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  1. #1
    tutu
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    Pilot vs. Odyssey

    my 10 year old Taurus still runs great, but concern about the lack of newer safety features is getting the best of my frugal nature. In particular, I want to have stability control and side air bags in a car with great crash test ratings. I'm deciding between '05 Pilot and '05 Odyssey. Really prefer styling of the Pilot but leaning toward the Ody b/c of fuel economy (in the 2WD), more comfy seats, and the fact that it has an additional LATCH position. Is 4WD a significant safety feature? any other thoughts on choosing between these two?

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  3. #2
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    Odyssey has more cabin capacity. I looked at both also and went with the Ody because I wanted the flexibility of putting three car seats in the vehicle. Hard to do in the Pilot as the second row is a bench (buckets are not even an option) and with 2 car seats already, the third row wouldn't even be functional unless I asked my guests to climb through the back. I'm not one to take my car seats out but that would be a option, I guess. Honda rates very well on safety so it's really up to preferences. I really love my Odyssey (the sliding back doors are great for putting in little ones).

  4. #3
    CPS Advocate lovinwaves's Avatar
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    I love my Odyssey. There are several pros over the Pilot and some cons. I like the sliding doors (oh my gosh, I had no idea how much I would love this feature). Power rear hatch! I dont' know if the PIlot has this or not but the Odyssey has a feature where 3 valves shut off to get you better fuel economy. We have taken ours on several trips and the mileage seems to be great. It is very luxurious and roomy inside. Carseats all fit with a breeze. Now if you want 4WD then the Odyssey is not for you, but for what it's worth our van seems to do fine in the winter snow. I know in 2006 Ody added two additional tethers to the third row. If I had to do it again I would have got the Touring because it has the rear back up camera. This van is HUGE and a little hard to back up and parallel park. It seems like you are already on top of the car behind you, when actually you are like five feet away.

    Ok, I could go on and on and on and on about features I love in my Odyssey, so just ask if you have a specific question.

    We researched for about 4-6 months before this purchase, so I have a lot of knowledge about this van.

    I LOVE the pilot too!!!!!!!!

    Safety wise, it IS safer than the Pilot.
    Melissa
    Peyton 10
    Camden 9
    And a new baby on the way

  5. #4
    tutu
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    Thanks Beana and Lovinwaves. BTW Lovinwaves, it was your other Ody posts that got me interested in the Ody in the first place. I would never have thought of a minivan. I also want to be able to have 3 carseats (only need two so far for dgs 32 mo - 33in, 30 lbs, and dgd 14 mo - I don't know her height or weight, but she's clearly fine for RF) - hadn't thought about how that might affect 3rd row access in Pilot. I found out that the Pilot does have the 2WD option that can switch back and forth btn 3 and 6 cylinders, automatically, for better fuel economy. I haven't actually driven either one, or tried my Radians in them (which my dealer will let me do). I really wanted the Pilot to be what I need, but I think it's going to be the Ody.

  6. #5
    CPS Advocate lovinwaves's Avatar
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    I could not believe how luxurious the ody was inside. I have so many people compliment my Ody, it may be the black outside. It's engineering is based off of the BMW Roadster. It drives like a car. I have a husband that should have been a race car driver. He loves the handling, and that it never ever feels like a minivan. I feel like I got an SUV, CAR, and Sportcar all in one. Once you drive it you will fall in love with it. Also take a look at the Sienna. It is a little bigger inside and does offer AWD which maybe appealing to you. But be prepared to pay that price. You seem to get more for the money with the Ody then the Sienna. If you like a more cushy type of ride you would like the Sienna. The ODy has more of a tighter suspension and tighter handling. So it really comes down to preference. We were literally torn between the two vans. We deliberated for 2 weeks before we picked the Ody. I really wanted a new Toyota4Runner, because that is what I had before, but I am so glad we didn't now. Just being able to easily have three carseats and have guests ride with us is so great. The van is also extremely heavy!! It weighs 4000 lbs. We got a great interest rate on our van because the '06's were coming in. They threw in a lot of extras also.
    Ok, I will stop. I love cartalk!!!! Love my MotorTrend Magazine Subscription!!
    Melissa
    Peyton 10
    Camden 9
    And a new baby on the way

  7. #6
    CPS Advocate lovinwaves's Avatar
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    TuTu,

    Go to this website and you can see for yourself where the ODY is on the list. You said safety was very important to you....

    www.informedforlife.org
    Last edited by lovinwaves; 10-14-2006 at 10:41 PM. Reason: wrong website
    Melissa
    Peyton 10
    Camden 9
    And a new baby on the way

  8. #7
    CPS Advocate lovinwaves's Avatar
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    I just noticed member "lodonal65" has a new Pilot. She traded in her '03 Ody for a new Pilot. She loves it!!! Maybe she will chime in on the conversation to give the Pilot some good posts. LOL!!
    Melissa
    Peyton 10
    Camden 9
    And a new baby on the way

  9. #8
    tutu
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    Terrific website. Odyssey 3rd best composite score of all 2005 vehicles. I looked up the '05 specs for the Pilot on-line, and found that my dealer was wrong. The '05 Pilot does NOT have side airbags, which totally rules it out. I'd have to go with an '06, putting it out of my price range, I'm pretty sure.

