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Honda Odyssey vs Dodge/Chrysler minivans



  • stoltziestoltzie Posts: 15
    When we started shopping for minivans two years ago, the DC dealers used spare tire placement as a selling point and that Ody owners would have to place a dirty full size tire in the van.

    We test drove a couple DC vans and really liked a lease return Grand Caravan ES. The salesman was too much of a shark for my taste and was really low balling our trade so I told him I would think about it. Next day the Honda dealer calls and had a cancelled order for an Ody LX. We went with the Ody and have no regrets. They gave us a better price on our trade and charged MSRP with no add ons.

    So about that spare tire. First of all, extracting a DC spare tire requires retreiving it from the undercarriage of the car, which strikes me as being messier than pulling a donut spare from the spare tire well behind the drivers seat.

    Second, I can count three times in 14 years and over 250,000 miles of driving where I had a flat that required me to mount a spare. Tires have improved so much that some new cars have no spares. For add security, I do carry a can of Fix O Flat, which I had in our old Taurus wagon (1 of the three cars I had to mount the spare) which would only accomodate a full size rim in the third seat foot well, not the spare tire well on the left side of the cargo area where the donut resides.

    Third, yes the Honda has a plastic bag to house the flat and also the flat can be bolted to the floor in the rear cargo area until it can be fixed.

    So each design makes compromises for a perceived customers needs. We like the magic seat and for us to bring cargo, unload and then carry passengers offers us the flexibility the Caravan couldn't provide. If the Odyssey hadn't been on the market, then we would have purchased the Caravan.

    So look, research and spend your money on the vehicle that offers you the best utility and piece of mind. That's what the Ody offers us.


    PS My older brother has a '92 Caravan 3.0 Ltr with 120,000 miles. No major problems.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    And it has performed flawlessly. We would be driving a 1999 Odyssey LX-C if there had not been a 5 month waiting list in March 1999 and would have loved the Odyssey as we would not have known the many comfort items it lacked that we got on our GC SE. That is, assuming that the Odyssey had lived up to Honda reputation for reliability and had run perfectly as has the 99 GC SE.
    We would buy another GC SE today instead of the Odyssey if we could get the good deal and get a perfect GC. However, at MSRP the Odyssey is a much BETTER buy than a GC at MSRP. My sister and brother in law will soon be ordering their Taffeta
    White Odyssey EX based on my recommendation and explanation of advantages of each. I suggested they also consider the Sienna which is also a very good minivan.
  • fly6869fly6869 Posts: 17
    With friends and family discount coupon {2% below invoice} and recent graduate discount of 400$ the Town and Country is the obvious choice for me. Have three children in car seats so Magic seat is not of much use. Now just waiting for EX to be delivered to closest dealer..OH. resident.
  • carelton1,
    Why do you keep pasting the same message over-and-over again?
  • odd1odd1 Posts: 227
    The Mazda mpv is not close to the Odyssey. Look at safety and size before you make such a claim. Sorry you guys can't sell your MPVs, Tracy Dalton at Alton Blakely Honda.
  • h20guyh20guy Posts: 64
    You must be new to this page, carleton1 has always loved both Ody and DC and defends both tooth and nail. I agree with him most of the time.
  • garcia2kogarcia2ko Posts: 16
    Chose the Odyssey EX over the Grand Caravan for a few reasons:

    1. Didn't like pricing of GC. Gotta have option EC if you want RB and so on. The price kept growing, too.
    2. The magic seat. Oh yes, this was a seller for me. I've removed considerably lightweight rear seats from a CJ5 and Bronco, and it got to be a pain every few finding a place to put it. The thought of lifting a XX lb seat out of the GC wasn't exciting.
    3. Reputation of the Chrysler transmission. I just couldn't take a chance on this.
    4. Resale. I don't plan on selling this for many years, if ever. But if something comes along we've "got to have," I'd like to unload a minivan with some residual value.

    We've had it almost a year and driven just about 10K (not much, huh?) and love it. Even the elec. sliding doors are great. Everyone's choices and needs are different, and these were ours.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    As you pointed out that both Odyssey and GC are very nice minivans (in my opinion). I do not like to see either one bashed as each has great merit. We love our GC SE and some features BUT...I do not like the fact that my GC SE is now worth MUCH less than a 1999 Ody LX even though MSRP was much more:
    Consider these facts for 1999 GC SE and 1999 Ody LX:

    VAN ....MSRP....Actual Price...Trade-in NOW...Depr.
    GC SE..$27,490...$22,590.........$16,242......$6,348

