2011 Honda Odyssey Long Term Road Test - Technology Audio

2011 Honda Odyssey Long Term Road Test

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2011 Honda Odyssey: Rearview Camera Options

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...

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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.

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Lifesaver

December 30, 2011

Odyssey_115v outlet.jpg

Roadside stop to stretch our legs during a long road trip. The kid sees some snow, wants to play in it. Sentimental dad reaches for camera to record the moment, only to see battery death looming in the LCD screen. Sentimental moment thus preserved with a handful of shots, I remembered the Odyssey's 115v outlet. Score.

Disaster averted for future precious moments that, let's face it, get moved to a hard drive and live there forever more, rarely seen or heard from again, until you figure out that screen saver slideshow function.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2011 Honda Odyssey: The Sound of Silence

December 15, 2011

Odyssey Radio Screen.jpg

I'm playing my morning podcast in the Odyssey and then nothing. The info is still showing on the screen, but there is no more sound. I try a different podcast, still no sound. Maybe I pressed some radio mute button, but it doesn't exist. I go to a different radio source, but there is music-a-playing out of XM. I unplug and replug in the USB wire and it works again, picking up later than when it conked out, meaning sound stopped transmitting even though the track kept playing. Several minutes later it cuts out again. Bugger.

That's enough of that, switch to the aux jack, problem quasi-fixed. Not sure if this is an issue with our Odyssey, or if it's the faulty result of Odyssey + iPhone + specific Apple wire = Not Working.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 17,443 miles

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2011 Honda Odyssey: Satellite Radio Interface Could Be Better

December 09, 2011


In general, I am fine with our long-term 2011 Honda Odyssey's center stack controls. Indeed, they're clunky looking, but both the controls and the displays are large, so functionality is quite good. However, I don't care for the channel scrolling function for the satellite radio.

Even if you're on the audio screen, the nav system's big multi-function controller won't scroll through stations unless you tap down and then select the channel list feature. And no matter which station you're on, even say, XM 75, it always starts you out at the top of the list (XM 000). So if you start searching for a channel and then have to pause to do a little driving, you can't come back to your place... you have to start over from the top.

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Power Door Switches

November 15, 2011

Honda Odyssey power door switches.jpg

Our long-term 2011 Honda Odyssey Touring has its power side and rear door switches on the lower left side of the dashboard. This is a different setup than most minivans, where these switches reside in the overhead console, near the map lights.

I prefer our Odyssey's setup and think this is quite convenient. But I imagine that many will prefer the overhead console location for these switches because

  1. That's what they're used to
  2. The front passenger can also operate them

Yesterday I wrote that on my Vegas Pacquiao trip I wished our Odyssey would override the door locks. Let me explain once more. In some vehicles you can open a regular (not sliding) door if it is locked -- no unlocking by the switch first. Not so on the Odyssey with the front or the sliding side or the rear door. You must unlock first.

This is what I would like on our Odyssey...

This is what I would like on our Odyssey: if you operate those door switches in the pic -- that only the driver has access to -- then even if the doors are locked they should open. As it is right now, even if you're outside, approaching the vehicle, and use the remote, you have to unlock the doors before you can open them. I think that's inconvenient.

DLu said there might be a workaround, but the van is gone for a few days so I can't play around with the car or RTFM. But I will.

And I'm curious about that "On" sliding sliding switch in the pic...Hmmm. I'll check that when the car is back.

What do you think? Would you like the van's power doors to operate without unlocking first?

And what about the location of those switches? Do you like them where they are on the Odyssey or in the overhead console?

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 16,000 miles

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: A Nice Feature

October 02, 2011


Here's a cool feature you might only discover if you're in the habit of reading your owner's manual from cover to cover. Or if you're my wife.

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: This is Why You Get Nav

September 30, 2011

odyssey nav.jpg

Whenever the question of nav or no nav comes up, I'm always firmly on the side of spending the extra cash ($2,000 from Odyssey EX-L to EX-L w/nav-- about 5% -- and standard on the Touring ) and getting the nav system.

There are a number of reasons for this:

1) It looks cooler.

2) It generally works better.

3) It does more stuff.

and the big one...

4) It displays WAY more stuff. Look at that display. It has teams, score, innings and outs all in one screen. There's no scrolling or wrap-text required. And this doesn't end at sports! You'll get full track, album and artist listing on sat radio, CD or iPod without any annoying scrolling. I love that and if it only did item 4 on this list, I'd still get it.

You'll note that none of these reasons involve the actual navigation part of the deal and I think that's part of the problem with how people view these things. It's easy to say "Oh, no, nav is a waste of money when a Garmin costs $199." But when you consider the other features, usability and the looks of these systems the accounting is a lot easier.

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: No Proximity Entry?

September 29, 2011

Odyssey key 2.jpg

Thankfully, I don't have children. I don't have the time or energy for that kind of exercise. But I do have nieces and a nephew who, from time to time, have been in my sole care.

