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Honda Odyssey vs. Toyota Sienna



  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Whoops, you're right. Typed VSA, meant VCM.

    Musta been low on coffee......
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Re: snow and ice.

    Well, I'm in south Texas so take all of this with a massive grain of salt :).........

    First, I don't know that the Sienna AWD necessarily has more ground clearance that the standard Sienna FWD.

    Second, AWD will certainly help in snow/ice conditions to GET GOING, but......I don't think you'll see any benefit in steering response/braking.

    Third, a good set of snow tires will go a long way towards helping with traction (whether AWD or FWD). Personally, I feel that a FWD setup with good snow tires on all 4 corners would be better than AWD with standard 4seasons tires.

    Fourth, if I projected a fair amount of snow/ice use, I would make sure that my vehicle had VSA/Traction Control. It is standard on the Ody and on the Sienna with AWD and XLE Ltd. I think you still must add it as an optional package on the Sienna FWD.
  • Rorr,
    Thanks for the input, even with a grain of salt (which actually DOES help with snow and ice!).
    This is the type of info that I was hoping for. I've heard the tires on the AWD Toyota are not great tires. It's reassuring to hear, that at least in your opinion, that I would be better off with good tires and front wheel drive.
    It's interesting to know what the real benefit of AWD is. Sometimes it seems like AWD is a magical system that prevents a car from ever losing traction. It sounds like the benefit is really with getting going. This is important, but less so than steering response, braking, etc.
    I don't really understand what VSA/Traction Control does, but I do understand that it is important.
    So thanks for taking the time to give your opinion. Hopefully I'll hear from others too.
  • fred222fred222 Posts: 200
    It's interesting to know what the real benefit of AWD is. Sometimes it seems like AWD is a magical system that prevents a car from ever losing traction. It sounds like the benefit is really with getting going

    We recently purchased a 2006 Odyssey EX-L and love it. We bought it to replace a 4x4 Suburban. I live in Eastern Washington with snow and ice and hills and realized that I was driving the Suburban in 2 wheel drive probably 99.9% of the time. Also realize that in 2 wheel drive, this is a rear wheel drive vehicle which is not quite as good as a front wheel drive vehicle. AWD (or 4x4) is good for getting going primairly on hills under poor traction conditions. It is also useful to go down hills under poor traction conditions using engine braking. For this limited benefit with AWD (vs. 4x4) you have all of the wheels driving 100% of the time. I feel that AWD is one of the biggest frauds perpetrated on the American consumer. At least give us the option of turning the AWD off and saving a little gas.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Yeah, I think we got the picture the third time you said that.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    At least give us the option of turning AWD off and saving a little gas.

    Honda's AWD system is not engaged unless slippage is detected. As soon as AWD is not needed anymore, it returns back to FWD only. Just something to consider; not all AWD cars are "FULL-TIME AWD", just a "supplemental" system, of sorts.

  • 05ody05ody Posts: 103
    Just incase you were woundering VSA(Vehicle Stability Assistance) just helps you gain control incase you start to slide, somehow it appys the braks and does some other stuff (dont really know exacally how it works, just know how it will help) and Traction Control will just prevent you from spinning. If the Traction Control detects that you are spinning it will lightlly apply the brakes so you stop sipining, and pritty much just let it slip abit then grab, slip and grab...(basically the opposite of ABS brakes)
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "I don't really understand what VSA/Traction Control does, but I do understand that it is important."

    Like another poster said, Traction Control in essense works similar to ABS braking: when it detects wheelspin, it applies the brakes to the spinning wheels. Sometimes, wheelspin is needed (ie. trying to get going out of the snow) so (in most cases) the Traction Control can be turned off by a switch on the dash.

    VSA (vehicle stability assist in Honda-speak), VSC (vehicle stability control in Toyota-speak) and other similar systems are all part of what the industry refers to as "ESC" - Electronic Stability Control.

    ESC uses sensors to detect the steering wheel angle and inertial sensors in the vehicle to detect yaw (change in actual vehicle direction). It can compare the two to determine when the vehicle is not following the path intended by the driver at the steering wheel.

    For example, if the steering wheel is turned a fair amount yet the yaw sensors determine the vehicle is still mostly going straight, it knows the vehicle is beginning to UNDERSTEER. If the steering wheel is turned just a little bit and the vehicle is REALLY starting to rotate, it knows the vehicle is beginning to OVERSTEER. It can detect very very small amounts of understeer and oversteer very quickly.

    The system can then apply the brakes to individual wheels to help the vehicle actually follow the path intended by the steering wheel angle. In other words, it will help to prevent loss of steering control.

    Check this article from Car and Driver to see how important these types of systems can be:

    Note that all current generation Ody's have VSA. The Sienna XLE Ltd. and all Sienna AWD models also have VSC.
  • finzzfinzz Posts: 40
    Our current lease is up in May and I'm still sitting on the fence as to whether or not I should Lease one more time (3 years) or Buy.

    My hesitation is because I'm all about Green Technology and I would kick myself from here to Sunday if I buy a Honda or Toyota only to find that they will be offering a Hybrid ion the not-too-distant-future.

