By on January 15, 2017

2018 Honda Odyssey

When Honda unveiled the new Odyssey minivan, it highlighted its boosted engine output, added gears, enhanced interior functionality, and the ability to spy on your entire family via its unique in-car surveillance system. One thing that wasn’t mentioned, however, was all-wheel drive.

Despite Toyota’s Sienna offering optional AWD and Chrysler admitting that it’s considering a future incarnation of the Pacifica platform with all-wheel drive, Honda decided to keep the Odyssey a purely two-wheel affair. That’s an odd choice considering sport utility traits are currently en vogue and it rides on the same platform as the AWD Ridgeline, MDX, and Pilot. So why didn’t the engineers at Honda just toss on a transfer case and call it a day?

Because that would spoil everything that made the Odyssey a great minivan. 

“We looked at it, and one of the things we know is in order to put in all-wheel drive, we’re going to have to raise the vehicle and we’re going to compromise the interior,” John Mendel, executive vice president of Honda, told Automotive News. “We really don’t want to do that.”

Honda claims it was fixated on establishing a versatile and functional interior — and that adding AWD would have stymied its efforts. After all, the cabin space is where minivans typically shine the brightest and Honda’s “Magic Slide” second-row seats are something company seems particularly proud of. They might not have been possible with a prop shaft running down the vehicle’s center.

There is also a highly dedicated consumer group that prefers the flexibility and low load heights. Raising the Odyssey would only serve to alienate them and sabotage its role as a family-hauler. Besides, ground-clearance and AWD-obsessed families aren’t going to want a lifted minivan anyway.

“For that customer we have the Pilot,” Mendel said.

[Image: Honda]

 

 

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114 Comments on “Why Didn’t Honda Give the 2018 Odyssey All-Wheel Drive?...”


  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Why the journalist infatuation with AWD vehicles? What is the percentage of non-truck vehicle sales with AWD?

    As someone who has now driven more than 1 million miles in Canada. And traversed some of the worst roads in the country, in the worst possible weather conditions, I have only been stuck twice. And once was in an AWD vehicle.

    Travelling the 401 on a regular basis between the GTA and Kingston, the majority of non tractor-trailer vehicles that I have seen stuck in ditches, overturned, etc have been AWD or 4WD.

    My many friends who serve in Emergency Services and in particular in rural police services also inform me that AWD/4WD vehicles make up a higher number of vehicles that they find in single vehicle accidents.

    So based on the above i) consumer interest in AWD vehicles based on sales is much less than journalist/enthusiasts believe, ii) AWD/4WD is NOT (channeling my inner BTSR) a safety feature.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “Why the journalist infatuation with AWD vehicles?”

      Not just the journalists. More buyers are opting for AWD or 4WD-on demand than ever before.

      Certainly one of the reasons that Subaru sales have gone full-bore!

    • 0 avatar
      Lack Thereof

      In a large number of US states, AWD exempts vehicles from chain-up laws in bad weather.
      I’m sure a non-trivial part of consumer demand for AWD is due to that loophole.

    • 0 avatar
      EAF

      I would be extremely interested in the statistics Arthur alluded to, Canadian or otherwise. I am not sure how to go about a double-blind study of those who may or may not find themselves in a ditch. Lol

      My observations are the same, those with AWD/4WD find themselves in “the ditch” more often than those with FWD/RWD. I don’t think it is the fault of the systems themselves, rather, drivers w/ AWD assume more risk with greater speeds & quicker inputs than drivers without it. False sense of security?

      There is an EMT base near me, these are people that must be at work rain/sleet/hail/snow, small sample size of roughly 80. Their personal vehicles I’d say are 50% AWD, 50% FWD and 0% RWD. The diesel powered ambulances are all RWD duallies fitted with snow tires.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        The “I see more AWD/4wd’s in ditches” meme raises its ugly head every so often on TTAC. Nary a whit of statistics (that hard to understand science stuff) to back them up; just anecdotal (mostly blowhard) evidence to base their prose.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Blowhards shout their opinions without being able to back them up. Those engaged in rational, respectful discourse are willing to listen to the opinions of others and review their evidence.

          Does all-wheel drive actually help in winter driving?
          Ian Law/ Wheels.ca / OCTOBER 25, 2012

          As winter sets in, I think this is an excellent time to discuss it. Usually motorists with AWD or 4WD become overconfident in limited traction conditions leading to a visit to the ditch or the rear bumper of another vehicle. Each winter there is a disproportionate number of AWD vehicles sitting in snowy ditches.

          “AWD systems work very well as long as, a) the tires have grip, and b) the vehicle is travelling at a velocity that does not overcome the grip,” says Hayato Mori, manager of product planning at Honda Canada. “Once one or both rules are broken, what you end up with is a very heavy vehicle … that starts to follow Newton’s Law of Motion. AWD is not a substitute for snow tires, and the object in motion will want to keep moving unless an equal or greater force acts upon it. All of those SUVs in ditches: [Their drivers] likely broke one or both rules. An SUV going too fast in slippery conditions without snow tires is just waiting to slide off the road.”

