I was nineteen years old when I purchased my very first car SUV. I worked and saved and worked some more to buy exactly what I wanted. It’s been 13 years and I still own that SUV. Funny enough, both my husband and I owned the EXACT same SUV (in different colors and years) when we met. SUVs were are fun to drive and offer much in the way of space, albeit, for cargo as opposed to people. They also consume a lot of gas and aren’t the smoothest ride.
When I got pregnant with my son, we decided to sell one of the SUVs to obtain a “family-friendly” car. The sedan we now own is suitable for the four of us, although it would be nice to have more room when we take road trips. And should we ever consider expanding our family, we’d be forced to sell both vehicles because neither would accommodate a larger family. As it is, we’ll be replacing our sole SUV in less than a year and will opt for a family-friendly vehicle with better fuel economy.
Today, Honda revealed it’s newly redesigned 2011 Odyssey. I, along with a group of bloggers, had an opportunity to learn about and drive the new Odyssey in La Jolla a couple of weeks ago. And…this isn’t your mother’s minivan.
The minivan image has not always been favorable. Up until the time we started thinking about expanding our family, we really hadn’t thought much about purchasing a minivan, despite the fact that most of our friends drive one. My husband and I felt mostly felt like we didn’t need that amount of room in a car. And if it’s fuel economy was anything like our SUV, we wanted to steer clear. Personally, I was afraid that it would be too difficult and cumbersome to drive a minivan.
The Honda Odyssey challenges many of my preconceived ideas about minivans. With a sleek new look and enhanced luxury features, those on the fence (“hesitators” like myself) may be swayed towards the new Odyssey.
First off, the 2011 Honda Odyssey is practical. At present, our sedan can accommodate 2 adults in the front seat and 2 children in car seats in the back seat. For all practical purposes, the middle seat is useless. And once we get the double stroller in the trunk, there is literally no space left for additional items. Au contraire, the Honda Odyssey is the “ultimate family vehicle” and can accommodate an eight passenger family with a variety of seating arrangements. This is the kind of vehicle I want on a road trip. With superior leg room, enhanced entertainment features, and flexible cargo space, road trips just became that much more enjoyable…even with kids who are asking “Are we there yet?” every five minutes.
The Honda Odyssey has an outstanding safety profile. Every vehicle purchase I’ve completed began with a look at the company and vehicle’s safety profile. Now that I have two children, safety is even more important. Honda’s commitment to safety includes vehicle control features that make it less likely you’ll fishtail, roll over, or skid should you lose control, innovations in body structure (i.e. high strength steel) to protect you should you be involved in a crash, and state-of-the art safety features within the vehicle such as active head restraints and seat sensors. The Honda Odyssey achieved a five star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and is a top safety pick according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The Honda Odyssey features cutting-edge technology. I am a Southern California native, yet I never drive without my GPS. Naturally, my favorite technological feature is the navigation system. Featuring voice activation and real-time FM traffic (a must for anyone living in Los Angeles or any other urban city), the system is smart and intuitive while keeping you focused on what’s important…the road! I will say that the entire Interface would require that I take some time learning it. There are a ton (and I mean a TON) of features (especially on the Touring model) that I’d want to play with before attempting to do so while driving. My second favorite feature? The Multi-view Rear Camera. I don’t like backing up or parallel parking in our SUV. Doing so in a mini-van is even more intimidating…unless it’s equipped with this camera. The camera features a normal view, a wide view, a top view, and a parking sensor system (so you don’t back into a pole…something a certain Bailey did not too long ago).
The Honda Odyssey is efficient. It’s not uncommon for us to fill up our SUV twice a week. At almost $3 a gallon, fuel is a major expense. According to the EPA, the Touring Elite is the best-in-class for fuel economy, achieving 19 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway. That’s only 1 less than what I get with my 2004 sedan.
The Honda Odyssey is performance-driven. While power, torque, and acceleration aren’t as important to me, they are very important to my husband (and most men, in general). I can’t honestly say that I understand much about the above three subjects. What I will say is that the Honda Odyssey has more power, more torque, and more acceleration.
Who says a minivan can’t be fun to drive?
Honda pays attention to detail. Some of the features you won’t find on other minivans include a lower, wider design, a multi-function center seat, a flexible second row that can accommodate up to 3 car seats, a “cool box” cold storage compartment, an ultra-wide rear entertainment system with dual screen display, and third row auxiliary inputs (I can charge my phone or my laptop while I’m driving).
In summary, here are the key features of the 2011 Honda Odyssey (from the company):
Lightning-bolt beltline enhances passenger visibility for third-row occupants and distinguishes the vehicle’s profile
Lower and wider stance creates a more dynamic presence
Sleek profile improves aerodynamics and increases fuel economy
Premium, high-intensity discharge headlights
18-inch alloy wheels
Wider design is more intuitive, more functional, and more comfortable
“Wide Mode” seating enables three child seats in 2nd row with seat anchors
Added comfort slide feature enables second-row center car seats to move six inches closer to driver
One-strap stowable 3rd Row Magic Seat
Removable 1st row center console with hidden storage
Media tray with integrated beverage and purse holder
New cool box in lower center stack to keep drinks and snacks cool
Leather-trimmed seating with heated front seats
Second and third-row passenger window sunshades
15 beverage holders
Trash bag ring
More hidden, secure storage
Improved interior ambient lighting
LATCH child seat anchors in five seating positions
Three LATCH positions in the second row to accommodate three child seats simultaneously
Blind spot indicator
Rear view camera
Seat weight sensors
Targeting Five Star under new NHTSA tests
Targeting IIHS Top Safety Pick
Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control
4-wheel disc ABS, Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist
Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure
3-row side curtain airbag with rollover sensor
16.2 inch ultra-wide, dual-input Rear Entertainment System with split-screen capability
650 Watt Premium Audio System with 12 speakers
15 GB hard disk drive audio with song by voice feature
External High Definition Multimedia Interface input
150-Watt AC power outlet
Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with Voice Activation
Memory linked 10-way power driver’s seat
Front and rear body-colored parking sensors
Honda has aspired to offer the ultimate family vehicle in it’s 2011 Odyssey. The vehicle will go on sale September 30, 2010. Prices are as follows:
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
No compensation was received for this post. A very special thank you to Honda for providing accommodations and meals.