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Honda Odyssey vs. Toyota Sienna



  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Due to the lagging minivan market, don't expect huge changes this fall, at least in the Odyssey (which is a model-year newer than the Sienna design).
  • lavrishevolavrishevo Posts: 312
    So glancing at the 2009 buying guide I was glancing at the minivans and not to change this topic towards any make other then "should not be discussed" it is nice to see that CR is still rating vans on data from Sept. 2006 Great job their guys...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If you want more current data check out, they have some great ideas.

    When you register is asks for a part of your VIN, and you update the database quarterly, on an on-going basis. That means no hit-and-run trolls doing any ballot-stuffing, because they verify members and stay in touch with them.

    That also allows them to rate even some 2009 models, which is impressively fast.

    The Sienna ranks best among vans on that site, also. Newer Odys not far behind.
  • I decided to buy a sienna. I owned an odyssey 2000 EX and this car is only use for traveling 95% highway. I take care this car like a baby. Below are problem that I have to deal with:
    1. 60K SRS light
    2. 79K catelyltic converter (I was lucky under warrantee by honda)
    3. 100K replace timing belt waterpump belt tensioner routine maintenance ($500 labor and original parts)
    4. 101K transmission gasket leak. Have to drive until trans break down ($1500-$2000) quote

    Honda Pro:
    Look better. Good advertise from dealer. good engine.

    Sienna Pro:
    Sienna is timing chain. If slide door motor go bad you can always disengage automatic door and goes for manual. Much less road noise than Odyssey.
    Sienna Con:
    17" wheel is expensive 150 a pop. Don't look as good as honda.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Beware of routine maintenance?

    I don't understand why that's included.

    Also, a lot has changed since model year 2000.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I'm not sure where you're getting your facts, but they aren't correct. The transmission in your old Odyssey was a 4-speed. Now, the transmission from the Ridgeline truck is in there, and has been a 5-speed since 2002.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That means the transmission has been changed twice.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Good job, juice! ;) :P

    Just messing with ya. But yes, the tranny has been changed/upgraded more than once over the last 10 years.
  • john2009john2009 Posts: 5
    Can someone provide me an explanation for the "poor" IIHS rear crash test rating for the Sienna (compared to a "good" rating for the Odyssey), shown in the current issue of Consumers Reports? Also, the "overall safety" rating and the "crash protection w/wo side air bags" for the Sienna are worse than for the Odyssey. Isn't this a clear and important advantage for the Odyssey, for us "family" car buyers? If this has been dealt with in earlier posts, I'm sorry to repeat an old topic (I scanned hundreds of posts and didn't find anything.) Thanks. - John
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    It would appear that the Sienna doesn't use the advanced headrest design that is designed for whiplash protection, unlike the Honda's seats (which were revised in 2008 to include this).
  • lavrishevolavrishevo Posts: 312
    Truedelta looks pretty good. It is a shame the sample sizes are rather small.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm not sure if it's actually a crash test, though. Isn't it really just an evaluation of the head rest design? Do they actually wreck cars?

    Funny thing is Subarus do really well but consumers complain that the new headrests get in the way more often.
  • mkareshmkaresh Posts: 1
    Re: TrueDelta--we're working on the sample sizes : )

    One correction to a previous post: we don't ask for VINs, because few people are going to go through the trouble to provide them. And we've observed no need to do so.

    Results here:

    Car Reliability Survey results
  • All,
    After 8 years driving Sienna vans ( 2001 and 2004 LE model) I finally decided to have a change and go for a Honda Odyssey EX. Here are my comparisons.

    FIRST: What I like About my 2004 Sienna 8 seater LE that is missing from my new 2009 Odyssey EX.

    (1) The folding middle row seats that can tumble and secure in the up position in the Sienna.

    On the Ody, I need to fully remove the middle row seats and store them in the garage to gain maximum utilization for loading large items like furniture. Just like the earlier generation Sienna.

