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#3220602 - 12/18/13 11:55 AM Re: Best Mini-Van 2010-2013 [Re: Phishin]
NHGUY Offline

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 4801
Loc: USA
The 01-07 Chryslers are cheaper,plentiful,parts are available, and the internet is rife with support (

#3220636 - 12/18/13 12:29 PM Re: Best Mini-Van 2010-2013 [Re: Phishin]
SF0059 Offline

Registered: 08/06/12
Posts: 715
Loc: Lynchburg, VA, USA
My suggestion: drive all of them first. When we were in the market for a minivan we drove the Sienna, Odyssey, Sedona and Chrysler T&C. We didn't drive the Quest simply because neither my wife or I could get over the funky styling. Here is how we broke it down:

#4 Sedona: Excellent value, but it is ANCIENT. It honestly suprises me that they are selling enough of these to keep them around. You can buy a Mopar for a tad more, so this way excluded.

#3 Sienna: I really wanted to like this van. We rented one with 7k for a road trip to Jersey and I hated it more and more with every mile we drove. The interior might be improved over previous generations, but it is still super cheap feeling. Rattles and squeaks galore. The ergonomics and layout of the dash seemed like an afterthought. The standard sound system was tinny - like a Japanese car from the 80s. The seats got uncomfortable as the miles dragged on. It did have a ton of power, but delivery wasn't linear enough for my tastes. Got 24 mpg on the highway with just two of us and our suitcases. Like I said, I wanted to like the Sienna, but everything about it seemed like an afterthought except the drivetrain.

#2 T&C: This was the biggest surprise on the list. I actually really liked the T&C when I thought I wouldn't. Mind you, this was one of the refreshed models (I think 2011 and up?) and it was great. Better interior than the Sienna: much better ergonomics, no squeaks/rattles, high quality materials where it counts, good sound isolation and more versatile seating. The interior is the high point of the van. The negatives were the aging styling, very touchy throttle (peeled out more than once, it is very aggressive at tip-in), mediocre fuel economy and questionable reliability. The vans made prior to the refresh were riddled with fit/finish and electrical issues. Perhaps those issues were ironed out the the refresh, but I couldn't get past it.

#1 Odyssey: As you can see from my signature, we went with the Odyssey. We bought it in August 2013 as a 2014 model and we were still able to get it for invoice with some haggling and dealership shopping. This made the price VERY competitive with the T&C. Before everyone starts freaking out about VCM and transmissions, let me make the case for this van.

The Honda 3.5l V6 strikes the best balance in the segment. More than enough power than the sluggish Sedona and better/smoother delivery than the Sienna and T&C. The VCM is, for the most part, seamless and really does give better MPGs. We haven't gotten below 21 mpg with all city driving and have got 26 mpg highway (should get better past break-in). Yes, there have been issues with VCM. However, my research has shown that these are more common when owners use cheap oil/long OCIs, do ALL highway driving, or have the very first VCM models. There are plenty of VCM Odysseys/Pilots/Ridgelines with 150-200k with no issues. I am OCD about my maintenance, so this was a non-issue for me.

Lets address the boogey man in the room, the transmission. The 5 speeds in the 2011 models forward were completely reworked to avoid the previous issues. For 2014 the 6 speed manual was made standard across much of the line. This transmission has proven tough and was built with the weight of the vehicle in mind. Honda's automatics have never done well with neglect, but again I'm OCD about that so it was a non-issue like the VCM. I feel comfortable that it will be fine for the long term.

The 2011+ Odyssey's are, IMO, the best looking minivan on the market today. The Sedona and Sienna look like blobs, the Quest looks like a Japanese moon orbiter and the T&C looks like a box. The Ody is sleek, chiseled and modern without looking over the top.

Best in class interior, although the T&C came close. Fit and finish is excellent, soft touch plastic and chrome in all the right places, smart seating options and storage, and the ergonomics are good (the 2011-2013 models were more button heavy, though). The seats are firm but very comfortable. Low interior noise helped by ANC tech and I've been in several of these and they have NO rattles or creaks that I have heard.

Suspension and Handling:
This is a firmer vehicle than most in the class. I like it, but some may not. I think that it helps improve the feel of maneuverability. However, it won't jolt you unless you hit a massive pothole. Handling is solid for its size and the steering is direct and linear. Ridiculously small turning radius.

