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DetroitNut90

2010 Odyssey vs. 2010 Traverse

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2010 Chevrolet Traverse 2LT and 2010 Honda Odyssey EX-L

Silver Spring, MD—Yesterday, my parents and I went out to buy my mom a new car. Her Venture hit 105,xxx miles recently and still had a lot of life left, but the problems were beginning to add up, especially since the intake manifold had begun to fail. Rather than sinking $2000 into a car that was only worth about $4000 anyways, they decided the time had come.

We narrowed the choices down to a Traverse 2LT or an Odyssey EX-L, and went to a nearby autopark in Montgomery County to sample both.

Our first stop was the Chevrolet dealer. They had an incredible selection, ranging from the base LS to the loaded LTZ AWD. Mom and dad had decided that no matter what they bought, they absolutely didn't want a top-of-the-line model. Our salesman showed us to a FWD 2LT in a handsome Gold Mist color with the Traveler's Package, which is new for 2010. The Traveler's Package combines the rear DVD player with the in-dash nav system into a bundle deal. After he slapped a dealer tag on the back, we took it out.

The Traverse had wonderfully responsive steering. The wheel was weighted well and feels nice and tight, especially when compared to the Venture. The Traverse felt substantial when steering, but not in a bulky way, more like substantial in the sense that proper engineering went into it. The ride was exceptionally comfortable. It was smooth and ironed out the bumps of our roads, but felt nowhere near as floaty as the Venture did, which crashed and shuddered over bumps and bounced over humps.

It was also an attractive-looking car, inside and out. The interior as tested was black with cloth seats, and although it was somewhat dark on the inside, it was still a nice place to be. All of the controls were located logically and were intuitive to use. Comparing the Traverse to the Venture again, it's no contest as to which has the better interior. There's style here, whereas the inside of the Venture was a study of form after function, or maybe just function, since there was no discernable form to it. The majority of plastics inside are of the harder variety and I wasn't a fan of the cloth used to upholster the seats, but it's put together well, and that's what matters.

My favorite part about the Traverse, however, was the engine. Equipped with GM's new 3.6L 24-valve DOHC V6 (LLT) with variable valve timing and spark-ignition direct injection, the Traverse 2LT makes 281 HP @ 6300 RPM and 266 lb-ft of torque @ 3400 RPM. Although it's rather hefty, the Traverse moved with an unexpected authority. All of us were surprised by this, especially my dad. The 3.6L revved cleanly and quickly and made some kind of good sound while it did so. The engine had a nice, cammy tone to it and when driven a little more than just sedately, one could hear a type of whirring sound reminiscent of a supercharger.

Our next test was a Jewel Red 2LT AWD, which was remarkably similar to the FWD. Dad said he did not want a red car, but he humored mom and tested it anyway. It possessed the same excellent handling, but I did notice a bit of a lag coming off the line compared to the FWD model, due to the extra weight of the all-wheel-drive system. It wasn't much, but it just didn't seem as eager to go as the front-drive version. We told our salesman we wanted to check out an Odyssey before we committed to anything, thanked him for his time, and drove next door.

My mom instantly took to a light blue EX-L with the nav system and rear DVD player. Again, in the interest of not picking the top-shelf variant, we ignored the bronze Touring model next to the EX-L. Dad was skeptical, but I told him to try it anyways in the interest of thoroughness. He agreed, and once we had another dealer tag on the back, we set off.

The Odyssey definitely makes better use of its interior room than the Traverse. There's more luggage room and I felt like there was slightly more all-around room from both the front seats and the middle row. I also appreciated the leather seats on the Odyssey compared to the cloth seats on the Traverse, partly because I'm spoiled (we haven't had a car with cloth seats since we bought the Venture) and partly because they were a little softer. I also appreciated the lighter color of the Odyssey's interior (grey) compared to the black of the Traverses we tested; it just seemed more open and airy.

