By on March 26, 2013

 

Honda’s 2014 Odyssey doesn’t have any of the stuff that enthusiasts care about. Never mind the fact that it’s a minivan, but there’s no powertrain upgrades or shiny rims for its midcycle refresh. But you know what it does have? A vacuum cleaner. Honda partnered with ShopVac to create a vacuum cleaner for the Odyssey, one that can run indefinitely with the engine on, or for as long as 8 minutes with the engine off. If you have small children or pets, this is a god send. I won’t label it a game changer or say that Honda is about to dominate the minivan market, but it is going to sell a lot of buyers on the showroom floor when they see this.

It’s funny that despite their astounding sales success and frequent ingenuity, the automotive press persists with the “Honda has lost its way” narrative.  The CR-V is the top selling crossover. The Civic is the best selling compact car, and the third best selling car in the land 0 the Accord was in second place, behind the Toyota Camry. The Odyssey is the second best selling minivan, right behind the Dodge Grand Caravan. Among the top selling vehicles in the United States last year, three of the top 10 were Hondas, more than any other OEM. And they did it barely any fleet sales.

The CR-V is a great example. It frequently gets taken to task by the automotive media for being “boring/soulless/an appliance/whatever demeaning adjective” but I’ve long maintained it has three items that effectively sell the car to buyers; a standard backup camera, one-touch rear folding seats and a cargo floor that is at knee level. No amount of Skyactiv technology, stick shifts or European inspired handling can make up for those three things, not when all of them are directly functional in the context of grocery shopping or picking up the little ones from daycare. The proof is in the sales charts. On the other hand, it’s an interesting reflection on how relevant the automotive press is to the average consumer  and their needs. “Not at all” looks to be the answer.

Honda’s lineup may be boring, sterile and unattractive to the people who bought Integra GS-Rs in 1995. But for the people actually in the market for a new car, these are the things that make them sign on the dotted line. I may have lost faith that we’ll ever see another CRX or S2000, but if Honda keeps up this sort of ingenuity, they will be around long after other niche makers fall by the wayside during the industry’s inevitable consolidation.

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109 Comments on “Analysis: In The Land Of Boring, Honda Is King...”


  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    Why do they offer this standard only on the model that’s 44k?

    Families that spend 44k on a minivan usually have their cars taken to be cleaned/detailed. This would make sense on the EX or something.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Likely it will move down market over time. There are hordes of reasons to limit new gadget volume, and it may help people decide on options they would otherwise skip to get it. We spent a lot of money to get adaptive cruise over and above the ridiculous cost of the package it came in.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Honda used to pre-wire all cars for all gadgets, so even base DX/LX Accords, for example, were pre-wired for the HomeLink garage-door opener, so an enterprising dealer (like College Hills in Wooster, OH) would figure out how to swap the part in by using the existing wiring. Unfortunately, since Honda is in the cost-cutting mode (same as other makers), that kind of stuff is eliminated! Now, College Hills “jerry-rigs” HomeLinks with a regular garage-door battery that need to be taken apart once per year to change! If Honda was smart, they’d offer all of the “big-ticket” items as dealer accessories, so someone with an Oddy EX COULD have this vacuum installed, if they wished. (Who knows, someone like College Hills may figure this out before long!)

        I sprang for the Accord Touring over the NAVI V6 just to get ACC, and LED headlights came with it, the only two additions. Considering the costs of the sensors, etc., based on what I’ve seen, plus the cost of the LED arrays, the ~$1,500 cost over the NAVI V6 Sedan is a relative bargain.

        Honda should add a couple more things like vented seats, real wood trim, or the like, to further differentiate the Touring, IMO, or add these features to a “Touring Elite” trim.

        The ACC implementation is a solid “v1.0″ effort–it could use a tweak here or there. 90% of the time, it’s nice to have, and I’d gladly buy the Touring again, despite the ACC’s quirks.

    • 0 avatar
      WRohrl

      Having just returned from a road trip in a minivan I remember seeing the kids stepping on the same bag of Cheetos contents multiple times over the last 3days of the trip. No way was I visiting a carwash or hunting down a vacuum cleaner on a roadtrip, this would have been perfect! But yeah, as a standalone option throughout the range this would be nice, don’t really need/want all the other stuff that comes on the loaded van.