    The tumble forward action also makes it easier to load adult passengers in the third row in the Sienna. The Ody only slides forward and does not tumble forward for greater access to load goods from the side door.

    (2) I miss the power sliding door button on the middle door column that is on the Sienna. I have to train myself to use the handle to open the door which I find less access able closing the door after loading the kids...

    (3) I miss the temperature/compass/MPG readout by the rear view mirror on the Sienna.

    (4) When installing 3 child seats in the middle row the Sienna seat configuration is more usable than the Ody.

    On the Ody you cannot place a full size Child car seat (or even a booster seat) in the second row middle seat and expect to be able to adjust the forward and back position on the adjacent Window seats easily.

    We decided to forgo the 2 row middle seat on the Ody and store it in the garage.

    (5) I think the floor mats on the ODY is cumbersome with all the pieces and clips you have to contend with when time to clean. The Toyota is straight forward old school -- take it out and wash...

    To access the floor storage on the Ody is not easy because the floor mat is in the way...

    (6) PET PEEVE: Categorized this under illogical...
    I heard that this was standard Honda practise from long ago but why does Honda sell vans with roof rails but not include at least the cross bars to make them functional? They just add to wind resistance for owners who will not add the cross bars or other attachments to make them functional. You have to dish out an extra $200 for the bars ( $100 /a piece) to make the rails functional.

    Toyota doesn't fool around and adds full functionality of the roof rack when you buy an LE version....In my opinion well done Toyota.

    (7) Minor --
    I miss the ceiling radio console on the Sienna ( non DVD version). This allows me to add a aftermarket DVD system without having to cut the roof liner and route a DC power line. So after 3 years when I trade in the van I can remove the DVD player and put the car back the way it was.

    SECOND: Now what I ***LIKE*** about my new Honda Odyssey EX.

    (1) The overall drive and ride experience.
    When first drove a 2004 Sienna I thought the ride was superior to any van I have driven before and I thought this would be hard to beat.

    Now when I drive my new Ody EX I can tell that it surpasses my 2004 LE driving experience. The suspension is just tuned right for comfort and the load of my family of 2 adults and 4 kids. I have not tried a full load yet to make a valued comment...

    Engine even at 5 miles the Ody was very responsive and gear shifting is clean and smooth with no jerking movement. The 2004 Sienna I purchased had tranny issues since it was the first year of that new Sienna model and there was a noticeable accelleration lag and jerky shifting after a slowing down to come to a stop .

    (2) Turning radius on the Ody is incredible compared to my 2004 Sienna. I would turn the wheel on the Ody expecting it to stop after a number of revolutions but it kept on going and I made very tight truns with ease. I found this such a plus...

    (3) The stock sound system is superior on the Ody.

    (4) The ability to adjust the air conditioning temp for the driver and front/rear passenger separately is a plus... Just needs getting used to...

    (5) Not sure of the dimension difference but the Ody feels roomier inside. Even my 8 year old mentions that she can stand up straight in the Ody.

    My Conclusion?
    Honda should *pirate* the seating logic/design from Toyota Sienna . If they do so in my opinion Honda would be the hands down winner...
  • jayriderjayrider Posts: 3,602
    Nice post family man. The roof rails serve as a support for after market racks and carriers that clamp on and off for easy removal. This way nothing contacts the roof.
  • We're in the middle of the Odyssey (EX-L) vs Sienna (low end XLE) buying dilemma and have recently test-driven both. One thing that surprised both my (5-ft) wife and (6-ft) me was the difference in the telescoping steering wheel. The Odyssey wheel just wouldn't come out far enough for me to find a comfortable driving position. The Sienna seemed to have a much larger range of adjustment, and I was able to get the wheel so I could drive with my hands in the 10 and 2 o'clock position. Had to grab the Odyssey wheel more toward the bottom even when fully extended. Has anyone else had this experience? Maybe I should try another one....
  • dbtdbt Posts: 298
    (4) There is a way to store the middle seat in the lazy susan compartment if you want to keep it in the van (or so I've heard). Check with your dealer to see how to do it.

