By on July 26, 2016

2015 Honda Odyssey EX potato field, Image: © 2016 Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

Ten days ago, we were reaching the final stages of a basement semi-renovation that would see GoodCarBadCar’s headquarters moved from the top floor of GCBC Towers to the basement. The new office would make room for a new miniature inhabitant upstairs, create easier outside access for the dog, and carve out greater work/life balance. Ikea is more than a year from opening in our locale, however, so it fell to Mrs. Cain and me to install new shelving. We needed lumber. Lots of it.

Naturally, this calls for a pickup truck. That’s how it works, right? That’s what the marketers tell us. That’s what many of us tell ourselves. That’s what society has led us to believe.

We took our Honda Odyssey instead.

Thus began a 1,000-mile nine-day span in which our long-term 2015 Honda Odyssey would once again prove that minivans make the most sense most of the time.

The trip to Kent — Atlantic Canada’s Irving-owned Home Depot competitor — was only the beginning. The third week of July would be filled by multiple 50-mile round trips between GCBC Towers in Eastern Passage around the Nova Scotia’s capital city of Halifax to Sackville. Then a three-province trip to Prince Edward Island on Thursday for a large family wedding required an airport pickup of some Brits and a test of the Odyssey’s load-lugging abilities. Friday’s drives included a second mid-wedding round trip from Summerside to western PEI because of canine responsibilities. Saturday would take us down unexplored red dirt roads — gasp — without all-wheel drive.

2015 Honda Odyssey EX potato truck, Image: © 2016 Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

WOOD
Third row folded into the floor, second-row backrests down, second-row middle seat removed, the Odyssey — like its rivals — is cavernous. You may sometimes see an Odyssey parked beside a Pilot or a Sienna beside a Highlander and think, “Those cargo areas are comparable.”

No, they’re not. With the third rows down, the Odyssey offers twice the cargo capacity of the Pilot. Double the space. The Pilot’s space … again.

An eight-foot-long 2×4 fits inside the Odyssey without intruding into the space allotted to front passengers. Eight-foot-long 2x4s make modern crew cab pickup truck beds look tiny.

FUEL
There are nevertheless occasions when a 17-foot-long minivan feels excessive. Mrs. Cain was transporting one child back and forth across town last week with far more vehicle than she required.

But is it really so bad? At 26.1 mpg during those trips, our V6-engined Odyssey wasn’t far off the 27.4 mpg we recorded in a four-cylinder Accord Touring last fall.

Every 50-mile round trip cost only $0.31 extra (at $0.969/liter) in our Odyssey than it would have in that Accord, based on our as-tested mileage. Though our highway mileage rarely exceeds the EPA estimate by a significant margin and often falls short, a big V6 monobox can apparently over-achieve in an urban environment.

AIR
Reconfiguring an interior for periodic pickup-truck duty is convenient — but minivans exist to carry people and stuff. My pregnant wife’s pregnant cousin and her Northern Irish husband were flying in to attend another cousin’s wedding. They’re staying for a month. She’ll also be visiting her two pregnant sisters. Gifts, added to the standard luggage a couple needs to travel away from home for a month, are plentiful. Add to this the luggage of our own family and necessary space for a 70-pound dog and we might just be challenged in anything other than a van.

Crew cab pickup truck with a tonneau? That could work, but then the dog would need space inside the cabin, which isn’t always ideal. But with the third row flat, the Diono Radian RXT in the middle of the second row — yes, there are LATCH anchors in the Odyssey’s middle seat — there was plenty of room for a big dog and boatloads of luggage in the back, two pregnant ladies in the second row, and a school principal and me up front. Try that in your Volvo V60.

(IS)LAND
By Friday, we were 15 minutes away from a wedding reception that was scheduled to start in 10 minutes. Speed limits are low in PEI, never exceeding 56 miles per hour, but in my experience, adherence to those limits is not strictly enforced outside of the middle of the province.