      • 0 avatar
        Kinosh

        I specifically recall the cylinder deactivation feature being on only the highest trim level a few years ago. Now it is standard.

        Stuff like this moves downmarket fairly quickly.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Companies meeting federally required mpg standards =/= convenience feature

          I would say it’s all about what the people want from their vehicle but this case we just set out proves that gov’t unfortunately also has role in say.

          Not that I am for or against it.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        I don’t even have kids and realize this is a brilliant idea! The part of cleaning the car both I and the wife hate the most is getting out the vacuum, running the extension cord from the garage, finding the attachments, etc. Next up: a car with a large wash reservoir with a pressure attachment so you can wash your car any time and any where.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        This is why my minivan of choice would be an econoline with vinyl seats and a floor sprayed with line-x. not mini, but not in need of a vacuum either.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Families don’t buy 44K minivans, as the Yummy-Mummy types won’t be seen dead in one. Families buy C/SUVs. Grandparents buy 44K minivans. Families buy deeply-discounted Dodge Caravans.

      • 0 avatar
        yesthatsteve

        More or less agree. The current Grand Caravan is a tremendous value in the lower trim levels. OTOH families who want a loaded Odyssey buy them used.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Plenty of high end minivans here in the suburbs. Lots of the local moms either never bought into the SUV craze or opted back out.

        Driving a full size SUV is a PITA for lots of women carting their kids around all day, and the minivan makes running kid-centric errands easier and cheaper.

        Except for the really high end Denali’s or QX56′s most of the full size SUV’s (and their drivers) in my area look a little worse for wear. The MILF’s seem to be gravitating to CUV’s and minvans.

      • 0 avatar
        ktm

        White families don’t buy 44K minivans, as the Yummy-Mummy types won’t be seen dead in one. Families buy C/SUVs. Grandparents buy 44K minivans. Families buy deeply-discounted Dodge Caravans.

        Fixed.

        Come to Diamond Bar, Rowland Heights, Hacienda Heights, Walnut, Monterey Park, etc., California where there is a very large asian (Chinese) population. Toyota Siennas and Honda Odyssey dominate the landscape.

      • 0 avatar
        icemilkcoffee

        In my experience, most minivans are bought by the father, not the mother.

  • avatar

    Fold down seats and a built in vacuum… with the right attachments that thing is going to be a runaway hit.

  • avatar
    ToxicSludge

    Hmmm….a built in vacuum cleaner,That sux…

    • 0 avatar
      thesparrow

      Parents dont care how filthy their cars get. I have several friends with kids and their cars are a total mess. Just disgusting. So bad that I actually feel sorry for the cars and angry at the owners for letting them get that bad. These people are hopeless. Even a vacuum with the sucking power of the Death Star could not help these sad breeders. This is why those of us with a life don’t have kids.

      But kudos to Honda for at least attempting to help ‘em out…

      • 0 avatar
        espressoBMW

        Yep. People will think it’s a nice feature to have but most won’t use it after the first month of ownership.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        “Parents dont care how filthy their cars get.”

        Must be nice to live in a bubble.

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        I had to ride in my boss’ CR-V last year. He apologized for it being so messy as I got in. He said that he used to have his cars really clean at all times, and then he had kids and pretty much gave up on that. So I can see an included vacuum being a good idea, at least for some people. For other lazy people, it’ll probably get used as much as a turn signal.

      • 0 avatar
        mountainman_66

        no kids=no life?….never saw it that way.
        waiting for the supreme court to give you a favorable decision today?

      • 0 avatar
        TCragg

        I have a two-year-old who vomits more or less daily, and drive a very clean minivan to boot. Anyone who would allow themselves to travel in that kind of filth is sub-human. If you are enough of a slob, no amount of built-in cleaning devices are going to help you. It doesn’t take that much effort to keep a vehicle in presentable condition, even with kids in the equation.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          Agreed — it’s nice stereotyping, but slobs are slobs whether they have kids or not. I know plenty of people who don’t have kids or are empty nesters who also have filthy cars. Whom do you blame for that one?

        • 0 avatar
          George B

          Never understood putting perforated leather seats in the back of a family car. Car sickness happens.

