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Honda Odyssey vs Dodge/Chrysler minivans



  • But I just didn't like my 2000 got rid of at 51000 miles Cara SE and was skeptical to buy because everyone told me to get the extended due to tranny problems AT 51000 Miles. Well when the tranny stated to go I thought the whole damn van should go so heres more. Ball joints bad, Rear wheel bearing bad, leaky coolant lines, broken power window motor (at 20,000). First and last dodge vehicle I will own. As far a car publications go....... Go ahead and let other people tell you things that you should decide on your own. I will agree with one publication that the Cara is slightly quieter. But you are way way off on handling. The ody has nearly 100 horsepower more than the dodge I owned and corners 10 times better. But again I myself decided that one. Publications are fine for factual information like safty ratings. (care to open a case for that one?) but when it comes to an opinion on comfort they can blow all the hot air they want. Its up to you if you want to let someone else choose YOUR opinion for you. As far as the rich ugly woman goes I guess you could say that was opinion. But then again if you want to look at your woman (your van) and can't see it just look in another direction and you will see 10 caravans driving by mostly the same color. Why so many? its called market saturation. They are popular not because they are reliable they are popular because there were a bazillion of them made. 6,000 cash back and zero financing and 2000 off invoice will sucker anyone into buying a car that loses mechanical functions at 50,000.
  • It's only 82 HP not 100. The SE caravan is the lowest line Dodge. You never mentioned what model Honda you bought. You probably never read the Honda transmission problems forums on this site as well as the Honda problems sites I'm not allowed to mention on this site. Honda, like DC, tried to use it's unmodified sedan trans in the larger heavier minivans, that are probably driven loaded, with passengers or cargo. DC has been improving the trans every year, and the number of problems has dropped. They now offer a 7 year 70,000 mile warranty on engine and trans. My 96 DGC ES went over 68000 mi without a problem and is now being driven by one of the Dodge salesmen who sold us our 03 DGC ES.
  • Dodge/Chrysler vs Odyssey?
    Dodge/Chrysler sucks. You must be a fool or just too cheap to buy one--like my in-laws. Stick with Odyssey or Sienna since they are the cream of the minivan crop.
    Dodge is a piece of crap.
    I thought everyone knew that.
  • pat84pat84 Posts: 817
    I owned a 96 Grand Caravan that I traded in on a 99 Odyssey EX.
     They drove differently. The DC drove more like a sports car. It had stiffer handling. The Ody drove more like a sedan. It was more comfortable and had relatively easier ride. The things I liked about the DC over the ODY were the heated windshield near the bottom where the wipers were in off position. All vehicles should have them. The stereo in the DC was so much better than the Ody which was pathetic. The roof rack on the DC was easily adjusted. You needed a torx driver to adjust the Ody rack. The DC had much more cargo spaces in the door area etc.
      I preferred the Ody one temperature setting heating A/C system. I liked the auto closing / opening doors. The drivers seat was electrically adjustable. The Ody had traction control. Even though the stereo sucked, I liked the steering wheel controls.
      I got rid of the DC at 72 k. miles with bad transmission .I drove it to the Honda dealer
      I had a Honda transmision cooler installed . That transmission failed at 68K miles. I was lucky to get it to the Honda dealer on my way home from work. It had no reverse.
      21 days and at the third rebuilt transmission later I got my Odyssey back. This was before Honda extended the warranty on the 99. They had extended it on all the other years. Honda did cover the $6000 plus labor quote my dealer gave me on a new transmission including trade in of the old transmission. That was quite different than the "it's out of warranty. too bad" story my Dodge dealer gave me.
       I did not expect Honda to cover a second bad transmission. I traded it in a week after I got it out of the shop. BTW both minivans were dealer maintained at all the appropriate intervals.
        I would recommend that a minivan be driven no more than 50 K miles before trading it in
  • "Dodge/Chrysler sucks. You must be a fool or just too cheap to buy one--like my in-laws. Stick with Odyssey or Sienna since they are the cream of the minivan crop. Dodge is a piece of crap. I thought everyone knew that."
     Hardly true!!!
    So you think all Dodge/Chrysler owners are fools huh! You think we are too cheap to buy an Odyssey or Sienna.
     Well let me tell you why I didn't buy an Odyssey. First I think used Ody's are to pricey. I prefer to buy a used vehicle over new because financial it makes better since to let someone else pay full price for it and if anything should go wrong in the first few years of ownership, they can pay to have it fixed.
     You save a lot of money when you buy a used Dodge Grand Caravan that is two years old and they are still pretty much new. Our 2001 Grand Caravan EX had 37,027 miles was priced at $26,670 without taxes brand new. When we purchased it this year, in September, we paid $20,923.24. This included all taxes, extended Maximum Care Bumper to Bumper Warranty to 75,000 miles or May 2007(which includes a $100 deductible per every visit, first day car rental up to 100 miles free and 30$ a day rental car allowance, $1,000 trip interruption and road side assistance which included sign and go towing and roadside assistance up to $100 each occurance), acid Rain environmental protection, environmental corrosion protection, sound shield system (applied under van to prevent underbody abrasion and sound shield), security system, rear cargo orginazer and free oil changes for as long as we own the van.
     What did you get with your new or used Ody for that price? I believe Dodge/Chrysler's are just as reliable as Ody's. I've read the problem forms and Ody's are having there share of problems if not more than the redesigned 2001 and up Dodge/Chrysler vans. As far as I'm concerned, Ody's Sienna have not proven to me that they are more reliable then Dodge/Chrysler vans. How many Ody's have made it over 100,000 miles with limited problems? Or 100,000 miles period? I like the slick style of the Dodge, the enterior is very comfortable in all seats and very appealing, everything about the van is family friendly (you can figure stuff out without the owners manuel), I prefer power and speed in an engine, the versitle seating arrangements, stereo/CD/Tape player and graphic equalizer, power sliding door and left gate, removable center console, safty features (four wheel ABS brakes, 3 ABS channels, 4 wheel disc brakes, driver and passenger front/side air bags, side impact bars, ABS and driveline traction control, six adjustable head restraints and height adjustable front and rear seatbelts, front seatbelt pre-tensioners and child saftey anchors in rear and third row seats), triple zone air/heat, 4 captain chairs and 50/50 split rear bench (I don't like the "Magic Seat"), over head console/storage, 4 12V DC power accessory outlets, overdrive trans., complete roof rack with cross bars, 8 way power driver seat, leg room in all seats, smooth, stable and quite ride.
     I don't plan on trading my van in either so i could care less about resale value.
     So if you want to continue to pay just about full price for a vechicle that is a few years old, go ahead. You want to spend all that money on a vechicle that isn't as perfect and reliable as many thought, to each his own. As for me, I am very happy and pleased with my investment.
  • You know I was just trying to start a little fun:)

