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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign



  • ramib1ramib1 Posts: 6
    My wife currently drives a 2005 XC90 V8, which we really love. However, with twins on the way (in addition to the 2 kids we already have), we realized that the XC90 might not be big/convenient enough for our needs. We're looking into replacing it with a high- end minivan, without sacrificing anything as far as driving pleasure, comfort, and overall amenities. Two primary vehicles we're looking at right now is the Odyssey touring and the Sienna XLE. Would appreciate any comments/recommendations. Thanks!
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Well, while the same things continue to be said, i'll rehash some of them for you, with the two competitors I'm most familiar with, the Honda Odyssey Touring and Toyota Sienna XLE Limited.

    Both of these vans come with a LARGE array of standard features, and offer the optional Navigation System and Rear-Entertainment System (DVD Player).

    Most will agree that the Sienna definitely rides better (softer) while the Odyssey is more firm (probably closer to your Volvo). The Odyssey definitely handles better than the Sienna, but at the expense of the ride quality. The Odyssey isn't particularly HARSH, just firmer than Sienna, and driven back to back, the Toyota feels more "plush" while the Odyssey feels more "sporty".

    Overall amenities are generally similar, and come with all the features that should be had on a vehicle costing $35k +. Go drive the vehicles and decide which suits your needs best.

    There are other options than these two vans, but since you are looking for a luxury-SUV replacement, I felt these two were at the top of the food chain in their price-catergories. A more budget-minded shopper should definitely consider the Dodge and Chrysler minivans, as they offer superior bang for the buck, and have apparently made great strides in reliability lately.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I read about the whistling sound and I had the transmission replaced on mine, so my faith in Honda is a little shaky.

    I will drive them both back to back when the time comes, which right now will probably be either late 2006 or mid 2007, when I will test the Odyssey EX-L RES-NAV, Sienna XLE (or Limited), and the Entourage Limited. (which I heard was getting a factory Navigation unit for 2007)

    It will be interesting to see which one I end up with.
  • tkm526tkm526 Posts: 4
    I traded in a 2001 BMW X5 for a 2006 Odyssey Touring w/RES/nav yesterday. I had to take a few deep breaths, and am now so happy with my choice. I only have two kids, but wanted a true 3rd row for my frequent visitors and more leg room in 2nd row (tired of getting kicked in the back).

    I chose the Odyssey over the Sienna even though I would have loved AWD for these reasons:
    1. Storage, lazy susan, 2nd row console;
    2. ease of moving 2nd row seats forard and together and ease of folding 3rd row seat;
    3. fuel efficiency;
    4. aesthetics (bodystyle and color choices);
    5. control of DVD from front (my kids are too small to do it themselves.

    In my mind the only pro-sienna feature was the AWD.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    What you don't see is the electricity being consumed (electrolysis) to break up the bonds between the hydrogen and the oxygen.

    The energy gained from burning the hydrogen is LESS THAN the amount of enegy consumed in the electrolysis process.


    (there ain't no such thing as a free lunch)
  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Posts: 265
    Not to mention that fresh water is more precious in some areas than gasoline.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    How many people buy bottled water at $ 2.50 for 20 ounces but are all upset when gasoline costs $ 3.00 a gallon? :blush:
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    LACK of activity in a forum could also indicate a very boring vehicle...and not necessarily a reliable one. :shades:
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    How many people buy bottled water at $ 2.50 for 20 ounces but are all upset when gasoline costs $ 3.00 a gallon? And consider how much effort goes into producing gasoline vs. Milk or water! You drill for Oil, pump it out of the ground, refine it, ship it half way around the world.

    In my mind, driving is a priviledge, not a right....I dont see it listed anywhere in the constitution. I have a friend who thinks the government should mandate everyone into a Focus - period!!! Yet this same friend claims Bush has stripped us of our rights, Bush is fixing gas prices to make himself right etc... goofballs!
  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Posts: 265
    Gasoline in Europe is often double what we pay, in part due to taxes. Had we done this 20 years ago, you can bet our fleet of vehicles today would be significantly more fuel efficient without any other laws or restrictions. Imagine if all that tax revenue went to developing even more efficient and alternative fuel vehicles, especially for the troubled 'domestic' manufacturers. Even a 10% cut in gasoline use is a huge cut in foreign oil dependency. It's the best tax we could ever pay, IMO.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Hey guys, there's some topics over in 'News and Views' where this makes a bit more sense.
  • intheoryintheory Posts: 2
    My wife and I have been looking for a used minivan in the Kansas City market for about 3 months now. We'd like to spend around $10k, less if possible. We'd really like a vehicle with 2nd row captain's chairs, 3rd row fold-down seating and less than 70k miles. Bells and whistles are not very important. Seems like reasonable expectations and doable...but we're having little luck.