Here's what I remember: Stuff. Lots of stuff. The child itself, some sort of bag with child care stuff and maybe a stroller. Truth be told, I've blocked most of those memories. What I do remember is that trying to find the keys to the car SUCK when you've got an arm full of tiny humans.

And knowing the type of person who buys minivans, it's kind of surprising that Honda doesn't even offer proximity access on the Odyssey. The top-of-the-line Touring Elite gets everything our Odyssey Touring has plus HIDs, blind-spot monitoring, DVD rear entertainment and a premium audio system and a $43,675 base price -- but no proximity access.

Maybe with some practice you get better at trying to figure out kids + stuff + getting into a car, but even if just for the initial break-in period, a truly keyless (and remoteless) entry seems like a huge benefit.

Now, we know Honda is against options, but consider that BMW, known for expensive options, lists Comfort Access at only $500. $500 on a $40,000 bill is nothing.

Oh, it's also easier for those of us who constantly have our pockets full of random other junk, but that's not the real point here.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Edmunds.com @ 12,866 miles

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2011 Honda Odyssey: iPhone iPod Hiccup

September 13, 2011


Something isn't quite right with the iPod connection in our 2011 Honda Odyssey. To be fair, the same thing happens in Ford products with the Sync system, as well as a couple of others I can't recall at the moment. It may well be an Apple "update" issue because the trouble didn't start until the release of iOS4 some months ago.

It's also clear that some carmakers have it figured out because there are dedicated iPod connections out there that DON'T do this.

"Do what?" you ask.

Say I start the car and promptly plug my iPhone into the Ody's USB jack using Apple's own white cable, as intended. Whatever I was listening to last time I drove the car starts thumping out of the Odyssey's speakers. So far so good.

The trouble starts 30 to 60 seconds later, when the music or podcast stops dead. (This coincides with the completion of Bluetooth pairing in the background.) The counter keeps ticking forward on the Honda's audio screen, however, so the song or podcast is advancing despite the silence.

None of the Honda's audio controls can do anything about it unless I give up on the iPod connection and select Bluetooth audio. But to do that properly I must also unplug the cable and forgo iPhone battery charging so I can manipulate songs on the face of the iPhone itself.

I don't want that. I want the dedicated iPod connection. I want the battery charging and the remote control and display available via the Odyssey's audio menus and dash- and steering-mounted controls. I want to keep looking forward, not down at the iPhone.

Turns out a new icon appears on the iPhone when this happens, but you must be looking at the iPod screen on the phone to see it. As per usual, a cable-connected iPhone displays no play or pause controls on this screen. What's new is the HandsFreeLink icon, Honda's branded term for its Bluetooth pairing feature. It would read "Sync" if this were a Ford.

In true Apple fashion, there are no instructions telling you why this is so and how to get your iPod back. Pressing on the new icon a couple of times does, however, reveal the solution.

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: The Efficient Way To Tune Satellite Radio

September 08, 2011


Perhaps you remember the struggle I've had with slow tuning response in the Odyssey's audio system. If not, a brief refresher course is available here and here.

But it's all rather irrelevant. Here's why:

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Just In Time

August 31, 2011


Is this another visitors come in from out of town, you made multiple runs to Home Depot and wanted to see how much stuff you can cram in the boot blog? Yes and no.

Yes my folks visited from out of town. Yes I made multiple runs to Home Depot to grab bags of potting soil and other assorted items. Yes I went to a flea market and bought some furniture. The Odyssey proved it's worth for a weekend, but those aren't the reasons I was thankful to have the Odyssey.

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Full Power, Baby

August 23, 2011

Odyssey power doors.jpg

As I was walking up to the Honda Odyssey last night, I remembered that it has power-opening doors. Always a good thing in my book. Not necessarily because I'm inherently lazy, but because pretty much power anything is fun.

Anyway, as I was unlocking the Odyssey I asked aloud to no one (because it was 10 p.m. and the parking garage was empty): "I wonder if I can open the two sliding doors and the hatch with the key fob all at the same time? That would be cool."

Turns out you can't, at least not with the fob. In fact, if you press all three fob buttons at the same time, none of the doors will open.

What you can do is have them open sequentially. Press the hatch button, then as soon as it starts opening press one of the door buttons, followed by the other door. If you're quick enough, all three doors will be opening or closing at the same time for a brief second or two.

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: USBs Leak?

August 22, 2011

Diplay 1-1600.jpg

I'm a big fan of storing music on flash memory sticks. When I plugged one into the Honda Odyssey's umbilical cord (see below), things were going well, listening to "The Perfect Song," but only for about a minute, then silence. Hm. I tried to select a new song and zip, nada, kaput except Folder, Artist, Album and Track info still appears. Curious. Unplugging and replugging the thumb drive repeated the same routine. I pulled a different stick, and everything was fine. I even plugged in my iPhone and it worked flawlessly. Is my USB memory stick leaking? Corrupted?

