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Honda Odyssey vs. Toyota Sienna



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's definitely smaller than the current 20" seat, but it still looks bigger than the Ody's seat. Good point.

    The SE gets all that stuff, sounds to me like that model is really the one that will chase Ody cross-shoppers.

    They'll have 4 other models for traditional Toyota buyers - base, LE, XLE, and Limited, and none of those get the lowered suspension.

    5 models and 2 engines and FWD/AWD and 7/8 seats. Look for another long, long list of models! :sick:

    I doubt we'll see prices until early next year. It's supposed to arrive in Feb, I think, so we should see pricing announced maybe in Jan.
  • locomolocomo Posts: 29
    I'm looking at both of these vehicles.
    I do like the Honda's drive-ability better, but the Toyota's 8 seats seems like it has more options. (I have 3 kids under 3)

    The Toyota comes with EVP #2 (power doors) windshild wiper de-icer, towing prep and mats.
    The Honda comes with that dealer installed crap that Honda is famous for, but does have the rear DVD and power doors standard.
    The thing is, Honda will give me more for my trade in and so I can get it for $670 more. The wife WANTS rear entertainment. (Would have to be after market on the Toyo)

    Honda will do 0% interest for 2 years as opposed to 3 years for Toyota.
    Which to choose ?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's a fairly even deal, because I went shopping for DVD players and an OE-sized screen was right around $600 installed.

    I ended up getting a 12" screen for $900, and the kids love it. Your kids are close enough in age that they'll probably even watch the same shows.

    Flip a coin. Better yet, have the family vote. The van the kids crawl towards first wins. :shades:
  • doggrandmadoggrandma IowaPosts: 144
    May I ask why you prefer the higher ground clearance? Also, in what respect is the Sienna better in passenger comfort?

    I'm still dithering about what vehicle to buy. By the time I make up my mind, I probably will be too old to drive. ;)
  • doggrandmadoggrandma IowaPosts: 144
    FWIW, I know of many people who prefer to install an aftermarket entertainment system, because they feel they get better quality equipment at a cheaper price than what the car mfgs. charge for theirs. I haven't actually looked into this myself, though.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My guess is for driving around in winter climates.

    DC is forecast to get its first snow tomorrow, early for us. Should only be 2-3" though.
  • yatesjoyatesjo Posts: 186
    The Ody ground clearance is low... sports car low... low as my Mazda Miata low. The Sienna has a ground clearance like a normal sedan- a couple inches over the Ody. I don't want to worry about scraping the bottom of my van when I drive over poorly maintained Forest Service roads to visit family or go camping.

    By better passenger comfort I was referring to the Sienna's quieter and smoother ride compared to the Odyssey. If they go for a more sporting and connected driving experience for the driver, the passengers will likely pay for the compromise.
  • i like it for the simple fact that when i pull into a parking space i have much less of a chance of hitting the curbing thus scratching or breaking the front air dam....also think of all the debris in the road you see on a weekly basis and the chance of hitting it with less ground clearance.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    For speed bumps, too.

    My 2008 Miata is actually OK, but my 1993 Miata used to scrape bottom all the time.

    Of course Miata owners complain that the new suspension is too high, so you'll never make everyone happy.
  • doggrandmadoggrandma IowaPosts: 144
    Thanks for the info, and thanks to the others who replied to my message, too.
    I had not thought of some of these things. I was thinking in terms of low ground clearance being helpful in getting one of my dogs into the van. She has weak back legs.

    Oh well, as they say, there are no solutions; only trade-offs.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    A while ago we had to build a ramps for our little Terrier to get around, even in place of stairs. I sympathize.
  • Has anyone seen any really good spy shots of the 2011 Odyssey?? I just saw the 2011 Sienna at the LA Auto Show and I really like the looks of it (so much better than the current design). It is going to be avaliable in February at the dealers I believe! I also would like to see the 2011 Quest, but I know usually the Quest doesn't come close to the reliability of the Odyssey or Sienna; at least in the past it didn't.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    We didn't see spy shots of the Sienna at all, in fact we saw little to nothing until the LA Auto Show preview.