    Granted, I don't want to be one of those beta-testing for the first year model either.

    Does anyone have any knowledge or insider info as to if/when either Honda or Toyota will be coming out with a Hybrid?
  • Hey Rorr,
    Thanks for the explanation and the link. Interesting article. I wonder how complex the software is that drives these features (abs, est, etc.) and whether it has a significant failure rate.
    I have seen cars involved in pretty fast head-on collisions in which the air bags did not deploy. In that case, a failure is obvious if it occurs. It would be hard to know if a skid or accident occurred because the traction control or abs failed. I assume some sort of check is done but I would imagine it is not foolproof. That's why I like to push my cars a little, just to make sure things are working.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Well, I would imagine the software would be fairly complex. As far as the failure rate, that's a good question. I know the system undergoes a selfcheck everytime the car is started (similar to the airbag self-check).

    But I don't think folks should necessarily RELY on these types of systems to save their bacon if they get in over their heads; these are simply aids. Nothing can beat driver training/basic competance.

    That being said, I don't think the average driver should intentionally push their minivan to the point of checking their ESC system. While they may not be as top heavy as your typical SUV, neither will they react like a Miata. :surprise:
  • I was kidding about pushing the car to see if things were working. I should have put an "emotorcon" to indicate that but I'm not sure how to use them.
    Ahh...I used to have a miata. Man was that fun, but it just doesn't hold baby seats like a minivan.">
  • I've read and read but can't seem to make up my mind whether I want to purchase a 2006 Odyssey Touring RES/NAV or 2006 Sienna Limited FWD with package #2.
    We've test driven both - I can't really quantify the handling difference - the Honda felt slightly sportier to me and the Toyota felt more quietly comfortable, but I don't really prefer one over the other. The price quotes I'm getting are similar enough to make it pretty much a wash in that respect.
    We currently have a 2004 Sienna XLE Limited w/RES which we still love but I'm ready for a new vehicle and def. want the NAV. On the 2004 version, you couldn't get both the NAV and a cd changer so we picked the package with the cd changer.
    I really like some of the new features available only on the Sienna, i.e. Bluetooth, the power folding mirrors and the integrated turn signals in the mirrors.
    However, I also like some of the Honda features, like the lazy susan storage (my daughter always has tons of her junk in the car, which drives me crazy), and the remote that has a storage spot (another sore issue, i.e. I can't find the remote!!) But the Touring comes with those run flat PAX tires, which have their own forum for griping about.
    At one point, I actually did decide I wanted the Sienna, but then I looked at the colors and there's not one I really like. We have the arctic frost pearl now, which shows all the dirt, just looks like plain white to most people, and has the light tan interior I don't like. The only color in the current model I could possibly live with that comes with the stone interior is the silver, but I can't get excited about it. By contrast, Honda has two colors I love and one with the dark gray interior that I especially want. But it seems particularly stupid to make a $36k+ vehicle choice based only on the color. Argh - maybe venting about this difficult choice will help! :confuse:
  • loncrayloncray Posts: 301
    What's stupid about using color to make your choice? The very best vehicles (in this case Sienna and Odyssey) are very close to one another, and each has features you like and features you don't like. Once you have it down to that level of detail, things like color, how going into the dealer feels, and even where the dealer is physically all come into play.
  • heywood1heywood1 Posts: 850
    The AWD is superior-- IF you're willing to shell out the bucks for (4) snow tires. AWD does not eliminate the need for winter treads.
  • snfsma2, you are agonizing on the east coast and I am agonizing on the west coast. I am in the same situation. I like the Odyssey better because of the handling and feel of the power when you step on it and of course the dark gray interior as well. It seems like it will hide the dirt/stains very well. The seats seems to be more comfortable than the Sienna. I have had issues with the leather seats in my 02 Sequoia Ltd. They do not fit my body very well and my back is soar after a half hour drive. The quality of the leather is less than desireable and the Sienna seems to have the same/similar leather. The seats in the Sienna seems to be a little thin, especially the third row which we plan to use often. The only gripe we have about the Odyssey is that the third row does not fold down as easily. Actually, you need some strength to fold them. The third row split is opposite from the Sienna, meaning that the 40% side is on the driver's side. That does not quite make sense since most of the time one would enter from the right curb. The dash on the Odyssey is not as nice as the Sienna.

    Can't really say what will happen next but it may come down to who will give me the best deal.
  • ctalkctalk Posts: 646
    Which do you value the most? Do you value comfort more?

    Just ask yourself what you value the most. Would you prefer to be comfortable during long/short trips...? Or would you like a better 3rd row seating?

