2011 Honda Odyssey Long Term Road Test

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2011 Honda Odyssey: The S-Class of Minivans?

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

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2011 Honda Odyssey et al.: Building My Bar

February 22, 2012

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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 Plan

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.

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2011 Honda Odyssey: Video Review

February 18, 2012

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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

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2011 Honda Odyssey: Sliding Door vs. Fuel Pump

February 10, 2012

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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

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2011 Honda Odyssey: Career Day

February 02, 2012

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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

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2011 Odyssey and 2011 Sienna: One Month Of Minivan

January 12, 2012

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I spent the last half of December driving our Sienna and then the first half of this month driving our Odyssey. It was 30 days of both bliss and malaise.

The bliss part is simple. The minivan is the hands-down, ultimate family vehicle. It kicks ass like Schwarzenegger kicked ass in Commando. There's space for everything. The power sliding doors and power liftgate are super convenient. The seating is highly configurable. There's comfortable room for adults in the third row. There's loads of storage space. If you have kids (like I do), it truly is a luxury to own and drive a minivan. Life is just easier this way.

Malaise is harder to pin down. But it seeps into your soul after days and weeks of constant minivan-ness. The minivan is big. It's boxy. It will have kid safety seats permanently installed. All of your crap will be floating and rolling around inside because you're too tired to clean it out and, well, there's still space to sit, right? It can become like a redneck front lawn inside.

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2011 Honda Odyssey: Sliding Doors, The Band-Aid for Tight Spaces or Laziness

January 10, 2012

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Yes, this was my parking job. I fully admit that it was a pretty crappy one. I probably should have repositioned or picked a different spot -- the (not pictured) car to my right had started it off by being too far to its left in its space. But I had parked just for a quick stop (picking up dry cleaning) and I was rather lazy. More to the point, though, the photo does effectively represent a tight ("compact car") parking space, which is all too common these days if you're driving a big vehicle.

This is what's so great about minivans and their power sliding rear doors. No door dings (ones that are your fault, anyway). No awkward manuvering around a conventional door that's partially ajar. No problem getting your stuff or kids out of the back. Just press a button and -- presto! -- Bob's your uncle.

It's the ultimate advantage over anything labeled "crossover."

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 19,431 miles

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2011 Honda Odyssey: What A Minivan Does To You As A Parent, Part II

January 02, 2012

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I couple weeks ago I wrote about our Sienna in all of its parental, stuff-carrying glory. I ended up changing vans during the middle of my holiday trip. so the Odyssey handled the return leg. Listed total capacity of these two arch rivals is pretty much the same, and there didn't seem to be much of a difference for loading up my stuff behind the second row. I still had a lot of crap.

Both the Sienna and the Odyssey are great vans. You won't go wrong with either one, and it really just comes down to personal preference.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 19,300 miles

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Will the Bus Fit?

December 27, 2011

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San Francisco is a dicey place to drive even in the lightest traffic or smallest car. At least that's how it's always seemed to this occasional visitor, and navigating the Union Square area on a Saturday night only intensifies the stress. Buses, cabs, cable cars, double-parkers, short signals and people wandering in every direction make for slow and deliberate progress. Getting out of Los Angeles at mid-afternoon and becoming invisible to the highway patrol for 400 miles would be easy. But anticipating the drive through the South of Market neighborhood to our hotel on Powell and Geary in the Honda bus had me chewing enamel.

My worries were unfounded.

First, I forgot that people tend to give wide berth to a tall, fat car creeping through the intersection. Second, the Odyssey's surprisingly tight turning radius made easy work of the many left- and right-handers you need to execute on a grid of one-way streets. Underneath, the Odyssey still feels like an Accord.

Next, I worried how the Odyssey would fare in the hotel garage, and whether I or a valet would manage to buckle one of the doors on a post, pillar or corner of a wall. But it was another exaggerated concern. Although the valet lanes were tight, as were the exits to the streets and ramps to the garage's bowels, the Odyssey never required any extra care beyond sliding slow through the limited space. You learn, especially in quarters like this, that the Odyssey seems larger in your imagination.

Next day, as I was feeling pretty pleased with my urban piloting skills, I watched from our sixth floor window as a squad from the SF Fire Department threaded two lead Suburbans, a small pumper, and a hook-and-ladder down Post Street choked with Sunday afternoon traffic. A handful of cops followed, still riding those big-hog Harleys - a cool sight at a time when most other agencies have switched to the angry-insect enforcer bikes from Germany and Japan.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Fuel to Burn, Roads to Drive

December 16, 2011

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We're approaching one year and 20,000 miles with the Odyssey. I'm doing my part to close in on that milestone with a holiday road trip to the northern territories of California and Nevada. When all is said and done, we'll have covered about 1,200 miles. With the wife and kid, visits with friends and family, and lots of highway time, this trip is right in the Odyssey's wheelhouse.