          The cars of friends with young children tend to have random pieces of spilled food on the floor in back. I can’t remember eating in the car when I was a child.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          I disagree TCragg. I just let the vomit dry. When they puke a lot, it is hardly worth it to clean it up every damned time. Once it gets crusty, it doesn’t really smell that bad. Plus, you kind of get used to the smell after a while. Eventually they grow out of it anyway, unless they have some sort of intestinal disease.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        I’m guessing those parents that do care, are also those that wold spend $44k on a minivan. Puzzle solved :)

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Not necessarily. Last time I poked my head inside my brother & SIL’s 2009 Oddy EX, it looked pretty good, despite carting a 2 and 4 year-old (and occasionally two huge Golden Retrievers) around! (Haven’t had one problem with it, even the dual power-sliders have been flawless; those are real weak areas for that generation!) Not showroom new, but acceptable; all it takes is a vacuum every week or two! (Fortunately, I don’t think there have been any sudden bouts of sickness, human or dog, and any other messes are handled in reasonably short order!) All their van needs is a little touch-up paint on dings which are part of the life and times of a workaday vehicle, and a little Zaino love from me this summer!

        Best part is they paid for the thing with CA$H! (When my brother told me about this as I was working to fix his computer, I literally got up from the chair and genuflected!)

  • avatar
    ajla

    Conversion vans have had vacuum cleaners in them since like 1981.

    I think automakers are out of ideas and are now just re-hashing stuff that was introduced between ’80 and ’95.

  • avatar

    This sort of thing is not new to Honda. Back when I cross-shopped CR-V with RAV4, the CR-V included a picnick table feature, where the floor of the cargo are could be removed and used as a picnick table. Legs were attached to it. It seemed needlessly gimmicky to me, especially considering that you had to remove all your picnick supplies and place them somewhere before the table becomes accessible.

  • avatar
    Marko

    Die spammer die!

  • avatar
    cargogh

    Great idea. Stow-n-suck.

  • avatar

    Speaking as someone who not too long ago was a minivan-driving (sometimes) dad with 3 small kids, the vac is actually a brilliant idea… the kind of thing I would have expected from Chrysler 15 years ago, in that long-gone era when they were the minivan kings. I’ll never buy another minivan, but good for Honda.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Remember Chrysler’s “Swivel-n-go” seats from the 2008 minivans? The middle seats would swivel and face rearward, and there was a table you could put between the second and third row seats. What the ads never showed you was the floor between the two seats barely had enough footroom for one row of seats, much less two. Whether the rear facing seats made people carsick, or whether people were afraid they would get carsick, the option wasn’t popular enough to continue when the vans went through their midcycle refresh.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    The car forum was just talking about how bad Odyssey transmissions were the last decade. Everyone was hoping they be improved, hoping for updates…

  • avatar

    Honda have a certain je ne sais quois that is toxic for people who like cars. Of the people I know, the ones who like cars don’t usually come back. For those who treat cars like appliances, when they go Honda, they don’t come back. I know a lady with 3 small kids. She likes cars. She had a CR-V. She decided to sell the car. Why? Because she was bored. She was thinking Elantra or Fiat Freemont (also known as Dodge Journey). She decided on the Fiat because of the kids. I would say this is typical of modern Honda. Even in country like Brazil, where they’re relatively new, anyone who likes cars don’t repeat. I wish I knew the explanation ’cause the only I can think of is that they’re boring.

    • 0 avatar
      Kinosh

      I generally agree, especially on the point of the CRV. Every once in a while, Honda does do something cool like the last generation Fit (and even the current gen). It’s not fun in the power department, but it sure is tossable.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      Yes, they’re boring but functional, and a small central vac in a minivan is a pretty good idea that will surely sell a few vans.

      But I would quibble with any claim to Honda’s sales success. They are genuinely successful in exactly one market – North America. And moderately successful at home in Japan. Their attempts to break into most other markets have been close to a disaster, to the point I question their long term viability. They are practically non-existent in Europe, China, South America, and the middle east. Can a purveyor of boring appliances really succeed without the global scale of a Toyota? I have my doubts.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        I believe North America is the market any manufacturer would want to do well in, it’s where the world’s auto profits are largely made.

