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 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.
January 25, 2012
Stop me if you've heard this one before. Our 2011 Honda Odyssey has a lot of cargo capacity. And on a rainy day its cargo area beats any open bed truck on the road. It fit all of my boxes in one load and kept them dry, making my job a little easier today....
December 16, 2011
The return trip from Stokes involved no bulky wheel boxes because, well, our 2012 Jeep Wrangler's new wheels are now mounted inside its new tires, as they should be.
Now the load is compact enough that they'll fit into our 2011 Honda Odyssey without need to remove the middle row. The amount they tilt forward will be sufficient.
December 04, 2011
I know, I know. You've had it up to *here* with minivan cargo shots. Sorry. It goes with the territory. Cargo carrying capacity and passenger seating flexibility are the two things that make the 2011 Honda Odyssey and its minivan bretheren worthy of at least one spot in your driveway.
Here I'm carrying more equipment for our new shop. This time it's a 6-foot workbench and a vise to go along with it. The bench components slide easily between the front and middle seats and the heavy vise sits down in the well behind the "40" half of the third row where it can't roll around too much. Yes, that's the middle-middle seat stuffed temporarily in the back, but at least in this case it's making itself useful as a shim.
Sure, a crew cab pickup would have done the job, but this 6-foot benchtop would have had to lay propped up on the tailgate, secured with rope, and I'd have to unload everything right away to keep it from mysteriously walking away. In this case the stuff is spending the weekend with me. I grabbed it from Grainger will call on Friday afternoon and will drop it off at the shop on Monday morning.
There are three key points here: 1) the Odyssey can still comfortably carry five adults with all this stuff aboard, 2) it's all safely locked up and protected from the weather and; 3) we're getting closer to having our workshop kitted out.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 17,233
December 02, 2011
Several months ago Dan praised our 2011 Honda Odyssey for its ability to swallow up 4' x 8' sheets of material. I agree. Any minivan that can't fit cargo of these dimensions loses its functional bragging rights instantly.
Dan also said that according to his measuring tape, "an unsawed 4x8 panel would fit easily." You just need to lift it over the threshold. After after transporting 8 sheets of drywall in the Odyssey last night I have to disagree here. That threshold was a bigger obstacle than I expected...
November 30, 2011
Yesterday I stuffed a new Craftsman stainless steel tool box in our 2011 Honda Odyssey. This morning I delivered it to our new shop and got it set up with the help of Rex and Mike.
I can't tell you how nice it is to finally have some tools on hand. It won't be long until we're set up to begin wrenching on Project Wrangler.
November 21, 2011
It's the kind of phone call guys who own pickup trucks are used to getting:
"Hi, uh, are you busy today? Think you can help me pick up something from the store?"
Turns out, minivans are, for the most part, a more user-friendly, modern-day pickup. And they're especially handy when two women need to load a new, boxed Studio Day Sofa (aka futon) in the light rain.
1). Low load height beats tipping a heavy box up into a truck bed.
2). Inclement weather has nothing on you.
Shana called for help on Saturday morning, and by lunchtime she was lounging on her new sofa.
No truck, or men, required.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor
November 07, 2011
I'll see Mike Monti's cute "Will the Bike Fit" series and raise it a few degrees of complexity. Herewith, "Will the Kit Fit?"
October 31, 2011
I really appreciated this little ledge-like storage bin in the passenger door of our long-term Honda Odyssey this weekend. When my husband drove and the center console was stuffed full with his iPod, phone, our water bottles, and the like, there was still a refuge for my faithful, battered 1st-gen Droid.
There is an identical bin on the driver side door, but I was really glad to have it as the passenger.
Where do you put your (hands-free-enabled) cell phone when you're driving?
Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 15,167 miles
October 12, 2011
Last weekend the Odyssey took me camping. It was a simple one-night trip with a bike and a plan to ride the best trails in the Southern Sierra. And to sleep in the Honda.
September 28, 2011
That's a nine foot rug with room to spare. The best part? My wife changed her mind and returned it. We owned that rug for two hours.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief
September 06, 2011
Yes, the Odyssey continued moving duty over the holiday weekend. Here it hauled a two-piece sectional couch and three area rugs.
September 02, 2011
You haven't heard much about the Odyssey this week because it's been busy helping me move. Part of that process was building Garage Mahal. And every Garage Mahal has serious shelving.