    Honda is even more secretive. I bet their test mules have the current body on the new platform, so don't hold your breath.
  • bobber1bobber1 Posts: 217
    I think the whole ground clearance debate is silly. You're not talking much difference between the two at all.

    We've had our Odyssey for 3 years and it's never ever been an issue. I drive highway, town and gravel roads. We drive in snow all the time and have never gotten stuck or hung up on anything.

    I think some people are grasping straws trying to tear down the Honda...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Why the hostility? Try de-caf? :confuse:

    If someone lives in the snow belt and specifically asks about it, then it matters to them.

    If FWD is enough for you, that's fine, but if people want AWD and a bit more clearance it is available for them.

    That's all we're saying. Nobody is tearing down anything, so relax, ok? :shades:
  • bobber1bobber1 Posts: 217
    What does FWD vs AWD have to do with ground clearance? I didn't mention a word about that.

    No hostility intended at all. Just making a point that something is being blown up that shouldn't be....And I live in the snow belt, so am qualified to comment on it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    All I said was "if people want AWD and a bit more clearance...". Sienna offers both for those who want it.

    When there is a lot of snow, most of the people out there are driving trucks and SUVs. The tires leave tracks and they pack the snow down between the tires. Low-slung cars are pretty hopeless because they high-center. A bumper or something gets caught up in the packed snow/ice, and they're stuck, even with the best tires or AWD system.

    This is why, for instance, a WRX is not as good in the snow as a Forester XT with an identical powertrain. The WRX will high-center and get stuck, the Forester will not.

    My street isn't plowed right away, so a WRX might be stuck for several days after a big snow storm. Our Forester gets around fine.

    The difference is bigger in this example (~2" extra clearance), but the point is the same - you need a combination of traction and clearance to get around properly, at least until the streets are plowed.

    I will say this - snow tires on an Ody would be fine for plowed streets.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    This is tongue-in-cheek so I hope people know not to take this seriously...

    I Googled "Odyssey stuck in snow" and got 334,000 hits, then "Sienna stuck in snow" and got 101,000 hits. :P
  • jayriderjayrider Posts: 3,602
    For the most part the answer to the question of which minivan does better in the snow is easy. It's the TIRES , stupid. Deep tire tread trumps low tread no matter the vehicle or drive train. ;)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I've mentioned tires as the primary factor more than once.

    You need more than that, though. Clearance may even be more important than AWD/4WD.

    A 2WD pickup with weight in the bed will do better in snow than a lowered WRX any day.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587

    He's not going very far with that front bumper acting as a snow plow. AWD, snow tires, doesn't matter. He does not have enough clearance.

    Edit: sorry about the pic size, what's the syntax to re-size it again?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    By the way, in the May issue, 2007, of Consumer Reports, they measured the ground clearance and the AWD model did have an extra inch of clearance compared to the FWD Sienna. That is not mentioned in the Toyota brochure, though.

    For what it's worth...

    This review discusses the trade-offs specifically:

    They list "Good handling for a minivan" as a strength but complain about the "Low ground clearance (good for stability but easy to damage lower front end)."
  • doggrandmadoggrandma IowaPosts: 144
    The Quest has had terrible reliability issues over the years. I believe it requires premium fuel, too. We had a Nissan Altima that was wonderful! Wish we had not sold it. I wonder why different models from the same company have such disparity in their reliability?

    Ateixeira, our dog with the bad knees weighs 80 pounds. We may have to rent a crane to get her in a vehicle. ;)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds like a job for the Brawn Sienna Rampvan...



    Overkill and likely expensive.
  • dbtdbt Posts: 298
    Well, here's a few data points from the past few days in the Twin Cities. I have an AWD Pilot, but looked at both Ody & Sienna a good bit back when I was buying.

