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Honda Odyssey vs. Toyota Sienna



  • yatesjoyatesjo Posts: 186
    Tough call with the Odyssey tranny troubles versus a newer, but off rental Sienna. There is always the third option: none of the above and keep looking.

    If you really don't want to take option 3, Then I say go with the Ody. It is better equipped, you know and (presumably) trust the previous owner and the price is lower.

    I never would go near a rental vehicle. Everyone I've know who thought they were getting a deal buying a car off the rental lot ended up paying through the nose for repairs.
  • We are on our third rental/fleet vehicle and haven't had any problems yet (although we've only had the third vehicle for 3 days so far!).

    We purchased an 03 Mitsubishi Galant from Enterprise in 2004 w/ 30K on it and it worked great... no major repairs at all. We had it until 12/07 when I was the center vehicle in a 5-car pileup on the highway... which I walked away from!

    Two weeks later we purchased a 10mo 2007 VW Jetta that had been part of a fleet program. We have yet to do anything w/ it other than change the oil and purchase a new set of tires (just last month). The car had 11K on it when we bought it, I have a 50mile commute each way round trip and it has been an excellent car.

    On Monday we picked up a certified used 2008 Sienna LE from a Toyota dealership. We are really happy w/ it so far but it's only been 3 days! :)

    Interestingly, every Sienna on their lot was classified as a former rental car according to their CarFax reports.

    I definitely wouldn't dismiss a former rental car when purchasing a used vehicle!
  • kcdude1kcdude1 Posts: 5
    Thank you all for the advice. My neighbour not being a good driver had few scratches one dent on the left passenger door and few inches crack in the front bumper. The body shop gave a quote of $3700 to fix it out of which parts was $700 and rest all was labor and taxes. The mechanic checked it out and said everything was fine with it.I am ok with few scratches and dents and probably that is the reason my neighbor is giving it to us at that price since 06 odyssey EX-L's on craigslist in kansas city area are going around for $20,000 with some of them having less miles.As far as rental cars go I had bought a five year old toyota corolla which was a leased/rental vehicle from a dealer and never had a problem after having owned it for over 6 years now. My wife had got a mazda protege from carmax with around 15,000miles on it way back in 1999 and she never had any problems on it. So it just depends on the car you get I believe and normally you will not have problems with honda,toyota's,nissan or mazda.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You can add Subaru to that list, mine gave me 9 trouble-free years, and still sold for 40% of what I paid for it...nine years later!

    If the neighbor banged up that Ody and didn't bother to fix it, that may raise a bit of concern. Then again the price is good and at least you know the history. If you're OK with the cosmetic damage, it could be seen as a bargain. If you have to fix it, not so much...

    Good luck either way. Let us know what you decide.
  • toyojunktoyojunk Posts: 19
    # 1. A Sienna LE is halfway between an Odyssey LX and EX in desired features. Power sliding doors on both sides and a power liftgate are "nice to have" but the Sienna LE has the right side power sliding door which is the one most often used.

    # 2. To get comparable features, compare an Odyssey EX-L to a Sienna XLE. To get the comparable features, forget a Sienna LE because the Sienna XLE has to have the optional leather and sunroof package to be comparable to an Odyssey EX-L.

    # 3. IF you buy a used vehicle with scratches and dents, you won't have to worry about them in the future.

    # 4. Depends on your needs: The Sienna LE has THE most space behind the 3rd row seat if you need to take a lot of luggage on trips BUT the Odyssey has the MOST comfortable seats for all passengers with separately controlled temperature for the driver and front passenger.

    # 5. Most people do NOT have problems after buying a former rental or fleet vehicle.
  • kcdude1kcdude1 Posts: 5
    We have decided to go with the 2006 Odyssey EX-L. We will have to wait on my neighbor to buy their new Highlander before we can get their van. Thanks again to all of you for your knowledgable advice.

  • delthekingdeltheking Posts: 1,152
    Sienna is much better than the Odyssey in MHO.It is quieter and has a comfy ride.Odyssey has good handling but has a lot of road noise that can get tiring.
    Also 60k miles odyssey for 14 k which needs work done..Seriously,avoid it.A used 2 year newer Sienna with 25k less miles is definitely better.You can negotiate with the dealer for 1k or1.5k less
    And it still has powertrain warr..A rental car is well maintained by the rental agency.Most used cars on dealers lots nowadays are ex-rentals.Dont worry too much about it being a rental..
    So my advice--Go with Sienna ..Just MHO.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's a bit tough to get the exact equipment from one van to the other, but I found a few rough equivalents when I was shopping:

    Ody LX ~= Sienna CE pkg 2
    Ody EX ~= Sienna LE pkg 3 (this is what I got)
    EX-L ~= XLE pkg 6
    EX-L-RES ~= XLE pkg 7
    EX-L-RES-NAV ~= XLE pkg 8

    Toyota shuffles the packages each year, so it's hard to get an exact match, but you can come close.