          What determines the amount of grip is the rubber compound of the tread and how well it reacts to cold temperatures, the construction and age of the tire, the depth of the tread, air pressure and the size and shape of the actual contact patch.

          A rolling tire will give the driver only as much traction as its above-stated characteristics dictate. Putting engine power through that tire will not make it deliver more traction. In other words, a given tire on a skid pad will only develop ?x? amount of grip. If you try to power that tire by putting engine torque to it, that tire will not make any more grip than if it was freewheeling.

          Having said that, AWD or 4WD will not help a vehicle turn (steer) with more traction. For example, if we had a vehicle in which AWD could be turned off so the vehicle also drove with only 2WD, that vehicle will generate the same amount of lateral grip on the skid pad whether it was in AWD mode or 2WD mode.

          Bottom line, AWD or 4WD will not enhance the active safety of steering, such as collision avoidance or cornering grip.

          Now if we look at another active safety feature of vehicles, braking. AWD does not help shorten braking distances. It actually can make braking distances longer due to the added mass of the AWD system.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            I will leave my truck in 4×2 most of the time because the back end will loosen up at speeds that are less likely to get me into trouble. I will use 4×4 at icy intersection and in truly poor road conditions around town. If the roads are that bad for highway driving I tend to chose to stay home.

            AWD means up to 4 drive wheels. Power being distributed to more wheels. People get lulled into believing that surface adhesion is better.

            My wife’s Sienna (front wheel drive) has gotten stuck twice in the 7 years we have owned it. Once was because she chose to drive down a poorly maintained road and the other time she had pulled over into deep slushy snow to off-load some kids.

            I have yet to get my truck stuck because I view 4×4 as my plan B .

          • 0 avatar
            el scotto

            I can agree, except for these two paragraphs:
            A rolling tire will give the driver only as much traction as its above-stated characteristics dictate. Putting engine power through that tire will not make it deliver more traction. In other words, a given tire on a skid pad will only develop ?x? amount of grip. If you try to power that tire by putting engine torque to it, that tire will not make any more grip than if it was freewheeling.

            Having said that, AWD or 4WD will not help a vehicle turn (steer) with more traction. For example, if we had a vehicle in which AWD could be turned off so the vehicle also drove with only 2WD, that vehicle will generate the same amount of lateral grip on the skid pad whether it was in AWD mode or 2WD mode.’ end cut and paste

            A powered, correct mud/snow tire will give more traction than the same unpowered mud/snow tire. Same again when it comes to steering/cornering. That’s why those two paragraphs make my head hurt.

            The damn fools need to slow down anyway. Or 4wd go, does not mean 4wd stop.

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          Arthur’s pedantic and long-winded but always punctiliously civil. That ain’t blowhard.

          • 0 avatar
            el scotto

            My apologies to Mr. Daily are in due order. Apologies to you sir. I didn’t realize I had raised such a ruckus.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Thanks and no real need to apologize, as I have been and will be called much, much worse.

            And it did result in some thoughtful follow-up postings.

            And pedantic I may be but long winded? Darn, I always thought that I was pithy.

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            Arthur, you remind me of Kyree. Both you guys appear constitutionally incapable of assholity.

            I’m astonished that a forum exists in which my kind can at all communicate with you.

    • 0 avatar
      turbo_awd

      As someone who drove for 15 winters in Canada (including lots of GTA to/from K-W), some comments:

      I drove through a really bad winter (’90) with an ’84 Jetta GLI with nearly-new performance tires. Not super-summer-only tires, but Comp T/A HR 195/60/14 – pretty aggressive for those days. I survived, but there was one hill I had to be pushed up by a pickup during a snow-storm. Mainly because I was a student, had just bought the car because I needed it for co-op, and couldn’t afford snow tires. I bought snow tires the next winter, and every winter after that. I also drove my parent’s ’79 Dodge Aspen with snow tires and sand in the back, and it wasn’t much worse than that first winter in the Jetta.

      Many years later, I participated in a winter rally, on cottage roads around Kingston, IIRC. From 10 pm to 6 am. First car in the ditch? A Subaru WRX with ALL-SEASON tires.

      In my experience, some (not all) people – the ones who generally don’t try to understand technology/machinery, but just listen to the buzz – treat AWD like “Monster cables”. It’s magically better, and I don’t have to know anything about it. Like my acquaintance who I was told drove like a maniac in his ’92 Jetta because “it has ABS – we can’t crash”. Most of those AWD people in the ditch, I’m guessing, fall into these groups:
      1) inexperienced drivers, especially in snow
      2) thought that they didn’t need snow tires, because AWD, or rented an AWD car that came with all-seaons (I’ve been there!)
      3) don’t know anything about how their AWD works, and expected it to save them from their own insanity
      4) thought that AWD magically improved braking capability in the snow compared to regular cars

      4) especially is one that that many people fall victim to, IMHO. They just don’t think it through.

      I would say that FWD with snow tires is a better combo for novice drivers – when your front wheels spin on acceleration, you get a feel for how much traction you have, and you don’t over-estimate how much stopping grip you have as much. With AWD, you get going often effortlessly, and so you think there’s no problem in stopping either.

