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2018 Honda Odyssey vs. 2018 Toyota Sienna: Which Is Better?

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author photo by Chris O'Neill June 2018
  • 2018 Toyota Sienna starts around $31,000
  • 2018 Honda Odyssey starts around $31,000
  • Sienna is available with AWD

If you're looking for a new minivan, chances are you're considering both the 2018 Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna; two of the leading vans on the market for the past two decades. Choosing between the two can be challenging: they both offer great features and reliability and are backed by two exemplary brands. To help, below we've outlined the major areas to consider when deciding between the two. At the end, we've also provided our thoughts on which of these two minivans is the better buy in 2018.

First introduced for the 2010 model year, the third-generation Toyota Sienna has been facelifted twice since it first went on sale eight years ago, the most recent refreshing taking place for the 2018 model year. The vast majority of vehicles are facelifted once over the course of their life cycles. The facelift brings about updated styling, and usually integrates some new technology that might have become popular since the vehicle was last fully redesigned. The fact that the Sienna has been updated twice could mean two things. On one hand, it's a highly competent, well-designed vehicle, but on the other, it's hard to incorporate all of the newest technology without fully redesigning the vehicle, which could mean that despite these refreshes, the Sienna likely still has some very 2010-tech at its core. Altogether, it's an aging design, and while still a viable option, it's due to be fully redesigned in the next couple of years.

The Honda Odyssey, on the other hand, is all new for 2018. "All-new" is typically a sign that the vehicle has the latest technology when it comes to efficiency, infotainment and the bells and whistles. Prior to even doing any research, it can be assumed that a 2018 Odyssey is going to feel like a considerably more modern vehicle inside than a 2018 Sienna.

Basic Specs

Under its hood, the Sienna packs a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 296 horsepower and 263 lb-ft of torque mated to an 8-speed automatic. This is good for a 0-to-60 time of seven seconds; plenty of acceleration for highway and city driving. While most examples you'll see are front wheel drive, the Sienna offers an all-wheel drive option, the only minivan on the market to do so. Finally, the Sienna is also available in a stylish, sporty SE model, offering performance-tuned suspension and steering, along with a restyled, aggressive body kit and dark-finish 19-inch alloy wheels.

The 2018 Honda Odyssey offers a 3.5-liter V6 making 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with either a 9-speed automatic transmission, or a 10-speed, if you opt for either the Touring or Elite trim levels. Acceleration is right on pace with the Sienna, reaching 60 miles per hour in about seven seconds from a dead stop.

Both the Sienna and Odyssey are made in the U.S. and offer seating for up to eight people.

Fuel Economy

Fuel economy between the Odyssey and Sienna is pretty much identical. Around town, in city driving, both achieve 19 miles per gallon, while on the highway the Odyssey earns 28 mpg, and the Sienna earns 27. Altogether, drivers of both the Sienna and Odyssey should see around 22 miles per gallon overall.

Reliability

Both Honda and Toyota are known for building reliable, high quality, thoughtfully designed and built vehicles. Overall, both the Odyssey and Sienna should have above average reliability, and as a result, both should also hold their value quite well.

Interior Design & Quality

As it is the newer vehicle, the Odyssey's interior design is overall more modern and up to current industry standards for quality and design. That said, the Sienna's interior is still quite handsome thanks to its minimalist design. Both are available with either fabric or leather seating surfaces in a number of tasteful, neutral hues.

Tech

The 2018 Odyssey offers an available 8-in touch screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. The Sienna offers a slightly smaller screen and no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, as Toyota has until recently pushed their proprietary Entune system instead of engaging with Apple or Android. This is a major drawback to the Sienna, as the Entune system is competent, but can't hold a candle to either of these constantly evolving, updateable smartphone OS-based systems.

The Sienna and Odyssey do share a few features in common, namely an intercom for parents to communicate with the kids in the back seat, a Wi-Fi hotspot and a backup camera.

Available on the Sienna but absent from the Odyssey is a 360-degree top-down view camera system, great for parking in tight spots. The Sienna also offers a panoramic second row entertainment system, wide enough to display two movies at once.

While it doesn't offer a 360 camera of its own, the Odyssey offers a ton of other unique, forward-thinking technology -- what you might expect from a newly-redesigned vehicle. Unavailable on the Sienna, Odyssey buyers are treated to a standard LCD gauge cluster and optional ventilated front seats and a wireless phone charging pad, along with a rear seat security-style camera with night-vision; great for keeping the kids in line, and an available built in vacuum cleaner mounted in the rear cargo area on Touring and Elite models. Additional modern amenities include a transmission operated via buttons rather than a traditional gear lever, a 'snow mode' for the traction control system and endless configurability of all of the Odyssey's systems via the center-mounted infotainment system.

Space

Both the Sienna and Odyssey have room for up to eight passengers. Both achieve this via a second row captain's chairs with an available insert that allows a third person to sit in between the two, plus a third row bench that seats three across. The Odyssey does have a trick up its sleeve, though. Once the second row center seat is removed, either captain's chair can be slid to the left and right, allowing for both to be grouped together, forming a sort of medium-sized second row bench seat for two. This is also convenient for allowing passengers to access the rear seat. Just slide one seat to the middle for easier third-row ingress and egress.

Overall, the Sienna has more cargo space than the Odyssey, offering 39 cu ft. with all rows up, 87 cu ft. with the third row folded into the floor, and 150 cu ft. with all three rows folded. The Odyssey offers 33 cu ft. behind the third row, 89 cu ft. with the third row folded and 145 cu ft. with both the second and third rows folded.

Safety

Standard on every 2018 Sienna is Toyota Safety Sense; Toyota's suite of driver assistance and collision mitigation features. Honda Sensing, the equivalent system from Honda, is only available on Odyssey EX, EX-L, Touring and Elite trim levels.

The 2018 Odyssey has received overall 'Good' ratings from third-party Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, earning it an IIHS Top Safety Pick designation. The Sienna fared well overall, but earned only an acceptable rating on the new driver-side small front overlap category, costing it a Top Safety Pick designation. Again -- blame the Sienna's aging design that was engineered to older testing standards than the all-new Odyssey.

Pricing

Here's where the elder Sienna might make up some ground on the all-new Odyssey. As the Odyssey is a very new design and likely in high demand, dealerships are unlikely to offer many purchase incentives. As the Sienna isn't receiving this level of attention at the moment, dealers may be inclined to offer some discounts in order to offer buyers more value. It's always worth calling around to local dealerships to see what incentives are on the table.

Autotrader's Advice

We recommend the 2018 Honda Odyssey over the 2018 Toyota Sienna because it's a newer vehicle that offers more tech and more modern features over all. While these vehicles are evenly matched from a performance, efficiency and utility standpoint, the Sienna falls short of the newer Odyssey when it comes to features and tech. On the surface, it may appear that the Sienna and Odyssey offer many similar features, but as the Odyssey is, at its core, eight years newer than the aging Sienna, you can bet that even among the features they share, the Odyssey's are more refined and intuitive. It's due in large part to these intangibles that the Odyssey earns our recommendation over the Sienna.

Things will get a lot more interesting once Toyota gets around to introducing an all-new redesigned Sienna, whenever that may be. But until then, the Odyssey is the better minivan.

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Used 2018 Honda Odyssey
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Honda Odyssey vs. 2018 Toyota Sienna: Which Is Better? - Autotrader