I refuse to talk about the VTEC kicking in. I will, however, say that a Honda V6 is a remarkably smooth bit of kit above 3,500 rpm. The six-speed automatic that’s sometimes flustered in daily driving is on its best behavior when called upon to overtake fast-moving traffic on a rural two-lane. The handling that initially conveys a strong comfort-first sense ends up inspiring far more confidence traversing unanticipated, high-speed, mid-corner bumps that would send a shudder through a body-on-frame truck; another shudder through your soul.

We were still late to the reception, but I had fun trying. We had enjoyed the next day traveling down sandy roads more suitable for Ridgelines, pulling into potato fields for our kind of tourism, driving past a hilariously old FCA dealer, and heading out to Thunder Cove to watch an outrageous thunderstorm while perched on the side of a red cliff.

Ending the all-too-brief “vacation” was more tolerable because of the economics: our 2015 Honda Odyssey averaged 28 miles per gallon while in Prince Edward Island.

Some vehicles do some of these things. Many vehicles do one or two of these things better. But can anything other than a minivan do all the things a minivan can, at this price, with this level of efficiency?

No.

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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76 Comments on “The Minivan Once Again Proves Why It’s The Best Vehicle Concept...”


  • avatar
    indi500fan

    My younger daughter has a 2 yr old boy and one on the way in Sept. They just bought a nice Chrysler minivan. It really is the perfect platform for a family vehicle.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I am a true believer. Place a mini-van and a Miata in my driveway and I would be more than happy.

    However the Odyssey is outside of my price range. The Caravan CVP seems like a smoking hot deal.

    However the reliability of this FCA product has scared me off. After having had 4 of them (a 92, a 93, a 96 and an 05), I swore off them due to cracking plastic, ABS malfunctions, multiple transmission replacements, premature rust along the door frames, water pumps with disposable plastic parts, unseemly welds and poor resale prices.

    Yet, deep in my heart I still yearn for one.

    • 0 avatar
      Bunter1

      Did minivan plus Miata for 10 years-very good combo. Rust ate the Miata and I thinking of looking for another.

      Just go used on an Oddy or Sienna. One with 60-70k will be better than any new FCA product and last longer and be cheaper. Win-win.

      Cheerio,
      Bunter

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      My parents bought into Chrysler vans twice, a 94 and a 99. Both had big problems similar to what you list above. Include the AC in those though.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Wife and I had a 2001 Grand Caravan – LEMON.

      Our Sienna was more expensive due to the fact that Toyota in Canada does not hand out huge rebates like FCA but 3-4 less trips to the dealer per year is worth the extra purchase cost.

      You can’t beat a minivan for family versatility.

    • 0 avatar
      Hamilton Guy

      I have that exact combo, a 2015 DGC Crew Plus and 2001 Miata Special Edition. Can’t beat it. I am single with 2 large dogs so the van is the perfect daily driver and the Miata opened up a whole world of tours, meets, autocross and lapping days.

      The ’15 is my 4th DGC/T&C in a row and I have never had significant trouble with any of them.

  • avatar
    yamahog

    Oh man this article has me on the edge of buying a minivan. You’ve got me imagining knowing more than 2 people and then loading all my friends, family, acquaintances, and japanese anime girl body pillows in my odyssey and having FUN together. This must be the same mechanism (imagine using the utility) that people use to sell trucks.

    Thank God Toyota never put a hybrid powertrain in a Sienna (and all the Previas rusted out around me) or else I’d fork over too much money for the privilege. And please don’t remind me that there are 4 cylinder Siennas.

    • 0 avatar
      Driver8

      Didn’t they come in AWD, mid-engined, supercharged form? The Lancia Delta of minivans.

      • 0 avatar
        yamahog

        Yes – but I think you had to chose between a supercharger and a manual transmission. So, you know, that thwarts my dreams of pulling off a perfect awd drift and impressing my harem of japanese anime girl body pillows who would all be in the car with me.

    • 0 avatar
      DukeGanote

      When both upper and lower tie-rods on the passenger-side failed simultaneously when exiting a Cracker Barrel parking lot, having traversed a mere 110K miles, I swore off FCA… But the Caravan was pretty and pleasing till then. And I’m still shocked (not always pleasantly) at what my wife can stuff in the Kia Sedona during a shopping expedition now. I may have to rid myself of it for that reason alone.

