2011 Sienna vs Odyssey comparison
Honda's training program on the new Odyssey is very good and focuses on the Sienna and Town and Country as the main (only real) competitors. The T&C
is clearly outclassed, and the upcoming Quest is still an unknown.
Which leaves us with the Sienna and the Odyssey. We were pretty psyched about the Odyssey. We carefully studied all the pros and cons of these two, and are amazed at how similar they really are.
In our opinion, in no particular order:
double decker storage bins in the front doors
center seat of middle row is wider and does more tricks.
Middle row wide mode that allows three car seats is neat. What is the purpose of narrow mode? Why not just make the middle seat two inches wider and leave it in wide mode all the time? BTW, you can't remove the center seat and slide the right seat flush with the left seat anymore.
third row legroom about an inch more than Sienna
USB holder in the glove box is neat unless you have a device you want access to, which then makes this feature a negative since the plug is also hidden in the glove box. However, only EXL and above have USB, whereas Toyota has it on the LE.
Driving dynamics still have that intangible Honda edge, though the Sienna has certainly moved much closer. Though quieter than the 2010, Sienna is quieter still.
The cool box is cool.
Better grade logic, offset by Sienna's +/- gear shift that lets you manually pick whatever gear you want. I haven't driven the Sienna in the hills yet, so I don't know for sure if its grade logic is sloppy like our Venza or precise like our Tundra, which matches Honda's grade logic while shifting even smoother.
Windows roll down with the remote, offset by Sienna's all 4 auto
up-down and superior a/c performance. Given a choice between the two in this respect, we'll take the superior Toyota a/c.
Power doors operate in Drive if you have your foot on the brake and speed is less than 1 mph.
Auto a/c EX and above. Sienna only has manual tri-zone in the LE, auto in higher trims.
Some under floor storage space around the spare tire.
Trip computer auto resets with gas fill up.
Hard drive audio system EX and above.
Middle row seats are lighter if you do remove them, which is more likely in the Ody since the Sienna's middle row slide flexibility means you are less likely to need to remove the seats at all.
Ambient area lighting at night.
Better looking exterior; hidden door track and rear wiper.
More storage space in the sliding doors.
Stronger engine and 6-speed on all models, but at the expense of gas mileage
Third row about 1.5" wider. Honda claims the exposed lower door track is for added third row width, yet the Sienna third row is still wider.
Third row windows vent open.
The driver can see out the right rear window; in the Odyssey the right center headrest blocks the view out the right rear. One of the magazine reviews mentioned this, and I confirmed it today.
Dead pedal and driver overall legroom is superior. The 2010 Ody also has a more comfortable dead pedal than the 2011 Ody, at least for me.
Auto up-down all four windows, not just the front two.
with streaming audio and USB in the LE MSRP 30K. Streaming audio in the Odyssey requires $37K EXL+NAV (meaning $37K EXL+RES doesn't have stremaing audio either) or the Touring. You can get Bluetooth and USB (but no streaming) in the Ody in the EXL for $35K, still a $5K premium over the LE.
Trip computer gives exact instantaneous readout, not just a bar graph.
Much wider access to the third row. Similarly, middle row goes much farther back allowing larger items to be loaded flat on the floor behind the front seats without removing the middle row.
USB access is exposed instead of hidden in the glove box.
Front center console storage and cupholders are lit, similar to the Venza.
Honda is spending a lot of time focusing on the top end models and the advantages of Honda's nav system, etc. These are all good points. For us mere mortals, however, who don't have $40K to drop on a minivan, the fundamentals in the $30K range are what is going to make or break the sale. According to Honda, 40% of Odyssey shoppers cross-shop the Sienna, which is exactly what we did.
We would love to have the 2011 Odyssey's 27 mpg (because we would be buying the EX or EXL) and Honda driving feel. But in this day and age Bluetooth is a must; USB and streaming audio are a nice bonus. We also happen to prefer cloth. If Honda made an EX with Bluetooth, we'd be sold. $3,500 extra for the EXL to get Bluetooth without streaming is a big stretch. The moonroof, power tailgate, and power passenger seat are nice, but not mandatory, and we personally don't like leather in sunny AZ. As an aside, EXL and above have a rear-view camera, which Toyota includes at a much lower price point in the LE.
The Sienna LE has Bluetooth, streaming audio, USB, tri-zone a/c (though manual), and much easier third row access and cargo flexibility either in front of or behind the middle row because of the long-slide feature. Aftermarket Bluetooth in the Ody EX still won't match the factory system from Toyota, and would make the net cost of the EX even higher compared to the LE.
With all things considered, we decided to go with the Sienna LE. It was a close call, and we know that anyone who buys the Odyssey will have an excellent vehicle
with the best mileage in its class. But they will also be paying quite a few $$ more buying higher trim levels to get the same features Toyota includes at a much lower price. Even if you overlook the Sienna's extra features that are not available on Honda, comparable trim levels in the mid-range class are still 1-2K less expensive with Sienna.
A final example: Sienna LE has third row sun shades. Odyssey has those too, but only in the Touring for $10K more. No one is going to spend $10K just to get sunshades, but it is amusing that something so basic is only included on the two most expensive models.
Thanks for reading this far. At one time we had three Hondas in our family all at the same time. Now we will have three Toyotas and no Hondas. Coincidentally all three of those Toyotas have cloth interiors and Bluetooth; the Honda variant of each would be a more expensive model with at least leather and in most cases navi. Hopefully in a few more years Honda will join the rest of the automotive crowd and include more features in lower trim levels without leather/nav/res bundles. We look forward to rejoining the Honda family when that happens.