it were nearly brand new. I couldn't believe it. I hadn't even considered something with such high miles but with a price of less than $12K, and another $2K for a 3/36 bumper to bumper extended warranty from CarMax, I am seriously considering it.

    Something else interesting happened today as well. After driving the Limited, I saw a 2001 Ody EX with leather on the lot. I sat in it and it seemed downright spartan when compared to the Limited. I must like the white gages, the wood grain dash and the suede accents more than I thought. I had heard others talking about that but had never experienced it. I never put much stock in those statements until today.

    Am I crazy??? Will a TC Limited fall apart at 120K miles? What kind of miles have some of you seen put on yours?
  • I have a Chrysler Town and Country LX with more than 132,000 miles. It does still ride like the day I bought for the fact that I currently have Bridgestone Blizzaks on it for winter. It is a 1997 and I bought it new. I was considering a Honda Odyssey, but have decided to keep what I have, it's worth more to me than what I'd get on trade in. As for things that have gone wrong: front brakes have been replaced (twice, I believe) some heater switch up front that runs the wiper blades as well went out about a year ago, and other than that - I just had the EGR value replaced because I failed the Wisconsin emissions test.

    All in all, I've been very happy with the vehicle...hope this helps.
  • I was able to purchase a 99 T&C LXi with 95,400 miles last month for around $9000, which included a $540 3yr/45K powertrain warranty from Penn Warranty off of eBay. (they offered to extend the warranty to 6 years and unlimited miles for another $545). It's been flawless in the month that I've had it. There's a 99 LXi on there right now with 94,700 miles for $8999. I also test drove a 2000 Limited with 120K, local Chrysler dealer is selling it for $9900 on They originally wanted $12400 for it but I offered them $9000 and they wouldn't take it. That also rode like it was brand new on the test drive. I was also able to contact the former owner of my T&C and he took meticulous care of it - he was going to drive it to 150K but his favorite dealer gave him a deal he couldn't refuse on a 2003 T&C. The engine runs incredibly well, suspension is very smooth, and it feels like it has 30,000 miles on it. Just be sure to put new platinum plugs in it and a K&N air filter. That's all I've had to do to mine so far except for oil changes and washing and waxing. I'm expecting it to go to at least 200,000.
  • When our '00 Ody had about 4K miles on it, I noticed a loud squealing noise when I started it up one morning. I immediately shut off the engine and checked under the hood, where I found that part of the alternator bracket had apparently snapped off, leaving the alternator hanging at a precarious angle. I was able to gently nurse the Ody to the dealer, where the van stayed for the next five days while a new alternator bracket assembly was ordered from Canada (at least they gave me a loaner car). We also had several problems with the power sliding doors that required three separate trips to the dealer (not including the recall), and the power driver's seat also kept blowing fuses untill the dealer discovered a short in the wiring, and... the climate control system developed a glitch that caused the A/C to cut out mysteriously, for no apparent reason, on 90+ degree days the first summer we owned the van (this problem corrected itself when the Ody was about a year old -- go figure that one out).

    BTW, all this stuff occured during the first year of ownership. During the second year, the rear window wiper quit (burned out motor), and the CD player stopped working (the radio head unit was replaced, under warranty of course).

    In spite of these problems, I still enjoyed driving the Ody and the dealer was very understanding and sympathetic, always offering me a loaner car while the Ody was in for repair. If you recall my previous post, I was considering buying another Ody when ours was totaled last April. My neighbor has had her '02 for about a year and she has only had two minor problems (sliding door and battery replacement).

    BTW, my '02 T&C just turned 12K miles (9 months old) and I have not had A SINGLE PROBLEM with it. It might be that my Ody was a particularly bad one and that I've just been lucky so far with the DC van, but so be it (I think I'll quit now so I don't jinx the Chrysler).
  • bdaddybdaddy Posts: 171
    One consideration should be the trade off in safety for lower purchase price. Check the crash test records of a used MV you might be contemplating and determine if the $$ savings are worth the less than 5 star safety rating.
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    The latter is more fun to drive IMO.
  • saverisaveri Posts: 19
    I would like to know why the public and automotive journalists have such a love affair with the Odyssey ? Just gathering opinions with no intention of starting a war of which is better than which.

    The TC as far as my opinion goes has a much nicer ride than the Odyssey The engine is smooth (3.8L)and the transmission responsive under the conditions a minivan would be used under. The TC has lower wind and road noise. The interior is fairly well designed with nice materials being used in most places. The build quality could be better as margins are not always uniform.

    The downfall of the TC is the lack of a "magic" 3rd row seat and long term reliability. The second factor being of major importance to most consumers. DCX claims to have have made improvements in this area.

    Most reviews by major magazines indicate that the Odyssey is the clear winner though in my opinion besides the trick 3rd row seat the TC is actually a nicer vehicle to drive on a daily basis.

    Chime in with your opinions.

    BTW I have owned Honda cars all my life. I have a 1998 Accord with the 3.0L VTEC. It is a smooth engine but lacks torque off the line. I believe that this same engine has been re-sized for application in the Odyssey.
  • I think you've pretty much hit it on the head. The third row seat is pretty much magical. However, it's not magical enough for me to switch from a TC with 132,000 miles that has been pretty much trouble free and part with $29,000 for a comparable equipped vehicle.

    There is no doubt that the Honda has a stiffer ride, and the TC is just a more cushy ride. I'm sure for some people it will just come down to what ride they prefer for thousands of miles, but of course people are also counting on the reliability of a Honda vehicle. I'm personally hoping to get 200K out of my vehicle, but I've been forewarned by my mechanic (independent) that the Chrysler/Dodge minivans oftentimes experience failed transmissions around 125K. I've also heard from some that around 125K the vehicle starts nickel and diming you to death. I do like the looks of the Honda. I too have previously owned a Honda (1989 Honda accord coupe) and was very happy with it. I've also had a Mercury Villager, but needed a larger minivan. I guess I've pretty much decided to wait and see what Toyota brings out in August.
  • bdaddybdaddy Posts: 171
    I looked at DC and Honda before purchasing the Ody. For me it was the fact that my wife (the primary driver) liked the Honda better. She was happier with the layout of the van - the spaciousness and driving position. I too preferred the driving position in the Honda. I'm 6'4" and the roof pillar was right against my temple in the DC. The ride in the Honda is tighter, but not so to offend. I'm used to it - it rides like a Honda. I can see how others would find it not to their liking. The engine is great - very strong throughout the powerband but impressive when the VTEC kicks in at about 3,200 rpm. The van is large, but it turns very tight and is pretty easy to maneuver.

    At the time of my purchase, a Dodge Grand Caravan EX went for about the same as the Honda - dealers were not moving from MSRP on either vehicle. Resale value was the final determinant.
  • My sister-in-law's '94 T&C's tranny went out in a rather spectacular way, right around 70K miles. Apparently, a seal in the torque converter blew out while they were driving on the freeway, causing a huge, dense cloud of smoke as ATF spewed onto the hot exhaust manifold. I was surprised the van didn't catch on fire!

    I realize that there is another forum for this topic, but I am curious as to the mileage interval at which DC owners are performing the transmission service. I think every 30K seems about right, but the owner's manual recommends 48K for "severe use" and no service at all for "normal use".

    Also, how about the service available from the dealer that claims to suck every drop of old fluid out of the trans., as opposed to simply performing a drain/refil/filter change?

    Any comments /feedback would be most welcome.
  • deepandeepan Posts: 342
    Heard from a fairly reliable friend i met over the holidays.
This discussion has been closed.