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1. The crash test ratings are better on the ODY in which the sienna ranks behind the Pacifica.
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2. the 2nd row sliding left and right since my two kids are both rear facing 3yo & 1yo and otherwise I wouldn't be able to use the third row.
 

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1. The crash test ratings are better on the ODY in which the sienna ranks behind the Pacifica.
&
2. the 2nd row sliding left and right since my two kids are both rear facing 3yo & 1yo and otherwise I wouldn't be able to use the third row.
#2 was what decided it for our family.

Not sure the ages of your kids but just as you surmised, your best bet is an extended test drive or if not, find time to take the entire family: car seats and all. A minivans primary appeal is how it just makes your life easier. Which kid gets the third row car seat? How easy is it for him/her to get back there and how independent is he or she that you may need to squeeze yourself to the third row with car seats, potentially occupied, to help them out? How often do you have adults traveling with you and potentially using the third row?

I ask all of this because the odyssey is the only one that can position the second row to the middle aisle.

I’m 10mo in and about 11k miles. RES usage has either been Blu-rays or an iPhone hdmi adapter and had no issues. Front infotainment bizarre behavior twice that resolved with a “unplug and plug back in”. So depends on if you are comfortable disconnecting the negative battery terminal or not. Otherwise, the drivetrain has been great. I have a 10spd.

Our 2006 sienna XLE on the other hand has had no issues whatsoever. Then again it didn’t have RES or apple carplay or semi autonomous driving aids.

Oh oh oh! Check out Toyota sense vs Honda sense. I don’t know the version in the sienna but I test drove the latest version in the new RAV4 and the beeping lane departure warning is soooo annoying compared to the tactile steering vibration in the Honda. Small thing I know but memorable to me. 2019 Honda sense in odyssey doesn’t have full speed dynamic cruise control (stops below 30mph?). A feature that goes with making life easier.

Good luck with your decision.
 

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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.
Buy the Sienna ....
We too were torn on the decision.
We have the 2019 Ody ex-l and are regreting our decision.
Waiting for the 1st problem is very stressful and nerve wracking.
We have had both Hondas and Toyotas...
Honda and that Variable cyclinder "management" is a nightmare.
 

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+1 on the extended test drive option. The mini round-the-block test the dealers want you to take is just so they can get you hooked, not so that you can find any issues. Make sure you test it in realistic scenarios.

For my family, the Sienna was a 100% no-go. My wife is 4'9" and she could not adjust the drivers' seat to be able to drive safely. She will only drive this car about 5% of the time, but she still needs to be safe.
 

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It’s very telling when you are paying a large chunk of money for a new car and the ones who already own one are telling you to test drive carefully to make sure you don’t get a bad one. That in and of itself should tell you to avoid such a vehicle. Food for thought, so just think about that for a good minute or so.
 

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It’s very telling when you are paying a large chunk of money for a new car and the ones who already own one are telling you to test drive carefully to make sure you don’t get a bad one. That in and of itself should tell you o avoid such a vehicle. Food for thought.
I don't know about the others, but I just said it because fit, feel, and comfort are very subjective. The only way to know if it's the right car FOR YOU is to try it out. I wasn't alluding to anything with build quality, bugs, or etc... just that seeing how the car works for your family is really important.

My mom once convinced a VW dealership to let her test drive a Eurovan over a 4-hour period without a salesman in the car. What did she do? Run around, picking up & schlepping kids. Did a run at the grocery store. All the real-world stuff she would do. That's the kind of thing that you learn a lot from.
 

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Negotiating a car purchase over the phone is so much more relaxing and fun than in the dealership.
Instead of sitting in the cubicle while the salesman goes for coffee, i mean to beg his manager to approve your offer, you sit at your desk and maybe call the next dealer to make him an offer.
You decide who to call back and when. You may even have to take some time to confer with your spouse. Let the salesman sweat instead of you.
 

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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.
My wife and I drove all 4 minivans. She loved the Pacifica and the Kia Sedona a lot. Especially higher trim levels. Stow-n-go isnt a feature we'd use often. I am an upholstery guy by trade and the chrysler vans while pretty, and nice to drive are a bottomless pit for small items around the seat bases. I didnt like the narrow 2nd row seats. We boiled it down to a odyssey and a Sedona. Made appointments to look at 2 about an hour apart. She liked the honda so we bought it. Toyotas styling wasnt her cup o tea but she agreed it is the biggest of all 4 inside. I wanted a toyota over everything just couldn't find one under 25k. If the honda we looked at was a Tues we were going Kia. Build quality and interior finish was excellent. 2nd row seats pancake against the Captain chairs for 3rd row egress. Also on some models the 2nd row buckets recline with a leg support. Like a lay-z-boy! We've had no major problems with our 15 exl other than noisy creaky supsension from 38k miles and now has 63 on it. Also brakes suck. Warped pretty bad. I'm going drilled slotted up front in a few weeks. What I'm saying is I don't hate the Honda I just think there's better vans out there. Maybe not in resale value but in quality.
 

