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2008 Minivans



  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    I've seen a lot more empty nesters in Buicks than minivans :P
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    OK, it's a good article so I suggest buying it if you don't have a subscription, but I will offer up a quick summary.

    First, though, I have to say it, Car & Driver simply loves Honda. Either that or Honda has the best PR people and just know how to butter them up. The Ody wins mostly on subjective measures.

    Example: Sienna and GC are quicker in every single acceleration test, yet the Ody uses the most gas. And by a significant amount - just 16 mpg for Honda. This is for the model with VCM, imagine without VCM! Dodge managed 18mpg, and Sienna got 19mpg.

    Nissan and Hyundai got a suck-OPEC-dry 14 mpg. Embarassing. And the Nissan wants premium fuel, by the way. Save up that gas money.

    Toyota wins all acceleration tests *and* is the most efficient. It's the lowest priced, the lightest, the most powerful, most cargo behind 1st row, most cargo behind 2nd row, most cargo behind 3rd row, most cases of beer behind 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rows, and widest cargo area. Powertrain score is a runaway first place.

    Of the 3, the Ody also has the highest price.

    They knock the Toyota in "fun to drive" and "gotta have it", both subjective. Also, if they had picked an XLE they would get better tires to even out performance, even though skidpad grip actually tied the Honda and beat the Dodge by a wide margin. :sick:

    The only thing it did poorly on that was measured objectively was the lane change. Braking was only so-so, as well. Again, though, better tires would help here at least a little.

    They even complain about a hard to fold 3rd row, yet Toyota offers a power folding feature within the price range of the other vans. :sick:

    Dodge did well in acceleration, fuel economy, and was the quietest at 70mph cruise (someone here called that - kudos). Brakes and skid pad let it down, but oddly the lane change was tops.

    Let's just say that depending upon what your priorities are, any one of these three could arguably be considered a winner. :shades:

    I really wish they had tested a Sienna XLE (or use an Ody LX).
  • hause7hause7 Posts: 153
    Did you just get your C&D in the mail?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yep, got it today.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Good Summary.

    As a current owner of a 2006 Sienna LE and former owner of a 2002 T&C LX, I am ready to buy an Odyssey (primarily for BEST seat comfort and BEST designed dash to prevent glare).

    I agree that the Odyssey is the MOST expensive and the Sienna has the MOST power at the lowest price. :shades:
  • carcom2carcom2 Posts: 212
    So now that you all read the review or summary, what are you going to buy?

    Maybe it's just me, but the other day I looked through the window of a new 2007 or maybe it was 2008 Sienna locked in the dealer lot. I used to think this van was like a Lexus inside when I first saw it not that many yrs. ago. Now it looks a bit dated. What's your opinion? Maybe I'll have to take one for a test drive.
  • carcom2carcom2 Posts: 212
    Thanks for the summary.

    "Dodge did well in acceleration, fuel economy, and was the quietest at 70mph cruise (someone here called that - kudos). Brakes and skid pad let it down, but oddly the lane change was tops. "

    As I've mentioned in other posts, the T&C that I drove with the self-leveling suspension drove much better, tighter than the GC without the SLS. Do you are anyone else know if the brakes might be enhanced with the SLS. I think the skid pad #'s would be better with the SLS. Would you agree?
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    I thought basically the same thing...very subjective article. Actual numbers don't matter much. I also believe there's bias as many of the C&D staff worked for one of the Big 3 at one time. I know Frank Markus worked for Chrysler for years and at car club meetings, never had anything good to say about them.

    I've got the itch for a new van though realistically, I should forget it as my 2005 had 21,000 miles on it and I have no problems etc.... I guess I just like to look, keep up with new technologies etc... I built a T&C limited last night...about $37k!! OUCH Then a Oddy EX L w/nav/dvd etc...that was $36k!! Both would be too nice to haul dogs and go camping hanging on to CG SXT
  • artgpoartgpo Posts: 483
    When we bought our 2006 Odyssey, two years ago next week, we were driving a 2003 Silhouette. We test drove the Sienna XLE and were off put by its floaty ride. Yes, the Sienna was very nice inside and had a couple of features it would have been nice to have, i.e. power lift gate and three zone auto temperature control but we could not get past the ride, it floated worse than the Olds. After about a minute sitting in an Odyssey EX-L we were convinced. The test drive sealed the deal.

