The struggle between the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna is Japan’s version of the Ford F-150 versus the Chevy Silverado. The Honda-versus-Toyota rivalry started heating up in the mid to late-1960s when both Japanese automakers entered the North American market. It’s a complicated clash of titans — already the two largest auto manufacturers in Japan back then — competing for the same buyers.
A little over six decades later, in 2021, Honda and Toyota’s feud has only intensified. Both brands have garnered millions of loyal customers while designing, redesigning, building, and selling millions of vehicles to new buyers every year. For the 2021 model year, buyers have made it clear that the 2021 Odyssey beats the 2021 Sienna.
The Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna go toe-to-toe
According to 16-year U.S. sales figures published by GoodCarBadCar, 2,039,420 Honda Odyssey minivans have been sold in the U.S. between 2005 and Q1 2021. While sales figures fluctuated from one year to the next, Honda has managed to sell around 359,895 units quarterly throughout that time. Contrarily, between 2005 and Q1 2021, Toyota sold 2,028,627 (and counting) Sienna models with an average of around 357,993 units sold quarterly, per GoodCarBadCar.
At first glance, those figures may seem fairly closely tied. However, measuring by averages provides accuracy without precision. Looking more closely at the sales figures, the Honda Odyssey sold between 174,275 and 100,133 units from 2005 to 2018. Meanwhile, while selling around the same numbers monthly, there were months that the Toyota Sienna sold well below 100,000. The Odyssey first fell below 100,000 units sold in 2019, but even then, the amount was 99,113, just a hair shy of 100,000.
Q1 2021 sales figures reveal the Sienna outsold the Odyssey
In 2020, during the height of the global pandemic, there wasn’t an auto manufacturer that didn’t suffer drastically. Nonetheless, even despite how bad the U.S. economy got last year, sales for the Odyssey only dropped by 16 percent. Sales for the Sienna plummeted by 42 percent in 2020, reflecting which model buyers preferred. However, in Q1 2021, the Sienna sold 14,782 units, while the Odyssey only sold 10,873 units.
Q2 2021 figures have yet to be published by Toyota, so the higher numbers for the Odyssey posted by GoodCarBadCar for Q2 going into Q3 don’t necessarily mean it’s selling better than the Sienna.
What makes the Honda Odyssey more favorable among buyers?
Arguably, the 2021 Honda Odyssey hasn’t brought many trailblazing features to the minivan segment. Meanwhile, the 2021 Toyota Sienna is pioneering a new way forward with its hybrid-only powertrain across all trims. So, what is it that makes the Odyssey more favorable among vehicle buyers?
As put forth in an article published by Forbes, the only minivan still more popular than the Odyssey is the Chrysler Pacifica. A descendant of the original Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country, both champions of the minivan segment, the Pacifica has three decades worth of shared knowledge incorporated into it. That makes it a really tough contender for any automotive brand. Nonetheless, the Odyssey is the second most popular minivan for its own reasons, one being that Honda learned what worked and kept to it.
First introduced in 1994, the 27-year-old Odyssey is in its fifth generation, launched on September 26, 2013. So, to say that this minivan is well matured might be an understatement. According to MotorTrend, even with minimal updates for the 2021 model, the Honda Odyssey remains highly competitive. For a minivan, most reviewers unanimously tout the new Odyssey as feeling as sporty to drive as it looks, as well as feature-packed.
The Honda website has the 2021 Odyssey listed with an estimated MSRP of $32,090 for the base trim. The 2021 Sienna is priced slightly higher on the Toyota website, with an estimated starting MSRP of $34,460. There are seven trims to choose from with the Odyssey, with the top-tier Elite trim having a base price of $47,820. Meanwhile, the Sienna has five trims, with the top-tier Platinum trim priced at $49,900.
MotorTrend admitted that even the slightly lower price of the Odyssey seems a bit much at first until you spend some time driving it. Then you’ll realize it may actually be a fairly good deal after all. At the end of it all, “The Odyssey doesn’t feel as modern as the Toyota, but it still does more things right.”