By on October 30, 2015

2015ToyotaSienna_(1_of_3)

2015 Toyota Sienna LTD AWD

3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve Dual VVT-i V-6 (266 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm; 245 pounds-feet of torque @ 4,700 rpm)

6-speed ECT-i Automatic Transmission

16 city/23 highway/19 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

22.1 mpg on the 1/99 city/hwy “driving through Hell, Wyoming" cycle (Observed, MPG)

Tested Options: Roof Rack Cross Bars, Remote Engine Start, Four Season (Not Three!) Floor Mat Package

Base Price (Sienna LTD AWD): $43,665*

As Tested Price: $44,824*

* All prices include $885 destination fee.

* A cautionary tale. 

Traversing the great state of Wyoming with hundreds of pounds of men, gear (including a Chairman Mao stencil) and snacks needs no fewer than 14 cupholders.

(Two cupholders were used for drinks, the rest were used for toy cars and various empty wrappers.)

Building a family car isn’t a trick. Rather, it’s a compromise between size and economy, comfort and capability, familiar and futuristic. Anyone can build a battleship, but moving it down the road at 25 miles per gallon requires some finesse.

This isn’t a story about the Littoral combat ship. Instead, it’s a story about three overweight men, eight hours to wonder aloud in a van in Wyoming about Nixon, road noise and absolutely no legal marijuana from Colorado crossing interstate lines. (Sorry to get your hopes up.)

The 2015 Toyota Sienna is a minivan with complex roots. Not necessarily a $45 billion Department of Defense bungle like the USS Independence, the Toyota Sienna benefits from some thoughtful, inexpensive touches, such as storage everywhere and comfortable seating — but ultimately falls short.

The Sienna has some seriously tough competitors. All six minivans left in the U.S. (the Mazda5 is sadly gone) — the Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country, Kia Sedona Honda Odyssey, Nissan Quest and Toyota Sienna — are hopelessly close to $30,000 when equipped sanely. Our tester, an opulently equipped Limited AWD edition tipped the scales at over $44,000 with expendable options such as remote start ($499) and roof racks ($185). A good example can be had for much less.

2015ToyotaSienna_(2_of_3)

Exterior
IMG_1762“Well, it’s no Honda Odyssey,” I continuously said through our run.

Partially because I wished it had central vac like an Odyssey for the filthy animals I was hauling 550 miles across Wyoming, but also because I believe the Odyssey makes good with the van’s limited palette.

With long sliding doors, maximized interior room and boxy proportions, vans have a tough time looking good. As a result, the Sienna is best eaten face-first.

The creased hood, grille and attractive headlights are somewhat let down by the plain jane bumper and nondescript shoulders. It’s hard to fault a van for being boring — but somehow the Sienna is and the Odyssey just isn’t.

Around back, the Sienna has one.

IMG_1764

Interior
Like Disney movies, it’s not the exterior appearances as what’s inside that counts: it’s the 14 cupholders and myriad storage cubbies that test a van’s mettle, of which there are plenty in the Sienna. Fully loaded, the Sienna carries four grownups and their gear hundreds of miles across the plains of Wyoming to deliver them to a racetrack in Salt Lake City. Not bad.

The Sienna makes its hay in slogs like these — same goes for a lot of the other minivans — and that’s why they’re likeable.

Like other minivans, the Sienna tickles the common-sense quotient with a handful of Toyota features that range in usability.

Space shuttle seating — which may be the thinnest corporate tie-in imaginable for Toyota — helps the van seat 7 or 8 passengers depending on seat configuration. When the middle row has captain chairs only, seating for adults in that row is comfortable and spacious (I fit two adults in the second row for more than 1,200 miles). In the more expensive Limited models, second-row chairs have leg support.

However, when the middle seat isn’t installed in the second row, there are a few ungainly hooks jutting up from the floor that remind you that something isn’t there. They’re also a little bit of a tripping hazard for small feet.

The much more useful family feature, an amplified voice system for drivers to speak to rear passengers, dubbed “Driver Easy Speak” is the Sienna’s best trick. Using a microphone in the front to project through the rear speakers, talking to children sitting in the rear seats is much easier and clearer — and more importantly — safer.

