Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Honda Odyssey vs. Toyota Sienna



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think the "engine is heavy at the front" would apply more to FWD vs. AWD.

    Think about it. AWD basically adds a rear differential/driveshaft/axle/half shafts. All heavy stuff at the rear of the vehicle.

    A typical FWD vehicle's weight distribution is 60/40.

    For AWD, 55/45 is more the norm. So weight distribution is actually more even.

    I do not have specific numbers for the Sienna (I'll try a search in a minute), but I imagine the improvement would be similar.

    Having said that, the caveat is that an AWD Sienna comes with run-flat tires, which is probably the most common complaint among Sienna buyers. They're expensive to replace and don't last as long as the non-run flats. That driveshaft leaves no room for a spare tire, so no changing your mind. And you also cannot get the 8 passenger model with AWD, just the 7 passengers (2nd row captain's chairs), because of the shape of the floor pan.

    We have a Subaru for snow days, so I opted for FWD.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Wow, not bad.

    From a 2004 article from C&D, so keep in mind this was for the heavier 3MZ V6 engine, the source says it was 56.6% front, 43.4% rear: 3c0243381347e522db23b6b62.pdf

    AWD should be less nose-heavy than that.
  • saz_1saz_1 Posts: 30
    Sorry I wasnt more specific. I meant that I was comparing the snow performance of an Ody which is FWD vs an AWD Sienna. And because these vans have a lot of heft at the front anyway, is an AWD worth the extra cost. I've pretty much decided to go with the AWD Sienna because I live up a hill and they dont always do well with snow around here.
  • berriberri Posts: 7,624
    AWD tends to add weight, tire wear and complications, but it also gives better traction. I'm on a hill, but find FWD with good quality tires is fine. A lot of new vehicles now have OEM tires geared to fuel economy which tends to mean poorer bad weather traction. See if a tire dealer will trade them out, or at least give you a partial credit toward toward a set of Michelin Harmony or Goodyear Comfort Treads. I've found both of these tires work well in snow and rain without the hassle of snow tires and ride very smooth, but will probably cost you a mile or two in MPG. By the way, I've driven both of these vans and while they are different, they are both decent. Drive them and choose. If you really want AWD, you may be better off with a CUV like Highlander on a depreciation basis.
  • bobber1bobber1 Posts: 217
    I really think for most people a FWD vehicle with a good traction control and stability control system is all one needs. I live in the Midwest, am used to driving in a lot of snow and do not own an AWD vehicle. It's really amazing the icy hills I've climbed with both my Ford and my Honda.

    Maybe it's because I grew up driving 70's era RWD cars, but the new vehicles with computer controlled traction systems are amazing.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    On hills AWD will really shine.

    Think of it this way - going up an incline, weight shifts to the rear axle. FWD sends power only to the unweighted front axle, so all power, less weight and traction = tire spin.

    Traction control is not really that useful in the snow because as you begin to slip it applies brakes and actually retards your momentum.

    We have an uphill driveway and with a couple of inches of snow I pretty much have to turn the traction control off, otherwise it sort of bogs down and stalls half way up. My Sienna actually climbs better with it off, and some wheelspin. The traction/stability control is tuned safely, sure, but a bit too intrusively for my tastes.

    There are many other factors - tires being at the top of the list. Any FWD with a good set of Blizzaks would be more than enough. But with the all-season Dunlops my van came with, and a hyper-active traction/stability control system, I leave the van parked and take my AWD Subaru Forester.

    Have no doubt - I'm in the same region as you, we get that wet slush/snow/sleet mix, and the Subaru creams anything FWD, no contest, not even close. Remember that last big storm we had? A Corolla and a Mazda6 got stuck on my street and owners abandoned those cars. My Forester could not only get through, but also drive around those cars stuck in the middle of the road.

    I helped one of them dig out, but then they got stuck again, so they came back for the car the next day. That was a lot of snow so he really had no business at all being out there without AWD.

    Back to the Sienna - another important factor is the AWD Sienna is an inch higher than the FWD model, which already has more ground clearance than the Ody.