    We haul mainly ourselves but do put a child seat and infant seat base in the van. The easy of installation and removal is excellent. Having seats that would swivel and face outward to load the kids would be a bonus but having seats facing backward is definitely a puke generator. It is relatively easy to enter the third row seats and it is comfortable back there. We are taking a long road trip soon with four adults and I anticipate no difficulties.

    Our Odyssey has 34,000 trouble free miles and is 24 months old.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    A reporter is interested in hearing from parents who own a 2008 minivan. Please reply to by Tuesday, October 9, 2007 and be sure to include the make and model of your minivan and the age of your kids.

    Edmunds Manager UGC Click on my screen name to send a personal message. Need help navigating? Check out Getting Started in Edmunds Forums.
    Need help picking out a make/model, finding inventory, or advice on pricing? Talk to an Edmunds Car Shopping Advisor

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Thanks, hans.

    Note they actually picked the Sienna for best 2nd row comfort, and while Ody took 1st row honors the Sienna offers the most space in the front row.

    carcom2: I already bought an 07 Sienna. The article reinforced my decision in a big way. 0-60 in 7.2 seconds and 19mpg? First at both? For me, right there, it's Game Over. :shades:

    It's the whole paradox. Quickest and most efficient, how'd they do that? Over 100,000 miles, getting 19mpg instead of 16mpg means you save $2961 at $3/gallon of gas. Nearly $3 grand! And remember, that whole time, it's quicker.

    Note that for what I paid I could only get an Ody LX, which would have had no VCM and less sporting wheels and tires. Even if I has stretched the budget by $1600 to an EX I would still not have gotten VCM. 16mpg is bad enough.

    I look at these interiors as purposeful. None are what I would call attractive. The shifter sticks out of the Sienna's center console like a tree growing in the middle of nowhere - but I have to admit the design functions very well.

    Minivan designers seem far more concerned about where you put stuff, and making everything accessible, and most do a great job at that.

    Very good point about the self-leveling suspension. If it reduces nose-dive, IMHO then yes, that would help braking, as less weight would shift forward, the rear tires could offer more stopping power. A flat stance would also help handling.

    Dennis wrote: "Actual numbers don't matter much".

    I have a problem with C&D doing that. Why bother measuring if the numbers don't matter all that much?

    They rated the Ody 8/7 for handling/ride, while the Sienna got a 7/8. That seems like a fair trade-off. And the skid pad results were identical.

    I actually choose the quiet ride over the handling intentionally. The quiet, comfortable ride is ideal for the kids to sleep peacefully in the back on those long trips.

    When I want to go canyon carving I take my Miata. :shades:
  • hause7hause7 Posts: 153
    What do they mean by floaty ride? It sounds like a good thing to me.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    Exactly!! Chrysler killed the competition with their minivans early on because they were based on a passsenger car chasis and had "car like ride", while everyone else based their minivans on trucks etc..
  • artgpoartgpo Posts: 483
    It was my wife's comment "What the heck is with this thing?" when I brought home a Sienna for a test drive. The van bounced and pitched like a small boat on the water. It was not this one single van because I drove several other Siennas. For those of you used to Detroit iron you would probably not find the drive offensive. The Odyssey was (and still is) tight and handled wonderfully. That combination was a deal maker.

    "Exactly!! Chrysler killed the competition with their minivans early on because they were based on a passenger car chassis and had "car like ride", while everyone else based their minivans on trucks etc.."

    What competition are you taking about? When Chrysler came out with its mini there was only one other, the terribly unreliable VW Vanagon. The Vanagon rode like a boat so anything was an improvement. As you have admonished many times, please stick to the facts. Chrysler will tell you in its advertising that it "invented" the minivan but VW had a Microbus out in the '60s.

    I am not an automotive expert nor employed in the business but I have owned, new:

    1983 VW Vanagon (air cooled 9 passenger model, rarest of the rare).
    1987 Nissan Van (bought back by Nissan under a recall. Yes, Nissan bought every single one on the road back from its owner after several years of ownership)
    1990 Pontiac Trans Sport a wonderfully useful vehicle
    1994 Dodge Grand Caravan the creme de la crap
    1997 Ford Windstar once again, a very useful, reliable van.
    2003 Olds Silhouette had lots of potential but horrible frontal crash rates. I must have been temporarily insane at the time of purchase.
    2006 Honda Odyssey EX-L The best minivan ever.