    (6) As jayrider notes, a lot of people (myself included) have long-term crossbars from Thule or Yakima (I've had mine since 1989). The crossbars on the van then are unnecesary, so I'd prefer not having them at all. But, I know where you're coming from.

    On your Conclusion:
    The second row is an interesting design choice. For those families needing 3 across, the Sienna is the superior choice. However, imo, for those who would use the second row for 2, I prefer the business class feel of the Odyssey captain chairs.

    Btw, I have a Pilot, but looked at both of these extensively. As my kids get bigger, I may be moving up to one or the other.
  • dbtdbt Posts: 298
    Seat angle and seat height are also important in getting proper steering wheel position. In these vehicles, I tend to raise the seat a bit, and have the seatback fairly straight up. By the way, I'm also 6'0", but 34" inseam.

    Personally, given the wide range of your heights, I would recommend looking at vans with memory seat positions (Touring on the Ody, not sure on the Sienna).
  • olavanmanolavanman Posts: 12
    Hi Familyman!
    Amazing post! Great job on the breakdown!
    We are in the market right now comparing 09 Sienna LE 8 with VP3 and the 09 Odyssey EX-L with DVD. What would you recommend?
    Our main highlight with Sienna is the 2nd row center seat and its convenience.
    Have you used the Odyssey 2nd row center seat much? Is it useful?
    Can an adult sit there pretty comfortable?
  • olavanmanolavanman Posts: 12
    Anyone out there in Denver shopping for a Sienna or Odyssey?
    Sienna Model: LE 8 Seater with Value Package 3.
    Odyssey Model: EX-L or EX-L with RES or EX-L with RES and NAVI.

    Can you please post the prices you have obtained from the dealers?
    Anyone purchased any one of the above recently also please post the dealership and best price.
  • Hello Olavanman,
    Sorry about the delay of the reply...
    You know after around 3 weeks of driving the van I believe the Honda is the hands down winner in the driver-to-the-road feel category.

    Please remember though I am comparing a brand new Honda 2009 EX with a 2004 Toyota Sienna LE 8 seater. Things may have changed in the Toyota Sienna by this time but the body and interior looks the same...

    To further my opinion on between the vehicles:

    1) IMO the drive feel on the Sienna is good but Honda throttle response is outstanding compaired to the Sienna. Drive-by-wire as they market no hesitation when I step on the gas. Like I mentioned in my other post there is a unacceptable hesitation in the Sienna when you slow down for a right hand turn ( California stop ) and you step on the gas...nothing happens. Please do a test drive of the new Seinna and see if that is still an issue or if they also have their version of the Drive-By-wire...

    The bad side effect I noticed now is my gas consumption on the Honda... I drive too fast ...hahaha!

    2) The suspension is stiffer which I prefer on the Ody. I installed a UHAUL after market Class 3 hitch on the Ody and the bottom does not scrape driveway of yet...I don't purposely look for conflict!!!).

    IMO the 2004 Sienna suspension is dialled-in too soft so when you load it with Costco items like water and other heavy items the rear sags noticeably and when you make a turn ..' whoaaa... easy there Sienna get your [non-permissible content removed] back in line with the direction of the turn '. I installed $75 AirLift 1000 air bags on the rear springs so my Sienna behaves when fully laden.

    BTW: I only use the hitch for my Thule 4 bike carrier which I used prior on my Sienna. I don't plan to tow boats or anything past 4 bicycles.

    *** This is a big PLUS in comparing the 2 minivans

    The middle seat is larger and more functional on the Sienna for both adult and child use. Right now my second row middle seat is wrapped in a plastic and stored in my garage. I now use the van as a seven seater format and will only use the eight seat when grandma comes over to stay...

    What I would do to help people select the van for them if the van is meant as a *mass* people mover ( ie. full load)?

