The 2016 model is priced at $34,400, including Honda’s $900 destination fee; 2017 prices were not available in time for this report. If that’s too hard on your budget, there’s plenty to like about our slightly less costly cheap-minivan runners up: the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring and Toyota Sienna LE.
Odyssey SE seats up to eight passengers and comes with a surprising amount of equipment for a vehicle with an expected retail price of less than $35,000. It has all the features of the less-expensive, yet still feature-rich LX and EX models, including: Bluetooth connectivity, rearview camera, power sliding rear side doors, integrated second-row sunshades, tri-zone automatic climate control, and Honda’s LaneWatch blind-spot camera.
What puts the SE over the top as our best cheap minivan for 2017 are its standard rear DVD entertainment system and industry-first HondaVAC built-in vacuum. The latter is a very handy feature previously reserved for the flagship Odyssey Touring Elite, a model carrying a sticker price of more than $46,000. Oddly, the SE and Touring Elite are the only Odyssey models to offer HondaVAC.
Per Honda Tradition, there are no standalone or packaged factory options, so if you want HondaVAC and say, leather upholstery, your only choice is the Touring Elite, as the SE has cloth seating surfaces. This is a relatively small knock against the SE, though. It otherwise has just about everything a family could ask for in a cheap minivan, all while backed by a brand that has a stellar reputation for reliability and resale value.
If you want to trade some of the Odyssey’s buttoned-down handling for a bit more style and refinement while still not breaking the bank, consider the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring. For a base price of $31,490 including $995 destination fee, you get an eight-passenger minivan that includes keyless entry with pushbutton ignition, power sliding rear side doors, active noise cancellation, power driver seat, and Chrysler’s industry-exclusive Stow ‘n Go seating.
We would recommend adding the $995 SafetyTec Group, which adds blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts along with rear-obstacle detection. At less than $33,000, this is a compelling value that can be made stronger with generous manufacturer incentives. The biggest tradeoffs versus the Odyssey will likely be in terms of reliability, resale value, and customer service – categories in which Chrysler-parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles ranks below the industry average.
The bronze medalist of best cheap minivans for 2017 is the Toyota Sienna LE. Equipment wise, this $32,540 (including $900 destination) hauler is comparable to the above rivals, offering eight-passenger seating and power side doors. Sienna LE stands with a standard in-dash navigation system powered by a smartphone application. It’s also the only vehicle in its class to offer all-wheel drive (AWD), but this feature will cost an extra $2,540 while shrinking seating capacity to seven. Still, if you live in an area where it snows, AWD adds a fair measure of assurance. Another interesting aspect to this minivan is its ability to be factory-fitted for special mobility purposes to assist wheelchair-bound occupants. This option is only available on front-drive models and adds $200-$6,015, depending on how sophisticated a system you want.