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Honda Odyssey vs. Toyota Sienna



  • jp96jp96 Posts: 1
    Can I ask what state you are in? That is a great price!
  • sportymonksportymonk Posts: 258
    1. Is the VCM the next great thing? Considering the complaints about as mileage and considering that the mileage for VCM seems to be about the same as the models without VCM, I would say it doesn't appear to work or at least doesn't work with significant results.

    2. Can't comment but would hope the system "rotates" somehow so that wear is evenly distributed but I don't know.

    3. When I test drove the Ody, the Lazy Susan appeared to be great for the middle row people but it is very awkward for the driver and front passenger. Plus it doesn't rotate when the little door is pen but only when the large door is open which opens against the driver if I remember correctly.

    4. I would have killed for that feature in my old Astro.
  • dilbertzzzdilbertzzz Posts: 190
    4. I would have killed for that feature in my old Astro.

    Chevy helped keep you out of prison, it seems... ;-)
  • etaeta Posts: 33
    > 2. Can't comment but would hope the system "rotates" somehow so that wear is evenly distributed but I don't know.

    A Honda salesman (so take this with a grain of salt) told us that it's always the rear 3 cylinders which shut down.

  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    The hardware to disable the valves for the VCM system is present on the rear bank of three cylinders only.
  • twins2twins2 Posts: 16
    1) Do either the Sienna or Ody come with EST (electronic stability traction control to prevent rollover/etc)
    2) Do Ody drivers miss AWD in snowy inclement weather?
    3) I have to confess, my wife also has issues with driving a minivan and I do not. Practicality must be a y-linked trait!

    hoping to decide between the two in the next few weeks. Our twins arrive this summer. I was leaning toward the AWD Sienna living in the NE, but like the nav system and pricing better in the Ody
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    Re:#1 I believe that Honda calls their "EST" system "VSA" (Vehicle Stability Assist). VSA is standard on all ODY trims including ABS and Traction Control. You can learn more about what is standard on the Honda by viewing the specifications at
  • 1) Ody has this feature as standard on all Ody's (VSA). On Sienna it depends on the model/package.
    2) Unless you get a lot of snow (i.e. frequent 6" or worse storms) or have a steep private driveway I would say skip the AWD (see the Sienna club web site to discover the crappy mileage you can expect if you go this route)
    3) I assume these are your first children - congratulations! The minivan is absolutely, without any doubt, the best vehicle for young families (my opinion based on personal experience AND several friends who swore they would never own a van, had kids, bought a van and now confess they really like having a van!)

    I struggled with the same Sienna vs. Ody decision (you probably will be happy with either one and will never know if the other one would have been slightly "better").

    I finally made up my mind and will be picking up my new 05 Ody EX tomorrow (bye bye 96 Windstar).
  • djm1djm1 Posts: 1
    We live in the Boston area and spend a lot of time skiing up north and the lack of awd was the primary thing holding us back from buying an Odyssey. We drove the Odyssey back-to-back with the Sienna and, for us, the Odyssey was the clear choice. We also did not like the fact that the awd Siennas have no spare tire. We picked up our Odyssey ten days ago and took it skiing the first weekend we had it. Over a foot of snow in NH and it handled perfectly. Very little difference in the snow from the Pilot we traded in. We were following SUVs to and from the mountain on messy roads and had no problem. Also cruised up a hill perfectly that the Saab in front of us was having trouble climbing. I was dead set against a minivan, but we both love the Odyssey and, after having driven it in the snow, have no regrets. NAV system and RES are great as well.
  • atobatob Posts: 2
    Just finished reading all of the messages here, which took some time! Thanks for all the groundwork everyone has done.

    We are torn between the Odyssey EX and the Toyota XLE with option 7, though leaning toward the Honda. We are have a 3.5 yr old and I am expecting twins this spring.