    (1) I would drive the new Toyota and check the issues of the lack of throttle response after slowing down for a stop and to initiate a right hand turn ( this is not a full stop). See if you're happy with the throttle response. Then put that as a plus...if you are Ok with it

    Fill the rear with weight that you would expect to have when you have 8 passengers and you just came from Costco and bought bulk items like water and see the sag at the rear. If you are OK with it the another Plus.. If not you can install $75 Airlift 1000's which isn't too hard to install.

    Now this is my opinion:
    ..If you are OK with the 2 points I mentioned above and your primary mission is to quickly convert form an 8 seater people mover to a covered cargo carrier without much fuss ...then go get the Toyota Seinna...

    Hope this post helps future van drivers...
  • I have driven a 2006 Odyssey EXL for approx. 3 1/2 years now (45,000 miles) and I am getting ready to purchase a new mini van.
    When I originally test drove the Sienna and the Odyssey I drove them back to back to compare the two vehicles. I liked them both. In fact at that time, I liked the feel of the Sienna slightly more.
    The main problem that I found with the Sienna at that time is that Toyota made it so difficult to purchase the vehicle with so many option packages.
    I am well above average intelligence with access to a ton of information.
    If I am lacking in anything it is patience with the way Toyota presented it's line-up back in 2006. I spent hours upon hours researching which options I wanted and when I finally found the said it was not available in my part of the country. I was not looking for anything elaborate or confusing. I knew what I wanted i.e., leather, sun roof etc.
    Finally I said F-- it. Enough is enough with this Toyota non-sense and I purchased the Odyssey. Really it was out of frustration more than anything else.
    Don't get me wrong, I loved the Odyssey also, it was just my initial impression of the Sienna that I liked better.
    With Honda, it is..this is what the EXL comes with...take or leave it. I like that because the EXL had everything I wanted and it really simplified the process.
    By the way, the Toyota dealership didn't help make it any easier.
    I purchased the Odyssey at the time and I must say, I LOVE IT !!
    The Odyssey EXL drives like a dream.
    There was only one thing that I did not like about the Odyssey (definitely not a deal breaker) and that was the center console between the driver and passenger seat. There is no storage in that section. It is just a folding tray and to me this is an issue. I like the Sienna center storage better.
    Again, not a deal breaker.
    I am now getting ready to purchase a new mini van and again, I test drove the Sienna and the Odyssey and the feel of the drive on the Odyssey is better (in my opinion) than the Sienna. I am not really crazy about the colors the Odyssey offers but not a huge issue for me. There is something about the fit and finish that I like about the Odyssey over the Sienna when I compared the two over the past few weeks.
    They are both very nice vehicles although I just love my Odyssey experience over the past 3 1/2 years. I have not had one problem.
    Toyota has made the option packages a little easier although it is still a little bit more of a pain in the butt to purchase than the Odyssey and definitely more difficult to comparison shop.

    I am going with a 2009 Odyssey EXL needless to say.

    I would recommend the Odyssey to anyone comparing the two vans.

    I do not think you can go wrong with either one although after 3 1/2 years with the Odyssey...I love it and am buying another.

    I hope this helps others.
  • yatesjoyatesjo Posts: 186
    I reality there are only a few Sienna option groups available in your area. While the Ody's 4 standard trim levels make things very simple, they are also rather limiting in a way the Toyota's options are not. Talking to dealers and looking at the Toyota website will make it clear what option groups are actually available.

    When I was shopping last year, I decided on what options were essentials, and what options were nice but unnecessary, then compared the Ody trim level to the Sienna trim/options groups to get the needed features and account the values of nice but unnecessary options. For me the Sienna MSRP was a better price point than the Ody by something around $1000, add to that the Honda dealers could hardly be bothered with negotiating the price advantage of the Toyota was multiple $1000s. Toyota dealers weren't any princes to work with, but at least they wanted to sell a van- unlike the Honda guys.

