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I am considering buying a new minivan. I am choosing between the honda odyssey and the toyota sienna. I am concerned about safe driving in the winter. In comparing the honda odyssey with traction control versus the toyota sienna with all wheel drive is there a significant difference in performance and safety between the two? Thank you

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Amanda J. Pierce, MBA Susan, I am a huge fan of hondas and I am a service manager for toyota. The sienna vans have outstanding saftey ratings and very little mechanical service malfunctions, (not that hondas do either)-.... It all boils down to preference, design, warranty, performance. Toyota incorporates side curtain air bags for your little passengers in the back these are rapid deploying air bags that cover the side glass areas for added protection in the case of an accident. With the 2008 Toyota Sienna, the Japanese Company is doing a superb start on hybrid technology. Sienna is the larger version of the Estima minivan that is currently sold only in Japan. This minivan is redesigned and renovated to meet the specific needs of present day customers. There are many interesting changes in the all-new models for the current year. To make you stay young at heart, the Sienna comes with many latest technologies and equipments, but with equal emphasis on smooth ride and comfortable journey. I do know that odysseys have michelins.PAX

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd Hi Susan, The Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna are both safe and reliable vans. I personally feel that All-Wheel-Drive trumps Traction Control. But, whichever way you swing, remember that you need really good tires to give you the grip on the road so the traction control or all-wheel-drive will work properly. All My Best, Amy Mattinat

Barbra Einsohn , Customer Relations Manager  at David McDavid Honda of Irving Dear Ms. Kushner, Thank you for your inquiry. Let me start by saying that the Toyota Sienna with All Wheel Drive is going to use more gas mileage than the Honda Odyssey because it takes all 4 wheels for mobility. The Honda Odyssey is a 2 wheel drive vehicle so it uses less gas mileage. All Wheel Drive is primarily used where there is high elevation or conditions where there is a lot of mud, snow, or areas where there is slippage. The Honda Odyssey uses VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist). The purpose of VSA is to keep you from loosing control of your vehicle by monitoring each wheel speed in conditions such as rain, snow and slick streets. Many people have had the experience of turning a corner in rainy weather and feeling the back end of their vehicle slide side ways because they were loosing traction and control. VSA controls that motion by using "Throttle by Wire". What that means is that there aren

Marnie Kramer, Owner and Creator at EverythingCarz.com Dear Susan, Thank you for visiting AskPatty.com All systems have their pluses and minuses. Front wheel drives with traction control provide the necessary requirements to maneuver in slippery weather, there drawbacks are more performance related which is not such an issue with the type of vehicles you are considering. Now the drawbacks on AWD are added weight and mechanics. The weight part will decrease fuel efficiency and the mechanics side could be more costly repairs. Neither are bad choices, you just need to consider your preferences to make a decision... Hope this helps. Marnie Kramer Everything Carz http://www.everythingcarz.com

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