        Europe. Really? I’d say the disasters there are called Ford, GM, Fiat and everything French. And the EU death spiral is just beginning.

        Further, I pity any non-Chinese manufacturer staking their future on China. At some point they will be shown the door – I’m looking at you GM. As their economy unravels, err corrects, nationalism will rise and things will get ugly, fast.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          You could have easily said VW, since it is at least as exposed to the Chinese market. But that wouldn`t fit your narrative.

        • 0 avatar

          thornmark sorry man, but you’re wrong. Yes North America will continue to be strong, but it appears to be tapped out. Money is to be made were markets are growing. It’s simple economics and is what made the us so strong for so long. It’s the frontier economy. It seems the the us slowly is becoming more european and ossified. Places like brazil, china, are growing. This allows for over growing prices and margins. They make more money here, infamous gm prez that was ousted by obama said when president of GM brazil before the crisis that 5% of gm worldwide sales was here but that 20% of gm’s profits were collected here.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      This is a relatively new thing. Back not so many years ago Hondas were the drivers cars…The CRX, the double wishbone civics, the old school Preludes…Toyotas were the appliance and todays drivers car from Japan, the Mazda were all just weird until the Miata hit.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Brazil is so unlike NA then. Further, I suspect that’s the not the same Dodge Journey as NA since no one with any knowledge or intelligence would even consider it. I suspect that with time and increased affluence, the SA market will become more like NA.

      Historically, Honda has had one of the highest owner loyalty rates in the US – I believe w/o the type of deals Toyota and others make to retain customers – and the lowest fleet sales of any mass market brand. Depending on the source, Hondas also retain their value better than rival brands and with lower maintenance costs, that makes them less costly to own.

      • 0 avatar

        you’re so wrong on so many levels… If anything thr market here is going into a euro style fragmentation. Honda, until it comes to grips with the fact that price is king (see comment below) will never be more than a footnote. They and Toyota don’t offer discounts, they don’t offer price. Resale values in Brazil are high. Depreciation exists but it’s nothing like in the US.

        Finally, a people used to driving euro cars, with all the traditional good road manners, have a hard time adjusting to Japanese numbness.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          I think a low brand like Ford has to worry about price more than Honda.

          btw

          “What isn’t surprising is that Honda won Most Trusted Brand for the second year running, Best Value Brand for the third year in a row and took Best Overall Brand, which wasn’t on last year’s list of awards.”
          http://www.autoblog.com/2013/03/30/kbb-2013-brand-image-awards-has-some-obvious-and-oddball-winners/

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I test drove a Mazda6 and a Honda Accord Sport back to back last Saturday. The driving experience was very similar on city streets. The Mazda had faster steering, but I couldn’t say that SkyActive improves entrance ramp acceleration or lane changes. The Honda used better interior materials and felt much bigger. The Mazda had split folding rear seats and a huge pass-through wide enough for IKEA furniture while the Honda trunk was poorly shaped.

  • avatar
    LBJs Love Child

    The Honda Chaparral 2J.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Ha ha ha! This is really funny. A Shop-Vac!

    Funny in the way Pete Z brought out above. I laughingly refer to wifey’s 2002 Honda CR-V as our $22,250.00 picnic table!

    What will those rascals at Honda think of next?

  • avatar
    mkirk

    This is like navigation. People will spend a thousand extra bucks for this when a small shop vac can be had for 70 bucks with a power inverter…less than that if you hit up a Harbor Freight sale. Also, where does the stuff it sucks up go. If I could have it set up to dump crushed cheetos on tailgaters at the flip of a switch that might make this desirable.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Good idea! 3 young kids and a messy wife is why both our vehicles have leather seats and dark interiors!…LOL

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Nothing says emasculation like a built in vacuum cleaner. At least it’s a ShopVac.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    Mediocre and uncompetitive products can spin money for their companies if they’re priced right, like Tempo, Escort, and Blazer. That frustrates gurus like Peter De Lorenzo who think product is king.

    It’s not. It’s Price, Product, AND Promotion. Where all three interact is a decision every company has to make based on their R&D, brand strength, distribution channels, etc.

    Honda does not make the most compelling product for enthusiasts, but they have a reputation and name recognition that makes up for it. For now.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    The Honda owners that I know usually are repeat buyers. Hondas might be boring but so are Toyotas, and Toyotas are not finished as nice as the Hondas on the inside. I think this is a good option, but minivans are a dying breed.