    I think you made the right choice if this is the vehicle you will use in winter.
  • bobber1bobber1 Posts: 217
    I'm not sure you really understand how a traction control system works. It alternates the spin of the wheel and stops the one that is spinning and spins the other one. I agree you may not get up a hill as fast, but you'll get there. Perhaps the Toyota system isn't tuned as well as the Hondas? :P . I've seen your writings long enough to know how you're respond to that one....

    I'll admit 4WD drives are a pet peeve for me. I don't think 75% of the people really need them. And I'll qualify that by saying I grew up on a farm driving plenty of 4WD vehicles.

    A Subaru or any other 4WD should cream an FWD, but I'd venture to say it's mostly in acceleration. You can't stop any quicker. A FWD will cream an AWD in mileage.

    I'm sure I'm not changing your mind and you won't change mine. For what it's worth I've never gotten stuck with any of my FWD and I drive a lot of snow and a lot of hills. We went skiing in Colorado last winter, with the FWD. As I said a good traction systems and chains if you need them will do the job 95% of the time and if conditions are bad enough the rest nobody should probably be on the road anyway. ;)
  • sunnetsunnet Posts: 1
    I've owned a 02 Odyssey, well maintained by the dealer, and now I find out it is not as reliable as I thought. The transmission crap out up around 100k other much earlier. A recall added a pump to keep the under powered transmission cool, still fails as you reach 100k. Class action has helped few, but Honda is refusing to cover the cost for many others, me being one of them. I would not recommend a Honda to anyone. Honda cars are becoming lemons and reputation is tarnished. Just Google Odyssey transmission problem.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It alternates the spin of the wheel and stops the one that is spinning and spins the other one

    I'm not sure if that's correct. If both front wheels are spinning faster than the rears, wouldn't the system apply brake pressure to both front wheels? :confuse:

    Perhaps the Toyota system isn't tuned as well as the Hondas?

    I've never sampled Honda's in snow, so I can't say.

    I do think Toyota's is far too intrusive when left in the On position. Some may see that as playing "safe", i.e. it will keep you from getting in trouble, but in certain situations where you want slip, you really have to turn the system off.

    I'm sure it's not truly off, by the way, probably just increasing the threshold where it would step in.

    If the Off button wasn't available I'd say Honda's system can't possibly be any worse.

    Subaru's is much better, allowing AWD to work first, and only interfering when truly necessary.

    My Miata's system is perhaps the best - I call it the throttle pedal. :shades:
  • saz_1saz_1 Posts: 30
    Thanks for the advice. We went ahead with the AWD Sienna. I actually preferred the look and feel of the Ody, but really wanted AWD as a safety feature.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Bummer they can't package Super Handling - All Wheel Drive in their minivan.

    Dodge also dropped the AWD option so Toyota is the only game in town, unless you want a Pilot or something like that.
  • toyojunktoyojunk Posts: 19
    I am not a typical Sienna owner because I admit that the Sienna is overpriced and not as satisfactory to own as an Odyssey or a Chrysler minivan.

    I have been badmouthed and my posts ridiculed because I am open minded and not a "one way street typical Sienna owner".

    The Sienna is a fine ( overpriced minivan ) if a person has never driven an Odyssey nor owned a Chrysler minivan.
  • toyojunktoyojunk Posts: 19
    Not true.

    My sister's 2001 Ody EX has 120,000 miles and has had NO transmission problems. The 01 Ody EX with 120,000 miles still drives and handles better than my overpriced 2006 Sienna LE that has only 31,011 miles on it and ALL Odyssey seats are more comfortable than the seats in my Toyota Junk..
  • hause7hause7 Posts: 153
    We owned a Chrysler van, it was garbage sorry no comparison to the Sienna or Odyssey. We have had 2 Sienna's and LOVE them because they are very well built, reliable, comfortable, and safe vans. get rid of your van so we don't have to hear you anymore. I highly doubt anyone would agree with you that the Chrysler Town&Country is better than a Sienna. :P
  • yeppersyeppers Posts: 3
    Wow, why do people get so loyal to any auto maker or particular make of vehicle? They are all pieces of junk that depreciate (garbage as some say). None of them are any better than any other one. And these pieces of junk depend on a great dealer to fix them and keep them working.