    Personally, I would never buy an "American" brand vehicle just because I think they look uglier than hell on the inside and outside and because of their bad reputation in the PAST. Personally, I would much rather buy a vehicle made in Japan because I have always thought Japaneses in JAPAN have more pride in their work. Seems like most of us Americans just don't give a crap about our work as long as we got paid.

    But the name calling was just for my sick idea of fun. Now that it's Friday, I apologize for any offenses:-)

    I know better than to think I'm smarter than anyone else. Just having fun.
    But I do think my in-laws are stupid:-)

    I just think American Car companies are unwise compared to Japanese companies.

    Back when I was in college, I first heard that Lexus had bought a design from an American in California because none of the American car companies liked it!
    So a Japanese company was willing to be open minded and bought the car design from an American.

    I just think Japanese companies are more wise and more open minded. They do a lot more research on consumers and give the consumers what they want.

    I do truly wish that Chevy, Ford, Dodge, Buick, etc. got all the car awards instead of any of the Japanese or German companies. I do.
    I'm an American and I would love for ALL things American to be the greatest in the world.

    Unfortunately, it's not so.

    Hey, my stereo component system is made right here in the good USA! It's not Sony, Pioneer, Kenwood, etc. It's Acurus and NHT.

    Another complaint: Why is the NAV screen on the Japanese cars like 6-7 inches, but on the Chrysler it's 4 inches? That sucks.

    They just don't look right to me.

    Have a good weekend.
  • I've owned three Grand Caravans that were good vehicles overall. One had horrendous brake problems that I lived with for 3 years until I discovered a "silent warranty" and had the entire brake system including ABS replaced for free. Another had the run of the mill transmission failure at 40,000 miles. This on a vehicle that never towed anything and had almost all highway miles. I finally switched to a new 99 Odyssey because of the folding back seat. I've put 275,000 miles on it and the only non routine repair in that time was a burned out rear wiper motor that went last week.

