Probably gonna get an Odyssey...

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So far it is. The Sienna FWD, 7-pas XLE with the leather package is $31K while a quote emailed to me earlier today has the 8-pas Odyssey EX-L at 27,989.
Wife likes the 8th seat in the Odyssey (as well as Honda's proven track record with previous cars we've had) more than the electric tailgate (which is included in the '07 Touring Odyssey).
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The EX-L is easily the best deal in the Odyssey. I drive my elderly parents around and I decided that I wanted power sliding doors for them (the right decision) and rear hatches on vans get filthy fast so I wanted a power rear door. For that you need the touring model. I regret not paying more and gettting the rear view camera and navigation (my wife has navigation on her accord and it is a pleasure). But the front and rear sensors are very helpful.

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Avoid the Mercedes. There reliability is horrible. Good tranny and motor, but the electronics are straight out of the garbage.
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Wow, tough choices --
I'm not much of a fan of the Sienna, but it's not a bad car. The Mercedes is VERY nice and is a really cool car, but their reliability can't match the Toyota or the Honda. But as Seth put it above, it should last for 27 months. Keep in mind though, this means you'll have to buy another car in a little over two years, so if you're in this for the long run, the Mercedes probably wouldn't be your best choice.
Overall, I'd take the Honda. I find it more comfortable, it's larger, and it'll fit eight passengers. That should be a good plus for your wife, especially if you have kids. Plus, it sounds like it's cheaper.
Good luck! Overall, any of the three you choose will serve you well, it's just down to details now...
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We both have dash-top Garmin units. I actually like the Garmin nav better than all others. Power tailgate and rear camera would be nice, but not needed. I'll buy an after-market backup sensor that actually speaks distance remaining to object for under $200 and put it in myself.
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I want an electric tailgate, but I absolutely WILL NOT suffer with run-flat tires--which is all the US Touring model is equipped with.
If I really wanted a new Touring, I might seek out a Canadian model.
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Well, what's done is done!
Got some Internet pricing from other dealers and went to my dealer (bringing the wife and kids) so I could actually drive it and the kids could sit in it (not that they were going to be part of the decision making).
He came down to $28,150 and $5000 on my trade-in for a net of $23,150. The number I had in my head going in was 23,500, so I'm pleased. Going rate for my old van on eBay is $4000 to $5600, we had high mileage. Now I don't have to spend $100 having it detailed prior to auction, don't have to pay eBay fees and I pay less sales tax (8.25%) on my new vehicle as here in NY they only tax the net.
We're now a dual-Honda family.
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wrote:

Because of the high cost of tire replacement? Or some other reason?

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The cost of tire replacement is a huge issue, and combined with the fact that I'm stuck with exactly ONE brand/model of tire--that's unacceptable.
Nokian WR is probably the best passenger car tire you can buy, for overall comfort and safety in the widest range of conditions including severe winter/snow duty. I don't want a crummy OEM-specific Michelin tire that's crappy in the winter and merely OK in the summer, especially when it costs $500/tire installed.
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wrote:

That's what I figured. IN the almost 20 years we've been together she's had a total of 1 flat.

Dealer is gonna get me an extra set of rims (from other buyers who upgraded from stock) so I'm gonna throw snows/winter tires on those and swap each season.
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Seth wrote:

I bought an Odyssey (still can't spell it) in Nov and just got back from several thousand miles to FL. I LOVE it, may be the best all-around vehicle I've ever owned.
Baseline: previous car was 84 BMW 528e that I had owned for 20 years.
...BOb
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Seth wrote:

Get rid of that thing. Our '02 Olds Silhoette (same van) started to become very trouble prone not long after getting out of warranty. To all the GM PR flaks who blame "perception" and "media bias" for their rotten image I say ... just have a look at your own records of V-6 intake manifold gasket failures and high failure rates for almost everything to do with the "U" minivans to see why so many former customers joined the Never Again Club.
The three vans worth serious consideration today are the Toyota, Honda and Hyundai/Kia.
John
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Done. Picked up the EX-L in Ocean Mist yesterday.
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Little late now, but... two caveats, maybe, if you were feeling luxurious; lots of people who get the electric remote doors are unhappy, because they are slow, can't be manually overridden, get stuck on pebbles and things and have to recycle themselves slowly, and won't operate if the vehicle isn't in park. (That last one seems odd to me; are there a lot of carpool moms who want to just sort of slow down in front of the school and fling the kids out the door like paratroopers?) Secondly, the runflat tires are like $250 each when it comes time to replace, and if you decide not to go that route, then you need a new set of wheels to fit "normal" tires.
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They weren't any faster on the Chevy we just got rid of.
And I have no problem with requiring the vehicle being in park to operate the doors. Doesn't hurt anything and may prevent an unfortunate accident.

Don't have the run-flats. I think those were only part of the "Touring" model. I got a lowly EX-L.
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I have the run flat tires and I know I will be unhappy the day I need to buy new tires, if I get a flat and don't need to change it..... that will be a happy day.
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And it will be a sad day when snowy weather hits and you realize you don't even have the OPTION of buying snow tires, that you're stuck with tires that are by definition a compromise.
Nokian WR are the best tires for the average sedan/minivan, and yet the Odyssey with run-flats doesn't give you the option of having them. Looks like that whole "minivan safety" thing goes right out the door there.
With cell phones and roadside assistance programs everywhere, run-flat tires don't offer much if anything to the driver. The only thing they offer is to the manufacturer: they can save the weight and expense and storage area of a spare tire.
When was the last time you changed a tire? I believe for me it was, let's see, 17 years ago--on an old van, and that was owned by my employer.
And so what if you can drive on the run-flats? At up to 50mph for a limited time. Gee, that gets you, what--off the freeway? Then what? NOBODY can change out a run-flat; you're stuck WAITING FOR THE TOW TRUCK to take you to a freaking HONDA dealer somewhere, where you're forced to wait up to several days (yeah, that's right) for a damn tire!
Or you could wait at the side of the road, safe in your vehicle, waiting for the tow truck you called with your cell phone--so he can either change the flat for you, or tow you to the nearest facility that can sell you a new tire and get you on your way.
Your wife would be PISSED if you stuck her with a vehicle that, when the tire went flat, the only option was to hit the dealer and wait at least overnight to get a freaking tire changed. Yeah, she was able to drive to the next exit without damaging the rim--WHOOO HOOOO!
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All your points are good and given a choice I probably would not pay for the run flat tires. I live in central NC and snow is not an issue but I have noticed that wet traction is not the greatest with these tires. On the other hand, there have been many accidents here when people have been changing tires on the inadequate highways... several deaths in the last year within my tv news area..... so being able to get off the highway is an advantage of sorts.
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