By on June 19, 2010

How does he stand now in your eyes, this captain,
the look and bulk of him, the inward poise?

Homer’s Odyssey, Book 11 lines 391-392

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47 Comments on “2011 Honda Odyssey: Homer or Strikeout?...”

  • avatar

    Definitely a Homer… Simpson.

    I don’t know what’s worse about that back end; the fact that it resembles two vehicles of dissimilar size grafted together, or the “Look at me!” sliding door track. Pretty bad when Honda in 2010 hasn’t yet caught up with 1990s Chrysler.

  • avatar

    No sir, I don’t like it. I have been shopping minivans but this one won’t make the cut. Actually, I think I’m going to scrap the idea and keep my XC90.

    They should have nixed the sliding doors and just given it 2 8 ft. doors. They could have filled a niche with it for sure.

    “The worlds first minivan COUPE…only, from HONDA.”

    • 0 avatar

      pb35: “They should have nixed the sliding doors and just given it 2 8 ft. doors. They could have filled a niche with it for sure.

      “The worlds first minivan COUPE…only, from HONDA.””

      That literally made me LOL.

    • 0 avatar

      The XC90, to this day, remains one of the best (most practically designed) SUVs made. That said, the tranny in our out of warranty 2005 XC90 T6 just blew and had to be replaced. Volvo was supportive through the process, however. More than I could ever have said about MB who barely supported our ML when it was in warranty…

  • avatar

    Children could get lost in that gaping sliding door track. Honda will still sell a zillion of them.

  • avatar


  • avatar

    Yuck. And I thought the Accord Crossover was fugly. Now it’s the “hot sister” of the family. I’m guessing Honda ignored all the pissed off people about the Acura beak and decided to implement something similar for the Honda line.


  • avatar

    Trick question, that’s not an Odyssey. That is a Ford Fusion front end grafted onto a Jeep Compass’ side doors grafted onto… the rear end of a car I don’t recognize.

    It’s not bad-looking, just really bland, but you can tell Honda and Toyota are phoning it in on models like this one that have no real competition.

    • 0 avatar

      @theLuigiian: “Trick question, that’s not an Odyssey. That is a Ford Fusion front end grafted onto a Jeep Compass’ side doors grafted onto… the rear end of a car I don’t recognize.”

      I’m guessing those taillights would interchange with the ones from the new Hyundai Sonata… Or maybe a recent 3 series BMW.

      “It’s not bad-looking, just really bland, but you can tell Honda and Toyota are phoning it in on models like this one that have no real competition.”


    • 0 avatar

      “the rear end of a car I don’t recognize.”

      I see some R-class there.

      Whatever happened to Honda going their own way with styling? In a GOOD way, that is?

  • avatar

    The new Odyssey makes the outgoing model look svelte by comparison. Not even taking into account the area behind the C pillar, there are elements of the new design that are simply clunky – for example, compare the B and C pillars of the current model (one of which is hidden behind glass) to those of the new one.

  • avatar

    The Mariana Trench sliding door track aside, I don’t think it’s that bad. Certainly the best looking Honda design in about 5 or 6 years. That a minivan takes such honors is a sad commentary on the dubious state of current Honda styling. I miss the clean, handsome design language of the ’92 – ’96 Civic line and it’s immediate predecessors.

  • avatar

    I prefer the styling of the 2010 model myself.

  • avatar

    To: Honda design team

    Re: What the heck is wrong with rear quarter panel? You need a ruler?

  • avatar

    Foul ball. I was following an older (05/06?) Acura TL and thought to myself, “That car can’t have been designed by Honda, it looks too good. It doesn’t have a stupid grille and its proportions are right. Surely, Honda must have fired that car’s designer for being competent.”

  • avatar

    I find Hondas just plain fugly nowadays. This latest frankenmobile confirms that they have completely lost the plot. Their design language is just bizarre… in a ’70s AMC kind of way. Ick.

    • 0 avatar

      I was thinking the same thing when I saw it. There are a lot of truly ugly Asian designed/approved vehicles coming out lately, but like many people have said, people will buy them anyway. Boring and ugly, it works for Honda. I have no idea why.

      Lately when I’ve been bored sitting waiting for my GF to come out of the store or something, I will take my camcorder out and point it at cars and it’s interesting to see how many Honda/Accura cars trigger it, front and rear. A lot of cars trigger it from the front end, but Honda vehicles trigger the face detection coming and going.