    In between and during I rented a bunch of Chrysler minis by virtue of using Dollar and Thrifty from 1995 through 2006.

    Seven different vans and lots of personal experience. I only relate what I have known to be the truth.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    What competition are you taking about?

    Up until the mid 90s, there wasn't any real competition, you had Ford/GM with truck based Minivans, you had Toyota with mid engine vans, Nissan had some mini minivan, and Honda had a station wagon. The combination of FWD, car chasis, good MPG, decent ride/handling and space took Chrysler's competitors over a decade to figure out. Look at the Winstar and how long it took Ford just to copy Chrysler's formula, Then Honda, after studying the market, slammed it out of the park in 1999.

    Sure VW invented the minivan with their bus but it never became mainstream like Dodge's. It was loud, slow, poor handling etc....I've owned a few air cooled VWs. I could claim my old Corvair coupe invented the ponycar because it was the only thing with bucket seats and manual tranny and was selling great in 1963, Ford noticed and that's history, hence the phrase "ponycar".

    I wouldn't use any rental car as a basis for an opinion/judgement...rental cars are abused, base models period. I would also put things in perspective i.e...your insane comment about the Olds? At the time, what were other's crash tests or reliability? It's easy to look back with 20/20 vision. 5 years from now you'll probably post you're driving the best minivan ever again because of progress.
  • bobber1bobber1 Posts: 217
    What amazes me is how long it took the competition to copy Chrysler. It was obvious they had a winner from the start when they came out with the Caravan. It was at least 10 years however before anyone had anything that was even close in features. Chrysler has lived off that initial inertia for a long long time. While they're still number 1 it's clear the competition has caught up and they keep chipping away at Chryslers sales. Their new model looks pretty good, but they're playing catch up with their major competitors.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    2002 Chrysler T&C eX or Grand Caravan eX ;)

    Honda and Toyota were NEVER viable alternatives until they copied the Chrysler size and layout. Chrysler minivans are still the BEST BUY for comfort and convenience at a reasonable price...NEW or Used. :shades:
  • hause7hause7 Posts: 153
    It must have been the Sienna you drove, our 04 has no bounce and the build quality is still there. I like the way our Sienna handles, it can carve through the mountains like an Odyssey if i wanted, but i didn't buy it for that reason. Well hope you enjoy the Ody =]
  • artgpoartgpo Posts: 483
    At the time I bought the Olds there were much safer choices on the market. I finally snapped out of my coma on October 3, 2005, the day I bought the Odyssey. ;)

    My son and daughter-in-law went van shopping again today. They borrowed my Odyssey and took it to a Toyota dealer for a test drive of an '08 Sienna XLE. Their opinion was that there was not much difference between the two vans except that the Sienna seemed to have a shorter turning radius. They are leaning toward the Sienna at this point.
  • hause7hause7 Posts: 153
    Good job on snapping out of your comma :P lol, yeah the Odyssey and Sienna are both good vans :D . I got my issue of Car and Driver and the Ody was number 1 because of handling and the Sienna was number two, they loved the engine, it won every performance test.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    There really isn't that much difference, you saw Car & Driver gave the Ody an 8 and the Sienna a 7 for handling. Plus, reverse those scores for ride - they scored Sienna higher.

    There's no question the Toyota leans towards comfort, and that's what I wanted - a quiet, comfy ride so the kids can relax on those long trips.

    The turning radius is amazing. C&D didn't test for that but Consumer Reports did. The Sienna turns tighest among all vans, but it also does a tighter U-turn than the Subaru Forester it replaced, which is amazing because that's more than 2 feet shorter.

    VW? The Vanagon was big, not really a "mini". It will be interesting to see what they do with the Chrysler platform.

    As for the minivan formula, let's not kid ourselves, Chrysler invented it, perfected it, tuned it. Competitors were wise to finally copy them. Does anyone actually miss the old Ody with 4 swing-open doors? Or the mid-engined Previa? About 12 people.
  • Probably not in the market, at least right now, but took at look at a combo Honda/Toyota dealer today. We're using my dad's 2006 Grand Caravan SXT since my wife's car is in the shop, so that is my point of reference for minivans at the moment.