Anyways, I could go on, but both my wife and I are extremely happy with it 6.5k on the odo. I don't think you could go wrong with a 2011-2013 Ody, although I would see what kind of deal you could get on a '14. You may have different priorities than us, but it is worth looking at as it is a large purchase and you need to be happy with more than JUST reliability to keep it long term.
2014 Honda Odyssey EX-L/RES: 52K mi, M1 0w-40 & FU, VCMuzzler V2
2017 Mazda 6 Touring 6MT: 13k mi, M1 AFE 0w20, OEM 1WPE-14-302, RL 75w80 MTF

#3220680 - 12/18/13 01:11 PM Re: Best Mini-Van 2010-2013 [Re: Phishin]
kkreit01 Offline

Registered: 01/25/06
Posts: 3932
Loc: Olathe, KS
Sienna SE. It doesn't look half-bad. But, I'd buy a Durango instead. smile
2014 Dodge Durango Limited AWD 3.6: 5w20 PU/Napa Gold filter
2015 Lincoln MKC Fwd 2.0EB: 5w30 PP/Nape Platinum filter

#3220734 - 12/18/13 02:13 PM Re: Best Mini-Van 2010-2013 [Re: Phishin]
Vikas Offline

Registered: 07/22/05
Posts: 10993
Loc: NorthEast
When the restyled Odyssey first showed up on the scene, it looked like a hearse to me! Now I like the shape of them.

#3220735 - 12/18/13 02:14 PM Re: Best Mini-Van 2010-2013 [Re: Phishin]
threeputtpar Offline

Registered: 08/04/11
Posts: 2061
Loc: Appleton, WI
SF0059, everthing you said is spot on. I'll just add a few notes that I had from our search that you didn't mention.

To the OP:

The Sedona production was stopped at the end of the 2012 model year, so there are no 2013s. They have plans to start production of a new model Sedona for the 2014 model year, but info is sparce.

The Sienna is the only van that came with an AWD option in the year range you're looking at, I believe. Chrysler used to offer it in the older generations, but I don't think they did in the current gen.

The T&C is a nice van and with the 6-speed autos now having better programming are a real improvement over the 2012 rental that I had for a week. That one up shifted every chance it had and would not downshift with light to moderate pedal pressure. It would downshift with heavy pedal pressure, but would then go from loping along in 6th at 1200 rpms and bang down to 3rd and rocket up to 3600 rpms. There was no inbetween.
2013 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite - Citgo Syngard 0W-20 / M1-101 45k miles
2005 Audi allroad - Unknown oil and Mann W930/21 183k miles

#3220755 - 12/18/13 02:30 PM Re: Best Mini-Van 2010-2013 [Re: threeputtpar]
Hokiefyd Offline

Registered: 06/24/04
Posts: 14505
Loc: Top of Virginia
Originally Posted By: threeputtpar
The Sienna is the only van that came with an AWD option in the year range you're looking at, I believe. Chrysler used to offer it in the older generations, but I don't think they did in the current gen.

2004 was the last model year where Chrysler/Dodge offered AWD in their minivans. The floor bins associated with the Stow 'n' Go seating run all the way across the floor pan. Additionally, the spare tire is located directly under the middle of the van, beneath the front passenger seating area, which is right where the propeller shaft would be. There were too many packaging issues to allow for the propeller shaft.

#3220759 - 12/18/13 02:34 PM Re: Best Mini-Van 2010-2013 [Re: Phishin]
stranger706 Offline

Registered: 04/24/09
Posts: 1051
Loc: Gulf Coast
We've had our 2014 Sienna for 2 months now. Thread here:'re_minivan_people_now#Post3177272

You'll have to go and look at them all. They are all big and roomy these days, except for the Mazda. Between our friends and family we have rode in or driven every minivan and just liked the Sienna the most.

I like the simple, proven powertrain of the Sienna. No DI or VCM, and solid trans. It rides like a big limo; quiet and smooth, like a minivan should. But still nice to drive, not a big boat like SUVs are (we used to have one). My parents Ody rides more like a sporty car. You hear and feel every bump. It shifts kind of rough too but the engine is nice. They like it a lot and have not had any problems. Make sure you drive them though, they are completely different. We didn't consider any domestics. The Mazda was too small but interesting design and worth looking into.
2014 Sienna
2015 Focus ST

#3220774 - 12/18/13 02:53 PM Re: Best Mini-Van 2010-2013 [Re: Phishin]
JTK Offline

Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 9593
Loc: Buffalo, NY
Phishin, is it new or used you're after?

