I had not looked at vans for some time and first started looking for a new van last fall to replace my 2002 Mazda MPV. When I saw the 2010 Odyssey I was shocked with the eighth seat, that is the center seat in the middle row. It was so small it looked like it was made for a doll and, since I had not seen one before, I did not understand what it was until it was explained to me. I didn't think I would want a vehicle with such a seat and thought I might consider an LX so as to avoid the eighth seat.
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the eighth seat in the 2011 Odyssey. By eliminating the center arm rests on the outer middle row seats, the eighth seat is wider and it is also thicker so it looks more like a normal seat. The back of the eighth seat forms the center arm rests for the other two seats when it is folded forward.
When I looked at the 2011 Sienna, I noticed the eighth seat was similar to the eighth seat in the 2010 Odyssey. I thought the pocket to store the eighth seat was also silly and I would not want a dedicated space to store the seat. Although there are many other important things to consider, I would not want a 2011 Sienna nor a 2010 Odyssey just because of the little eighth seat. Next year I am planning to get a 2012 Odyssey EX with the practical center seat in the middle row. That was a great improvement in addition to all the other nice features of the Odyssey.
It would be nice if Honda also offered a power lift gate in the EX. It would also be nice if they had factory installed folding roof racks like the 2011 Chrysler Town and Country has as standard in all models.