By on June 29, 2016

2015 Honda Odyssey EX

365 days ago, we drove away from the Honda dealer in a brand-new 2015 Honda Odyssey EX.

While minivan ownership was never an aspiration of mine, neither was I ever of the mindset that minivan ownership made it obvious that I was a parent. I figure the first boy we brought home from the IWK Health Centre had already made that apparent enough; my wife’s womb swollen with another boy serves as further evidence.

Children, a 70-pound Boxer/Ibizan Hound mix, periodic child care responsibilities, an ever-present InStep bike trailer, frequent grandparent visits, and a home renovation that’s not quite two-thirds complete don’t mandate minivan ownership.

But minivan ownership sure does make life easier.

One year into this four-year Honda Odyssey experiment, there are no regrets.

Let’s recap.

ODYSSEY?
We twice came close to pulling the trigger on a Toyota Sienna SE, but despite aggressive offers from our local Toyota dealer, we couldn’t settle. The Sienna, particularly after its MY2015 update, is an exceptional family hauler, but it feels like a gargantuan people carrier, which it is, when making its way down the road.

We weren’t open to the Kia Sedona (poor ride and handling balance, poor design aft of the first row), Nissan Quest (poor crash tests, not really available in Canada) or Mazda5 (no room for anything else with six humans aboard).

2015 Honda Odyssey EX

Three of my four siblings and one of my wife’s two siblings already owned Dodge Grand Caravans. We, like they, don’t enjoy driving Grand Caravans. Nevertheless, the Grand Caravan’s pricing scheme was too affordable to completely ignore. But because our neighbor had smashed his F-150 into our Kia Sorento causing an insurance claim essentially equal to the value of our vehicle, Chrysler dealers’ appraisals were so low that Grand Caravans became expensive. We were shopping around in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for different vehicles at dealers of all stripes and encountering varying degrees of poor offers on our trade, which had spent two months away being repaired, but we were still surprised when one Chrysler dealer wouldn’t even make an offer on our Sorento.

We also considered crew cab pickup trucks, but didn’t want to bring a wet dog in amongst the people. The Ford Flex was just too pricey. The Chevrolet Suburban, which we both want, was way too expensive new and still costly (and scarcely available) in pre-owned form. Honda Pilot pricing was essentially $5,000 CAD more than the equivalent Odyssey, we didn’t really want the old one, and we weren’t going to wait to get an unattractive new Pilot in its first model year. (The Honda Canada-supplied Pilot we eventually reviewed was, in fact, full of electronic gremlins.)

Fortunately, friends of ours who own Centennial Honda in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, made a fair offer on our trade, threw in a bundle of accessories, and sourced from the mainland the Obsidian Blue Odyssey we wanted. With outrageously strong residuals, the lease on an Odyssey EX, as opposed to lower trim levels with slightly poorer residuals and similar payments, brought our monthly expenditures down by a substantial margin.

FUEL?
In mostly urban driving, our 2015 Honda Odyssey achieves 23.5 miles per gallon, better than the 19 mpg city and 22 mpg combined ratings from the EPA. The onboard computer often reads 30.2 mpg on highway jaunts, better than the Odyssey’s 28 mpg EPA highway rating. We’re not driving aggressively, revving the 3.5-liter V6 to redline with Grammie and Grampie in the third row, but we don’t treat the Odyssey with kid gloves, either.

More power isn’t needed. A smoother-shifting six-speed automatic transmission would, however, make the most of the buttery smooth V6’s ample torque. Quicker steering, 52 extra horses, the Sienna SE’s 235/50R19s, a half-inch reduction in ride height, and all-wheel-drive availability would create a very desirable Odyssey Si that I would most definitely buy, or lease, tomorrow. Anybody getting in line behind me?

2015 Honda Odyssey EX collage

COSTS?
With only 9,000 miles rolled over on the Odyssey’s odometer in the last twelve months, our van has only been in for routine service once. That service, completed at Centennial Honda, was free. We have, however, visited Portland Street Honda because of squeaking, squawking, groaning, scrunching sliding doors. Only one visit, covered under warranty, was required to remedy the problem.

Aside from fuel, then, the only costs in terms of Odyssey upkeep related to tires: installing the winter tires and swapping them out this spring, immediately after which a puncture incurred a small charge that was actually covered by Portland Street Honda in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, because of accidental overcharging on a prior visit.

Oh, and one more thing. Before the winter took hold, I removed the Odyssey’s two front wiper blades in favour of Bosch Icons. Coastal living with salty roads demand good wipers, and the Bosch Icons are the best I’ve encountered. Easy to install, too.

FAULTS?
The Odyssey’s noisy sliding door issues aren’t, or weren’t, our van’s only signs of imperfection. The sunglasses holder, which doubles as a conversation mirror, is way too small as both a sunglasses holder and as a conversation mirror. The armrests move with the seats and have only two positions: up or down. They’re at the wrong height for me, thus forcing my shoulder deep into my occipital lobe.

We’ve long since come to grips with the Odyssey’s dual-screen layout, an infotainment unit I’ve harshly critiqued in the past but now find perfectly usable. But it took a while, and it still doesn’t like remembering how we want our two iPhones to be paired for phone and audio use.

While the LATCH system is a stand-out in the industry as a whole, it’s a pain hooking up and unhooking the middle seatbelts in both rows.

Though the Odyssey is sufficiently attractive at the front and back, I’m no fan of the sliding door track or the third row window’s uneven horizon.

FUTURE?
But these aren’t intrusive character flaws. Because of its outstanding fuel economy and lofty resale values, leasing a Honda Odyssey is a high-value proposition, at least for those whose annual mileage doesn’t serve as a limiting factor.

