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Honda Odyssey vs Dodge/Chrysler minivans



  • ed12ed12 Posts: 100

    You brought up a good point that confuses me. I just saw the annual CR buying guide. They did indeed say that the quality of the Chrysler minivans is slipping. Yet, if you look at their repair records, the Chrysler minivans show almost all solid circles, indicating the highest reliablity.

    Can anyone explain this?
  • bdaddybdaddy Posts: 171
    "the Honda still feels a bit more ungainly and heavy than the seemingly more nimble Chrysler van."

    Good point Hayneldan, but rather subjective I would argue. I've driven both vehicles - my opinion is that the Honda has the superior handeling.

    My point with this comment was to 1) revive a dying thread and 2) demonstrate one facet that is contributing to the demise of US atuomakers.

    2002 will see just 4% fewer vehicles sold than the all time record set two years ago, yet domestic auto makers like DC, will post a loss. UAW contacts are set to expire in 2003. Domestic automakers, like DC, who had planned on bringing innovations to the marketplace in 2004, will have a difficult time doing so with increasing downward price pressures brought about by these contract negotiations. Don't count on innovation from the likes of DC any time soon.

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    DC said the other day that they were ramping up to make 4 million vehicles a year over the next nine years, and were basing that projection, among other things, on new model introductions bringing new customers in the door. link. (Car & Driver).

    Sounds like innovation to me, from the company that pretty much invented the whole MV category.

    Steve, Host

  • cavillercaviller Posts: 331
    Odyssey edged the Grand Caravan in Consumer Reports' emergency handling maneuver, but only by 2mph.

    On the other hand, the new January Motor Trend gave the edge to the GC in their slalom run by 1.3mph. That review gave Odyssey a nice edge in acceleration, 1/4 mile and turning circle, though GC was better in braking.

    Overall, I'd guess handling is pretty close, and opinions of it will vary a lot by personal preference unless you have professional drivers and a course like CR or MT...


    "I just saw the annual CR buying guide. They did indeed say that the quality of the Chrysler minivans is slipping. Yet, if you look at their repair records, the Chrysler minivans show almost all solid circles, indicating the highest reliablity. "

    The latest CR information online shows that the GC had below average reliability from 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000 and 2001. Grand Caravan was average reliability for 1998, 1999 and 2002. Odyssey had average reliability in 1999 and 2000, and above average reliability for 1995-1998 and 2001-2002. The overall ratings are the average of the circles you mention. No check mark at the bottom of the table indicates below average, a black check mark is average and a red check mark is above average. The online ratings are updated from the 2003 Buying Guide, and also include 2002 model year data. The problem may be that the Buying Guide is in black and white, unlike the April auto issue and online. So, a solid circle in the buying guide is actually the worst possible rating, while a circle full of horizontal stripes is the best (see page 181). The black and red circles in the magazine reports are much clearer.

    Even so, keep in mind that CR states that new car problem rates are only 0.2 problems per vehicle over the first 12 months. Even with a rapidly increasing rate, it would take years for a below average vehicle to have even one more problem than one that is above average...

    Have a safe new year, all.
  • bdaddybdaddy Posts: 171
    "DC said the other day that they were ramping up to make 4 million vehicles a year over the next nine years,"

    Lofty goals I'd say, especially with the uncertainty in the market and unrest in the middle east and now N. Korea. Couple in some very tough negotiations with the UAW and it may mean lots of cars sitting on dealer lots. Good for consumers - maybe. Keep in mind that in the last contract with the UAW, automakers accepted a "no plant closing" clause that kept plants open and allowed laid off auto workers to receive 95% of their pay when laid off. Doubtful that kind of language will stay in the new contract. It could be a very long year for US automakers.

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I think it's already been a long year for the automakers the last two months :-). I'm no auto analyst, but DC has been counted out before. They've managed to earn a reputation for nicely designed and riding (maybe even performing) vehicles, and their dependability rep also seems to be getting better.

    But your point is well taken - in fact, I don't know how the automakers are going to get all their current production absorbed in this "flat" economy (not to mention that Honda is eating away at DC in the vans category every quarter).

    If the Kerkorian lawsuit succeeds, all bets are off (DaimlerChrysler could even be broken up).

