Newbie debating between Odyssey and Buick Enclave
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Thread: Newbie debating between Odyssey and Buick Enclave

  1. #1
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    Newbie debating between Odyssey and Buick Enclave

    My wife and I are looking to purchase a new car for the family. As the title suggests we are between the Odyssey and the Enclave. We currently have a 2.5 year old and a new one on the way. It's possible we'll have a third kid down the road or we might stick with 2. We plan to keep this car at least 6 years and maybe longer (if all goes well) and carpooling is likely.

    This will be my wife's car and she is really torn. She dislikes the idea of a minivan but wants to be practical as well. She actually really disliked the look of the Sienna and "doesn't hate" the new Odyssey. I was a little surprised as most people around here dislike the look of the 2011.

    I think in our mind the main plus to the Odyssey is the storage space in the trunk when all three rows are up compared to the Enclave. A big negative is the lack of AWD as we live just North of Chicago and safety in the snow is a big concern. We wouldn't get snow tires and switch them for the season but would stick with the All Season tires that come with either car.

    It seems that most of the threads around here that talk about the Odyssey in the snow heavily recommend Winter tires. Hearing that we wouldn't do that would you recommend against the Odyssey for the lack of AWD?

    Hearing our situation do you think we'd be making a big mistake going SUV Xover or do you think if my wife has a big stigma against minivans she would probably never be happy with the Odyssey?

    I appreciate any thoughts or advice. For the record she currently drives (and loves) a Lexus RX 350 AWD and the lease is expiring soon.

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  3. #2
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    Although AWD will help to some extent, it won't make you a better driver and it shouldn't be a dealbreaker. Good snows all around are what's really important. I live up here in northeastern Ontario and have never been in a situation that I couldn't get out of with snow tires and we drive in the country a lot. Most people up here don't have AWD and it's no big deal so long as we have the proper shoes.

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    As I've mentioned in other posts, its "needs" vs. "wants". It sounds like you want AWD but need more space. AWD is nice to have, but in reality, how many times would it really make a difference?

    But, all that aside, you need to buy what is going to make your wife happy. If it's AWD, so be it.
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    We basically just went through this process. Originally she wanted an Enclave but switched to the Acadia Denali just because of style/features. My friend has a GMC dealership and gave us a Denali to drive for several days. In the end she absolutely loved the Denali except for one problem....cargo space. We have a lot of gear being hauled around with us and while the Acadia/Enclave have a lot of space behind 3rd row, it's just not anywhere near that in the vans. You basically have to use some type of net system if you're hauling a lot of stuff because your groceries will fall out when you open the hatch. So if you really need the cargo space and don't want to bother with some sort of cargo organizer...the vans are tough to beat.

    Now for the snow question...I suppose a lot of it has to do with how quickly they clear the roads in your area. We live out of town in some very hilly areas and was never satisfied with the Ody until we installed the snow tires. It performed decent with them...but still not as well as many other vehicles I've owned. The Sienna has an AWD option...but in the end we still went with the FWD because the AWD has run-flats and I just didn't want to deal with that headache. I will install a full set of snow tires/rims and we will get around fine. When it gets too deep the van stays in the garage anyway.

    If they keep the roads fairly clear and you don't have any serious hills...you can do ok with the all-seasons. I personally think anyone interested in a safe family vehicle would still put the snows on (in fact I would install them on an AWD as well) simply because they perform that much better even on an AWD vehicle. Braking/turning will be the same regardless of AWD or not and anyone that has run snow tires will never likely go back to all-seasons again.
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    Imagine having three kids and your stuff for a weekend trip in the Enclave, and driving 8 hours in that condition. Is that really how you want to live your life?

    If you never go on trips, and you and your kids don't have any friends, the Enclave will be big enough.

    Getting your wife to drive a van will be the hard part. Too bad the lease on the Lexus doesn't last another couple of years. By then she would be sick of it and ready for a van.

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    Registered User Gstom1's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if fuel consumption is a concern, but the Honda Odyssey has slightly better EPA numbers, which should save you a few hundred bucks a year. However, the Buick Enclave has a more powerful engine and should give you a bit more punch, especially when carrying heavy loads and towing.