      • 0 avatar
        kosmo

        I would say the key words preceding your assertions are “I’m guessing”.

        I’ve owned so many vehicles of all drive systems over my (getting a little long) lifetime, that I can confidently say that there is simply no comparison to AWD/winter tires. Winter tires on FWD don’t even come close.

    • 0 avatar
      Add Lightness

      +1

      Out here in BC, the RCMP put out special weather advisories for SUVs because those drivers are serenely unaware of the conditions until it’s too late.

      Honda may have also not wanted to saddle the Odyssey with an extra 300 or 400#, extra maintenance and special needs when being towed.

      I think AWD is ‘so popular’ is because the dealers can’t stand to sell a vehicle without AWD so they will have a chance at very profitable service work in the future.

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        I’d never thought of the future service work when the AWD system has problems. That’s a good point. Had a friend recently that got into an accident on an icy road in her ’08 Versa and dropped two feet into a ditch as it slid off the road.

        She decided that for the replacement she *had* to have AWD so she bought a used Subaru Forester. I tried to get her to look at a used C-Max since she was looking for a tall wagony vehicle and she has a bit of a commute, but she had no interest if it wasn’t AWD.

        I told her that a FWD car with good winter tires would perform just as well but she insisted on AWD. In Maine, every vehicle that’s offered in FWD/AWD is only available as AWD on the lots (like the Rogue).

        People think AWD is the holy grail of not dying. They really need education on the difference winter tires make and the decrease in fuel economy with lugging around an AWD system that might only be used a fraction of the time.

    • 0 avatar
      ACCvsBig10

      So that’s a hard no to mug bogging?

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      I generally agree with everything you say about AWD being overrated as a safety feature. However, looking specifically at the Odyssey platform, it does seem to make a difference in towing capacity. The Odyssey shares the same tow rating as the fWD versions of the Pilot and Ridgeline, whereas the AWD models see a more than 1,000 lb boost. a Minivan with a near 5k lb towing capacity would be fantastic.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    In theory, they didn’t have to choose. They could have kept the passenger space intact with a version of the AWD system they’re using in the RLX and NSX: an FWD-based hybrid with independent on-demand electric motors powering each rear wheel. It was probably a matter of price.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Good point. I suspect Honda will wait to see how FCA does with the Pacifica hybrid before investing.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      tonycd, I believe we’ll be seeing AWD hybrids in the future. I saw such contraptions at auto shows in Europe where wheels were actually the motors, with the stationary part mounted on the axle and the wheel itself being the rotor.
      On-demand AWD could be had by converting the rear wheels on the Odyssey to such digital motors.
      The gold standard for AWD mini-vans remains the Toyota Sienna.

      • 0 avatar
        WalterRohrl

        Pretty easy to be the Gold Standard when you are the only one…

        Hybrid AWD isn’t new and has been sold here for some time. See Highlander Hybrid AWD and Rav4 Hybrid AWD for two examples. I believe the Volvo XC90 Plug-in does the same thing. Surely there are others already out there (over here).

      • 0 avatar
        hglaber

        You can see them in the past, too. Ferdinand Porsche was building them 117 years ago.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lohner-Porsche

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      There’s a yet-unreleased MDX Sport Hybrid, we’ll see how much more they’re charging. The RLX hybrid is a
      $5K premium.

      We’ll see if the upcoming Sienna AWD remains as is, with a driveshaft and run-flats. Or, will it go electric/bybrid such as the Highlander?

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      I came here to say this.

      Adding rear electric on-demand power makes the most sense in a non-crossover.
      crossovers are artificially tall and space compromised anyway, so sending power to the rear wheels via traditional means isn’t an issue as it is in a minivan, sedan, coupe or wagon.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        The GM “Versatrak” rear differential unit wither twin gerotor pumps was used in part as a way to save space IIRC, although there was still a driveshaft going from the transaxle out back.

        http://www.neilkline.com/Tech%20Tips/Versatrak.htm

    • 0 avatar
      kosmo

      This would be an astounding approach. For MY purposes, all I care about is deep snow traction, and admittedly, not that often.

      I think if I could have electric power of even 10 or 15 hp routed to the non-primary drive wheels, I’d be sitting pretty.

      I’d LOVE a Sprinter like this!

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    The most obvious answer is because the 2018 Odyssey is simply the 2017 architecture with a bunch of stupid bells and whistles attached, and that architecture was never designed with AWD in mind.

    When Honda spends the money for a new architecture, you just watch–they’ll bring AWD to the market and crow about it like they’ve invented sliced bread.

    Not to mention, I’ve never seen the need for AWD at all on an Odyssey. It goes through the muck just fine.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Jalop,
      That same architecture underpins the Pilot and MDX. Both AWD.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        You are correct, but the architecture clearly doesn’t support AWD in the minivan configuration.

        That will require planning for it up front, when they’re facing the clean sheet of paper next time.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          It could also be that the Pilot is more profitable, so giving buyers a less profitable choice over it probably wouldn’t help their bottom line.