    My question is whether or not anyone has experience having extra tether attachment points installed by Honda behind the third row seats? We were able to do that in my old Saturn. I realize this is not as safe as using latch--I am thinking of times when we are hauling extra children around and would take short journeys with extra car seats.

    My second question is about AWD--we have lived in CT for 3 years and in our 94 Saturn SL2 and 2002 Saturn L100 we have never needed AWD. Is this going to be different in a minivan?

    Thanks for any help you can offer. BTW we are edging toward the Honda because of the easier access to the DVD for long trips, the plus one seat, handling issues, and price. I prefer the flexibility of the 7-seat arrangement in the Sienna, the greater number of Latch points, and subjectively, the interior and exterior looks.

    I feel I must comment on the thread as to women having more issues with being seen in a minivan. Speaking as a card (and twin)-carrying woman, I care not at all what I look like in a minivan. Better than a 94 Saturn. :)

    Cheers all,
  • lumbarlumbar Posts: 421
    There is no substitute for a combination of AWD and stability control in inclement weather. Whether one would notice a difference between that and a FWD vehicle equipped with VSC is IMO more a function of the severity of the conditions than the vehicles--at some point, there will be a difference, although you may never be exposed to that difference depending on locale. As someone pointed out, the apparent downside to the AWD Sienna can be a hit on gas mileage, although I see 16-17/20-21 reported, which is better than a lot of SUVs (and even some 05 Odys). What is not frequently mentioned is the higher ground clearance on the Sienna, which also has ramifications in snow.
  • twins2twins2 Posts: 16
    Thanks everyone for your advice. We're in the boston area as well. I was originally leaning toward the Ody, but with all our recent storms, I thought AWD would be better. Sounds like either will be a good choice. We'll re-test drive both at post our final decision. Sounds like the Ody is fine in the snow but has a lower clearance. Having driven in several snowstorms (had to for getting to work), I much prefer AWD in that scenario....
  • atobatob Posts: 2
    To clarify my message above.... I finally found out that Honda does not authorize tether attachment points but you can do so on an aftermarket basis. Anybody have experience doing this aftermarket?

    My second question boils down to this--we have never *needed* AWD for our cars, for which we use snow tires, though I have no doubt it might have been useful a few times. Does the additional weight, size, etc. of a minivan create a need which I might not have anticipated?
    Thanks again,
  • bruce13bruce13 Posts: 1
    I have owned several Odyssey's including my new 05. My dealership also sells Ford's and Toyota's so I thought about a Toyota last winter when I was getting ready to trade, but the looks of the Sienna just don't get it for me. Also if you ask my dealer which one to own they say the Odyssey hands down with the biggest reason being tradein value. They have the highest resale value in the market place and that is very important to me.
  • whodewhode Posts: 15
    I'm surprised I haven't seen more about this, but is anyone else concerned about the safety tests on the Honda? One of my main criteria for a minivan is safety so I was really glad that the 2005's came with the side curtain airbags and VSC standard (I do understand that you add them to the Sienna, although they aren't always as easy to get). However, I'd been waiting for the crash test results from the IIHS and they still haven't come out yet. I've been wondering if it has anything to do with the safety concern mentioned in the government crash tests.

    If you take a look at, you'll see that the only van that has a safety concern alert on it is the Odyssey. Do you think that maybe Honda's having IIHS hold off on crash tests until they've corrected the safety concern (the driver's side door opened on the side crash test)?

    To be fair, I do remember the 2004 Sienna's having an issue with their crash tests, too. It involved leaking gas tanks and eventually they did a recall. Wondering if the same thing's going to happen to the Odyssey. I remember reading something earlier in this thread about someone who's driver's door would open unexepectedly. Maybe it's all related?

