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This will be our first minivan purchase and I have narrowed it down to the ‘18 or newer Odyssey or a Sienna (open to other years in this). We currently have 2 kids in forward facing seats and baby on the way due soon. I tend to do extended rear facing so will probably rear face for 3+ years. I like the way they both drive and there are little things I like about each one but I really like the Odyssey overall a little more but all these problems and negative reviews scare me. We did notice the AC never seemed to get cool in the ‘18 we drove compared to the Sienna which could be a huge deal in the humid state I live in so I would want to check that once I narrow down a model. I much prefer to buy used and not new however, I’m wondering if the reliability seems to be better on a new model as far as transmission and electrical issues. I want leather for sure and prefer the RES although I’m open to having an aftermarket version installed through the dealership. Would you recommend trying to find a ‘18 touring, ‘19 touring, or ‘20 Ex-L + Nav RES or ‘20 EX-L and add aftermarket RES? I really don’t want to spring for the ‘20 but if they seem to have worked all the “kinks” out I would strongly consider it and weigh the options. I imagine it’s too soon to tell and will be speculation at this point. The only reason I’m considering the touring in the other years is for the 10 speed transmission which is supposed to be better, correct? Does anyone recommend just going with the Sienna and avoiding the potential headache of all these seeming issues? If Sienna had the same safety ratings and magic seats, I would go that route without question after reading about all the potential problems. I have researched myself to death and just become more confused and indecisive.
 

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That is what I read too which is why I could get a lower package and not touring to get the 10 speed.
 

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I’d avoid the nine speed no matter which route you go. AC not performing that well vs the Sienna would be a deal breaker for me. If it didn’t seem to cool as well vs the Sienna that’s not something that will get better and probably be at the back of your mind for the future, lol. At least it would be for me.

Are the 2016 or 2017 Odysseys a no go for you? I ask only because you said you preferred used. An off lease 4th gen IMO is more likely to have simply been turned in or traded for a newer model (or because the transmission juddered and needs a transmission fluid change, shocking how often this is cropping up in the 4th gen thread!). Justified or not I’d be worried a lower mileage 2018 or 2019 was traded in due to a headache and not lease ending.
 

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I’d avoid the nine speed no matter which route you go. AC not performing that well vs the Sienna would be a deal breaker for me. If it didn’t seem to cool as well vs the Sienna that’s not something that will get better and probably be at the back of your mind for the future, lol. At least it would be for me.

Are the 2016 or 2017 Odysseys a no go for you? I ask only because you said you preferred used. An off lease 4th gen IMO is more likely to have simply been turned in or traded for a newer model (or because the transmission juddered and needs a transmission fluid change, shocking how often this is cropping up in the 4th gen thread!). Justified or not I’d be worried a lower mileage 2018 or 2019 was traded in due to a headache and not lease ending.
Very good points. To be honest I haven’t looked at that generation once I knew they didn’t have the magic seats in the second row. I will take a look and see how they work and hop on that generation’s thread. I had about convinced myself to just go with the Sienna but then watched the crash test videos and got back on the Odyssey bandwagon. That said, I’m sure both are safe relatively speaking.
 

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Be careful. Sometimes buying used may cost you more than new. I'm sure you are aware of this already. But this is how I just purchased a new Subaru. Very easy way of buying new car now days. Once you know exact make/model/package. You send emails to Dealers,(they all have internet dept.) Ask for "out the door price".

Then compare who has the best offer. Then counter offer the best offers. Some will negotiate, some will not.
But you will eventually get the "best" price. (forgets about Costco, etc. check out forums on that topic).

Now that you have a NEW VAN, out the door price. Go and try and find a "used" Honda/Toyota Van. You may be
surprised at the difference in price between your NEW VAN, and USED VAN out the door price.

Oh, back to your original question. If you like the Sienna, I would buy the Sienna. To me Reliability is super important. However, this being a Odyssey site, most posters will recommend the odyssey.