          But, I believe compromised interior space was a bigger influence.

  • avatar

    I owned a ’91 Chrysler minivan with AWD. In terms of ground clearance and load height, most people couldn’t tell the difference (the AWD models had 15″ wheels vs 14s on the FWD models), but the AWD made it a more practical car in Michigan winters.

    I figure the only reason why Honda doesn’t offer AWD on the Fit, which shares a platform with the HR-V, is that if you could get AWD of the Fit (which is really a 5/8th scale Odyssey and is a very practical cargo and people hauler) fewer folks would buy the more profitable HR-V. One reason, though, why the Fit has lots of room in the back is because the gas tank has been mounted under the front seats – that might get in the way of a drive shaft for the rear axle.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      There actually is an AWD Fit in other markets, but your rationale—that it would harm sales of the higher-margin HR-V and CR-V—is probably accurate.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        I have always said that when Ronnie writes about cars he makes a lot of sense.

      • 0 avatar

        The previous Fit/Jazz was available with AWD in Japan, but I haven’t been able to determine if the GK Fit has AWD in any market.

        I would like to figure out how to hack the software to let me add a driver’s side blind spot camera. I’m sure I could do it with a switch on the cameras’ output wiring but a software solution would be more elegant.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Ronnie, I can understand ground clearance helping over snowy roads, however there is the flip side (pun intended) in that it raises the vehicles centre of gravity.

      However other than that how did AWD make a Caravan more ‘practical’? Did you offroad it?

      From Doug Demuoro (sp?) in 2014:
      https://www.autotrader.com/car-tips/why-you-should-avoid-all-wheel-drive-unless-you-need-it-226433

      As to AWD/4WD sales, sorry the stats that I found were from 2013: “The take rate on all-wheel-drive cars has increased 2.5 percentage points since 2008, to 8.7 percent of the overall light-vehicle market through October.”

      • 0 avatar

        This link has better stats AWD is pretty common in snow
        states,
        http://blog.caranddriver.com/differential-distribution-where-rwd-awd-and-fwd-vehicles-are-sold-in-the-u-s-infographic/

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Being able to go in a blizzard that would likely strand a 2wd would be very practical.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “Being able to go in a blizzard that would likely strand a 2wd would be very practical.”

          My dad was a trucker. I went with him to several funerals of friends of his that died driving in adverse winter conditions. He was the one that first told me, “Is it worth your life going out there?”

          AWD is a useful tool but unfortunately people view it as one more layer in the Iron Man suite.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Particularly since for nearly a century police services throughout Ontario drove only rear wheel drive sedans 24/7/365.
          There are still a large number of Crown Victorias and Dodge Chargers out there doing yeoman service.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I will say that my relatives’ ’07-ish Sienna AWD was the absolute perfect fit for poorly maintained and muddy dirt roads in the rain that we took to get to our “dacha” summer house near Novosibirsk. Those older AWD Siennas are listed at 7.4 inches of ground clearance, about an inch more than tha current CRV/RAV4. Of course plenty of fellow “dachniki” have been getting out there in similar conditions in RWD Ladas and such for decades, but the Sienna really made easy work of it. Never scraped the bottom on the grassy middle on the final bit of two-track, never lost traction. A FWD Sienna with lower clearance would have made it, but with a few tense moments I think.

        Likewise our family’s MPVs have been great camping/outdoors rigs, I can take our 4wd MPV down the same trails I take my 4Runner, but with a few spots that the 4Runner’s 10+ inches of clearance+skid plates over the MPV’s 8.5-ish and no skid plate make the 4Runner the safer bet. My brother’s RWD variant with about 7.5 inches of clearance has probably seen more seasonal access roads than the vast majority of 4wd SUVs, for the most part it is truly the clearance and more rugged live-axle based construction that makes this possible vs a minivan, but he’s definitely been in situations where a AWD/4wd system would have helped.

      • 0 avatar

        “However other than that how did AWD make a Caravan more ‘practical’? Did you offroad it?”

        No, but when my kids were young we took them camping every summer in the Upper Peninsula. I took it down some fairly sketchy two-tracks in the UP that involved fording streams. Also, my in-laws lived on the side of a small hill in the northern Lower Peninsula. When it snowed, their 2WD F-150 had trouble making it up the hill. We’d use the minivan to shuttle groceries from their truck to the house. It was cool to watch the front wheels start to spin and then the rear wheels would kick in.

        I’ve driven in 45 Michigan winters with RWD, FWD, AWD and 4WD vehicles. I think I’ve needed help getting unstuck maybe three times no matter what I was driving. That being said, all things being equal, I prefer having all four wheels driven one way or another, but then I’ve been known to supplement a belt with suspenders.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    AWD? I’m sure some Quattro owners have some things to say. AWD? You’re going as slow as the car with cheapest tires is going. AWD/4wd? Peace of mind to many.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    “That’s an odd choice considering sport utility traits are currently en vogue and it rides on the same platform as the AWD Ridgeline, MDX, and Pilot.”