Given our circumstances, it’s hard to see us not continuing down the same path when we near the end of this van’s lease agreement. Our Honda Odyssey drives remarkably like an Accord, is built solidly, should prove capable of keeping my family safe if danger presents itself, fits anything and everything we throw at it, and doesn’t break the bank.

I’ll take three more years of the same, please.

[Image Source: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars]

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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90 Comments on “No Minivan Regrets: I’ve Been A Honda Odyssey Owner For One Year, And I Like It...”


  • avatar
    Kenmore

    “my wife’s womb swollen with another boy”

    Gotta be a weird feeling to know you’re responsible for that.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Also, CONGRATULATIONS!!

      • 0 avatar
        Timothy Cain

        Thanks.

      • 0 avatar
        BobinPgh

        Congratulations for what? Destroying the environment worse than any jet setting playboy ever could in his lifetime?

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Wow, Bob,
          You get invited to a lot of parties in Pittsburgh?

          And please allow me to be the first to give you my heartfelt thanks for all you’re done for the environment. I used to think of myself as an environmentalist, but when I heard about your commitment, I felt only shame.

          A lot of guys would feel bad about being a eunuch, but you’ve shown us all what a proud role model really is. Thank you.

          • 0 avatar
            BobinPgh

            Actually, I have been invited to parties. But never tell a pregnant woman congratulations, it just encourages her to get pregnant again for the attention and that ruins our environment. Also, minivans have a rather short life span so they end up in the junkyard earlier than other vehicles. Also, all the plastic in the Pacific Ocean I never created because most of it has the Playskool and Little Tykes labels that a jet setting playboy would never buy.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            This is fascinating, Bob,
            So you think that the real reason that women decide to become pregnant is they are hoping that maybe, just maybe you might tell them “congratulations”. It must be heartbreaking for them when they realize it ain’t happening.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Ironically minivans are frequently repaired numerous times and run into the ground by the working poor.

          • 0 avatar
            gearhead77

            So, Bob. You just troll until a family vehicle review comes out and then crap all over those of us who chose to have kids? Did you drink too much Monongahela river water in the 60’s ? In the parlance of our city, you’re a real jag off!

            We get it, you don’t like kids. Move on.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Miracle of Birth Occurs for 83 Billionth Time

      http://www.theonion.com/article/miracle-of-birth-occurs-for-83-billionth-time-775

    • 0 avatar
      baggins

      Kenmore, not as weird as if you’re not responsible for it

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I hadn’t realized yours was a lease. Given that this is a family car, versus some realtor’s scarcely-used 3-Series, it’ll be interesting to see how lenient Honda is with wear-and-tear (of which there is bound to be some).

    Resale value is something a lot of people don’t consider when they’re purchasing cars, either. Yes, that Dodge Dart was cheaper than the Toyota Corolla you were looking at. However, it’s now been a year, and the Dart is worth approximately the same value as a McDonald’s Happy Meal (and I’d rather have the Happy Meal).

    • 0 avatar
      cgjeep

      When my twins were born we leased a 2010 Oddesy for three years. Honda is very conservative with their lease residuals. We got $4,500 more than the residual value for it as a trade in after 3 year lease. They should be fine.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      My experience says Honda Canada is sufficiently lenient. The dealer threw in full floor trays and second row seat covers, in part because we asked, in part because they know they’ll want this van back from us before the lease expires (before Honda Canada’s rep. looks at it) because of pre-owned demand.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        In 2010 we chose the Sienna over the Odyssey. I just could not get comfortable in the driver’s seat. You can get a Grand Caravan for much cheaper but they are throw away appliances.

        The current Odyssey with that chrome bezel around the side windows makes me thing the vehicle is a hearse especially in a dark colour.

        “We also considered crew cab pickup trucks, but didn’t want to bring a wet dog in amongst the people.”

        The wet dog still is sort of “among the people” in a minivan. That is where I like my truck better. They can ride to the river in the cab but are definitely tethered in the box when they are wet.

        You can’t beat a minivan for versatility though. The only thing more versatile is a crewcab pickup.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Yeah, tethering a wet dog to the cab is one thing. But do it with the third child and suddenly the cops are all up in your face.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @VoGo – I’ve occasionally wanted to tether my son’s to the back bumper like American Vacation but like you said, the cops don’t like that sort of thing.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I think you should be able to get a free pass if they are bratty teenagers.

        • 0 avatar
          SSJeep

          It sounds like Mr. Cain learned a hard lesson – nobody ever wants to drive a Kia Sedona. Used Sedonas are lot poison nowadays. The Odyssey and Sienna are the only minivans people actually want.

          Given my choice, Id go with the Odyssey because it looks much better than any of the others – almost like a crossover – and gets better mileage.

          • 0 avatar

            “It sounds like Mr. Cain learned a hard lesson – nobody ever wants to drive a Kia Sedona. Used Sedonas are lot poison nowadays. The Odyssey and Sienna are the only minivans people actually want.”

            I bought a 2015 Kia Sedona just recently. We love it. And I didn’t pay the Honda tax on it. Interestingly, Sedonas seem to sell pretty quickly, at least on the first lot we checked out.

          • 0 avatar
            Timothy Cain

            I’ve never owned a Sedona, SSJeep.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    The whole minivan stigma perplexes me. I honestly think that it is quietly perpetrated by the mfgs to get people into higher profit SUVs that make less sense for most. Whatever.

    The Honda drives better and uses less fuel than the Toyota, and when you remove the second row seats, the tracks don’t stick up out of the floor (really, Toyota?!).