    Having spent hundreds of thousands of miles in both I can tell you they are so close in overall performance that most people couldn't tell one from the other if the name badges were removed. That's no surprise, who do you think Honda studied the most when designing the Odyssey?
    But quality is still an issue for DC. The new van is supposed to be available in March with all fold flat seats. Tempting, but until they match Honda and Toyota for long term quality (as opposed to the virtually useless statistic of intial product defects) DC will continue to struggle and their customers will continue to take in on the chin at resale.
  • drwilscdrwilsc Posts: 140
    Hey Andrew, how long do you think you'll keep your 03 Odyssey? Think you'll be tempted by the new 05's?
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    If the 05 Ody has a 42" wide screen NAV screen, I am sure Andrew will be standing at the front of the line!:)

    Note DC is raising the bar on "magic seats". They are calling them "stow and go". Early introduction 05 model will have both second and third row fold completely flat into wells in the floor (unlike Nissan's semi-flat floor), and third row is 60/40 split for maximum flexibility. To be introduced early next year. There are links posted in recent discussion in the "Are Chrysler Minivans falling behind the Minivan Competition" Edmunds discussion.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    A magazine reporter is hoping to interview a driver who bought his/her car since 2001 and has a favorite interior feature (factory- or dealer-installed) that makes the whole car seem more enjoyable and well-built. (Examples: outstanding seat comfort, dynamic stereo, convenient storage pockets, high-quality leather, functional cupholders, etc.) Please send your brief comments, vehicle model name and daytime contact info to no later than 12/17/03.


    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • I think you should stop making statemnt that would offend or insult other people and later said "I was just tried to be funny". You've made the same statement about people who bought DCVan product being cheap before and it wasn't funny then. As I stated before, paying more is not equal to getting more.

    If you want to buy a van that is built by Japanese workers, you better not buy a Ody because they aren't built in Japan. Even the great Lexus is being made in Canada.
  • I'd like to speak to the quality and longevity of the Caravan. I'm currently driving the 1987 Dodge Caravan SE that my folks bought new. It now has 149,000 miles on it -- and neither the transmission nor the Mitsu V6 has been rebuilt. Other than changing the tranny fluid and filter, the transmission has been 100% trouble free. The engine has had a couple of new timing belts for preventative maintenance and a few standard tune-ups. Yes, it puffs smoke when pulling off from a stop because of bad valve seals, but it doesn't use much oil. Other than a few bad sensors and CV boots over the past 17 years, it's been a perfectly reliable vehicle.
  • No posts directly comparing the 2005 T & C vs the 2004 Odyssey from what I can tell in this list. I for one, waited on my minivan buy until 2/14/04 to see the new 2005 T&C which hit locally on 2/12/04. I'm a firm believer in innovation driving this market (two sided sliding doors Chrysler/ Honda Magic Seat), but I take issue with the compromised seat comfort I encountered on the 2005 T&C. They also compromised rear seat toe room as well. From posts elsewhere in the Edmunds site, I see many others concur with my thoughts on this, buting 2004's because they provided better comfort at a lower price to boot. It will be interesting when Chrysler fends off its first lawsuit for whip lash from the incredibly low second row head rest positions. Yep - they can be raised up - but many will forget and I hope none suffer injuries because of it. Hey this is America - if they can successfully sue companies for making fattening foods, they certainly will get Chrysler on this design change. Also, they offered side curtain air bags as an option and not standard like the Quest. I guess I was hoping for more. At least offering the side curtain air bags is a one up on the Odyssey. Even the initial literature made no mention of head and leg room in the stuff handed to me by he dealer, maybe they didn't do so well there.

    In the end, I took a 2004 Odyssey when I had to lay the money on the table.
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    the headrest is there for you to raise it if necessary...same goes with the seatbelt, it is there for you to buckle up.

    I agreed with you on the toe room though.
  • My husband and I are conflicted about our next van to purchase. We have a 1998 Caravan Sport with 76,200 miles we are trading in for $3500. We our torn between a 2004 Honda Odyssey for $24,057 includes tax/tags. or buying a 2003 Caravan SXT with just 7,120 miles on it for $15,300. The used van comes with 8yr/80000 mile Power train warranty, road side assist and rental care reimbursement for a covered component for the full 8 years.
    We've had to replace heads on our 1998 DC at 67000 miles. Paid for pretensonor to be replaced for the belt and are currently getting subtle signs the transmission is going. I know DC vans have bad resale value and reliability issues. Looked at sites for the Honda and there were transmission, vibration and brakes issues with it. Not sure if these problems are fixed for the 2004. Not sure if we should spend the extra cash for the Honda plus have a loan or just buy the DC Van for cash. Any thoughts greatly appreciated.
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    depends on how much you will need to pay for the loan and even though the resale value of DC van is not good but you are saving over $9000 now. So I would guess the cost for you to own the Ody and the DC would be the same if you decide to sell it in five years. So it's all depends on which van you would like to be sit in everyday.
  • rbell2rbell2 Posts: 180
    Be careful assessing the amount of problems a car or van may have by looking at posts on websites like Edmunds. I would use a more reliable/statistically sound source like Consumer Reports. The Honda Ody has fared much better than the Caravans for reliability. The poor reliability with DGC is why CR will not recommend it.