    A lot of folks assume an Ody LX = Sienna LE, but that's not the case at all. The LX is the base Ody, and the LE is the mid-line Sienna, so it comes with more equipment (6CD changer, steering wheel audio controls, puddle lamps, power 3rd row windows, roof rack cross bars, lumbar, fold flat passenger seat, heated mirrors, etc.).

    Not to mention, I'm not even sure that Toyota builds a Sienna LE without at least package 1, and that would add one power sliding door, a trip computer (only on the Ody Touring), and a universal garage door opener. So in reality the LE pkg 1 is about half way between the Ody LX and EX, probably closer to the latter.

    This was true in 2007, at least, though of course Honda and Toyota change content slightly (adding and removing stuff, by the way) each year.

    We should have a cost-cutting police thread. For 2008 Toyota deleted daytime running lights from some models, though all you have to do is insert a fuse. The Tow Prep package (a pair of oil cooler) also became an option, rather than standard. They did add Bluetooth, but IMHO they cost-cut more than they added.
  • joyrider2joyrider2 Posts: 1
    Being owners of both Honda and Toyota vehicles, you would be a lot happier with the Sienna. Toyota parts are more durable and the ride is much quieter.

    I would not buy another Honda. Why do you think your neighbour is buying the Highlander?
  • phil78phil78 Posts: 4
    Hi all,

    I'm new to the group and have a few questions. My wife and I are looking for a minivan and thought we had settled on the Odyssey. However, my wife is very tall and can't get comfortable in the Odyssey; it has a "hump" where her left foot needs to rest, and the edge of this hump is not wide enough to properly support her foot. She tried adjusting the 8 way driver's seat, steering wheel, etc, and still could never get comfortable. Someone suggested putting an angled block of wood in this area and velcroing it to the floor (apparently gluing or nailing it in might void the warantee). My concern is that this may possibly slip or rotate and compromise safety.

    By contrast, my wife was easily able to get comfortable in the Sienna, but I am concerned over both its poor rear crash test ratings and its 4 star driver protection rating (whereas all other new vans I have read about had a 5 star rating here).

    Any thoughts?


  • hause7hause7 Posts: 153
    I don't know why it got a 4-star rating the IIHS gave it a good rating, which is the highest they give for both front and side. It did really well in both impacts. We were rear-ended in our previous 04 Sienna and walked away, they only test the actual seat and headrest. Starting with the 2009 Sienna Toyota put in a new headrest design which I think are the active kind so it is just as safe as an Odyssey.

    I would go with what makes you and your wife more comfortable. :D
  • bobber1bobber1 Posts: 217
    Buy the Toyota or you're going to hear about it for 20 years. :P

    Seriously it's a good van. I love my Honda, but there is nothing wrong at all with Toyota. Their safety record is nearly equal.
  • dbtdbt Posts: 298
    I have a similar problem with the Odyssey (I'm tall also), also on the passenger side. The "dead pedal" that's not a dead pedal is something that should be changed, imo. I instead have a Pilot, and find it more comfortable than the Odyssey.

    The rear crash test depends substantially on headrest design. To score well, many have adopted headrests that tilt forward substantially (see the new Outback / Legacy, for example). Many find these a bit uncomfortable, and some end up turning the headrest around, defeating the design. The Sienna headrest design is a bit old, and should be updated with the redesign (due early 2010). But, rear whiplash, while more common than other injuries, is also a much less significant risk than damage from front or side impact. One site I like is, who takes the different safety ratings and combines them into one statistic (driver fatality risk). The Sienna scores well (63, median of 100, lower is better; this is best 10%), but Odyssey is a little better (53, best 1%).