    Right now, Honda dealers are really dealing...the Prices Paid forum for the Ody is showing EX and EX-L's going for 26ish which strikes me as an excellent value. I will be interested to see the 08 freshening...I can see why the dash needs it in the Ody, its a little tired looking.

    Great feel up front..more room than the 06 GC for the driver. Not crazy about the Ody console but it is convenient.

    Looked at a "base" Sienna XLE...more expensive right now, of course. Not crazy about the type of fake wood. Like the three zone auto climate...Ody gets it for 08. Also good driving position.

    Tough to rank the two without driving them...high hopes for the Sienna engine and Ody handling. Styling wise I probably would take the Ody, but that's not a driver. If/when we went one, it would probably depend on what the best deal is at the time, particularly when certain options like Bluetooth are factored in.

    I might look at the 08 GC/TC, but probably wouldn't buy. Not impressed with the build quality of the 06, driving dyanmics, steering, powertrain, etc are all subpar. My dad loves his van for utility, and it was a great deal...SXT for $21k when he bought it new. But reliability means a lot to me, and my experience with vehicles has indeed tracked with what CR finds--the American cars that my family has owned have had major problems and ended up being ranked below average, and my Camry and my mom's Forester have been absolutely perfect.

    I would note that in terms of reliability, sometimes its not just a part that fails, its how the manufactuer handles it. For instance, Toyota has already redsigned the Intermediate Steering Shaft on the 07 Camry. When my made a bit of a noise, I brought it in, there was a TSB on it, it was replaced with a totally redesigned part that Toyota is now putting in 08s. And that was the end of works perfectly now, etc. Contrast that to my last GM 45k miles, it had FOUR steering shafts...including two within 5k of each other. See, it was a faulty part...and GM never replaced it. They just kept putting the same part in over and over again until your car is out of warranty and they don't have to pay for it.

    Its a lousy way to treat customers. Its like they just don't care. Now its not relevant to this discussion because GM doesn't make a minivan, will be a long time before I ever buy another GM product.

    So the focus on recalls really isn't the whole story. Hopefully the new Chrysler philosophy will be better, it worth taking a chance with 25+k?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The trim on the LE and CE is interchangeable, if you don't like the plood (it's plastic).

    I agree with your early impressions - Toyota wins for the powertrain, Honda for the handling.

    The new Dodge falls in the middle for both, if you believe in C&D.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    I finally got my Nov issue today. It's obvious the C&D team only cared about handling and nothing remotely what most Minivan buyers purchase their vehicles for.
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    If the Sienna is $3k cheaper, has more passenger space, more cargo space, more std safety features, is faster, and more efficient, would you take that over a 10-15% handling advantage?

    C&D has slipped, a lot, over the past decade. :lemon:

    But they've always contradicted themselves, especially when it come to 10 Best.

    There comparisons are useful in that you can draw your own conclusions, in case their's makes no sense.

    Which is often enough. :(

  • mfletou1mfletou1 Posts: 508
    Right now, regardless of MSRP, the Odyssey is running quite a bit cheaper than the Sienna. 07 Ody EX-L's with sunroof, heating seats, and leather are going for around $26 even. You can't get a Sienna with that level of equipment for that price. Not even close.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    My 2001 Chevrolet Blazer LT now has 125,000 miles with no significant problems. My 1993 Ford F-150 pickup has also had no significant problems.

    As stated before, my 1970 Dodge Sportsman van was THE WORST vehicle I have ever owned but I was completely satisfied with my 2002 T&C LX. :shades:
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    how much more pass/cargo space does the Sienna have over the Odyssey?
  • artgpoartgpo Posts: 483
    Yesterday my son purchased a 2008 Sienna XLE with EVP#1, a couple minor options and the "Extra Mile Pkg". I went and negotiated the deal for invoice minus holdback.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    What's teh "Extra Mile Pkg"?? Warranty adder?

    I noticed in C&D the Sienna was LE model? That's the base? Guess Toyota couldn't find a closer match for C&D?They put that up against an EX-L Ody? The Dodge was middle of the line for Chrysler.

    For me I was impressed by Chrysler's quietness of their Dodge van, The T&C has even more sound insulation in it, so I would expect slightly better noise insulation - It's kinda important for me, that plus a great stereo with Ipod connection :)
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