  • avatar
    autobahner44

    It sucks, and it sucks! Honda Odyssey, with twice the suckiness…

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    In the land of boring, Toyota is orders of magnitude more King-y than Honda.

    I admit Honda has had a tragic and deep fall from the glorious days of its past, but at least there’s now some hope with new products like the 2013 Honda Accord — but only with the manual transmission (f*ck all CVTs).

    It looks to be the first step in many years where Honda has taken a deliberate process to streamline a vehicle in terms of weight and unnecessary girth, improving the fit & finish of the interior, and attempt to pump some form of life back into the steering and suspension settings.

    There may be hope for Honda yet. Acura? Not so much…

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      But…have you had a chance to actually use the vacuum cleaner to clean up your own mess yet?

      How can you speak to the return to life without actually making a mess and using the vacuum cleaner to clean it up?

      Good to see ya Deadweight…the CTS specs are out now…it has a 20 way adjustable seat!!! Holy Cow!

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        How dare Derek proclaim this a good idea before he’s even tried to suck up his buddy’s vomit from the night before?

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          That is an excellent point. Until this thing has actually sucked up some body fluids, you have no idea if it is worth a damn. The fact that it can suck indefinitely is fine, but how much sucking power does it actually have? A lot of these things look good on the internet, but once you take them home, they are a big disappointment.

          Wait, which website am I on?

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      Have to agree. So far I’m liking my 2013 Accord Sport. It reminds me of a 3 series BMW in all the good ways. Obviously not quite as good to drive as a rear-wheel-drive with 50/50 weight distribution, but all things considered it’s a more satisfying experience than any of the new low-end 3 series trim levels I’ve tried.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “I admit Honda has had a tragic and deep fall from the glorious days of its past…”

      Agreed but let’s not forget Toyota’s past. Supra, Celica, MR2… they had some good stuff and now, when their descent into beigeness is just about complete, comes the FR-S and a promise from its new leader to inject more passion into their vehicles.

      Don’t count Toyota out yet.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        That’s a valid point, and even though it didn’t do much for me, I’ll extend much deserved credit to Toyota for the FT86/FR-S/BRZ.

        @carrya911 – I agree about the Accord Sport. In fact, as you mention, despite the fact that it’s front wheel drive, I think it holds out much promise. I dig the dash, the overall dimensions and the exterior styling (okay, I like the exterior styling).

        I think the Accord Coupe with a manual could be just what the doctor ordered for many people who “could’ve had BMW.” Really.

        I used to be a big fan of the BMW 3 series, back when they were actually nimble, balanced, high quality, non bloat-mobiles, with the legendary silky inline 6 front and center, and a fantastic clutch and shifter.

        Now, they’re just yet another overwrought, overstuffed, bloated, numb, generic vehicle, that survives based on its badge.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      They’re at least showing signs of innovation–like this vac! (Supposedly has 85% of the capability of a normal Shop-Vac.)

      And I almost went elsewhere for a car, out of the Honda fold, for the first time in nineteen years, when the news leaked that Honda was abandoning the double-wishbone suspension on the Accord for MacPherson struts!

      Then I drove one! At first, not even the V6 I wanted, but a Sport with the CVT! That CVT feels like a normal automatic, minus a couple “normal” upshifts, in most driving situations, with the only rubber-band effect at the extremes! That drive convinced me that I was going to get a third Accord!

      Then I drove a V6! Went like greased lighting, but I wasn’t gonna hoon what would be someone else’s car, which only had 130 miles on it, on my test drive!

      March 1st, I brought a new Accord home–the Touring model, with Adaptive Cruise and LED Headlights, in addition to the other stuff on the NAVI V6 Sedans.

      Then last week, after ~550 babied miles, I had to pull out to pass another car..2/3-throttle, if that! 6,200 rpm at most!

      The damn car took off like an F-18 on full afterburner!

      And this past Friday, 33.2 mpg average over 200 miles. Most of it at 80+ mph!

      What Honda does need to do is move Acura properly upmarket! They need to re-purpose the ILX as a sporty “uber”-Civic, with Accord build quality. They could call it the umm..uhh..INTEGRA!!