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 11,422 miles

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: XM Tuning. The Alternative.

August 04, 2011


Yesterday I pointed out how slow the XM tuning is in our Odyssey using the audio system's tuning knob. Reader sharpend pointed out the alternative, which is to use the multi-function knob.

In fairness, it is better...

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Slow Satellite Radio Tuning Video

August 03, 2011


This is what happens when you try to jump a bunch of XM stations using the tuning knob on the Odyssey. It's a little slow.

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2011 Honda Odyssey: Rear Entertainment Review

July 10, 2011

res_1.JPG "You traded the Bluesmobile for this?"

"No, a microphone."

"A microphone? ... OK, I can see that."

Well, it seems I'm in the minority when it comes to thinking that the act of trading a rear-entertainment system for a couple of iPads would be a good idea. But I do have a quick review on the Ody's RES operation and its video and audio performance.

The Odyssey has a fairly standard setup. The 9-inch display screen flips down and is viewable from both the second and third row.

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2011 Honda Odyssey: Rear Entertainment Still Worth It?

July 08, 2011


Our Honda Odyssey Touring comes standard with a rear-seat entertainment system. It's nice; I used it on my most recent road trip. But I just can't picture myself paying for one if it were my own vehicle. The Touring ($41,535) also comes standard with a lot of other stuff, but if you go with the Odyssey EX-L ($34,725), rear entertainment is optional for $1,600. I checked a few other vehicles; $1,500 to $2,000 seems to be the typical MSRP for rear entertainment.

Me? I'd pass and use the money instead to buy two Apple iPads. The value I'd get from the iPads would be exponentially higher.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Audio Review

June 04, 2011


No matter how much swagger automakers try to give their minivans or try to make them man-up, there's still the stigma that you're essentially driving a mommy mobile. But just because you may feel like Rodney Dangerfield behind the wheel of a minivan doesn't mean you have to suffer with an audio system that sucks.

The seven-speaker, 246-watt audio system in our long-term 2011 Honda Odyssey Touring comes close to falling into that category, and we didn't spring for the non-branded premium audio system available on the Touring Elite trim. I found myself in that top-of-the-line model for a week, and here's what you can expect sound-wise if you pay an extra $2,495.

The Setup
The 2011 Odyssey Touring Elite comes with 12 speakers powered by 650 watts. The speaker includes a 3-inch midrange in the center of the dash, 1.5-inch tweeter at each end of the dash, a 6.5-inch midrange in each of the four doors, two 3-inch mids straddling the rear-entertainment system above the middle-row seats and two more in the D pillars and an 8-inch subwoofer in the driver's-side wall of the cargo area.

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Cool Box or Cold Box?

June 02, 2011

Honda Odyssey still.jpg

I've been curious about the Honda Odyssey's Cool Box, and have been meaning to try it for some time now, but kept forgetting. I'm not very smart. Well, I finally remembered on my way into work this morning.

But you should know a few things about me: First, I'm a weirdo. Second, I like to have the A/C on pretty cold anytime I'm in a car (I hate being hot). And third, I prefer my beverages, particularly water, sodas and energy drinks, ice cold.

So I held out very little hope that the Odyssey's Cool Box would keep a Coke anywhere near my preferred drinking temperature after an hour and a half of driving.

Well, I was wrong (which is not all that uncommon of an occurrence). The drinks weren't ice-cold when I got to work, mind you, still but plenty cold enough even for someone like me to drink them.

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2011 Honda Odyssey Limited: Power Liftgate Video

May 31, 2011


Last week I posted a video of our long-term 2011 Toyota Sienna SE's power liftgate in action. And now it's our long-term 2011 Honda Odyssey's turn.

Just as with the Sienna, there are several ways to activate the Odyssey's power liftgate, including a button the dash, pulling on the door itself or a button on the van's keyfob.

Video after the jump. Listen for the beeps.

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2011 Honda Odyssey Touring: Three-View Back-Up Camera

May 09, 2011

Honda Odyssey BU Cam Normal.jpg

Our long-term 2011 Honda Odyssey Touring has a back-up camera, of course. But our Odyssey goes one step beyond most new back-up camera systems by adding another view.

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2011 Honda Odyssey: So How's It Drive?

April 11, 2011


If you read the title of the blog, that's the question I got from a guy while pumping gas. "Like a minivan." I answered. I wasn't sure what to think about it to be honest. These are beast of burden in my opinion. I don't really think about how minivans perform other than if they're slow.

But there are two features that stood out to me in my brief time in the vehicle.

First, I found the placement of the seat heaters to be a bit odd. Straightaway center. Doesn't seem like a big deal, except that the dash is big so it's a reach for people whom are height challenged such as myself. It makes it a pain to pull the ol' seat heater gag on your passenger if your telegraphing your move right in front of their noses.

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