      • 0 avatar
        yamahog

        And that, ladies, gentlemen, and waifus, is why I’m not over the moon with the hybrid pacifica.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        Failed? As in disconnected? If that truly is what occurred, this is owner error not vehicle malfunction. You would have to of had plenty of warning that tie rods were getting loose up front and could have had the issue addressed prior to critical failure requiring a tow truck.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        What are these “upper” and “lower” tie rod ends you speak of???

        Inner and outer maybe? Sounds like a very strange failure mode indeed.

        • 0 avatar
          DukeGanote

          You’re probably right: inner and outer; it’s been a decade since the debacle. Regular maintenance by the conveniently-close dealer but no warning of failure– Never had that happen with any other make. BTW, Also got a new V6 short block at 45K miles, but that was covered by the dealer-provided used-vehicle warranty– And the V6 was purportedly the most reliable engine available.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            My brother had a NEW tie rod end with less than 1000 miles on it snap on his ’89 MPV while in the passing lane on the highway going 70ish MPH. Imagine one of those loose shopping cart wheels that oscillate violently, that’s what it looked like. He had just replaced the steering rack and it came with tie rods already installed. From then on he learned not to gamble with cheap chinese parts for safety-critical components on his vehicles!

      • 0 avatar
        SirSpeedy

        Upper and lower tie rods? That’s a new one… My experience with a Grand Caravan back in the day involved regular transmission replacement. I gave up after the 5th one, although one might have been partially my fault after it fell out of the back of a pick up truck on the way home.

    • 0 avatar
      DukeGanote

      Add some shag carpet and a Mystery Machine paint job, and I’m sold.

    • 0 avatar
      SpinnyD

      don’t move to japan then, Toyota has been selling Hybrid vans there for years that are the size of a Sienna. (Estima Hybrid)

      http://www.hybridcars.com/toyotas-estima-and-alphard-hybrid-minivans-off-limits-for-us/

      • 0 avatar
        yamahog

        Just waiting for the 25 year rule.

        On that.
        And a crown comfort.
        and an r33.
        and a century.

        Good think I have a few more years to save up my money so I can blow it on dumb stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Well, you can’t get a *new* Sienna with a 4.

      (Though the straight 4 in the Highlander is within about 10 HP and 10 lb-ft of the V6 in my parents’ old ’99 Sienna.

      And that was *plenty* of power in that thing; honestly a Sienna with the 2.7L 4 would be perfectly good.)

  • avatar
    Driver8

    Great article.

  • avatar
    Willyam

    Awesome. Just did Oklahoma to Mississippi Delta to Florida, back to Memphis, and home in my 2015 EX. Compliment of two adults, three teens, and one toddler plus suitcases, beach gear, ninety-seven some-odd electronic devices and multiple food supplies (one beach community burger-joint stop runs about $60). Averaged 25+ mpg and discovered the little trash bag ring on the back of the console is totally a great idea. On the return we added a bunch of souvenirs, one metal detector that wouldn’t fit in anyone else’s car, and a couple pounds of sand (the all-weather Honda floormats are worth every penny). Fast Alabama two-lanes, emergency escape maneuvers (that only looked like a four-way stop) and stop-and-go Mobile Bay bridge and tunnel traffic. The heat made the door locks stop working when I left it buttoned up in the sun, but cooling things off fixed that pretty quickly. My choice of white paint just couldn’t match Florida heat.

    At the beach community, there were a LOT of Infinity QX SUV’s everywhere. They outnumbered the Jeeps. I’m curious now as to why. As good as they may be…WOW that’s ugly. What a face on those things…and now featuring portholes!

    Oh, and I guess if I’m still first: HELLCAT! (with nothing but love)

    Ok, I was nowhere near first anymore, but that’s what awful spelling and grammar costs you. Stay in school kids.