    The Honda’s roof is too low for upright bicycle hauling. CAFE is impinging on everybody, and a lower roof helps a bit with that. See also the latest Q4. Look for more of the same from others.

    Be happy that you’ve only been in once for sliding door problems. Honda is slowly figuring it out. Our first generation version was in ELEVEN times for door issues. We finished one winter trip with a door that would not completely latch. It was so bad that Honda gave my wife a $2,500 rebated check when she purchased her Element.

    Finally, very sadly, you cannot pair the Sienna SE’s nice handling upgrades with AWD, a combination I would happily purchase tomorrow (though our LE AWD does fine for what it is — a 22 mpg snowmobile).

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      A friend of mine was a salesman at a Chrysler-Plymouth agency in the late 1990s-early ’00s; through the minivan boom and into their sudden rejection by mums in favor of Lara-Croft-style Jeeps and SUVs.

      His observation that one of the biggest minivan buying demographic, and the one completely uninterested in the stigma suddenly attached to them, were…OLDER MALES.

      They were buying them as an alternative to mini-pickups. They were not interested in third-row seating or interior upgrades – they were looking basically at a panel truck with glass. Haul crap. Haul toys. Travel in them and sometimes camp in them.

      I’ve never understood the sudden minivan-hate, either I inherited my old man’s Gen-1 Caravan; it was useful enough that after I sold it, I missed it. I got, as a second-car replacement, a well-worn blob-sided 1995; and when the transmission went out on it, I bought a better example, a 1996.

      The capper was when that body style was being phased out, with the exit of Daimler, in 2007…I got a leftover ’07, with heavy rebates, (relatively) new. It was a long-distance dealer swap – the dealer found it 800 miles away but was willing to trade. So it got driven up and I got my thousand-mile new Chrysler minivan.

      NO problems with it, except that I abused the crap out of it. Towing, and an accidental off-road (wrong turn in a hurry near Forest Service land). So I traded it off with 47,000 miles on it; and that, too, was probably the smart plan. The Ultradrive was a time bomb and I hadn’t babied it.

      I don’t have one now because the new ones are neither cheap nor overly appealing; but the basic format should be expanded into a wider price range. Not dropped in favor of whatever trendy model is out there today.

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        More often than not, it seems women are the ones worried about the minivan image. One of the guys I work with readily acknowledges that a minivan is the best and most practical vehicle for he and his now growing family but his wife resolutely refuses to have one. Period, no negotiations. She is only interested in a CUV. The only reason my friends who now own and love their minivan have it is because the husband overruled the wife and insisted they look at it. She now loves it too. My aunt that has one and loves it only went for it after renting one for a road trip and seeing how useful it was. My Dad enjoys my parent’s van. He likes the power (its a pentastar T&C) and loves the space and utility. Fits everything he could want for home improvement projects and family road trips. It’s made 3 runs from Florida to NY and back in a year. Sure he’d like a truck cause he always likes trucks, but he’s fine with the van because he knows it’s best for him and Mom.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @tjh8402 – agreed. All of my wife’s friends have dumped the minivan because of the stigma. You have the higher financial end of the “stay at home mom” demographic that wants to stay trendy and not look like they’ve “given up”. That kills the minivan even in luxury trim since it still is just a minivan. The “rich bitches” buy Lexus and infiniti or Escalades and the rest buy the mid-pack CUV’s SUV’s to try to keep up.

          I’ve seen a lot of Jeep Wranglers bought by women since they don’t fit the CUV as minivan replacement mold.

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            @Lou_BC – that’s exactly right.and I don’t get it. How does being driving an Explorer, Range Rover, or Lexus RX like every other parent in the carpool lane somehow make you stand out from the rest or indicate that, unlike allegedly everyone else, you are Stacy’s Mom and you’ve got it going on (even though she had a Mercedes SLK)? For the record, my good friends wife with the minivan does have it going on, and that’s a compliment coming from a guy like me.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            tjh8402 – it is Styx The Grand Illusion on continuous replay.

            My kids went to a private Christian elementary school because we liked the values and education. For some it was to say their kids went to a private school and/or to be in a position for suck azz social climbing.

            My youngest son is pretty laid back and was friends with all of the daughters of the truly wealthy in the group. It was funny to see the backbiting and jealousy.
            “How did you do that? Um….. he’s just a good kid that girls like.

        • 0 avatar

          When her kids were young and they needed a hauler, my sister would not consider a minivan. (I don’t think my brother in law was keen on it either.) They got a Volvo XC90. I don’t get the stigma, which I’ve heard about from many sources. Well, maybe I do. I think women feel safer and more powerful in an SUV, and that they don’t like the Mom-mobile image. But I don’t agree with this. They should be proud of having families.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            ” I think women feel safer and more powerful in an SUV, and that they don’t like the Mom-mobile image. ”

            In my part of the US of A, the full-size Suburban reigns supreme as Mom’s Taxi or the Mom-mobile.

            And many of those Suburbans date back to the seventies, eighties and nineties, but are still doing the daily-driver duty, some handed down from the baby-boomers to their kids.

            A testament to the utility of the Suburban, because not everyone can afford to buy one new for $70K.

  • avatar
    Joss

    +1 Odyssey.

    Me local Niss has 2 new unsold Quest a 2011 & 2013.

  • avatar
    John

    Here’s my minivan story (Sienna) – if you want to get in a professional rock band, but you’re not a fabulous musician – get a van. When you audition, the band members will think – eh, he’s not so hot – but HE HAS A VAN! The drummer with a big kit whose only transportation is a Harley Sportster will insist the other members offer you the job (yes – I did play in a band where the drummer had a big kit, and rode a Sportster – musicians tend to be impulsive folks, not planners). I was also involved in carpooling kids to school back then. Make fun of them all you want, for transporting people and stuff, it’s hard to beat a minivan.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    it’s probably confirmation bias, but I can’t recall the last time I saw on Odyssey on the road which was being driven at more than 15 mph below the posted speed limit.