  10. #9
    CPS Fanatic Morganthe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tutu View Post
    Is 4WD a significant safety feature?
    It really depends on where you live and what gas mileage rating you're aiming for. IMO, a FWD vehicle is so much easier and dependable than a RWD in bad weather since the engine sits on top of your wheels providing more traction and control. Also since the wheels are pulling the vehicle instead of pushing it from the rear, it is considerably easier to drive if the wheels spin free especially getting started from a stop or a corner. I've driven in snow, ice, and some of the worst weather imaginable and as long as I'm in a FWD vehicle with good tires (preferably winter if it's that time of year, not all-seasons), I feel confident and safe.

    I haven't really had experience with AWD all the time, I had a truck with a 4wd on the fly which was good since the RWD would lose traction immediately just during rainstorms. (too light in the back end) Having all 4 wheels working helped, but sometimes I felt as if the truck was propelling itself and I was just steering, not completely in control no matter the speed. Cornering was also an issue (see below about transmissions & drive trains)

    From what I understand, driving a car with AWD is easier than that since it's designed for all the time. Since the engine is powering all the wheels all the time, the gas mileage is noticeably higher, although it's still rates better in an Minivan vs SUV. I would check out the reliability of the model dealing with the differential (I think that was the area involved) in the transmission for ratings. It's like running a race when there's cornering involved. The inside wheels have to rotate slower so the outside wheels can eventually catch up. There were problems when AWD first came out with this constant effort on the drive train.

    IMO, AWD system might be rated marginally 'safer' in experts' opinion in comparison driving an AWD in bad weather than a FWD, but I think it might be one of those that the driver's experience can easily overcome. In fact, resorting to learned habits from years of driving a FWD or RWD could nullify that margin if there hasn't been any practice dealing with adverse conditions. An AWD does handle differently and there is a learning curve. I would be completely happy with a FWD in any situation. BUT if having a choice of a RWD and an AWD, I would take the AWD in a heartbeat, I dislike RWD's that much.

    I would be more concerned with the repair and reliability of the transmission & the higher gas mileage in this decision than 'safety'. Either choice of an AWD or FWD, you will be safe. Besides, you can always affect a FWD by shifting gears (even in an automatic) to slow things down and take it easier.

    hth a little and that I didn't blather on too much
    My Munchkin -- Nov 2008--5 years, 45.5", 42lbs
    Current Stats: 12 years old /5'5/ 115lbs/ Seatbelt

    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." Phillip K. Dick

  11. #10
    CPS Technician Lys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lovinwaves View Post
    I just noticed member "lodonal65" has a new Pilot. She traded in her '03 Ody for a new Pilot. She loves it!!! Maybe she will chime in on the conversation to give the Pilot some good posts. LOL!!
    Yes that's me!
    I have never been the mommydrivinminivantype but when my 4th child was born in 2002, there really wasn't another option.
    I loved my Ody when the kids were smaller because of the seat configuration, power sliding doors, cargo room etc. If I had younger kids and more car seats I would have kept my Ody.
    I traded it for the Pilot because I have 2 teenagers that FIGHT over who gets to sit in the 3rd row. My oldest is 5'5" (taller than me) and has no problems sitting back there for a 3 hour trip. With that said, I would hate to have to install/and daily buckle a child in a car seat in the 3rd row. It would be difficult. Plus, if you have 3 car seats you would definetely have to take 1 out every time you got in and out of the car to be able to slide the seat forward to reach the 3rd row.
    I LOVE my Pilot but would not recommend it for someone who had 2 seats that were installed ( a booster maybe)because reaching the 3rd row for a car seat is next to impossible.
    Lysandra
    CPST, LLLL and SAHM
    Mia 13, Ian 10, Clek Olli x2, TB and BubbleBum

  12. #11
    tutu
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    Thank you all! The info on FWD vs RWD vs AWD was new to me and very helpful. Made me feel much better about not getting AWD as long as I have FWD. The info from two of you about access to the third row of the Pilot w/car seats installed kind of clinches it. There's no way I want to take them in and out, even if they're easy to install and even though I won't be transporting dgs and dgd daily. They're heavy (Radians), and would have to be secured in the car somewhere when not installed. Besides, I want to be ready to pick the kids up when I get the chance without having to even think about it. This may be the fastest "research" I've ever done on a major purchase, thanks to your help. DH will be amazed.