What's your price range?

You say ignore creature comforts. Does this mean you want a more basic van?

I've owned 3 MVs consecutively; 2001 Ford Windstar LX, 2008 Honda Odyssey LX and currently a 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan SE.

They all served us VERY well. The 2008 Odyssey had the most comfortable, durable and well thought out interior of the three. Great handling and power, but ride, noises and vibs were not great. I thought the Ody 3.5L had a TON of power until we bought the new Dodge.

The Grand Caravan is EXTREMELY powerful. I couldn't ask for more out of the Pentastar and 62TE trans combo. It's the best of the three we've owned for sure as far as power, economy, lack of vibs, noises, etc..

If by chance you were buying a left-over 2013 Grand Caravan, just make sure it's not a model with 16" wheels. Those models don't have the upgrade (larger) brakes that 2014's all have now. The newer, larger brakes are AWESOME. They only fit 17" or larger wheels.

The Dodge interior and exterior trimmers are definitely no Honda or Toyota, but the powertrain is excellent, as is the current suspension and brakes.

FWIW, After the rebates and incentives, my new 2013 Grand Caravan SE was just over ~$20K.

Edited by JTK (12/18/13 02:54 PM)
2016 Subaru Forester 2.5, CVT. 2016 Nissan Quest SV (Babe magnet IV)

#3220793 - 12/18/13 03:08 PM Re: Best Mini-Van 2010-2013 [Re: Phishin]
threeputtpar Offline

Registered: 08/04/11
Posts: 2061
Loc: Appleton, WI
Oops, I forgot to add one thing about the Mazda Quest. The only available transmission is the CVT, if that matters at all to you. It did to us as my wife didn't like how it sounded and operated.
2013 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite - Citgo Syngard 0W-20 / M1-101 45k miles
2005 Audi allroad - Unknown oil and Mann W930/21 183k miles

#3220839 - 12/18/13 03:59 PM Re: Best Mini-Van 2010-2013 [Re: threeputtpar]
NateDN10 Offline

Registered: 01/10/10
Posts: 1696
Loc: Rochester, NY
Originally Posted By: threeputtpar
Oops, I forgot to add one thing about the Nissan Quest. The only available transmission is the CVT, if that matters at all to you. It did to us as my wife didn't like how it sounded and operated.

Fixed it for you.
2016 Mazda3 - 9000 mi.
2012 Mazda5 - 99,000 mi.

#3220874 - 12/18/13 04:51 PM Re: Best Mini-Van 2010-2013 [Re: Phishin]
440Magnum Offline

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 8579
Loc: Texas
Based on what I hear around the water cooler:

Fewest complaints with Siennas and Pentastar (2011-up) Chryslers. Most with Odysseys (transmission). And that's a case where the watercooler seems to agree with both the internet and the automotive press.

Not enough water cooler data on Kia/Hyundai products.

I've had Toyotas and Chryslers as rental vehicles, and while I hate all minivans, I have found them both almost tolerable in recent years. The Sienna has always been unremarkable in a good way- it didn't make me smile, but it never made me cuss it out, either. Its a good, solid appliance that stays out of your awareness- just what a minivan is supposed to do. The change in the Chryslers over the past few years has been nothing short of amazing. Comparing an old 3.8L/41TE drivetrain Caravoyager to the current offering with the Pentastar/62TE is just no comparison... I'm not sure that it means the current ones are the best thing since sliced bread though- it may just show how truly awful they used to be, especially the 41TE transmission as I always rather liked the 3.8 engine. Even after they stopped it from blowing up all the time, the 41TE still had a really awful set of gear ratios that really hampered performance and economy. But its not just the drivetrain. They've made the latest van tight, quiet, and (for a big fat ugly loaf of bread) decent handling as well. Throw in all the well-evolved Chrysler minivan interior design goodies like Stow-n-Go seating, 110V power outlets, etc. and its hard to beat. The Toyota probably wins the overall body/chassis construction quality contest, but loses on drivetrain and cost.

