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Honda Odyssey vs. Toyota Sienna



  • Haven't done anything yet but as I look and listen here are my leanings.


    Honda Ody - Negatives - Quality issues for first year model.

    Honda Ody Positives - Handling and room. My oldest is in college and my other is a junior in high school so all I want is some light duty hauling room. Worst case scenarios is my wife, myself, daughter (college kid), son with luggage and two dog crates for my two gophers,I mean beagles ( you would have to see my back yard to understand).


    Though about Pilot but want more room and don't care about 4wheel drive (poor mileage and more to break. Also it is only AWD at slow speeds. I'm not going out if the roads are that bad.)


    Looked at highlander, love the styling but too small.


    Looking at Sienna but concerned about handling, and engine hesitation problems and transmission shift issues.


    Looked at Nissan Pathfinder (like the large tow capacity for moving, which I do about every three years.) but it is built and rides like a truck.


    With no concerns about car seats, I am leaning toward Ody (really want a Pilot but longer for more room and with FWD only but isn't that an Ody?)


    Still thinking. Have to wait till wife is out of school to do something
  • Do you know for sure that regular tires can be used instead of run flats ?

    Also can you tell me why you wouldn't buy a Siena again.
  • ken17ken17 Posts: 19
    I'm not aware of any hesitation problems or transmission shift issues with the Sienna. I've not experienced any myself, and have not read of such problems. Just curious as to where you might have heard of these issues?


    As far as handling goes, no doubt the Sienna is not a fine handling vehicle. Then again, it's not something I personally notice when driving the Sienna because I don't drive it hard. It's exceptionally smooth and quiet - More so then the Ody based on the March Consumer Reports evaluation. But, the trade off is less responsive handling.


    Hope I don't start a Consumer Reports String - But, I did happen to see the 2005 Review of mini vans. Although the Ody is the top rated minivan, it's extremely close. I believe Consumer Reports used the words "Virtual Tie". The Ody excelled in certain things and the Sienna in others. In the end it comes down to individual preference.
  • Engine hesitation problem may have been foggy memory from research on Highlander. If so, please excuse.


    Everybody rates them a virtual dead heat tie but with differences. I think that is what is frustrating to a lot of folks; if we could take part of each and combine we would have the perfect van but then again what one person likes another person doesn't. Agree that both are superior vehicles and you really can't go wrong with either.
  • ken17ken17 Posts: 19
    Interesting. I've not personally had problems with transmission hesitation, but sounds like others have.


    Anyway, neat web site for Sienna owners. Thanks.
  • I have a 2001 Toyota Sienna which I bought when our twins were born. When shopping for a new minivan I noticed that the new Sienna still has, what I consider, a safety flaw.


    Rear seat occupants (kids) can open the power sliding doors from the inside by either pulling on the door handles or pushing on the power door buttons located right next (when the door is closed) to the door handles.


    Front seat occupants (parents) can open the power sliding doors from the inside by pushing the power buttons located in the front console (near the stereo).


    The child safety lock on the sliding power doors only prevents the doors from being opened when pulling on the inside door handles. The safety feature is easily bypassed by the push button that sits right next to the inside door handles (which my twins enjoy utilizing). When I spoke to Toyota Corp about this they suggested that the power door lockout button on the front console resolves this issue, however it also locks out the power sliding door buttons on the front console that the driver or front passenger would use to open either of the two power sliding doors thus negating the expensive dual power sliding doors option.


    Basically Toyota fails to recognize that the child safety locks should automatically prevent the power sliding doors from being opened by rear seat occupants regardless of what method they may attempt to use to open the sliding power doors.


    It is also annoying that Toyota thinks it's ok to sell you the power door option but require you to fully disengage it to prevent rear seat occupants from opening the power sliding doors on their own.