    • 0 avatar
      Kiefmo

      Curious — most around here hustle.

      Me included. They aren’t as under-the-radar as some seem to think, though. I’ve gotten three tickets in the last 5 years.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    The lease game around here is to forgive minor wear and tear items and mileage over the lease limit if you lease the replacement from the same dealer. If you don’t re-lease then they go nuts with charges for even normal wear and tear.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    My wife had a 2006 Ody for eight years, and it was a great family car. It got good highway mileage, not so good in town. Ours was reasonably reliable, but had two somewhat expensive repairs that Honda picked up. It was hard on brakes and especially front tires, even with frequent rotation the first set of four tires were gone in 19,000 miles.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Congrats on the new kid and on the vehicle. These really are the most useful vehicles on the market and probably one of the most rational purchase decisions anyone with a family will ever make. I will never understand the hate directed at them. Everyone I know that has a minivan (my mother, her sister, and a good family friend) started out as minivan haters until they got one. Now they all love having it. It’s just so useful and makes their lives so much easier. My (stylish fashion conscious 30 year old) sister desperately wants one despite her only kids being the furry variety for right now.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Well Tim I am a confirmed mini-van advocate. But I have one question and one comment.

    1) Why do you not like driving a Grand Caravan. If FCA could ever create one that with some long term reliability I would never own another type of vehicle.
    2) You wrote that: “Quicker steering, 52 extra horses, the Sienna SE’s 235/50R19s, a half-inch reduction in ride height, and all-wheel-drive availability would create a very desirable Odyssey Si.” Personally any of those would in my estimation detract from the vehicle. I hate quick steering on the highway. 19 inch tires are too expensive and hard to source in winter format. A reduction in ride height makes it harder to get into/out of for seniors, restricts its performance in heavy snow and removes something more useful in winter than AWD. AWD is much too hyped and more expensive to operate/maintain.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      1) Everything? It doesn’t handle, it copes, feeling like it weighs about 500 pounds more than it does. The transmission shifts like you’re only one shift away from it no longer capable of shifting. And everything I touch feels like chintz.
      2) Point by point. A) I didn’t say quick, I said quicker. Minivan steering is minivan steering for a reason, but that reason (what the people want) is not applicable to me. B) Hard to source? Not here. Everything has a cost. When everybody was on 15s, 17s seemed costly. And you can always do a +1/-1. C) Half an inch, Arthur. Nothing crazy. And I’m no senior, not that I think a half-inch drop in a minivan’s ride height would hurt a senior, who wouldn’t be buying my dream Odyssey Si anyway. D) AWD is hyped. I’m a believer that winter tires are a must – in my climate – regardless of whether you’re in a RWD, FWD, or AWD vehicle. But we live in an extraordinarily hilly city which, in the winter of 2014-2015 for instance, was largely ice and snow covered for a couple of months. AWD would have been very, very useful. I had the opportunity to drive a Sienna AWD for a week during the worst of that winter. It was charming. (https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/capsule-review-2015-toyota-sienna-awd/)

      • 0 avatar
        JustPassinThru

        After I sold my 2007 T/C minivan, I got, as a beater, a 2002 Dodge conversion van. Excellent shape; and bought it within weeks of selling the minivan.

        The two didn’t compare. The driving position in the minivan was FAR superior. The dash was much lower and visibility much better.

        The power steering in the minivan had some road feel; in the old-school Ram Van it was numb.

        The V-6 in the minivan had a lot of get-up-and-go. In the Dodge, their truck 90-degree V-6, it was both sleepy and thirsty. No, nothing wrong with it – just a poor design, and tired with 80,000 miles on it.

        If there was ever a minivan design that was SPOT…ON…it was that 2001-07 Chrysler minivan. It hit so many things right on…the only glitch I know of was the time-bomb Ultradrive.

        Shame it went away. I haven’t driven one of the new ones.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I agree that owning a minivan, particularly if you have a handful of kids to haul around is pretty convenient. I do take issue with the Odyssey though. It being the only minivan I have ever owned (well leased) for 3 years. I was not at all happy with it. My wife had come out of a Flex limited and we wanted to try a minivan due to the convenience factor. We settled on the Odyssey as it was really only between it and a Sienna. I really wanted a Nissan, I really enjoyed the buttery smooth ride and upscale interior, but vetoed by the wife due to quirky looks.

    We ultimately settled on the Odyssey, it was a 2012 but it is the same in appearance as the one you have. I believe it was the EX-L trim? The one right below Touring if memory serves with DVD player. To start, whomever says the Odyssey is the “driver’s choice” in the minivan segment is really misusing that term. I found its suspension to be rather bouncy and uncontrolled on rough/uneven surfaces. Roll and dive is pretty evident. Power is more than adequate, but there is literally nothing about its driving characteristics that want to make you go faster or instill confidence in its handling. I suspect that is true of most of its competitors as well.

    Compared to the Flex Limited which we previously enjoyed, the Odyssey is decidedly a downgrade in terms of interior and ride. Even at a $38K sticker price, there were plenty of cheap bits to be found everywhere in the Odyssey, the faux aluminum stuff comes to mind even several years after. I recall the $33K sticker for a Flex Limited (as I had it configured) would later seem like a complete bargain in terms of quality materials, I dare even say build quality. The ride on the Flex was also miles ahead of the Odyssey. The Flex always felt planted, never floaty/bouncy and it was composed on any surface.

