Two summers ago when I leased my current car – a 2008 Honda Odyssey Minivan, I had a really tough choice deciding between the three main players on the market at the time: Honda, Toyota and Chrysler. I blogged about, tweeted about, asked friends, test drove and finally made a choice. I wasn’t unhappy with my choice, but I was unhappy that none of the choices had, at that time, EXACTLY what I wanted in a minivan. I chose the Honda because it had the features I considered most important: Comfortable seats, great mileage and a more powerful engine with sportier, better handling than the competition. What I “sacrificed” were a bunch or little amenities including multiple cell phone chargers and a more intuitive ergonomic dash.
Cut to the present. Honda has completely redesigned the Odyssey again and this time… I am both happy and a little sad (because I have a full year left on my lease!) to say they have hit it out of the park. This new van is the whole package. If I had to make a wish list of all the changes I’d wanted, it would look very much like this redesign. No surprise that pretty much everyone on the redesign team is a parent, and Odyssey owner.
So what fab features can you look forward to finding in the new Odyssey vehicles? Here are a few that I picked out as awesome.
- More rigid Chassis and new roof design protects occupants and pedestrians
- Sleeker, more modern ( less “van” more CUV) styling on the exterior, highlighted in the lightning bolt window design
- Blind Spot sensors and Trimode rearview camera with parking assistance modes
- More aerodynamic, lower platform
- FIVE (yes you heard me!) latch positions, including three in the second row, two in the third.
- Wide mode for seats in the second row to allow for three carseats or for passage to third row with two seats installed in the second
- Center seat in the second row slides forward to allow toddlers/infants to sit closer to parents
- Redesigned dashboard creates “zones” for types of entertainment and interior controls – very intuitive
- Satellite linked navigation with traffic and weather updates
- Voice controlled nav, ipod, phone etc allows for safer driving
- Navigation screen is integrated into dash up higher, near windshield for less driver distraction
- Multiple charging ports including a USB in the glove box for your ipod (you have no idea how important this is to me)
- More storage created just for the things you store. Fewer enclosed compartments in the rear (a good thing, nothing like mystery junk in enclosed compartments to make this mom crazy)
- An integrated trash bag holder (insert hallelujah music here).
- Extra legroom and shoulder room in the third row. It’s remarkably more spacious. Seats six adults comfortably
- Better sound – the interior has been redesigned to allow conversation between the first and third rows, which was previously dicey. Not sure if I love this. Sometimes I don’t want to hear what’s being said back there!
- Reclining seats in the third row
- 16.5 inch wide split screen dvd player. Watch in widescreen mode or watch a movie on one side while someone plays a game on the other. It’s all about option.
- In dash cooler for your drinks – oh yeah!
- The vehicle’s frame and airbags have been enhanced
- Additional protection for pedestrians
- Handling, particularly on turns and in tight stopping situations, has been enhanced to keep the driver in control
- At up to 28mpg the Odyssey boast the best fuel economy in its class.
While test driving the Odyssey I had the chance to really put this vehicle to the test on a closed track. Doing donuts, taking curves at break neck speed… not things I’d normally try with my kids in the car. But what a really wonderful experience to see how the car responded when tested in this way. It gave me new confidence for a vehicle I already drive and am familiar with, and a new respect for the team that puts their hearts and souls into this vehicle (which, incidentally is made in the USA) safe and comfortable for their own families, and for yours.
If you are in the market for a minivan, and have a chance to test the new 2011 Honda Odyssey, I highly recommend it! Just maybe not as fast as we tested it, ok? Not unless you’ve got permission!
Here is the pricing for the 2011 Odyssey. It stickers out at $43k fully loaded with features to shame almost any luxury vehicle on the market.
Odyssey LX $27,800
Odyssey EX $30,950
Odyssey EX-L $34,450
Odyssey EX-L Rear Entertainment $36,050
Odyssey EX-L Navi $36,450
Odyssey Touring $40,755
Odyssey Touring Elite $43,250
*MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $780 destination charge and