Day in, day out, the Sienna is just as comfortable as a living room. The easy load height and wide-open spaces made trips to the racetrack and back easy, and around town the Sienna is competent and quiet, which was ideal.

2015_Toyota_Sienna_LTD_022

Infotainment
Toyota’s Entune infotainment system is still the best of the bunch and is easier to use than comparable systems in the Honda and Chrysler vans. Bringing up the navigation map still requires pressing buttons on two different screens, something that I hope Toyota changes soon.

Syncing a phone with the system and utilizing its data connection helps the van find movie times, gas pumps and stream Internet radio, which I imagine actually gets used in a van more than it does in their passenger cars.

(My only gripe: the USB port appears to be only .5 amps, which means my toast-sized iPhone Plus couldn’t charge or run off the single USB. I had to plug in a power inverter to one of the 12-volt adapters and noisily run a power inverter. That’s a big problem for families, and something that could have been wrong in my car only. I asked Toyota for some guidance, but haven’t heard back.)

2015ToyotaSienna_(3_of_3)

Drive
Our van sported a feature than no van can (see what I did there?) — it’s the only all-wheel drive van available today. Under the hood, a 6-cylinder engine that cranks 266 horsepower is managed by a six-speed automatic transmission. In the real world, the Sienna barely manages around 20 mpg in combined city and highway driving — which is a steep price for a theoretical all-wheel drive.

The mileage isn’t impressive, nor is the trade-off for all-wheel drive. Our all-wheel drive machine hummed away for 1,200 miles through Wyoming, Colorado and Utah over three days, which proved to be long enough to say repeatedly, “I thought it would be quieter in here.”

The Sienna could benefit from more forward cogs, and two fewer drive wheels. (The rear floor was strangely hot after a long drive — hot enough to melt a box of chocolate bars in the back.

The Sienna is interesting like my living room too, and I’m no one’s interior decorator. Despite subtle improvements to the front fascia and rear taillights, the Sienna doesn’t look as good as, say, the Odyssey, inside and out.

But like most family events — or hauling adults and gear hundreds of miles across the country — it’s not how you look doing it, it’s how it gets done.

And it wasn’t pretty. The men, I mean.

Correction: An earlier version of this story didn’t include the Nissan Quest as on sale in the U.S. 

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

58 Comments on “2015 Toyota Sienna AWD Drive – Three Mans And A Van...”


  • avatar
    Joss

    I thought the Quest was still skipping around. And according to Edmunds nicer to drive.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    Thoughts on the Run Flats that come on the AWD?

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Sorry to be dismissive but this review is far below TTAC’s normal standard.This told me very little about what I as someone looking at another minivan purchase in the future want to know.

    1) The Sienna has a stellar reputation for quality and reliability. Something that the Odyssey (transmission) or Caravan do not have. Why was this key point not even mentioned?
    2) Why count the Caravan and Town & Country as 2 different vehicles?
    3) The options that you speak of are of no interest to me. Speakers to talk to the back seat, built in sat nav. All stuff that I will not pay for. Can buy a navigation system for $100 and if you can’t raise your voice loud enough for your kids to hear, you need to take a course in parenting.
    4) You can’t get a decently equipped van for under $30k? Even in Canada you can get a Caravan with everything that you need for about $21k.
    5) Few of those practical enough to want a minivan also purchase AWD. Read Peter Cheney’s articles in the Globe and Mail about why AWD/4WD is actually for most drivers more dangerous than FWD or even RWD. You go faster and perhaps through deeper snow but generally have a higher centre of gravity, more weight and do not turn or stop any better. Going faster in bad weather is a bad thing, not a good thing (his arguments in short).
    6) Who buys a minivan for its looks?
    7) Just tell me i) visibility ii) seating positions iii) carrying capacity iv) dashboard legibility iv) step up height v) ease of raising/lowering/removing the seats vi) ride quality, vii) quality of seating materials, and plastics.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “The options that you speak of are of no interest to me.”