    Plastics, rubber and immitation chrome. Maybe some vinyl or leather to make it look better. Parts from all over the globe. Part manufacturer makes a bad part, part goes in your vehicle and you end up with a bad vehicle. Bad crimp in wire, bad wire, bad hose, bad anything and you have a bad vehicle.

    If they are going to seriously check welds then they need to x-ray them. So which one's x-ray their vehicle welds?

    Every vehicle has had it's good and bad points for decades. None are worth what we pay for them. None are better or worse than another.

    Does not matter if you own a Chrysler, GMC, Dodge, Chevrolet, Nissan, Kia, Toyota, Mercedes, BMW etc. Any of these can and do have a lot of problems.

    I have been there and seen it. Person with a Mercedes in the shop 5 times in two months, BMW's as well.

    No report you read is any more accurate than what you hear in a forum. Actually you see better information in a forum from owners. For anyone to ride in a vehicle and then rate it by what they think it should be rated is just another opinion not unlike what you will see on here or any other forum.

    I like to look into the forums and see what people are actually saying. Car Reports like edmunds, jd powers mean little to nothing. They are a dime a dozen and make money telling us what we should like and not like about a lot of stuff.

    Couldn't and employee of theirs even be one of the people on the forum rooting for or against a particular vehicle?

    Maybe a dealer or someone from the home office of the manufacturer? Anyone could be here.

    Buy from a good dealer, drive the vehicle and check it out thoroughly and get on with your life.

    I like to tell the salesman to fasten his seatbelt good because we are going for a real test drive. I go first then I let my wife go drive it. But I do check under the hood. Oil levels, xmission fluid, radiator level, coolant, tires, spare tire, jack to see if it is there, battery, have wife rev it up while I listen to and watch the engine, water levels, brake fluid and play with everything in it. Last vehicle I bought it took me two to three hours going over everything. I do not care if the salesman got bored or tired. I even checked the tire pressure. I also back it up.

    A few times I have had them put it on a rack so I could inspect under it. Do that and see what is already getting rust.

    Do not feel stupid asking them to show you how to get the spare tire out if you have to ever get it out. If they cannot get it out then you probably will not be able to when you need it.

    I have owned Chrysler's, Chevy's, GMC's, Ford's, Mercury's, Plymouth's, Dodge's. Toyota's, Buick's, Oldsmobile's and Nissan's wihout any major problems with any of them. Probably left a few out. I do not buy a Mercede's or BMW because they are just higher cost pieces of junk to me.

    According to a friend of mine he says he has had great luck with Jaguar's.

    Bottom line is the manufacturer's must be getting their money's worth since the advertising is working and making people think one is better than the other. And that sure does help the vehicle magazine sales.
  • bobber1bobber1 Posts: 217
    Great advice. One of the better post here in a long time! :)

    I've owned mostly domestics, but also now a Honda.

    Routine maintenance has as much to do with reliability as anything.

    There have been times the imports have simply had more usable features which is the reason they attracted me. When I got my Honda van, Chrysler didn't have roll down windows, stability control, comfortable seats. Those are the reasons I went the Honda way.

    But you hit the nail on the head!
  • jfcarjfcar Posts: 10
    yeppers statement that "None are better or worse than another" is what is junk. Seriously, this flies in the face of reality. There are differences in quality and value in everything humans make. Pretending to be some wise man that has transcended this is and constructed a grand theory of automobile equivalency is just ridiculous.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You dodged the real question, though. Why did you post about how much you liked the Sienna in 2006, and complain about a Honda dealer that was obnoxious enough to command a $500 deposit for you to even test drive one?

    Plus you gushed about how the Sienna had the best instrument panel and the Ody had a cheap interior, and you hated the interior color of the Ody.

    You forgot about all that, just because a Toyota dealer low-balled you on a wholesale trade-in value? :confuse:

    You're bad-mouthing the Sienna now, but it doesn't match up with the things you said in 2006. Why?

