The Bad News About Minivan Reliability in 2019 Consumer Reports Rankings

If you checked out the latest Consumer Reports reliability ratings, you saw the Kia Sedona among the top 10 vehicles for 2019. Over the previous year, owners reported no flaws in the minivan, and as a result Sedona landed its first recommendation from the respected nonprofit agency.

That was the majority of good news in the segment. On the other hand, two minivans saw their reliability ratings sink to the point where they lost their recommendations. Among them, you’ll find two of the top-rated vans on the used market.

In both cases, the automakers involved (Honda and Chrysler) both said they were rectifying the problems. Here’s a look at the issues that owners reported in their late-model minivans from these brands.

Honda Odyssey

2019 Honda Odyssey | Honda
  • Rating for 2019: Poor

In the reliability rankings by automaker, Honda slipped several spots due to a decline in the ratings for Odyssey and a low score for the all-new Clarity. Debut models often get below-average ratings for obvious reasons, as do redesigns like the one Odyssey got for 2018.

Since then, owners have reported major issues with the touchscreen system. Consumer Reports’ survey data showed the system freezing and at times becoming unusable. Honda responded by saying a fix was available via software update.

Meanwhile, a separate issue with the power doors also turned up in survey responses. In this case, owners reported the doors would not close at times. Honda said that this problem was much less common and planned to contact dealers with guidance on how to fix it. (Odyssey owners would have to take the initiative on this fix.)

This rating for the Odyssey represented a major downturn for the minivan. Prior to the 2018 edition’s appearance, it was one of the more reliable models on the market.

Chrysler Pacifica

2019 Chrysler Pacifica Limited
  • Rating for 2019: Below average

For its first two years on the market, the Chrysler Pacifica had average predicted reliability as owner data accumulated. Following the latest survey, multiple tech issues brought that rating down to below-average. As a result, it lost its recommendation for 2019.

In the Pacifica, owners reported the UConnect display touchscreen freezing or going blank. Other problems centered around the navigation and stereo systems. (In its road test, Consumer Reports had given the UConnect system high marks.)

As for correcting these mistakes, Chrysler told the testing agency it had issued over-the-air (OTA) software updates. Buyers on the new or used market would do themselves a favor to check to see if the model they are considering has been updated.

Toyota Sienna still recommended

Along with the newly recommended Sedona, the Toyota Sienna retained its recommendation for 2019. The Sienna posted the highest score of any model in the segment, with strong owner satisfaction ratings to go along with its solid reliability score.

Sienna, the only model that offers all-wheel drive, also ranked among the best in ride quality and ability to minimize cabin noise. Its ability to accelerate to 60 mph faster than the other minivans is another point for shoppers to consider.

Dodge Caravan, which continues to soldier on in the segment, ranked average for reliability and lowest overall among minivans.