    I should mention that this is only a problem when the car is in park, as the power sliding doors cannot be opened by any method while the car is in motion. However, it is when you arrive at your destination (the park, McDonalds, etc.) and put the car in park that the kids are most likely to want to open the power sliding doors and jump out into traffic or a busy parking lot before parents have a chance to get out of the car and safely help them out.
  • I bought a Sienna 2005 with manual sliding door. Found out my 8 years old have difficulty closing it. When she closes it, it always cannot fully closed and I have to jump out of the car and do it myself. I don't blame her as I some times couldn't do it right either. Any advice on this matter are greatly appreciated... Is Honda doing better in this aspect? or should I take it to the dealer see if they can improve the door closing mechanism by tuning somthing...etc.
  • For those of us considering nav+res w/ our new van the fact that you give up a 6 disc changer and sacrifice screen size in the sienna may be a deal breaker/maker.
  • An update to this matter, after talking to a close by dealer, they said 2005 Sienna has a heavier sliding door as compare to previous model. Therefore, more difficult to close is an expected issue, especially when closing from inside. Therefore, for those of you out there who haven't buy Sienna 2005, please compare this important feature with Honda first if you are buying manual sliding door.
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    I'm glad you posted about the Toyota's power door activation options. Many posters here have lauded them for the placement of the door buttons in the rear. Your post reminds me of why it is, in fact, a poor design.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    It still seems like it could be adjusted to more easily shut, especially by an adult. Did you test close some other '05's?


    And try it with a window open to rule out air pressure.


    Steve, Host
  • ken17ken17 Posts: 19
    I can't speak for all of the Sienna Models. However, I have the 2004 XLE Limited with the power sliding doors. The problem you mention does not exist with this car (I just tried it to make sure before responding to your post). You can set the locking mechanism in different ways. However, the way the car came from the factory, it was set so that the doors lock when the car is placed in gear. When you arrive at your location and place the car in park, the sliding doors (all the doors for that matter) are locked. They can't be opened using the power button that the kids can reach near the sliding door, nor can they be opened using the manual inside handle. They can only be opened after you have activated the unlock button which is located on the front drivers side or front passenger side. As I mentioned, you can change the factor setting so that the doors don't lock when you place the car in gear. But, I can't imagine why one would want to do that. Especially with kids in the middle seat.
  • I love all the posts, especially Coloradood since we travel there five to six times a year, although I won't be purchasing an AWD.


    My wife and I, like many, have a difficult decision to make between the Honda and Toyota. After six months monitoring this site, as well reading articles, including CR, and numerous test drives, my wife and I still think both vans are great. For what it's worth here's my 2 cents on pros and cons as I have kept a list on both:


    Honda: Pros - bigger second and third row seats, easier access to the back, third row easier to fold down, better handling, lower price (however, closer to MSRP, $2,000 off), braking (as detailed in CR), and Moonroof standard in EXL. In Arizona, Toyotas XLEs are primarily only available with DVD, and very few with Moonroof.


    Cons - No power rear liftgate, no telescoping steering wheel, 16" tires, just a "tad" louder on the interstate, no power passenger seat. VCM - ties with Toyota's engine, so no big difference in their publicized engine, first dealer I went to in Tucson only gave $600 off with a bad attitude, I then went to Phoenix and got $1,500 off, then back to another Tucson dealer for another $500.


    Toyota: Pros - Power train warranty of 5/60, power rear tailgate, telescoping steering (my wife likes this since it puts her closer to the wheel), smoother ride, 17" wheels available, power passenger seat, power heated side mirrors, willing to deal more (but still higher than Honda),


    Cons - Access to back a little more difficult, third row a little harder to fold down, most XLEs in Arizona come with a $1,600 DVD, a 7" monitor (Honda's 9"), BTW, you can get an excellent, larger screen system installed for $1,000 elsewhere. Only four packages are now available in the XLE in Arizona and these add significant amounts to the bottom line.


    If I can't find a Toyota without the DVD, since in my research it's now worth the price, I will probably go with the Honda and end up putting a higher quality system in the van for less money.


    After six months of research, you can't go wrong either way; however, like the rest of you, I wish I could pick from each van to build the ultimate van ... but for now, we hope to make a decision by this 3-day weekend.


    Thanks for all the previous advice and good luck to the rest of you.
  • greg_ygreg_y Posts: 26
    You seemed to have a problem with third row seat access on the Sienna. Did you know that you can very easily flip up either middle row seat to give you more room to access the third row seat?


    Also, on 7 passenger Siennas, you can move the passenger side second row seat to a center position that gives you very easy access to the third row. Much better than the Honda.
  • We are from Toronto Canada, may be it is different here, Sienna cost less than Honda Odyssey. Anyhow, we end up purchased a 8 passengers Sienna CE. We love the Van. We have one 8 year old and 2 infants. The van is perfect for such configuration. We wouldn't want to spend $6000 CAD more for the sake of the power door to go up one model. Although, power door is really nice to have, now that I know the inconvenience of manual door. Anyhow, I found the driving of the Sienna is really an enjoyment, so quiet, steady, my wife no longer complains like before when I am driving the Honda Civic with her, that she have a headache... We are quite happy with the purchase and is considered the most successful vehicle purchase so far in our life.