    You just answered your own question, they dont want the Oddyessy chewing into any possible SUV/CUV sales, combined with the potential savings of not offering AWD Odysseys.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Let’s face it, awd is mostly for snowbelt folk who live on a hill. It’s a traction thing. Since plowing & salting may take a day or two after a storm. With the souls a minivan can carry I wouldn’t choose to drive in a storm anyway.

    Honda’s lower maintenance platform – no transfer case.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    Nobody here in Australia either needs or wants the extra expense and weight of AWD in their Odyssey.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    I think the main reason their isn’t an AWD Odyssey is because there is an AWD Pilot. Why produce a product variation which is likely to generate very few incremental additional sales.

    The cost and packaging issues adding an AWD option to just compounds the reasons for not doing it.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Exactly. The buyer who wants a Honda and AWD will likely gravitate toward the Pilot. The reality is that AWD has become a marketing success. Do most really need it? No, but a lot of folks who have it swear that on storm X it saved their bacon and they would have been stuck without it. Did they get stuck in their previous vehicle under the same conditions? Probably not, but this is the magic of marketing. If it makes them happy and provides a sense of security (real or imaginary) well, let them eat cake. Sure there are plenty of folks in snow country where snow tires and 4WD are smart choices. But where I live, I have easily survived with FWD and all seasons. Yet the volume of AWD vehicles around me continues to explode. If they feel better, not my issue. I’d much rather have less weight, less complexity, better mileage and handling. Until, of course, we retire to snow country. Then a 4Runner or four door Wrangler will be our winter vehicle.

      Welcome back, HDC…wondered what happened to you…never thought you were offensive to be banned…

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        golden2husky, thank you.

        We spent 6 months+ in Europe. Just got back last Sunday.

        I announced in my comments on ttac and elsewhere, way back when, that we (my wife and I) were going to spend the summer, fall and Holidays in Europe, primarily Germany, Portugal, Holland, Denmark.

        Had a great time. I trying to catch up on all I missed in the states while away, before we go to Ensenada, BC, Mexico for an extended stay at my brothers’ villa.

        After I got back to the states, I was surprised to find my handle and password still worked when I logged on to ttac.

        Hell, I was surprised my PCs and network still worked after six months+ being off.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @highdesertcat
          Welcome back. Any observations about the Automobile market in Europe?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            RobertRyan, my observation is that it is a market in serious decline based on the economic malaise and uncertainties brought on by Brexit, Trump’s election and their refugee situation.

            IMO Germany is hardest hit but Portugal is just hanging on by an economic thread.

            These were the two countries we spent the most time in, because of my heritage and familial ties. Holland, Denmark and England seemed more vibrant in both new cars on the road and economic well-being, IMO.

            People with money continue to buy new cars, just like in the states.

            Used cars were dirt cheap. We bought a used car there in Germany to travel with and registered it in the name of my cousin there. Passed all inspection and insurance requirements. Cheaper than a rental.

            When it was time to leave, we just gave him the car for his daughter to use.

            I believe Europe is going to have economic difficulties over the next couple of years and Trump’s election is going to have a dire effect on their exports to the US.

            We attended a couple of auto shows, but they were not as well attended as earlier ones.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            You bought a car in Germany but didn’t give us the make/model? C’mon, man, that’s torture to a car guy!

            I don’t care if it was just a Ford Focus or some other car also available here. The curiosity is killin me! :D

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @highdesertcat
            I have a feeling that instability will soon surface in the US. Market is about to slow in the US. ” Trump Effect” will be interesting too watch.
            They have a savage MOD in a lot of countries, so even late model used cars are awfully cheap

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Agreed with John, give us some details! What was the car shopping experience like over there? How are inspections done? Etc.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            JohnTaurus & gtemnykh, the used car we bought in Heidelberg to travel Europe with was a dark-green 2006 Opel Zafira mini-minivan, 1.6L gasoline, manual shift, no air conditioning.

            It had >180K km on the clock the day we got it, but was a one-owner. We put ~5000km on it over a 6-month period.

            Never did anything to it except put in regular gasoline.

            Didn’t know you guys were interested in that purchase, but it cost me $2500, all in, out the door, including insurance, inspection, documentation.

            A rental would have cost me a lot more than that, depending on vehicle class, size and rental agency.

            They took brand new $100 Benjamins I had brought with me from the states.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            RobertRyan, I’m no Trump fan, but this guy scares the Bejeezus out of everyone in Western Europe.

            Today I learned that he picked a fight with BMW and M-B. And they will lose!

            I didn’t know that Trump was such a pro-union man. But he wants stuff to be built in America which gives Richard Trumpka a free hand to molest manufacturers and increase union membership.

            It sure is a change from the disrespect and loathing they had for Oba, to the fear they now are experiencing with Trump.

            Trump is a lot of people’s worst nightmare and just about the most extreme opposite of Oba.

            Gives new meaning to a new world order.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            Hey HDC. …Welcome back , old timer ! Sounds like you had great time , in Europe ..I lurk more than I comment these days. I’m looking forward to reading your insightful comments.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Hi Mikey, glad to see you’re still around and hope the best for your situation. No need to respond about that. I hope all is going well.