    Trade-in now is average of 2 internet sources.
    Notice the depreciation of 99 GC SE from MSRP is a whopping $11,248 ! Ody is a mere $3383.
    Yes we love our 99 GC SE and it has been perfect...except for the perceived value. These facts tell me that apparently my GC is FAR BETTER than the average but who knows? Based on many reports, the odds of my transmission failing are much worse than are the Odyssey.
    If my GC runs perfectly forever, I made the best deal as my initial cost was $1025 less than for the Ody LX...BUT, if I want to trade for a newer vehicle, the Odyssey would have been a far better deal. The retained value plus the deletion of Trip Computer on all but most expensive DC and the need to get a more expensive DC to get same power as base Odyssey simply cause me to state I would now get an Odyssey instead of a DC minivan. The Odyssey standard engine has MUCH more power than 3.3L of DC while delivering better gas mileage.
    Wake up DC...switch to the Magic Seat and offer 3.8L V6 for every DC.
  • Usually imports will have a higher resale value, but you must factor in the actual purchase price of the vehicle. Ody's were in short supply in 1999 and dealers were getting thousands over msrp, which is not indicated in your actual price figures. I don't think a 99 Ody. only depreciated $3k in 2 years from the actual purchase price. Trade in value can vary depending on the area you live in and is not factored in on internet priceing.
    No matter what the product it's always supply and demand.
  • but i don't see any posts about it:

    is it because this forum is only for the GC Sport and not the ES? anyway, this is really about the dodge grand carvan ES but it reads like a comparison between it and the honda odyssey. and, to think, i thought edmund's was really tough on their long-term review the ody!

  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Compare the remarks about the excellent Toyota ECHO and the less desirable Ford Focus. Read the distorted long term test of the Odyssey where they rant and rave about the old station wagon 3rd seat "fold-into-the-floor" trick as if that is THE only feature people need.
    NOTHING is mentioned about the inferior Heating/Air Conditioning system of the Odyssey EX compared to a GC SE. Imagine, NO separate temperature control for heat/air for driver and front passenger in the Odyssey! No quality stereo with DC AND Cassette Player.No heating coils at base of windshield to melt ice and snow.
    The Odyssey is a VERY nice mini van and priced fairly at MSRP. It has most of the necessary features as standard equipment with a nice powerful, economical 3.5L V6 also standard. The Odyssey is the ONLY minivan to have rear air conditioning AND separate rear heater (with separate blower)as standard equipment on every passenger minivan. The "Magic Seat" is nice when you go to Home Depot and need to haul home a dozen sheets of sheet rock.
    .....BUT: Why doesn't Edmunds notice how much quieter a DC mini van is than the Odyssey like virtually every other reviewer? Why didn't Edmunds notice the lack of Dual Zone Temperature control for driver and front passenger? Why didn't Edmunds notice the Odyssey did not have a Trip Computer like my 99 GC SE has? Why didn't Edmunds notice the lack of a quality stereo in Odyssey that is in my 99 GC SE?
    Edmunds has provided a nice service with the Town Hall and pricing guides but as a source of accurate information on vehicles, Edmund's reviews fail miserably.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    There's some biographical info on the various editors here (yep, one drives an '00 Ody EX). Lots of them own late 80's cars interestingly enough (maybe they get to drive new models every day?).

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  • scannerscanner Posts: 295
    Doesn't the 2001 DC minivan owner's manual advise that the transmission is self-calibrating and precision shifts will develop within a few hundred miles? Usually, reviews will mention how they liked the way that Caravan's smart transmission adapts.


  • scannerscanner Posts: 295
    that they paid $29,970 for their 1999 test Odyssey, which is $1,405 less than what they paid for their 2001 test Caravan that includes side airbags, leather, power passenger seat, heated mirrors, heated wipers, heated seats, four wheel disc brakes, power hatch, 17" wheels with full size spare, top of the line stereo, and a tow package? Plus, why did Edmunds' "let" the dealer keep the $1,000 rebate?

  • egrandegrand Posts: 14
    I am admittedly a Chrysler fan (3 minivans including current '01 T&C) but must agree review was extraordinarily biased. The automatic remote rear hatch opening and closing feature is called a "gimmick"??? I can see arguing the benefits or lack of benefits of a magic seat. I can see that some would rather have a more reliable car than a car with more luxurious features. etc. etc. How anyone who has kids, buys food, etc sees this feature as a gimmick is beyond my comprehension. We have 7 minivans on our block (only 2 are DC) Everyone comments about the incredible utility of this feature and how it will most certainly be in every next generation minivan. This review in addition to many others I have read undermines the credibility of the Edmunds editorial staff in my mind. Elliot
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    All reviews are subjective in one way or another - calling the power liftgate a gimmick is biased against Daimler's vans, just as praising them to the skies, and ignoring their abysmal reliability and quality history is. Read as many reviews as you can find - somewhere in the middle, lies the truth.
  • egrandegrand Posts: 14
    eneth I agree with you completely. Reviews are very subjective and I'm not arguing with the assesment of the Caravan at all. I've subscribed to three auto magazines for many years and look forward to their reviews. Many of course are subjective. My complaint is with the style of the aforementioned Caravan review Tone is amateurish and whining and does nothing to raise the credibility of the editorial reviews. Other Edmunds editorial reviews (not all) have similar juvenile quality to them. Comments of the vast majority of Edmunds 500,000 participants are really what I find fascinating and give me the most useful information on all current vehicles. Elliot
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I believe I read that Edmunds' winds up with commercial leases on the long-term road test vehicles, and that affects the monthly payment as well as certain "consumer" rebates.