  • avatar

    It looks capable if they have lowered the center of gravity, given it better fuel mileage. The Odyssey was always the best driving minivan and Honda may have improved their driving formula. I’m kinda hoping Honda will also have a 4 cylinder option (similar to what Toyota has done) – the 2.5 liter i-VTEC mill would suffice for a good portion of buyers – drop the entry level price a little lower too.

    As for looks – I’ll hold judgment b/c I’m not a styling expert like those who posted before me here. It’s a frickin minivan…they will never look sexy or muscular or sleek. People don’t buy them for looks. In fact the 3/4 front view reminds me to the current Civic. I’ll step away from my computer and check out one at a dealership sometime or the next auto show in town before I make up my mind.

  • avatar

    My initial impression is that Honda apparently employed several committees to design different parts of the vehicle, but the committees never held a meeting to reconcile their differences and give the vehicle a unified appearance. It makes the current Chrysler minivan look downright attractive by comparison.

  • avatar

    Who’s in charge of Honda’s design department these days? Helen Keller?

  • avatar

    What is with Toyota and Honda trying to make their vans look as weird as possible? I’d guess they’re trying to get buyers who would only consider crossovers to get one, but crossover buyers want stylish cars with truck cues, not this thing. What is up with that rear end? It would look fine (except for the grille) if it didn’t drop a few inches towards the end.

  • avatar

    The Universal Constant of Honda Styling, 1995-2010: The purpose of each new model is to make the outgoing one look better.

  • avatar

    Honda definitely needs to shutter this American design studio they have. All the stuff coming out of there looks horrible!

  • avatar

    Who cares. It’s a minivan. People don’t care about the looks of these things. This will make Honda a crap-load of money no matter how it looks.

  • avatar

    I like it. In comparison, the Sienna looks angry and the Chrysler looks like it hasn’t changed in 15 years.

    The lightening bolt along the side is cool — gives a sense of motion, but still preserves views for those in the “way back”. I’m not in love with the grill, but the rear has interesting angles and it seems to come together well, better than the MDX.

    Beyond the looks are the qualities — lower center of gravity, flexible interior and class leading fuel economy. Perhaps the new Odyssey is the true “swagger wagon”?

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    I actually applaud them for trying to provide a bit of styling that goes off the beaten path.

    Unfortunately they have a bit of tarnishment due to the bad trannys of minivans past. The new Sienna looks a bit decontented compared with the prior generation.

    As for the Chrysler? It’s already getting long in the tooth. That may not be a bad place to be given the short purse strings of a lot of minivan buyers.

    Throw in several dozen models that can also seat seven and the Odyssey may not be able to carry it’s weight during the next several years. But then again there’s also leasing…

  • avatar

    The comment of Toyondai92

    “Who cares. It’s a minivan. People don’t care about the looks of these things.”

    sums up the comments of many (not all).

    What if Apple ,when they have started the work on the iPhone would have said “Who cares. It’s a phone. People don’t care about the looks of these things”?

    • 0 avatar

      but the iphone isn’t a huge hit because of its exterior design but because of the features and functionality it offers…

      Minivans are bought based on budget, features and safety not beauty or driving dynamics but in any case this van will look fine parked in a line outside schools everywhere.

    • 0 avatar

      “the iphone isn’t a huge hit because of its exterior design”
      It’s a huge hit partially because of its styling. There are phones out there with similar features. When the features are more or less the same the “cool factor” makes the sale.

      “Minivans are bought based on budget, features”
      There is an expression: “styling doesn’t cost money, features cost”, or more correct, a shape costs the same to produce if it’s either beautiful or unattractive.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I love all things Honda. Front? Fine. Rear? Fine. Interior? Excellent. Side view? This is hideous. Obviously the same bozos who screwed up Acura are running the asylum.

  • avatar

    Ugly in the side profile, for sure. Add to that ownership negative the usual, Honda power sliding doors that fail, the timing belt repair threat/expense, the harsh/noisy Honda ride, the rusting fuel filler necks that contaminate the fuel system, the transmissions that fail, the a/c problems, and “The Odyssey will be repulsive to individuals, and families alike.”

    • 0 avatar

      My wife and I have driven Hondas and Acuras since 1990 and have never had any of those problems you claim.

      But 9 cars isn’t a representative sample to define a set, just to assure that we continue driving them.