  • avatar
    Scott_314

    Just rented a Toyota Sienna to haul my family of four plus grandparents. It was almost comically practical in comparison to two cars. As in, one car could carry more people and stuff in more comfort and have far more fun doing it than two cars.

    They’re just so NICE. Honestly getting out of my smaller car with the seat moved forward to accommodate the car seat, and into a minivan, was like lying down in cool grass in the shade of a giant tree.

    My sister who is looking at the GMC Yukon (like everyone else) was shown the cargo space and inside and all she could say was “oh”.

    • 0 avatar
      yamahog

      Eh let her get the Yukon. It’ll make her comparatively poorer and every crafty consumer will be comparatively better off (ignoring the externalities)

    • 0 avatar
      Bunter1

      Sienna has more room than a Suburban also. And a third row fit for humans that are not double amputees.
      Add a trailer and it is a better pick-up than a pickup.

      Bunter

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Well, if the trailer is sufficiently small (3,500 lbs).

        Siennas are simply not really towing vehicles – which is fine for almost everyone.

      • 0 avatar
        yamahog

        And yet people with 2.5 kids shell out 70k for Suburbans ‘because of the space’.

        Though I’m completely with you. For awhile I was considering moving into a fixxer upper and I live in a snowy, rainy state. I’d have gotten a Minivan rather than a truck because I could haul things around and keep them dry. Though I tow my dirt bikes in a trailer behind my sedan (and yet the most commonly thing towed by trucks in my area are jet skis…) so what do I know

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          People buy Suburbans because they want them. Not because of space. If they wanted space, and still wanted a GM vehicle, they’d buy a Traverse or Enclave.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Not so fast Adam! The Lambdas outgun the SWB Tahoes and Yukons, but the big Suburban Yukon XL still take the cake in overall room and versatility over the fullsize crossovers. The gap has narrowed with the awful decision (IMO) to raise the cargo floor in the K2XX trucks to make the third row fold flat, but it still pulls off the win. GMT800 burbs are stupefyingly huge in the back, especially in “second row in use, third row removed” format.

  • avatar
    threeer

    While I really do like the ’14 Escape we just bought, I sometimes wonder if a van wouldn’t have filled the bill a bit better. Granted, I don’t haul kids and gear each and every day (nor does 90% of the population that buys pick ups or CUV/SUVs)…but when I have a vehicle full of rescue dogs, I wish for the fold-down flat cargo space that a good van can provide. And we love to camp, so having a bit more power than the 2.5 4 cylinder that our Escape has would also be nice for consideration of hauling a pop-up camper. We very nearly gave deep consideration to a Dodge/Chrysler variant after having one for a week-long rental last year and looking at several when our car-shopping mission began a few months ago. I’m sure for the price limit we had ($15k or less) we could have easily found a nicely equipped Caravan/T&C less than five years old. But (and I sheepishly admit this, and understand how wrong it is) the stigma of driving a minivan each day just somehow didn’t excite me. Now, every Saturday morning when I load up the Escape to haul pups, I secretly wish I had more room to transport more of them…

    • 0 avatar
      yamahog

      They sell Minivans for people who are afraid of the stigma (and are willing to fork over the GDP of a poor city) they’re called Suburbans.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      I’ll say this as the owner of a 3-row crossover.

      The only reason we have it is because my wife wouldn’t get a van. We’re a 1 child, multiple dog household, and while I like the fact that we have a 3rd row in a pinch, the seats have to stay down for any semblance of real utility, and then I’m just in a 2-row CUV with an extra two feet of cargo area length.

      TL;DR – You can’t really do better than a compact CUV for overall utility unless you go all the way and get a van.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Dogs love the low-step in height, too, @threeer. https://twitter.com/timcaingcbc/status/751123897949585408

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        Tim, yeah…I know. I’ve had several larger (and older) pups that would have done much better getting in and out of a van. Plus, multiple kennels eat away at the space I have behind the seat in the Escape pretty quickly.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Timothy Cain – low step in for dogs is great for old dogs. I made a ramp for my old black lab to climb into the back of my truck. The negative to a van is the inside smells like your dog rather quickly especially if they have an affinity for swamps and mud puddles.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Compact CUVs still make sense because there aren’t any compact minivans and very few MPVs in the US. Most three-row/full-size CUV owners would just as easily be served by a minivan.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    That FCA dealer in Summerside advertises in one of the rural rinks in that area (O’Leary). My daughter has skated in a few tournaments in Western PEI and I remember seeing an ad for them.