      Who cares if they don’t interest you? You really want to criticize the author for bringing up features on the test vehicle?

    • 0 avatar
      Aaron Cole

      1. Because for 3 days, one week or 3 months, I can’t accurately gauge reliability. The van didn’t break down on us. That’s as good as I can tell you.
      2. Because they are two different vehicles.
      3. Yes, you can buy Nav for $100. You can buy it from a gas station from $4.99, I think.
      4. Yes. You can get a decently equipped van for $30K. That’s the point I was making. Our $44K tester was too much.
      5. You’re right. That’s why I surmised that the Sienna AWD needed two fewer drive wheels.
      6. Many people, including fathers I know, would at least appreciate a modicum of exterior style in their vans. That’s why, I suspect, they consistently update the vans.
      7. Good. Easy. 7 to 8 people. Good. 10-12 inches. Fair. Poor. Fair.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Aaron,
        Thanks, expand on your answers below and you have a useful review for potential purchasers.

        7) Just tell me i) visibility ii) seating positions iii) carrying capacity iv) dashboard legibility iv) step up height v) ease of raising/lowering/removing the seats vi) ride quality, vii) quality of seating materials, and plastics.

        7. Good. Easy. 7 to 8 people. Good. 10-12 inches. Fair. Poor. Fair.

        Now can someone please explain to me how the current Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country are “two different vehicles”?

        • 0 avatar
          Aaron Cole

          Arthur, I get what you’re saying, thanks for keeping me honest.

          Here’s my best for you:

          Visibility is excellent in the Sienna, like every minivan. Which comes at the expense of exterior styling. From the driver’s seat, there are few places, if any you can’t see. If you’re looking down the nose, it’s easy to park and nimble. Seeing out the rear can be a challenge with the third row up and headrests up.

          Its seating positions are high in the front.

          The Sienna carries 7 or 8 people. Seats removed cargo capacity is 117 cubic feet.

          The dashboard is clear and Entune is easy to read.

          I’ll measure step-up height for you and report. What’s your email address and I’ll send it over.

          Raising and lowering the seats is fair in the rear (a complicated mix of pulling and moving that took two people 30 seconds) and the middle seat is more difficult and could be a challenge. See my story.

          The ride quality is a broad term. Overall, it rides fair without being too crushing. Road noise is a problem.

          The quality of the seats is better than average. Better than the Dodge and Kia. I can’t say anything about the Quest.

          And the GC/TC are contented very differently. At $8,000 difference, there’s a significant jump to get up to the TC.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Isn’t the Caravan dropping off after this year, or being relegated to cargo variant only, or something?

    • 0 avatar
      silverw126

      I’m not sure about the Sienna’s reliability. Maybe my ’06 Sienna was built on a Monday or Friday, but after 60K, I had so many reliability issues with our Sienna. 2 replacement steering racks, 2 failed sliding doors, a servo in the HVAC that failed (and started giving its death rattle again when I sold it at 105K to CarMax), a parasitic draw on the battery, and a worn front wheel bearing. I also never could get the alignment right–it always wore the outer edges of the tires unevenly.

      Fortunately the sliding doors were later covered under warranty (it was $2K to fix each door, and they gave me $4K). This is a known issue–the rear hinges were not alloyed correctly, and eventually sag, cutting into the door cable until they snap. Once they snap, the door is stuck–open, closed, or halfway–almost impossible to close if it’s stuck open.

      There were other smaller issues–blown shocks at 30K, recalls for 4 airbags, some failed interior LED lights. But I never had so many issues on a Toyota–it’s like the company has become complacent on past laurels.

      • 0 avatar
        Sloomis

        While, conversely, my 2005 Odyssey with 140k miles has been mechanically rock solid, including the transmission. Hatch struts replaced under warranty, one manual sliding door mechanism broke, one minor mechanical issue at 117k (ignition coil burned out).

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          My friends wish they had yours. Their 2004 went through 3 transmissions before they dumped it for a Sienna. Hopefully that one doesn’t behave like silverw126’s above.

