While data may suggest an end to the minivan era in America—according to goodcarbadcar.net, minivan sales in 2015 were nearly half of what they were in 2006—buyer interest in family-friendly minivans (like the 2016 Honda Odyssey) is undoubtedly alive and kicking. And the battle for minivan numero uno couldn’t be fiercer.
In one corner, we have the lengthy 2016 Honda “The Body” Odyssey with its intimidating blend of roominess, innovation, and dependability. In the other corner stands the 2016 Toyota “Swagger Wagon” Sienna, a heavyweight bruiser with a hard-coated shell. Between the two, they make up more than half of annual minivan sales in the U.S., and there’s no surprise as to why.
Who will come out on top in the Odyssey vs. Sienna bout? Let’s take a look.
Spaciousness & Safety
If you’re searching for a minivan, you probably care less about horsepower and more about a comfy interior and available features.
In the roominess department, the Honda Odyssey has 172.6 cubic feet of passenger volume, besting the Sienna’s passenger volume of 164 cubic feet. At 79.2-inches wide and 202.9-inches long, the Odyssey is also slightly wider than the Sienna, which comes in at 78-inches wide and 200-inches long.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is shown with the second-row seating, where the Odyssey offers a passenger volume of 93-inches compared to the 87 inches in the Sienna.
In his comparison of the two, Bengt Halvorson of The Car Connection wrote this: “The generously apportioned second row in the Odyssey [is] one of the most comfortable in its class.” With a ‘wide mode’ feature that allows owners to move second-row seats outward toward the edges, and “flexibility in where the child-safety seats are placed” thanks to five LATCH and six tether locations, he gives the nod to the Odyssey as the more family-friendly minivan.
Bengt also added that “the Odyssey has been a safety standout, with excellent crash-test ratings all around.” The IIHS indeed acknowledged the Odyssey to be the safer of the two minivans by awarding it a 2016 top safety pick—an honor the 2016 Toyota Sienna did not receive.
Honda Odyssey vs. Toyota Sienna Features
The top-trim 2016 Odyssey models have features like HID headlights, a wide-screen entertainment system, blind-spot alarms (Honda LaneWatch), heated front seats, Wide-Mode second-row seating, and HondaVac. HondaVac is a unique, proprietary vacuum system that’s built into the rear cargo area, and is a handy tool for cleaning up dog hair, spilled Cheerios, and that pesky Fort Lauderdale sand.
The 2016 Sienna has similar offerings, including their LaneWatch camera system, a tri-zone AC and heating system, and a dual-view entertainment center.
While similar, the Honda Odyssey “comes with every feature a family needs and then some, including standard Bluetooth for your smartphone and audio devices, a rearview camera, and power-sliding side doors,” writes Jeff Neff of The Wire Cutter. With the implementation of the HondaVac, the 2016 Honda Odyssey also houses the most uniquely convenient feature.
Performance & Maneuverability
On paper, the engines on both the 2016 Honda Odyssey and 2016 Toyota Sienna look uncannily analogous—the Odyssey boasts a 3.5L V-6 engine with 248 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque while the Sienna has a comparable 3.5L V-6 with 266 horsepower and 245 lb-ft of torque.
On the road, however, the difference between the two is night and day.
Bengt Halvorson writes this: “the Sienna doesn’t handle with the same crispness as the Odyssey,” and it definitely shows in the turns.
In The Fast Lane Car’s side-by-side review, Roman Mica echoes Bengt’s sentiments on the Sienna’s handling, stating that the traction control is “no good” and a feature that interferes with the minivan’s somewhat clumsy overall maneuverability.
The 2016 Honda Odyssey, on the other hand, sports a front-wheel drive drivetrain that Mica describes as “peppy,” and a suspension system that feels very “progressive.” There’s a fluidity to the Odyssey’s handling that drivers can utilize to intuitively navigate turns.
Thanks to the Sienna’s available AWD drivetrain and its slight bump in horsepower, it narrowly bests the Odyssey in off-the-line speed, though it’s hardly a praise-worthy achievement for a minivan.
Overall, the Honda Odyssey offers a smoother, more intuitive ride, while the Sienna is slightly speedier during initial acceleration.
The Toyota Sienna bows to the Odyssey when it comes to fuel efficiency, although the two are comparable. The Odyssey has a 22-gallon fuel tank and boasts MPG ratings of 19 city/28 highway/22 combined while the Sienna sports a 21-gallon tank and MPG ratings of 18 city/25 highway/21 combined.
Clearly, the 2016 Honda Odyssey offers more in the when it comes to fuel economy and capacity.
At our South Florida Honda Dealerships, we price our 2016 Honda Odyssey models competitively. Prices for the Odyssey and Sienna are comparable across the board, and can range anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000 depending on the trim level and any available offers.
Jeff Neff wrote, however, that “the Odyssey is a great value…because it’s one of the least expensive minivans to own over time.” Thanks to the quality parts Honda utilizes during manufacturing, Odyssey owners can expect less wear and tear, and therefore fewer repairs over the minivan’s lifespan.
Both the Odyssey and Sienna offer excellent basic warranties.
And The Winner Is…
Neff says it best: “The Toyota Sienna is a good minivan; the Odyssey is simply a bit better in just about every way.”
With features that should appease any family member, ample space for up to eight passengers, flexible seating arrangements, and better fuel efficiency, the 2016 Honda Odyssey takes the bout in a near-unanimous decision.
If you’ve been convinced that the new 2016 Honda Odyssey is the clear-cut winner, come to one of our Honda dealerships in South Florida to take a test drive. Locate a South Florida Honda Dealer location near you, and see for yourself why the 2016 Honda Odyssey is this year’s minivan battle champ.