    Not trying to pick on the Odyssey here, I have a Honda and a Toyota sedan and am torn between the Odyssey and Sienna. Just trying to see if the safety thing might be a problem.
  • lumbarlumbar Posts: 421
    Check the NHTSA ratings on that site. The Ody received five stars for both side and frontal impact. The driver's side door did open, leading to a qualfication on the rating, but five stars is still five stars (IMO). Another interesting thing I noticed is that the Sienna actually lost a star from '04 to '05 (5 stars to 4 stars)for front impact despite the fact that the vehicles are the same AFAIK.
  • I still think they are equal.
    The Ody has a few things I wish the Sienna has, and the Sienna has a few things I wish the Ody has.
    But if Toyota could incorporate what they did with the 2006 Avalon into the 2006 Sienna, it would be a home run to me: Optitron gauge, chrome grille, plenty of woodtrim, Voice-Activate NAV, Smart-Key Access, and 6 CD changer in NAV models?

    It's like combining the best of the Ody and Sienna into one awesome minivan.

    Now that's a concept!
    Haven't they thought of that?
    Hopefully by now?

  • pdamonpdamon Posts: 1
    Do either vehicle Sienaa or Oddessy) accomodate 3 car seats in the second row?
  • only toyota LE 8 passenger does. Keep in mind though you sacrifice not having arm rests ever once car seats are gone
  • I am undecided between the Sienna and Odyssey. One thing I am concerned about is the recommendation to use premium fuel in the Sienna brochure.This was of course pointed out to me by the Honda salesperson. The Toyota people said I don't have to worry about that. I don't want to go on long trips and listen to the engine ping away. Gas is very expensive up here. Can anyone give me some advice on this?
  • jm38jm38 Posts: 27
    I have owned a 2004 Sienna XLE Limited for almost 14 months. Have only used regular gas and no problems what so ever. I live in a suburb of Buffalo so our weather is like yours.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Regular works fine in the Sienna. IF you plan on towing or otherwise anticipate a much higher load on the engine than normal, you may want to use premium. You can't damage the engine running regular due to any 'pinging' issues because if the engine management systems detect any 'pinging', it will automatically adjust the ignition timing. However, I know of at least one Sienna owner with access to some advanced engine diagnostic hardware who has actually monitored the engine performance running both premium and regular with the engine under load. He has reported absolutely no degredation in engine performance, or problems with engine pinging, while running regular unleaded and the engine under a full load.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    "My second question boils down to this--we have never *needed* AWD for our cars, for which we use snow tires, though I have no doubt it might have been useful a few times. Does the additional weight, size, etc. of a minivan create a need which I might not have anticipated? "

    The additional weight of a minivan makes traction better in the snow. Ever see people put weight in the back of their pickups for traction? Same principle.

    A fully loaded minivan with snow tires will probably do better in the snow than many 4wd vehicles.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    Does it help you get going, but once going, not much else? I mean, if you've got traction control, ABS, and stability control, what is the need for AWD in a mini-van?
  • petlpetl Posts: 610
    It's a good question. CR tested FWD against AWD vehicles and concluded that an AWD without snow tires had better traction than a FWD vehicle equipped with the snows. The problem is, many believe that they become invincible. They forget that AWD equipped vehicles will not help them stop quicker and handling capabilities are no better in snow and ice conditions. This is what I experienced when driving in these winter conditions (FWD vs. AWD). We should all drive cautiously in adverse weather conditions, with or without AWD (everyone seems to be in a hurry these days).
  • It's weight over the drive wheels that improve traction (hence bags of sand in the rear drive pickup). In a minivan more weight is over the rear wheels than in a sedan which hurts FWD traction. I have a steep driveway and have spun my way up in FWD sedans and mini vans and been stuck until I get out the salt and sand. That's why I now have two Subaru's.
    That's also why I have ruled out the Honda in favor of the AWD Sienna. Yes the Honda will be ok 99% of the time but that other 1% creates too many hassles that I don't want to deal with.
  • macakavamacakava Posts: 775
    Here is another classic "sour grapes" person pretending to be "sweeter"(i.e. more knowledgeable) than the folks from CR, C & D, R & T, Money, Kiplingers, etc who have awarded the Ody the best in its class.