    If you still can't decide, price is a good way to make the deal.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Know how you feel but at a lower price level. We test drove and compared the Ody EX (cloth) and Sienna LE ( + the GC SXT ). We prefer white exterior and the Sienna LE has a very nice taupe interior while Ody white has an unattractive (to us) light yellow/tan interior. On the other hand, we really liked the Odyssey Ocean Mist Metallic (blue) exterior with the bluish-gray interior.
    We felt the Sienna instrument cluster is THE most attractive on any minivan and slightly preferred the Sienna LE cloth interior to the Ody EX cloth interior. The Ody felt like it might have slightly more leg room in 3rd row. (The GC SXT interior felt cheap in comparison to the Sienna LE and Ody EX ). Each dealership had excellent, non-pushy salesmen but the Ody dealership required a $ 500 NON refundable deposit just to get on the waiting list. When the Toyota dealer had the EXACT Sienna we would have ordered and also gave us a decent price quote, we bought the Sienna.
    Some decisions are very difficult. Best wishes in yours and please let us know what you buy. ;)
  • nettonetto Posts: 12
    After a tough month of deliberating, I am taking delivery of my new Odyssey. It was a choice of XLE or EX Cloth.

    From the get go I contacted about 12 toyota dealers. My wife is on her 4th Toyota and so the XLE was first choice, however,
    1. The Toyota sales people were obnoxious. They weren't helpful, they weren't frank. I could see that they were only interested in their commissions.
    2. I contacted about 12 Honda dealers. All of them provided bottom line prices. All were willing to deal.
    3. The brakes on the XLE were too responsive. People in the back could feel the effects.(Even though CR states that the Honda has overall better braking distance).
    4. The interior layout was better in the Honda. More conducive for a family.
    5. The gear stick in the XLE was too low, too loose, one could easily displace it by a simple hand movement.
    6. The visibility in the Honda is better.
    7. It's cheaper even with after market add ons like rear view camera.
    8. The toyota has a power tail gate which I wish the honda had, however the tailgate is light enough to compensate.
    9. The mid seat folding mechanism as well as the rear seat was easier in the honda.
    10. The honda retains value better than the sienna.
    11. The Honda has a little more power, better responsiveness. Plus better fuel efficiency on the highway.
    12. Honda is made in the good old South.

    Any ways, I bought the Honda with cash with in a week. Whilst researching the Toyota over a period of a month I couldn't commit.
    Toyota's option packages are too confusing and have unnecessary items that add to expense. Honda comes with everything included, simple and easy.

    Hope this helps, Happy Shopping !! :)

    Oops, just remembered,

    Was shopping for both new and used. There were a ton of 05 Sienna's on the market compared to the Odyssey. There was also a greater gulf between the trade in value and dealer retail price for the Sienna. It seemed as though used Siennas were deliberately over priced to facilitate negotiations on the price.
    This posed the question :-
    What did people get rid of their Siennas so soon? ;)
  • artgpoartgpo Posts: 483
    For the second year in a row the 2006 Honda Odyssey is Motorweek's pick for minivan of the year.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    It is also a Car and Driver "Best Minivan" for its fifth year. The year it didn't win? The new Sienna was out and won, and the Odyssey was on its fifth year!

    You can't go wrong with either choice. It's just a matter of personal tastes (softer & comfy or firmer & sporty), although neither is so extreme to one side or the other as to put too many off.
  • Because sienna is used by rental car companies and odyssey is not, so more used are available.

    >What did people get rid of their Siennas so soon?
  • Who rents Siennas these days? Before I purchased a new van, I looked a couple times for any rental agency that had one and struck out with all the majors in the area. Toyota has a dealer program that allows rentals subject to availability, but otherwise all I could find was domestics at Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Budget, etc.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    That was the deal at Orlando airport, too...Freestars, Relays, and Gr. Caravans, but no Hondas or Toys.
  • macakavamacakava Posts: 775
    "Who rents Siennas these days?"

    Alamo and Hertz in some regions have Siennas in their stables. I choose Siennas over DGC anytime I have a choice. Never seen an Ody rental though!
  • lastwraithlastwraith Posts: 350
    Actually they used to use them as fleet vehicles here in NYC though I havent seen one lately....then again I havent really looked either.

    I always thought it was a pretty good fit instead of the big crown vics, prob get better gas mileage too.
  • winston7winston7 Posts: 11
    Bought a Sienna last year and felt it's well money spend. have been comparing it with the Oddyssey but finally settled for the Sienna. Two(2) major reasons, the price factor and the seat factor. With the latter it seats comfortably and the middle row uses three seperate seats which can be removed one at a time. It can also be adjusted back and forth. Unlike the Oddyssey which makes use of a small inserted seat at the middle of two large seats which cannot be moved forward or backward. Defenitely dont want to settle for american cars because of its price fluctuation lately which makes its resale value so low.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    For the second year in a row the 2006 Honda Odyssey is Motorweek's pick for minivan of the year.

    That's great if the Odyssey is a van that will do everything you want it to do. If not, it doesn't mean much.
  • mschukarmschukar Posts: 351
    If safety is really your "most important decision point" and you drive in snow/ice, winter tires will serve you better than AWD.

    Simple question: Have you ever been in an accident because you couldn't go? How about because you couldn't stop in time?

    AWD helps you go, that's it. Winter tires help you go, stop and handle better.

  • ctalkctalk Posts: 646
    AWD helps you go, that's it. Winter tires help you go, stop and handle better


    AWD and other safety systems only manage the existing grip, they do not increase grip. Winter tires do however.
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