Sorry for the long post.
 

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The 5th generation Odyssey is designed and built in the U.S. I'm not sure how much "Japan input" there has been but I'm amazed but not at all surprised at the number of issues that the 2018 and 2019 have. The jury is out on the 2020s. The Odyssey has the best safety rating but the Sienna may not be that far behind - I don't know about that.

For me, if the Sienna safety rating is acceptable to you, go with it. If you only carry your family, either one is fine. If you carry some cargo, the Odyssey is a pig because you need to remove the second row seats and deal with a VERY uneven floor. There has been a lot of nightmarish electronic failures in the 5th gen Odyssey - more than there should be. The build quality is not what it used to be when Japan was churning them out - not even close.

If it were me, there's only one word - "Sienna" - unless Honda has performed some kind of miracle with the 2020s, which I doubt. They are reputed to be identical to their predecessors except for a little extra makeup and mascara, which you need to fork over big bucks for.
 

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Justified or not I’d be worried a lower mileage 2018 or 2019 was traded in due to a headache and not lease ending.
This is very true. I got rid of my 2018 EX-L because it almost caused myself and my family to get into an accident several times and Honda can’t fix it. I have a very very sick feeling in my stomach knowing that the dealer is going to sell it to someone to carry their family in it. Everyone talks about the crash rating, but honestly the rating is not that much different the two. In my case, it was more dangerousto my family to be in a Honda that is prone to eventually cause myself or my wife to be in an accident. Of course this is with the 9 spd, so if you are getting a 10spd, then I wouldn’t worry about the issues that I had. I love everything-about the Odyssey except the 9 spd.
 

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Very good points. To be honest I haven’t looked at that generation once I knew they didn’t have the magic seats in the second row. I will take a look and see how they work and hop on that generation’s thread. I had about convinced myself to just go with the Sienna but then watched the crash test videos and got back on the Odyssey bandwagon. That said, I’m sure both are safe relatively speaking.
You and I are two peas in a pod...I have been researching for over a year...and am so over over-analyzing! If the Odyssey had been reliability it would already be in my driveway. Have not looked into the Sienna so can not comment about it but if you go to the Sienna forum it’s very quiet...no exciting issues since not much has changed in the past 10 years. This will change next year when the 2021 comes out and I would think might have growing pains if Toyota embraces all the latest car technology. On a good note, you can buy a used Sienna going back a few years without missing much since it’s been relatively constant. If you like it, Consumer Reports recommends the Sienna and it will statistically be the safer bet.

I’m personally going to have to revisit the Sienna or keep holding out for the reviews on the 2020 Odyssey since I prefer the look of the Odyssey.
 

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This will be our first minivan purchase and I have narrowed it down to the ‘18 or newer Odyssey or a Sienna (open to other years in this). We currently have 2 kids in forward facing seats and baby on the way due soon. I tend to do extended rear facing so will probably rear face for 3+ years. I like the way they both drive and there are little things I like about each one but I really like the Odyssey overall a little more but all these problems and negative reviews scare me. We did notice the AC never seemed to get cool in the ‘18 we drove compared to the Sienna which could be a huge deal in the humid state I live in so I would want to check that once I narrow down a model. I much prefer to buy used and not new however, I’m wondering if the reliability seems to be better on a new model as far as transmission and electrical issues. I want leather for sure and prefer the RES although I’m open to having an aftermarket version installed through the dealership. Would you recommend trying to find a ‘18 touring, ‘19 touring, or ‘20 Ex-L + Nav RES or ‘20 EX-L and add aftermarket RES? I really don’t want to spring for the ‘20 but if they seem to have worked all the “kinks” out I would strongly consider it and weigh the options. I imagine it’s too soon to tell and will be speculation at this point. The only reason I’m considering the touring in the other years is for the 10 speed transmission which is supposed to be better, correct? Does anyone recommend just going with the Sienna and avoiding the potential headache of all these seeming issues? If Sienna had the same safety ratings and magic seats, I would go that route without question after reading about all the potential problems. I have researched myself to death and just become more confused and indecisive.
I was in the same situation you are in for the past 2 months and after all the ups and downs I went through during the research phase, I went with the 2020 sienna xle. Is the honda more modern? Yes, but I want a soild no nonsense performer . The sienna is so smooth and drives like a dream which is all I care about. Also , apple car play is available which is all the tech I need.