    Are you returning to that same dealership now to shop for an Ody? Why did you forgive that Honda dealer, but not the Toyota dealer that overcharged you then low-balled you on the trade? You agreed to the price paid on your Sienna, it was your money, back then you obviously didn't think it was overpriced else you would not have bought it. You contradict yourself.

    I hope that Honda dealer is under new ownership, or you found another one.

    You paid too much, that's something we all agree on. Even recently you were shopping for an XLE and while your price was over $31k others reported paying $29k and change for the same model.

    I suggest using a broker to help you buy your next van. For some people not comfortable with negitiations, that's simply the best way to go. You would several a couple of grand or so, and them maybe the trade-in values won't seem so bad.

    Best of luck.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    why do people get so loyal to any auto maker or particular make of vehicle?

    For the record, I don't - my other cars are a Subaru and a Mazda. This is actually my first Toyota of any kind, new or used.

    I am not loyal to Toyota, I chose the van that best met my needs. The big thing for me was the adult-sized 8 seat, though I'll say that horsepower was a close 2nd. Reliability records didn't hurt, either.

    If anyone thinks I'm pro-Toyota, do a search for my name on the RAV4 threads, Forester vs. RAV4. I'm actually a harsh critic. But the things they got wrong on the RAV4 (wrong-way swing door, odd interior design, cheap materials, fake metal trim) simply do not apply to the Sienna (lift gate, conventional interior, thicker carpets, padded headliners, more padded materials, and yes is has fake metal trim but at least it's clearcoated on the Sienna).

    Your post is interesting, and I agree with some of it, but not the bad this, bad that part. The Sienna has been consistently reliable, always above average in CR. No van is perfect, but you can improve your odds if you pick the right one.

    get on with your life

    But then we'd have nothing to talk about here. :D

    More to the point, I think which van is best for a person depends upon their priorities. You'll note a Honda owner jumped in here and bragged that their van was clearly the best "in every way", I believe were the words used.

    That bugged me. I'll admit it. It's just very ... biased? Someone drank the Kool Aid at their last oil change.

    The same person said the Ody was much quicker, and when I asked for a source they danced around and re-phrased.

    I guess the best I can say is that people like their Ody (or Sienna for that matter) enough to say outlandish things like that.

    And to try to be neutral, if an audiophile wants to buy a van and cares most about the stereo/nav system, I'd actually recommend the Grand Caravan.


    Why not? Its Infinity head unit is miles above what Honda and Toyota have to offer. The hard drive based navigation is quicker than DVD-based systems, and can store 20 Gigabytes of your music, not to mention not only play satellite radio but also satTV on not one but two screens! The backup camera has trajectory lines missing on the Ody and Sienna, too.

    Don't agree? I bet 5 years from now both Honda and Toyota offer those upgrades.

    But...priorities. I'm not an audiophile, and don't really care to store music in my car, nor do I want my kids watching Nickelodeon all the time, movies for trips only are fine with me. I really wanted to seat 3 in the middle row, which Dodge cannot do, and the interior was just...let's just say that subjectively it didn't appeal to me and leave it at that.

    As for the backup cam, I didn't get Navi anyway. I did add a portable GPS and a fish-eye lens on the back window that works pretty well, though.

    When a valid criticism of the Sienna pops up (hyper-active traction control, for instance), I'll be the first to admit it. Heck, I pointed it out! But I'll also be the first to say at least it has an Off button.

    Some Honda guys, not all, not even most, but some will defend the Honda even when they know they are wrong.

    Example: back when the IIHS conducted bumper basher tests, the original CR-V fared poorly and the Forester that competed with it did well, in terms of damage suffered.

    The resident Honda guru in that thread had the audacity to call the Subaru bumpers "Cheap", trying to spin the bad result in to an actual advantage! :D

    How absurd is that?

    So yes, I'm a bit skeptical when I hear something that sounds biased to me, and I will speak up about it.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    "The resident Honda guru in that thread had the audacity to call the Subaru bumpers "Cheap", trying to spin the bad result in to an actual advantage!"