    That was fine with us, since the Toyota was more comfortable and the control locations were very intuitive for us. We found the Honda dash jumbled and poorly organized but having already driven a Honda for a few years it may be more natural to you.
  • speterson1speterson1 Posts: 228
    Two excellent reviews by familyman and skiiii664, thanks guys.

    I wanted to chime in with one comment regarding the center console - I understand perfectly skiiii664's comments about liking the Sienna's console better because it has more storage, but on the other hand, my wife and I like the console on the Odyssey better because it can fold down out of the way and you can sneak right through to the second row seating if you need to do something with the kids or whatever.

    So yes, Odyssey center console doesn't have as much storage, but because of this can serve as a quick pass through to the second row seating.

    I also totally agree with the comments about Toyota's oprions packages being a nightmare. Honda's setup doesn't allow as much picking and choosing but they have sensible packages and it makes getting what you're looking for about 100 times easier at the dealership.
  • olavanmanolavanman Posts: 12
    Hello Familyman!!
    You are awesome !!

    We are planning on test driving both the Odyssey and the Sienna this weekend and we will keep your two points in mind.

    We are getting a "Van" in the first place to be a good people mover with kids and in-laws and parents.

    Quick question for you - have you ever put someone in the Odyssey 2nd row middle seat? Is it even worth considering as a "seat" ?

    Thanks again for the amazing post.
  • olavanmanolavanman Posts: 12
    Hi Skiiiii664!!
    Amazing post again! You guys are awesome in writing out all the details and your thoughts and opinions!

    With a toddler and an infant, I would really like to pick the Ody, since it comes with 8 seats and the power tailgate( important).
    If i need the power tailgate in the Sienna, there is no choice but to go with the XLE 7 Seater.

    Like I mentioned in my other post, we are going to test drive both this weekend and find out.

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I know you didn't ask me, but I hope you won't mind me responding. I'm 6'5", 200lbs, 21 years old, and have sat in that middle position numerous times in my aunt's 2005 Odyssey. I wouldn't necessarily want to be there for hours on end, but to me, it was more comfortable than the middle position in a sedan, thanks to having plenty of hiproom compared with your average Accord. Perfectly fine for an hour-long drive, but maybe not for a six-hour drive, unless you're eleven years old. :) The seat itself is made well, with the same firm cusions that the captain's chairs have; it's not like sitting on a park bench or anything. The adjustable headrest is a nice touch.
  • olavanmanolavanman Posts: 12
    Hello Thegraduate!

    Absolutely, I do not mind at alll! :) :) you are awesome! Thanks a lot for jumping in!

    All this helps us all make a really well informed decision!

    This is what I like about this forum! People are honest and give great opinions!
    Cheers and have a great day!!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Glad to see you're still around, Michael.

    I guess I was asked for my VIN when I bought my 2007 Sienna, but not for a later purchase so that clarifies why. I stand corrected.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Excellent write-up, familyman, thanks for taking the time to do that.

    A couple of comments and counterpoints, though...

    Your 2004 LE had 16" wheels with tall sidewall tires, while the Ody EX has 17" rims with performance tires. That's a pretty significant upgrade, one which is available in the Sienna XLE. Also, the Ody LX has 16" tires, just like the Sienna. So in the same price range you get apples-to-apples. You simply upgraded and paid more.

    So a lot of that is just better tires. Not to mention brand new tires. And a brand new vehicle has brand new shocks, struts, etc., also.

    Tires are the biggest factor by far, though.

    The other thins is the 04 Sienna had the 3.3l engine, and the 07+ models got what I consider the most significant upgrade - the 3.5l engine. Not only does it supply a lot more horsepower, but also it does so with zero loss in fuel efficiency.

    So you can have your cake and eat it, too.

    Good job pointing out the pros and cons of each model, though, especially the trip computer vs. dual climate control trade-off.

    Enjoy your new Ody. :shades:
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