Toss a coin- its just a minivan anyway. :-p

Edited by 440Magnum (12/18/13 05:02 PM)
'66 Dodge Polara & '69 Dodge Coronet R/T both 440/727
'08 Ram 1500 4.7/545RFE
'12 Challenger SRT8 392/6-speed
'99 XJ 4x4 4.0/AX15, '14 WK2 4x4 3.6/8HP

#3221050 - 12/18/13 08:45 PM Re: Best Mini-Van 2010-2013 [Re: Phishin]
dareo Offline

Registered: 10/17/07
Posts: 1246
Loc: utah
I would probably buy a Sienna. Solid proven power train and quality.

I think the Odyssey has a new 6 speed auto that might be trusted, and probably has figured out the VCM problems by now. So if you like them the most i wouldn't worry about the engine+trans.

I would also consider the Dodge due to how cheap the base model is.

I'd also be tempted to find a used sprinter passenger van, but i'm into diesels.
2016 Golf Wagon 5MT, 2014 Accord Sport 6MT, 2005 GMC 2500 SLT 6.0 2WD, T100 Sold

#3221064 - 12/18/13 08:55 PM Re: Best Mini-Van 2010-2013 [Re: Phishin]
artificialist Offline

Registered: 09/23/07
Posts: 8440
Loc: Florida
The Sienna is the only minivan that isn't trouble prone in my experience.
2010 Lancer Ralliart Sportback

#3221072 - 12/18/13 09:06 PM Re: Best Mini-Van 2010-2013 [Re: Phishin]
FutureDoc Offline

Registered: 10/30/13
Posts: 1542
Loc: North Carolina
Are we really comparing Chrysler and Toyota based on reliability? There is an argument here?

If you are in the used market... they yes, I would consider the Chrysler products only because they lose a lot of value compared to the Toyota. A 1-4 year used Toyota does not make a lot of sense (A 2011 Sienna near me is 24K with nearly 80K miles and they are 27K new)For me, the resale value will still be steep and why buy a 20-60K Toyota for only a few grand less? I would either go NEW Toyota or gently used Chrysler with the expectation of the Chrysler to go wrong. Might save some money before it dies, but it will be a repair-and-go vehicle. If you wife freaks out over the tire-pressure-monitoring-system (like mine) then I would go with the Toyota.

I had the 'luxury' of driving a 38K 2010 Dodge Caravan rental for a long business trip with some colleagues, and you could see the few miles ripping the vehicle apart. Wheel shudder, warped rotors likely, indecisive transmission, non-working power connections, and fraying cloth seats.

I do not think Honda has figured out a V6 Automatic that does not eat itself.
'15 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 - Havoline 5w-30 & OEM Filter
'14 Subaru Outback 2.5 - NAPA 0w-20 & Wix
'01 Toyota MR2 Spyder - Havoline Syn 5w-30 & Wix

#3221149 - 12/18/13 10:32 PM Re: Best Mini-Van 2010-2013 [Re: Phishin]
01rangerxl Offline

Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 9036
Loc: Birmingham, AL
If the current Odyssey isn't prone to trans issues, I'd imagine that would be a good option. I've done an oil change on one with over 100K and it was in good shape, but they aren't very common around here so that's the only one I've seen up close. Honda's interior quality is pretty good on mid level cars.

I haven't worked on any current Siennas, just old ones. I would guess based on my experiences with other current Toyotas though that it will be reliable, but it may not be totally DIY service friendly and the interior might start to fall apart. Toyota's canister oil filters are a pain in the [censored] compared to others. You need a special socket to get them off, which IIRC is about $30, and the socket is prone to breaking. You can get them off with other types of filter wrenches, but the socket is really the best way. I've seen some newer Toyotas with surprisingly torn up interiors too. With some care it's probably less of an issue.

I haven't seen any new Quests, but I like current Nissans. Easy to work on, they seem to have good build quality, and they just don't seem to be very problematic vehicles. Granted, they have had some issues in the not too distant past, but the current ones seem pretty good. After they fixed the pre-cat destruction issue, Altimas got real reliable. There were CVT issues in the Murano and others, but I think those have been ironed out.

Chryslers are hit or miss. Capable of very high miles, but the amount of problems on the way may vary greatly. I see ones going strong with over 300K, and ones that are ragged out by 150K. I worked on a 2011 Pentastar that had been overheating because the e-fan wasn't kicking on. It had less than 60K miles on it. It did have a pretty nice interior though.
2002 Ford Ranger XLT | 3.0 V6 / 5-Speed Automatic / 2WD | 200K miles
1994 Ford Ranger STX | 4.0 V6 / 5-Speed Manual / 4X4 | 190K miles

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