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    KISSFAN1   125,159
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Went Car Test Driving Yesterday - Anyone Have a Honda Odyssey?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

We took some test drives yesterday and boy was it hot and miserable. The humidity was horrible as well as the temperature, but we managed to make it through looking at the few vehicles we are considering. We took my husband's company car and unfortunately the air conditioner wasn't working well (although he took it to the shop the other day to get it fixed) and it was just miserable everywhere we went.

As expected, my husband let me lead most of the process which was a little frightening to say the least, but since I knew we weren't buying (and I told the salesmen that up front) it wasn't quite as scary. I asked lots of questions about removal of the seats (we're looking at vans), among other things and we test drove them as well as looked them over thoroughly, etc.

I think we have it narrowed down pretty well on which one we prefer, but unfortunately we would most probably have to go up a grade level on the van we really wanted since they are very difficult to find (shortage due to the earthquake/tsunami in Japan) which my husband is okay with. We really like the Honda Odyssey LX, but the EX seems to be the only one available in all the dealerships around our area.

We looked at the Toyota Sienna and while I liked the outside looks of that better, the inside wasn't as impressive to us compared to the Honda van.

Of course now the hard and frustrating and nerve-wracking part of the whole thing is haggling a price, but I need to get more "education" on that and will be reading up a lot more once this home school curriculum sale and research has passed me by the end of this upcoming week and then I can focus more time on the car buying process than I already have researched.

We're really not in a hurry to buy, but I know my husband is one of those "take it to the next step" people and so I want to be prepared just in case that happens.

So my question to those who do read this at all (and if you do, thank you!) is what features do you like or dislike about the Honda Odyssey (preferably the 2011 model)?

I didn't like that extras that came with the Toyota Sienna (such as roof racks and back-up rear camera) were extra on the Honda. My husband didn't think that the LCD panel was easy to read in the sunlight on the Honda, but I had no problems with that when I test drove it even with sunglasses on.

I loved that the bench seat in the middle second row of the Honda was much more comfortable than the one in the Toyota and it also flipped down with cup holders and seemed to be much better made. The Toyota version wasn't as well made and you could remove the seat and stow it in the back (which was cool) but the cup holder remained and you had to step over it to get to the seats in the 3rd row vs. the Honda where you could remove the entire thing.

Of course the Honda is more expensive and I suppose you pay for the better looking inside (carpet, etc.) vs. the Toyota, which my husband focused on more as well as the actual ease of driving. I found the Honda to be much more comfortable (seats) as did everyone else.

So any of you out there with either van (preferably 2011 versions) please let me know your thoughts on those two vans and your experiences.






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KISSFAN1 7/13/2011 9:45AM

    Chris - We found the same thing that the Toyota seemed to be a lower quality than the Honda (inside interior, etc.) although the Toyota was/is cheaper in price, at least as far as the vans go.

We've looked at used vans, but so far it's not worth the cost vs. the new ones that we've looked at as far as price goes. We're definitely not jumping into buying one right now and will take our time and research and look more, but I'm pretty sure that the Honda Odyssey is what we both agree on due to the quality, comfort, etc.

I just hate that the extras we want (roof rack, etc.) are extra unlike the Toyota. I didn't care for the middle seat in the 2nd row in the Toyota though and the Honda was more comfortable and better made it seems so we're facing the fact that we prefer it over the Toyota although it is higher in cost. I want us to be finally satisfied with a large purchase instead of "making due" and wishing we would have gone with something else.

Thanks for your tips and sharing your experience with your Toyota van, etc.

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KISSFAN1 7/13/2011 9:40AM

    JLitt - Our current car is a Honda (CRV) and we like it as far as reliability goes and I think it has held up well. It's just too small for us and we need something that is bigger since we have tended to be conservative in our home and cars over the years as far as size goes.

I told my husband that I wanted us to get the size he thinks is the right one this go around and quit wasting money on a conservative purchase that we regret later and wish we had gone up in size.

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CONTENTCHRIS 7/10/2011 6:53PM

    I would encourage you to check out used prices as well. I check with dealers via email from 150 miles away ...even if I do not buy from them sometimes they email me a qoute I can force my local guy to match....
Email the dealer(S) after you find what you like... Crazy thing some dealers will give you a great deal over a email. Honda has been stand up and the Odyssey is I think the best mini van on the road today. They have a Ody with a super mileage motor now that gets 25 I think or more mpg so that is very nice as well.
We had a Sienna we bought barely used with 20 k miles and kept it until it had 115 or so. The seats were a nightmare to remove but we loved the xle versions cruise(it had a mode that slowed you automatically if you got to close to another car..was great in rush hour traffic). We left the big van as we have 3 kids and our mini suv is great for the 5 person family as well. The equinox has did us well but I wanted a Rav4 or four runner type...just price wise I did not like them. Of course we have snow and ice a few months a year and love the awd and some things like sunroof so our final price was higher...We also went with the v6 ...that makes it very nice if you got to speed up . I really drive it once a week ,but the wife loves it and plays her mp3 stories to and from work .. We bought brand new because the equinox was just not available in used that we liked. Sometimes they offer great financing on new that makes them cheaper in the long run then the used that starts off 3 k cheaper as well... Plus you know who has hot rodded it...no one.. emoticon

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JLITT62 7/10/2011 4:02PM

    Never had a van . . . I have owned both a Toyota & a Honda & liked both, but the Honda has seemed to stand up better. Had horrible problems with the AC in the Toyota that they never could fix - so I know how miserable that can be. Course that was also 11 yrs ago now.

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KISSFAN1 7/10/2011 1:04PM

    Thanks so much for the information! I have found that this go around (our current car is a 2003 or 2004 Honda CRV) that it wasn't as pressured when we went test driving as it had back when we bought our CRV.

I definitely don't have the patience for waiting/negotiating for hours upon hours on end and will walk out with no problem if I get the run around or they keep running to the "manager" which I know is a stalling tactic.

I've got some great information off the internet so far (including the Edmunds site) and I'm not rushing into the car buying yet for sure. I don't feel completely prepared, and even if I did a lot of research I don't know if I would ever feel completely at ease to be honest.

I know I will be upfront and let them know that I want both of us (dealer and me) to get a fair price, but I'm not going to sit in there and be emotionally or physically worn out because I'll just walk away if that happens.

Thanks again for the input!

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LASARRE 7/10/2011 11:14AM

    All we own are Hondas and have for the past 20 years. Most of my friends who have vans have Odyssey's and love them. Expect it to go close to 200,000 miles. Haggling isn't like it used to be. You research online for what the actual cost of the Van to the dealership is and go by that. I now have it that I actually get to see the computerized invoice from the dealership before I buy a car from him.

I usually always go to the same place, but once when I asked his best price and he told me, I didn't like it. So, I went to a different dealership and bought my Accord. Since then, he always shows us the computer invoice. Just know how much the van is worth in your area by looking at different dealerships on the internet and be prepared to walk. They want you to buy that day. If the price they quote you is what you found it is worth, fine. If not, move on to someone else and make it clear you are going to do so. Don't let them play the cat and mouse game. It doesn't work anymore and they know it.

Good luck!

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