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Sienna vs Grand Caravan/Town & Country



  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    No other vehicle has the utility, comfort, and decent gas mileage of a minivan...except the Scion xB. The Scion xB would NOT be satisfactory for us on a long trip. :cry:
    Our Sienna LE is quieter, more luxurious interior, and more comfortable driver's seat than the T&C LX. Sienna has a 5 speed AT while T&C has 4 speed AT.
    The T&C LX has better controls for the radio/stereo and a better HVAC system than the Sienna LE. The T&C has separately controlled temperature for driver and front passenger with 5 speed fan while the Sienna has same temperature with only a 4 speed fan.
    Too bad I can't have the best features of each in either.
    We use the T&C for driving around town and Sienna for long trips. We also will loan the T&C to our daughter and family to go on trips as I do not trust her 212,727 mile 1991 Astro.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    As I turned a corner onto a 6 lane highway from the stoplight, I stomped on the accelerator in our 2006 Sienna LE with 3.3L V6 and it read 65 MPH at the same spot the 2002 T&C LX with 3.3L V6 had reached 55 MPH. Surprise was the Sienna shifted gears at a lower RPM than did the T&C. :confuse:
    Advantage: Not as much worry getting a speeding ticket in the T&C. :shades:
  • I'm about to buy a van for travel, and have driven the Sienna and the Odyssey, as well as the Ford Freestyle. I'm concerned about American quality in general. Any good feelings abot the DC or the T&C quality? Also, mileage is one of my main concerns given direction of gas prices.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    BUY the minivan that you like best. I have had excellent experience with T&C and one son excellent experience with a 2002 GC Sport and one daughter has had excellent experience with a used 1999 GC SE.
    My youngest son has had excellent experience with his 2001 Ody EX. One niece has been very satisfied with the used Windstar she owns and her sister has had good experience with her Aerostar. Our eldest daughter has a 1991 Astro with 212,000 miles that still runs well.
    You can read horror stories about any minivan...but most people have NO problems with any brand.
    In addition to experience driving the 2001 Ody EX many times, my 2002 T&C, son's 2002 GC Sport, and daughter's 1999 GC SE, we test drove a 2006 Ody EX-L-NAV and a 2004 Sienna LE. The Sienna LE was quieter and performed better than the Odyssey EX-L-NAV. The Sienna is also quieter than the 3 DC minivans in our family and is getting slightly better gas mileage ;) .
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    Much lag or hesitation in either van when "stomping" on the accelerator hans?
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    I did NOT notice any...but I had just turned the corner and was driving only 2 or 3 MPH at time of "stomping" on the accelerator or each.
    I had heard of lag or hesitation with "drive by wire" arrangement of the Sienna and Odyssey but have never noticed it in the 2006 Odyssey, our 2006 Sienna, the 2004 Sienna I test drove, or our 2002 T&C LX.
    As written earlier, I was disappointed with the downshifting of our 2002 T&C last year when it shifted down 2 gears instead of just one...and there was more roar than go at about 45 MPH while the 2004 Sienna seemed to LEAP forward under the same condition.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    What sort of load (pass & cargo) are you traveling with? I really didn't need the super-capacity of a full-sized minivan, so I bought the Freestyle. For me it's a great car. MPG in the mid-20's, drives and feels more car like and less van or SUV-like. Plus you can get AWD if you live in snow country. I don't, so I bought the FWD with side safety curtains, aux heater a/c in the rear, dual front climate control, all for $25K. We've put 23K miles on it in the past year. For most of our road trips we've only used the first two rows, but we have done road trips with six people and just put some stuff on the roof (we have a giant stroller, crib that we bring with us, and other baby stuff). The luggage space behind row 3 is pretty big, but again not as big as a full size minivan.

    I'd say for a family of 4 or 5, the Freestyle is a great alternative to a traditional minivan. But if you do a lot of road trips with lots 6-7 people and lots of stuff, I'd go with the minivan.

