We have recently had the opportunity to be a minivan family for a week. Thanks to Honda we got to drive the Honda Odyssey Touring and see for ourselves why so many families make the switch to a minivan as their family expands. Honda vehicles are not new to our family, we have driven different models and we currently own a CRV. A minivan was new to us and we put it to the test with daily use and for a road trip. We get why families love their minivan!
When you have multiple kids what type of vehicle you drive does come into consideration. If you have 3 or more kids then you probably are considering getting a minivan or you already have one. You want the right vehicle to get you and your family from point A to point B providing the best safety, comfort, and ease of use.
After putting it through its paces for over a week of test driving, we find that there are few vehicles better than the Honda Odyssey. To those who say minivans aren’t cool and hip and that you will NEVER drive one…. you have likely not seen the great benefits of having a minivan over any other vehicle on the market.
The stigma of minivans being uncool or showing the world you have “given up” is just unwarranted. Being a minivan family made life as a family easier in several aspects. A minivan is a mobile living room that provides enough flexibility to carry your whole family on a long road trip or a short outing to a park. And in the category of minivans, the Honda Odyssey provides an incredibly spacious, versatile, and cost-effective solution for a family like ours that is always on the go.
All Odysseys are powered by Honda’s 248 hp 3.5 liter V-6, which supplies more than adequate power for in-town and on the highway. Honda has come out with a model for every budget as there’s no trim level to avoid here. Even the base LX model is well equipped with steel wheels, a backup camera, and power front seats. Every subsequent trim adds lumbar controls to the driver’s side, as well as my favorite power-sliding doors, tri-zone automatic climate control, and push-button start. If you can’t live without a power rear liftgate (so handy), a sunroof, or heated seats, you will have to step up to the leather luxury of the EX-L trim. The Touring model adds on top of all of this a standard navigation system and a multitude of small upgrades. The Touring, which we drove for this review, adds a 650-watt premium audio system with HD radio, HID headlamps, a larger 16.2-inch screen for the included rear entertainment system, Blind spot notification, and a built-in vacuum (yes you heard that right, pure genius).
WHAT WE LOVED ABOUT THE HONDA ODYSSEY
- CUPHOLDERS… yes this stood out right away! Any parent knows the necessity of cupholders. If you’ve ever been in a vehicle without them, or one that has very few, it does make a difference. As parents we want a place to put that cup of coffee, cell phone, or house keys. For our kids its a place for their sippy cups, snacks, toys, pacifier, and so much more.
- STORAGE… the third-row seats, coined Honda’s One-Motion Magic Seat, live up to their name by folding simply and easily into the cargo hold. Storage and cup holders are endless, and the layout flexibility is superb. Being able to fold some or all the seats and even removing the entire front center console. The Odyssey’s massive passenger space and cargo hold is a dream for road trips especially with getting over 600 KM to a tank of gas.
- DASHBOARD LAYOUT… all of the dials and gauges are thoughtfully laid out and we were thrilled they kept chunky knobs and buttons to easily change the interior climate, volume, etc. Everything is easy to reach.
- QUIET RIDE… we also like the Odyssey from the driver’s seat, from its quiet ride that you can carry on a whisper of a conversation while the kids sleep in the back
- FEELS SOLID… we were expecting the vehicle to feel a bit topsy turvy when driving it on winding roads at highway speeds, but it had an incredibly solid feel through turns considering its size and mass.
- ENTERTAINMENT… this was the big hit four our oldest daughter. This vehicle has an ultrawide rear entertainment system with a remote control, two headphone jacks, and two wireless headsets. Being able to play movies on our road trip made an incredible difference to not hearing the constant “Are we there yet?” question.
- UNIQUE FEATURES… the Odyssey Touring has a HondaVAC, yes vac as in vacuum! This is brilliant, any vehicle that contains children and their mess should come with a vacuum. It is built into the rear of the vehicle and is great for quick cleanup. Blind Spot Information System that has a warning indicator light and sound indicator to warn you if something is in your blind spot. Built in sunshades came in so handy for our road trip, this is something we feel should be an option for many vehicles.
Although we loved the Odyssey overall, we do have a few suggestions that we would love to see addressed in the future by Honda to make it an even better vehicle in the years to come. The Odyssey’s infotainment system with its dual screen adaptation is one of our least favourite in a vehicle. It was definitely showing its age with the touchscreen having a sluggish responses and odd layouts for the menus.
One example of this was when you are trying to enter a destination for navigation, you don’t have access to the touch screen to enter the letters. Instead you need to use the center console knob to scroll through the alphabet selecting each letter individually. It got tedious to do and we resorted to using the maps and navigation on our phones instead.
Another oddity that stood out was the “mode” button on the steering wheel cycles through the menus on the top screen but in order to complete a selection you need to move back to the center console knob to complete the selection. We want to be able to do every action in one place, and if there is a touchscreen in the vehicle I should be able to use the touchscreen solely.
While the second-row seats do fold, they do not fold into the floor like those in similar minivans, so to load the Odyssey with larger items that these seats would need to be removed must be completely to provide the room needed for transportation of large items.
When it came time to return the Honda Odyssey Touring we did not want to, especially our oldest daughter. She loved being able to hope in and out of the vehicle on her own, and even learned how to press the button to open and close the door. We think she truly didn’t want to say goodby to the entertainment system.
Driving a the Odyssey for a week was definitely a game changer for us. It made our road trip on our family vacation so much easier. There was no way we would have been able to lug our AC unit with us without the storage space that is in this vehicle. We would have melted on our vacation without it. We found ourselves missing the quiet ride as soon as we switched back to our own vehicle. It was incredible to notice the difference of hearing the road noise right away.
We get it! We get why so many families make the switch to a minivan. We just might do the same some day in the future. Bring on the legroom, easy access, storage space and so much more. If you are thinking about getting a minivan definitely check out the Honda Odyssey Touring.
If you are searching for more information on the Honda Odyssey Touring or other vehicles from Honda go check out Honda Canada’s website you can also find them on social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.