    I had a few nagging quality issues with my Odyssey, primarily the cylinder deactivation system that the dealers would not even inspect under warranty because spark plugs were wear items not covered. It was never fixed as they could not duplicate it and it was turned in at lease end with the CEL lit. Goodbye herky jerky finicky Honda. I also had issues with at least one of the sliding doors and as I recall some of the trim around the windshield and windows had pulled away.

    The biggest disappointment of the Odyssey had to be the standard equipment. For $38K sticker, I later developed buyer’s remorse as it did not come with roof rails, fog lights, the leather was cheap in appearance and feel, stereo was not great. I guess I felt a little let down.

    The Odyssey does, when working properly, get admirable fuel economy. The trip computer is a dam liar though, don’t even bother looking at it. I achieved mid 20’s on a trip to Florida loaded with kids and gear over several fillups. Not bad.

    In the end, my wife hated it. Hated having to drive a minivan on any errand that did not involve packing it with children. We ended up replacing it with an Enclave. The lease payment on the Enclave with leather package was lower, significantly. The interior feels much richer, the ride is quieter, smoother, more composed. It fits all the kids. Wife likes to drive it. Happy campers.

    I wouldn’t fault anyone for owning or even wanting a minivan. It is an extremely practical choice. But there is no denying that it is a choice that you are largely forced into by virtue of family size. While I can completely understand a minivan purchase, I would not recommend the Odyssey in particular to a friend.

    • 0 avatar
      cimarron typeR

      Ironically, we traded our Enclave for a 2012 sienna awd limited. I never could tolerate a poorly programmed auto trans and the ride height gave my wife back pain putting our littlest in the infant child seat over several months time. Which is something impossible predict on a test drive.
      However I do miss the “quiet tuning” of Enc. I have read that the 2015 sienna is a bit quieter on update.
      The seats are more comfortable in the Sienna , to me at least.The v6 6spd combo shift programming is spot-on and more spritely with better MPGs than our Buick.
      I’m planning on either keeping this particular van for some time. We are fortunate to have more dynamic vehicles which come and go ,
      but I think they will rotate around a Sienna as go-to family hauler for the next decade or so

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    What specifically didn’t you like about the ride/handling balance of the Sedona? That and the Pacifica are just about the only minivans I think I could bear to have in my driveway. We are looking to start producing humans this year and I’m really hoping we can make do with a 2 row crossover. It’s a shame Kia doesn’t have a version of the Santa Fe Sport as that would be ideal for me…. but between that, the new Sportage, and used Q5/RDX/MKCs I think we will find something we like.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Here’s my Sedona review. (https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/review-2015-kia-sedona-two-strikes-kia-steps-minivan-batters-box/)

      If you’re into Kia, what’s wrong with the latest Sorento? You don’t need the third row. Handsome, high quality interior, different powertrain options, a roomier-than-before second row. I’m a fan.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        We will probably check the Sorento out, but I’ve got 2 issues with the new one. 1 garage space is a little tight, and the growth of the new one could potentially be an issue. 2 I’m just not crazy about the new one’s exterior, though I love the new dash design. On the flip side I hate the old one’s ancient looking dash, but prefer its exterior. The new Sportage gets the design right in and out, will definitely fit in our garage and is a good bit cheaper too.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          sporty, the new Sorento is nice, but look at the higher trim levels with the upgraded interior.

          The lower trims are very plasticky, feel cheap, and are hard to the touch in the soft areas like arms rests and door panels.

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    As a owner of a 2008 Odyssey, I can’t understand all the stigma attached to mini vans; I’ve got two Newfies (Newfoundlands to no-dog people) to haul around to dog shows and the Odyssey is the pefect vehicle. The fuel economy is quite good, and its reliability has been great. I bought mine in 2010 with just over 20,000 miles on it-it now has 129,000 miles and has been extremely reliable. I plan on driving it a few more years. All in all a great vehicle.

  • avatar

    Congratulations on the upcoming boy.

    Kudos for leasing the mini van, its a lifestyle vehicle that works well for you and the next few years. Once the lease is up you can consider another vehicle.

    What residual factor did Honda Finance use for the 48 month lease?

    How is the service experience, leasing in PEI and servicing in NS?

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      There’s no issue with the service experience on account of the differing dealers participating.

      There was a hiccup (https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/11/long-term-update-four-months-2015-honda-odyssey-ex/), but it didn’t have anything to do with where we acquired the vehicle and where we have taken it for some tire stuff. In my experience servicing new vehicles at different dealers, they don’t care if it was bought there – they just want your money and your future business. Such is the case with our Odyssey. PSH had a chance to sell us an Odyssey and missed it, but if they want to fix my sliding doors, I’ll let them. I can look for some paperwork to answer your other question, or you can DM me on Twitter.

  • avatar
    Michael Haz

    I bought my current Odyssey in 2002. It has approx 300,000 miles on the odo, and still runs wonderfully well. Original engine with no work other than the “tune-up” called for every 100,000 miles, including a new belt and water pump. Honda replaced the transmission at no cost to me at 65,000 miles even though the car was out of warranty. Original exhaust system, other than the catalytic converter, which was ripped out by thieves.

    My oil of choice is Mobil 1, which I began using after the first oil change. The engine now consumes about 1/2 quart every 7,500 miles, which is my oil change frequency.

    This minivan was (for me) a great buy, and has served my family very well. I’m now past the minivan age, and when I finally replace this vehicle, the replacement will likely have the same Honda V-6 engine.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    In my house, minivan is apparently a dirty word. I get looks of murderous hatred from my wife if I bring up getting a minivan – even though we’ve owned a Honda Element and a second gen Scion xB. Go figure.