That's where the Odyssey comes in.
This is what 105 linear feet of industrial shelving looks like in the back of a minivan. The longer orange beams on the left span eight feet and fit fine in the van. I figure this load was between 400 and 500 pounds.
Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor
August 01, 2011
It felt weird not to drive any kids in the Odyssey, but the van's destiny was cargo-only this weekend. So much cargo that we removed the passenger-side seat and the center seat from the second row.
Dan's already gone into a great detail on how to remove the second-row seats. Suffice it to say that it's much easier to remove the seats for the first time (as was my case) when the manual is in the car (as was not my case). It's kinda hard to RTFM when the FM is MIA. (The manual magically appeared on my desk when I came in this morning, so at least it does still exist. I dutifully tucked it back into the glove box.)
But, thankfully, we have the internets at our house, so we looked it up and got 'em out (and by "we" I mean "my husband" cuz I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to lift the darn things anyway).
What you see here is, roughly:
- eleven 10-foot-long 2x4s
- 5x3-foot folding table
- 6- or 7-foot-long heavy bench thing
- bunch of long metal things
- big box of clothing
- big box of large framed pictures
- 9-foot rug
- 9-foot bolt of fabric
- two stools from Ikea
We could have fit a lot more stuff, too. No outrageous tetris skillz necessary to make fit, either. Husband still can't tell the Odyssey from the Sienna, though.
Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com, @ 9,941 miles
July 14, 2011
Surfboards. Plywood. Sandboxes. Test gear. All good tests for the Odyssey so far. OK, so how about a towering Kentia palm house plant? The Ody measures about 13 feet from dashboard to stern. The palm was probably about 14 or 15 feet stretched out. Good thing plants are flexible.
July 06, 2011
Last week I made a 270-mile family trip in our TSX Sport Wagon. Before returning home, I had the opportunity to change out to the long-term Odyssey and drive it for the return leg. Same crew, same amount of stuff and the same route -- observations of going from a $35,470 wagon to a $41,535 minivan follow after the jump.
First of all, the Captain Obvious statement: the Odyssey's a lot roomier. But even I was a surprised to see how much more. I felt like a big fat guy named Walt who suddenly got to undo his belt after bingeing at Applebee's. Life was a lot more relaxed and comfortable in the minivan.
July 01, 2011
Monticello has his "Will the Bike Fit?" thing. But for the surfers on staff (all two of us) the question become whether or not a board will fit. Or more specifically, will a longboard fit
I wrangled the Odyssey a few nights ago since I knew that the surf was up and I didn't have another vehicle available that would fit a log. But I still wasn't sure it would accommodate my 10-footer. And it worked out for the best that I didn't have to find out.
My buddy let me borrow his 9'5" Tyler, a board I've always coveted and that he rarely loans out -- even to a close friend like me. Master craftsman and El Porto hellman Tyler Hatzikian's boards command top dollar because he hand-builds them from start to finish. And because of the way they glide. Also a car nut, Hatzkian pours the same passion and purist approach into building his own rat rods.
Since I was in a hurry -- and the sun was going down -- I didn't even chance seeing if my 10-footer would fit. (That's it in the stacks on the right in the pic below.) Even with the middle passenger-side seat folded down and the front passenger seat all the way forward, it was tight fit for the Tyler.
Of course, if you owned an Odyssey you'd probably just throw racks on it. But then I wouldn't have had an excuse to take the Tyler.
June 01, 2011
My daughter's room has floor-to-ceiling closet doors, and they're beyond painting. Turns out that with the right approach and some encouragement the perimeter frame snaps apart in a very clever way. Replacing the panels is as simple as measuring the old inserts and heading down to Home Depot to have some new 3/16" panels sawed to the right dimensions.
Those dimensions were 6 inches shy of 4 feet wide and 3 inches less than 8 feet long -- easy work for our 2011 Honda Odyssey once the middle seats were removed. But even an unsawed 4x8 panel would fit easily. The tape above illustrates 48 inches and there's easily enough space for the 8-foot dimension to slip inside that plastic hatch trim panel.
Yeah, that radius at the sides does require that a full-width 4-foot wide panel be lifted up and over the threshhold a couple of inches, but once the panel is inside it's not going to slip around.
But how about those seats?