      Then, with a starting price of ~$40,000, do a proper TL or TLX, whatever! Include the SH-AWD and a 6-speed stick! Benchmark the E46 5-Series for handling!

      Take the RLX further up, with every toy in the Honda arsenal. Make it look a bit less like an Accord! Start it ~$55K or so! A thinking-man’s alternative to an S-Klasse!

      Take both the SUVs upmarket a little! The new RDX’ll be fine as-is, but make sure that the MDX is finished a little better! (Or is that reversed? They’re coming out with a NEW big SUV, whichever it is!)

      This way, Honda has room to go upmarket with its offerings. Equip the Accord Touring Elite with all the same toys as in the ASEAN market (including a dash-mounted coin box and trunk pass-through). Keep the rest of the trims as-is, but make a six-speaker stereo standard across the range, and paddle-shifters standard on V6s. Make LED headlights optional on lower trims. Make the “Sport” trim a wheel/tire/spoiler option across the range. And for the love of all that is good and holy, put a damn light back in the glove box!

  • avatar
    kuponoodles

    The only new and exciting option in a minivan should be a port-a-potty.
    EX or top of the line models will have the famous Japanese butt washing and warm air blower options.

    If I was an engineer, I’d make millions.

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      Holy crap (pun intended)

      The Gotta-Go-and-Stow feature between the second row captain seats…when its not a port-a-potty, you can flip it over and play board games. Honda could use the in-vehicle vacuum system to deal with the waste factor.

      It will give the minivan segment another 5 years of life.

      I’m racing to my lawyer to patent this tomorrow and will be bidding this out to the 3 companies still making minivans early next week.

  • avatar
    sastexan

    My wife said that if I installed a plug next to the driveway, she would use the dirt devil to clean out the car (her excuse for having a dirty car). Lo and behold, that electrical outlet has been there for 2 1/2 years and used only once by her (but multiple times by me).

    I generally agree, though, that those who are spending nearly $50 large on these top-trim equipped vans are going to the car wash or having the car wash come to their house, rather than spending the time cleaning up after themselves. After all, why else would you buy one of these but to make your life “easier” because you spend the rest of your time doing other stuff?

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “…if I installed a plug next to the driveway, she would use the dirt devil to clean out the car (her excuse for having a dirty car).”

      Why does she need a plug? Some models can be plugged into the cigarette lighter.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Pretty clever move by Honda, they understand their van customers don’t mind/care if they make little investment in the actual drive-train or platform, but add few “gotta have it” gadgets and you make a splash.

  • avatar
    Acd

    It amazes me that people (such as my wife) can get all bent out of shape about how disgusting the house is when a few newspapers or magazines are lying on the coffee table but they don’t bat an eye driving a vehicle (like a Chrysler Town & Country) with actual dirt on every horizontal surface and the smell of some unknown rotting food from under a seat permeating the interior.

    A vacuum in a minivan is pure genius and a bunch of people in Auburn Hills are pissed that they didn’t think of this first.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      +10000

      My Mother is the queen of clean – in her house. You could perform surgery on any surface in that place. But her CAR?? Oh, Dear, GOD! There are cleaner third-world mud huts… I felt sorry for the poor valet who got to clean out her Routan when it was traded in. There were probably potatoes growing in the floor.

      There is no chance what-so-ever that she would ever touch a vacuum cleaner built into her car.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      How true. My wife is always leaving garbage in the vehicles, yet anyone who leaves mail on the kitchen table or counter is crucified.

    • 0 avatar
      dalava

      Guys are the opposite… we have a pigsty of a house, but car is spotless.

  • avatar
    jco

    i like your perspective here, Derek. but, just because they’re winning at chasing sales doesn’t mean they haven’t also lost their way. it just means they’ve sold out. that’s why you hate it when your favorite band sells out. everyone likes them, then they lose that little bit of ‘something’ that made you appreciate them in the first place. and their music gets bland to appeal to the wider audience.

    i still think Honda makes good cars. the re-do on the Civic shows they do care what their customers want. or at least they try to listen.

    honestly, I would LOVE to see them drop the NSX vaporware and develop a new volume sports car. make it a successor to the S2000. or a new generation of Civic Type R. it’s not like Honda hasn’t always sold boring cars. there were just other things on the lot so you didn’t notice as much. if they want so badly to be Toyota, look at how effective and successful the FRS has been. the new CTR is slated for 2015 I think. it would be a misstep to not invite the US to that party (again).

