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Honda Odyssey vs. Toyota Sienna



  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    But if I seem to beat up on the Ody, it's probably because the automotive press is so gushy over it

    That's mainly because the automotive press will praise anything that drives more like a car than a van. The Odyssey drives much like an Accord (fairly firm, sporty, not as smooth as Toyota), whereas the Sienna drives, well, like a van (smooth but kind of numb). THAT'S why they gush over the Honda. It drives like a Honda!

    My aunt has a 2005 Odyssey, and it has had some little issues that my family has never had with Accords or Civics (misaligned tailgate from factory, squeaky driver's door handle inside, etc...)
  • gotoyotagotoyota Posts: 280
    I agree the Ody's handling is very carlike - feels like driving a big Accord, so you hit in on the head; it's no surprise the press loves it - it is basically a big Accord. The Sienna is very carlike too, but more like the Camry... not surprising either. The funny thing that has me scratching my head, though, is the Sienna actually feels smaller from the drivers seat (although it's bigger inside) and the driving position feels lower to the ground??? I felt like I was sitting in a truck when I drove our Odyssey a few nights ago, just to compare the two. Also, I think the 17 inch wheels on the Limited give it a more car like ride and handling. Honest! Previous to this, I had only driven LE's with the 16's and they did feel noticeably softer. So far I haven't noticed ours feeling substantially less sporting than the Odyssey, but then everything about it feels different at the same time. I don't drive them the same way. I was always wanting to dip into the 4300 rpm "powerband" on the Honda for better acceleration. On the Sienna, I don't do that because it's powerband is really flat and even, so I find that I'm revving the engine a lot less - mostly because I can see how it makes the fuel economy drop!! By the way, I saw more than 30 mpg average on the freeway (average both ways) and our combined average is currently over 25 MPG!!! It's quite easy to stay above 25 MPG around town if you're not flooring it a lot. I am WAY impressed. We could never get higher than 19.9 in the Odyssey (all freeway).
  • gotoyotagotoyota Posts: 280
    Congrats on the new Sienna! We are sure enjoying ours. By the way, the Sienna also has very good resale value and is an Editors Choice and Consumers Most Wanted for a used van ( which should help resale, should you ever decide to unload it. :shades:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I guess almost everyone compares these, eh? :shades:

    Bottom line is you should pick the one you prefer, not what anyone here says. You'll be the one driving it and making the payments.

    I did feel the Ody handled a bit better, while the Sienna had a better ride. Ody is more a driver's car, while Sienna is a bit better at coddling the passengers.

    You want a lazy susan, or a 3rd row seat that can be faced back for tailgating?

    Sienna has power vented windows for the 3rd row, the 2nd row seats tumble, it's ready to tow (Ody needs oil coolers), and the stereo plays MP3s.

    I believe the Ody has better lighting on the power window buttons, and I'm sure there are a few other little things like that.

    Most of these are subtle differences. I really wanted that 8th seat the Sienna has, which is comfortable for 3 adults in the 2nd row. That and the engine sold me on the Toy.
  • gotoyotagotoyota Posts: 280
    Wow, and people say I'm particular! ;) Yep, I agree with everything, although I'm still trying to figure out what makes a great "drivers car." I love to drive, but I prefer the Sienna's drive to the Ody. :confuse: I love the tight turning radius and it feels as solid as a bank vault. We love it. No 8th seat though :(
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Yep, I agree with everything, although I'm still trying to figure out what makes a great "drivers car."

    Steering with some feedback/feel, less numbness and slop in the steering/handling. A quicker steering ratio helps that feel too.
  • gotoyotagotoyota Posts: 280
    "Steering with some feedback/feel, less numbness and slop in the steering/handling. A quicker steering ratio helps that feel too."

    I actually get that - and don't get me wrong because I do like those qualities. But I guess I prefer the smoothness and quiet of the Sienna. I haven't really noticed the steering being sloppy or non-communicative, although there is definately less "road feel", but there's also a lot less NVH - which I like. The one thing that makes the Ody feel more athletic, if you will, is that it seems better able to make quick transitions, which would be better for driving on, say, a mountain switchback. But I don't do that kind of driving very often. Most of our driving is around town and on the freeway occasionally, where the smoother ride is more appreciated.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's all a matter of perspective.

    You say numbness and slop, but a Sienna owner might call that luxurious isolation and refinement.

    It all depends on what you're looking for.

    My other car is a Miata, so I understand the benefits of feedback and steering feel, believe me. I just don't find that stuff important in the family hauler.

    To me, the priority was comfort, isolation, smoothness, low NVH levels, etc.

    To get that I'm willing to accept the light steering and the body roll that basically goes with the territory.