    Steve, Host
  • tastetaste Posts: 37
    have to chuckle at the ego boxing matches that go in some of these forums...and the Minivan segment is definitely tends to harbor those with a more jocular approach to their favorite.

    The GC and the Ody are BOTH very nice Minivans. It is very difficult to assess which is better (so to speak than the other) as they are not apples to apples comparison...more like a comparison of pizza...e.g. some will swear the Deep Dish is the best others like thin crust. Yes some pizza is better (e.g. fresh ingrediants, sauce, etc..)than others but mostly it comes down to personal taste.

    I wouldn't trade a better sound system for better crash test ratings in a Mini as it is our primary kid transporter, however in my sedan I probably would because kids rarely ever ride in it.

    As for sluggishness and other features I am sure you can argue both sides and find believers in both...

    Really what I see when I read these boards are DC/T&C Owners trying prove their Mini is better because they are insecure that it isn't or insecure in their choice while the Ody owners tend to dismiss ANY other Mini as inferior to the heralded Ody because the Ody is BMW status symbol of Minivans when other Minis may be the better choice to those who purchased them whether it be features, price, size, etc...
  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    >Sounds like innovation to me, from the company that pretty much invented the whole MV category.

    VW begs to differ. I've heard rumors that they had minivans in the 50's. In fact, they also know something about the double sliding door thing since they were also doing that in the 1950's. After all, once you invent the sliding door, as VW did, it was easy to do it again on the other side. Too bad they cannot make a minivan capable of even competing these days.

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Well, I had a '69 bus and an '89 Caravan. The flat floor of the Caravan was a big plus, esp. at the rear gate, and I liked the FWD better. I personally lump the older VW's in more with the full size vans - nothing much in front of the driver and there's a lot of volume inside. I think the minivan style is different enough to call it "new" even if it's derivative of older stuff.

    I like the Axxess style too, at least from the windshield back (it is a bit wedgy up front).

    Steve, Host
  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    Ody is BMW status symbol of Minivans

    Chuckle, chuckle. Hard to think of any van as a status symbol. I always thought of the Odyssey as the....Honda Accord of minivans.

    (Scene: Country Club)
    Ohhh look, Lovie, a Honda Odyssey. He can park in the euro sports sedan section.... No wait. It's an early 4 cyl. Odyssey with cloth seats. He'll have to park with the Chevies and the Caravans. At least it's not a Kia. The service employee parking lot for Kias.
  • tastetaste Posts: 37
    Agreed there is no "status symbol" driving ANY mini however my point was more related to minivan world than as a comparison to other (non) minivans. If you read through the threads as I have it comes across very similiar to BMW threads where others take similiar shots/comparisons to Bimmers but in the end the Bimmer is the benchmark they are always comparing other comparable cars against. It may be irony but it is eerily similiar on the Ody versus other van threads. Just one persons opinion only worth the 25 bytes of info it is posted on ; - )
  • If only BMW did make a minivan! Even the best minivans have a "cheap" feel to them if you're used to driving a BMW.
  • Auto makers use BMW as the benchmark in sports car/ sedan.

    DC Van (NOT ODY) is what auto makers use as the benchmark in minivan
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    DC does have quite lofty goals. You forgot to mention that this year the domestic cars (not including vans ans trucks) will be outsold for the first time by the imports. And that trend is not going to end esp. with the impressive sales of Toyota, Honda, Nissan and even Hyundai.
  • From your post, "Really what I see when I read these boards are DC/T&C Owners trying prove their Mini is better because they are insecure that it isn't or insecure in their choice while the Ody owners tend to dismiss ANY other Mini as inferior to the heralded Ody because the Ody is BMW status symbol of Minivans when other Minis may be the better choice to those who purchased them whether it be features, price, size, etc..." My experience on this board is, Some Odyssey posters are NOT very knowledgeable about the automotive field, and tend to post incorrect information or opinions on DC vans with no basis in fact. Odyssey the BMW of minivans? I have driven both, and the Odyssey ain't no BMW, in ride, handling or interior quality. On the other hand it does not cost as much as a BMW either.In the movie "Get Shorty" the rental agent tells John Trovalta that they don't have any Cadillac's to rent but he can have a Oldsmobile Silhouette the Cadillac of minivans. Maybe that comment helped kill the Olds, I hope yours does NOT do the same for Odyssey.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Dtownfb, that's ok. Neither DC or Honda are "domestic," right?

