2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Will the Bus Fit?
December 27, 2011
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