          • 0 avatar
            silverw126

            Our ’06 Sienna’s transmission was great at first. But starting at 95K miles, the transmission started to “slip” between 2nd and 3rd gear (around 30 mph). It would hang, and then slam into gear. It used to be a rare occurrence, but started to do it more frequently. Then it recently started to happen between 3rd and 4th gear. Figured the end is near on the transmission and decided to sell it via CarMax. Crossed fingers during their assessment, and luckily enough, it drove ok for them. Never towed anything with the van, it it mostly carried 4 people. Always garaged, so it’s sad to give up a vehicle in great condition at 105K.

            I talked to several service technicians, and unfortunately the Sienna is based on the Camry, with many shared parts. Some parts were just not beefed up sufficiently for van duty.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Post ’04 Odysseys no longer see transmission failures en-masse, just some early on complaints regarding torque converter locking (could be re-flashed). I think it is widely regarded that in terms of overall quality (mechanical, build quality, interior) that the 05-09 vans are the best.

      • 0 avatar
        2drsedanman

        I bought my ’06 Sienna new and it has been the best vehicle I have ever had, now at 130,000 + miles. I do think these things were “under tired” from the factory. Since I upsized my tires, I have found they have lasted a lot longer. A guy I work with has had great luck with his as well. Luck of the draw I guess.

    • 0 avatar
      an innocent man

      The Ody doesn’t have a reputation for reliability? The tranny issue was what, 11 years ago?

      • 0 avatar
        silverw126

        Spoke to several Honda technicians–the transmission issue mostly happened to Accords, Odysseys, MDX’s, and TL’s up to 2004 (coolant lines were too small, so the transmission overheated). Later transmissions were better, but they did fail on occasion–but not as frequently as the older Honda V6 models.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          IIRC it was the 5 spd auto which failed consistently and this was only used in the V6 models you named but also including Acura CL. Acura Legend, er RL, used a different transmission.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I think the trans issue was especially bad in the earlier 3.2 CL, and that’s why you never see those round anymore.

            Not that they were good looking, I always found them hideous and rather shovel-like. The gen 2 however, looks great even today. Still don’t see em much. I think they were too pricey compared to the Lex option.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Demand he refund the money you paid him for a *personalized* review, I guess?

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I’m not fully awake yet, but I had a difficult time following this review. FWIW, C&D actually ranked the Sienna first in a comparo, not a common podium finish for Toyota in that magazine.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Not that I want to speak for Aaron, but the options are of interest to me as we have kids and it is hard to talk to the rear seats because kids have things like tablets, movies…

    I think the Caravan and T&C are different price points.

  • avatar

    That wasn’t the Sienna that melted the chocolate bars. That was Nixon.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    This review is so dull, so full of cliches, and such a blatantly lame ripoff on Murlee’s story about a drive in a Kia CUV around a storm, that I wanted to poke my eyes out. Damn that was painful.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    I think the fact that the Sienna is offered in AWD is huge.

    No, you don’t need AWD…until you do. And this van is the only game in town, then.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Agree! You used to have several options back in the late 90’s for AWD vans – like the MPV, Aerostar, Chrysler variants, and the Astro.

      But now, the Lone Ranger.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Geez Aerostar went to MY97.

        Waz up dawg?

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Aerostar#/media/File:AerostarCargovan.jpg

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Haha, that thing is a sad.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I deplore the lack of slightly ‘beefier’ vans with AWD. The one distinct advantage of not building off of a transverse sedan chassis and instead off of truck hardware was that a lot of transmission issues could be avoided. Previas are some of the most long lasting vehicles that I can think of, it’s uncanny. My family is running a pair of old gen-1 Mazda MPVs to this day (a first year base model 4cyl rwd ’89 and a final year, fully loaded 4WD “allsport” ES ’98).

            The ’98 MPV was the perfect vehicle for me aside from the underpowered engine, and later on in its life, hard to find and very expensive parts. It has adequate ground clearance and durability to satisfy my needs to get to certain remote areas that weren’t hardcore crawling, although a low range gear set in the transfer case would have been nice (available in the unicorn 5spd manual model). More interior room than my current 4Runner and better ride/handling, super comfy for road trips and it is a champ at handling slick highway conditions with that full-time 4wd setting (center diff unlocked). I still drive it when I come back home to see my folks, it’s living out its retirement as a sailboat hauler on the weekends and all around utility vehicle on their hobby farm. The ’89 is my brother’s parts hauler (crate engines, that sort of thing).

