June 19, 2017
Minivans occupy a unique space in the automotive market. Unlike vehicles intended strictly for personal use, minivans are tasked with the complex goal of satisfying passengers equally as much as satisfying the driver.
Fulfilling such an abundance of varying needs across various age levels is challenging, so let’s compare the 2018 Honda Odyssey versus the 2018 Toyota Sienna to see where each vehicle succeeds and fails.
While both models are clearly similar, a deeper dive reveals that the Odyssey edges out the Sienna in several categories.
Although the Sienna has taken strides forward in performance with its 2018 model, no minivan performs better than the 2018 Odyssey, which handles more like a crossover than a van. The Odyssey roars impressively ahead with a 1-second victory on all other vans in the 0mph to 60mph test and also boasts a 10-speed automatic transmission versus the Sienna’s 8-speed.
Both the Odyssey and Sienna score incredibly high marks for roominess, comfort, versatility, practicality, and technology. Simply put, these 2018 models are the most enjoyable minivans ever built. Neither van clearly separates itself favorably or unfavorably in this department, so we declare this contest a draw.
Love it or hate it, at least you’ll take notice. The sporty lines that cut through the Odyssey’s midsection are certainly aggressive. While not everybody is a fan, we value its boldness and creativity more so than the “play it safe” look of the 2018 Sienna.
Of all 2018 minivans on the market, only the Sienna offers available all-wheel drive as part of its LE, XLE, and Limited models. This is clearly a desirable feature for drivers who live in icy geographies, and while the Odyssey certainly boasts countless other features, it is surprising to see that it hasn’t evolved into offering all-wheel drive quite yet.
The officially crash data has not yet arrived, therefore pre-emptively declaring a winner would be invalid. However, both models offer the standard array of crash-prevention technology including automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings, active lane control, road departure mitigation, automatic high beams, blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alerts, and more.
Other than the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid model, the 2018 Odyssey is the most fuel-efficient minivan on the market with 19 miles per gallon in the city and 28 on the highway. The Sienna isn’t far behind, averaging only 19/27, but 1 mile in savings added up over the course of several years is not at all insignificant.
There you have it. The final score places three tallies in the Odyssey win column versus only one for the Sienna, with two additional draws. Though both vans are clearly superior vehicles, we give the slight edge to the 2018 Honda Odyssey.
*Any MPG listed is based on model year EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, battery-pack age/condition (hybrid only), and other factors. For additional information about EPA ratings, visit https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/label/learn-more-PHEV-label.shtml.
** Government 5-Star Safety Ratings are part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) New Car Assessment Program. Model tested with standard side airbags (SABs). For additional information on the 5-Star Safety rating program, please visit www.nhtsa.gov.