Your family deserves nothing less than a first-rate minivan—one that makes road trips exciting and errands feel less like errands. America’s minivan options are sparse, leaving parents to choose from a handful of worthy options, including the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. Which minivan is best for you and your brood? Let’s compare the 2020 Odyssey to the Toyota Sienna.
Recognized as one of the safest minivans in America, the new Honda Odyssey offers a great deal of driver-assist and active safety features. Beginning with the Odyssey EX trim, Honda Sensing comes standard, as does Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Monitor. The Toyota Sienna offers Blind Spot Monitor in lower trims, but the safety feature is only standard on the expensive Sienna XLE trim.
To put things in perspective: One minivan is a 2019 IIHS Top Safety Pick, while the other is on the outside looking in. The 2020 Sienna, even as well-equipped with safety features as it is, failed to make the IIHS grade. Toyota’s minivan earned negative marks in both driver- and passenger-side crash tests, and its LATCH anchors were deemed family-unfriendly.
Then there’s the Odyssey, earning that perennial TSP award yet again for its 2020 model. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it a perfect Crashworthiness score—meaning it’s extra-super-duper safe for drivers and all seven passengers—and found its LATCH anchors to be easy for parents to use.
Infotainment System & Tech
As standard fare in the Odyssey EX trim, Honda’s 8-inch Display Audio screen features a high-res 720p touchscreen, the full Honda infotainment system with HondaLink and Android Auto compatibility. The Odyssey infotainment system, much improved over generations past, features twisty knobs and a fully customizable screen setup.
Toyota Sienna pulls out all the stops with its standard 7-inch touchscreen. To upgrade to a larger touchscreen, however, you’d need to travel forward in time as Toyota’s minivan doesn’t come with anything bigger. Maybe that’ll change in 2021—or 2022.
And while the Sienna is a perfectly capable family vehicle, it lacks some of the tech that makes Honda Odyssey a parent-approved minivan. Parents will approve of Odyssey’s innovative Multi-Zone Audio feature, which enables them to mute the sound system in select regions of the cabin—great for moms and dads of new infants who just need a minute of peace and quiet, for the sake of everything holy.
Then there’s the HondaVAC, Odyssey’s onboard vacuum system. It sucks, it cleans, it scrubs—the HondaVAC does it all! Toyota Sienna doesn’t have a vacuum to compare, so we’ll leave it at that.
Best of all, all 2020 Odyssey Touring minivans are all fitted with navigation, CabinTalk (an in-car PA system) and CabinWatch Rear Seat Monitor, the latter of which is a segment-only (i.e. segment-defining) feature that isn’t found in the Sienna.
Magic Slide 2nd-Row Seats
Let’s talk about Odyssey’s claim to fame for a minute: The Magic Slide seat. An ingenious invention from the get-go, Magic Slide seats offer the ultimate level of convenience for both front passengers/drivers and rear passengers. The 2020 Odyssey’s middle row can be configured in a multitude of ways; for instance, simply push the Magic Seat further to the side for separation, push them together or pull it forward to shorten the reach-back distance by a few helpful inches.
In a frankly, flummoxing move, Toyota put your regular, run of the mill second-row seats in its Sienna. Its 2nd row slides front and back yet there’s no mobility from side to side—a convenience Toyota’s engineers skimped on when developing the brand’s sole minivan. An oversight? Sure, but people make mistakes.
Minivans are known for their impressive flexibility, and Honda’s is the most flexible option in this Odyssey vs. Sienna comparison.
Passenger volume is neck-and-neck equal between the Sienna and Odyssey. However, by the numbers, Honda’s minivan is a more capable cargo-loader.
The Toyota Sienna offers a flat-150 cubed feet for all your storage needs. That’s quite a bit—better than the rival Pacifica’s 140.5 cubes—but it falls short of matching Odyssey’s 158-cubic-foot* cargo area. Imagine all the extra things you could haul around with 8 cubic feet of space! That’s, like, two front-loading washing machine’s worth of cargo room.
Get a Quote on the ‘20 Honda Odyssey in Phoenix
Smart shoppers make smart decisions with their money, which is why Odyssey is the top-selling—and most affordable—minivan in the country. Starting at $30,790, the Honda Odyssey base model is also more affordable than the Sienna ($31,565 MSRP), and it has slightly better fuel economy to boot. This all equates to Honda being a better value.
*Max Cargo Volume based on SAE J1100 cargo volume measurement standard plus, where applicable, floor space between seating rows and seats in their forward-most and upright position.
*MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $1,120.00 destination charge and options. Dealers set own prices.
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