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2016 Toyota Sienna vs. Honda Odyssey: $40K Minivan Comparison

We compare the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna in mid-trim matchup to see which is the better family hauler.

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We like the matchup of the 2016 Toyota Sienna XLE with Nav at $39,630 and Honda Odyssey EX-L with Nav at $39,749. Although both minivans offer a tremendous amount of standard equipment, there is one huge difference between these two very popular family vehicles and both have a big surprise for buyers who value safety. Let’s breakdown the equipment list and focus on what $40K can buy a family shopper in this segment.

Sienna vs. Odyssey – Drivetrain
Both the 2016 Honda Odyssey and Toyotas Sienna offer smooth, plentiful power. Using a V6 and automatic transmission, the Sienna and Odyssey are always able to provide substantial passing power when needed and are smooth around town. The most notable difference between these two vehicles comes right here in the drivetrain section. At $40K, our Toyota Sienna is outfitted with all-wheel drive. Thay means the Toyota Sienna is much more capable in the snow. If you live in the snowbelt, or if you take your family skiing, the Sienna comes with a big advantage here. Don’t decide yet, though; there is one important advantage the Odyssey brings you may want to know about in a section below.

We are comparing the 2016 models on sale now, but we reached out to Honda expert, and Torque News staff writer, Parks McCants, to ask if Honda might add AWD at some point. Indeed, Parks replied "Honda's next Odyssey is being road tested in the U.S. It's reportedly a hybrid, yet unconfirmed. There has also been talk of an all-wheel-drive-option, for 2018.”

Odyssey vs. Sienna – Interior
Both the Sienna and Odyssey have spacious interiors in all rows. The Honda Odyssey in our matchup has a middle row with two large seats and a third small one in the center. Thus, it can carry eight passengers. Out Toyota Sienna was configured with two seats in that row, so it seats seven. The Sienna can be equipped to seat eight in other trims.

It may seem like a gimmick, but the Odyssey offers a vacuum cleaner in the rear cargo area. But guess what? Not on this trim! It is only found on the base trim SE and the top Trim Touring Elite. Boo! To make things more equal, we were able to add remote start and also backup sensors to the Odyssey at this price level.

Honda pioneered active noise cancellation on the Odyssey, and it is a very quiet vehicle inside. Matching that in another way in Sienna is Driver Easy Speak, which allows the driver to speak to the kids in the third row using the audio system. No more yelling.

Sienna vs. Odyssey – Safety
These being the two most popular large family vehicles, one would expect that they would also be top rated regarding safety. Guess again. We are sorry to inform you that neither is an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus rated vehicle. The Sienna was in 2016, but IIHS makes it safety requirements tougher each year. Its “Acceptable” score on the small frontal overlap test means it does not even earn the Top Safety Pick designation the Odyssey does. The Oddysey cannot earn the very top score because it lacks advanced collision prevention. It is almost shocking that one can buy a Subaru Forester for under $30K that is a TSP+-rated vehicle, but these much pricier minivans don’t make the grade.

The Honda Odyssey does have one safety claim that the Sienna cannot make. In a study of real world crashes conducted over a 3-year period, prior model years of the Honda Odyssey had a “zero” driver death rating in this study. Something the Sienna could not match, despite Toyota having the most models that met that incredible level of safety.

We will let Parks conclude our comparison of the 2016 Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna because we think he nailed it, saying “In a contest between the current Odyssey and Sienna minivan it's too close to call. After driving both extensively, I believe that for most buyers, the choice to lease or purchase either will come to down to a very personal brand loyalty and MSRP. "

Shopping for a pre-owned 2015, or want to see how the Odyssey SE compares to the Sienna SE? Check out another comparison right here.

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