    Since we’re planning to adopt one or two children, there may be a change in attitude. But she’s already talking BMW or Mercedes station wagon. “Twice the price and half the utility!”

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      Don’t forget double the downtime. Having owned a Mercedes and currently own a BMW, get yourself a top-shelf warranty with a guaranteed loaner, you’ll be using it a lot.
      She’ll get sick of the things after they flake out in new and interesting ways time and time again.
      I liked the Quest above all others and was in the dealer getting ready to pull the trigger on financing. We slept on the deal and the next day the small overlap tests came out and we never looked back. It’s a shame, the interior of the Quest was, in my opinion, the best of all minivans. Sure it looked like a toaster with wheels and the non-flat folding seats cut down on usable space, but unless you’re hauling furniture regularly, I didn’t feel that it was a dealbreaker. Oh well, now we have a Navigator L.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’ve proudly owned minivans for 20 years.

    Yes, it’s a sign of having a family (why the shame there?), but it’s also like having a truck with a cap over the bed. I can bring a couch home (dry) in a rainstorm, while the guy in his short-bed F150 can’t.

    From best to worst:
    2009 Kia Sedona (2010-present)
    1996 Plymouth Grand Voyager (1996-2005)
    1998 Dodge Grand Caravan (2007-2010)
    2005 Honda Odyssey (2005-2007)

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I think there is space in the market for a “crossoverized” AWD van to give the Sienna some competition. The pre ’11 AWD Siennas had an extra inch of ground clearance and Toyota’s older but more robust (but less efficient) AWD system. My relatives in Siberia have such an AWD Sienna, a heavily used import from the US. It handled the rutted and muddy road to the dacha after some rain with no problem at all. Very soft and cushy ride that eats up the potholes and wavy pavement on local paved roads as well. I might actually consider scooping one of these older generation vans for myself.

    • 0 avatar
      yamahog

      What are the vehicle importation rules like in Russia? Why would they import a Sienna but not a Previa / Hiace ? Just curious, one Toyota fan to another.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Oh there’s a metric TON of JDM stuff hanging around. Unfortunately recent laws have made it much more difficult to import used cars, some importers have resorted to shipping in sawed-in-half cars to sell as “parts” then literally reweld them together once they’ve arrived. Gone are the days of clean and tidy fresh off the boat low mileage JDM Carinas for $5k USD. Back in the 90s, guys from Central Siberia would take a train out to Vladivostok with a bag of cash, buy a clean car right off the boat or at an auction yard, and then drive across the entirety of Siberia to get back. This was before the entire length was paved, and highway bandit shakedowns were a regular thing. These entrepreneurs would drive in convoys and use other tactics to make it home in one piece. A romantic time in the past, things have definitely changed for the better, but cool and cheap boat-fresh JDMs are no more.

        Although some cities have what feels like 75%+ RHD vehicles on the roads, some folks in more western parts of Siberia, and especially the European part of Russia, prefer left hand drive.

        Mitsubishi Delica Super Exceeds, Toyota Town Ace Noahs (my personal favorite), HiAce, Mazda Bongo Friendee, Efini MPV, they’re all there! It is simply dizzying the variety of cars you see specifically in Siberia. In addition to the vast array of cool used Japanese domestic market stuff, locally assembled land Cruiser Prados and Renault Logans and Russian cars, there’s new Peugeot and Renault dealers (Duster is a huge hit), a smattering of Chinese cars, tons of Euro-market German cars as well as Euro-market Land Cruiser Prados and other euro-market LHD japanese stuff. American market japanese stuff is VERY popular, the number one car being the 1st gen Highlander, but Sienna, GX470, LX470, Land Cruiser, Camry, Sequoia and even the odd Tundra can be found. American makes are perhaps the most rare since spare parts are difficult to get and just a lack of familiarity. I saw a tatty 92-95 Taurus with the bottom lip of the front bumper removed (or torn off) to improve ground clearance. I get the biggest kick out of seeing used commercial vehicles: a mid 80s looking French tour bus with the bus company’s livery still on it, Mitsu Canter trucks shuddering down dusty roads covered in Japanese advertisements.

        It is truly the global melting pot of cars due to the unique geographical positioning. Who would have thought this would be the case??

        • 0 avatar
          yamahog

          It makes perfect sense that it’s a melting pot – a hard environment calls for tough cars and most places have a few good designs and a place with off-road -40 degree C operating conditions seperates the wheat from the chaff.

          You make it sound like a neat place to visit! I love any place with cool Toyotas. There’s a convience store near my apartment that seems to be a front for a mob. You can go there at 4 am and see a lot of big guys eating ice cream and wearing suits standing near blacked out Land Cruisers / LXs. I love that place and love the trucks but don’t want any trouble so I just leave it at ‘cool truck’

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Haha that sounds about right, are you in the US or somewhere else?

            Things are very different now in Russia thankfully, I remember walking out of Sheremetevo airport in Moscow in the early 2000s and seeing a row of black Merc G-wagens parked right up front in a restricted area. Serious looking guys in the arrival area waiting to pick up their ‘bratki.’ Good luck telling someone like that to move their truck, or god forbid towing it. Those days are over by and large, but less blatant/overt corruption and intimidation occurs at higher levels (ie government) to this day.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      GMC SAFARI!

  • avatar
    e30gator

    I hated the idea of a minivan…at first.