  • avatar
    Dr.Nick

    My next car is going to have a backup camera. I am a completely unstoppable parallel parker when I don’t have to worry about tapping the car behind me.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    “it’s an interesting reflection on how relevant the automotive press is to the average consumer and their needs. “Not at all” looks to be the answer.”

    Agreed!

  • avatar
    Freddy M

    I think that’s bringing up the age-old debate between a car designed to be the top of its class in performance, offerings and excitement (i.e. the enthusiasts goal) and one that dominates sales charts. There is no doubt that in the last few decades, Honda has figured out the perfect recipe to accomplish the latter. It is the former that enthusiasts and the automotive press are bemoaning, and as you yourself said, cars like the Integra GS-R fit the bill nicely for people like us, it just didn’t PAY the bills at Honda.

    I recently read a comment here or somewhere else (blasphemy!) that I’m going to badly paraphrase “Mazda seems to be the only automaker who is steadfastly making cars designed to be the best driving and enthusiast-oriented, and are being properly rewarded by being marginalized in the market.” My apologies to whoever wrote that, but it’s a fair point.

    Do I personally miss the “Honda of old” that designed cars that were a blast to drive? Sure. Do I blame them for doing what any right-minded business would do to ensure maximum long-term viability? Absolutely not. However their products no longer serve my needs sadly, but indeed serve many many others.

    All that said, that built-in Vacuum is pure genius, and quite typical of “Honda of old” thinking like no one else.

  • avatar
    jschinito

    we love our 2011 odyssey. people criticized the styling. others made me worried about the transmission (so i bought a 8/120k extended honda care). it drives and handles great. silky smooth engine and transmission. impressed how well it fights body roll and stays composed (and safe) when pushed in twisties for a car this size. very high quality interior. has only needed oil change about every 10k, amazing. and of course, ultimate utility carrying a roomful of people (+/- luggage, dog, etc)

    my first honda quite honestly. was biased against them due to their “boring-ness” but i agree with the author. they are common/high volume because they make incredibly competent cars.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Derek, I know you have said you would be sorry to see Mazda go away yet your comments seem to ridicule what they are trying to do ” No amount of Skyactiv technology, stick shifts or European inspired handling can make up for those three things”

    The CX-5 has single fold down seats (actually you can get 40:20:40 one lever fold down), rear view camera on the middle and top spec (which will be on the bottom spec next year I assume to comply with new regulations) and as for the load floor I don`t personally know but would assume it was acceptable. The Mazda then brings better fuel economy, better driving dynamics and better style to the table.

    The CRV is a great default choice. Just like the Corolla is in the compact market but nobody says it is one of the top cars in the class.

    I also note that several sales segments were left out as they don`t fit the narrative – the Fit and Pilot are only doing OK in sales.

    Don`t get me wrong, I think Honda is doing a lot right and the Accord Sport is a serious contender for me later this year (along with Mazda 6 Touring). But they are not without their faults.

    • 0 avatar

      Mike, what I want to see happen and what I think will translate into $$ for the auto maker are, unfortunately, two very different things

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      “The CRV is a great default choice. Just like the Corolla is in the compact market but nobody says it is one of the top cars in the class.”

      It’s finished second in the few comparison tests that it hasn’t won. It’s the best seller. Only the slow CX5 2.0 is more efficient, and none of the big selling engine options in others are as quick. People that comparison shop buy them. It has a low fleet sale percentage. Other than being a best seller, it is not much in common with the Corolla beyond reliability, a good reputation, and fuel efficiency. Saying it is merely one of the top cars in its class would have been a slight.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Boring can be good. My wife is considering a CRV for her next car. If a vehicle is dependable and does what it is suppose to do then it is a good vehicle regardless of what car enthusiast say. I do not need or want a minivan but give me boring any day over exciting and repair prone. Honda’s overall are finished much nicer than Toyotas and Nissans on the inside. Since I keep my vehicles 10 years are longer reliability is a major factor in any purchase I make. I presently have a 99 S-10 extend cab with a 5 speed manual 4 cylinder, 2000 Ford Taurus with the DOHC engine, and a 08 Isuzu I-370 crew cab and each has been fairly reliable. My wife had a 5 speed manual 77 Honda Accord hatchback for over 17 years and it was one of the best cars that we ever had. If that is boring then I will take it.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    OK, tell me how often you have actually seen a woman vacuum out a vehicle – any vehicle – like in that photo.