The Odyssey, although down by about 40 horsepower compared to the Traverse, was no slouch. Powered by Honda's 3.5L J35A7 24-valve SOHC V6 with Variable Cylinder Management, the Odyssey put out 244 HP @ 5750 RPM and 240 lb-ft. of torque @ 5000 RPM. Honda's J35 is one of my favorite V6's because of how smooth it revs, how strong it pulls, and how pleasant it sounds. Mom was a little harsher testing the J35 than the Traverse's LLT, but she was satisfied with the power. I eventually took the wheel and was again surprised by how eager the Odyssey was to move. The Odyssey felt a little less sure-footed than the Traverse, but it still had a nice feel to the steering, with good weighting and feedback. It rode a bit harsher than the Traverse, shuddering slightly over some of the worse bumps in the road but still nowhere as bad as the Venture or my cousin's Sienna.

We returned the Odyssey and went home for some lunch. Mom was set on the Honda, while dad favored the Traverse. It was an interesting ride back, with them talking about the good points of both and myself acting as moderator and an impartial judge. Neither wanted to give in, and my answers to their questions seemed to only further cement their positions.

I personally liked the Honda for its commendable passenger-cargo room flexibility and slightly more comfortable seats. It felt roomier than the Traverse. But I also loved the Traverse's engine and better road manners. The Traverse also had a higher towing capability, which would come in handy when we eventually get our boat back in the water, and its warranty was also better than the Odyssey. I would have been happy with either one, and that didn't seem to ease the stalemate.

The Traverse and Odyssey are both excellent cars, and one may be better than the other to different people, depending on their needs. It's just a shame that GM doesn't make a full-fledged minivan anymore, since that would've made for a more apples-to-apple comparison.

So what did we end up with? A Jewel Red Traverse LTZ AWD. So much for avoiding a red, top-of-the-line model, right?

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Glad to here they got the Chevy. I was worrying the Honda would win. I would have done the same thing. Wishing them many happy miles with it!

Edited by gm4life
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Hah! I almost didn't see that end coming...but it's a good one!

Great points about each, especially Lambda to Odyssey. Why in the end, after the drives, did AWD and then the extra LTZ bits get decided on? Interested to hear more about that one.

The Traverse has done extremely well for Chevy dealers and they love having them. Just the right package at the right time for the right price, and damned impressive in pretty much every way. The "Chevy factor" jumped it as well, propelling ahead of all the other Lambda's it seems for sales and general interest. The Odyssey is still a formidable competitor, even near redesign again, with the main issues at this point being it could be a little more solid and use some NVH work in suspension and general insulation. Otherwise, still a great van.

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Nice review. I'd take the minivan for its space and maneuverability, but crossovers look better, offer AWD, and tow more. Makes sense if you live where it snows or own a boat.

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Well, my nails are all bitten down to the quick after that story, but I'm glad your family chose to remain patriotic in the end and purchase a vehicle from a domestic manufacturer. I wish your parents many happy miles!

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At 105,000 miles the problems were too bad you had to get rid of it? My dad actually has a Honda Odyssey with 192,000 miles (mostly city/suburb miles) on it. He had 5 GM vehicles that didn't make it past 130,000 miles. This is what killed GM, most of their cars didn't last that long. A Honda shouldn't last double the mileage of a Chevy, Chevy needs to get better. I hope your Traverse runs 200,000 miles if not for you, for the next person that gets it.

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At 105,000 miles the problems were too bad you had to get rid of it? My dad actually has a Honda Odyssey with 192,000 miles (mostly city/suburb miles) on it. He had 5 GM vehicles that didn't make it past 130,000 miles. This is what killed GM, most of their cars didn't last that long. A Honda shouldn't last double the mileage of a Chevy, Chevy needs to get better. I hope your Traverse runs 200,000 miles if not for you, for the next person that gets it.

How many free transmissions did they put in with the purchase of an oil change? The Odyssey has an extended warranty program on the transmission (same as the TL) out of necessity.

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Hah! I almost didn't see that end coming...but it's a good one!

Great points about each, especially Lambda to Odyssey. Why in the end, after the drives, did AWD and then the extra LTZ bits get decided on? Interested to hear more about that one.