You cannot go wrong with either but all the flaws that the people in this forum have listed w.r.t latest generation odyssey convinced me not to buy it. Apart from all the issues , one major pet peeve of mine which was a deal breaker for me but might not be for others- In such a big van , I love the rear hvac on the ceiling ! That thing cools the van so well ! Odyssey redesigned the rear hvacs to be on the side pillars. Not happy at all with that as I feel it takes time to cool the little ones in the back.Very happy with the sienna. All the best !
 

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I was in the same situation you are in for the past 2 months and after all the ups and downs I went through during the research phase, I went with the 2020 sienna xle. Is the honda more modern? Yes, but I want a soild no nonsense performer . The sienna is so smooth and drives like a dream which is all I care about. Also , apple car play is available which is all the tech I need.

You cannot go wrong with either but all the flaws that the people in this forum have listed w.r.t latest generation odyssey convinced me not to buy it. Apart from all the issues , one major pet peeve of mine which was a deal breaker for me but might not be for others- In such a big van , I love the rear hvac on the ceiling ! That thing cools the van so well ! Odyssey redesigned the rear hvacs to be on the side pillars. Not happy at all with that as I feel it takes time to cool the little ones in the back.Very happy with the sienna. All the best !
Question, how is the Sienna on road noise? I have 4 Sienna’s (various years, none new) in my neighborhood...seem like extremely trouble free, workhorses. I’m driving a 9 year old Toyota (Venza) with little to no issues. My only complaint is it’s a tad boring to drive but it’s 9 years old. Is the Sienna at all fun behind the wheel or at least enjoyable? I need to have it serviced and will test drive while I’m there...I’m sure Toyota would love a returning customer.
 

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Road noise has more to do with the tires that the van comes with. I have a 2011 XLE Sienna, a 2015 L Sienna and a 2020 Limited Sienna (Yes I currently own 3 Siennas). Compared to my 2018 Ody EX-L, wind noise was about the same, but the Honda has less tire noise. But after I changed tires on my 2011 to the same ones on the Ody, they were just as quiet. However, the Sienna was the van of choice on our road trips because it has a much more comfortable ride on long road trips. The suspension is softer and the ride is smoother. Also, the second row seats in the Sienna are 10x more comfortable than the 2018 Ody. Literally, if you have teenage kids or adults using the middle row, test it out really well and compare it to the Sienna. My teenage kids absolutely hated the middle row seats of the Ody. They literally dreaded sitting back there on long road trips. I didn’t believe them at first until I had my wife drive in a long trip and I sat back there. After about 45 minutes, I literally couldn’t take it anymore sitting back there. They are shaped in a way that the middle back lumbar is too far out too far up and you can’t really lean back comfortable on the seats. And there’s no way to adjust the lumbar. It feels like there’s something pushing your lower back out that becomes really uncomfortable on long trips. Also, the seat bottom cushions are really short with little thigh support and they are too flat/horizontal. In addition, the Honda middle row seats are really cramped compared to the Sienna. The middle row Ody has so little leg room compared to the Sienna. Even when slide all the way back. The Sienna middle row seats are literally 10x more comfortable than the Ody. They are shaped in a way that they just cradle you very comfortable. As for the front seats, the Ody has a bit more comfortable front seats because the seat bottoms for the front seats are a little longer with a little bit better thigh support. It’s just the middle row seats in the Ody was literally torture on any trip longer than an hours. The third row seats are a little bit more comfortable than the Sienna again with more room in the third row and more thigh support on the Ody.
 

