The minivan segment has recently received a new-model makeover, and two of the refreshed vans on the market are the top-selling Chrysler Town & Country and the also popular Honda Odyssey models. Which vehicle comes out on top in a head-to-head battle?
Let’s take a closer look at the Town & Country Touring, the entry trim, and the Odyssey EX, the next up from the Odyssey’s base LX. The Chrysler has the edge in price, starting at $30,160 while the Honda comes in at $30,950. With a $790 price difference, you’d think the Odyssey EX would be better equipped, right? Not so much.
Standard equipment is important for the discerning minivan shopper, and the Town & Country wins this one in a landslide. The Chrysler comes standard with rain-sensing wipers, a roofrack, foglights, blind-spot sensors and ParkSense/ParkView distance control. To get these features on the Odyssey, a minivan buyer would have to jump more trim levels and add options, which could mean adding another $9,500 or more to the bottom line.
Entertainment features are also important to the minivan owner, and again, the Town & Country comes out on top. Up front, every Town & Country comes standard with a 6.5-inch LCD touchscreen with uconnect™, a 30GB hard drive for your music and other data and SIRIUS Satellite Radio. The Odyssey EX doesn’t feature satellite radio – it can’t even be acquired as an option – and Honda’s minivan doesn’t have a 30GB hard drive at any trim level. The EX does have a 2GB hard drive to store music, but it’s only a fraction of the Town & Country’s storage capacity.
The family likes entertainment, too, but the Odyssey EX doesn’t offer rear-seat entertainment. The Town & Country, on the other hand, offers an available nine-inch LCD screen that can be enjoyed by backseat passengers. To add rear-seat entertainment to the Odyssey, you would need to step up to the $36,050 “EX-L with Honda DVD Rear Entertainment System” model. When you’re watching that movie, the Odyssey comes with two rows of bench seating while the Town & Country features second-row captains’ chairs for increased comfort.
Just looking at the interior of these two vehicles tells a story. The Town & Country’s cabin looks inviting with rich materials, attractive wood trim and a standard leather-covered steering wheel and shiftknob. The Odyssey, on the other hand, looks cold in comparison and a leather steering wheel and shiftknob can’t be had until the EX-L model, which starts at $34,450.
The comparison becomes a bit more one-sided when talking about powertrains. The Town & Country comes standard with an all-new Pentastar® 3.6-liter V6 with 283 hp and 260 lb/ft of torque paired with a sequential sport shift six-speed automatic transmission. The Odyssey’s 3.5-liter V6 with 248 hp and 250 lb/ft just can’t keep up, and it comes standard with a five-speed automatic gearbox. A six-speed unit can’t be had unless you spring for a $40,755 Touring model. Environmentally conscious drivers can also fuel up their Town & Country with E85 fuel that is made right here in the U.S. The Odyssey doesn’t offer E85 capability.
On the safety front, both the Odyssey and the Town & Country have been named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). That’s good news for any minivan shopper, but the Town & Country offers standard blind-spot protection to keep you from changing lanes when another vehicle is where you can’t see it. To add blind-spot protection to the Odyssey, you’ll have to opt for the Touring Elite model, which starts at $43,250.
Peace of mind is always a good thing, and both vehicles come with three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranties. The Town & Country then adds five-year/100,000-mile powertrain protection while the Odyssey only offers five years or 60,000 miles.
Feature for feature – performance, convenience and value – the Town & Country comes out on top. That shouldn’t come as a surprise though. Chrysler did, after all, invent the minivan, and the competition has spent nearly 30 years simply trying to catch up.