    That’s what I thought.

    This is like trying to get a kid to clean his room – absent any real desire to clean the room, making it easier for him to do the cleaning accomplishes nothing. This option makes it easier for the messier of the two spouses to make a showroom promise that NOW, I WILL keep the minivan cleaner – honest! That’s all.

    And people who do actually vacuum out vehicles know that the best way to make the job go better is to use the most powerful machine you can get your hands on, with the best set of attachments. There is no way this in-vehicle vacuum will match the performance of a large Shop-Vac, Rigid or Craftsman machine, to say nothing of a dedicated brand like Metropolitan/Air Force. Even given the time to roll out the machine from the garage and run a heavy-duty extension, I’ll still get finished faster and do a better job with one of those.

    • 0 avatar
      cargogh

      Exactly. It takes some power to lift pulverized sugary debris from beside the carpet and seat tracks, upholstery seams, or depressions for seatbelts. 1989 offered the Stinger concept with 2 on board vacs. Look how successful that made Pontiac.

    • 0 avatar
      deliverator

      I use my Kirby G6 2000 Limited Edition in canister mode to clean my car. Works beautifully. Sucks dirt like a sunufabitch. Yes I like my Kirby. It’s like having a car inside the house, kind of!

  • avatar
    mkirk

    When it gets a rubber floor and an on board fire hose I’ll bite

  • avatar
    iganpo

    Meh. 8 minutes is not a lot of time to properly clean out a car. Don’t like idling the engine and breathing exhaust fumes either. I’d rather leave my car filthy and pay someone to do a thorough vacuum every 3 months.

  • avatar
    KrohmDohm

    My wife bought a CR-V last year and traded in a Subaru Legacy 3.0R to get it. I was sad to see the Subie go as it was safe, reliable and had enough go-go to put a smile on my face on the rare occasions I drove it. However I understand why she wanted the CR-V. Great MPG for her long commute, quite and smooth ride, Bluetooth, back-up camera and 90 degree opening rear doors for getting our boys in and out. With increasingly rare exceptions Honda doesn’t make enthusiast cars anymore. Something folks like us need to accept. They are in the business of selling every car they make. In order to do so they have to give consumers two things.
    What they want.
    What they don’t know they want.
    The vacuum in the mini-van is one of those ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ innovations. It will put a check in the ‘Pro’ column for Honda when consumers cross shop vans and will undoubtedly sell quite a few more because of it. Honda may take a beating in shiny car magazines but most consumers don’t read them or care what they think anyway.

  • avatar

    “On the other hand, it’s an interesting reflection on how relevant the automotive press is to the average consumer and their needs. “Not at all” looks to be the answer.”

    Your statement is correct, but if you’re implying they should be, you’re wrong. The automotive press’ customers aren’t the average consumer. They’re not in the business of predicting sales or helping people make rational decisions.

    The average consumer doesn’t read any of the big magazines or any major car sites. They tend to go for raw(ish) data from Edmunds, About, KBB, etc or to Consumer reports. All of the above actually do a fine job of addressing the needs of the average consumer.

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    I drive a 2008 Honda Odyssey, I use mine a lot to haul my Newfies (for non-dog people Newfoundlands)to dog shows and various types of trials so the built-in vac would be something I can really use. Newfs shed a LOT. My only concern is that on board system Honda will employ is simply not up to the task of handling a couplel of uber-shedding newfs.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    This is actually very “Honda”. This idea that Honda at heart a Japanese version of BMW is the real misguided idea.

    Honda leaned A LITTTLE BIT to the fun side in the 90s with cars like the GS-R. But people bought those because they were very reliable and practical as well.

    They still werent exactly equivalent to a fox body mustang with a V8 in terms of fun potential..

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Next up, 2014 Accord EX-L with Mobile Director!


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