    Are our expectations out of line? Since the only minivans with fold-down seating (that I can find) are the '02+ MPV, '05+ Grand Caravan, (and the ubiquitous Odys and Sienna), I feel like we're really pushed into one of those 4...and those are just out of our price range. Unless we look at an Ody with 100k+ miles...which I'm not a fan of.

    Looking at some of the other forums (i.e. MPV pricing experiences) there are some terrific deals people have gotten on new '05s, but we must have missed that window. I'd be willing to go up to $11k-$12k for a newer/lower mileage vehicle, but it appears there just isn't that middle range around here. (Living in Johnson County probably doesn't help.)

    We've driven about every model of minivan, (Venture, Silhouette, Ody, Villager, Windstar, MPV, Freestar) and really have only felt good about the MPV and the Ody. The Silhouette was pretty good, but didn't have the storage options as the MPV or Ody.

    Isn't it odd, with all the posts and reviews bemoaning "no navigation system option," and "where's the stabilitrak/whatever" that we get hung up on those darn seating arrangements? :) We seriously care less about DVD players and power-whatever--we just want a van that is easy to move people and things in, and is safe.

    I'm frustrated that it has taken US automakers years to change the basic diferentiator of the minivan--seating--and instead they waste time and cycles building these niche flash-in-the-pan vehicles (*cough*SSR*cough*HHR) that don't deliver value to families. It would at least give us more options in regards to models/manuf to look at if that basic function was in the offerings from Chevy/Ford.

    Sorry, a bit of a rant there probably best suited for another forum.

    Anyway, just frustrated and wondering if others have any insite, or if there are some KC shoppers around that can point to some good lots. We've hit plenty of them around Overland Park/Olathe and a few in Raytown (shudder).
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    The MPV, Grand Caravan, Sienna or Odyssey would all be good choices and the lowest priced model of each does NOT have those silly options you wrote about. :shades:
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    In comparing the rear seats of the Odyssey, Sienna, Caravan and Freestyle (yeah, not a minivan, but it's what I have), it looks to me that the Caravan has the most uncomfortable looking seats because of the upward angle to them. If you look at the other 3 photos, the seats bottoms are more horizontal. Any opinions?
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Agree with comment about GRAND Caravan rear seat angle but the Caravan has as comfortable rear seat as any...except for having less leg room.
    On the other hand, both the Freestyle and Freestar have UNCOMFORTABLE 3rd row seats because they are NOT high enough off the floor.
    That leaves the Sienna and Odyssey with THE ONLY really comfortable 3rd row seats. :shades:
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "If you look at the other 3 photos, the seats bottoms are more horizontal. Any opinions?"

    My opinion is that you can only tell so much from a photo. Go sit in each because looks can be VERY deceiving.

    Case in point: the +1 seat in the Ody EX and EX-L LOOKS like some kind of torture device used in the Spanish Inquisition. After actually trying it, I wouldn't have any problem using it for a 2-3 hour stint.

    If possible, try what my wife and I did: we went to a car show which had examples from all the manufacturers. We went from one to the next many many times trying to gauge how we liked seat comfort, control feel and layout, etc. You can only do so much with a picture.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    We don't use the 3rd row in our Freestyle too often, if we needed the 3rd row all the time we would have bought a minivan. But for an SUV/CUV/Big Wagon, the 3rd row isn't too bad in the Freestyle. Note that I would never buy a Freestar minivan.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    I agree with hansienna. I shopped all the minivans and found the Odyssey and Sienna to be the most comfortable for both second and third row seats.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    Case in point: the +1 seat in the Ody EX and EX-L LOOKS like some kind of torture device used in the Spanish Inquisition. After actually trying it, I wouldn't have any problem using it for a 2-3 hour stint.