            We won’t be here at home in NM very long. We will be leaving sometime to see my brother in Scotsdale, AZ, for a few days, then my grand daughter in Surprise, AZ, for a few days, before pressing on to San Diego,CA, to be with my #2 son for a little while.

            Ultimate destination: Ensenada, BC, Mexico, for the duration of this winter, fishing the Pacific with two of my brothers who live there full-time, now.

            As long as people invite me to come stay with them, I’ll go.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    I’m in Québec and I want AWD in my Odyssey. Coming from a Subaru Legacy wagon it was shocking how poor traction is with the Odyssey. And that’s with brand new Michelin X-Ice tires installed.

    Even moderate hills are a challenge and they need to be taken slowly, otherwise the VDC light goes crazy and power is cut constantly (or whatever it does). Acceleration is poor and the FWD torque steer makes it even worse. I love our van but traction in winter is appalling.

    Our next purchase will probably be a Sienna AWD (haven’t tried one in the snow yet, have to do that first).

    Btw from a business standpoint it makes sense to steer AWD buyers to the Pilot where margins are better.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Nobody anywhere ever needs AWD. Obviously you’re lying.

      Yes, I’m being sarcastic. :)

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Cactuar,

      What you are describing is a p*ss-poor traction control implementation. Blame Honda in this case, but I’ve experienced it in other brands. That also explains the “torque steer.” It isn’t actually torque steer, because you weren’t putting any power down, it’s driveline shock from Honda’s hammer and rock TC.

      The best traction control I’ve experienced so far is Volvo’s. Totally transparent, only cutting power to the wheel that is spinning, and only just enough to regain traction. You wouldn’t know it’s working if that discreet icon wasn’t lightly flashing.

      The Michelins are great on ice (as their name suggests), but not so much in deep snow.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      I also have one of my vehicles riding on X-Ice tires. Although good on the icy conditions that we have experienced this year, I find there performance in deep snow to be wanting.

      Also driving a stick, I tend to turn the ‘on board nanny system’ off when moving in deep snow or ‘launching’ when the light turns red.

      Does anyone else do the same?

    • 0 avatar
      cimarron typeR

      We’ve upgraded to a 2012 AWD Sienna, you’ll be pleased with deep snow performance. It has Toy’s older full time AWD , nonreactive center diff, from the Highlander previous generation.I’ve driven up a steep hill in 8inches of snow on OEM Turanza RTFs, with little drama . My G37s on blizzaks w/ 100lbs of ballast in trunk was stuck dead.
      I upgraded from RFT to dedicated CUV tires, Bridgestone Ecopia, mainly for road noise improvement. If you google AWD Sienna space saver on Ebay you can buy a donut which can be stored in the trunk for longer trips,in the Metro I don’t bother keeping it in the car.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      It’s the traction control that’s hindering your Odyssey. It kills all forward progress in snow. I posted this story in an earlier thread:

      I had to free my neighbor’s Odyssey from the alley last winter. He had been out there with his wife for almost an hour trying to work it and dig it out. He has winter tires so I knew immediately that he wasn’t actually stuck when I approached and saw that he wasn’t hung up.

      I told him to let me give it a go and got in. I backed up as far as I could, then took a run at it but the traction control stopped me. So I turned it off, backed up again, and the same thing happened because the stupid thing automatically comes on again when you change gears. So I backed up, then turned it off, then easily freed the van by just driving forward with some wheel spin.

      http://www.skstuds.ca/2015/10/14/how-to-drive-in-deep-snow/

  • avatar
    bbbuzzy

    AWD and snow tires works best for many, so why all the hate? Many awd owners understand the same laws of physics and can appreciate the need to adjust their speed for braking and turning. AWD makes it easier to get going and gives us peace of mind during snow storms. Not all roads get plowed immediately and getting in and out with AWD makes it much easier. Winter tires add superb traction for braking and turning. Driving in ski country and parking in a drift is no big deal when the vehicle is set up properly. It’s all good.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Why all the hate? Because nobody is allowed to buy anything with their own damn money that they don’t “need”.

      And, their needs aren’t determined by them, they’re dictated by the internet armchair quarterbacks who know everyone and every possible situation.

      That’s why members of the anti-AWD and anti-pickup crowd each drive a Nissan Versa sedan with 0 options.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        “And, their needs aren’t determined by them, they’re dictated by the internet armchair quarterbacks who know everyone and every possible situation.”

        bzzzzzt. You just named the number 1 reason that sedans are going away, and that SUVs and their ilk are just about the only vehicles in the showrooms anymore–

        –because other people, stupid people, have determined that’s what they “need” and are causing the market to deny me what *I* need/want.

        It’s the same story for the remaining 4 door cars, which are all–including the Prius–designed with severely sloping, coupe-like rooflines that deny any usability to the back seat, if you can even squeeze yourself down there.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Because so many of those AWD vehicles on the road aren’t equipped with snow tires. They’re running the factory “all season” tires designed for lower rolling resistance, which are useless hockey pucks in cold temps. Rolling on those things, AWD *may* help you get going, but it won’t help you stop or steer.

