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SUV vs Minivans



  • I think Petras2 made a compelling argument for you to get the Odyssey. Yes, it's better value. The Odyssey EX-L is around $2k less than the Pilot EX-L with 4WD.

    I just got back from taking my in-laws to the airport with my wife and two kids in tow. I put in the "eighth seat" between the second row captain chairs in anticipation that I would have to fold down part of the third row to accommodate luggage.

    To my surprise, the well behind the third row swallowed an entire extra-large suitcase. I was able to stack another extra large suitcase and one medium suitcase on the top of it. I could've stacked another medium suitcase but my in-laws were only traveling with three suitcases. There was more than enough room on the side of the well for my in-laws' two carry-ons and a case of bottled water.

    In contrast, I believe the Pilot only has room for a golf bag behind the third row. A suitcase wouldn't fit in because the upper part of the seatback is too close to the window. Furthermore, the third row is a joke, although I've seen worse; there's too little legroom for comfort even for my 9 year old for long journeys.

    As we approached the airport, my father-in-law jokingly asked his wife as to where the luggage was. She panicked when she looked around and saw that there were eight seats but no luggage to be seen anywhere. All the luggage was concealed behind the third row, without blocking any rear visibility.

    Yes, I agree that the Pilot's only advantage is 4WD. For us, it doesn't offset the Odyssey's pluses. It depends on how much utility value you'd place on the 4WD yourself.

    Good luck.
  • allison5allison5 Posts: 130
    I do agree with everyone that the Odyessy is probably the best solution. I have looked at the Pilot and with 3 kids the oldest turning 12 this year this SUV does not make a lot of sense. People have said to me my oldest can start to sit up front soon but I am very leary of that even if it is legal. BUt even so what about when we go on vacation, take our 80 lb dog and on and on. SO the pilot is out now but some friends have also said go look at the Toyota Sequoia, Acura MDX (though I think this is too much like PIlot)even the suburban.

    I really liked the new odyessy when I drove and sat in it. I loved the sliding doors when dropping off kids at school etc where I do not always have to get out just push the button and door opens. I love the deep well of storage in way back. I do have 1 concern though, on some of these edmunds forums it has been said that people think the drivers seat is not comfy. Like there is something sticking into your back in the middle of the drivers seat. I already 2 degenerative disks in my lower back and this worries me. Yeah when I sat in it it was a little sore but so was the car I am driving when I first bought it. I just had to get used to it. But I am curious on what people think of the seats.

    The 4WD is a big plus but it is true that I could rent a vehicle if I were in the snow and bad weather. We go up to the mountains in the summer lots too, bringing bikes, water rafts etc. However their is a lot of storage room in that Odyessy. Still thinking on what to do.....Does everyone think gas prices are going to go up again? That could be a HUGH HUGH decision factor. Some people say that the Odyessy does not get much better gas mileage than SUV's. I tend to challenge that statement.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    How about the Sienna AWD? How does it compare to the Odyssey for room and comfort? I sat in the Odyssey and thought it was the best thing Honda had going for it. My Grandson has a 2005 Odyssey and loves it. Averages about 20 MPG mixed So. CA driving.
  • I also concur that you should consider the Sienna AWD to drive through the snow. I don't have much experience with snow but advocates of the Odyssey say it is quite capable in snow with its front wheel drive compared to other similar vehicles and even the Accord (not sure why).

    I test drove the Sienna and thought it was nice. The Sienna's ride is more luxurious. In road handling and ride comfort terms, one could categorize the Sienna as the "Lexus" and Odyssey as the "BMW" of minivans. In other words, the Sienna's ride is more luxurious while the Odyssey gives more of a feel of the road. I prefer the latter, as I don't like to "float" on the road. I also find the Odyssey more responsive to drive, with significantly more horsepower.

    The Sienna has a telescopic steering wheel that has more steering power than in the Odyssey. Again, its a matter of personal preference.

    I liked the seating configuration in the Odyssey better. The Sienna only seats seven if you get it with captain chairs in the second row. Unlike the Odyssey, the Sienna doesn't have a Lazy Susan in the floor. The Sienna has better leather seats, but, to me, that wasn't as important as the Odyssey's road handling and acceleration (to get out of trouble spots). I also much preferred the Odyssey's air conditioning controls.

