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2017 Toyota Sienna vs. 2017 Honda Odyssey

2017 Toyota Sienna

Introduction

 

Minivan lovers tend to stick with a brand, and Toyota Sienna drivers are among the most loyal you’ll find anywhere. It would take a lot of cajoling to get a Toyota Sienna driver to switch to another brand – something that Honda has been trying to do with the Odyssey to little success.

Minivans are the ultimate vehicles for families – they’re designed primarily for passengers, they’re easy to clean, and there’s lots of space for all of the junk your kids need to bring with them on every trip. The Toyota Sienna is one of the most comfortable minivans around, and the available features mean it rises above the competition quite comfortably.

At the other end of the scale is the Honda Odyssey, which is very likely in its last year of production. It’s not a smart move to buy a vehicle that’s about to be decommissioned, as it tends to result in a pretty sharp falloff in used value as buyers don’t want to be purchasing a car that is no longer in production.

The Sienna and the Odyssey directly compete – they’re the same price and offer the same fuel economy in both the city and on the highway. Let’s take a look at some of the differences between the 2017 Toyota Sienna and the 2017 Honda Odyssey, and why you might choose one over the other for your family.

Riley Toyota in Jefferson City is now offering the 2017 Toyota Sienna for sale to Columbia, Sedalia, and St. Louis residents, as well as drivers from Moberly, MO; Lebanon, MO; Wentzville, MO; Washington, MO; and Marshall, MO.

 

Performance

 

Larger vehicles like the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey need powerful drivetrains to help them shift their bulk. Choose an underpowered engine and you’ll be struggling to overtake on the highway and wrestling with the take-off at every red light.

Base models of the 2017 Toyota Sienna come with a powerful gasoline 3.5-liter direct injection V6 engine that takes unleaded. It’s capable of outputting just under 300 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and has a max torque of 263 at 4,700 rpm. That’s 30 more horsepower than the 2016 model, thanks to the inclusion of direct injection and being mated to an excellent 8-speed automatic transmission.

You can expect to get from zero to sixty in around seven seconds in the Sienna. Minivans are not designed to be speed demons, and this is more than enough to make it one of the class leaders and enthusiasts may be surprised at just how spritely a minivan can be. The MacPherson front strut and the independent rear suspension are tried and true, and there has been a number of tuning refinements made for the 2017 Sienna that makes the ride even more smooth. The steering is quick and smooth, and you can even opt for the SE edition that lowers the body, adds 19-inch wheels, and has tighter suspension tuning.

In comparison, the Honda Odyssey is limping along with a sequential MPI engine that can only muster 248 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm. It lacks the torque of the Sienna’s engine, only offering a max of 250 at 4,800 rpm.

Performance is perhaps the Odyssey’s weakest point, with an inflexible 6-speed automatic in a world of minivans with 8- and 9-speed automatic transmissions. When cruising, this leads to indecisiveness is the gearing, and if you’re heading down a winding mountain track there’s little you can do to control the shifts when you really want to.

 

Styling

 

The two minivans have chosen to focus on different dimensions inside and out. For starters, the Toyota Sienna has an extra two inches of ground clearance, making it a better choice if you’re going to ever be driving on uneven roads. There’s also an extra half inch of height.

At the base level, you’ll only be getting steel wheels on the 2017 Honda Odyssey where the 2017 Toyota Sienna is kitted out in 17-inch aluminum wheels.

The 2017 Toyota Sienna doesn’t make too many concessions for style over comfort – exactly the way a minivan should be. The SE trim is the standout, with side rocker panels and sporty wheels to complement its lower body and tighter handling setup. Elsewhere in the lineup, Toyota is keeping the Sienna up to date with new taillights with interesting interior elements and a new grille design.

There are rumors that this might be the last year for the current Honda Odyssey design, and it’s high time that the vehicle got a bit of a spruce up. The “lightning bolt” window line seems amateurish.

Inside, there’s are a striking number of similarities in space, with both vehicles offering 66.1 inches of hip room in the second row. The Toyota Sienna edges it in a number of places – there’s more front shoulder room and hip room, more head room and shoulder room in the second row, and more head room, shoulder room, and hip room in the third-row seats.

The Toyota Sienna starts with a large touchscreen in the center dash (which can be upgraded in higher up trims). Most of the trims have also have a 4.2-inch color readout between the gauges to keep you up to date. This is user-customizable, so you can make your Sienna your own.

The interior of the Honda Odyssey is lacking in design, preferring to stick to function rather than try to create a space that is nice to be in for a long period of time. Things are almost retro, with a large number of knobs and buttons where an integrated touchscreen control could have cleaned up the space. The infotainment system, placed very near the shifter, is awkward to reach and handle.

 

Comfort and Utility

 

There’s not much difference between the cargo space of each vehicle apart from how the second- and third-row seats have been allocated space. The Toyota Sienna does, however, offer the most cargo volume overall. At 150 square feet of cargo volume behind the front seat and 39.1 square feet behind the third-row seats, the Toyota Sienna sees off the Honda Odyssey smartly.

The Sienna has supremely comfortable and supportive seats for front passengers, and ever since the 2015 update the surrounding dash has been a joy to behold. The knobs have been made larger and most versions of your Sienna come with power-adjustable seats. The Honda Odyssey’s seats are poor in comparison – they lack back and lateral support for long trips.

The Sienna feels so roomy, with real space for eight passengers to stretch out. There are cargo organizers and plenty of storage bins for smaller items, including in the two deep glove boxes and center console.

In the second row, you have the option of the standard bench or captain’s chairs. The captain’s chairs come as standard on all-wheel drive models. Choose the Limited model, and you’ll get reclining seats like lazy boy loungers that even include leg-cushion extenders and footrests. You can remove the seats in the second row for extra cargo space when you need it.

Unlike in many other vehicles, the third row is actually usable for adults and they’re easy to get into. Again, this is where the Honda Odyssey falls short, and an average-height adult would only want to be there for a short trip. The seats are low, and there’s less cushioning than in the other rows. Interior materials, on the whole, feel poorer.

 

Features

 

The Toyota Sienna offers everything you could possibly want in a minivan, and you’ve got five trim levels from which to choose. Notably, the Toyota Sienna is the only minivan available today with optional all-wheel drive.

Some of the more exotic features you can choose include a 10-speaker stereo system, second-row captain’s chairs, Blu-ray player, 16.4-inch rear entertainment system, Driver Easy Speak system for amplifying the driver’s voice to rear seat passengers, heated seats, smoked and chrome exterior accents, 19-inch wheels, LED taillights, power sliding doors, 7-inch touchscreen, and a dual moonroof. There are also safety features like a forward collision warning system and adaptive cruise control.

 

Summary

 

The 2017 Toyota Sienna will carry on as one of the best minivans available today, whereas the 2017 Honda Odyssey is quite likely to be retired this year. The reasons for this become obvious when you take the two vehicles for a test drive – the Sienna is packed full of features at a nice price, and has a powerful, responsive, modern powertrain, whereas the Odyssey is lackluster, underpowered, and unsure of itself on the road. The comfort levels in the Sienna are top notch, and in the Odyssey the front and third-row seats are uncomfortable. The Odyssey has seen its last years, so choosing the 2017 Toyota Sienna would be the sensible choice for any minivan purchaser in 2017.

The 2017 Toyota Sienna is available at Riley Toyota in Jefferson City, MO, serving Central Missouri; Lake Saint Louis, MO; Wildwood, MO; Saint Peters, MO; Warrensburg, MO; and Ellisville, MO.