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My wife and I drove all 4 minivans. She loved the Pacifica and the Kia Sedona a lot. Especially higher trim levels. Stow-n-go isnt a feature we'd use often. I am an upholstery guy by trade and the chrysler vans while pretty, and nice to drive are a bottomless pit for small items around the seat bases. I didnt like the narrow 2nd row seats. We boiled it down to a odyssey and a Sedona. Made appointments to look at 2 about an hour apart. She liked the honda so we bought it. Toyotas styling wasnt her cup o tea but she agreed it is the biggest of all 4 inside. I wanted a toyota over everything just couldn't find one under 25k. If the honda we looked at was a Tues we were going Kia. Build quality and interior finish was excellent. 2nd row seats pancake against the Captain chairs for 3rd row egress. Also on some models the 2nd row buckets recline with a leg support. Like a lay-z-boy! We've had no major problems with our 15 exl other than noisy creaky supsension from 38k miles and now has 63 on it. Also brakes suck. Warped pretty bad. I'm going drilled slotted up front in a few weeks. What I'm saying is I don't hate the Honda I just think there's better vans out there. Maybe not in resale value but in quality.
Meant to read TURD not Tues 😉
 

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I own a '12 Odyssey and I have rented Sienna's and Pacificas for a couple of weeks at a time. I think you should also consider the Pacifica with the Honda and Toyota. If I was going to buy a new minivan, I would lean heavily toward's the Pacifica over the other two. First, the Honda has not been the reliable vehicle you expect it to be. It has had at least 3 recalls, all minor but still a PITA to get done. I also had the dreaded engine misfire caused by the faulty VCM system that required what amounts to a minor engine rebuild where my car was out of commission for a week. Not to mention that I had to do the research to find the secret warranty to get Honda to pay for that fix. At 75k miles it now looks like the CV joint boot cracked and is leaking grease. I expected better reliability from a modern car.

All three cars drive well, but the Pacifica drives the best of the three. The Honda feels very car like, but the transmission could be better. I often find that I step on the gas and have to wait for it to get into the right gear. The Sienna drivetrain package is better than the Honda. The engine and transmission work well together. But the suspension on the Sienna is way too soft to properly control the car motions. The Pacifica on the other hand has a great transmission and engine package that work really well together, as good as the Sienna. The handling is better than the already pretty good Honda. The only improvement I would ask would be manual shifting for the Pacifica's transmission.

On the interior all three are pretty cheap inside with lots of plastic every where. All have rear seats that easily fold in the the well in the back to give you a flat floor with lots of space. The feature that I think tips things in the Pacifica's favor is Stow-n-Go. A few times a year I need to load large items into my vehicle. With Stow-n-go you just lift the hatch on the floor and fold the seat in and you are good to go. With the Honda and the Sienna you need to remove large, heavy (50+ lbs) and cumbersome seats and find a place to store them. I don't understand why Honda and Toyota have not tried to copy that feature. As far as the RES goes, I would not waste money on it. A couple of tablets will work just as well, if not better, and save you a lot of money.
 

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Buy the Sienna ....
We too were torn on the decision.
We have the 2019 Ody ex-l and are regreting our decision.
Waiting for the 1st problem is very stressful and nerve wracking.
We have had both Hondas and Toyotas...
Honda and that Variable cyclinder "management" is a nightmare.
Waiting for the first problem?

So you haven't had any problems?!?!

So why aren't you just enjoying it?

Any car will have issues...
 

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Buy the Sienna ....
We too were torn on the decision.
We have the 2019 Ody ex-l and are regreting our decision.
Waiting for the 1st problem is very stressful and nerve wracking.
We have had both Hondas and Toyotas...
Honda and that Variable cyclinder "management" is a nightmare.
You're freaked out because nothing bad has happened? Dude, you need to readjust your perspective and fast. That's no way to go through this life.

VCM isn't a big deal. If you're concerned about it, drop a hundred bucks on a disable device and it goes away forever - easy peasy. But I guess then you'll be waiting for the other shoe to drop for something else, so... :rolleyes:
 

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Buy the Sienna ....
We too were torn on the decision.
We have the 2019 Ody ex-l and are regreting our decision.
Waiting for the 1st problem is very stressful and nerve wracking.
We have had both Hondas and Toyotas...
Honda and that Variable cyclinder "management" is a nightmare.
I guess drinking the Koolaid is fun. What is the VCM issue you are talking about, because you said you are waiting for something to happen? You may want to think about trading in the Ody for something else then. Cant afford it, or just buyer's remorse?
 
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