February 22, 2012
What We Got
Our decision to add a 2011 Honda Odyssey to the long-term test fleet was as easy as they come. It's been the gold standard in the segment for years and it was fully redesigned for 2011. It's also an easy van to buy, as its options are bundled together into defined trim levels. This gave us five variants of Odyssey from which to choose, and we opted for the Odyssey Touring.
All 2011 Odysseys came equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 generating 248 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque, along with front-wheel drive and eight-passenger capability. A six-speed automatic transmission separated our Touring and the top-level Touring Elite from lesser trims, which utilized five-speeds. The price tag on our Odyssey Touring was $41,535. In the world of minivans, this ranks it among the most expensive.
As with all long-term tests, our goal was to reach 20,000 miles during our first year of ownership, and after 12 months we had covered 20,640 miles. The miles racked up quickly as the Odyssey found itself on interstate road trips, moving numerous couches and even shuttling mother and child to the delivery room. With all those trips under its belt, there were plenty of useful impressions.
March 14, 2012
There are two rather pricey houses on my street and they both happen to have current generation Mercedes-Benz S550s parked in their driveways. One is white, the other is black.
Funny thing is, both houses also have Honda Odysseys parked in front of the house. One is a matching white, the other matching black, both are of the highest trim level. While two does not make a trend, I suppose that these well-healed car buyers identified the Honda Odyssey as the minivan most synomous with their S-Class automotive expectations. Sure, these two dramatically different vehicles aren't remotely in the same ballpark, but in lieu of actual luxury-brand minivans (I suppose these car buyers correctly identified the R-Class as not an actual minivan), I'd certainly say the Odyssey would've been the most luxurious and best engineered minivan. You know, S-Class-like.
Well, at least until the Nissan Quest came along. Its interior is streets ahead of the Odyssey in terms of materials quality and general luxurious ambiance. I'd also offer that its driving experience is more isolating and refined. You know, even more S-Class-like. Should the time come for them to trade in their S550-paired vans, I'd suggest they check out the Quest instead.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor
February 22, 2012
When I moved last June, I had to abandon by beloved bar. I had made it with a friend after college and it was a clutch performer at any get together big or small. It was the place people convened as much as the place I stored the booze. Yet sadly, the old bar was too wide for my new man cave and too unwieldy to get into my basement without something being destroyed.
A new bar was needed, so with the guidance of general foreman Mark Takahashi (pictured) and sky-high expectations for what we could achieve, the bar build commenced. Naturally, quite a few long-term cars were used in the process.
The requirements were to build something deep enough to hold a mini fridge, but only be 4-feet wide to fit in the space in my man cave. Beyond that, we had a blank slate. Mark and I were chatting and we both came up with the zany, hairbrained idea of making the bar resemble a Star Trek computer console. Specifically, one from The Next Generation or Deep Space Nine (Voyager too I suppose, but let's not talk about that). Mark came up with the blueprints in Adobe Illustrator and decided we should build a relatively simple three-side box on the bottom with the top appearing to float above it. I added the idea that the surface of the bottom should be glossy white to minimize its mass within in the room and to be reflective of the light beaming down from above. The top, I figured, would probably look like an iPhone, so maybe it could be glossy black. A pair of metal-look supports would shore up the Starfleet bridge vibe, not to mention the LCARS graphic I personalized in Photoshop.
It was an ambitious plan to say the least. Possibly a recipe for a more-than-we-can-chew disaster.
Part 1: Building the Bottom
Like any build, we started at Home Depot. Correction, we actually started at Mark's parents house where we picked up his dad's table saw. For this, we needed our Honda Odyssey. We lowered the third row and pushed the second all the way forward to allow the saw to sit on its side. When we returned it, we actually placed it upright with the table portioned lowered in a Grand Caravan's third-row pit.
February 18, 2012
Before our Honda Odyssey minivan left the fleet, Senior Editor Erin Riches shot a video review covering the Odyssey line-up. The video features footage of our Touring model.
See the video after the jump...
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
February 14, 2012
Our long-term 2011 Honda Odyssey joined our fleet about one year ago. You know what that means. Her time is up...
Naturally, we sent our Odyssey on one last trip to Home Depot for the requisite sheets of half-inch plywood 4x8s. Why not, right? One thing we noticed when reinstalling the second-row seats this time was the spacing between them. Take a look.
February 11, 2012
Our 2011 Honda Odyssey definitely does not want to run out of gasoline. When the fuel level gets to that magic point you won't miss it. A yellow light illuminates near the fuel gauge. Another warning "i" above the speedometer directs your attention to the information display. There you get a "fuel low" picture warning.
So at what point does this become excessive?
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager
February 10, 2012
There I stood at the gas station, daydreaming in the general direction of our 2011 Honda Odyssey. This is what I was seeing. From nowhere an idea snuck into my head. Hey, what would happen if I opened the sliding door right now?
I took precautions to control this experiment as much as possible. Primarily, I returned the nozzle back to the pump. This would at least limit the property damage. Then I yanked the sliding door handle.
Nothing happened. I confirmed it was unlocked and tried again. Nothing. I used the remote and pressed the button inside the cabin, both with the same result. I closed the fuel door and all methods to open the sliding door worked as designed. Open the fuel door again. No slider.
Just when I thought I'd outsmarted Honda, somebody beat me to it. Well, it's nice to know the car has this feature.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 20,640 miles
February 03, 2012
This guy greeted me as I fired up our 2011 Honda Odyssey Monday morning. Did I mention it was 5am and a crisp 48 degrees (hey, that's cold for us)? Anyhow, it wasn't fun.
A check of the tires showed Odyssey's right-front down 5psi as compared to the others. This is typically evidence of a leak. Fifty cents at the gas station compressor bought me 15psi, which gave me 10psi over spec were the issue significant.
I drove 40 miles to the office and rechecked the pressures. No air lost. So I dropped the tire back down another 5psi, keeping it 5psi over the recommendation for the sake of monitoring. This morning the right-front was 5psi over-filled, right where I left it. I dropped it back down to the correct amount and we'll continue to watch it.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 20,254 miles
February 02, 2012
I wasn't planning to make an appearance at yesterday's local elementary Career Day, or I would have tried to dig up something a little more inspirational than a minivan.
Not that the Honda Odyssey isn't a great vehicle, but when you're trying to earn the respect of three rooms of waaaay underclassmen, it's best to keep the mommy car to the side.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor
January 26, 2012
When I climbed into our 2011 Honda Odyssey earlier this week the rearview camera was set to the 'wide' angle you see above. I didn't think much of it until I tried to back up.
In a car with as big a rear blindspot as a minivan, I typically utilize the mirrors and camera rather than relying solely on the over-the-shoulder technique. In my opinion, this wide angle view is more disorienting than helpful when the car is moving. I prefer the other options...