    For my Miata, I wanted the exact opposite. :shades:
  • gotoyotagotoyota Posts: 280
    Exactly! I guess I must fall in the camp of those who prefer some degree of "isolation," if that's the term for smoothness and low NVH levels. To me, that makes it feel more refined. I've always thought of isolation as the term that defines the way American luxocruisers feel - soft, floaty, and built strictly for straight lines, but whatever. For me, Toyotas sedans and the Sienna strike a good balance between fun to drive and "isolation." Funny though, the Toyota's engine actually feels a little more "mechanical" for lack of a better term, which I prefer. The Honda is so smooth all the way up to maybe 5500 rpm where it starts to show some hint of reciprocating mass, that it sounds like a soundtrack, whereas in the Sienna, I detect a little more activity from the engine, but it's a good feeling/sounding engine, so I enjoy it. It has a nicer growl too. But others might say the Honda engine is more refined. Again, a matter of perspective I guess.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Apologies to the Honda crowd, but Toyota's new 2GR V6 (2007 and later models) blows Honda's J35 away, it's no contest.

    That's not really fair, as Toyota's V6 is new and Honda is working on updates that will appear in the Accord this fall.
  • Which Sienna model is equivilant to the Ody EX-L with NAV + DVD?

    How about the Touring??

    Also, what year did Toyota make side curtain airbags STANDARD in all their Sienna models??

    Thanks! ;)
  • I have finally gotten a look at my friend's Sienna, and it is indeed an XLE. I'm pretty sure it's an '04 or '05, 'cause the front end is totally different from my '07. In fact her sister was teasing her about it today because our vans are the same color, except mine is a CE, and it definitely doesn't have all the bells and whistles. She said, "You know my sister, she's gotta have all the bells and whistles!". Her comment was that she just took what was available on the lot, so this might have been just a one of a kind deal. I know that when I went shopping, there was a CE on the lot that did have the tinted windows and even a dvd player, and was about $5k more, of course! So, I guess that is possible that an 8-seater XLE came off the line. I just wanted you and ateixira to know that I'm not imagining things, the van does exist..... right 'chere in South Cacalacky! :shades:
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Sienna instrument cluster looks gorgeous at night but those shiny circles are a BIG annoyance when they become a source of glare in daylight hours. Same with the middle part of the dash. The Odyssey instruments and entire dash are better designed to prevent glare.

    I wanted a Sienna as soon as I saw the first 2004 when Sienna became the size of the Ody and the other best selling minivans.

    I am disappointed with my 2006 Sienna because overall it is NOT any better than my old 2002 T&C. Each has advantages but the Odyssey is more appealing to me after driving and riding as a passenger 17,000 miles in my 2006 Sienna.
  • What shiny circles are you talking about?? I haven't noticed a glare at all in my 2007 CE.
  • I traveled from my home in South Carolina to Charlotte, North Carolina, and I cannot tell you how many Siennas I saw in both Southbound and Northbound traffic! And the most popular color? Silver Shadow Pearl! So, based on my very unscientific observation, the Sienna is the preferred van.... :shades:
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    The 06 CE does not have the shiny circles around the gauges. The 06 CE front passenger seat is also more comfortable than the 06 LE because the 06 CE does not have the extra padding at the back of the base to cover the mechanism that permits the 06 LE front passenger seat to fold flat forward.

