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Honda Odyssey vs Dodge/Chrysler minivans



  • dchoppdchopp Posts: 256
    Keep in mind that Consumer Reports obtains there data from Surveys sent out to their subscribers. They take no advertising either. One of my vehicles is a Pontiac Grand Am and it is a piece of junk and I informed them of it through the survey.
  • Please explain how ANY vehicle with a transmission problem rate of 5 to 9.3% could be rated as BTA.
    Only a non-thinking Honda lover will ignore atrocious transmissions. Transmission work is considered "routine maintenance" for a Honda.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    I'm not so sure about Honda, but replacing the transmission every 30-50,000 miles cetainly was part of the DaimlerChrysler van maintenance schedule from 1989-1999 or so.
  • EXACTLY ONE of dozens of DC minivans owned by people we know has had transmission repair. It is a 1996 T&C LXi used in a business to tow trailers larger than is recommended. That transmission failed at 150,000 miles....NOT the absurd mileage eneth loves to exaggerate.
    Three Honda Accords had transmission failure at FAR FEWER miles than this one DC minivan(of 7 owned by people we knew in March 1999).

    Go read in Odyssey Problems Forums here in the Town Hall to read of MANY Odyssey transmission failures which occurred with much less than 30-50,000 miles.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Our first one lasted 18,000 miles; another family we know needed three replacements before 70,000 miles. I don't know of a single owner of a pre-99 van who kept the car past 50,000 miles and did not need transmission repair or replacement. Same goes for everyone I've known with a first-generation LH car (or Dynasty/clone, etc.)

    Conversely, among all the Honda owners I've known, no one has had any transmission problems - problems with rust, and flimsy sheet metal bodies, yes. Mechanical trouble, no.

    So, individual experiences vary - but on the whole, the Chrysler 4-speed, circa 89-99, is one of the top lemon transmissions of all time, according to my friends and colleagues, and according to most sources (including a Dodge mechanic at the dealership were we bought ours; he said he wouldn't touch one with a ten-foot pole). Probably the only other unit on the road as bad as the Chrysler was was the Ford unit in the 91-95 Taurus/Sable/Windstar, which is just as failure prone (though at least Ford made some allowances for it, and publicly acknowledged the problems - Chrysler did back in the early 90s, but claimed a non-existent fix and never looked back).

    It looks like they finally fixed the problem - but in typical fashion for Chrysler, the fix took ten years, and no doubt soured enough people on buying Chrysler that it's a major reason why they're in such financial trouble today.
  • cavillercaviller Posts: 331

    "Please explain how ANY vehicle with a transmission problem rate of 5 to 9.3% could be rated as BTA.

    Only a non-thinking Honda lover will ignore atrocious transmissions. Transmission work is considered "routine maintenance" for a Honda."

    Do you really not get it, or are you just stirring the pot on this?

    Either way, I'll try to make it simple for you.

    1) I posted two details from Consumer Reports. The overall reliability rating, and the single-category problem rate for transmissions alone. I could have posted all the sub-categories, but it is time consuming and wasn't relevant to the topic. Please try reading the April, 2001 edition for more details. I know you've seen it; you've posted excerpts from it before to defend your position. Why you play ignorant now is still a mystery.

    2) The overall rating includes many sub- categories. Engine, A/C, brakes, ignition, body hardware; over a dozen in all. Presumably, a car rated Better Than Average has very low problem rates in most categories, though a few may be higher. You see, they average all the sub-categores to get the overall rating, then compare it to the average of all other vehicles.

    3) "Average" means average. Go figure. High or low, there are presumably equally many models worse than average as better than average. A grade school math text might help you with this.

    4) For older cars, the problems rates in many sub-categories may be high, but a car may still be better than average for that year. Again, average is an average. Presumably, older cars have a higher average rate than newer ones.

    5) Consumer Reports gets over 500,000 responses to their surveys a year. I suspect their results are far more statistically significant than your unscientific poll of a few friends and unverified usenet anecdotes.