We've taken the Odyssey on a few long-distance runs already, but I think this will be the longest. So, friends, readers, minivan critics and champions: any final Odyssey thoughts and inquiries I can address on this run?

In the best Kesey/Int'l Harvester spirit, Further...

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2011 Honda Odyssey: Relief from the Horcrux

December 13, 2011

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My mother-in-law and two sisters-in-law just finished driving from Atlanta to Los Angeles in a Mini Cooper. Despite all three being small in stature, they nevertheless began referring to the Mini's backseat as the Horcrux. After a short while back there, the sister in question would get cranky and angry at the the other sitting up front (mom almost exclusively drove). Once they switched places or got out of the car, all crankiness miraculously disappeared. If you get the Harry Potter Horcrux reference that's nice, if you don't or barely do (like me), ask someone who does or read this nonsense.

Anyway, imagine the juxtaposition they experienced when climbing into the back of our Odyssey a few hours after completing their journey. Eight seats, power-opening doors, probably five Minis worth of space and tons of entertainment features. Forget the Horcrux, 18-year-old Breanne was blown away by the TV screen, multiple AV inputs and especially the household-style electrical outlet.

"I could plug in my hair straightener back here!" she said. Well sure.

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2011 Honda Odyssey: Why So Blue?

December 12, 2011

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This is my view out of the Honda Odyssey. I don't know about you, but I don't need that much blue tint. Actually, I don't need any blue tint thank you, but I definitely don't need this much. It actually dips below the blacked out center bit, and looks to cover about 40 percent of the windshield. And yes, people who aren't as vertically blessed as I have been iritated by this as well. In fact, Takahashi (who was driving) inspired me to take this picture. Seriously, why so blue?

And yes, that's a blimp.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 17,443 miles

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Odyssey Eats Road Gator, Lives

November 28, 2011

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Road gators. They're everywhere in the L.A. And this morning on the 405 freeway, the Odyssey ate one. Happened immediately after the New Beetle in front of me took a big bite and just before the Chevy work truck behind me sucked it up. There was no avoiding this one.

A post-gator inspection proved this mark on the underbody deflector to be the only sign anything happened.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Freeway Sighting

October 13, 2011

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Spotted this Prius driver training school car on the freeway while commuting in the Odyssey some time back. Made me glad I learned to drive back when cars were honest.

You know, when they had a real mechanical connection to the bits that make them go, stop and turn -- something even the Odyssey does relatively well.

Just a thought.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2011 Honda Odyssey: Minivan Gone Wild

October 11, 2011

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One public relations firm wanted so much to drive home the point that minivans aren't boring that it made a "commercial" casting the 2012 Honda Odyssey in a fun light. The dad in the ad does his husbandly duties of dropping off the kids and getting the car washed but also enjoys a day with paint ball battles, golfing and bar room brawls. Meanwhile, minivan features like antilock brakes, 8-passenger seating, Honda ultrawide entertainment and active safety features are highlighted.

If you weren't sold on minivans before, does this video after the jump sway you in their direction? I mean, come on, sliding doors and room for a bunch of your friends.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring vs 2007 Honda Odyssey

October 10, 2011

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The other day I inadvertently parked our Long Term 2011 Honda Odyssey Touring next to our 2007 Honda Odyssey support vehicle. Ignoring what we were supposed to be doing, instead, we spent a good deal of time walking around the two comparing the two. "The old one's downturned face is kind of sad," one guy said. "Look at how much better the stance is on the new one. 18s are nice." "Have we all forgotten about the stupid beltline?" There was also some generic praise for the new Odyssey's door handle layout.

What stands out to you?

Some numbers...

New Old

Length: 202.9 201.0

Height: 64.8 70.0

Front track: 68.1 66.7

Rear track: 68.2 66.8

Wheelbase: 118.1 118.1

Wheels: 18x7 16x7

Curb Weight: 4,541 4,475

Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Edmunds.com

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Right-Size Me

September 12, 2011

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Driving the Odyssey home the other night, I was passed by a sleek, black Swagger Wagon Sienna, and for a moment I wished I'd been driving it. I felt bad. I'll cop to being a bit of a Honda homer, but it's getting harder to be a fan of the brand these days. And then I started thinking about the sweet Odyssey we don't get in North America.