      People will spend thousands more on AWD (or even replace their vehicle) to get one which is “good in snow” instead of doing the sensible thing and spending a few hundred on winter tires. A FWD car with winter tires is in much better position than an AWD car with your average all season tire.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s not an exclusive AWD issue. I would say here in CT only around 10% of the population use snow tires. Last year I walked thru the parking lot at work in Feb and took notecof tires (yeah I’m weird) only 3 out of 44 had snow tires the majority were fwd sedans.

        • 0 avatar
          jalop1991

          How are you counting the cars with Nokian WR tires?

          ‘Cuz those are spot-on winter tires that also perform in the summer. They’re not all season; they’re all weather tires, complete with the snowflake emblem.

          I swear by mine, and have plenty of experience in the slushy stuff to know that Nokian isn’t kidding with that product.

          • 0 avatar
            kosmo

            WR is a tire category that will expand like crazy over the next 5 years.

            It’s all about building a tire with a reasonably low glass transition temperature compound that also lasts in summer service.

            Better living through chemistry and materials science!

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “spending a few hundred on winter tires”

        To be fair this is easily over $1000 for a full set of rims/tires/sensors/mounting/programming on a modern larger vehicle with a TPMS system. I agree with the sentiment though, that is still cheaper and overall more effective as a traction aid than an AWD system in many circumstances.

        Not everyone can score some cheap old steelies at the junkyard for $50 and then luck into a free set of new Firestone Winterforces courtesy fo Wal-Mart’s own incompetence like me :)

        But a few people here have brought up a good point: among the car-savvy B&Bers, many of us have 4wd/AWD vehicles AND snow tires for the ultimate winter performance. When I go home to Ithaca NY, most of the Subarus (and Odysseys and Prii) all have snow tires mounted up for the winter. Not so here in the flatlands of Central Indiana.

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          Bang on, as the Limeys say.

          That initial outlay hugely discourages people who are otherwise perfectly comfortable staying topped-up with debt for larger, financed purchases. That boggles me.

          Also, storing the off-season wheel-tires is unsurprisingly offputting to many given the garbage dump conditions of their garages.

          I no longer proselytize snows though my faith in them remains undiminished.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Yeah, ashamed to say my old man was quite resistant to pony up even after just dropping $32k on a lightly used RX350 for my mom. They live on a fairly steep hill with a curb-lined corner at the bottom that he’d smacked in the past with our old MPV. I told him the very first time you smack that curb with the new Lexus and bend/break that nice alloy wheel and/or ruin a control arm or tie rod end, you’ll be in for more than the $1k I ended up volunteering to put some nice new snow tires on aftermarket 17″ alloys and TPMS sensors. My brother was able to program the RX, which has a handy button under the dash to store 2 separate sets of TPMS RFID chips in memory. Now my dad can just press a button when he swaps summer/winter tires and back.

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            Your Dad’s attitude surprises me given how immigrant-practical your parents sound.

            But obviously they produced wonderful kids!

          • 0 avatar
            brettc

            So many new cars continue to come with the crappiest tires imaginable too. Look at the reviews for a lot of the OEM tires on sedans and SUVs, including the Bridgestone Turanza EL-400 on Tirerack. My 2012 Sportwagon had these from the factory and they were terrifying even in light rain. I dumped them within the first 5000 miles.

            Most people don’t care about tires, as long as they’re black and round they’re good enough. Yet they’ll spend a lot of money on shoes or boots.

            It’s scary to be on the road in bad weather with vehicles driven by people that don’t know or don’t care about what they’re riding around on.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Practical yes, but also frugal to the point of cheap. Growing up our Civic wagon had just the bare minimum tread to pass inspection, I distinctly remember helping to push it up that same hill a few times coming home in the evening in the winter. My dad would have my then ~10 year old brother get in the driver’s seat, and then a 7 year old me and my dad would push from behind. They also have all of the original circa 1986 appliances in the house that my dad keeps repairing as necessary, my mom reuses ziplock bags and aluminum foil. That Lexus was their “we’ve made it” car, paid for in cash of course, and it’ll be driven for the next decade and a half at least.

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            “Practical yes, but also frugal to the point of cheap.”

            Well, as I share a similar genetic pool I can’t help but admire that :-D

            But yeah, it can be overdone.

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            “Most people don’t care about tires”

            Eternally true and recently compounded by the very skillful hype and fear mongering of the AWD cabal.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        No, they’re not “spending thousands more”–just ask them. “It’s only a few bucks more a month on they lease!” they cry.

        And the lease is why they wouldn’t buy winter tires if you put a gun to their head. They don’t buy tires, period–because they lease and switch out every 3 years.

        Stupid people combined with businesses eager to feed their stupidity is what drives the economy. And we have to tolerate that, and live within that world. (It’s just like the housing crash.)

  • avatar
    lostjr

    Those second row seats would be more magical if they folded into the floor. Without AWD, there should be room, right?