    Hope this help those Sienna lovers as I kind of feel most messages lean towards Odyssy.
  • I agree about your assessment of the Sienna. I just thought it was easier accessing the third row in the Honda due to its easier handle on the second row bucket seat.


    Also, my comments are in context of judging an XLE vs. EXL, thus, the things you get and don't get with each model.


    Has anyone test drove both vehicles on longer highway miles to better assess the noise insulation issue?
  • greg_ygreg_y Posts: 26
    I drove my mothers 2005 Odyssey for about 120 miles two weekends ago. I would give the 2004/2005 Sienna a slight edge (but only slight) on the noise front. All in all the Odyssey is a very nice choice. Either van will be a good choice.


    My last car was noisy and rough riding. The Sienna was the perfect antidote after spending a few years with a bucking bronco.


      The Odyssey handling has a sportier feel. I say this becuase after driving both of them at a pretty good pace on exit ramps I don't think the ultimate handling limits of the Odyssey are any higher than those of the Sienna. It just feels a little better. Neither of these vehicles is going to put a 20 year old BMW 3-series on a trailer at an authocross event any time soon.


    I notice that some people llike the more aggressive throttle ramp-up of the Odyssey's drive-by-wire rather than the gentle nature of the Sienna's throttle application. I liked the Honda system better too until it snowed. The Sienna drive-by-wire system allows much more precise throttle control and therefore modulation of wheelspin than the Odyssey. I know both vehicles have traction control, but I prefer not to get into trouble in the first place.


    If you have aspirations to be the next Michael Schumaker, put on that driving helmet and buy an Odyssey.


    If you live in Michigan (or Richomd, VA) and have really rough roads, a Sienna may be the answer to your prayers.
  • Thank You for your advice. I do not have the luxury able to slam many Sienna 05 doors. There is however, a difference between the two doors I feel. But the dealer said it cannot be adjusted and the closing force is within the acceptable limit. I didn't try the air pressure yet, but would try next time. But I just come up with a better idea, I think when I back in the drive way make the slope help the closing direction, it should definitely help my daughter closing the door from inside.... I think that will work... Thanks for this good site anyway...
  • Thanks. Just got back from test driving both, again. Drove both on the highway for 10 miles. I noticed the Sienna was definitely quieter/smoother than the Honda. But then, I prefer smooth/quiet ride vs. road handling, which the Honda still has over the Sienna. The Toyota dealer is much more aggressive at invoice +300, which puts it at the Honda price. I probably will get the Sienna, even though in Arizona the XLEs all come with the DVD. Oh well, my teenagers will be happy.
  • Does anyone have any info or experience with Sienna Nav system? There is not a lot of info
  • ewtewt Posts: 127
    What questions do you have? I've found it to be intuitive, easy to use and I've been very pleased with it. The biggest limitation is that you can't use a lot of the features while the vehicle is moving unless you do some modifications to fool it into thinking you're stopped, while actually moving. It also lacks voice recognition, which can also be added if desired, but I've found that to be more of an annoyance than a feature on other cars I've tried it on.


    In addition to being useful for navigation purposes, it also serves as a monitor for the backup camera, and allows you to view and control DVDs from the front seat while the vechicle is stopped. You can also modify it to allow DVD viewing/control while in motion. (and no, viewing DVDs while driving isn't a good idea....)
  • Thank YOu. Let me get this straight since this is all new to me.

    1-When stopped I can start DVD movie again?

    2-Are you describing Factory installed Nav/DVD from Toyota?

    3-How much would it cost to add voice recognition?

    4-How much does annual update cost?

    5- Is backup camera accurate?

    6-can kids watch DVD while I listen to music

    7-While you are driving it tells you where to turn?

    8-if u forget to turn does an alarm go off?

    Thank you for your help. Dealers don't seem to know anything about system except "it's great"
  • ewtewt Posts: 127
    > 1-When stopped I can start DVD movie again?