    Let's us not waste any more of our time on this!
  • lumbarlumbar Posts: 421
    One wonders what poduct he's an advisor for. OK, enough.
  • sportymonksportymonk Posts: 258
    "...but the Honda has the seatbelt in the frame of the van if the seat is over one spot and you get into a collision that person is flying sideways out of the seat. Not in a toyota, the seatbelt is in the seat, which moves with the passenger.

    hhmm seatbelt in the Honda is securely anchored to the frame and stays put along with occupant. Toyota is secured to seat so when seat flies loose, so does occupant. Winner - Honda!

    The noise of the Honda engine compared to a Toyota is alot more noisier and a rougher drive, the Honda feels like a cargo van with the lazy daisy hideaway storage is a neat idea, but it creates more road noise as there is no insulation to prevent it.

    You can fill the hole with insulation but then the space become unusable. Hard to have useable space and insulation at the same time.

    A TV show I watched - Name of show please, hopefully not a demo show at the Toyota dealer)

    showed a Honda and a Toyota side by side, to prove who was better and the toyota had more speed (Honda more get up and go)

    I would rather have get up and go when I get on the freeway at 4:45Pm than top end speed which won't be used rarely. (I don't get through Bonneville Salt Flats too often.)

    Toyota better gas mileage. Toyota quieter, Toyota Nicer, and the honda does not have a good heating system with the vents in the rear of the vehicle for heating that is so stupid. Honda wants to consume more gas and energy to cool the van with very little venting. hah hah.

    Hhmmm- We complain about vents in the rear to heat the occupants. So you would rather have a system with cooling vents but no heat for the winter??? What is so stupid about having vents for heating in the back?

    Not sure what the problem is. you complain about heating vents then complain about the energy to cool the vehicle. Which do you want. Seems I have read the vents in the back of the Toyota Sienna only cool but don't heat. Lovely for wintertime.

    Your posts comfuses me. What do you want? A vehicle with poor acceleration for faily driving and a vehicle with no heat in the back?
  • I have been reading this forum for a long time and never posted any message.
    There are some interesting behaviors of those so-called Odyssey fans. They seems that anybody says something again Odyssey is not knowledgable and is a "sour grapes' person.
    I have been looking for a minivan for more than one year and waiting for 2nd year model of Sienna.
    For me, no minivan is perfact. Any minivan has its pros and cons. I just picked up what meets my needs. Although Odyssey is praised as best minivan but is not best for me. I am the person to use the minivan. I choose what is best for me. Not some magzine reviewers. Here is the list I don't like Odyssey:
    1. The front legroom is shorter than Sienna. 40.8 in vs 42.9 in. I am 6 feet tall. My leg is not comfortable when I sit in Odyssey. BTW, no telescopic steering wheel on Odyssey is not good either.
    2. The sunroof should be optional. My head touches the ceiling when I sit in Odyssey Touring.
    3. The leather on Odyssey is not nice as Sienna's.
    4. The Odyssey sliding door tracks keep annoying me. Why can't Honda engineers just hide it? It's ugly. Because the track position, it makes the gas cap look ridiculous.
    5. The overall exterior looking of Odyssey is dumb. It makes the van look more heavier. The front head chrome stripe is too wide.
    6. I like to move the second row passenger seat to middle. The seat belt mounted on frame is not convienent for people accessing third row when the person on second row seat has the seat belt on. If you think about in the incident that the seat is loose, your body is not tied to frame either because one end of seat belt is on the seat.
    7. The Hondy dealer's arrogance pushed me away from Odyssey. The Toyota dealers are very willing to deal.

    Of course I like some standard features of Odyssey, such as side airbags, traction control, rear disc brake, etc. But I just feel that Sienna meets my need.
    BTW, all minivans are boring. They are not sports cars. I don't feel any excitement when driving minivan. It's just a utility vehicle.
    I don't understand how excite some Odyssey fans are. Maybe the best review makes the Odyssey owner superior?
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