The top trim of the JDM Odyssey, the Absolute, is not a beast of a family hauler. Rather, it's what the TSX wagon aspires to be.

It's more than a foot shorter than our long-term Odyssey, the roof line is eight inches lower, it's 800 pounds lighter, seats seven passengers, and offers all-wheel-drive. The Absolute gets the same 2.4-liter as the TSX, and makes identical power: 202 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque. Plus it looks cut and lean, compared to our corpulent U.S. market Ody.

Check out Keiichi Tsuchiya pushing one around the track in this clip. Tsuchiya, the Drift King, Don of the Powerslide, is probably familiar to many readers through his involvement with the D1 Grand Prix and his segments in the Best Motoring and Hot Version videos. Dude raced at the highest levels of Japanese touring car and GT competition from the late 70's, and was a regular Honda NSX pilot at LeMans throughout the Nineties. He's got deep knowledge of how Hondas should behave.

Good seats, he says. Good turn-in and grip, feels like there's more room to push it. Nice exhaust sound, especially on downshifts. The Absolute even has shift paddles. Which again begs the question why Honda doesn't offer it here. Wouldn't have to be at the exclusion of the grey whale Odyssey, which is a fine, comfortable and cavernous carriage. But offer it in the U.S. as the Odyssey Sport or something. Maybe even tuck the IMA hybrid system in there. If you were in the market, wouldn't you consider it?

Watch at the end when Tsuchiya cuts the stability assist (VSA) at one point, adding a coy disclaimer that he doesn't do that kind of thing, then proceeds to squeal the Absolute through corners. Funny, 'cause I swear Niebuhr has made the same claim when we were out, uh, scouting locations in the photo van.

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Preferable to a Suburban??

August 18, 2011

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"You are nuts, all of you." That's what I told a few of my esteemed colleagues during a recent visit to the test track.

We were testing a new Chevy Suburban and my co-workers were ripping on it: 'ridiculous', 'inefficient', 'dinosaur', they chided. Hey, I like the Suburban I told them. Does that make me a bad person?

While the Suburban is a gas-guzzler of course, it has as much people and gear-carrying capacity as a minivan. Our Suburban was even dark gray -- near black, like a U.S. Secret Service Special. On the other hand, minivans like our long-term 2011 Honda Odyssey Touring, while more practical, are mommy cars all the way.

So I asked those who were present, which would you prefer: the Suburban or our long-term Odyssey?
To a man (figuratively speaking), they preferred the Odyssey.

Man card and Nads collection for these few individuals will begin next week.

What about you -- which side are you on?

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ ~11,000 miles

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2011 Honda Odyssey: No Special Rates for Minivans?

August 15, 2011

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This doesn't really have anything to do with the Honda Odyssey I road tripped in last weekend, but I figured I would share anyway. As I was leaving my hotel, I noticed this sign at the valet.

What? Special pricing for hybrids? That's ridiculous. There should be special pricing for minivans. After all, they pack two cars worth of people and stuff into one reasonably efficient vehicle, that should count for something, no?

And what about pure electric cars? Do they park for $6.50?

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds Edmunds.com

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: 10,000-Mile Milestone

August 02, 2011

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Made it.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Auto Locks Make Me Insane

July 28, 2011

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In case you missed yesterday's post, I've been preoccupied the last week or so with familial responsibilites which have been laregly aided by the use of our long-term Odyssey.

However, the auto-lock function has been a thorn in my side the entire time.

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Comes With the Territory

July 22, 2011

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Burnouts and powerslides.

Web forums and bench racing.

Minivans and wipes.

See also: Things that go together. This is the second time in a month I've found wipes in one of our long-term vans. Do minvans ship from the factory this way?

Also, I found this in the Odyssey's "cool box."

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Nothing To See Here

July 22, 2011

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I lifted the Odyssey's hood this morning out of curiousity and to check the oil. What I saw didn't really surprise me.

There's an engine under there alright. Covered with black plastic, it's as generic and underwhelming I expected. There are a few fluid containers on the left side of the bay with colored lids. But it looks like it the engine itself was stamped out in an all-look-same engine factory, like it should come in a white box with black writing that says "engine." A minivan engine is the embodyment of utility and Honda knows it. Even the engine cover, which bears the words "Honda 3.5 i-VTEC," lacks any sort of detailing to make those words stand out.