    And a comment for the person buying a second minivan so they could both haul their kids around. Consider getting a Mazda5 as your micro-minivan, since it seats 6 in three rows and can be used for the pick up and delivery of the kids, and then use the full-size minivan for the weekend road trips. The Mazda5 will cost less than $20K, get better mpg, and is a lot smaller for zipping around. Why have 2 full-sized vans, when you only need one for the big road trips, since the other will be mostly just picking up and dropping off?
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Another benefit to the Electronic Throttle-by-wire is the fact that no "slack" build up in the pedal as occurs with traditional throttle cable systems. My 96 Honda has a little play in the throttle pedal before hitting the engagement threshold (maybe a centimeter's worth). My Accord engages immediately (as does my aunt's 2005 Ody) with no play in the pedal. No throttle cable to get loose or worn with an electronic throttle.

    I do have a question, though, that may help some others, too. Is there any way to tighten the connection in the pedal/throttle cable realtionship to eliminate this play in the pedal? Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated by me, and maybe others.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Nicest looking interior of any minivan for less than $ 26K. All seats as comfortable as any minivan. OUTSTANDING gas mileage (27.7 MPG average in first 1400 miles).
    Why have 2 minivans?
    Both minivans are paid for. The 2002 T&C gets good gas mileage ( 22.3 overall average since purchase), has a 7 year 100,000 mile powertrain warranty, and has been VERY reliable. A smaller, more fuel efficient vehicle is NOT economically viable since depreciation on a new vehicle would greatly exceed the small amount saved in better fuel economy than the T&C needs.
    The Sienna is quieter with better fuel economy than a DC minivan BUT the DC minivan HVAC and stereo controls are better on the DC than either the Sienna (or an Odd).
    My research and test drives narrowed the choice to a GC SXT, Sienna LE, or Odd EX. All 3 are very nice and each has some advantages. There were pleasant, low pressure salesmen at dealerships for all 3 and the decision was difficult. ;)
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731

    Congrats for your new 2006 Sienna and I’m glad you love it. However, except for the few differences from the T&C you mentioned (HVAC & Audio controls, seats, quietness – which you already mentioned in the past at least 5,000 times :) ) I would like to know how you take the many other differences?


    1) Gated shifter sitting on the dashboard

    2) Wipers in the right stalk, working totally different than the T&C (I prefer the way of T&C)

    3) Cruise controls; and how about the power window controls (which is lighted in your 2002 T&C)

    4) I think that the Sienna interior lamps are much dimmer compared to T&C, especially in the cargo area. Wouldn’t you like the flood lamps on the liftgate as T&C? And when opening the rear door, the front lamps does not come on.

    5) Do you miss cassette player from the T&C? Do you love the AUX-IN jack in the Sienna?

    6) What do you think of the ANNOYING armrests in the Sienna, which in order to adjust you push it down all the way and then bring it back up slowly?

    7) Are you satisfied with the sun visors without an extender as your T&C?

    8) Braking performance and steering feel are both softer in the Sienna, the steering wheel smaller;

    9) How about the fold-into-floor rear seats in the Sienna?

    And so many more. You should know better since you own them both. I think you should write a full comparison review!

    And again, congratulations, and enjoy them both!
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Takes a little while to adjust to different placement of transmission selector, controls for wipers, headlights, etc. Each minivan has advantages.

    Sienna has MORE power and better response at any speed than either my 2002 T&C LX or 2005 GC SXT that I test drove.

    Sienna has P-R-N-D-4-3-2-L for 5 speed AT while DC minivans has only P-R-N-D-3-L. There have been times going down steep hills in T&C when I would have liked to have transmission stay in 2 only...NOT possible with DC.

    Wife and daughters like Sienna armrests much better than DC armrests and 2005/06 GC Stow'N Go armrests are too narrow.

    Sun visor on Sienna is about same width as T&C sun visor with extender fully extended.

    Sienna has 2 lights on each visor just as 2002 T&C but 2006 GC SXT has only one light. 2002 T&C has 2 lights on liftgate...2006 GC SXT has only one. Sienna has 1 light on inside rear of van.

    Sienna has lights at base of both front doors and on inside front portion of rear wheel well while neither 2002 T&C nor 2006 GC SXT has ANY of these lights.

    2002 T&C LX has lighted power window controls on driver's door which I almost NEVER used at night. Sienna has lighted controls on steering wheel to adjust radio/stereo.