    You gotta believe that Hyundai/Kia is giving everyone else heartburn. Nissan's new full size truck can't be helping "Detroit" either. I don't read much buzz about the new Quest but the new Sienna must be worrying Honda and DC. Good for us consumers!

    Steve, Host
  • bdaddybdaddy Posts: 171
    Neither DC or Honda are "domestic," right. - Steve

    Nothing is truly domestic anymore. If the parts aren't sourced, then the labor is and vis versa. Lets not forget about ownership either. Last time I checked, the D in DC stood for Daimler. BTW - Honda and Toyota are the only Asian imports that are still going it alone (not that it matters).
  • tastetaste Posts: 37
    Good to see the board liven up a tap ; - )

    Sorry Tomtomtom but the Chrysler Minis were the benchmark UNTIL the release of the Sienna in the late 90's. That was the benchmark until the Ody came out. Argue as you may (and I certain you will) but the ODY is THE benchmark today. Whether or not you agree every major publication and crash test survey agrees.

    As for a Mini driving like a Bimmer..err, um,,, well that was not the intent of my post (to compare the Mini against the Bimmer) it was to extrapolate the Bimmer standard in Sport Sedans to the Mini field ;-)
  • Sorry Tasty, but you are now lumped into the Dmatthews and Bdaddy category of Odyssey posters with incorrect information. The Sienna may have been rated number 1 by one publication at one time, but it was never called the benchmark. Right now the "benchmark" minivan is the Odyssey due mainly to its cargo space carring advantage, and the Magic Seat, which Ford and DC will copy in the next revision. The magazines seem to all agree if you value the convienience of the magic seat, and haul big items between people carring tasks, and don't want the inconvience of removing and installing the rear seat, buy the Odyssey. But if it's a smooth and quiet ride and a plethora of comfort options you desire, The DC topline is the way to go. Let's not even go to the subject of Honda quality that's not as good as their sedans. BTW have you ever sat in or driven a Sienna? Its a size 42 regular, and I'm a 46XL.
  • There are a bunch of 2002 T&C Limiteds in our area still on the lot. I know the 2003 has a $2500 rebate. Any thoughts on what a 2002 T&C Limited should go for?
  • dave210dave210 Posts: 238
    I'd say anywhere from $28,000-$29,500 tops.
  • tastetaste Posts: 37
    Granted one could argue the point as to whether or not the Sienna replaced DC as benchmark minivan however it is fair to say that when the Sienna came out it at a minimum raised the bar and imho became the de facto standard until the Ody was released. In 2001 it was expected that the DC Mini's would take back the "benchmark" status from the Ody but in extensive research of this subject I have come to the "subjective" (e.g. my opinion) conclusion that the 2001 DC restyling was feature rich and shrunk the gap but did not displace the Ody; empirically and anecdotally I believe the evidence is overwhelming. It will be interesting to see what Toyota does with the new Sienna. It would be my guess if they do it right the 2004 will displace the Ody as the benchmark...until the release of the 2004 Ody redesign. Either way the bar for all Mini's will be raised with the upcoming redesign's of the Ody and Sienna...
  • I am not going to argue with you, taste. Anyway, Toyota does have a newer Sienna/ Previa for other countries and they do look better (styling) than the one we have in here.
  • bdaddybdaddy Posts: 171
    "but you are now lumped into the Dmatthews and Bdaddy category of Odyssey posters with incorrect information" HD

    Do people who don't agree with you get labled as posting incorrect information? What have I posted that was incorrect?