    Too funny.. Yeah, I was surprised too when I sat in it (with regards to comfort). I thought for sure that it would end up being the "time out" seat if a kid was acting up....

  • vinhphucvinhphuc Posts: 44
    "That leaves the Sienna and Odyssey with THE ONLY really comfortable 3rd row seats".
    Hum... Quite a bold statement. My 2 cents. We never tried the Grand Caravan when shopping for a minivan, but DID test drove EXTENSIVELY the Sienna 05 XLE. We now own a Nissan Quest 05 SE. No doubt in my mind the Sienna 3rd row has MUCH LESS legroom than the Quest. Many times we did the trip from Potomac, MD to Williamsburg, VA (a ~3hr drive). My wife sat back on the 3rd row bench with my daughter and found it very comfortable. Sienna doesn't have the higher "stadium seating" for its 3rd row either, compared to the Quest. As for Odyssey, I can't tell since we never liked its styling even for its new design, so we didn't bother to test drive it.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Sat in 3 Nissan Quest 3rd row seats and they were NOT comfortable due to lack of toe space under 2nd row seats. In all 3 Nissan Quest minivans I sat in, there was carpet hanging down from the 2nd row seats that prevented my feet being underneath them.
    Did Nissan change this in the 2006? OR, does your wife sit in the middle of the 3rd row seat and put her feet forward in the aisle space between the 2 bucket seats of the 2nd row?
    Funny you should mention you did not like the Odyssey styling since most people think the Quest is the ugliest minivan made...inside and out. (My Sienna exterior styling is not much more attractive than the Quest). :shades:
  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Posts: 265
    "Case in point: the +1 seat in the Ody EX and EX-L LOOKS like some kind of torture device used in the Spanish Inquisition"

    NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!
  • intheoryintheory Posts: 2
    Well we lucked upon a reasonably priced 99 Ody EX (at 2 am in the morning or so searching online) and took it home tonite to testdrive and run by the mechanic tomorrow. I think it might work. At this point I'm so tired of looking, I think we'll work out a decent deal and call this search done if all checks out.
  • tinyguytinyguy Posts: 44
    I'm a fan of Honda - I like Ody better than Sienna. I like Civic better than Corolla, and Accord better than Camry. Having said that, I wanted to check out the Korean pair to see what all buzz was about.

    I checked out Sienna LE/XLE, Odyssey EX-R Leather, Entourage GLS leather and Sedona EX Lux pkg on the same day. I was fully expecting Ody EX-R to come out as the winner. But, I was surprized with the Korean pair after the test drives - they were very competitive with the Japanese pair! I tried hard cornering out of highway ramps, hard acceleration, and sudden lane switches. They rode nicely, they handled nicely and quality of interior materials were very nice. Ody vs Korean vans were about the same. As usual, I don't like Toyota's soft feel. Lots of nice little touches on the Korean vans. You can tell they spend their time doing home work.

    I honestly couldn't tell the quality difference between Sedona and Entourage - perhaps Hyundai looked a bit younger in spirit because of the use of aluminium trim over wood and slightly cooler looking gages. I personally don't mine the warm feel of the wood trims. I am really trying to justify myself to say I can afford Odyssey Touring but I hoestly shouldn't be spending that much money on any car!

    Using their numbers (inc. discount), this is what I get (all in Canadian dollars):

    Odyssey Touring: $768/month
    Entourage GLS Leather: $660/month
    Sedona EX Lux package: $615/month
    Odyssey EX-L Res: $674/month
    Sienna LE: $593/month
    Sienna XLE: $771/month

    (You American boys and girls should feel lucky! Look at the price I have to put up with... :( )

    Obviously, Sienna XLE is out. Very sad to see 40% residual value after 4 years out of Toyota. Odyssey Touring is out too - too expensive. Sienna LE just doesn't have enough gadget for me... :)

    So Sedona vs Ody EXL-Res:

    Sedona has the following over Ody:
    - Manual automatic gear (I think I would use it)
    - Trip computer (I use this alot)
    - Rain sending wiper (my wife will like this!)
    - Power Tail gate (my wife will for sure, I may like it too)
    - memory seats (nice since my wife and I are not the same size)
    - Adjustable pedal (hmm)
    - Fog light (could be useful in bad weather?)
    - Chromic mirror (have to try this out, not sure of its usefulness)

    So not all of the above are useful, but the list is rather long.