  13. #12
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    We drove our 05 FWD Odyssey for about 75 miles on the highway through an unexpected blizzard late at night. Very bad conditions. Apart from the blinding snow, the roads were extremely icy and treacherous. The Odyssey performed like a dream. I'm accustomed to driving AWD Subarus, so I'm a bit of a snow performance snob. But really, we couldn't have asked anything more from the Odyssey.

    (You will find very few RWD cars on the road anymore. Only very old, or extremely sporty cars are likely to have RWD. The choice is normally between FWD, AWD, or FWD with a 4WD option.)

    My sister has a Pilot, which she loves. I think they're both great cars, and it's just a matter of preference. (If you take a lot of road trips, you will probably prefer a van. It's nice to be able to move to the back of the car without getting out, particularly in the winter. I've nursed and changed diapers in the third row of our van, changed my older daughter's clothes, etc--all without getting out of the van. Obviously, the van was stopped!)

  14. #13
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    A few comments to add to all the rest-

    The Odyssey and Pilot are both based on the same Honda light truck chassis (technically a unibody car platform). They share nothing in common with BMWs, except perhaps in the hopes of the designers as a target. Coincidentally, BMW still has a number of RWD designs on the road today. It's one of their selling points.

    The VCM system that shuts off 3 cylinders during cruising for slightly improved fuel economy was standard on Honda EX-L and Touring models starting in 2005. It became available in 2006 for 2WD Pilots, but was not available at all in 2005. You are right that side curtain airbags were also not available in the Piliot from 2003-2005, either.

    Safety-wise, the 2005+ Odyssey and 2006+ Pilot are really pretty similar. Keep in mind the Pilot has never been tested by the IIHS for side impacts. Given Honda's great track record with crash testing on it's light truck platform, you'd expect top results but you never know. Really, anything listed on the first couple pages of the list ranked in risk order at www.informedforlife.org is a great choice for safety if it has stability control and side curtain airbags for all rows of seating.

    AWD is not so much a safety feature like Stability Control is. AWD doesn't help you stop at all- for that you would want snow tires if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow/ice. Of course if you live in a rural or hilly area and frequently drive in unplowed conditions, AWD and/or snow tires might be essential. We have a FWD Odyssey and an AWD Subaru. Other than getting going a little quicker from a stop when it is slippery, the AWD really isn't worth the hit in fuel economy for us. I've never had a problem being stuck in any of our 2WD vehicles and if I ever do, we always have cell phones and AAA.

    Most modern AWD cars, vans and car-based SUVs have driving characteristics that are almost invisible to the driver. Many no longer even have mechanical differentials to reduce slip from one wheel to another on the same axle; they use the brakes in a traction control system instead. 4WD systems can be very different. They do have issues with steering and driveability but they are mainly found in truck-based models and intended for serious towing and off-roading.

    For most people, a FWD vehicle with good quality all-season tires is fine for most driving, especially with the traction control systems found on most current models. AWD and snow tires might be advised for those who get a lot of snow in rural or hilly areas, but they really aren't necessary for many urban/suburban areas that are plowed regularly.

  15. #14
    CPS Advocate lovinwaves's Avatar
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    Thank You Darren again for your wonderful input.

    Are you saying that the BMW engineering is incorrect? I will try to find where I read that. It was very appealing to us.

    Another feature I liked is the Odyssey has something to do with "Rubber" sealing that keeps the interior cabin quieter. We noticed (in our opinion) it was quieter than the Sienna. I don't know if the Pilot has this feature. I will look it up and report back.
    Melissa
    Peyton 10
    Camden 9
    And a new baby on the way

  16. #15
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    I would not be surprised at all if Honda uses BMW and other premium brands as their target for designs. Imitation is the best sort of flattery, as they say. On the other hand, I would be very surprised to find that the Odyssey directly uses any shared BMW technlogy or designs. So, I can't say you are incorrect, but I would be interested to see what you find.

    My only real complaint about our Odysseys (2001 LX and 2006 EX-L) has been the road/tire noise at highway speeds on concrete pavenent. It can be quite loud. Around town, I didn't notice much difference between Sienna and Odyssey, but I did find the Sienna to be quieter at highway speeds.

  17. #16
    CPS Advocate lovinwaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPSDarren View Post
    I would not be surprised at all if Honda uses BMW and other premium brands as their target for designs. Imitation is the best sort of flattery, as they say. On the other hand, I would be very surprised to find that the Odyssey directly uses any shared BMW technlogy or designs. So, I can't say you are incorrect, but I would be interested to see what you find.