    Tuesday: starts snowing, couple inches in evening; evening commute is crawling - 15 mph on interstates, about same on surface streets. Keeps on snowing overnight: 6 inches when I shovel out the sidewalk Wednesday morning. Temps around 10 degrees. Pilot does fine.
    Wednesday: I don't bother shoveling the back driveway / alley part, because the plow has not come through yet. I back the Pilot out of the garage over 6 inches of snow, no trouble. Drive to work, looking for spot to parallel park. There's a spot very close to my building that has been ignored - why? There's about 8 inches of snow blown into it. I parallel the Pilot right in, no problem. Clearance and AWD matter here. Another inch or so falls on the Pilot by the time I return - again, no problem pulling out of the spot. The other cars near me have not moved, and are covered in 6+ inches of snow.
    Coming home - no snow plows out yet - main streets are packed, but side roads have about 8 inches of random snow. Pilot does fine, passes many people stuck, pushing cars.
    Wednesday night: hockey game - I take 3 players plus other son. Pilot is packed with 5 passengers, 3 hockey bags, and 5 sticks. Air temp is 0, wind chill much worse. When it's time to leave, I move the Pilot close to the door where they come out. They pile in, but the Odyssey parked next to me is trying to back out, but is spinning its wheels. I push it back, and it is freed. I start the Pilot and back up, no problem.
    Finally, plows come out late Wednesday night / Thursday morning. Thursday morning (air temp now -2), I shovel out back driveway, except part where snow plow had pushed snow to the side. Pilot backs over 12+ inches of packed snow. No problem.

    Anyway, I think your opinion of AWD and clearance depends a lot on what you face on a regular basis. For me, they're kinda handy ;)
  • locomolocomo Posts: 29
    I was going to pull the trigger on an Odyssey but comparing the 2 main pages:
    It seems like the Honda has lots more problems.
    I don't want to start a flame war, but is it due to the Odyssey higher sales output?
    Thanks for all the info.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yes it does. I wouldn't try to read in to that too much, and I own a Sienna.
  • gsemikegsemike Long Island, NYPosts: 1,976
    My everyday car is an Altima and it's fairly low and fairly bad in the snow. I think that the problem is that the front wheelwells get crammed with snow. Ground clearance does matter.
  • "I was going to pull the trigger on an Odyssey but comparing the 2 main pages:"

    I can only tell you my experience. I had an 05 and an 06 Odyssey The 05 was decent but the power sliding doors rattled and the dealer just kept putting lube on it. the Brakes were noisy. My wife wrecked it so I bought the 06 (both were bought brand new) Well the 06 was bad. For some reason it sucked gas like there was no tomorrow (14MPG) So you might want to check out the real world mpg thread. The door rattled, the transmission was hard shifting, when you went from reverse to forwards it would jump and felt like the transmission was going to jump out of the thing. They had to replace the power steering pump because it was very noisy. I know this was just a bad one but that is what I experienced.
  • bobber1bobber1 Posts: 217
    I maintain if you'd put a set a snow chains on an Odyssey it will go 90% of the places an AWD will and the other 10% you probably shouldn't be on the road anyway.

    We just had a big storm here in Iowa. The third heaviest ever and the grand total was about 12 inches of snow.

    Now that was a storm for AWD vehicles. That was all that was out that day and they were far and few in between. One guy almost got stuck with his Chevy Silverado right in front of my house. :surprise: I stayed home for a day, but was on the road the next.

    My point is how often are you going to see that much snow at one time in most of the US(snowy mountains excluded)? :confuse:

    Back to the ground clearance issue. Unless your 4 wheeling in a back 40 somewhere it's a total non issue on most maintained roads. Can you spin out from slick roads? Sure. That's more a tire issue than a clearance issue. I will say the Michelins my Honda came with are not good snow tire. I'm looking forward to upgrading when they finally wear out.
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