    All of the above are 4 year lease payments, zero down.
    I'm tempted to go with Sedona based on the above price.

    Few odd differences between Sedona and Entourage:

    Only Entourage has:
    - MP3 Player
    - Rear parking assist
    - DVD player

    Only Sedona has:
    - Sunroof
    - Auto rainsensing wiper
    - Adjustable pedals

    One negative thing I found about the Korean van - the location of DVD player. On Entourage, they don't come with sunroof, but still DVD is located further back from where sunroof is supposed to be. DVD screen is really close to the 2nd row seats, forcing audiences to turn their head more than 45 degree. I dont think this is a natural position to be for extended period of time. If I install DVD on Sedona, I will probably end up with the same problem.

    Since I am leasing, depreciation cost is a non-factor - it is already built into the monthly payment. Honda offers 3 years warranty vs 5 years for Korean pair, hence it is actually safer to lease the Korean vans.

    I can't believe I am saying I may buy a Kia over Honda but I may actully do it this time! :)
  • vinhphucvinhphuc Posts: 44
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For all the die-hard fans of X brand, it doesn't matter what their favorite company makes (or doesn't make), they will still love and buy that vehicle. I personally owned different Japanese cars, from Honda Civic, to Mazda Protege to the current Nissan Quest. I have no attachment to any brand in particular. So to me the current Quest styling is appealing because it marks a radical change from its own previous versions (absolutely hideous if you ask me!), as well as all the rest of minivans (either jelly-bean or simply boxy shape). On the other hand, the current Odyssey offers minimal changes compared to the previous model (somewhat different headlights, and mostly a lateral stretch in its dimentsion). Anectodally, the other day my brother-in-law who has the previous Odyssey version couldn't tell much different between his and the new one when parked side-by-side in a shopping parking! If anything, it becomes even "BOXIER" than before (if that's possible!). Many other people I know share this opinion. Bottom line, in my objective opinion if you want something new, beautiful and stands out of the crowd, the Quest wins hand down. TO BE WITH THE CROWD, well..., you have all other vans to choose from! That's to me is quite clear. But again, if someone is an Odyssey die-hard fan, all this doesn't matter, right? :P BTW Sienna style (05+) is prettier than Odyssey if you ask me.
    Second, you're right about unable to put your toes under the 2nd row seat in the Quest when sitting near the windows. That's because the Quest has "stadium seating" for its 3rd row. However I can move my legs more forward in the Quest. In Sienna, the most I can stretch my legs is a tad over 90o with my thighs, even when I scoot all the way back against the bench. That makes it uncomfortable on the long rides, having your legs always in this L angle. As said before, my wife sits near the window in the 3rd row for these 3-hour ride and never complained. Trust me, I would hear plenty of it if she's uncomfortable back there!
  • sc00bssc00bs Posts: 87
    You said: Agree with comment about GRAND Caravan rear seat angle but the Caravan has as comfortable rear seat as any...except for having less leg room.

    I say: Yep I agree also, but looks are most certainly deceiving. I looked at the DGC and thought ick those seats look so uncomfortable but they were comfortable. I was completely shocked.
  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Posts: 265
    Very nice comments. Other than possible first year woes, the new Kia/Hyundai vans look very competitive. It is quite impressive how Kia has surpassed GM and Ford (IMO) in just a few years of minivan production.

    Incidentally, Honda's warranty improved slightly for 2006. The bumper to bumper is still 3/36 but the powertrain is waranteed for 5/60.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!"

    Cardinal Fang! Fetch...THE COMFY CHAIR!
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    You said: Agree with comment about GRAND Caravan rear seat angle but the Caravan has as comfortable rear seat as any...except for having less leg room.

    I say: Yep I agree also, but looks are most certainly deceiving. I looked at the DGC and thought ick those seats look so uncomfortable but they were comfortable. I was completely shocked.

    I didn't find the angle of the third row seats uncomfortable. But I didn't like the third row seat backs. Sits you strait up and won't recline any. That is what was uncomfortable to me.
  • 1997montez341997montez34 NJ, USAPosts: 202
    Actually the third-row seats in the Dodge Grand Caravan DO recline.
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