    My only real complaint about our Odysseys (2001 LX and 2006 EX-L) has been the road/tire noise at highway speeds on concrete pavenent. It can be quite loud. Around town, I didn't notice much difference between Sienna and Odyssey, but I did find the Sienna to be quieter at highway speeds.
    Very interesting what you say about the road noise. We test drove both the ODy and Sienna many many hours. We took each of them home for a day or so. My opinion from what I remember was the Ody was quieter for around town driving, but the Sienna had more of a luxurious feel and ride on the highway. The ODy has more of a tighter suspension and if I dare say "sport car feel" (not really but that is the best way to describe it). The Sienna had more of a cushy almost Lexus like feel. Same engineering feel as my moms RX300 which I have driven quite a bit. It is kind of hard to explain what I mean, you really just have to drive and feel for yourself. It really comes down to preference. I have a husband that has VW Passat 5-speed(should be 6-speed, but mistake by VW another story though..) Turbo, low profile tires, bigger wheels, so he was more drawn towards the Ody. But you can't beat the feel of the Sienna. I would think more people would like the drive and feel of the Sienna over the Ody. I personally like a more glued to the concrete, every slight move of the steering wheel I can feel in the movement of the car. KWIM?

    I will look up the Engineering into the ODy and check back. Something have been wanting to do anyways. I was hoping MOtorTrend would have done an article on it, but I'm still waiting!!
    Melissa
    Peyton 10
    Camden 9
    And a new baby on the way

  18. #17
    CPS Technician Lys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lovinwaves View Post
    Another feature I liked is the Odyssey has something to do with "Rubber" sealing that keeps the interior cabin quieter. We noticed (in our opinion) it was quieter than the Sienna. I don't know if the Pilot has this feature. I will look it up and report back.
    Well, if you think your Ody is quiet, you should drive the Pilot!
    That was a huge difference I noticed between the 2 vehicles,especially on the highway. The kids could barely hear the portable DVD player in the Ody. It would have to be turned all the way up and not have the radio playing to hear it for all 4 kids ( only 2 headsets)
    In the Pilot, I have to tell them to turn everything down because you can hear it fine!
    Lysandra
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    Mia 13, Ian 10, Clek Olli x2, TB and BubbleBum

  19. #18
    Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus Jeanum's Avatar
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    Lovinwaves, maybe you read Car and Driver a couple of years ago when the current Odyssey version first came out? The writers for C&D are uber car enthusiasts, and they said the Odyssey's handling was more analagous to a BMW, while the Sienna's ride and handling was more like a Lexus. I don't recall any info. about the Odyssey's design actually being based on a BMW, just that the handling was more sporty and BMW-like in comparison to other vans. I'm a minivan driving mom who has read Car and Driver for years, lol. Their head office is in my area, and sometimes we see them tooling around in various vehicles for future articles, kind of cool.
    Regards,
    Jean

    DD1 Age 16, 66" Driver's Ed
    DD2 Age 12, 64" 5 steps

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  20. #19
    CPS Advocate lovinwaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lodonal65 View Post
    Well, if you think your Ody is quiet, you should drive the Pilot!
    That was a huge difference I noticed between the 2 vehicles,especially on the highway. The kids could barely hear the portable DVD player in the Ody. It would have to be turned all the way up and not have the radio playing to hear it for all 4 kids ( only 2 headsets)
    In the Pilot, I have to tell them to turn everything down because you can hear it fine!
    Oh I would totally believe it. I do think Van's in general tend to be noisier. I think the PIlot is based off of a car platfom, and that would definitely help with the drive and noise aspect. Believe me I wasn't saying the Odyssey or Sienna are "Quiet" vehicles, I was just saying between the two "Minivans" this is what I noticed, or this is my opinion.

    I have ridden in a Pilot, and LOVED IT!! Believe me if it would have power sliding doors and some other "van" features that would have been a vehicle we might have purchased. I still love the 4-runner's though
    Melissa
    Peyton 10
    Camden 9
    And a new baby on the way

  21. #20
    CPS Advocate lovinwaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeanum View Post
    Their head office is in my area, and sometimes we see them tooling around in various vehicles for future articles, kind of cool.
    OOooooo, I a sooo jealous. That must be pretty cool! I can just see me and the kids in the Van chasing them around trying to see what kid of car it is. I would love to be a car tester. I think they should always have a mom give her advice on the ease of installing carseat, how kid friendly the car is and stuff like that!
    Melissa
    Peyton 10
    Camden 9
    And a new baby on the way

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