2016 Honda Odyssey vs. 2016 Toyota Sienna

3.5 V6 ENGINE 3.5 V6
248 hp HORSEPOWER 266 hp
250 lb-ft TORQUE 245 lb-ft.
9.5 L/100Km city, 9.3 L/100 km hwy FUEL ECONOMY 13 L/100 km city, 8.5L/100 km hwy
5.5 (m) TURNING RADIUS 5.5 (m)

Minivan owners love their vehicles. They’re roomy, family-friendly, efficient, and easier to drive than large SUVs. Sliding doors make it easy to get kids and their car seats in and out. Two models rise to the top of our rankings.

Topping our Best Minivans ranking is the 2016 Honda Odyssey. The Odyssey takes awards for both 2016 Best Minivan for the Money and Best Minivan for Families. Both minivans feature seven- or eight-passenger seating, depending on the trim level and middle row configuration chosen. Both also have a third row that folds into the floor to open up cargo space, and middle-row seats that must be removed when carrying large cargo. Like twins separated at birth, the minivans are nearly identical in specifications, standard equipment, and available options. The only major differentiators between the two are their distinct driving feel and the availability of all-wheel drive on the Sienna. Sliding side doors are standard and are power-operated on most trim levels. The Odyssey is 2.7 inches longer than the Sienna and just over an inch wider.

Safety is a critical consideration for minivan buyers, and the Odyssey claims an edge with a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), earning “Good” ratings on all five tests. Both minivans earn a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Sienna receives “Good” ratings on all but the IIHS Small Overlap Front Test, where it has an “Acceptable” rating.

For those interested in LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) systems for their child’s car seats, lower anchor locations in the Sienna include the outboard center-row seats and the passenger side and center seat in the third row. In the Odyssey, lower anchors are located at all positions in the center row and outboard third-row seats. The Odyssey has top tether anchors for all second- and third-row seats. Advanced electronic safety and driver assistance aids, such as emergency braking intervention, have not made it to the Odyssey, though top trims are equipped with blind spot warning systems.

Odysseys are also available with Honda’s LaneWatch system, which uses a camera mounted on the side-view mirror to show what’s in your passenger-side blind spot. Top trim Siennas are available with a pre-collision warning system, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot warning, and adaptive cruise control. Upper trim models of the Odyssey feature wiper-linked headlights that automatically turn on the headlights when the wipers are switched on so that other drivers can see you in inclement weather. All-wheel drive Siennas ride on run-flat tires and do not include a spare tire. Owners in rural locations need to be aware of the range of a deflated run-flat tire to ensure that they have the ability to reach a dealer before the run-flat tire fails.

The Odyssey and Sienna feature 3.5-liter V6 engines, with the Toyota producing 266 horsepower and the Odyssey generating 248. Despite the Toyota’s horsepower edge, both feel about the same in everyday driving due to the Odyssey’s slightly higher amount of maximum engine torque (250 pound-feet vs. 245 for the Sienna).

The majority of minivans are sold as front-wheel drive models, although the Sienna is unique in the segment with an all-wheel drive option. The Odyssey and Sienna employ six-speed automatic transmissions across their model lineups. In terms of efficiency, the 2016 Odyssey scores the win. EPA-estimated mileage for the Honda is 19 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway, with a combined estimate of 22 mpg. The front-wheel drive Sienna earns estimates of 18/25 mpg city/highway, and 21 combined. All-wheel drive Sienna models are rated at 16/23 mpg city/highway, and 19 combined.

The Sienna has an edge in horsepower, but the Odyssey employs the horsepower it has in a smoother, more refined manner. The Odyssey simply makes a lot less of a ruckus getting to speed. Under hard acceleration, the Sienna can sound rather coarse. When cruising on the open road, however, the Sienna has the quieter cabin. The Odyssey uses active noise canceling technology in an attempt to reduce road noise. Towing packages are available for the vans, with each rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds when properly equipped. According to the ratings for Best Minivans, the 2016 Honda Odyssey is the clear winner. Its interior is more flexible, it drives and handles better, it touts higher safety ratings, and it’s more efficient.

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