The Odyssey entered its current generation for the 2018 model year while the Sienna has been on sale largely unchanged since 2011.
Despite offering convenient sliding doors, functional interiors and loads of usable space, the minivan market is shrinking. While they’re still arguably the ultimate family vehicle, buyers are abandoning minivans in droves in favor of crossovers and SUVs. This doesn’t mean that the minivan isn’t still the ultimate family vehicle, though, and two of the leading minivans left on the market are the 2020 Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. Below, we’ll compare the two in a number of categories to see which one makes the better buy today.
As all minivans follow the same basic formula, the Odyssey and Sienna have similar shapes. Both have boxy profiles with a sloping windshield and hood. Overall, the older Sienna wears a simpler, more basic design than the Odyssey. While it’s received a few facelifts over the years, the design is starting to feel dated overall. That said, you are able to get the Sienna in sporty SE trim, which comes with larger, more aggressive wheels, a blacked-out grille and a sporty body kit. There’s even a "Nightshade" package available for the SE models that adds black wheels, black door handles, black mirror caps, black badging and a black rear spoiler. See the 2020 Honda Odyssey models for sale near you
The Odyssey has an overall more interesting look than the Sienna. From its bejeweled LED headlights to its kinked beltline to the "floating" design of its D-pillar, the Odyssey is clearly the more modern of these two designs. While there’s no sport trim level, the 2020 Honda Odyssey does offer a 25th Anniversary package that gets you chrome wheels, a chrome bumper protector and some 25th Anniversary badging. Overall, though, in the more popular trim levels, the Odyssey is arguably the better-looking of these two family haulers. See the 2020 Toyota Sienna models for sale near you
Both of these minivans offer loads of room on the inside. No matter how popular SUVs and crossovers get, minivans will always have them beat with regard to usable space, and the Odyssey and Sienna are prime examples of this. Both vehicles offer seating for up to eight, or seven if you opt for second-row captain’s chairs. The Odyssey offers a unique sliding second row that allows you to slide its captain’s chairs from right to left, making third-row ingress and egress a breeze. Given its age, the Sienna lacks clever features like this. Both vehicles feature a third row that can be folded down into the rear load floor.
Throughout their cabins, the Odyssey and Sienna offer loads of storage space. The Odyssey’s dashboard is a little more attractive than that of the Sienna. The Odyssey features a push-button gear selector layout along with other modern touches like a floating infotainment screen, which helps to reduce the visual heft of the dashboard and increase forward visibility. The Sienna is really starting to show its age up front. Its dashboard has an overall cheaper appearance than that of the Odyssey, and its old-school gear selector, large swaths of black plastic and bulky infotainment area make it feel almost trucklike in the modern age.
Overall, we prefer the Odyssey’s interior to that of the Sienna.
The Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey are both available with just one engine. The Odyssey uses a 3.5-liter V6 putting out 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque and paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy comes in at 19 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in combined driving. The Sienna also packs a 3.5-liter V6, albeit with a little more grunt, as it puts out 296 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy for front-wheel drive models comes in at 19 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined, while AWD reduces those figures to 18 city/24 hwy/20 mpg combined.
That’s right — while the Odyssey is front-wheel-drive only, the Sienna offers optional all-wheel drive. While it won’t turn your van into an off-roader, it will give you added confidence in snowy conditions, which should appeal to buyers in colder climates. That said, AWD adds about $2,000 to the cost of a Sienna and, as outlined above, comes with a small but not insignificant fuel economy penalty. All Sienna trims except for the base L model offer this option.
All versions of the Sienna come with a 7-in infotainment system, while the Odyssey comes with an 8-in screen in all but its base trim. Both vehicles’ larger screens support Apple CarPlay, but only the Odyssey offers Android Auto compatibility. This is odd, given that much of Toyota‘s lineup gained Android Auto for 2020.
Given its more modern design, the Odyssey offers a few more innovative features than the Sienna. Both vehicles offer a good array of active safety tech, which we’ll outline below, along with available rain-sensing windshield wipers, leather seats, a rear entertainment system and more, while the Odyssey adds an available in-cabin PA system for communicating with back seat passengers, a built-in vacuum cleaner and Wi-Fi hotspot capability, provided you pay for a 4G LTE subscription.
In crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Odyssey earns top marks in all six crashworthiness categories and as a result is given a coveted Top Safety Pick+ award by the Institute. The Sienna loses points in the driver-side small-overlap front crash test, where it earns an Acceptable, and in the passenger-side small-overlap front crash test, where it gets a Marginal and thus earns no award. The small-overlap front crash tests are relatively new and the Sienna’s aging body structure was designed prior to their introduction, hence the low scores.
Both vehicles offer a good array of active safety tech. Every 2020 Toyota Sienna comes standard with forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, radar cruise control, lane-departure warning with steering assist, and automatic high beams. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic assist is optional.
Every Odyssey trim except for the base LX model comes with Honda’s suite of active safety tech known as Honda Sensing. This consists of automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist with road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams and blind spot monitoring.
Altogether, given its better crash test performance and more comprehensive array of active safety tech (as long as you aren’t buying the base model), the Odyssey is the safer of these two vehicles headed into 2020.
Pricing between these two is similar. Factoring in destination fees, a base-model 2020 Toyota Sienna L starts at $32,535. Expect to pay about $2,000 extra for all-wheel drive, although this figure differs depending on trim level. The sporty SE model comes in at around $39,000, while a loaded Limited Premium model with all-wheel drive tops out at $50,310.
A base model Odyssey LX starts at $31,785, while a loaded Elite model tops out at $48,415. Two 25th Anniversary appearance packages are offered for 2020, which add either $1,500 or $2,800 to the price of an Elite model, meaning that the most expensive 2020 Odyssey you can get will come with a sticker price of $51,215.
Both of these are good minivans, but at this stage, it’s impossible to ignore just how much newer the Odyssey is than the Sienna. The Odyssey offers better safety ratings, more configurable seating and better available cabin technology. The Sienna’s only saving grace is its available all-wheel drive, but this is a $2,000 option and comes at the expense of fuel economy, and really, a set of snow tires is just as effective in the snow as all-wheel drive. Given the Odyssey’s more modern design, we can’t help but recommend it over the Sienna in 2020. Find a Honda Odyssey for sale or Find a Toyota Sienna for sale