    I miss cassette player of T&C but most people greatly prefer the 6 CD in dash CD changer and the MP3/AUX input.
  • aaron_taaron_t Posts: 301
    Sienna has P-R-N-D-4-3-2-L for 5 speed AT while DC minivans has only P-R-N-D-3-L. There have been times going down steep hills in T&C when I would have liked to have transmission stay in 2 only...NOT possible with DC.

    Actually, using L in the DGC allows first or second gears depending on vehicle speed. I think it upshifts at 30mph and downshifts at 25mph, IIRC. I've used it before in some mountains. While I still prefer full control over every gear, this isn't too bad.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    I don't yet like my 2006 Sienna LE as well as I like my 2002 T&C LX. :cry:
    The Sienna seems to have better performance, a more comfortable driver seat, and a more attractive interior.
    The exterior styling of the Sienna is NOT attractive. The Sienna trip computer is NOT as user friendly nor does it have as many functions as the T&C. The Sienna stereo controls are NOT as user friendly and the Sienna does NOT have separately controlled temperature for the driver and front passenger.
    IF I could roll the clock back, I would have purchased a 2006 GC SXT instead of the Sienna LE or a 2006 Odyssey EX we were considering. DaimlerChrysler minivans are just a better all-things-considered minivan.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    Hans,the Sienna has a good resale value. Have you considered trading it in on a new(or slightly used) 2006 GC SXT?
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Good suggestion. However, past experience has shown that there is a BIG gap between trade-in and retail prices. I need to find an individual that wants a very low mileage 2006 Sienna LE and then buy a NEW 2006 GC SXT.
    The Sienna LE has more power, gets better gas mileage, has a more comfortable seat, and a more attractive interior than the GC SXT but the DC minivan has better controls for the stereo, HVAC, windshield wipers front and rear, and has more attractive exterior styling.
  • mojdodyrmojdodyr Posts: 23
    well, while I do agree with you about exterior styling being more attractive on Chrysler's minivans, you do get to drive inside the van where Toyota has much better layout. I've been doing a lot of shopping lately - and Toyota does offer a much better deal for the money now. I will be buying LE 8 seater with package 2 (electric driver seat, automatic passenger side rear door, CD changer for 6 CD's with MP3 support) today. They had promised me to sell that van for 24500$ plus 299$, plus tax. It does come with 5 years/60k powertrain warranty. SXT would cost me 22999$ or maybe slightly less. No mp3 support, no 8 seats option, warranty of 3/36k only (had to replaced my transmission in GC SE at 48k). Their extended warranty for 7/70k would have cost me additional 2k.
    So, look like I am getting more reliable van, more options, much better depreciation for less. Am I missing something?
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    You are getting a better price for an LE-8 passenger with pkg # 2 than I did for an LE-7 with pkg # 2 and Option CF (carpeted floor mats/door sill protector that had MSRP $ 214). Don't forget that the GC SXT has power sliding doors BOTH sides, cast wheels with 4 wheel disc brakes, separately controlled temperature for the driver and front passenger that are NOT on the Sienna LE.
    I would prefer the GC SXT single CD with cassette player over my 6 CD changer with MP3 support since we have MANY cassettes but not many CD's and do NOT have an MP3 player.
    I agree that the Sienna interior is much more attractive than the GC SXT. It is NOT as user friendly. Specifically:

    GC SXT has a separate control knob for bass, treble, balance front/rear, and balance left/right while the Sienna has only one knob where I have to scroll thru the entire menu to change each function.

    GC SXT has 3 separate controls for the rear wiper and washer while the Sienna has the rear wiper and washer controls on the same lever as the front wipers and washer.

    GC SXT has separately controlled temperature for the driver and front passenger while Sienna LE has "one temperature fits both". (Each has a separately controlled fan and temperature for the rear heater/AC.)

    Sienna has a noisier fan for front HVAC.

    Sienna does NOT have 2nd row seats that fold into the floor. On both vans the 2nd row seats slide forward and back. The Sienna 8 passenger does NOT have arm rests for any of the 3rd row seats.

    The Sienna has a 5 speed AT and seems to have more acceleration than the GC with slightly better gas mileage.