Nobody cares how a minivan engine looks and Honda knows it.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2011 Honda Odyssey: The Minivan Experience

July 19, 2011

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It was last Saturday morning. I'm stopped at a red light, driving the Odyssey. To my right, a black Lancer Evolution (latest generation) pulls up. Black aftermarket wheels, lowered stance, burbling exhaust and, ahem, a quite attractive female driver. Probably in her 20s, she's slim and has long brunette hair. She looks over and...

No, wait, that's the beer commercial version, where Ms. Evo Hotness looks over at me and flirts, and then we go off and drink cans of domestic light beer along with her three similarly hot bikini-clad girlfriends in a hot tub. But this is the real-world version. Actually, Ms. Evo Hotness just drove off, never noticing me or the Odyssey.

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2011 Honda Odyssey vs. 2011 Toyota Sienna: Doors

June 23, 2011

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring
Sliding door thickness: 7.5 inches

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2011 Honda Odyssey vs. 2011 Toyota Sienna: Neck and Neck in Sales

June 08, 2011

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As far as the 2011 Odyssey and Sienna are concerned, buyers don't seem to have a clear preference. Year to date (YTD), Honda's sold 45,734 units of the Odyssey, while Toyota's moved 45,678 units of the Sienna.

When it comes to sales growth year-over-year, though, there's no doubt about who's out in front. The Sienna's YTD sales are up by an impressive 35.4 percent year-over-year, while the Odyssey's sales are up by just 5.6 percent. So the Sienna runs away with the "Most Improved" title.

Of course, both Honda and Toyota are still wrestling with the after-effects of Japan's March earthquake and tsunami.

Both models were redesigned for 2011, and thus far, the Sienna's upgrade seems to be having more impact than the Odyssey's when it comes to attracting new buyers to the brand.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2011 Honda Odyssey: Mom Stuff

June 07, 2011

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Wanna know what I did this weekend?

Too bad. I'm going to tell you anyway. I dragged the baby to two different doctors' appointments to try to figure out/treat his head-to-toe probably-an-allergic-reaction-to-amoxicillin rash (I'll spare you that horrific picture), took the cat to the vet, drove the whole family to a kids' disco dance party at a friend's house and took the 5-year-old to her final intro-to-soccer practice and then to see "Kung Fu Panda 2."

Pretty much what the minivan was made to do, right? Hell, there's even the soccer thing in there.

Two things stick out from my weekend of run-of-the-mill family stuff: 1) it was a total pain to park in the movie theater's parking structure and the vet's teeny, awkward parking lot; 2) my husband thought we were driving a Sienna the whole weekend until he happened to see the H on the key fob on Sunday.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 7,760 miles

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Windows Don't Open

May 26, 2011

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The other day I wrote that I was surprised to learn that the rear side windows of our long-term 2011 Toyota Sienna SE still pop out for some extra ventilation. I wrote, "I wonder if the rear side glass in the Honda Odyssey can be opened. I'll check and get back to you."

Well, I checked and they don't. But...

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2011 Honda Odyssey: I Don't Have Kids...

May 18, 2011

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...but I was a kid once a long time ago. Back before we had minivans. We piled into my father's large Chevy and stuffed all of our suitcases and gear into the cavernous trunk. We had a mid-seventies Caprice Classic, remember? And it served us just fine. You could fit six adults in that car. I was a dancer and was forced to play softball for a season and my brother played ice hockey and golf, so we had plenty of stuff to cart around.

I can appreciate the Honda Odyssey's minivan virtues. I recognize it as a class leader and its modern safety features. But I can't see driving around in one all the time.

I know parents appreciate the DVD players and rear seat entertainment systems. But when I was a kid, we (gasp) actually talked to each other. I liked my parents. They were fun. And on long trips my brother (a future writer) would tell me action-packed adventure stories starring the characters from my neighborhood. Those stories probably had my parents in stitches. I know they got me through many a long drive and developed our career skills better than staring at a screen like a zombie for hours ignoring each other.

Anyone with me? Give me a big sedan any day.

Now, get off my lawn.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: You Caaaaan't Have It

May 12, 2011

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Vans used to be cool. Big Ford Econolines, Chevy G-Series and Ram Wagons with their rear-wheel-drive V8s. Thirsty fuel pigs, the whole lot of 'em.

Remember those? They were personal spaces, not just modes of transport. A place to hang out. Two captain's swivel chairs, maybe a short bench along one of the sides, next to a sink or micro-fridge. A row in back that extended into a bed. A few readers here likely began their world's travels in just such a homey environment.