    I bought a brand new '96 DGC and put 114,000 miles on it before I traded it for a new '03 Ody EX-L. The DGC served us well - only about $800 of non-routine maintenance costs but I did have to make several irritating re-call trips and a few irritating problems during the full warranty period. It was a comfortable car. By the way . . . the reason we got leather on the Ody was because the leather seats were much more comfortable than the cloth seats.

    Good luck with the decision.
  • hayneldan - Thank you for the information of the maintenance/recall/tsb site for edmunds. This is what I found.
    The 2003 Dodge Caravan has had 3 recalls and 31 TSB.
    The 2004 Dodge Caravan has had 2 recalls and 7 TSB's already.
    The 2004 Honda Odyssey has zero recalls and zero TSB's.
    That is quite an eye opener. We just might strain our finances $5000 dollars to buy that Honda afterall.
    Thanks to all for the input.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    You stated earlier there was a $9k difference in price, not $5K.

    TSB's are not necessarily indications of problems, they are just issued as Technical Service Bulletins, (hence the name) to their dealers on how to deal with certain issues that may not be covered in their standard maintenance manuals.

    Also, beware Honda does not release TSB's to the general public, which is unlike all other manufacturers. (Do they have something to hide?)

    I would think long and hard about spending that much more money just to get an Odyssey. You can save that money and use it for any maintenance issues that might arise and if they don't arise, you still have the $9K. $9K can go a long ways for repairs, and it looks like the Caravan is covered by an extensive warranty anyway.
  • impact01impact01 Posts: 95
    I agree with badgerfan that TSBs are not necessarily an indication of a problem. Also, some here would like to believe consumer reports to be the reliability bible, but their statistics can only be used as a rough guidance, because their surveys are not scientific. JD Power is more scientific than CR.

    But, if I read your message correctly, you're looking into a short wheelbase caravan and a 2004 Odyssey?. You should also look into a 2004 Sienna CE with package 3 (curtain airbags, stability control etc.) with an invoice of $23.4K/MSRP $25.7K. Since Honda is updating Ody this year, you may lose some of its value fast, but with the Sienna that will not be the case if you can get a good deal up front. If resale doesn't bother you, I would go with the 2004 DGC SXT almost fully loaded available in some places for under $20K new. Odyssey tends to be rougher/ noisier for people moving from Chrysler because Honda doesn't isolate the ride.
  • spartanmannspartanmann Posts: 197
    I've driven both the DC and Ody extensively. I would disagree that the Ody is rougher or has poorer ride characteristics. It is noiser at highway speeds because of a poor job by Honda on wind noise suppression. Something they never bothered to improve upon, although that might change with the new 2005.

    If you plan to keep the van a long time, then you need to take a long hard look at comparative reliability records.

    If you plan to own 4 years or less, you need to take a long hard look at resale value retention.

    The trade-off may be worth it if the DC van is thousands less.
  • mrblonde49mrblonde49 Posts: 626
    It would be even more of an eye opener if you actually looked at what the "recalls" were for.

    4 of them are for aftermarket replacement fuel filters that happen to be used in the DC vans. Which you wouldn't need for a very long time, long after the recall isssue was resolved

    The other one is for a lightbulb in a 3rd party running board

    In other words, in things that actually matter, the recall score is REALLY: DC 0, Honda 0.

    I'll leave the rest of the cost/benefit analysis up to you, but from where I'm looking, the recall situation is a draw
  • impact01impact01 Posts: 95
    When I say Odyssey rides rough, what I mean is that its ride is not well isolated like the DC/Toyota Vans. My 93 T&C was prone to wind noise at highway speeds, but with the Odyssey it is more of road noise too. This is true of all Honda models not just Odyssey, that Honda wants to give the driver a good road feel. Some like it a lot but if one is used to DC comfort this should definitely be considered. YMMV.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    The NHTSA reports 5 TSBs for the '04 Odyssey. I don't know why our data is different since I think we get it from them. Here's the link but you'll have to drill down to the make/model.