    I hope my Sienna is as reliable as the 2002 T&C LX that I have been driving. My daughter has had no transmission problem in her 99 GC that has almost 88,000 miles on it and my sister's 86 Caravan had 170,000 miles with no transmission problems. ;)
  • mojdodyrmojdodyr Posts: 23
    Well, I was one of those lucky owners that had to replace transmission right after the regular warranty expired - enough said.
    As far as Sienna goes - just put it into the garage. I eventually settled for LE with optional package # 4 (BZ) which include 8 way power-adjustable driver seat, alloy wheels, Vehicle Stability and Traction Control, rear disc brakes, windshield wiper de-icer and CF options as well - I thought it was just a floor mats (MSRP of 242 from what I recall). That van does have a side airbags as a standard feature.
    I had paid 24.999$ plus 399$ processing plus tax (MSRP of 28.557$). I am not sure about Limited or SXT, but it just can't be compared to Dodge GC SE interior- and ride quality wise IMHO. And of course it is a higher priced van, but it was well worse it for me. Instrumental panel with those awesome colors - no more comments. :)
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Sienna LE interior is MUCH more attractive than the dull, plain looking GC SXT and the instrument panel of the Sienna is VERY attractive. The GC SE interior looks even cheaper. Door panels on EVERY door of all 2006 DC minivans look and feel cheap. I don't think the much more expensive T&C Limited interior looks as nice as the Sienna LE.
    I was just pointing out that the Sienna stereo and heater controls are not as user friendly to me as the DC minivan controls and the GC SXT has some features that I wish I had on my 2006 Sienna LE.
    However, the Sienna has a much more comfortable driver seat, better performance, and better fuel economy than DC minivans.
    What color is your Sienna?
  • aaron_taaron_t Posts: 301
    Anyone should be able to get at leas $6k off MSRP of a long wheelbase DCX van this month.

    Anyway, enjoy your new van.
  • mojdodyrmojdodyr Posts: 23
    It is Desert Sand Mica - beige.
    As far as 6k off of a DCX - that is true, but by the middle of the summer they will be going 10k below MSRP.
    And as far as stereo controls - I don't really care that much. What I care a lot is a mp3 player and CD changer - you can put 6 cd's with mp3 songs and would never have to replace them (well, at least for a while) thus eliminating the need of having CD's laying all over the place (well - yes, I am disorganized).
    I would never buy another car without mp3 player in it. And as far as cassette player goes - get real - those are things of the past. ;)
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    An excellent reason why I would prefer the GC SXT stereo system instead of the 6 CD changer with MP3 of my Sienna. I have many excellent quality cassettes that I would like to listen to while driving my minivan.
    I think Toyota is ripping us off by not including the separately controlled temperature for driver and front passenger in the Sienna CE and LE. DaimlerChrysler offers it in all long wheel base Grand Caravan and T&C.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "An excellent reason why I would prefer the GC SXT stereo system instead of the 6 CD changer with MP3 of my Sienna. I have many excellent quality cassettes that I would like to listen to while driving my minivan."

    Why not burn your cassettes to a CD? Or even convert them to MP3 files; you could probably get 10 cassettes onto a single MP3 CD.
  • neile457neile457 Posts: 65
    Which one should I get? I can get both for under $7500- The Sienna is loaded with leather and everything, but the Caravan has everything I need with the exception of rear tinted windows (which I can add). What would be more reliable and cheaper to own in the long run? Looking at signing tommorrow.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    Just buy an iPod!!!!
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    BUY the Caravan. The Sienna is more expensive but less user friendly than DC minivans. ;)
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    ANOTHER BIG HOAX started by Consumer Reports and others of the "Hate American brands" crowd.

    My friend is LESS pleased with his 2006 Sienna than I am. The Toyota dealer told him his 2006 Sienna LE now has a trade-in value of only :cry: $ 19,000. :cry:

    Looks like I better like my Sienna as the resale value is not very good.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Answers to your inquiry:

    1. I do NOT like the gated shifter on the dash as well as the traditional shifter on the steering column.

    2. I do NOT like the wiper controls on one stalk on the right side of steering wheel and much prefer the DC method of front wipers on left stalk and rear wiper/washer 3 buttons on the dash.