    I have not looked closely at the 2007 models. I thought the only change was the larger, more powerful 3.5L V6 replaced the 3.3L V6 of the 04-06 years while still having the same 19/26 EPA fuel economy ratings.
  • If you get a chance, take a look at and look in the owner's gallery. There are some pictures of a very nice '05 XLE 8-seater there. I knew I wasn't crazy. In fact the owner took pictures from the back and labeled them "proof that it's an 8-seater", so I guess this has been a "hot" topic before, eh? So.... perhaps you might be willing to find a gently used '05, or maybe even an '06? There might be such a critter out there. And I'd be willing to bet you can get almost anything you want on an LE, too! :shades: I'm almost, almost beginning to wish I'd been willing to wait just a little longer to get mine with power sliding doors and hatch. That rear hatch ain't no joke... that is one heavy booger to close! :P
    Best wishes on finding the one you want!
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    I am glad my Sienna has ONLY one power sliding door (passenger side) and would have preferred to NOT have the power driver seat. BOTH items move much too slowly and I always have the driver seat raised as high as it will go.
  • I guess, we will find out ourselves whether the $3200 difference is well-spent money as we bought the Sienna today.
    In the last two weeks we literally went back and forth between the two models on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis and could not really decide which one to choose. Eventually, we came up with the following "plan": whichever dealer gave use more (but at least a set minimum) for our trade-in would get our business. If none met our minimum, then we would sell our car privately and come back for the 2008 models.
    Since the Honda was cheaper, we started with the Honda dealers. We identified two Honda dealers that had our preferred color in stock and hinted over the phone at getting close to or above our minimum for the trade-in but of course wanted to see the car before committing to an offer.
    To make a long story short, the first dealer was just plain awful. He didn't even come close to our minimum for the trade-in, which was already well below Blue Book value (this was the real deal breaker). Plus, he tried to weasel out of the quote given for the Odyssey (saying destination charge was not included, etc.), then the internet sales guy handed me off to some new salesman, who didn't know about pre-negotiated price, etc., who tried his 4 quadrant worksheet on me, then they tried to tag team me (good salesman (beginner) and tough salesman). As it became apparent that they would not come close to a fair trade-in value, I walked out. However, I lost more or less the whole afternoon and couldn't get to the other Honda dealership until this morning. As it turned out that dealership didn't have our preferred color anymore (luckily I called before leaving the house).
    So off to the Toyota dealership I was. And what a pleasant experience that was compared to the Honda dealer the day earlier. This guy was really interested in earning our business and was fair all the time, stood by everything he said earlier via e-mail and phone and, most importantly, offered us our minimum for the trade-in. (Of course, we probably could have done much better selling the car ourselves. However, the convenience of not having to sell it on our own time was worth it to us. Sure the dealer will make a huge profit with this trade in but we don't mind).
    So, you could say it was coincidence that we ended up with the Sienna. In any case, I think we will be very happy with it.
  • The CE doesn't have them - it has different guages from the LE and up from model year 2006 and on. So no worries :shades:
  • "So, you could say it was coincidence that we ended up with the Sienna. In any case, I think we will be very happy with it."
    Well, congratulations - however you ended up with your Sienna, I think you will love it. You'll appreciate the great gas mileage too.
  • Which Sienna model is equivilant to the Ody EX-L with NAV + DVD?

    How about the Touring??

    Also, what year did Toyota make side curtain airbags STANDARD in all their Sienna models??

    The Sienna has had side curtain airbags since 2004. You can get the DVD+Nav in the XLE or Limited models - I'm not sure which package it is for either... I got so confused when we were shopping for ours that I simply stated that I wanted the Limited model with Nav and DVD and that's what I got. I'd have to look at the sticker, which my wife has "filed" away somewhere.... Anyway, it seems you can get all the stuff on the regular XLE, but if you want the sonar, laser cruise (not available on Ody??) and Xenon HID lights (not available on Ody) you have to get the Limited model. Get the Limited! We love ours - it's the Lexus of minivan-dom.
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    Side curtain airbags first became available on the '04 Sienna - standard on the higher trim levels and optional on the lower ones IIRC. Not sure but I believe they became standard across the board in '06 or, possibly, '07.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Even on the lowly CE model. :shades:
  • Oh, I'm not worried about it... just wondering what hansienna was talking about.... I was looking at mine as I was driving, and I kept thinking, "what glare?" I enjoy my CE, it's a good van to drive.
  • Lowly? Ha! The only thing I honestly really miss is the privacy glass. Other than that, it's all good, even in my "lowly" CE! :P
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Was tongue in cheek humor. The CE is the "BEST BUY" for a person buying a Sienna.

    IF I knew what I now know, I would have purchased the 06 CE instead of my 06 Sienna LE and had after market tinting placed on the windows. :shades:
  • I know you meant it humorously; so did I! I'm planning to have after-market tinting placed on the windows myself(once I save up some pennies!). It's funny; when I got my first Sienna, I fully intended to get the CE because that's what I could afford. The only one on the lot that fit my price range was an LE, though. This time I checked really carefully because once, again, the CE is what I can afford. I really like the Toyota van, I think it's the best value for your money! :D
  • Thanks for the info siennami, I am beginning to wonder if Toyota took special orders for 8 pass XLE's? I'll have to check that site out. Too late though, we already bought a new arctic white pearl XLE Limited - 7 passenger. We gave up on the 8 seater with everthing we wanted and went for the 7 passenger, which is all we really need. We just thought it would be nice for those times when we want to take an eighth person.... oh well. We love it - there's no comparison in my opinion to any other van out there. It rocks. I love hearing my wife say "wow!!" every time we drive it somewhere!
  • You'll be glad there are armrests in the second row. I don't believe the 8-seater Sienna has them.

    My aunt's Odyssey has the plusOne seat in the 2nd row (allowing 8-passenger capability). It's not somewhere you want to be on a 5 hours trip, but going across town and back isn't too terrible, especially considering you'll have more comfort when that eighth person isn't going (which, I believe, would be a pretty rare occurance for a lot of people anyway).

    Enjoy your 7-pass Limited. :)
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