    As for the driver's seat in the Odyssey, I think it is very comfortable for me. (I've read that the Odyssey'd driver's seat is not ideal for tall men.) I like the lumbar support, which is what I think was sticking in your back. I'm not sure but I think you can adjust it, as was the case with my old Accord.

    You might even be able to test drive a Sienna for one week by renting it. Some Toyota dealerships have rental outlets for that purpose.

    Again, good luck.
  • allison5allison5 Posts: 130
    I rented a SIenna AWD a while back to see if I liked that van. There were definatley things that I did like better, telescopic wheel, leather though I felt the steering was too light. The big thing that was a negative factor for me was that the driver and passenger seats were way too short for me. I am tall or at least average I guess for a woman. I am a little over 5"8 with long legs. So in that van their just was not enought thigh support and it made my toes tingle when driving for some reason. I guess someething about not enoght support, my back etc. So the hunt continues on.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,854
    are still rwd based. this is what i prefer too. to me pilots, mdx, highlander, etc, are suv styled minivans.
    i love rwd, so that's what i prefer to drive. i do split my mileage with a small fwd car, though.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    May I ask why you feel this way? The Odyssey/Pilot/Highlander doesn't even hint at torque steer. I'm not being difficult, just curious for a real answer. Thanks, ex.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,854
    totally legit question. i am not referring to torque steer.
    with rwd there are 2 ways to steer. mainly steering wheel, but also throttle. in a corner, you can apply some gas to swing (slightly) the rear of the vehicle to go through the corner.
    it is not necessarily automatically that way. i adjust tire pressure for feel. you can adjust the understeer/over steer. some of it my be how i grew up driving. go to a kart track. it's fun, safe and you can learn a lot about handling.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • I used to support American vehicles also . . . all I've ever owned. However, after 6 transmissions in two different windstars since 1997, I'm done with ford, at least! I'm still researching what to replace my 99 windstar with, but am certainly leaning away from American. :(
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    A reporter is looking to learn about the vehicles of choice for people with large families. If you have 6 or more in the house and often travel as a group, what is your preferred mode of transportation? Please respond to before Wednesday, February 22, 2006 with your daytime contact info and a few words about this topic.


    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • highenderhighender Posts: 1,365
    Where is everyone ?

    Now that we are 5 in the wife wants a minivan. So here I am, shopping for a minivan. Are minivans better than SUVs? Yes and no.

    They are different, and can be used for different purposes.

    At one point, we had an SUV, minivan, 4 door sedan,and a 2 seat convertible. To each his own. You pay your money...and you get what you want. If it is not what you thought...then you would change vehicles, and try another type next time..until you realize that this new vehicle has limitations too....over and over.....purchase decisions , decisions....

    Toyota now has a 7 seater hybrid SUV that gets 31 mpg city...and 27 highway....
    The Sienna is good....but we are considering the Odyssey also.

    and the world turns..... :shades:
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    Hey man good to see you are still around. We are still debating oil, hybrids, GM and the UAW. Not many of the old SUV haters still around.

    I think if a mini van was in my future the Odyssey would be near the top of the list. They are nice. Have not looked real close at the Sienna. Then there is the "R" class Mercedes. Due out shortly in a diesel model. Seats 6 in luxury I'm told.
  • fred222fred222 Posts: 200
    Now that we are 5 in the wife wants a minivan. So here I am, shopping for a minivan. Are minivans better than SUVs? Yes and no.
    We swapped out our 1995 GMC Suburban SLT for a 2006 Odyssey EX-L last September. I have 3 kids 3, 9 and 13. The 13 year old is 5'9" and I am 6'4". This is our "family trip" vehicle and I was concerned about the possible loss of comfort and space. According to my two oldest kids, they like the Odyssey more than the Suburban for trips. My wife likes the ride of the Odyssey much more. The Suburban has feature that the Odyssey does not and vice versa. However, when it comes to comfort, hauling stuff and safety, there are very similar.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    What kind of mileage are you getting from the Odyssey? Yours has the VCM if memory serves me.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,441
    Toyota now has a 7 seater hybrid SUV that gets 31mpg...

    If you are speaking of the Highlander... that is going to be an extremely tight squeeze to fit 7....maybe a squeeze for 5 if you have teenagers, as the middle row bench did not appear wide enough to hold 3 comfortably.Would be great though for a 4 person family. The back row seat is very small...large enough for toddlers.