    Honda Odyssey (248 hp) 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway/22 mpg combined

    Buick Enclave (275/286 hp) 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway/18 mpg combined

    Decisions! Decisions! Decisions!
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    First, to address the tire statement. I lived in Quebec Canada for 12years, and my car back then was a jeep grand cherokee. I also thought to save some money and just stick with 4 season tires. Well it was a bad idea. Sure the awd can propell you through awesome stuff a fwd with the best wintertires won't, however, turning and braking won't do squat with awd. Unless ofcourse you neglected to mention your are an FIA or SCCA rally driver.
    If I still lived in canada, I would really want AWD because I am a skier, and getting to the slopes with fresh snow is great, however, I would also have a winter set of tires, no questions asked. Honestly, if i can't afford the tires, I should have bought a cheaper car and put winter tires on it. From personal experience, I was following my friend in his accord on a slippery road (we were only doing 30mph we knew it was bad) and me made the turn no problem on his blizzak tires, me on the jeep with not so lucky, straight in the ditch I went.

    Now to address Enclave vs Odyssey, well I only test drove the Acadia, and although I was pleasantly surprised I still find the Odyssey more comfortable and has better road manners. I also am a little biased against these cross-over SUVs, just so you know where I stand when I made my comparaison.

  9. #8
    Registered User Gstom1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilZJ View Post
    If I still lived in canada, I would really want AWD because I am a skier, and getting to the slopes with fresh snow is great, however, I would also have a winter set of tires, no questions asked.
    Actually, if you still lived in Quebec, you wouldn't have a choice as you have to have winter tires by law. When this law took effect a few years ago, this caused a winter tire shortage across the country.

    Okay, sorry, back on topic now.

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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinny2 View Post
    Now for the snow question...I suppose a lot of it has to do with how quickly they clear the roads in your area.
    I think this is the key. My wife has been driving Odys for 8 years now, and we have only used all season tires. We live in the suburbs where they do a pretty decent job of cleaning the roads. I can honestly say there have been very few times in those 8 years where I wouldn't have driven the Ody due to the snow.

    Now if you live further away from civilization like Skinny2, then I can see the need for AWD....it all depends on your situation. However I think there are more people that think they need AWD, versus the number of people that truly need AWD.

    Then again, you may not want to listen to me.....I own an AWD Pilot!
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  11. #10
    Registered User Gstom1's Avatar
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    All season tires just won't cut it in the snow. Our 2011 Odyssey (December 2010) came with Michelin all seasons and I decided to drive with them for this winter and then get a new set of winter tires for next winter.

    The van drove okay on level roads, but one time during a freak snowstorm, I had trouble going up a small incline at my friend's subdivision. The tires kept spinning and spinning. I had to get a couple of guys to push the van to get it going.

    Last edited by Gstom1; 04-05-2011 at 11:11 AM.
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  12. #11
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    I am a mom of soon to be 3 kiddos and we are getting an Ody. I like many of my mom friends were anti-min van. Some of my friends were really hard core against it. Now, they all have mini vans and love them! Sure, it's not the coolest looking car but the convenience when you have kids to me is what sold me. I like the fact that I don't have to remind my boys to be careful when opening doors around other vehicles and the big sliding door for ease of getting in and out. We are keeping this van until the wheels fall off so I think in our case it will be a good investment as the kids grow older and I will be car pooling. Another point that sold me is that I can have all three kids in the second row. My oldest can help when the baby drops his pacifier, or just entertain him etc. without me having to pull over. I don't have to worry about rain here much but I can't tell you how many times I wish I had a van to get the kids in and hop inside to buckle them in without getting completely soaked.

    I have a Honda Accord and we used to live in a small farm town in Illinois. Plows didn't always get to the roads but my car handled fine. Now granted, I drove like an old lady but I didn't want to take any chances because there were ditches on both sides of the road. I know a van and car aren't the same but I think as long as you drive with caution you would be fine.

    I would crawl around both vehicles and write a pros vs. cons list. Take your stroller and see how easy it is to get in and out of the car and see how much room is left. And to help you decide, here are questions I would ask myself: Are you going to use all season floor mats? Would they get in the way of the tracks in the floor? Do you know the crash test ratings for the vehicle? Reliability? Do you have family that comes to town where that 8th seat might be used? These are all things I would consider, especially if you are going to keep the vehicle long term.

    Good luck in whatever you decide!

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    Thanks for all the great responses. My wife is actually currently at the two dealerships and putting both cars through all of her own inspection tests.

    As to the tires. It isn't a question of cost for the Winter tires but rather that realistically I'm not going to swap them and I read that you shouldn't leave Winter tires on all year round. Even if I tried to say I would switch them twice a year, I know myself and after the first year I'd get lazy.

