The Quest Is Over

(2006-01-31: Picture of slate 2005 Honda Odyssey EX removed.)

Ours is even the same color as the picture. My beautiful wife deserves the credit for that good choice.

For the record, I never went back to the Toyota dealer. I was informed of a special deal on Mazda and Honda vans, and made my move after test-driving the Mazda, so I never got a chance to go back.

Sometimes, missed opportunities today are the price for past mistakes. On the other hand, as I mentioned, someone close to me is a big Toyota fan, so I will mention for his sake that Toyota does have an excellent reputation otherwise, and that you should do your own homework and make your own decisions.

From our perspective, we’ve made our decision, and are quite pleased so far. More later; it’s time for a drive!

17 thoughts on “The Quest Is Over

  1. There is no doubt in my mind that you made the right decision in getting the Honda Odyssey minivan. What a super vehicle! As good as the Toyota Sienna is, i think the Od is superior across the board in design, mechanics, use of space and brilliantly conceived flexibility and creature comforts. These words coming from the former owner of 3 Toyotas and current owner of 2 Lexuses (Lexi?).

    Great job Jeff! Will give you many years of dependable service.

    Jim Licquia (Dad).

  2. Hello Jeff
    Recieved a piece of mail with your name on it today and ended up here some how. How have you been?

  3. I am an owner of MDX from Acura – same chasis and very similar engine as Odyssey. There are many MDXes & Odysseys out there, where transmission has gone total bust, some within 20-30K miles. Do look into it by visiting townhall on

    I am in market for Odyssey vs Sienna and can not make up my mind due to past concerns and history with both of these (transmission vs engine issues respectively).

  4. I understand your position. I’ve seen reports of the issue with Honda transmissions, and they worry me a bit.

    One thing that’s important to keep in mind: the Internet tends to magnify negative impressions. I don’t doubt that there are a lot of people posting about car problems, but how many people are posting their positive impressions? What would motivate them to do so?

    Also, no carmaker is perfect. If you don’t buy a Honda or Toyota, what are you going to buy? A Dodge? I can tell you that going from Honda to Dodge for reliability reasons is a mistake.

    So it’s important to check into objective reports about problems. Both Honda and Toyota have vastly better reliability reputations than, say, Chrysler, and their repair numbers show it–even when Honda’s and Toyota’s problems are factored in. Of course, if you find even better numbers from another automaker (though I could not), then maybe that’s the way you need to go.

    For me, it was not the presence of engine problems in the Toyota that turned me off, but Toyota’s handling of the problems. I’ve seem some griping about the Honda transmissions and other problems Hondas have, but generally Honda has done much better at addressing those concerns, from what I can tell. Most problems seem to be with dealers, and tend to get resolved when Honda gets involved. By contrast, Toyota would deny engine warranty service to people with perfect maintenance histories, and to this day they call their extended engine warranty a “goodwill gesture”.

    But I don’t think it’s stupid to buy Toyota. Certainly it’s no worse than buying Dodge, and I’ve done that.

    Have you had any problems with your MDX yourself that make you nervous, or are you getting spooked by the Internet commentary?

  5. Here’s some info you might find interesting. it’s from

    Vehicle Reliability Comparisons: Toyota vs. Honda Minivans.

    Times in the Shop
    Total number of times in the shop over a 5 year period, assuming 12500 miles a year:

    2005 Toyota Sienna: 4.4 times

    2005 Honda Odyssey: 6.2 times

    Difference: The 2005 Honda Odyssey is likely to go to the shop 1.8 more times.

    Days in the Shop
    Total number of days in the shop over a 5 year period, assuming 12500 miles a year:

    2005 Toyota Sienna: 8.5 days

    2005 Honda Odyssey: 11.9 days

    Difference: The 2005 Honda Odyssey is likely to spend 3.4 more days in the shop.

    Chances of taking no trips to the shop during a 5 year period, assuming 12500 miles a year:

    2005 Toyota Sienna: 5.8 percent, or about one in 17

    2005 Honda Odyssey: 1.5 percent, or about one in 65

    Difference: Someone buying the 2005 Toyota Sienna is 278 percent more likely to get a cherry.

    However, the odds are slim in both cases.

    Chances of taking five or more trips to the shop in a single year during a 5 year period, assuming 12500 miles a year:

    2005 Toyota Sienna: 21.8 percent, or about one in 5

    2005 Honda Odyssey: 29.7 percent, or about one in 3

    Difference: Someone buying the 2005 Honda Odyssey is 36 percent more likely to get a lemon.

    If you have not read (or want to continue reading) the page describing TrueDelta’s research, click “More Info.”

    Those who have been active panel members for at least six months will have free access to these reports.
    Others will have to pay $24.95 annually. To sign up, click “Join the Panel.”

    Please email questions and comments to

  6. Paywalls–pain or pleasure? If you’re the *payer*, not a good thing I suppose. Everyone loves a freebee.
    If you’re the *payee* with some sweat equity involved, is it wrong to expect something for your effort?

  7. If you’re the *payee* with some sweat equity involved, is it wrong to expect something for your effort?

    No. But, supposing I were to decide to mistrust you (or, in the old phrase, “trust but verify”), is it really worth $24.95 or six months of my time just to read a single article?

    Salon does it better, I think, by giving out day passes for people who want just one article.

  8. The article was cutpasted at no cost from that website. The inference re mistrust was unwarranted, and not really appreciated, inasmuch as my post was intended only for information. Perhaps you should consider changing the tone of your responses to “I’m Jeff Licquia, and you’re not!!” You certainly made your sense of superiority very clear.

  9. Huh? Where did that come from?

    We were having a conversation about paywalls, and I advanced a hypothetical situation. What’s wrong with that?

  10. My 1999 Sienna XLE has a problem. Recently I crankeded it over and over not knowing that the gas tank was completly empty. Ever since, thick smoke has been coming out of the exhaust. I wonder what caused this. How can it be rectified?

  11. Toyota sienna engine is worthless miss an oil change and it will sludge up fast and Toyota will not help. Trade yours in now before it the engine craps out. Toyota Dependability & reliability is a myth.Just plain lie- ability

  12. Congratulations! Mazda truly are great cars and are probably the most under rated ones. I have a Mazda van and I will not even change it for a Lexus!

  13. My 2005 Sienna sludged up, even though oil was changed regularly, requires engine replacement, “Platinum” warranty won’t touch us.

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