    You can start, view (on the DVD screen) and control a DVD via the remote/DVD player at any time, but you can't view it or control it from the Navigation screen while the vehicle is moving without modifications. It is much easier to control the DVD player via the navigation screen than via the remote from the front seat if your kids are too young to operate the remote themselves.


    > 2-Are you describing Factory installed Nav/DVD from Toyota?




    >3-How much would it cost to add voice recognition?


    The cost of the microphone is fairly nominal ($60?). You just have to plug the microphone into the NAV unit, and modify one of the steering wheel buttons to activate it. The voice recognition capability is already built into the NAV unit, but wasn't used from the factory on the Sienna.


    > 4-How much does annual update cost?


    I don't know. I've never updated it, but I think it is in the $2-300 range.


    > 5- Is backup camera accurate?


    Yes. I was amazed at how useful it is. I wouldn't feel safe having a minivan/SUV without one without it now There's just too much you can't see via mirrors and the rear window.


    > 6-can kids watch DVD while I listen to music


    Yes. We do it all the time. They wear headphones, and you can listen via the speakers.


    > 7-While you are driving it tells you where to turn?


    Yes. It tells you verbally as well as draws a detailed map of the upcoming turn/intersection.


    > 8-if u forget to turn does an alarm go off?


    There isn't a "you missed the turn stupid" message, but it recomputes the route and tells you what to do in order to get back on track (usually a u-turn).
  • Okay, so we're trying to decide between the Ody EX and the Sienna LE. Looks like we can get more for our money with the Ody, but my past experiences with Toyota cars that were so reliable for so long makes me lean towards the Sienna.


    So, my question is -- how important for safety are the following items (standard in the Ody but only as pricey packages in the Sienna)? and what do they really mean?:


    Vehicle Stability Control

    Traction Control

    Rear disc brakes


    We live in FL (no ice or snow), and will only drive into colder climes once every couple of years.


    Thanks much for any input!
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    Stability control is, by far, the most important of the three and is not dependent on the weather (although bad weather, including rain, can bring it into use). I personally would not buy a vehicle (especially a family hauler) without it.

    The three items you mentioned are, I believe, bundled into various option packages but really don't drive the price up all that much.

    I have never understood why Toyota is sooooo slow to make critical safety equipment standard. Years ago I passed on a Camry because it was impossible to find one with ABS.
  • That is a nice feature, however it does not resolve the problem. The child safety locks can still be bypassed the second the doors are unlocked. Unless you can physically be on both sides of the car at the same time, there is no way to prevent a child from exiting the opposite side of the car before you can get there.

    Imagine this scenario: You drive to the mall with your twins in the back seat (you are the only adult in the car). You park, unlock the doors and proceed to get out of the car to unload the first child. While doing this the second child lets themself out by touching the power sliding door button on the opposite side. This is a safety issue.

    With the child safety locks functioning the way federal regulators intended them to work you would be able to park the car and get out, open one power sliding door to get the first child out, close the door and then go to the other side to get the second child out without ever having to worry about either child being able to open either door prior to you getting there to safely let them out.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,441
    I'd choose the side curtain airbags over all the other saftey features combined.(VSC,traction)If one drives like an idiot, all the saftey features in the world won't prevent an accident.The side curtain airbags are standard on the Ody, optional on the Sienna.
  • ewtewt Posts: 127
    "I'd choose the side curtain airbags over all the other saftey features combined"

    I'd agree. I can control my own vehicle well enough without assistance, but can't control somebody running a stoplight and t-boning me.
  • ken17ken17 Posts: 19
    I see your point. So, what you'd like to see is the unlocking mechanism to be independent for the left and right side of the vehicle such that you can unlock one side at a time.

    That would be a great safety feature for any car when more than 1 child is in the back seat. Unfortunately, I don't believe any make or model has such a feature.

    We've not yet encountered that problem because one of our two children is still in a car seat and can't get out on his own. But, when both our children can unbuckle themselves, I can see where that would be a safety issue.
  • ken17ken17 Posts: 19
    I agree with a few of the prior posts. the side curtain airbags are proven to save lives and reduce injury. The other features are nice, but not necessary.

    I love the Sienna and I'm a big Toyota fan. However, in this case Honda definately has their priorities correct and Toyota not. I think it's great that Honda included all the safety features standard. They could have offered them as options and come in at a lower bottom line. But they did the responsible thing. Toyota did not.
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