    Ah, the good old days. That was a classic. :-)
  • I was offered $500-$1,000 below invoice + TTL on a new 2009 Odyssey EX-L; solid deal? I wanted to get the $1,250 factory to dealer rebate but unsure if they'd go lower. I might be able to do better with another dealer in the $30K range and then factor in the rebate and a possible trade-in?

    Still want to drive a Sienna and Sedona again. I like the looks of the Sienna better but the price and package of the Sedona is tough to pass up. $2,000 cash back makes it harder and I just heard from a local dealer they are selling at just above invoice.

    So what do all you experts think? Honda is superior so pay more now to last longer (I take care of my cars and expect them to last; current car is 14 years old)? Save thousands and get the Kia now? Or even wait for hopefully better rebates from all manufacturers and try again during December when salesman are more desperate?
  • You wait much past this month and your options for 2009 models will be severely limited. Make a deal soon if you want an 09.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    $1000 below invoice would be fair IMHO. That would be like them getting $250 over their invoice, plus they keep the holdback. That's a fair margin for a dealership. They have to pay the bills and feed their kids, too.

    Check in the Ody Prices Paid thread, though, to see what others are getting.

    I test drove a Sedona when I was shopping. I found the base models cost as little as $19k, and at that price level, they owe no apologies.

    As you step up into the mid-to-high $20s, though, some materials start to feel a bit sub-par compared to Honda and Toyota. So oddly enough I sort of felt like the cheaper models were a better value.

    Also, the Kia's price goes up because options are a-la-carte. For example, the EX is the top model but it's not very well equipped. The EX only comes with a single CD player, no steering wheel audio controls, zero power sliding doors, and no power liftgate. All those things are options packages.

    So a Sedona EX is missing some equipment that a Sienna LE comes with standard (6 CD), never mind the XLE (power sliders, power liftgate). The Ody EX is also much better equipped (6CD, power sliders).

    So Kia goes a-la-carte, if you will. Make sure you're pricing an EX with the power package and the luxury package and the entertainment package. Believe it or not you have to buy all 3 just to get a 6CD changer, and that's $5100 in options. You do get a DVD player as a bonus, but I don't think they offer Navi.

    Price it with those desirable options and the value erodes a bit, to me at least.

    Please note I'm using a buyer's guide from 2008 so the pricing and packages may have changed slightly, but I doubt it.

    In the Problems threads you'll see the Ody has pretty much sorted out the Transmission woes after 2004, the Sienna had sludge issues two generations of engines ago (2003 and prior), but Kia still has issues with suspension vibrations and premature tire wear.

    I'll say it again, though, if you buy a base model LX for under $20 grand, that's a screaming bargain, and a lot of van for the money.

    Pay more and get the Ody you want, you'll be happier in the long run.
  • Thanks for the info. I was including the options on the Sedona EX but I only see the luxury and ent. package. Where is the power package on Edmunds? With your prices it must be about $2K but the only other major option I see is the NAV option which I don't want anyway.

    With the relatively slim difference in price between an Odyssey EX-L and a Sedona EX with the options you listed, sounds like the Honda would be the better long term value, right?

    Is it true that shopping at the end of the year (from mid-Dec. on) is better in terms of less customers and better ability to get price breaks from salesmen needing to hit end of month and end of year quotas?

    And even though I'm dealing online with the dealers' internet staff, when I've gone into the dealers they still pass me to a salesman. So what's the point of doing all the advance legwork (other then they know that we know what's going on) if I'm still gonna get treated as if I walked in off the street?

    If I want to do a trade-in there to save time, should I wait until a firm price has been set for the new car? What if they balk at that point? I can't sign something first if it says no trade-in and then do a trade in, but can't they change their mind on price after I mention a trade?

    When do I mention the holdback (I don't want it but I want them to know that I'm aware of it) and the current $1,250 factory rebate?

    Finally, what's the deal with the KBB numbers they pull up to justify their trade in rate? Is that what dealers are suggesting to pay and not what dealers are actually paying?
  • As a follow up tp my previous post, the dealer is now asking if I would buy the car for $500 back of invoice? I am unfamiliar with this expression. Is it the same as $500 below invoice or is it something else like after taxes?