    It still has “Dodge Jeep Eagle” on the sign (this was in February 2016), so I don’t think upgrades are high on their priority list.

    I took a picture of it.

    https://goo.gl/photos/sd3tpuBWyK5esCSs6

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    Can be summed up with… ‘image problem’. I dont want to drive a minivan. I dont have the need for 7 seats.

    Be that as it may, I dont have a problem with vans but I would have to buy a plain white van with the barn doors and the
    crew van temporary seating (so you can fold up the 2nd row for real space) plus I want it to look inconspicuous like any commerical vehicle.

    They also come with a 2.5 liter diesel which puts paid any worries about econ. Also rwd.

    http://autohaus-zweckinger.de/zweckinger/de/neuwagen/autodetail/resource.servlet?type=3&id=65080

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Tim.

    I agree with everything you say here.

    My heart still wants a pickup truck more than anything though :-)

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      gmc… gmc… gmc…

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        I don’t have kids, cousins, nephews, or grandparents to haul around to weddings (or for much else though). That makes a difference. Combined with my RV dreams, I’ll never be in the minivan demo, and a truck makes sense, even if the trailer won’t be an immediate type of purchase.

        It doesn’t make sense to me to flog the Verano somehow and just buy an intermediate beater. Might as well spend my money directly on the next vehicle I want.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      I know the feeling. I talked with a Honda friend just this past Saturday about the new Ridgeline/Odyssey conundrum. (I’m not sold on the Ridgeline’s style, but I can’t deny the practicality of the new truck and the fact that it’s more than capable for my pickup needs.) Biggest issue for us is the dog location, and the fact that I know people who switched from van to truck and back to van.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      davefromcalgary – Yup. Truck. I got a minivan too and I like my truck much more.
      My wife would kill me if I took the van on a fishing trip 2-3 hours into the back country.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    What about the new, commercial-style of minivans? I have a long-range plan that might involve turning a Transit Connect or ProMaster City into a micro camper…

    Both of those also are available in “wagon” form. While they lack the refinement and creature comforts of dedicated passenger minivans such as the Odyssey, I feel like the commercial nature of the underlying van might make them more durable in the long run.

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      @eggsalad – what about a Mercedes Metris? It’s the same size as the normal minivans (the TC and Promaster City are smaller), but the cargo version has a 2500 lb payload and both the cargo and pax versions can tow nearly 5,000 lbs. They are not substantially more than regular minivans either.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    My current favorite is the 04-10 Sienna in AWD guise. A very useful 7 inches of ground clearance (technically more than a current Rav4 or CRV!), and a higher quality interior than the latest slew of Toyota/Honda vans, and finally, a very durable and comfort-tuned suspension. It was the natural choice for my relatives in Siberia once they had a third kid on the way and the 1st gen Highlander was starting to feel a bit cramped. Their US-imported 05(ish?) XLE Limited with 160k miles has served them well so far, with only an emissions-related CEL that did not affect how the car ran (I think a failed O2 sensor) in the last 2 years.

    Perfect for bouncing down dirt roads a fair bit more sinister looking than what Mr. Cain’s Odyssey saw, as well as seriously potholed roads and sharp rail road crossings on the rough and tumble streets of Novosibirsk. 3.3L V6 makes smooth power to make short work of all of the inevitable 2 lane passing. Despite the miles and rough environment, the interior is free of rattles, the suspension feels tight. It’s relatively DIY friendly too.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Well said Tim. The people who I know that don’t want a minivan don’t want it because of its image. The people I know that have minivans are in love with them.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Regardless…that lightning side design will never be seen in my drive.

