2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Gimme Gimme Gimme
January 06, 2012
A few of the Odyssey's features that became near must-haves on my recent road-trip:
Power liftgate: my inner cheapskate scoffs at such a luxury. Really now. Am I so soft that I can't press the button mounted on the liftgate to open it, let alone reach up and pull it down with slight effort? I am, apparently. This thing was great. Open gate, heave junk into the cargo hold, press close button and walk away. I'm in the driver's seat and buckled by the time the hatch closes. Seconds count, people.
AC charger: saved camera battery, charged up a mobile phone in the absence of dedicated 12v port charger, even enabled the Kid to jam out on a toy synthesizer en route (gotta nurture my budding Norah Jones and early retirement ticket here).
Nav system: really came to appreciate Honda's navi on this trip. Map Guide and Dest Route buttons were invaluable. Scope the map, switch to turn-by-turn text, back to map. Zoom in, out. All without my elbow leaving the armrest. Big win for long-distance travel.
Conversation mirror: "Hey look over there, babe. We're on the east side of Yosemite. Sweet, huh? We should camp there next year. Hey, there's Manzanar, where our government detained its own people of Japane...hey, are you guys awake? Hello? I'm talking history here."
D4-Push to Pass: this made the transmission usable and less of a deal-breaker than I believe it is, for me at least. In its normal six-speed operation, I find it an eager upshifter and a rough one at that. One of the rare cases where I think the old five-speed is better. I was on D4 a lot on this trip, anytime I needed quick highway acceleration. Found it more fluid and responsive than simply dipping into the throttle and waiting for a downshift (and the inevitable quick upshift that follows when you ease off).
It was engaged continuously into and on the way out of urban San Francisco, and around the short, winding Reno roads where we stayed a few days later. A must-have. How did it affect fuel economy? Don't know, haven't done the numbers yet. Coming up.
Rear seat entertainment: ironically, the feature that made me lobby for the Odyssey over the Sienna, the one I thought crucial for my long-term sanity, was the one we used least. I figured the kid would like it and it'd get her through the longest stretches. In fact, she used it only once to watch a movie for about an hour.
Which is ultimately a good thing, I think. We also learned that the system would not play Region 2 DVDs, or discs from Japan at least. No Doraemon was a minor disappointment; can always use a magic cat on a road trip.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor