The minivan craze has been gone for years, but these vehicles are still essential for large families. Though the selection is limited, you can find good models like the Honda Odyssey. The Toyota Sienna, now with a fresh face for 2021, is also a great choice.
However, families in the market for minivans aren’t concerned with just appearance and interior space. Their children’s safety is first and foremost. That means drivers’ aids are a must. So, between the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna, which minivan is safer?
The Honda Odyssey is more popular
According to GoodCarBadCar, the Honda Odyssey sells more units each year, with sales doubling that of the Toyota Sienna in 2020. Part of the Odyssey’s value is due to its collection of useful safety features. Forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assistance, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, a rear-seat reminder, and traffic sign recognition are standard.
Higher trims feature blind-spot monitors and parking sensors. Some family-friendly technology is also available, like a camera that allows drivers to keep an eye on the second and third rows. An intercom that lowers the audio and projects the driver’s voice in the backseat is also optional.
The Honda Odyssey gives riders a sense of assurance with its secure handling. It didn’t exhibit any unsettling body roll and performed reasonably well on Consumer Reports‘ avoidance maneuver test. CR also said the suspension absorbs every harsh bump, and interior noise remains at a pleasant minimum.
Up to eight riders can fit inside the Honda Odyssey, and the first two rows are especially roomy. The third row is a little tighter, and access can prove difficult even with the optional Magic Slide seats. On the bright side, the third row folds flat to make loading cargo easier.
Why the Toyota Sienna is a worthy rival
We suspect the redesigned Toyota Sienna will soon see an uptick in sales thanks to its revised hybrid powertrain. Even with all-wheel drive, the Sienna is rated for 35/36 mpg city/highway. The Honda Odyssey, available only with front-wheel drive, gets 19/28 mpg city/highway.
An AWD Sienna could be a safer option in shoppers’ minds, especially during harsh weather. The Toyota Sienna also doesn’t disappoint in terms of standard safety. It has the same features as the base Odyssey, plus rear cross-traffic alerts. It also has a few more optional features, like a surround-view camera system and a head-up display.
According to Edmunds, the 2021 Sienna’s interior is more functional than any other in its class. Visibility is great from the driver’s seat, and there’s plenty of room for passengers in all three rows. Accessing the back seats and the cargo hold is also easier thanks to a hands-free opening feature.
Though the Toyota Sienna’s engine is efficient, it has to work harder to keep itself going. This causes droning if you try to push the motor beyond its limits, which could unnerve you and your passengers. Still, like the Honda Odyssey, it provides a steady driving experience.
A tight race
On paper, it looks like the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna are evenly matched in terms of safety technology. Likewise, both returned impressive scores in crash tests conducted by the IIHS. However, testers found that the Toyota Sienna’s headlights are slightly brighter.
Since the Honda Odyssey is cheaper than the Toyota Sienna with all the same standard safety features, it’s a better value. However, you could argue that the Sienna’s highly efficient powertrain puts the two on equal footing price-wise.