Honda Odyssey vs. Toyota Sienna: Why the New 2021 Sienna Could Unseat the Incumbent

Honda Odyssey vs. Toyota Sienna: Why the New 2021 Sienna Could Unseat the Incumbent

Full Redesign for 2021 Aims to Put Toyota's Minivan in the Driver's Seat

  • The Toyota Sienna's combined mpg is 36 mpg; the Honda Odyssey's is 22 mpg.
  • The Sienna has cameras that see around, and through, the van.
  • Want all-wheel drive? Want a fridge? You want a Sienna.

At this point in minivan evolution, Honda and Toyota have figured out how to do the basics really well. So a minivan comparison of the Honda Odyssey vs. Toyota Sienna comes down to two things: Which van does the little things best? And which offers those unique can't-live-without features?

Jump to compare: Price | MPG | Interior & Tech | Behind the Wheel | The Verdict: Edmunds Says

Price Comparison: Sienna vs. Odyssey

Minivans these days have starting prices in the low to mid-$30,000s. Some feature pricing wasn't available for the Sienna at the time of this publishing, so for the purpose of this minivan comparison we'll use MSRP. If you're shopping for a Sienna or Odyssey, check our Minivan Deals Center for possible incentives and special offers.

Sienna pricing starts at $35,635 (including destination) for a front-wheel-drive (FWD) model and tops out over $51,000 for an all-wheel-drive (AWD) Platinum trim. Honda does not offer an AWD minivan. This gives the Toyota Sienna AWD minivan an advantage, although at a price premium. Our well-equipped Sienna Platinum FWD had leather upholstery, a cabin intercom, smartphone integration and a vacuum, to name a few of its offerings. Notable extras are an optional fridge, a surround-view camera and front-to-back long-slide second-row seats.

Our test Odyssey Elite was also loaded, costing $49,335 (including destination). For reference, entry-level Odysseys start at $32,910. The Elite also had leather seating, a cabin intercom, smartphone integration and a vacuum, among other features. It differentiates itself from the 2021 Sienna with an in-cabin camera to monitor the back seats and side-sliding second-row seats.

2021 Honda Odyssey - Front 3/4.

2021 Honda Odyssey - Front 3/4.

MPG Comparison: Odyssey vs. Sienna

The Honda Odyssey follows a strategy common to the segment for years. Pair a V6 engine to an automatic transmission and, poof, minivan. The Honda uses a 280-horsepower V6 connected to a 10-speed automatic. This classic recipe is good for an EPA-estimated 22 mpg combined. This was respectable minivan fuel economy before the Toyota Sienna hybrid.

The 2021 Sienna hybrid changed the fuel economy game for this class. True, its four-cylinder hybrid system generates only 245 horsepower. But the trade-off is an EPA-estimated 36 mpg combined. After several hundred miles behind the wheel ourselves, we've had multiple tanks over 40 mpg. When talking mpg, Sienna or Odyssey isn't a question anymore. The Sienna hybrid is unmatched.

2021 Toyota Sienna - Front 3/4.

2021 Toyota Sienna - Front 3/4.

Interior & Tech: Sienna vs. Odyssey

Inside, the Sienna has a lot going for it. It has the basics: a deep well for storage behind the third row, a manual-folding third row, and an available second-row bench. Due to airbag placement, the second row cannot be removed. It's kid-friendly and there's a place for all your stuff. Notable tech offerings include a cabin intercom and a clever 360-degree camera system that simulates looking through the Sienna to show your blind spots. It can seem gimmicky at first, but it is undeniably useful. We appreciate that the main infotainment screen is easy to read and navigate, even using voice commands.

For several years now Honda's been the benchmark. So it knows what makes a minivan interior special. Just like the Sienna, it has versatile seating, remote-open doors, thoughtful kid-comforts and all of the storage. Unique to the Odyssey is an in-cabin camera that displays a view of rear passengers on the front touchscreen. But the Odyssey's infotainment system is a step behind, both in operation and looks.

2021 Toyota Sienna - Rear Seats.

2021 Toyota Sienna - Rear Seats.

Behind the Wheel: Odyssey vs. Sienna

Get in the van and go. That's how much thought goes into driving the Odyssey. The V6 and automatic deliver exactly what we expect. There is plenty of power, no matter the terrain or situation. Whether you're passing, merging or even navigating parking lots, it's a breeze. Likewise, the ride quality is agreeable.

The Sienna takes more getting used to. It rarely feels underpowered, yet the engine, because of its continuously variable transmission, strains loudly during heavy acceleration or uphill. Brake pedal feel is also inconsistent. Sometimes the brakes grab too much. Other times we had to press harder than expected to slow down. It's just hard to stop smoothly every time in the Sienna. On top of that, the ride can at times be overly buoyant.

2021 Honda Odyssey - Front Interior.

2021 Honda Odyssey - Front Interior.

Edmunds Says

There is a reason the Odyssey and Sienna are our two top-rated minivans right now. Both bring a lot to the table. So in this minivan comparison, which is better: the Odyssey or Sienna?

If savings at the pump are a priority, no minivan can beat the Toyota Sienna mpg. The Sienna may also be for you if AWD is a must. Beyond these qualities, the van has impressive tech and versatility, notwithstanding the nonremovable second row. But that hybrid mpg comes at a cost: drivability. We found the Sienna's floaty ride over bumps, sometimes awkward braking and loud engine to be off-putting. In this tight race, that was enough.

The Honda Odyssey is our winner. No longer is it the undisputed champ. But if you look past its outdated infotainment system, it offers many of the same features as the Sienna with an interior that is just as refined. Most of all, the Honda is really easy to drive. Chances are if you are in the market for a minivan, easy is important. It is to us. Ultimately, that is what tipped the scale ever so slightly in favor of the Honda Odyssey.

2021 Honda Odyssey - Rear.

2021 Honda Odyssey - Rear.

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