    Consumer Reports wrote the Highlander Hybrid gets 22mpg "overall" ...which is much less than what EPA reports.

    I would suggest the Mazda MPV...smaller size minivan handles more carlike and easier to park and manuver. Sporty good looks inside and out. Similar in size as Highlander, though seats 7 comfortably.
  • highenderhighender Posts: 1,365
    Yes..the highlander hybird is what I meant.

    We were looking at the minivan. Got the dealer down to near invoice .....but I am wondering if they would go with the employee pricing.
  • highenderhighender Posts: 1,365
    Hey gagrice:

    Good to hear from you too. I still have the suburban...and cayenne , and the TL to tool around town.

    Wife wants a minivan...and we are considering the Odyssey also. San Leandro and Dublin Honda offered me invoice pricing... Thanks to Edmunds internet pricing !!
    I got to trumpet this nice site that gave me so much entertainment and information these past few years...

    But I am still holding on the the suburban , since it does so much, and can do so much. Cayenne is getting a little less usage now, I alternate driving them..but mostly we use the TL...for short trips. Driving the TL for long trips is good for the pocketbook of your local physician associations, IMHO. For long trips, we always take either the cayenne or suburban.

    I am still on the fence about sienna or odyssey or T&C. I feel like I should give our own industry a fair chance to gain my business, and to have some dollars stay in America.

    I think for some families....there is a willingness to have both SUV and MInivan.
  • highenderhighender Posts: 1,365
    I think we have the same model suburban. Mine has some modifications done by CEO of a telecom co. It has supercharger, custom handmade seats, 5 TVs, and all the extras that go along with the lux ( I would not spend that much to modify a vehicle) . So the kids ( 12 yr, 9 yrs, and 2.5 yr ) all like the SUV.....including the offroad and snow capabilities.

    They also like the Cayenne, and last week we took it down the coast on Highway 1 , to go visit Hearst Castle and Pinnacles National Monument. Nobody complained of lousy ride,nor discomfort nor nausea. The view was great. The drive was GREAT , and fun for me....

    But my eldest son thinks it is too hard to parallel park the he and wife wants that in 7 years... we can pass it down to him.

    Enjoy your Odyssey ! BTW, what do you think of Honda's Variable cylinder managenment system that deactivates 3 cylinders on highways ?
  • fred222fred222 Posts: 200
    What kind of mileage are you getting from the Odyssey? Yours has the VCM if memory serves me.
    Our van has only 1900 miles on it. It is not a primary vehicle for me or my wife. That said, we get 18-20 mpg in town and on the one long trip we have been on (800 miles) averaged 27.1 mpg. I am interested in pushing the envelope for gas mileage on this vehicle and try to drive it accordingly. This is the first vehicle that I have owned that I will record every fill up to document the mileage. However, that said, it is amazing just how fast this van can be when merging on the highway. However, every time you put your right foot down and smile, you realize that the mileage will suffer.
  • fred222fred222 Posts: 200
    Enjoy your Odyssey ! BTW, what do you think of Honda's Variable cylinder managenment system that deactivates 3 cylinders on highways ?
    I do not know if the mileage benefit ( approx. 10%) is worth the mechanical complexity. However, I do get almost twice the Highway mileage in the Odyssey that the Suburban got. Also, three cylinders are deactivated most of the time if you are driving on a relatively flat road not accelerating, so it is not just on the Highway. Part of the reason that I bought this vehicle is that I believe that this country really really needs to reduce its dependency on oil and this was the best way that I could show that. I am not a tree huger. I am about as far removed from that as is possible. I see oil "addiction" as an issue of National Security which impacts the future security of my children.
  • highenderhighender Posts: 1,365
    ""I do not know if the mileage benefit ( approx. 10%) is worth the mechanical complexity.""

    I just bought an EX-L...and think it is nice to have the VCM system... I bought an extended warranty to cover the nav , the RES, and the engine....main items I would be worried about.

    ""However, I do get almost twice the Highway mileage in the Odyssey that the Suburban got.""

    That is close to true. But on local roads and mixed use...I get 14 mpg with suburban, and only 18 or 19 with Odyssey. Not that much different. I was hoping for more.