May 28, 2011
I had a crazy Saturday. I took this picnic table/sandbox to Goodwill in our long-term 2011 Honda Odyssey. The table measures four and a half feet long and four feet wide. Honestly I didn't think it would fit, but it did, with a few centimeters to spare.
This task also made me appreciate the Odyssey's low cargo liftover. Hauling this table in our much taller Raptor would have actually been far more difficult.
Respect the van.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 7,447 miles
May 04, 2011
Back when we had a Honda Fit, I thought I'd start a series called "Will it Fit?" It proved rather pointless, since everything I tossed in it -- from a 120-pound Akita to a keg of Boddingtons -- fit with no problem. This really wasn't much of a challenge, either. A 59 x 34-inch box encasing the hopes and dreams of a nerd posed little threat. The bigger question I had was, "what do we have to do to get it to fit?" The answer: not much.
I forgot my tie-down straps at home but Riswick had the bright idea of folding down the "40" section of the 60/40 seats to ensure the precious cargo remained upright. Initially, the top corner of the box would have kept the hatch from closing so I checked the second row. Rats. It was already slid forward.
I was thinking I'd have to remove the offending seat, so I started unlatching it from the floor. With the seat tilted forward, it opened just enough space to get the rest of the box in. Easy. There was even enough room for Bryn's awesome Recaro child seat, my camera bag and related cables and such from Best Buy. We could've fit another four people in while we were at it.
I'm sure it would have fit in our Sienna, too. Loading probably would have been easier in our old Grand Caravan, with its Stow'n'Go seats. It might also work in the Nissan Quest, with its flat cargo floor, but I'm not sure if there would be enough cargo bay height. In any case, hauling big delicate stuff is best left to minivans. I would've hated to have this out in the open on a pickup truck bed.
Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor
April 29, 2011
Our long-term Honda Odyssey got stuck with test equipment hauling duty earlier this week. The Odyssey might not have been thrilled with the demotion, but we loved it, as it's usually quite the Tetris-fest to squeeze all of our gear into one of the test cars.
But with the Odyssey, we had room to spare, with four seats still left over. And that's even with a photographer's ladder thrown in for good measure.
Minivans might not be considered very cool, but they're damn useful.
Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 5,290 miles.
April 01, 2011
Yesterday, four of us climbed into the long-term 2011 Honda Odyssey Touring for a 10-mile trip up the coast to lunch. I ended up with the keys, which was good as I am a control freak, plus as noted previously, I've taken a real shine to the Odyssey.
We usually talk about how simple it is to get kids in and out of a minivan. Although all of us were able to buckle our own seatbelts, I was struck by the sheer personal space in this van. At no point did I worry about any of my passengers elbowing me, kicking my seat or otherwise disturbing my 72-degree climate-controlled bubble.
No surprise, really, since published shoulder- and hip room are competitive with other vans, while second-row legroom (40.9 inches) is best in class. I don't put a lot of stock in published specs (given varying measuring methods), but the Odyssey feels very roomy by minivan standards.
Also impressive was the van's quiet ride. Our speeds ranged between 45 mph and 70 mph, and at no time, did I have to raise my voice to talk to someone in the second row -- and I tend to be soft-spoken and mumbly. I was also able to hear the middle-seaters with no problem.
After the jump, you'll find out what the Honda's passengers -- Al Austria, Bryn MacKinnon and Carroll Lachnit -- were thinking as I drove.
Austria (sat in right rear, then right front): The IP (dash) materials weren't as good as I imagined. Good ride, comfortable, not as much 2nd-row legroom as I expected. And quick turn-in!!
MacKinnon (left rear): The exterior door handles seem really overly chunky and too futuristic. Second-row armrest is kinda ridiculously squishy.
Lachnit (right front, then right rear): I thought the 2nd row was plenty roomy (but Im short). Seats were comfortable. And boy, can it accelerate out of a tony Malibu shopping center ;)
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 8,220 miles
March 22, 2011
On Friday I announced that I would be taking our long-term 2011 Honda Odyssey on its first real road trip, a 600 miles ski trip to Mammoth Lakes, CA.
Immediately one of you called foul. Carguy22 commented, "Um, I thought we voted on this? I don't remember the Odyssey winning. Were we vetoed Scott? Haha."
Well, the answer is yes, I did veto the winning vehicle, which was the 2011 Acura TSX Wagon, but for a very good reason: Our luggage didn't fit in the Acura.