    Steve, Host
  • If you are in the market for a short wheel base minivan, I would take a hard look at the Mazda MPV, which gets rave reviews, handles exceptional well, and is considerably less than the Honda - many ads for under $20,000 in Chicago area papers recently and will hold value very well. If you have occupants of any size in the 3rd row, they will be much happier in the Honda/Toyota/Nissan versions than the short wheel base Caravan, the MPV, or even the Ford Freestar. If this is the long wheel base Grand Caravan you are referring to, it seems like a decent deal.

    With just 7100 miles on it, you have to wonder why someone parted with it? Was it in an accident? Did you get a CARFAX on it? 2004 Grand Caravan SXT can be had for $20,500 or less, but they are going fast.

    If 2003 Caravan SXT is accident free I have to agree that the nine grand in the pocket seems like the way to go. I had the ultimate van lemon - a 1995 Ford Windstar and even with very poor reliability managed just $5000 in non-routine maintenance over 125,000 miles, but repair costs are very low in rural wisconsin and transmissions (Dodge's biggest issue) tend to be expensive.

    The $24,000 price tag seems too high for the 2004 Odyssey. I assume you are looking at an LX. Invoice is $22032 + $540 destination. Many posts in the Honda Odyssey prices paid are showing invoice or less for shrewd negotiators. $23,000 is the maximum you should pay. Thus, I think $1000 comes off the Ody price.

    Last thought - Honda doesn't have the side curtain protection yet, but do score better in safety versus DC, which I think scored average in crash tests.

    Either is probably not a bad buy - go with your heart and never look back.
  • Thanks for advice. The 2003 Caravan is certified by Dodge and my husband checked it out and got the CARFAX report and all seems to be okay. Still we both lost our guts to buy it and told the man NO yesterday. Can't get by the fact someone would sell a van after only 7100 miles. Anyway, we are hoping for a great deal on 2004 Caravan STX, got a price of 18,590 plus tax and tags. We're hoping to "steal" one out the door for 20,000 with all fees included. Time will tell.
    We did check out the MPV, my husband thought the ride was rough, stiff and too narrow inside and did not want it.
    We got two prices on the Honda Odyssey one was 24,600 out the door with all taxes and fees included. The other was 22,799 plus taxes and motor vehicle expenses. The atmosphere in the Honda dealerships were not one of desperation to sell the 2004 before the new re-models come out. They do not budge much, then again they don't have too. Quality Product, at a price too high for us. We realized we were selling stock, bonds just to get the Honda, and it you have to do that you simply cannot afford it. We will buy a Dodge 2004, hopefully for a great price.
    Thanks to all for your inputs and advice.
    unless you like misery please buy the honda. I am on my second grand caravan (did not learn from first mistake) transmission last 60000 miles, ac evaporator leaks every 39000 miles, transmission leaks repair twice, oil leaks, replaced brakes on front every 30000 miles, replace axles and cv joints due to vibration at 50000, car eats tires no one can say why, my cassette player broke under warranty and is now broken again, belt makes noise and has to be replaced every year. I spent over 1500.00 dollars so far this year and my ac evaporator is leaking again. $1050 to repair, guess it is going to be a long hot summer. Trade in value is only 4000.00 so I cannot afford to get something else. I will never buy American again
  • mrblonde49mrblonde49 Posts: 626
    You don't say what year your car is, but the newer DC minivans are much less troublesome. I know of 3 other people personally with 2002 or later vans that have reported no problems. As in ZERO. I just bought an 04 T&C 2 months ago and it's been perfect.

    And what's the prblem w/ changing brake pads at 30K miles? Seems about right...
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    Wasn't sure were to post about this, but we are looking in the future to purchase a DVD Entertainment Package for our 2001 GC. I have seen after market units at Best Buy and Circuit City which cost a couple hundred dollars less than the dealer. I am concerned as to the look and convince of where the DVD unit will be stored and the quality of work and equipment used. I have seen the Dealer installed unit in the 2004 to where as the DVD unit is in the dash board and the flip down video screen is in place of the over head light and rear heat/ac controls in the second row. I would appreciate comments of those that have dealer or after market installed DVD Video Units. How do you like it? What are some features that are on one opposed to the other? How much did you pay with labor? Do you still have the rear ac/heat controls and overhead light in second row? Where is the DVD unit located? Any problems?

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