    Initially, our little family of four made do with a ’09 Saturn Aura XR bought new (for a screamin’ deal). The trunk opening is way too small and the rear seat is hard to get kids in/out of. The Saturn went to the wife for work commutes. Next, I sold my old Volvo 850 for a much newer Volvo V70 T5 wagon (dream car at the time). Though the added space in the back was a plus, the back seat felt as cramped as the Saturn, so we traded it on a new(er) Nissan Quest.

    I’m now in my third year of minivan ownership and I can say it’s hands down the best family car we’ve owned. Big, comfortable, reliable, safe, and perfectly disposable. I can even fit my kayak, bike, and camping gear in the back and still close the hatch. It will eventually be replaced with a current gen Sienna.

    The only caveat is the soccer dad stigma (which I couldn’t care less about anyway), but then I still have my F-150 and Z3 Roadster at my disposal.

  • avatar
    tubacity

    Beware VCM problems. Not very frequent but does occur. Can buy a resistor-connector setup to fool the control system into not deactivating cylinders. It can cause problems. Rough running, feeling like missing at times. Later, if you are not lucky, oil burning, stuck rings, scored cylinders. Got to watch the oil dipstick like a hawk. Sometimes oil burning is quite fast. Once the engine burns oil, low oil level can kill the engine. Problems do not happen immediately from new so you might get away with it until the lease ends. Then it is the second owner’s problem. VCM is part of the reason for fairly good fuel economy for the size and weight.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      My sister-in-laws Odyssey apparently burns oil like crazy. Don’t know the age of the van, it was a replacement for her Caravan which was a real pain.

  • avatar
    blarfmarfle

    I’ve owned the Ford Flex (2 of them), a Mazda5, and now an 2012 Odyssey for family hauling. The Odyssey is the most practical of the bunch, by far, but the Flex was my favorite by a mile.

    The Mazda5 is perfect for a young couple with their first kid. I guess they aren’t selling these anymore, but they could be had fully loaded for about $25k, which is half what a fully loaded Ody goes for. You get the convenience of the sliding doors, decent fuel economy around town, and easy parking due to smallness. You also get terrible road and wind noise on the highway, lousy cargo room with the rear seats up, and general low quality interior appointments. But again, price, size and those sliding doors are a great combo for a family just starting out. When Ford announced they were bringing the C-Max to the US, I was thrilled, because that was basically a nicer Mazda5- oops, they’re bringing the non-sliding door model, and it’s going to be a hybrid, so sorry.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      We were stuffing 3 kids into the back seat of a 2-door 82 Ford LTD for two years before we broke down and got a minivan. So the minivan purchase doesn’t have to be for the very first child. :)

    • 0 avatar
      PandaBear

      You can get a former rental almost out of warranty 5 at mid trim for $14k. That’s almost impossible to beat if you need a van but don’t want to pay too much.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Your comment on the dual screen infotainment seems common with many longer term owners. I’ve only used them for brief periods and still find them confusing. Still I’m glad I have base Acura, because it’s simpler to upgrade which I might do someday.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      Ditto. I’m two years in and we still need two people to run the movies and phone and trip info without flying the thing into a ditch. Good luck tuning the radio (presets don’t count) in under five moves.

      I talked my parents out of a sweet deal on an MKX for this very reason (unlearn-able controls). Still love the van overall, as it’s basically a Tardis on interior space, and is super-light on costs.

  • avatar
    Willyam

    Ok, since there’s been some great stories, here’s mine.

    I complain a lot about my 2014 EX being a nag. I try to open a door for the kids, they pull the lever or hit the button simultaneously causing lots of beeping, and then no one goes anywhere until the appropriate “time-out” period is over.
    The rear hatch can be the same way, as well as the completely bizarre sunroof controls that are all the same color and have me turning on the interior lights when I want to vent the roof.

    Here’s where it’s really like Hal 9000…

    The other evening we removed some seats and consoles (man that’s useful sometimes) and took the kiddos to the drive-in when it began to rain. I took a turn in the back entertaining toddlers, and put the older daughter in the drivers seat. Had to talk her through defrost, wipers, manually shutting off lights to be courteous to our fellow patrons, etc. She must have kicked the fuel door release at some point.

    Back home, I pressed the sliding door button to get to the first kid seat. Nothing but beeps. I reached behind the seat and hit the switch on the pillar. Beeps again. Tried the interior handle. More beeps and time-out. Now I was mad, and would not be beaten. I grabbed the door lock slider and pulled up. It was snatched back down as if by the disembodied hand from the Addams Family. I was too stupid to give up, so the lock and I wrestled for a bit. I got out into the garage, and the exterior handle moved, but you guessed it, still just beeped and ignored me. Before rolling down the sliding door window (man is that also useful on a van) I finally noticed the fuel-door was popped out, and it’s right in the path of the sliding door.

    Props to Honda on the bodywork-saving idea, but some sort of warning light or eighties Chrysler voice would have saved a bunch of time here.

  • avatar

    The choice between and Oddy and Sedona isn’t as clear in the used car market.

    I love our 2015 Sedona. Seriously. It was a bargain used, it drives very well–shrinking at speed. And the third row is actually not a bad place to be at all. Everyone who’s ridden in it loves it. We also haven’t had any oddball gremlins.

    The LX with the convenience package is danged compelling used. And for what I could have paid for a 2012 Oddy, I get a vehicle three years newer with less miles and an actual, you know, warranty. To say nothing of roadside assistance.

    People always bring up resale, as if it’s universally valuable. It is, if you change cars like socks. The resale issue will only crop up if we total our Sedona, to be honest, as we’re not the kind of people who believe in trading in every few years. The kind of buyer I am–the kind of person who recognizes driving a vehicle a long time saves money–isn’t interested in the resale argument. Why would I pay more money for a figure I can tout that doesn’t do me any good? It’s like carrying comprehensive on dirt cheap cars. Does not compute.