    You are free to dismiss Consumer Reports if you like, but please be somewhat intelligent about it. Indeed, you may chose to remain "non-thinking" on this, or you can continue the desperate name calling.
  • Any vehicle with a transmission problem rate of 5 to 9.3% is NOT a better than average vehicle even if there have been no other problems.
    I have read many things about DC transmission problems but so far have actually met only ONE owner that had transmission problems. The vehicle involved is a 96 T&C LXi that was used for heavy towing and had the transmission fail at 150,000 miles. My sister's 86 Caravan had 170,000 miles with NO problems. My co-worker's 90 (or whatever...I am not sure) had 110,000 miles with NO problems. He did not even have a tune-up performed.
    When I actually meet someone in person who has had a transmission problem, I will then become concerned.

    I believe you, eneth and others when you say you had problems. Like you, I would be quite mad at any company that made a vehicle that failed me.
  • Granite Green with only 30 miles on odometer. I was very impressed with the power, ride, and quietness. The 2002 is considerably improved over the 2001. I have driven the 2001 Odyssey EX of my sister this past summer and the 1999 Odyssey LX-C in a test drive March 16, 1999.
    Immediately went to look at Sienna and was shocked at how expensive Sienna are for a smaller minivan with less power than the Odyssey. Also looked at Pontiac Montana and feel they are over priced when compared to the Odyssey.
  • dave210dave210 Posts: 238
    The often failed transmissions weren't introduced until the 1989 model year, and if I'm not mistaken, were only on the 3.3 V6, but don't quote me on that one.

    I've been lucky since my 1988 Grand Voyager didn't even have this transmission (but the van did blow a head gasket thanks to Mitsubishi) and my 1996 van only had less than 40,000 miles after a little less than 5 years when I traded it. Maybe it would have failed later, I don't know.
  • akin67akin67 Posts: 62
    I also concur with Carleton1's evaluation. We just traded in our 2000 Ody Ex for the 2002 last night. Just for the record we did not have a single problem with our 2000 Ody.

    The 2002 has the following improvements over 2000:

    1) Much quiter, inside and out

    2) Seats (at least the drivers seat) are far more comfortable and seem to have greater range. I am 6'2" and use the drive the previous vehicle with the seat pushed all the way back. On the new car that is not the case. It seems they changed the contour of all of the seats , they are all more comfortable in general.

    3) The ride has improved significantly, smoother ride yet does not seem to have compromised any in terms of performance (fast turns etc...)

    4) The new engine/tranny combo is amazing. I didn't push it (break in period) but travelling on the hwy at over 70 miles an hour the RPM was hovering in the 1800-1900 range. The shifts are so smooth you don't even notice and the extra power is noticable even without pushing it.

    5) Overall the car is more refined than before, fit and finish are perfect as expected from a Honda.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Well ran in to a ex fellow worker this afternoon as he saw me gassing up the wifes Odyssey. Asked me how I liked it and I said it's ok. First vehicle that we had never had a problem. He said his 01 Caravan got towed in with a busted trans. Now am I to use some of the logic here that I have 27 neighbors and all their DC vans had no problems so they are great vans. In that case I know one person with a DC van and his transmission went out so 100% of DC vans are junk?
  • The lady who test drove it just before we got there ordered a 2002 Mesa Beige Odyssey EX-nav-Lthr and was currently driving a Toyota Land Cruiser and a Taurus Wagon. She looked at the Sienna but felt it was too small for her needs.
    The man who test drove it after us was thinking of trading in his 2000 Granite Green Odyssey EX on a new 2002 Odyssey and was negotiating a trade when we left.
    Would you let us know how much the dealer gave you for your 2000 Odyssey EX? The caustic remarks made by dmathews3 add nothing to these forums BUT real world experience shared by a real person who traded in a 2000 Odyssey EX on a 2002 Odyssey would be very valuable.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    I just saw the movie "The Family Man" with Nicholas Cage that we rented on DVD the other night. I was pleased to see that he and his wife had choosen a bright silver 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan ES as their families mode of transportation. There were several scenes in the movie involving the Dodge.