The Traverse has done extremely well for Chevy dealers and they love having them. Just the right package at the right time for the right price, and damned impressive in pretty much every way. The "Chevy factor" jumped it as well, propelling ahead of all the other Lambda's it seems for sales and general interest. The Odyssey is still a formidable competitor, even near redesign again, with the main issues at this point being it could be a little more solid and use some NVH work in suspension and general insulation. Otherwise, still a great van.

The Venture we traded out of was also AWD. For whatever reason, my parents think that AWD helps when we're putting our boat in the water, in case the ramp is slippery, I guess. They also like it for when it snows or rains or the roads ice over.

Mom kinda pushed dad into the LTZ because she wanted the Odyssey and he wasn't really budging from the Traverse. So I guess she figured that if she couldn't win, she'd get the model that she wanted. Great negotiation on her part. :lol:

At 105,000 miles the problems were too bad you had to get rid of it? My dad actually has a Honda Odyssey with 192,000 miles (mostly city/suburb miles) on it. He had 5 GM vehicles that didn't make it past 130,000 miles. This is what killed GM, most of their cars didn't last that long. A Honda shouldn't last double the mileage of a Chevy, Chevy needs to get better. I hope your Traverse runs 200,000 miles if not for you, for the next person that gets it.

The famous 3.4L intake manifold problem had begun to surface, and the mechanic we take our cars to for service quoted $2000 or so to fix it. And part in the back of the van that we had replaced under warranty had begun to start making a horrendous noise when you'd go to park or maneuver in a parking lot. Granted, those are really the only problems that were GM's fault. About 45,000 miles ago, my mom took it to Jiffy Lube to get the oil changed and the dumbass who was working on the car put windshield washer fluid in the antifreeze reservoir and vice-versa. Ever since then, it's had a problem with overheating (we were never able to completely get the gunk that formed in the internals of the engine out). Because of this, the rear heater in the van stopped working and my little cousin who's living with us broke the rear fan control switch. We just figured that it was the right move to make, instead of staying with a money pit. And thanks, I guess? :P This is the first time we've ever unloaded a car before it really couldn't run any longer.

Edited by DetroitNut90
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Read what Camino said about Ohio's rolling junkyards. Hell, down in Chillicothe down where I work there are plenty of GM cars from the 70's and early 1980's that are still running around.

And we see GM trucks from even the 1960's still in daily use...

Down near my parents there is a 1956 Chevrolet 1/2 ton truck still in semi regular use...

smk is right, GM builds some crappy vehicles.

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The Venture we traded out of was also AWD. For whatever reason, my parents think that AWD helps when we're putting our boat in the water, in case the ramp is slippery, I guess. They also like it for when it snows or rains or the roads ice over.

Mom kinda pushed dad into the LTZ because she wanted the Odyssey and he wasn't really budging from the Traverse. So I guess she figured that if she couldn't win, she'd get the model that she wanted. Great negotiation on her part. :lol:

The famous 3.4L intake manifold problem had begun to surface, and the mechanic we take our cars to for service quoted $2000 or so to fix it. And part in the back of the van that we had replaced under warranty had begun to start making a horrendous noise when you'd go to park or maneuver in a parking lot. Granted, those are really the only problems that were GM's fault. About 45,000 miles ago, my mom took it to Jiffy Lube to get the oil changed and the dumbass who was working on the car put windshield washer fluid in the antifreeze reservoir and vice-versa. Ever since then, it's had a problem with overheating (we were never able to completely get the gunk that formed in the internals of the engine out). Because of this, the rear heater in the van stopped working and my little cousin who's living with us broke the rear fan control switch. We just figured that it was the right move to make, instead of staying with a money pit. And thanks, I guess? :P This is the first time we've ever unloaded a car before it really couldn't run any longer.