    If I need to be that honest when buying the most practical vehicle, and it isn’t the next Pacifica or a raised hatch/wagon, hopefully the the next Honda design will not have this stupid, welded on rear end look.
    What knucklehead approved this?

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Well, lima beans are pretty healthy. That doesn’t mean I have to ENJOY eating them.

    The new Sedona is breaking me down though. We are gonna wait until we actually have kids to see what we need.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    When my twins were born (09) we leased a 2010 Odyssey. Was great for trips and perfect for having to haul around a platoons worth of combat gear that two babies require. I use to enjoy out dragging Civics with fart cans on them and then leaving them behind on onramps. But I don’t miss it. I like to get farther off the beaten path than a minivan can take me. I love exploring and sometimes being able to get through 10 feet of bad terrain opens new worlds. Traditional SUV or Truck for me please.

    95% of the time a minivan is perfect for my family But the 5% of the time is where the the memories happen.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’m on my 4th minivan in 20 years. They’re like having a truck that can haul 7-8 people, and/or carry a lot of stuff (inside or on the roof), and tow, all in one package. Our 09 Sedona is the best so far.

    I particularly like the 8-ft internal space for large objects, which handles those things more smoothly than a pickup (low liftover, softer suspension), and it has a ‘cap’.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    What’s that implement behind the tractor?

  • avatar
    don1967

    We’ve owned minivans. For all my bragging about the time I carried 900 pounds of drywall, or hauled the neighbour’s kiddies to the wave pool, the truth is that we never once “needed” such a vehicle.

    A minivan is a more practical family hauler than an SUV in much the same way as a work boot is a more practical flyswatter than a brick.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I would say a minivan is a more practical family hauler than an SUV the same way that an actual flyswatter is a more practical flyswatter than a brick. A minivan is a tool designed specifically for that job, and one of the best examples in the automotive world of form following function. SUVs are all style compromises because many people simply don’t like minivans.

      In addition, you can take the “need” argument pretty far, depending on how much inconvenience you can tolerate. Maybe you never needed the minivan, but I bet it made things easier.

  • avatar
    ldl20

    Ohh, man, perfect timing for this article. Once owned a 2004 Odyssey (no trans issues at all) from 2006 -2010, and a couple of Outbacks (2011 & 2015), and I must say I still secretly covet another Odyssey or Sienna for all the reasons you described. What else is there that is as functional? Plus, I could probably get a Sienna XLE with nav for about a grand and change more than an Outback Limited 2.5, and have much more room.

    Decisions, decisions….

  • avatar
    Fordson

    A good minvan is a great vehicle. My DD is a two-row hatchback…a FWD hatchback. Super-useful. For those with greater space and hauling needs…a minivan is a three-row hatchback. Had an ’07 Sienna Limited for 3 years, and loved it.

  • avatar
    nsk

    I agree with everyone that minivans are fantastic and often overlooked by car guys, but I still wouldn’t own one.

    I’ve put serious miles on a minivan just twice: a 2015 Sedona from Atlanta to Memphis round trip, and a 2015 Grand Caravan from Sarasota to Atlanta. Both were Hertz rentals. The Sedona swallowed four humans and our baby-related detritus while maintaining a comfortable cruise up to 105mph. [You guys can start criticizing me about putting my family in danger… now.] The Caravan felt less robust but maybe a tick faster, and just as capable. It became a running joke of “let me tell you about my rental minivan” at the Memphis wedding.

    But back home, considering that we only make those kinds of trips a few times a year, I’d rather rent a van than own one. We have a Cayenne diesel and a 4-seat 911, and I don’t see any good reason to trade one of those for a minivan or adding a minivan as a third vehicle.

    That said, one time I had reserved a minivan at Hertz and they gave me a Suburban. For all the reasons cited by people before me on this thread, that was NOT an upgrade.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    One minor downside to minivans is you will find yourself doing a lot of driving. It’s similar to neighbors wanting to borrow a truck to move things. When you can fit 7 or 8 people, guess who always drives to lunch? Or the kids’ friends to sports practice? The list goes on.