            I’ve considered finding a super clean Chevy Astro AWD and giving it a small 1 inch lift, but the on-road performance in terms of handling is nowhere near that MPV, to say nothing of interior quality. Another option would be to hunt down a super clean ’98 MPV without rust, but then I’m dealing with poor aftermarket and forum support again.

    • 0 avatar
      bts

      The stow and go seating in the Chrysler and Dodge takes up space to prevent AWD. Their next vans might have electric motors for AWD to work around this.

  • avatar
    NN

    as an owner of a 13′ Quest and 14′ Transit Connect, I feel qualified to add a couple of my own thoughts/opinions on this vehicle:

    1) it’s the ONLY van with a proven good reliability record. I repeat, the ONLY.
    2) it’s a Toyota, so it’s resale value will be top of the pack
    3) IMO it’s conservatively handsome and will age better than the Odyssey.
    4) I believe the Sienna is the largest and roomiest overall in it’s class
    5) it drives dull and plain but only the Odyssey and Transit Connect give any pretense towards handling
    6) All the Japanese vans can be optioned up to near $50k, or purchased in base model forms for under $30k, so are priced more or less the same. Only the domestic options & Kia can be had in the low $20’s.

    In summary, for people who just want the “best van”, this is it (gets nod over Odyssey due to reliability). If you care about handling or a vacuum more than reliability, or if you think it really looks better, sure the Honda may win. If you want the “best deal”, you buy a Chrysler or Kia. If you want something different with a little more character you buy the Nissan and/or Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I think on the styling front, that points after the Previa and gen 1 Sienna have showed the Odyssey to age better. Honda has been good about morphing the styling gradually as opposed to radical changes. Not so with the Toyota, which is now quite dorky looking – especially at the front.

      So many similarities with old and new Odysseys.

      01
      http://zombdrive.com/images/2001-honda-odyssey-4.jpg

      10
      http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2009/08/06/12/52/2010-honda-odyssey-pic-52093-1600×1200.png

      15
      http://pictures.dealer.com/s/southshorehondavalleystream/1006/cae2b1efeac5e092c11c7fa0ec6231e5x.jpg

      These look basically the same. The rear end treatment hasn’t changed either, same blocky light bars.

    • 0 avatar
      bill h.

      Having had a ’15 Transit Connect (long wheelbase) for a few months, I can’t say much about reliability at this point as it’s too new. But also having driven a 2WD Sienna recently as well, I would agree with your general points about the driving characteristics between them (can’t say anything re: the Quest). However, the Transit Connect is a smaller vehicle in both length/width, so the nimbleness factor benefits. Perhaps the weight difference matters too, since the TCs are less opulent inside and have fewer features, like motorized doors. Siennas do have more pickup in general since they have a V6. But their seating positions, height etc. were less suited for us and my aged parents, who have limited mobiity, whereas the Transit Connect is nearly ideal in that regard.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I actually like the Sienna’s looks just fine in SE trim (yes, I know, lame Swagger Wagon ads, but it covers up some of the bland).

    I can’t speak to long-distance comfort, but the Sienna’s 2nd row seats always seemed finicky to put back in place after trying to access the third row. The Grand Caravan literally hooks into one specific spot after you tilt it forward, and the Odyssey easily slides right back to one spot. But the Sienna, the slider seems higher effort than the other two, and half the time, it stops at the forward-most position, uncomfortably close to the front seats. Maybe it gets more intuitive to an owner, but it seems poorly designed.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “In the real world, the Sienna barely manages around 20 mpg in combined city and highway driving — which is a steep price for a theoretical all-wheel drive.”

    I can’t agree with this part. The Sienna is the only AWD thing that seats 7 or 8 and will get you anywhere close/over 20mpg. There’s nothing else that can, because your options beyond this van are SUV/CUV only.