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  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Even I who as you all know has a Odyssey thought Edmunds review on the Caravan was a cheap shot. I would love to have the power rear door on my van. Like someone else said every vans next generation will have that door. I did swallow my pride after getting raked over the coals here and drive a Dodge and thought it was great, better radio and quieter on concrete. If I hadn't been burned twice before on Chrysler products I most likely would have checked them out sooner and bought one, but I am going into month #6 and outside of an oil change no problems. Since we buy everyother year I will check out the DC vans again if we decide to get another van.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Because owners of 4 Honda Accords (of 7 I knew personally) had been burned by unreliable engines, transmissions (or both), electrical problems....we chose NOT to get a Honda Odyssey in
    March 1999 and got the 99 Grand Caravan.
    First hand information was more important to us
    than the old wives tales of CR, etc concerning vehicle reliability. So far our 99 GC SE has had ZERO problems and has certainly been different than the doom and gloom drivel of CR. Our experience is the same as our many friends and we are extremely pleased with the GC. I think we would have been just as pleased had we got a 99 Honda Odyssey.
    Since March 1999, the percentage of reliable of Honda Accords owned by people we know, has gone up. The neighbor who had the very bad 1991 Accord EX with electrical problems, traded it in on a new 2001 Accord and another neighbor recently traded the 1999 Maxima in on a new 2001 Accord EX, 4 cyl with 5 speed.
  • fly6869fly6869 Posts: 17
    Finally found Town and Country EX model in Columbus OH. today. Looks and rides great. Best of all price is right. Waiting on model with side air impact bags to be delivered then will buy. Can use friends and family discount, recent graduate discount and if car show is in town dealer can throw in 500$ discount.. Happened to be in Columbus this week.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    And it baffles me why they are so biased and antagonistic toward DC minivans. We love the many comfort and convenience features of our 99 GC SE that the Odyssey LX did NOT have. People in moderate climates can really appreciate Dual Zone (in 2001 Triple Zone as rear passengers can select their temperature independently) as it always FEELS hotter on the sunny side than shady in Fall and Spring. We like our quality stereo with BOTH Cassette and CD. We like our Trip Computer, compass and outside temperature gauge.
    AND for all these comfort and convenience items we paid $1025 LESS than for an Odyssey LX at MSRP. I cannot understand why experts like Edmunds got a lesser discount ( $3690 ) on a $35,065 MSRP GC ES than we did ( $4900) on a brand new 99 GC with MSRP of $27,490 in March 1999...
    WHY did Edmunds pay ABOVE MSRP for the over-hyped van with the
    "Magic Seat" ?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Well, most of these experts do live in Southern California, and it's often a tough place to find any kind of bargain. That's why I'm in Boise, I guess:-)

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  • hotspurhotspur Posts: 34
    our refined drivetrain, better gas mileage, superior ride and handling, quieter (than pre-2001 Caravans) interiors, more comfortable seats and extra legroom, significantly better resale (as documented by carleton1), disappearing third seat, grade-logic transmission, and functioning headlights (not available on pre-2001 Caravans).

    Interesting quote from Automobile Magazine editor-in-chief and one-time Chrysler employee Jean Jennings, writing about Chrysler's new German management team in the April issue : "The big opportunity will be to fix the festering quality problems that were never addressed in boom times."