Not the most dynamic transporters, of course. Rolling in a straight line at speed, you didn't want to upset them. But mash the gas and that straight line got a lot longer, a lot faster.

I don't get any of that in what pass for vans today. All the Econolines now serve church groups and adult daycare centers. Fixed row seating, pack 'em in. Careful around the corners. Just, as JRiz noted the other day, buses.

No magic in today's bus, man. Not unless this guy is your drummer.

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2011 Honda Odyssey: 'Nope, Never!'

May 10, 2011

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I'm moving again. I'll spare you the details, but in short, the distance from place to place is about a quarter of a mile, so the Odyssey and Sienna are going to be my good friends these next two weeks.

However, that means I'm going to be driving the Odyssey and Sienna a lot. Don't get me wrong, they both drive quite well for minivans, but they are minivans nonetheless. Every time the new Mrs. and I approach one of them, it's like we're staring into a deep, glaring abyss of a depressing future.

"Nope, never," she said adamantly. "I don't care what happens, we're not getting one of these."

I add, "My mother made do with an Acura Integra, I sure as hell don't need a Honda bus."

Now, roughly five minutes after this goes live, at least five editors will stop by my desk spinning some cautionary tale about how they said something similar back in the day, patting me on the head with some sort of "you'll see sonny, you'll see" nonsense, which will in some way make them feel better as they picture a day somewhere in the future when they'll get to say "I told you so, you sniveling little shit."

Well, I suppose we will see, but the Vegas odds are against them on this one. Even if some more family oriented vehicle shall be purchased in the distant future (somewhere in between the Blue Jays being a relevant team again and Takahashi growing up), it sure as hell won't be a minivan, Chevy Traverse, Ford Expedition or whatever great automotive pachyderm comes along. I like small cars, she finds her Mazda 3 too big. This is more about size than stigma.

This isn't to diss the Odyssey or any minivan, of course. They are still the most space-efficient way to transport a whole heap of stuff or a bunch of people in comfort. There are certainly people who can routinely utilize this sort of maximum capability and I'm certainly glad Edmunds has one during my move, but does that mean I can foresee me needing one every day? Nope, never.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 5,958 miles

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2011 Honda Odyssey: Hits (and Passes) 5,000 Miles

May 02, 2011

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The Odyssey was hard at work roaming the Mojave desert last week in support of super-duper-secret vehicle testing operations, so I'm going to forgive whichever of its many different drivers failed to notice its odometer hitting the big 5K.

Thus far, there have been recalls for the windshield wipers and the front windows. Also, our particular Odyssey doesn't seem to want to open its auto-sliding doors from the inside. Press the buttons to the left of the steering wheel and all you get is a series of beeps. You can still open them using the key fob, the button on the B-pillar and the exterior handle.

Obviously, we'll need to get this rectified for we certainly can't suffer the sustained indignity of getting out of the car and opening the door for the kids.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 5,677 miles

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2011 Honda Odyssey: Wide Track

April 07, 2011

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The wide, deep track behind the Honda Odyssey's sliding door is starting to bug me. Looks way too gappy to be considered a design element.

Is the Odyssey's sliding door function so good that it was necessary during the engineering process?

I will have to spend more time comparing its doors to those of the Toyota Sienna, which is, aesthetically, gap-free.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 3,421 miles

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Sunken Dipstick

April 02, 2011

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On a whim, I popped our 2011 Odyssey's hood this week just to see how easy it would be to check the oil. And like on other Hondas, the basic layperson service points are all right in front (good). But the dipstick is quite a reach down into the engine compartment (not good)

I did, however, go ahead and check the oil (level was fine), and in doing so, found that the Odyssey's dipstick is more robust than some others and at least easy to reinsert back down into the tube. [The other dipstick (yellow) visible in the background is for the transmission fluid.]

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2011 Honda Odyssey: Minivan Ruler?

March 29, 2011

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I couldn't help notice that in a few of our polls (in the right column) when we gave you the choice of several cars for road trips, the Honda Odyssey always gets lots of votes but the Toyota Sienna gets very few.

On paper, they are both fantastic vehicles. In our Minivan Comparison Test, the Toyota Sienna came out the winner. But you never vote for it.