    3. DC has a better set up for cruise control but I am not pleased that DC deleted the lighting for all but one button on the driver's door.

    4. Lighting was better on my 2002 T&C LX than 2006 GC SXT. Sienna has lights at bottom of front doors and on rear jamb by each sliding side lighting is probably better in the Sienna than the 2006 GC SXT.

    5. I would prefer stereo of 2006 GC SXT to my Sienan 6 CD in dash changer with AUX input for MP3.

    6. I don't use the fold down arm rests but my wife likes the Sienna arm rests better than those in DC minivans.

    7. The Sienna sun visors are as long as the 2002 T&C were with the extenders. The 2006 GC SXT has NO extenders.

    8. I can't tell any difference in braking between my 2002 T&C LX with 4 wheel disc ABS and the Sienna with 4 wheel ABS with drum brakes on the rear. Both very good. I like the Sienna steering wheel feel better than either my 02 T&C or the 2006 GC SXT.

    9. The folding 3rd row seats of Sienna are not as well designed for folding as the GC SXT (or Honda Odyssey). However, the Sienna has the air intake for rear heater/air conditioner much higher on the right rear of cargo area than the DC which means I could load more items in the Sienna than the GC (or Ody) without blocking the air intake for the rear unit.

    10. Additional: The Sienna has a MUCH more comfortable driver seat than the 2006 GC SXT... and the 06 GC SXT driver seat is MUCH more comfortable than my 02 T&C. The 06 GC SXT power seat is more quickly adjusted in any direction than that in the 06 Sienna...but the Sienna has an adjustable lumbar support.

    The 2nd row Stow 'N Go seats are NOT as comfortable as 2nd row of Sienna (or Ody). There is NO toe space under 2nd row DC Stow 'N Go seats for 3rd row passengers. The Sienna (and Ody) have nice toe space under 2nd row seats.

    SUMMARY: The Sienna interior looks nicer, the powertrain feels more refined and the Sienna 3.3L is powerful than the 3.8L V6 in 06 GC SXT...BUT the GC SXT offers more nice, practical features than the Sienna (and Odyssey) for LESS money since DC gives nice discounts, rebates, and incentives.

    Sienna or DC minivan: MUCH different so if you like one, you probably will not like the other one. :shades:
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Hans, I'm with you in most aspects. I agree about the cassette player, I would also miss it, and don't see why a manufacturer can't offer it OPTIONAL - whoever don't need'em, don't take'm! I also hate the gated shifter, especially since it's gated PLUS going downwards - unlike sedans which is flat. I think if you want a dashboard-mounted shifter, the design of the (OLD?) Kia Sedona or Honda Odyssey is way better.

    However, I want to point out to you regarding #7 about the sun visor; True, the '05-06 GC has no extenders, but they can be adjusted, i.e. you can manually move the visor to the left or to the right, to block out the sun. It took me a while until figured it out, but once I did, I had no need for an extender anymore. Try for yourself and see what I'm talking about.

    I would still like a "secondary" visor, though, like many other vehicles have, in order to block the sun from front and from the side at the same time.

    Sienna also lacks lighted controls for door & window controls, but I think the controls itself has a better layout in the DGC, it's more logical and practical - but perhaps not as "SAFE".

    I also think that the 3rd row seat is much easier and more practical to stow into floor on the DGC.

    SUMMARY: I'm waiting for the next redesign of Sienna. I hope they fix and improve the few shortcomings, and I don't mind to pay a little extra for the "perfect" van.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Many of us preferred the pre-Stow 'N Go GC and T&C to the 2005/06 models but did NOT like the cheaper door panels and lack of nice options on the 2005 GC SE. :cry:
    DC should have copied the excellent Odyssey 2nd row seating for NON Stow 'N Go GC SE and the Caravan/ SWB T&C...made in Fenton, MO. Just put the nicer front door panels, 6 speaker AM/FM/CD/Cassette stereo, overhead console, 50/50 fold and tumble 3rd row seating, and cast wheels from the Caravan SXT as an option for the GC SE.
    It was much easier to remove groceries and other items from the cargo area of my 2002 T&C LX than it from my 2006 Sienna LE. Many of us consider passenger comfort more important than the additional storage with Stow 'N Go.
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