    Right now my wife doesn't care much about the sliding doors but I wonder if that is because our daughter is still young (2.5) but when she gets older that feature would mean a lot more. I can't decide how important having the option for 7 or 8 seats is to us vs. the always 7 for the Enclave.

    As to the storage it is tough. Right now we know we have two kids and we might stop there. If we do, 90% of the time we can leave the third row down and have a ton of storage. Even with a third we could leave one side down. I just don't know if we will be miserable when my parents come to town and feel like we still need to take two cars wherever we go since we can't buy anything. That being said I may be underestimating what the Enclave can hold.

    I think we want to go with the Enclave but are concerned that as we grow with the car we may miss the minivan features and GM doesn't have the best track record for maintaining value which is why I want to make the right decision now. We don't need the Odyssey yet but our lease expires on the Lexus and it would be pointless to either buy it out or get a different car only to need something new in 12-24 months.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ks-man View Post
    Thanks for all the great responses. My wife is actually currently at the two dealerships and putting both cars through all of her own inspection tests.

    As to the tires. It isn't a question of cost for the Winter tires but rather that realistically I'm not going to swap them and I read that you shouldn't leave Winter tires on all year round. Even if I tried to say I would switch them twice a year, I know myself and after the first year I'd get lazy.

    Right now my wife doesn't care much about the sliding doors but I wonder if that is because our daughter is still young (2.5) but when she gets older that feature would mean a lot more. I can't decide how important having the option for 7 or 8 seats is to us vs. the always 7 for the Enclave.

    As to the storage it is tough. Right now we know we have two kids and we might stop there. If we do, 90% of the time we can leave the third row down and have a ton of storage. Even with a third we could leave one side down. I just don't know if we will be miserable when my parents come to town and feel like we still need to take two cars wherever we go since we can't buy anything. That being said I may be underestimating what the Enclave can hold.

    I think we want to go with the Enclave but are concerned that as we grow with the car we may miss the minivan features and GM doesn't have the best track record for maintaining value which is why I want to make the right decision now. We don't need the Odyssey yet but our lease expires on the Lexus and it would be pointless to either buy it out or get a different car only to need something new in 12-24 months.
    Well, you are correct, if you leave winter tires on all year, they will wearout rapidly. Winter tires are a softer compound, and also make a good bit more road noise.
    Just curious, have you looked at the pilot?
    I know some people here have one, and I don't want to be rude, but personally am not a fan of the exterior styling, and the interior is pretty repulsive to me. With that said, the ride was fantastic, and the seats were very comfortable. I think if the Odyssey for 2011 wasn't what it is, we would have ended up with a Pilot, not a 2010 Odyssey (to me that one had too much road noise).

    Best of luck with the decision, it's a tuff one to make

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilZJ View Post
    and I don't want to be rude, but personally am not a fan of the exterior styling, and the interior is pretty repulsive to me.
    Not really sure what could be seen as offensive or rude about that to Pilot owners.

    To be honest my wife was only considering SUVs that had captain chairs for easy access to the back row. Not sure if that was why she didn't consider the Pilot (does it lack that)?

    My wife just finished doing long test drives and inspections of both cars and is leaning towards the Odyssey heavily. She isn't very excited about getting it as "a new car" but thinks it is far more practical and to be honest if she was getting a car and not being practical, she would probably stick with the Lexus and the Enclave wouldn't even be on the list.

    I guess at this point we should get the best family car for us and that would be the Odyssey. We do take trips to Michigan (about 3-4 hours) and I think the extra room will be appreciated. Hopefully assuming we do get the Odyssey she will start to fall in love with it as I hear many other Moms do.

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    Looks like your decision has been made, but as a mom of lots of little kids I just wanted to say that you will love having a van.

    All things aside that everybody else has talked about, do not underestimate the value of power sliding doors and having a car low enough to the ground that your older child can climb into easily.

    When your wife is lugging a diaper bag for 2 over one shoulder and carrying a heavy infant seat with the other, the simplicity of pushing a button and having the door slide open will be HEAVEN sent to her.

    And when you do go and drop kids off later at carpool, when you pull up and open the sliding doors with a button, it is awesome. No worry about kids slamming doors on fingers or struggling to open doors on windy days.

    And it's pretty darm amazing how a double stroller fits almost exactly in the trunk area of a van. And single strollers fit with plenty of room to spare.

    Good luck with your decision either way. And if you are North of Chicago, I'd highly recommend Brilliance Honda in Crystal Lake.
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