    Additionally, this leather barge van with AWD and V6 power gets better mileage than AWD V6 sedans from three years ago, and that’s saying something as well.

    The AWD variant here is a unique offering, and that absolutely cannot be discounted so easily.

  • avatar
    debaserrides

    I regularly get 20mpg in my Hemi Ram 1500 on tow lane roads… Which would you rather drive?

    • 0 avatar
      debaserrides

      uh… TWO lane roads…

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      So you put the kids in the bed in the winter I guess, with the cargo and their car seats? Different kinds of cars entirely.

    • 0 avatar
      clivesl

      I’d rather drive my ’04 Sienna and my cargo stays dry.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Well a “mini” van (which really are pretty big these days) looks like a small bus. And a bus is what kids (used) to be excited to leave behind when they got their own wheels. So of course the pickup!

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      To be honest, the Sienna. Trucks are too ponderous with minimal input feedback. Unless I’m just worrying about my image, then yes – the Hemi all the way.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      “I regularly get 20mpg in my Hemi Ram 1500 on tow lane roads… Which would you rather drive?”

      It’s not necessarily what you’d rather drive. For me my crew cab PU blows away any minivan for all out utility and versatility. The realty is for what I use my truck for on a regular basis you couldn’t do with minivan without having an accident and/or flat out killing the poor minivan. They offer a ton of utility no doubt and when on a family vacation my vehicle of choice. Back at home a minivan just doesn’t cut it.

      We did rent a Toy Sienna for 10 days when we vacationed on the big island of Hawaii. It was OK. Interior was cheap looking(it was a lower level trim), doors rattled when you shut them and the nothing all that refined about the drive train. It did have a ton of room and you can’t beat sliding doors w/kids and parking lots. Especially in Hawaii where the parking spaces are extra small width wise.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        “…nothing all that refined about the drive train.” Totally different experience from my own.

        I drove my daughter-in-law’s 2013 Sienna XLE in Brownsville, TX, and vicinity, and I found it a remarkably capable, quiet and smooth-driving AWD minivan, even in beach sand and river mud.

        Maybe rentals have the crap beaten out of them on a routine basis.

        BTW, the Sienna AWD system is identical to the 4X4/AWD system of our 2008 Highlander, and just as capable off the beaten path.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          “Maybe rentals have the crap beaten out of them on a routine basis.”

          You know the saying, “drive it like a rental”

          Mostly more engine noise than I’m accustomed to hearing and you knew it every time the transmission shifted.

          At least least I didn’t t have to have it towed out of the resort parking lot like I did with our Dodge minivan rental last time we were there.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “At least least I didn’t t have to have it towed out of the resort parking lot like I did with our Dodge minivan rental”

            Ha ha, I know the feeling well! 25th HS reunion, brand new 1990 Town&Country minivan rental, dead as a doornail, 2am Sunday morning, couldn’t get a hold of anyone at the rental hut, had to call my brother to come and pick us up. (That went over like a lead brick)

            Oh, what a night, but I was feelin’no pain….

            Maybe divine intervention kept me from driving while drunk.

            Seriously!

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    A roof rack is not an expendable option if you really use it as a family hauler and that family is more than 4 people. Sure it is not needed most of the time but if you are taking a trip with a near full complement of passengers you need that roof rack to carry all the luggage.

  • avatar
    fiasco

    If Toyota is still using those Bridgestone run-flats, they’re butt-turrible. 15k mile life, and noisy.

    My 2011 AWD Sienna (OK, my wife’s), now runs Cooper CS5 Ultra Tourings (XL rated). Those should make it more than 30k and are half the money of the RFTs. If I’m going on a trip, I throw a snow tire (on rim) in the back.

    Now let’s talk about the AWD. My sample size is pretty small, but I have experienced ZERO Toyotas that behaved well in snow in 2WD. That includes an 80’s Corolla, an 88 4Runner in @WD, and the 2011 FWD Sienna I had briefly before the AWD one. The AWD Sienna with crappy run-flat tires was worlds better than the FWD version with Nokian Hakka SUV snow tires. The AWD Sienna isn’t quite as wonderful as our Subarus (2003 and 04 5-speed Legacy/Outback) in the winter, but it’s more than good enough.