    Both are fine vans. You makes your choice and pays your money.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    My 99 GC SE also shifts down when going down a hill with cruise control set (even though DC does not call it grade logic).
    Most of the test reports I read on 99 GC and Ody stated the GC was quieter, had more comfortable seats and a far superior sound system. EPA gas mileage for MY 2000 had the 3.3L DC and 3.5L Ody both rated at the same 18 City/25 Highway...even though the Ody has more HP and torque. Compliments to Honda.
    I agree that the "Magic Seat" is terrific if you want to haul a dozen sheets of sheetrock home each weekend from Home Depot. However, for my use the fully reclining 3rd seat with 2nd row folded flat forward makes a very comfortable place to nap on a long trip while the wife is driving. Our built in child seat is very nice for the small grandchildren. The more numerous heating and air conditioning vents with Dual Zone Temperature control provide a much better control and distribution of cooled or heated air. If I do not sell or trade my GC, the perceived trade-in value is meaningless.
    Enjoy your Odyssey. It is a very fine van. We feel our GC SE has more of the nice features than the Ody so for us and many others, the DC minivans was the best choice. Since DC took off the Trip Computer as an option for all but the most expensive and DC does not offer the 3.8L in the lower priced DC minivans, I would now wait for and buy a 2001 Odyssey or Sienna instead of a 2001 DC minivan if we did not own a flawless GC SE.
  • hotspurhotspur Posts: 34
    by Popular Mechanics and Motor Trend showed the Ody to be as quiet or quieter than pre-2001 DC minivans in every situation measured. Subjectively, Motor Trend did say the 2001 Caravan is quieter than the Ody, although apparently took no measurements. Perhaps added sound insulation in the 2001 is responsible for what they call the Caravan's "porky weight-gain."

    Motor Trend comparison of Ody and 2001 Caravan: "We liked the Honda's seating better in all three rows, both feel and fit of seat, and the legroom offered." Headroom is better for all three seats as well.

    EPA MPG 2001 Ody: 18/25
    EPA MPG 2001 Caravan with 3.8: 17/23

    I'd be surprised if the DC transmission downshifts upon touching the brake on a downhill. And I said nothing about sound systems, so there was no "error" there. The magic seat is amazingly useful and has nothing to do with hauling sheetrock. Why must you always exaggerate?

    Motor Trend regarding Honda: "Supple ride"
    Motor Trend regarding Caravan: "Rough ride"

    For those who feel compelled to "nap," the Ody front seat back will recline to line up with the seat cushion of the second row seat (with headrest removed), so you can sit in the second row seat and rest your legs on the front row passenger seat. Riding in any vehicle with your seat "fully reclined" is an extremely dangerous proposition, by the way. Or do you nap in the third seat with the van in your garage?

    Speaking of "danger," the pre-2001 DC minivans didn't exactly shine in their crash tests, as I'm sure you recall. And, as I recall, a DC exec was quoted as saying he didn't expect the 2001 to get top marks either. Said something about not thinking buyers felt it was very important, so I guess DC didn't think it was important, either. But the headlights do at last light up the road.
  • cavillercaviller Posts: 331
    The NHTSA just released its new study based on IIHS/HLDI data:

    There's also some good notes at the top of this link reading claims data, and its relationship to safety.

    Note this doesn't apply to the 2001 DC vans.

  • I can only hope that not all Ody owners are like you.

    BTW: I think I know where your hot spur is!
  • dave210dave210 Posts: 238
    I only have to say one thing and that is we all buy are cars for different reasons. I bought my T&C Limited for the 3 zone auto ac, heated leather memory seats, trip computer, CD changer, power gate, etc. This is just like how you bought your Odyssey for it's good price at MSRP, it's foldaway seat, it's good safety record, and it's name (Honda). I was not looking for a foldaway seat or lack of features (compared to my previous T&C LXi) And I'm sure when you bought your van you decided that you wanted a van that didn't have a bad resale or a bad reputation. I can understand why you wouldn't want a DC minivan, but just because I and other people still like them or trust them doesn't mean that we're wrong and should be praising the Odyssey. For me, the Odyssey only offered more room in the 2nd row of seats. I don't give a crap about the resale because one, my car is leased, and two, I'm not going to compromise my comfort just so I can say my car is worth more than a (fill in any DC minivan) in 4 years. The Odyssey is a good car and I'm glad you like it, but there is a time in your life when you're going to have to accept the fact that not everyone will agree with your opinion. Also, about the acceleration, I have had 3 Chrysler vans so far and it has great acceleration for a van. There was the 88 Grand Voyager with the 3.0, the 96 LXi with the 3.8, and now the 01 Limited with the 3.8. I for one only care about the passing and merging power. I couldn't care less about the 0-60 time. Although, maybe I should since my wife loves to peal out and drag with the Odysseys and Windstars at the grocery store and mall......
  • mfahey1mfahey1 Posts: 419
    As an owner of a 2001 ES with the 3.8L, the mileage ratings for both engines (3.3 and 3.8) was 18/24. The lower rating noted above of 17/23 was for the AWD version. Our early mileage while the engine was still breaking in was pretty abysmal but it has been improving. Our 2000 Pontiac Bonneville SSEi still doesn't approach the EPA ratings and at this point, I'm not holding my breath. We took a trip into the Chicago suburbs yesterday with the van and got 25 mpg on the way in but it dropped to about 23 mpg with some rush hour stop and go thrown in.
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