    "But if it's a smooth and quiet ride and a plethora of comfort options you desire, The DC topline is the way to go." - HD
    You sir, are now lumped into the Adam (4adodge) category of adolescent posters who think a minivan has an "agressive stance." Give me a break. It's a van, and not even a very good one, not a living room sofa. I can't wait to see the redesigned DC offering with the magic seat and host of other innovative options. We all know what trouble free first year models DC is famous for producing. I can't wait for the problem thread to start ticking on that baby.
  • tastetaste Posts: 37
    Never thought we were arguing. What would be the point of posting our thoughts if they were all the same??
  • hayneldanhayneldan Posts: 657
    You probably don't remember post 2161, the comments on the ride quality were not mine but Edmunds testers. Your assumptions in post 2188 are all wrong too. 1. I am NOT an adolescent 2. I never made a comment about "agressive stance" 3. your comment "It's a van and not a very good one is based on.......? 4. Your assumption on the trouble free 1st year models is a guess on your part. The PT Cruiser one of the latest DC new models was one of the most trouble free ever. You know what they say about assumptions. You prove my statements with every post. P. S. The 99 Honda Odyssey was no tulip either, if you bother to read the problems board. :)
  • bdaddybdaddy Posts: 171
    All I did was "lump" you like you lumped me. You claim I only post incorrect information. That has not been the case. I admit, I am wrong from time to time - who isn't, but I do not make it a habit to perpetuate false statements and opinions not based in fact. Lets leave it at that and discuss vehicles instead of our mutual admiration of one another.

    As for DC, I'll admit I'm no fan, although I have driven plenty of their MVs. Can you say the same about the Odyssey?? My dislike of them stems from the FACT that Chrysler made bad cars and bad decisions. They would have/should have gone out of business for it except the federal government decided to bail them out. Then Daimler Benz comes along and... well, you get the picture. I'm not fond of companies that receive a bail out from taxpayers (you and me) and then allow controlling interest to go to a foreign entity.
  • hayneldanhayneldan Posts: 657
    "My dislike of them stems from the FACT that Chrysler made bad cars and bad decisions. They would have/should have gone out of business for it except the federal government decided to bail them out." " made bad cars" what year were you referring to? 1958? the year of the Aspen and Volare? The K car? This is 2003! The old Chrysler Corporation paid back the government loan, ahead of the scheduled due date. Name another big corporation that did that! You should stick to praising Odyssey's instead of posting inaccurate information on DC.
  • bdaddybdaddy Posts: 171
    "This is 2003."
    Absolutly - correct by 2 days! My point is that they should have been gone, burried in this capitalistic society. If you think they repaid their debt and they're "square" you're mistaken. Many states passed along subsidies and tax breaks for AMC and Chrysler. Lots of $$$ got flushed in the deal Dan.

    I don't get it? You start the volley by saying I post inaccuracies and then you're quick to quote Edmunds when it suits (praises) your vehicle of choice. Do you chose not to believe sources like Edmunds, Car and Driver, etc. when they proclaim the Odyssey as the best in class? I've driven both vehicles in question (you didn't reply to my question on this I see). The DC vans were OK - just not for me. I've said this before. I didn't like the exit/entry because my head kept hitting the A-pillar. The rake of the roof positioned it right next to my left temple. I was uncomfortable with that aspect of the van. The Odyssey roofline isn't raked as much and provides me with more head room - that's one of the reasons I bought it. That and the fact I didn't want to be left with a residual value of less than one half after 4 years. I've driven every minivan out there except Kia. None were "bad" and I imagine I'd have been happy with just about any of them. There's different models to suit different needs. Where's all the innacurate information that I've posted on DC? Do you work for them or something?
  • dkrabdkrab Posts: 77
    FWIW, reading all these posts, I find the inaccuracies fairly evenly distributed between the two warring camps. Neither side has been flawless.

    Engines: Honda has a great 3.5L V6 engine. Easily better than the DC engines, both their 3.3 and 3.8. Honda engine has more power, equal or better mpg, lower emissions, all on regular gas. Until DC puts their newer 2.7L and 3.5L engines in the vans, Honda wins this battle hands down.

    Transmission: tossup. Both shift smoothly. Honda has 5 ratios, DC has 4, but both now have reliability stains. I like the fact that you can change the filter on the DC transmission, but the Honda transmission has no serviceable filter.

    Interior functionality: Honda has the advantage here. The fold-flat third row seat is a significant advantage by any standard. The deep well into which it stows also increases cargo room significantly when the seat is upright. Park both side by side, open the tailgates, then make note of which would swallow more stuff. DC offers split rear seat, making it possible to remove only half the rear bench, so if you need to haul 5 people and big cargo, you can, but that doesn't make up for the obvious advantage of stowing the seat in the floor. In the Ody you can fold it up, load it up all your vacation luggage, drive to your destination, unload, then flip the seat back up and taxi all your relatives around. It's such an obviously good idea DC should have copied it immediately. DC offers more features such as three-zone AC, outside temp readout and compass, adjustable pedals.