    • 0 avatar
      frankev

      Back in 1998, when my wife and I had just two kids, a two-year-old and a newborn, we were in need of a new car, as our 1983 Nissan Sentra wagon (brown and a 5-speed manual) which we had gotten for free from someone at church was on its last legs. Our “better” car was a 1989 Hyundai Excel sedan (4spd): at least it had a radio but still no A/C, which made Chicago summers brutal.

      Whilst car shopping, we were looking at larger sedans, a Buick Century and a Chevy Lumina, if I recall correctly. The salesman at the Chevy dealer had a 1997 Astro on the lot and suggested we load up the family and try it out. Since our family was still relatively small, buying a van wasn’t on our radar. The test drive was all we needed to understand how useful a van would be: we put both car seats in the second row and about ten minutes into the drive one or the other of the kids started fussing about something. Simply the ability to attend to our children without having to get out of the vehicle convinced us that it was the way to go and so we bought the Astro that day. We kept it for 10 years/180k miles.

      We presently own a 2011 Kia Sedona with 110k miles on it. It’s been a great companion on road trips with three kids, now teenagers: we’ve driven it all over the continental US. Four out of five of us get a captain’s chair, and the person in the 3rd row has the space all to himself, though we would usually drop the 1/3 section into the floor for ease of loading gear. It’s also handy for hardware store runs and smaller moves, and it can carry three bicycles upright in the back.

      Now everyone in the family has their license, so my middle son, who’s now 18, is the van’s primary driver (as I split my time between a 2015 Chevy Sonic (base 5spd sedan) and a 1988 Honda NX125). We usually keep the third row in folded position with a thick moving blanket on top, ready to accept cargo, unless needed otherwise. The Kia has held up fairly well over the years: I hope to get another 100k miles out of it and then I’ll donate it to someone, so like MazdaThreeve I’m not worried about resale value. I’ll then buy another minivan and keep the cycle going.

  • avatar
    bikephil

    Minivans are for dorks who have given up[ on ever enjoying life. You should have gotten a used 4 door pickup and saved money as well as depreciation. And the dork factor.

  • avatar
    freighttrain

    When I bought a used 2011 Chrysler TandC minivan, a good friend said “when you signed did they make you wear a dress when they cut your balls off?”

    The laugh is on him and others that have been brainwashed by SUV commercials.

    I LOVE my minivan. Used it was a way better value than equivalent Oddy or Sienna. More content (Limited with all bells and whistles) and $6K less.

    The first two months I:
    Drove five first grade boys an hour without a peep due to movie screens.
    Dropped stow and go and easily slid in many sheets of plywood and shut the back door.
    Took two kids and a big dog on a five day camping trip with all supplies easily fitting.

    NOTHING else is this versatile and drives this nice. Let everyone else believe they are in the Jeep commercial driving over logs and splashing through the river. Meanwhile most won’t even drive when there is over 4 inches of snow on paved roads.

    The answer to why minivan hate and SUV love: Madison Avenue Brainwashing!

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      This,
      In the 90s, the Detroit 3 managed to establish a Steve Jobs type of reality distortion field (RDF) around over priced, poor handling, full sized SUVs. It took a decade for the proles to figure this out, but by then, all the manufacturers had incorporated the RDF into CUVs which are basically lifted station wagons. To seal the deal, they marketed AWD and pleather as must haves.
      Minivans are not for everyone, but anyone “needing” a three row CUV is getting a lot less and paying more.

  • avatar
    baggins

    we have a 2014 EX Ody. 2 years old

    My review

    pluses
    -lane watch system to cover passenger side of car is great
    -pretty good mileage for such a behemoth
    -fairly quiet
    -i find the ride to be good. Smooth but not sloppy. Absorbs bumps
    -like all mini vans, tons of useful storage behind the 3rd row
    – engine has plenty of punch for any rational driving maneuver you would undertake in a van
    -nice big mirrors
    -IIHS says it crashes well
    -seats are fairly comfy
    -third row very easy to fold

    Minuses
    -burns thru tires (as did our 2004 sienna)
    -not as much headroom as sienna, it a little lower / more car like. This may not a be a minus for all
    -seat fabric is pretty unattractive in look and feel
    -as mentioned above by another poster, the sliders just stop and wait if a kid touches at the wrong time. Guessing its a safety thing
    -I dont use infotainment, or link to my phone, or take calls in the car (safety first!, plus I am happy to just listen to the radio when I drive) but to the extent i’ve tried to set the display, I dont find it intuitive.
    second row seats dont slide back nearly as far as they do in Sienna. WHen we took road trips in the Sienna I liked to sit in the second row and slide it WAY back, which give leg crossing room to 6’4″ me. Ody doesnt allow that
    very easy to hit the gear shift when reaching for radio controls
    minimal steering feel

  • avatar
    salguod

    When your Icons give up, get yourself a set of PIAA silicone wipers. They last 3-5 years and coat the windshield like Rain-X. It’s the first purchase I make for every new vehicle.

    Add me to the fans of the minivan club. No other vehicle type does more things well.

  • avatar
    greytraveler

    Have a 2008 Pilot. Good car, no problems. AWD needed for the last half mile into the neighborhood in the winter. If the Honda van had AWD would buy in a heart beat. Dogs, luggage, CostCo runs, trips to Lowe’s all part of the life here.

    Regarding life of a van, neighbor up the street has a 12 year old Sienna AWD and it is still running fine. No problems. Just routine maintenance.

    Recent trip to a Honda dealer salesperson said there are rumors of an AWD Odyssey. Hope it is true.

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