    Not a big deal, but unless you need its abilities for your own family, at some point you might wonder if you bought the thing for your benefit or for the benefit of everyone else.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      This is true. However, I’m wired such that I feel bad if I can’t help someone with their move, etc.

      And yes, since my coworkers have tiny cars, more than two people going to lunch means I’m driving the ‘bus’.

  • avatar
    runs_on_h8raide

    If I had 2 or more kids, the Odyssey would be my only choice for “Family Truckster” duty. The 3.5L V6 makes this vehicle hotrod enough to smoke various cellphone jabbering drivers and Pokemon-Go zombies, easily merging onto highways from the shortest of on-ramps, as well.

    The Odyssey is also supersafe, has all the tech needed to placate everyone including the children, and can carry half the soccer and baseball team to various games. You just can’t beat it. Factor in how easy it is to get in and out for passengers at malls and such, the practicality of the Odyssey (and really any mini-van) is a no-brainer for those with brains.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    You don’t need to have kids to love them, either. And they’ll swallow any project that doesn’t involve hauling topsoil when you’re in your prime energy years, particularly with Stow & Go.

    If I hadn’t been acculturated into pickups I’d probably have had minivans instead. Once they were invented, anyway.

  • avatar
    Sloomis

    Preaching to the choir here. I’ve always been obsessed with practicality in a vehicle (I’ve owned a pickup and a mid-sized wagon as well), and after owning an Odyssey for 11 years I can’t imagine not having a minivan in the family fleet. We use the extra capacity all the time – hauling furniture and other big items, helping friends and family move, taking the kids on camping or bike trips, taking over driving responsibilities on outings with extended family. It fits our lifestyle perfectly.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    A van is fantastic for hauling more than 4-5 people around regularly, but frankly, I don’t ever want to be in the position where I have to haul around 4-5 people regularly, and therefore, never will own a van. A 3-row crossover thing, if my wife elects to buy one for her use, will be as close as I get and perfectly adequate for the frequency I would use it, PLUS would generally come with more luxury and power/handling than most vans (thinking, say, MDX vs. Odyssey here).

    On the wood thing, good for you, but every stick of lumber in my basement remodel was hauled by me in my TSX sedan with a bungee cord holding the trunk lid closed and the other end resting on a towel on the dash. Lumber is easy, it’s plywood and drywall that’s hard to haul. Anyone can haul lumber in nearly anything.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Back in 2001, our kids were 11 and 8 and I was tired of dragging them around in our old Tempo or my Dakota extended cab. When the kids were infants and toddlers, we lived close to my in-laws and had frequent use of my FIL’s 1984 Dodge Caravan, which was a fifth car for him. I loved the minivan back then, and wanted one at that time. But, wife didn’t want to be seen in one, so we got a SUV instead.

    Fast forward 15 years; I’ve just creamed a young doe with my SUV and need a set of wheels. Since the kids are grown and its just us and the dogs, I can get a minivan. Got a long wheelbase 2004 white Oldsmobile Silhouette that was traded in by a meticulous owner. With the exception of some age and mileage issues (it needed tires immediately), it’s not missed a beat.

    Now when our gang goes to ball games, concerts or just out for the evening, we all pile into the “Average White Van”. I’ve hauled our bikes, kayaks, kids furniture, building goods and filled the seats numerous times this summer. It’s been great for us. I’m already thinking about another one when this one wears out.

    By the way only I pilot the Average White Van. My wife refuses to drive it… LOL!

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Minivan sliding doors are a common trouble spot.

    The concept itself is a bad one. You can’t subject a heavy power door to constant use and not expect to eventually have problems that won’t be cheap to fix. Not even Toyota can get those right.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Were the mileage numbers in this article in US or Imperial mpg? Was the reported mileage done by calculation or taken from the dash readout? And besides l/100km, does the dash readout display in US and/or Imperial mpg?

  • avatar
    gaudette

    As soon as I saw the opening photo I knew you were on PEI! Your observations are bang on.

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