    Safety features: advantage Honda. Better crash test results, and standard side-impact air bags. On the DC, crashworthiness is very good, just not as good as the Ody, and side impact airbags cost extra but are available.

    Build quality: Honda, but not by much. Metal edges better finished in the Honda, and most interior materials, particularly the seats, look a bit more durable in the Ody. Plastic interior parts in the Ody have fewer rough edges. On DC, front door handles you pull on to open the doors have rough mold lines you must touch to pull on it. However, the paint quality on the DC is better. Paint appears thicker and deeper, and the metallic layers are more even, less mottling. Door jambs are finished in body color, whereas on Honda they only have an overspray of finished color on top of a base color, leaving an unfinished appearance. DC also has slightly better door panel gap evenness, especially around the sliding doors. DC body panel contours match up better between the front doors and the sliders. Sliding doors function better on the DC, both the manual and the electric units. Honda has had a great deal of trouble with their electric sliding doors, and their manual sliders have a reputation of getting stuck closed (although this latter issue can be addressed by keeping the gaskets lubricated).

    Serviceability: Honda appears easier to work on. The engine is accessible from all sides. On the DC, the base of the windshield is too far forward, causing the engine to be tucked up under the leading edge of it. This makes it very difficult to get the the back side of the engine to change spark plugs. Best way on DC is to put it on a lift and get at the backside from underneath. Oil filter on both is very easy to reach. Oil drain plug on both is a bit difficult, but Ody has about an inch more ground clearance, making climbing underneath it slightly easier. Belts and accessories are easier to access on Ody because the engine bay is bigger and isn't packed as tightly.

    Drive: Advantage DC. It's quieter. The Ody may handle a wee bit better in slalom and evasive maneuvers, maybe due to it's independent rear suspension (DC has solid rear axle on leaf springs), but it isn't by much. Honda has way too much torque steer for a modern FWD design (at least mine did), and is too prone to "bump steer," a characteristic where the steering is redirected by bumps in the road. Honda also suffers from high sensitivity to road crown and ruts in the road, making driving the van a chore. It could be argued that these are tradeoffs made to get better steering feel and road feedback, but Honda has done a much better job of retaining road feel without these unwanted traits in the Accord. They should be able to do it in the Ody as well. The DC van is just more pleasant to drive. It's steering is slightly on the numb side, but it does provide some feedback from the road without the excessive torque steer, bump steer, and wandering the Ody suffers from.

    Cost of ownership: advantage Honda. Strong resale value makes cost of ownership lower. Even if you plan on keeping the van for a decade, it could still be an important consideration should the van get totalled or stolen. You never know! Or you may find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of needing to sell it for financial reasons. It's always better if the assets you own depreciate as slowly as possible. The unknown in this is how the better supply of Odys will affect resale value of those already on the road. You can now reasonably expect to buy an Ody for less than MSRP, where that was not the case 18 months ago. Resale value will likely slip as a result, but it would have to slip quite a bit to be as poor as DC's. Justified or not, DC resale value is not one of it's strong points.

    So, what's important to you?

    Excellent, powerful and reasonably economical engine? very versatile and flexible interior with excellent cargo capacity? Very good engine bay layout? Lower cost of ownership? Worthwhile safety features? Honda has your van.

    Quiet ride combined with good handling? More available creature comforts? Better paint finish? Fewer current ongoing, unresolved problems such as erratic power sliding doors? DaimlerChrysler has your ride.

    Price may be the determining factor. The supply of Odysseys is not as tight as it once was, so in some areas of the country you can possibly get as much as $1000 or a bit more off MSRP, and not have to wait months to get it. DC vans are sticker priced higher, but have much more profit margin and frequently have rebates, allowing much more negotiating room. It's likely you can get a similarly equipped DC van for a bit less money than the Ody.

    On another note, Volkswagen was the first car company to put a scaled down van into passenger vehicle service, which is essentially what a minivan is. They just didn't have the marketing intuition to sell it as a "minivan." They called it a "microbus" instead. Just because it was not FWD and the engine was in the back makes no difference as far as the intended service the vehicle was designed for. It was primarily a people-mover, second use was commercial, just like the Chrysler vans. It was derived from the Kubelwagen, same as the Type I (Beetle).

    Happy car shopping!
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