Used Odyssey or Sedona?

Hey Car Talk friends! My family is finally going into the world of minivan life…something I’ve been dreading to be honest. We’ve narrowed it down to two options: a 2011 Honda Odyssey w 133k, 1 owner w replaced timing belt and pump or 2014 Kia Sedona w 88k, 2 owner and no timing belt needed yet. Both have leather seats, rear view cam, etc, etc. we’ve always been Honda or Toyota drivers because of their longevity but the Kia is the smaller sized minivan I like and has 20k remaining miles on its manufacturing power train. Both are at respective dealerships and have completed full inspections. Are Kias expected to last 200+k? Or should we count on high miles on a Honda instead? What would you do?!

IMHO, without reading the owners manual, the Sedona is about due for the timing belt.

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I guess people think every vehicle should reach 200000 miles . Some do and some don’t . When it comes to used vehicles all you can do is hope for the best and that you get enough service that you don’t regret the purchase later.

Pick the one you like best and have it inspected by an independent mechanic you trust. This should cost you about $125. If you still like it, negotiate the price. If not, do the same thing with the other minivan. At this age and mileage, don’t shop brand, shop condition.

We’ve had 3 minivans since 1996, the current one a 2019 Odyssey EX-L. They have great space for people and cargo, much better than SUVs. With the long wheel base, they ride more like limousines. Adjust the way you look at them. We don’t have children at home anymore, yet still want one for the versatility and superior ride.

The 3.8L engine uses a timing chain.


Now, if you could get a Honda trans warranty for less then the cost of a trans I might go that route. No way I trust 133k odyssey trans.


Thank you, the OP inferred the Sedona had a belt but was not yet due for change.

Who knows! Kia seem to depreciate a lot faster than Japanese vehicules.

The Kia powertrain warranty doesn’t transfer to the second owner, so it is probably not under warranty. I wouldn’t count on either to make it to 200k. The Sienna is the best bet if you are looking for long term durability. You might see if the Odyssey has Variable Cylinder Management (VCM). Honda had problems with the system on this generation, and it can cause engine failure. I would probably choose the Kia, as it is newer and has lower mileage.


I have owned 5 minivans since 1991–a Ford Aerostar, a Ford Windstar, a Chevrolet Uplander and two Toyota Siennas. My son is still driving the 2006 Uplander that I owned and it has gone well over 200,000 miles. It has never had any major repairs–not even a water pump, fuel pump or alternator, despite its low reliability rating by Consumer Reports. You mentioned you liked the smaller size of the Sedona. One thing I liked about the Uplander was it was narrower than other minivans. I often had to back off a busy four lane street into an alley and had to pass between the building and a utility pole to manuever to an auditorium stage door. I didn’t have to fold in the mirrors on the Uplander which were a real aid in backing. I was loading a set of timpani into the minivan when our chamber orchestra was performing in a different venue. I would open the sliding door on the minivan and slide the timpani right into the minivan without having to lift them off the ground. With the other minivans, I would have to fold in the passenger side mirror. The building now has installed a lift off its kitchen. I can load the timpani onto the lift and lower the lift so it is even with the floor of the minivan and roll the timpani right in through the rear hatch.
U license my minivan as a truck. This to pull into parking places labeled ‘Truck Loading Zone 30 Minute Parking’ and not be ticketed.
I think you will find a minivan quite useful. They aren’t real engaging to do drive. If you’ve driven one minivan you’ve driven them all. I don’t know that the manufacturer makes much difference. As others have said, pay a mechanic to do an inspection before purchasing one.

You did not mention the prices, so we cannot say which–if any–of these vehicles is a good deal. Neither one will have any warranty remaining, as the Kia powertrain warranty is valid to the original owner only, unless the vehicle is purchased as a Certified Pre-Owned from a Kia dealer. With two owners, and 88,000 miles, this is probably not a CPO, so there would be no factory-backed warranty. The dealer may, of course, be offering a so-called “extended warranty” from a third-party insurance company, but those are often not worth the paper they’re printed on.

That being said, the Kia uses a metal timing chain, which means less costly maintenance, and has much less miles on it. Also, Honda has had issues with its automatic transmissions, especially if the fluid is not changed. The Kia has low enough miles that you could have the transmission fluid changed after you buy it, and not need to worry that its life has been shortened by insufficient maintenance.

Since Korean-branded vehicles also depreciate faster than Japanese-branded models, we can assume that it also costs less than the Honda. So I would opt for the Kia. A better vehicle for a better price…what’s not to like?

They are priced within $500 of one another. The Kia at 9600 is at a certified Kia dealership and they say the warranty maintains (but now I will clarify what warranty they indeed mean!) and the Honda at 10100 is at a familiar Honda dealership. We would take either to an independent mechanic. I’ve just never owned anything other than a Honda or Toyota (with the exception of a brief Subaru Tribeca) and don’t know if Kia is as reliable. With the difference in mileage and age I’m leaning toward the Kia but my husband has interest in the Honda due to fuel economy and reported reliability. I suppose we just have to trust what the mechanic says!

Fuel economy on vans can’t be that much different . Besides your driving patterns are what determines your miles per gallon.

Well then it’s a no-brainer–get the Kia Sedona. If it is indeed being sold as a CPO, then you will receive the balance of the powertrain warranty.

Here’s KIA’s description of their CPO terms:

Don’t believe the advertised mileage on the Ody. I have a 2012 since new never got over 22mpg even mostly highway driving. Overall it’s a nice van but I’d never buy another Honda Ody. Apart from the mileage disparity, mine has shudder- torque converter and VCM. Variable Cylinder Management is a joke on these with many people having this shudder problem. Not to mention the oil consumption problems. Friend had a Pilot with same issue. Started drinking oil. My van has less than 40k and recently has started to show signs of that problem. No way would I buy a 2011…