    So, I'd say they're pretty close safety wise, and would go more for comfort.
  • berriberri Posts: 7,761
    I'd say this is an easy deccision. They are both pretty close, but have a few driving differences. Test drive and pick whichever you like driving and riding in better.
  • An important factor in any decision to buy is the willingness of the automaker to back their product and on this point Honda is the clear loser. We have a 2001 Odyssey with just over 95k miles and we just installed our 4th transmission!!! I have owned Honda's exclusively since 1979 and all other vechicles were seems Honda didn't think through the engineering issues related to producing a large minivan very well and have sufferred a tremendous loss of reputation as a result. Honda settled a class-action litigation against them years ago and expect another one soon...all related to this poorly-designed, poorly-made transmission. Try googling "honda odyssey transmission problems" and see what turns up.

    Due probably to a sour economy and mounting losses related to the Odyssey, Honda now refuses to stand behind their product. You can only assume their are trying to stop the bleeding. Their customer service people are about as rude, harsh and disrespectful as any group I've ever encountered...likely because of the constant pressure of dealing with hacked-off Odyssey customers.

    I can only give one piece of advice: Do not buy an Odyssey. Run, don't walk, from the dealership. Do not buy a Honda of any will be sorry. Believe me, you will be sorry. It may not be immediately, but you will be sorry. Honda has gone the way of GM - fat, complacent and now flipping the middle finger to the people that made them what they are.

    There are some good new crossovers that do what the minivan some research and purchase one.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Also beware of "trolls," people who swoop in, make a few very opinionated posts (in this case, the poster has only made one post) and never come back. I'd buy whichever you and yours are more comfortable driving.
  • andy603andy603 Posts: 54
    Hi all, Hoping to provide some of my personal experiences here with Sienna (we had 2 of them 05 and 07) and why we're going for an Odyssey this time around: (reason's are in order of most agitating to least)

    1) Navigation- on ALL Siennas you can't operate the nav while moving (much to our surprise all 4 of the Toyota dealers we spoke to 'didn't realize that'. I'm sure someone else has posted this here, but I'm just conveying my personal experience. So long as I or my wife sitting in the PASSENGER seat can't enter a destination while moving, its a dead deal. Our finding are that only Acura and Honda allow that. Ya'd think if safety was that much of an issue that they'd put a sensor in the passenger seat to allow use of the nav while driving IF someone was sitting there. Secondarily, many times said, the nav controls S**K vs Honda/Acura.

    2) DVD controls. Even in the 2010 Sienna the ONLY way you can put a DVD in is REACH BACK and bend like a Circque du Soleil performer. Ody- right in front of you in the front. And Toyota wants to talk safetly!? Up to 2009 Sienna the remote control for DVD required us to REACH back again to control the DVD vs in Ody just hold the control and point anywhere in car. HOW CRAZY is that! 'nuff said

    3) Lastly, run-flats, I'm sure many times mentioned here: BOTH of our Siennas had run flats and got about 12-15k miles per tire. That is INSANE.

    4) 2010 Sienna, NO apparent solutions to ANY of our top 3 issues.

    Just my personal experiences. You decide. Don't hesitate to comment and I'll provide responses. thx!
  • We solved all the problems that you outlined by opting for a Sienna w/o the nav or DVD system and got regular tires instead of the run flats.

    We have a dual screen DVD system that works great and this way each child (we only have two) has their own screen. It also allows one or both of them to use them w/ headphones. It has a remote control, but there are also controls on the "main" screen of the player, and dd can handle them just fine.

    Our nav system is one we can move from car to car and doesn't require the car to be still before reprogramming.

    FWIW, we make our decisions on which vehicle to buy based on how reliable the engine is, the safety features and how it drives. The "extras" are just icing on the cake....and obviously can be obtained elsewhere!
  • andy603andy603 Posts: 54
    Great ideas that people should be aware of to make their decisions. From my research, Honda has as good safety& realiability record as Sienna. The reason I like the factory installed Nav and DVD is for convenience/look but obviously thats a personal decision. I suspect your DVD has to be loaded from the back seats too? To me, thats a safety concern. Also, the build in Nav has a rearview cam, not sure if you can do that with yours. At the end of the day maybe I'm just burned out on Sienna and frustrated that for 7 years now they have done a single thing to fix the problems I've mentioned. I must say however, mechanically I've had ZERO problems in nearly 7 years.
  • Our DVD player attaches to the backs of the front row headrests (very securely...I'm a geek about safety) and one of the screens pops forward to load/unload the DVDs. I was able to take care of it from the passenger seat in our Jetta ... not sure if I could in the Sienna but that isn't important since dd can swap them out herself now.