    The Odyssey has a little more driving feel than the Sienna, but less ground clearance. It’s a mile to the nearest pavement from my house, so Mud Season requires at least 6″ ground clearance, or park the car for two months of the year.

    In 105k miles over less than five years, our problems have been limited to the power sliding doors (seemed common in early production 2011 models…new motors under warranty), the crummy stock tires, and not quite enough brake (prone to “warped” rotors and quick pad wear). Slotted rotors and EBC Green Stuff pads last better than the stock ones.

    Fuel economy? 18-22 depending on what you’re doing. Considering my current 03 Legacy wagon needs a very light foot to get 23, can’t complain about something 1,500 lbs. heavier with another 100 hp and a slush box doing nearly as well.

    For hauling kids/their friends/skis/dog/etc. no matter the weather, it’s tough to beat an AWD Sienna for utility. Could I get a little more ground clearance and a more rugged AWD/4WD with an SUV? Yeah, but there isn’t anything else that you can pack for the Apocalypse and still get the entire family into with as much comfort. And the sliding doors are so much easier in parking lots.

  • avatar

    I don’t normally complain about writing and I’ve been trying to give Aaron a fair shake but this was almost unreadable I guess I can just ignore Aaron’s reviews in the future.
    On the Odyssey it’s not a real data point but in 2011 I spent a couple months working at a Claim office for an insurance company in a Honda dealership. I don’t think a week went by without an Odyssey or 3 being on a lift getting a tyranny transplant and a fair number of these were post 2005 models.

  • avatar
    threeer

    And here I was hoping for a timely review on a minivan as the wife and I are contemplating buying one on a few months…we have no children (well, I have a 24-year old AF pilot son, but HE has no kids yet, so no grands) but enjoy camping and hauling rescue pups. We test drove a used Chrysler TC the other day and absolutely loved the Stow -N- Go seating. That said, there is always a little trepidation in considering a Dodge/Chrysler product, so I was a little excited about a potentially helpful review of a competing people-hauler. Guess the homework assignment continues…

  • avatar
    gsp

    I want to like this minivan, but there are too many things that prevent me from buying it. The AWD is the draw, but I hate the styling. It is a mash-up of ideas from Toyota and it looks like a committee designed it. Also I drive a Tundra (2014) at work on occasionally and it has a number of flaws that related to just being cheap. Eg. no automatic headlight function, no driver side grab bar for getting out, TINY fuel tank for a 5.7L gas guzzler, gas pedal that vibrates (look it up) etc etc. I think Toyotas are great vehicles but the F150 (2009) that it replaced was in many ways a better vehicle.

    Our 2007 Odyssey has been reliable. It has 90k miles on it and it is still going strong. Only basic maintenance aside from some recent ac trouble (aluminium lines that rubbed together and wore a hole in one.)

    The current model of Odysseys looks extremely cheap on the inside. Hard plastic. Everywhere. Almost no leather left in the Touring anymore, it is all fake. The Accord at 60% of the price has a way better interior.

    If Honda can give us AWD and a decent interior I am sold. If Toyota can give us some reasonable exterior styling I am sold. There really are only two options for minivans. Every time I rent I Chysler minivan I am reminded of my 1984 K-Car engine. Gutless, loud and unrefined. My recent rental of a Grand Cherokee tells me that Chrysler could do better… as long as in six years time those too don’t have the tell tale blue smoke coming out of the exhaust. And since I am completely digressing, can somebody tell me if that is caused by driver neglect (oil changes) or simply a crappy engine.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Corey Lewis: That’s a fair point. I wouldn’t have eaten fast food!
  • Corey Lewis: how dare!
  • d4rksabre: I’ve always wanted to do this but it seems like it would be tricky. I assume you need the dealer to...
  • stingray65: Very interesting analysis of the future of EVs as evidenced by the lack of new capacity and low prices...
  • davefromcalgary: Sweet Buick ;-)

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States