      Based on your enumeration, should we assume you’ve owned more and they’ve all had these problems? If so, why did you continue buying them?

  • avatar

    I wonder if it will preserve my favourite design features of previous editions, like the unbalanceable front end and the shifter with the default position of some lower gear? And a +1 to whomever mentioned the power door mechanisms, which are so much worse than Toyota and Mopar in so many ways (speed, reliability, control logic) it really makes one wonder if Honda employs any engineers.

    About the looks – I’m in the ‘couldn’t care less’ category. These vehicles have bigger problems.

  • avatar

    Is that “flame surfacing” on the rear flanks, ala Chris Bangle?

    Seriously though, it’s a MINIVAN!!!, who cares? get over it!

  • avatar

    This is too fugly, and I like minivans! The front is ok, the lightning bolt transferred hideously from concept, the side tracks are gaping. The van doesn’t look like it’s one car. Lower center of gravity, cylinder deactivation, and the best handling minivan, nice. Too bad you only see the ugly outside.

  • avatar

    It appears as though Honda cribbed styling cues from the Lincoln MKT, and ended up with an even uglier vehicle.

    However, that being said, my father-in-law’s Odyssey was problem free for the entire in-warranty period, and was a joy to drive compared to our Voyager. He has since sold it and bought a Ford Escape, and oddly enough prefers driving the Escape.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Wow, the side view is just horrible. The fussy middle door treatment, the Grand Canyon worthy door slide slot, capped off by that horrible flying buttress rear pillar. Yuck.

  • avatar

    Looks awful. Proportions and angels are totally messed. Almost as ugly as the Crosstour. New Sienne is awkward looking to.

    +1 for Chrysler T/C and Dodge Caravan which look as good as I can picture a minivan looking.

    This is all based on outside looks of course, the interiors of the Honda and Toyota will beat those of the Chryslers but are at different price points.

  • avatar

    Quite a coincidence that both the left side and right side blueprints got badly wrinkled down the middle, and no one noticed.

  • avatar

    Should be renamed Honda Oddity. Awful grill from the equally ungainly Crosstour. The “droop” of the “lignting bolt” and the exposed door track in the rear quarter panel are truly terrible design flaws. Crosstour, ZDX, CR-Z, and now this. Honda/Acura has just laid another egg in the design department.

    • 0 avatar

      Man oh man are you right about the crosstour, saw in the flesh for the first time a little while ago, what an ugly f’ing carish thing. Speaking of japanese cars in general, yesterday I saw a new Camry, with RED PIN STRIPING and “CAMRY” (italicized no less) at the end, a freaking camry with italicized words on the side of it (It’s like they are looking at the things that made pontiac so horrible in the 90’s and are saying, “hey we can do better than that” and they are in a bad sort of way.

    • 0 avatar


      While driving our barge the other day (a Budget moving truck), we noted the irony of a new Camry SE with a HUGE wing, very carefully color matched to an otherwise stock vehicle.

      I’m one of the first to argue that looks are in the eyes of buyers … but that was definitely unexpected.

  • avatar

    Absolutely hideous in profile, and I don’t like the grille, either.

    That step down is just terrible. I thought the hips on the charger and Mustang were bad, but this takes the cake- espeically combined with that ginormous door track.

    It’s like the person who designed the back third of the car never knew anything about the rest of the vehicle other than it was a minivan…it’s like two seperate designs mashed together.

    Honda needs to get it’s act together. The current Odyssey is by FAR the best looking van in the US, but this will definitely knock it down a few notches.

  • avatar

    It seems like whenever the public gets their first glimpse of a new version of a very popular and ubiquitous vehicle, the consensus is that the new styling is bizarre. But yet once we see these things out on the road (and in great numbers) after a few years they become familiar and the styling becomes at least acceptable or even liked.

    I felt this way when the current Accord came out, I was like WTF when I first saw pictures. Now a few years have gone by and I see about a thousand of these Accords on the road every day and it looks fine to me now. I don’t particularly like it, but it doesn’t seem bizarre to me like it did when I first saw it.

    The one car to which this “familiarity breeds acceptability” theory of styling will not apply is the current Acura TL. That car will never look OK no matter how many I see on the road for any amount of time.

  • avatar

    The Sebring of minivans. This actually makes the Sebring look like a cohesive design.

  • avatar

    There are three things that can be seen by the human eye from space; the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids at Giza, and the rear door track on a Honda Odyssey.

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