As you stated the 3.4L intake manifold problem was well known by GM and they refused to address that gasket issue for many years. This cost GM many long term ownership loyal customers. I myself was a victim of that, and as a GM employee trying so hard to buy and tout GM products as the best, its hard to do that in this case. You were lucky to get 120k out of the engine. Those gaskets were only good for anywhere from abt. 60k-80k typically and as you said $2k to fix, but really closer to $4k through most shops or GM dealer. Unaceptable! Also the dealer would replace those gaskets with OEM and guess what happened? Why would GM do this to loyal customers? They didn't want any loyal customers? Appearently so.... I'm glad you bought the Chevy, hope you have a better engine than the Venture had, time will tell. But GM should listen. A crossover doesn't have the cargo capacity nor combination of cargo and passengers as the mini vans they replaced. If I were in the market to replace the Buick Rendevous I have which replaced the Pont. Montana, I would buy a Chrysler mini van since GM doesn't make one. GM needs to wake up and stop making bad decisons, like totally eliminating the mini van just because we couldn't make a better one than Chrysler. (didn't try hard enough)We don't need 3 different brands of the same thing(Lamda) and no mini van. GM should offer an extended mini van with AWD or FWD and 8 pass. seating and of course a better engine std. than the infamous 3.4L.

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>>"were lucky to get 120k out of the engine. Those gaskets were only good for anywhere from abt. 60k-80k typically and as you said $2k to fix, but really closer to $4k through most shops or GM dealer."<<

Chevy dealer did my wife's GP 3.1's intake gasket (at 100K) for $600 early this year. I suppose some might gouge, but it's certainly no $4K job anyway you look at it.

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after stopping the ugly, impractical uplander, I believe GM need to build something that can be a direct competitor to Odyssey & Sienna.

So far, Traverse is a crossover

I wished that you had tried the KIA Sedona.... it is an excellent option

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having driven a few lambdas and a few odysseys i can say that the lambda is a better road vehicle. it lacks a little utility in comparison with the odyssey, but the AWD, nicer interior, and better isolation give it the win.

the odyssey is too raw. its not carlike enough to offset its typical honda noisyness. the ride is too hard and the steering feels loose and cheap and you feel too much of the road.

the lambdas feel a bit too big and heavy and trucky and high centered.

would they have tried an ecoboost flex?

Edited by regfootball
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having driven a few lambdas and a few odysseys i can say that the lambda is a better road vehicle. it lacks a little utility in comparison with the odyssey, but the AWD, nicer interior, and better isolation give it the win.

the odyssey is too raw. its not carlike enough to offset its typical honda noisyness. the ride is too hard and the steering feels loose and cheap and you feel too much of the road.

the lambdas feel a bit too big and heavy and trucky and high centered.

would they have tried an ecoboost flex?

PERFECT review. Couldn't have said it better myself. Odyssey, like Hondas in general, feels too raw, thin, hard and coarse but still has something "quality" about it overall, as long as you don't mind rattles & creaks with your quality :AH-HA: Lambdas are smoother, more solid, more refined, etc., etc. but also feel big and a bit boaty but not at all floaty because of it--they're like space ships, quick, smooth, luxurious, terrifically tuned spaceships. A Flex would be a nice in between, a little trimmer and crisper on the road, lower, still big space like a van, and with Ecoboost some real beans. Well, unless the fact that Mr-Boost-Me is only available on $37k+ models, which is a bit annoying, but maybe will change in time.

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having driven a few lambdas and a few odysseys i can say that the lambda is a better road vehicle. it lacks a little utility in comparison with the odyssey, but the AWD, nicer interior, and better isolation give it the win.

the odyssey is too raw. its not carlike enough to offset its typical honda noisyness. the ride is too hard and the steering feels loose and cheap and you feel too much of the road.

the lambdas feel a bit too big and heavy and trucky and high centered.

would they have tried an ecoboost flex?

I thought the Odyssey did have a bit more road noise than the Traverse and it rode a bit more stiff, but I also thought it handled just as well.

I tried to get them to look into a Flex, but neither of them liked the way it looked. It's also smaller than a Traverse, and that was as small as mom wanted to go.

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the odyssey is one of the more overrated vehicles on the market. its well made, but its not really refined enough. I am all for good handling and firm ride but the problem is its compromised.

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