    The interesting thing is, it is a fine looking automobile. I can't even count the number of reviewers, including Edmunds, who have said the same thing about this car. What I can't get over is that it is a mininvan! A minivan described as a good looking vehicle? Only DC, the makers of the Viper, Prowler, and PT, could create such a thing.

    I personaly feel the 1996-2000 model years were the best looking of the bunch. Although I still think the 2001 model DC minivans are still the best looking minivans on the market, right ahead of the 2002 Odyssey EX (I hate the LX as I think the abscence of the roof rack and the black trim is very ugly).

    Anyway, you just can't beat a Chrysler minivan in terms of look and style (example: Chrysler hides the sliding door hinge on their vans while many others, including the Ody, have them clearly in sight). In my humble opinion, of course...

  • dave210dave210 Posts: 238
    While the majority of the DC vans now have body color trim, and at most, a small black strip running along the side of the car, the 1996-2000 were the biggest culprit of unneeded black trim, which was there way to differentiate the $36,000 van from the $20,000 van.

    I never understood why up until 1999, Chrysler was still putting on black bumpers, thick black side cladding, black door handles, and a black roof rack. The white colored 1996-1998 Dodges and Plymouths were not pretty in my opinion. And the only thing they did in the 1999-2000 vans was take away the black door handles, which while good, was probably just a cost cutting move.

    On that note, the 1996 vans had many minor changes to them through out the 1996 model year. When they first came out, the Town & Country LX and LXi were given exclusive front doors with a good gripped handle to close the door and wood accents, versus the little hand pocket with vynil covering on the other models. The LXi was also exclusive to the map pockets on the front doors. Later on in the year and a half the '96 vans were out, the headrests were changed to half leather on the front, where before they were completely vinyl. The doors were also changed to the ones with a small hand pocket(I'm sure to simplify things)but kept the wood accent. The gold LXi pin stripe was also changed from one thick one, to two double thin stripes.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Those vehicles were furnished by DC for FREE. That was the only reason they were used. Not just because you think they are beautiful. They would have used Studebakers if they had been free. Everyone here knows that you think they are the best, but some of us don't, so if you're going to stir the pot, use something useful. Even I'd brag up DC vans if they gave me one, but since they didn't and I had to buy, we chose the best, and safest, and most reliable bang for the buck.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    dmathews, I'm sorry if you can't take someone talking possitively about how another mininvan on the market other than the Honda Odyssey without getting defensive and aggitated. I know the vehicles were given by DC for free as I doubt the movie makers would have gone out and purchased a near 33k dolar minivan.

    Yes, your right. I do think that DC minivans are the best on the market, at leat for us. And I don't get defensive and worked up when someone else says something positive about another car just because it isn't sitting in my garage.

    You can call it "stirring the pot" or whatever you would like, but that won't stop others from expressing their positive opinions on vans that are not Honda Odysseys.

  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    I have no problem with you talking about the DC vans, but you also seem to throw a number of snide remarks about the Odyssey, and as long as you continue.....................
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    You may have a big spoon but it seems as though mine is even BIGGER!
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    The only thing you have thats big is your ego. I have more time in the bathroom thinking about cars than you have been alive. I can't wait until you get old enough to buy your own car, and we'll see what you get. I doubt it will even be a minivan. Now the PT Cruiser that your folks have would be about the only thing DC has I would take a chance again on. But thats a cheap vehicle and if it turned out like other DC products I could get my money out of it.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    I am not sure what my first car will be. I really like minivans. I value their decent gas mileage (generally speaking when compared to SUVs), versatility, cargo room, and seating capability, among other things. But I don't know if I would want one for my first car, although I love driving our 2000 Town & Country, even when I'm by myself.