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Road noise has more to do with the tires that the van comes with. I have a 2011 XLE Sienna, a 2015 L Sienna and a 2020 Limited Sienna (Yes I currently own 3 Siennas). Compared to my 2018 Ody EX-L, wind noise was about the same, but the Honda has less tire noise. But after I changed tires on my 2011 to the same ones on the Ody, they were just as quiet. However, the Sienna was the van of choice on our road trips because it has a much more comfortable ride on long road trips. The suspension is softer and the ride is smoother. Also, the second row seats in the Sienna are 10x more comfortable than the 2018 Ody. Literally, if you have teenage kids or adults using the middle row, test it out really well and compare it to the Sienna. My teenage kids absolutely hated the middle row seats of the Ody. They literally dreaded sitting back there on long road trips. I didn’t believe them at first until I had my wife drive in a long trip and I sat back there. After about 45 minutes, I literally couldn’t take it anymore sitting back there. They are shaped in a way that the middle back lumbar is too far out too far up and you can’t really lean back comfortable on the seats. And there’s no way to adjust the lumbar. It feels like there’s something pushing your lower back out that becomes really uncomfortable on long trips. Also, the seat bottom cushions are really short with little thigh support and they are too flat/horizontal. In addition, the Honda middle row seats are really cramped compared to the Sienna. The middle row Ody has so little leg room compared to the Sienna. Even when slide all the way back. The Sienna middle row seats are literally 10x more comfortable than the Ody. They are shaped in a way that they just cradle you very comfortable. As for the front seats, the Ody has a bit more comfortable front seats because the seat bottoms for the front seats are a little longer with a little bit better thigh support. It’s just the middle row seats in the Ody was literally torture on any trip longer than an hours. The third row seats are a little bit more comfortable than the Sienna again with more room in the third row and more thigh support on the Ody.
Hangman, what is the floor like when you remove the second row of the Sienna? Fairly flat? Are the seats as heavy? The Ody middle row seats are upholstered boat anchors off the Oasis of the Seas!
 

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Hangman, what is the floor like when you remove the second row of the Sienna? Fairly flat? Are the seats as heavy? The Ody middle row seats are upholstered boat anchors off the Oasis of the Seas!
The floor of the Sienna is still not 100% flat, but it is much better and much more flat than the Ody. The Sienna seats slide forward and backwards on tracks underneath the floor of the vehicle. These tracks remains in the car once the seats are removed, but they are still lower than the Ody’s base and they can slide all the way forward. You can see in the picture below. As for the weight, the Sienna comes in two configurations, a 7 seater and an 8 seater. The AWD versions come only as a 7 seater. The seats in the 7 seater weigh about the same as the ones in the Ody, if not maybe a hair heavier. In the 8 seater configuration, the frame for the seat in the driver side has frame for the center seat as a single unit. When the center seat is removed, the bottom frame of the center seat has cup holders in them. However, this makes the driver side middle row EXTREMELY heavy. I Mean really really Extremely heavy. I can remove it myself, but it’s easier as a 2 person job. One good thing about the center seat of the second row in the Sienna is the seatbelt setup. The center seatbelt are integrated into the seat so it does not come down from the roof. This is so much better because the seat is small and designed for little kids, and the seatbelt fits perfectly around their shoulder and does not cut across their neck like the one on the roof of the Ody. And the center seat folds and stores in the rear of the car (where the hondavac is) so it’s really convenient, unlike the Ody where there’s no storage. However, the center seat of the second row in the Ody is bigger. As mentioned, the 7 seater version does not come with the center seat. In addition, you can have the option of recliners in the middle row which is like sitting/laying on a lay-z-boy recliner. My kids love it. Below is a picture of them in my Limited model.

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I have a 2019 Elite. ~16k miles in just over a year of ownership. I've had to manually reboot the infotainment twice in that time. Other than that, no issues to report. A/C has been fine for us on days with the heat index >100F. Obviously too early to judge long term reliability.