Why is that?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Our Favorite Caption

March 25, 2011

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Thanks to jefe2000 for this week's favorite caption. Here are the others that made us laugh:

Excuse me officer, this minivan is doing some unwanted 'sightseeing'. (missmymiata)
Excuse me, but I believe I was expecting a Swagger Wagon instead.... (technetium99)
How many WNBA players can fit in an Odyssey? One! (rumblerss)
I know it's a "mini" van, but this is just ridiculous! (ccoll5)
She was a long tall woman in a red dress. (technetium99)
Welcome to Momument Valley. (gregnv)
Next time on "Will It Fit?"... (vt8919)
Just one of many Odd-ysseys. (vt8919)
Sorry ma'am. Your junk is too big to fit in my trunk. (fsunole)
Picking the right vehicle to visit the Soccer Mom memorial is important. (agentorange)
Yeah, I drive a minivan ... got a problem with that? (speedynk)
Honda Odyssey, make every journey epic. (ergsum)
It's nothing to write Homer about. (ergsum)
Picking up a statuesque blonde with a minivan is never easy. (ergsum)
... over use of hard touch materials ... (snipenet)

What was your favorite?

To the winner:
You can select one of these three prizes:

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: You Write the Caption

March 25, 2011

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Editor in Chief Scott Oldham sent me this photo of our Honda Odyssey taken somewhere on the way to Mammoth.

What is your caption?

We'll post our favorite this afternoon. And yes, we still have some Top Gear stuff for prizes.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2011 Honda Odyssey: Ski Trip Part 5

March 25, 2011

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On the way out of town we found this women stuck on the side of the road. I stopped to inform her of her critical error. To which she replied, "How do you know it's rear-wheel drive?"

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2011 Honda Odyssey: Ski Trip Part 3

March 24, 2011

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As soon as I saw this poster hung inside the Mammoth Mountain Gondola, I knew I should have taken our Raptor.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2011 Honda Odyssey: First Real Road Trip

March 18, 2011

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Today our long-term 2011 Honda Odyssey will take its first real road trip. It'll be a 320-mile run from Santa Monica to the ski resort of Mammoth Lakes. The Odyssey and I will be back next week. Check back then, and I'll let you know how the Honda handled the task, which should include some snow driving.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 1,991 miles

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Grab a Handful

March 14, 2011

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There is plenty to like about our new Odyssey, but I'm still mixed on the new styling: the lightning zag at the rear window, the additional bulk and the increasingly exaggerated Tonka body and grille styling. From some angles, I like it. But I wonder why designers intended to make it look as heavy (heavier?) than it is.

Were they going for rugged? Some kind of muscularity? Can I take this on trail?

Case in point: the new "H." It's just large and...LOUD.

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Rated Good for Roof Strength

March 10, 2011

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This week, the 2011 Honda Odyssey earned the Top Safety Pick accolade from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, by picking up a Good rating in the roof strength test. It was already rated Good for frontal offset and side-impact crash safety.

Although the IIHS did not make a video of its Odyssey EX victim undergoing the test in which a large metal plate is slowly pushed against one corner of the vehicle's roof (because, says communications VP Russ Rader, "it's kinda like watching grass grow"), the engineers did take a couple photos.

To get a Good rating in this test, a vehicle must withstand a force of at least 4 times its own weight before the roof sustains 5 inches of crush. The Odyssey EX checked in at 4,398 pounds and withstood 22,666 pounds of force -- 5.12 times its own weight.

Odyssey IIHS ratings

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2011 Honda Odyssey: Style Fault

March 02, 2011

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I have read a lot of people bagging on the styling of the Odyssey. Overall, I think it's a good looking van, but there is really only one aspect that gets to me and that's the C pillar right at the back end of the sliding door.

That short, sharply downward angle of chrome is really odd. The way it stops at the rear of the door reminds me of a fault line where two plates are slipping against each other.

Do you think the styling is a disaster, or do you like the Odyssey is a good looking van?

Scott Jacobs, Sr. Mgr. Photography @ 1,625 miles

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2011 Honda Odyssey: Good. Real Good.

February 28, 2011

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Our new long-term 2011 Honda Odyssey Touring has already established itself as the Oldham family's go to ride. In its first month of service the Odyssey has hauled my clan to a taping of American Idol (I think J. Lo. just winked at me.), a long weekend at grandmas, tennis lessons, a matinee of Gnomeo and Juliet and the mall. It has also done school drop off duty and it has taken three adult couples to an overpriced, overrated italian restaurant by the beach.

How good is the new Odyssey? Good enough that my wife, who would rather walk than drive a minivan, said we should think about replacing her Mazda CX-9 with one of these.

I was shocked. Pleasantly. I'll remind her that she said it when the Mazda's lease is finished.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 1,602 miles

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2011 Honda Odyssey in VA is:

$104 per month*
* Explanation
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