    "" Part of the reason that I bought this vehicle is that I believe that this country really really needs to reduce its dependency on oil and this was the best way that I could show that. I am not a tree huger. I am about as far removed from that as is possible. I see oil "addiction" as an issue of National Security which impacts the future security of my children. ""

    that is a nice thought. But the only my opinion, to really reduce dependency on oil, is for all to stop driving...and immediately switch to moped or bicycle or mass transportation. Driving even a Prius is being dependent on fossil fuels..and accelerating the dependency. May be not as much...but still it is not water we are putting in our Odysseys....

    There is nothing wrong with being a tree hugger. If we each plant 60,000 trees , it would be like taking away a car from circulation, and not adding to green house gases...which is a really big problem...

    I think we need to stop kidding ourselves,,,and admit that any usage of matter how small, contributes to the problem.....No excuses.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    and admit that any usage of matter how small, contributes to the problem

    You first! ;)

    tidester, host
  • highenderhighender Posts: 1,365
    after you....It is nice to hold open the door for others. So I am doing it for you.... ;)

    Now with a bow and a wave...

    I insist.... :)
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,854
    glad to see you are posting frequently again. since you and 'tides are holding the door open, i'll just step right through. :)
    thing is, kids don't really care about about oil consumption or emissions. too bad, they are the ones who will have to live with it. :cry:
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • highenderhighender Posts: 1,365
    Hiya, explorer ! How goes it..?

    Be our guest...step on thru...

    I agree...alot of kids use precious gas to go cruising around..ala fast and furious or showing off...

    now is that good usage of gas...compared to SUV or minivans which generally use more gas ? ( feeble attempt to stay on topic )

    We have been busy lately. We went ahead and adopted a daughter ( she is 2.5 yrs old) , so guess what, my wife wanted a minivan....!!! So now we have a minivan and SUV....and a crossoever suv. She nixed the idea of a Prius...she thinks it is too dangerous to merge onto freeway in one of those....oh well.

    Since tides and I held the door open for you, you have to bring the Krispy Kremes and coffee . OK ?

    Tides , don't you agree...? :)
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Congrats on the new adoption, High!! KKs and coffee are definitely in order. :)

    Is it more fuel efficient to pick up doughnuts and coffee in a minivan than in an SUV? <--- obligatory on topic query! ;)

    tidester, host
  • li_sailorli_sailor Posts: 1,081
    All is still right in the world, I see that "use" is still the same as "waste". Use some, waste a lot, the same. I was worried for a moment!

    Ah, but this is not the place, is it.
  • highenderhighender Posts: 1,365
    Hiya tides :

    Thanks .... She is adapting well to her new environs. We are supposed to be in the same adoption group with Meg Ryan...but she got the VIP treatment....and stayed in Guangzhou to adopt. We met there...but went to Chongqing to adopt. By the time we got back ( all adoption groups meet in GZ), she had left, though our group leaders had autographs and talked with her....

    good to see you still holding on ta ya sense of humour, though rather directed it is.... ;)

    The Odyssey has the 3 cylinder deactivation system (VSM) . Kinda fun to see hte ECO light go on....but wish they put in a real hybrid electric motor.

    The prius got out voted due to acceleration (non) by my wife.....

    She prefers the SUV to the Prius, though she likes the minivan compared to suburban.

    We are taking the suburban up to snow country this coming Easter....carrying lots of kids and snow gear...

    take care.
  • highenderhighender Posts: 1,365
    Hiya Sails:

    Yep...It is real that some people need thier SUVs. As to know the answer to that. When a person goes cruising....and alot of people do it more wasteful than someone driving a SUV to work, cause they enjoy the vehicle ? Like the ride height ? Enjoy the view ?

    OK,,,,I guess to some it is only wasteful if fuel is used in a SUV ..... ;)

    Hey , sails, why don't you think of a nice neutral topic that would touch on the topic that is foremost on your mind....and put it in the Automotive news section. That way, it will stay, since it reflects ongoing views on this subject. Plus it will get you out of hiding....

    maybe we will see some of the old gang...and some new enthusiasts....

  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    a nice neutral topic

    Funny, Inconsiderate Drivers came to my mind. :shades:

    Congrats on the kiddo High!

    Steve, Host
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