    And can I still negotiate on the $1,250 factory to dealer incentive after we have agreed on a price or does the price we agree on include all rebates, incentives, etc.?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I was using a guide for 2008 models, so maybe they shuffled the packages or made the power package standard on the EX (which I think should be).

    Just make sure your van has power doors. I find them extremely useful, especially when the kids fall asleep and I have to carry them to bed. I would even suggest a power hatch, which I did not get. :(

    That means Sienna XLE or Ody Touring, per the 2008 guide. Again the options may have been shuffled around a bit, so check in the brochures or on Edmunds.

    sounds like the Honda would be the better long term value, right?

    IMHO, yes.

    Not sure about the end-of-the-month or end-of-year pricing. I believe Honda comes out with the 2010s fairly late in the year, so it may not be worth waiting.

    even though I'm dealing online with the dealers' internet staff, when I've gone into the dealers they still pass me to a salesman

    I suggest you ask for an out-the-door price, with taxes, fees, and everything, in the e-quote. Tell them you want the exact amount. I did that and the price matched down the to penny. :shades:

    If I want to do a trade-in there to save time, should I wait until a firm price has been set for the new car?

    Yes, definitely. I'd even go one step further and get a trade-in quote from CarMax on your other car, ask them to at least match that.

    The holdback/rebate should be incorporated in their e-price. Ask them to go ahead and do that.

    Dealers don't use the KBB values. They actually tend to use the NADA black book, and recent auction prices (just in case they can't re-sell it off their lot). KBB numbers are artificially high. Get a CarMax appraisal because that is a real-world number that they put real money behind.

    You can go to the Real-World Trade-in Values thread here on Edmunds - ask "volvomax" to appraise your trade. They will only offer wholesale value on it so expect a low-ball offer. You'll get a little more from CarMax, a lot more selling it yourself.

    What are you trading?

    Good luck with the shopping.
  • Hello again and thanks to everyone for all of your sound advice. I am still negotiating with dealers on the purchase of a 2009 Odyssey EX-L and am at about $29K + TTL. Some have run out but others have them and I figure with the 2010s arriving now is a decent time to buy. Was worried since the rebates ended yesterday but it looks like Honda continued the $1,250 incentive and also added a 2.9% finance option. I thought about getting the EX-L with the DVD but the price is a lot higher and from what I see in stores an aftermarket system can be bought for much less. My concern is the warranty would be less, the chance they might mess up the electronics with the wiring and that it would not look as good. But there are more options that way rather than the 1 DVD fits all factory choice. Any opinions?

    I am trading in my 1995 Ford Explorer XLT. It has 150,000 miles and in good condition. The last dealer ran the numbers on KBB and said they could offer $2,000 or so which is better than I thought. The other sites appraised it at $800. I know I'd get less at a dealer but that may be my only option. Any idea why the dealer would access KBB to give me a quote if KBB is not what dealers rely upon?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Ask if you can get both the incentive and the low rate. Some times you get one or the other, not both.

    OE DVD players are overpriced IMHO. Think about it - you get a fairly small screen for a very large price and they're not even HD or BluRay. They are a huge cash cow for manufacturers.

    I went aftermarket - got a 12" screen installed for $900, and it came with 2 wireless headsets. Smaller screens were in the $600 range.

    As for the warranty, you could buy a brand new one 3 times over and still spend the same amount, so I would not worry too much about that.

    The Sienna is pre-wired for power even if you do not get the factory DVD. I talked to the installer and he said it was easy, at least on models without a moonroof.

    The dealer offered you more than your Explorer was worth to seal the deal, I'd jump at the offer.

    Too bad you missed CARS, that could have been a $4500 clunker trade, I believe.

    I'd say go look at a Sienna XLE, for about the same $29k price you'd get a free power lift gate, but I doubt the Toyota dealer will match the $2000 trade offer on your Explorer, so go with the good deal on that Ody.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
Sign In or Register to comment.