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I'm new to the forum, but I did do a "search" first. My wife and I have had a 2011 and currently a 2016 Odyssey. My in-laws had an older Sienna (2009?) and now a 2015 Sienna. They are getting upwards of 90K and looking to trade. Some Honda dealers are enticing them. Over on the OddyClub forum, I've been watching a few threads, and it seems like a lot of people are fussing about Honda Odyssey current generation issues. In fact, they say, "Go look at the Toyota forums, nobody's [talking about Toyota issues]." I did some searching and it doesn't appear you guys have as much chatter about systemic Sienna issues on the 3rd Gen. Any quick advice I should share with my father-in-law? I'm driving a Honda myself, but I've already said, "Hmm, I'm not sure I'd go buy a new one yet without a lot of research." Thanks in advance.
 

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Camry Freak
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I think that the Sienna is a much more reliable van compared to the Odyssey, but the Sienna is a really old design that dates back to 2011. In some ways Toyota has tried to keep the van fresh, but in other areas it's painfully obvious that the van is a nine year old design. The interior quality and feel seem more appropriate to a 2000-2010 vehicle compared to a 2019 design. That said, the Toyota's engine and transmission are really reliable. The 3.5L V6 is among the best in the industry. The only real problem that I've seen with the current generation (and the previous generation) is with the automatic sliding door mechanisms. As they age the ones driven by belts can wear out and fail. They are a pain to replace. I have seen a few people complain about this problem with the 2011-2014 years, but I haven't heard of many people having the problem with 2015+ models. I'm not sure if they improved the design or if those vans just aren't old enough to experience failures yet. It's safe to assume that it's only a small portion of the vans that experience that problem anyway.

The Odyssey is a much newer design that likely offers benefits in terms of safety and crash worthiness. Honda's 3.5L engine is also very reliable, but Honda transmissions, especially in V6 models, are much less reliable than Toyota's transmission. If you trade in your vans before 100,000 miles, you likely don't have to worry about that though.

One thing regarding reliability of either of these vans- maybe the Odyssey more than the Sienna- they are packed with electronic safety features that are effective at making the vans safer- but many of them are unproven in terms of long-term reliability. Honda's automatic braking system, for example, uses sensors (Behind the rearview mirror and possibly in the front bumper) that are very expensive to replace if damaged. My friend has a newer Accord and a piece of debris hit his front bumper and damaged the sensor- it cost him over $600 to replace. It's in a very vulnerable spot. In addition, there are blind-spot monitoring sensors and a host of other sensors that hopefully will be just as reliable as most of the other equipment on Hondas and Toyotas- but still- it's a lot of technology that isn't easily fixed by the do-it-yourself type of person. Toyota Siennas have much of that technology too. It's important to note that all of that electronic gadgetry is only covered by their 3 year/36,000 mile warranties. If a sensor goes bad or malfunctions at 37,000 miles, you're going to likely pay through the nose for diagnosing/repair. An extended warranty that covers that stuff might be worth it if you can get it for a reasonable price.

With all of that said...
You probably can't go wrong with either van. Test drive both and see which one you can get a better deal on. Like I said, the Toyota is a much older design- which means that you won't get the newest and greatest features- but the consolation prize is that Toyota has had nearly nine years to get the kinks out of the Sienna, so defects should be rare.
 

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The attached image shows how Consumer Union (Consumer Reports Magazine) rated them in 2019. Sienna in first place, Odessey tied for last place.

2019 Consumer Reports Buying Guide - Minivans.jpg
 

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TableRocked
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I'm hoping the 2021 brings a fresh and updated design that includes a hybrid. My wife really likes her 2018 Highlander Hybrid Platinum, but, I'd much prefer the driving feel, usable 3rd row, and improved fuel economy of a Sienna.
 
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