    The PT Cruiser is an awesome car, as one would expect from a vehicle crowned "Car of the Year" by Motortrend magazine. Its good looking, fun to drive, versatile, and is a great bargan when it's bought at MSRP. The interior and exterior is very well put together and the fit and finish is very impressive, especially when you consider how "cheap" the car is. You should hear the solid slammmmm when the doors are shut!

    As for my ego, it's not big at all. I think you would like me if we were to talk face to face. I'm just really amused by this whole spoon size thing you've started and so I'm going to play into that. Especially after you got all riled up after I said that I think DC builds the best looking minivan. I mean common, did that really get u THAT upset?

  • dave210dave210 Posts: 238
    While I do think the PT deserved it for its outright "look at me" appeal and it's great initial quality, Motor Trend kinda lost their credibility with me after rating the Chevy Vega MT Car of the Year two times in a row, only to have it rust out after two years and have the infamous backfire that almost killed my back seat passenger (a dog) when the whole rear caught on fire.

    Oh and for this years SUV winner...the GMC Envoy? Yeah ok.....

    Sorry, just a *little* bitter at GM, so I actually DO understand why some people dislike the Chrysler vans who HAVE OWNED troubled Chryslers. I owned a VERY troubled GM product that they never stood behind until law suit after law suit.

    While the transmissions may not be great (don't know, never had problems), that cannot compare to the near death experiencing I had with GM....but since I'm already off-topic, I'll save that for another day. :-)
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    Dave, I can totally understand why you have lost credit in Motor Trend and it's "Car of the Year" award. While I still have more faith in their ability to judge what's best, I too am a little confused as to why they chose the Chevy Trailblazer as the SUV of the year. I haven't driven one, but I have sat in a Trailblazer that was on display at a local mall. It was ok. But good enough to label it the car of the year?

    I don't know about that.

    Also, one more interesting thing about Motor Trend. The Chrysler minivans have been the ONLY ones ever made to win Motor Trend's car of the year award. That was back in 1996 when they were first remodeled. I wasn't into cars back then but the 1996 Chrysler minivans must have really blown past the competition in that year. I don't know of any other minivan on the market then that could even compare to the Chrysler vans.

    But of course, those days are gone. And as someone here pointed out, the increased competition in todays market will only make the products better and cheaper. Which, of course, is good for the consumer!

  • akin67akin67 Posts: 62
    Especially since Car & Driver (industry leader) Motor Trend, Road & Track and Automobile Magazine all have rated the Odyssey the best minivan in the market in their most current minivan reviews. And those reviews were for the 2001 model year where the DC vans had just made siginificant improvements and yet the Odyssey had almost no majopr changes from the 2000 model year.