Previously owned a 2016 Touring. It was spun into a concrete wall on the interstate by an inattentive driver. Safety was a factor when we bought the 2016. Given that experience, safety was an even bigger consideration when we bought the 2019. I don't think there's much argument that the Odyssey is a safer vehicle. Hopefully we never need to put it to the test.

I wonder if a dealership would allow an extended test drive over a weekend on a used Odyssey to allow you to put the infotainment and A/C through it's paces. Might be worth the ask to ease your concerns...

Good luck!
 

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Thanks for sharing the info and pics, Hangman. It looks like the Dodge engineers are the only ones who cater to those who need to transport cargo. If the Dodge was as reliable and nice to drive as the Honda and Toyota, the latter two would have a stiff competitor!. Thanks again...
 

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Kinda funny you ask for opinions about a van purchase of competitive brands on an Odyssey forum.

Rather than concentrate on the brand, try to itemize your priority in needs and wants. They could be safety, comfort, appearance, power train reliability, technology, resale, etc etc. Sometimes you may find that the minivan is not what you want, but a two row or a three row crossover.

If you still need a minivan, then you have 5 players: Chrysler Pacifica, Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona and Toyota Sienna. Pull up the Q2 sales chart and eliminate all fleet sales (which would knock on Dodge a bunch). You will find that all (besides Kia) and more than 22K in sales, so not much there.BTW Dodge's current gen van has been in production since 2008.

Go to the dealerships and test drive the vans; typically they have the most expensive ones for test drives to whoo-and-ahhhh the potential buyers. From your homework of the needs & wants above, you can decipher what trim you want and test drive that. Reason is distraction & weight; a '19 LX weighs 4354 lbs while the '19 Elite weighs 4593 lbs. That is a substantial weight difference and also the weight difference of front to back is different.

If you have a family, get your family to the test drive to test out the ergonomics. You are not the only one driving the van, your spouse and family have to ride in it.

If you ask my opinion, I did not even bother to look at the domestic units. I looked at Kia, Honda and Toyota. It was actually a toss up between Kia and Honda and I ended up with the Honda as, for the price and ROI, I got more with the Honda. I have had no issues so far with 25K+ on the ODO and 13-months of ownership.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thank you all for your input. I have a lot to think about. I think my best bet is to try and do an extended test drive like mentioned even if just for a day to get a better idea of the A/C issue. If I am going for a 10 speed model, that’s my next biggest concern at the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Be careful. Sometimes buying used may cost you more than new. I'm sure you are aware of this already. But this is how I just purchased a new Subaru. Very easy way of buying new car now days. Once you know exact make/model/package. You send emails to Dealers,(they all have internet dept.) Ask for "out the door price".

Then compare who has the best offer. Then counter offer the best offers. Some will negotiate, some will not.
But you will eventually get the "best" price. (forgets about Costco, etc. check out forums on that topic).

Now that you have a NEW VAN, out the door price. Go and try and find a "used" Honda/Toyota Van. You may be
surprised at the difference in price between your NEW VAN, and USED VAN out the door price.

Oh, back to your original question. If you like the Sienna, I would buy the Sienna. To me Reliability is super important. However, this being a Odyssey site, most posters will recommend the odyssey.

Sorry for the long post.
Have you ever used a site like True Car to start negotiations? I know it only works for certain dealerships but wondering if it’s worth it to go through them and emailing the others seperately?
 

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Have you ever used a site like True Car to start negotiations? I know it only works for certain dealerships but wondering if it’s worth it to go through them and emailing the others seperately?
You’re probably better off finding 2 or 3 of the same model car at different dealers. Look up the edmunds true market value and negotiate the out the door price you want with each place. You should be able to use each dealer against the other. I watched a coworker do this once. She had the car she wanted at the price she was willing to pay by the end of the day, and handled everything over the phone.
 
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