    Another upside to not having the player installed is that we only put it in the car when we are planning trips 1hr or longer.... so the kids can't ask to watch it when we are just running around locally!

    No we can't do the rearview cam unless we do something aftermarket...but we weren't all that interested in it would of have been nice but it wasn't all that important of a feature. I was more interested in the side airbags and how many upper tether anchors were available (for car seats). Oh and I'm loving the full "eighth" seat too!
  • ivkivk Posts: 1
    Same story here. Check Wikipedia article about Honda Odyssey and you will find a section about the transmission problems. When your car decides to go from overdrive to the second gear at 60 mph this is like slamming your brakes (luckily no one got hurt in our case). Honda would not acknowledge the problem but if you are lucky you will get some "good will" assistance to replace your broken transmission with a renewed (but still defective!) one.
    I will stay away from Honda for now.
  • andy603andy603 Posts: 54
    Sorry but after reading this post I had to comment. This poster clearly has some deeply rooted emotional issues and is using this forum for catharsis. NEVER by ANY Honda? Have you looked at the overall sat rating across Consumer Reports, Edmunds, etc. The resale values, the NUMBER of CARs they sell in the USA? 'nuff said. Do your research, test drive your car and don't let this nut sway you either toward or away from Honda. The jury should simply disregard the ludicrous rant.
  • phil78phil78 Posts: 4
    Thanks to all for their input!
  • cracoviancracovian Posts: 337
    "If Lexus had a van it'd be a Sienna"

    However... my 2008's engine sounds like a tractor, especially for the first 1-2 minutes, then it smoothes out.

    The highway noise (or is it the OEM tires?) is high. Will it get better when I get nice Michelins eventually?

    Finally, the bumps and road imperfections are very pronounced. I can compare it to my sister's old Highlander which rides as smooth as butter... What gives?

    I've had it since new, it's great for our family but it's imperfect and not what you'd expect from a "Lexus". Again, is this normal or should I be concerned with mine?
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Simple solution: go test drive another one. Even a pre-owned one. Should give you insight into how similar yours is to others'.
  • richardnvarichardnva Richmond, VirginiaPosts: 79
    FWIW - The Odyssey run flats (Michelin PAX) only get about 12k miles before needing replacement. At $300 per tire, it's very expensive and due to the built in tire pressure monitors its very expensive to "de PAX" the van and get a different type of tire. If you switch to an Odyssey be careful about run flats. That's the main reason I'm selling mine. I didn't realize the Toyota run flats had the same problem. I guess you have to use a really soft rubber compound to soften the ride from the run flat donut device within the tire.

    I agree that the lock out feature on the NAV is a real annoyance, but is good for safety reasons. I had an Acura with NAV and it can be a real distraction when driving. I see both sides, and agree that there should be a sensor in the passenger seat to override the lockout.
  • richardnvarichardnva Richmond, VirginiaPosts: 79
    Can you get an Odyssey or Sienna with the Navagation package without the DVD/Entertainment package?

    I haven't been to a dealership yet, and cannot determine by the option packages online. It looks like you can get DVD without NAV, but not the other way around. Is it true that once you upgrade to NAV you have to get the DVD entertainment system?

    We don't go on long road trips and our typical daily commute is usually only 10-12 minutes to wherever we want to go so I don't really want to introduce the DVD factor every time we get in the car. Our current 05 Odyssey doesn't have either and I'd really like to get NAV on our new van.

    Any tips here?
  • andy603andy603 Posts: 54
    the fact that you have to load/unload DVDs BEHIND YOU in the Sienna totally negates the alleged safety of the locked-out NAV as well. I can't believe that the new 2010 Sienna's still have the EXACT same NAV and same DVD layout as my 2006. Why they did this I will never know, but anyone considering either a Sienna or Ody needs to actually try to USE the Nav (put in an address, etc) AND try to fidget with the DVD. If you chose Sienna over Ody after you do that, I'd sure like to understand why.
  • speterson1speterson1 Posts: 228
    The first thing that popped into my mind when I read your post was can you find an aftermarket NAV device you'd be happy with? They're getting cheaper all the time and then you could really save some bucks by just getting an EX or EX-L.
  • berriberri Posts: 7,761
    I just saw garmin portable NAV at around $200 plus free updates, why pay exhorbitant in dash prices and then get gouged on updates down the road as well? Same goes for portable DVD players.
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