    Can't wait until they review the 2002 vans. The Odyssey has addressed most of its previous shortcomings. Much quiter, much smoother ride, amazing performance and a great deal more refined than ever especially with the new leather interior. The already stellar safety in this vehicle has gotten even better with the introduction of side airbags, child safety seat latches and rear disc brakes.
  • Has anyone checked out the new Sedona?
    If cost was no concern, I'd probably go with the Honda, but. If one wants to save about $8,000, one may take a look at the Kia.
    The interesting thing with the Kia is it weighs like 4,700lbs. That's like 500lbs more that the Odessey and something like 700lbs heavier than the Dodge. With all the supersized SUVs on the road, every pound counts. Even though the Honda does decent in the crash test, it still tends to be a little light which may put it in a safety disadvantage.
    Another problem I see with the Odessey is the price. With the lack of availability, and inflated pricing, one could almost drive away with something about 10 notches higher like a Yukon. I hear people are waiting in line to buy these odesseys at over $30,000. Is something wrong with this picture?
  • On all the minivans. We currently own a '95 Safari. It seat 8, has ample room behind the rear seat and has a dismal crash rating. Then you have the mini's, The Sedona, Odessey and DC? seem to have a major seat issue. You either have a 7 seater around town or a 4 seater on vacations. The older DC's I know had flexible seating . rear into middle position. Does the Odessey or the new Caravans do this? I know the Sedona doesn't. To meet the needs of a typical family of 5 that goes camping and on other outings, they don't cut it.
    If the Kia wouldn't have made the major seating mistake like Honda did, I'd be driving one.
    As for the ABS thing, I not sure if this is a real good thing. If you ever hit gravel, ADS cars are almost impossible to stop. The rolling wheels keep going over new gravel. The Sedona without the ABS with all it's weight can likely put it's feet down in adverse conditions. Besides safety, this is another advantage of the heavyweight Sedonda.
    For now, I think I'll stick with the Safari until some larger minivans emerge.
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    Those auto magazine writers are normal human beings just like you and me. When they compare cars they do put in their personal feelings. If they like particular car/brand they would find nice things to say about it. In a recent C&R comparison between family sedans, Honda Accord ranked first, the writers wrote, "...The big black dials in the cluster are elegant in their purity. No other maker has the confidence to present machinery so simply...Interior feels a bit snug around the passengers' elbows compared with the others here..." If the two things mentioned about found in other cars, the writer would probably write, "...the big black dials in the cluster are oversized and boring and it shouldn't be in a $20K plus car...Interior feels a bit snug around the passengers' elbows compared with the others and this is bad news if you are buying a 4 door sedan to carry people."

    I am not trying to badmouth Hondas, the Accord and other Hondas are fine cars. I just want to point out that buyers should not purchase ANYTHING based on what they read...
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    We did NOT even look at the Sienna in early 1999 as Motor Trend had written that the Sienna is very nice but too expensive and too small.
    Although the Sienna is smaller and more expensive than comparably equipped Odyssey and DC minivans, the Sienna size is actually better for some people's needs.
    Read car magazines and also the magazine that test everything from toothbrushes to condoms to get ideas on features to consider. Compare, sit inside, AND drive all the ones you are considering. Each minivan has distinct advantages.
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    Sorry, C & R should be C & D (Car and Driver)
  • And probably the last time, but I came back and browsed and had to leave a couple of parting thoughts...

    Carleton1 - Your Chrylser product blew the head gaskets before 36K and you recommend it? Yes, I know you got it replaced free, but what if it had happened a month later and you only had 3/36? Lots of DC owners are in that predicament. Also, you post inflamatory remarks about Honda and about Consumer Reports and then ignore responses that factually refute what you state. you use anectdotal information to back up your claims and then refute or ignore anectdotal information from others. FWIW, here is some more... I recommended the Caravan to my older sister a few years ago. I can only hope to live long enough for her to forget that. It's her easy comeback in any discusion now - "Yeah, and you were sure about the Caravan, too.". My next door neighbor had one. When it was totalled, they got an Ody. My neighbor said "I felt guilty, because within a month of buying the van I hoped it would get totalled. Fortunately, noone was hurt." These are just antecdotes, so the 100% anti DC bias should be taken withe a grain of salt. Many people have had good luck with them and several lived through it.

    4aDodge - Why are you out here engaging in virtual arguments with a buncha old farts when you should be interested in fast cars and girls at your age? Not my daughters, though! Seriously, you need a bit more experience behind the wheel and behind the payment to be taken seriously here.

    Bye bye (this time I mean it)...

  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    You write you once more entered the fray. Why then, do all of the listings for what you have written in the Town Hall appear in this forum to trash DC?
    Why do you exaggerate and say my GC blew head gaskets when I wrote that it had a coolant leak and the dealer replaced the head gaskets the next day under warranty?
    Why do you not trust current Odyssey owners who are writing about problems with current Honda Odysseys in the Town Hall....yet you believe "Not Recommended for Purchase" CR as if it were the Bible or Quran?
This discussion has been closed.