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Honda Japan Mothership to Honda USA: “You’re not getting it in AWD”

    Honda USA to themselves: “Whip up some marketing double-speak to make this a positive thing!”

  • avatar
    ceipower

    It’s impossible to understand Hondas styling! The mini van continues to look as if a neighbor welded on the rear 1/3 from some other vehicle.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    FWIW, having owned both an AWD minivan (Previa) and a Pilot, the Pilot has always seemed grossly inferior to the Previa in the nasty stuff, and that’s with both vehicles running true snow tires (Blizzaks, Michelin X-Ice). In fact, I preferred my FWD Saab running true snows in urban snowy conditions (i.e. not deep stuff) to the Pilot.

    The virtues of AWD have been promoted relentlessly (and deceptively) by Subaru for some time. I suppose a really smart AWD, with torque vectoring and all that might give a car better cornering ability than 2WD. Except for Honda’s “Super Handling” AWD, I’m not sure any other car has that capability.

    Also, from the daze of my youth, when FWD cars were very uncommon and 4wd was confined to Jeeps, putting weight over the drive wheels in a RWD vehicle was quite effective. The VW Beetle was pretty awesome in snow if it wasn’t too deep and you didn’t try to take corners too fast.

    Final also: “traction control” systems are not necessarily the best way to get moving in 2wd under some snowy circumstances. I found this out experimentally in the few times when I was involuntarily forced to drive in snow in my Z3. The TC system was too aggressive in controlling wheelspin; fortunately, it could be turned off.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      DC Bruce, what you are feeling is a combination of a) the Previa’s fantastically even weight distribution and b) the contrast between an old-school fulltime AWD system (Previa) and a more modern, MPG-optimized AWD system (Honda). The Previa might also have had a longer wheelbase and lower center of gravity.

      When I went from my 4wd MPV to my current 4Runner, I’d say I likewise lost some slick-weather confidence (while massively gaining overall offroad ability).

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        No doubt. Also the presence of electronic stuff missing from the Previa. One of the few times that the Previa got stopped is when we had a freak 20″ snowfall and I was trying to mush through fresh snow. Then, IIRC, one rear wheel and one front wheel as spinning. (No traction control.) Now, if I just had locking diffs, I could plow on through!

        In similar situations, despite the higher ground clearance, the Pilot is not near as capable, even if you lock in first gear and engage the “VTM” button or whatever that’s supposed to lock the center diff. I was surprised the first time this happened. If I still owned the W. Virginia mountain home that we owned for ten years (1990-2000), I wouldn’t own this vehicle. I’d get a JGC or a Land Rover something or other and slap 4 snows on it for winter duty.

    • 0 avatar
      slap

      The only time I’ve ever gotten stuck in snow has been in a Beetle. But I was having fun! :)

      I live in Maryland, and I’ve driven in 5 winters with rear wheel drive cars and all season tires, 7 years in Beetles w/ all seasons, and 27 years in FWD cars and all seasons. When the weather gets really bad everything closes down so there is no place to go.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Why does AWD necessitate raising the vehicle? Is it due to consumer demands and expectations or is it due to fitting the gear?

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      When you start with FWD, you need room to fit all the mechanicals that drive the rear wheels as well.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Nothing that inherently requires a lift typically, but AWD/4WD and increased clearance tend to sort of go hand in hand. The current AWD Sienna no longer gets a 1 inch lift from the FWD variant, but they used to.

        • 0 avatar
          tjh8402

          Yeah I thought there were plenty of vehicles with FWD and AWD variants that weren’t lifted. If you’re fitting the AWD for things like winter traction or towing, the lift would seem unecessary. While I completely understand Honda’s reasoning for simply pushing customers who want to tow towards the Pilot, it would be nice to have a minivan with its added versatility that could tow as much as that.

  • avatar
    tobiasfunkemd

    As someone who chose a Toyota Sienna over the Odyssey solely for the AWD, allow me to explain why the sentiment “FWD with good tires is just as good as AWD in the snow” misses a critical point. I live in the mountains of CA and commute about 45 minutes to work on a road that is regularly under chain control during the winter. Under “R2” conditions, all vehicles not 4WD/AWD are required to chain up. There’s no provision for FWD with blizzaks, awesome snow drivers in FWD, etc. Having to regularly chain up is a serious pain in the ass, and I like driving minivans b/c of the space, low ride height, and ease of entry/exit for the little ones. People in my commuting situation admittedly make up a small part of the potential minivan market, but I guarantee Honda would make a lot of sales with an AWD Odyssey in SF and LA with all the parents & kids making the trek up to Tahoe and Mammoth during the winter.

  • avatar
    danwat1234

    You don’t need a driveshaft running down the middle of the vehicle if the rear is powered electrically.

  • avatar
    AVT

    People forget that your center and height of gravity for the moment of inertia in a vehicle plays a big role on handling dynamics. My Audi A6 Avant I used to have with two 100 pound begs of salt in the back was dang near unstoppable in winter. Not that I pushed it, but compared to my girlfriends and I’s land cruiser, I can average a far higher speed in the old audi than the land cruiser. Now I’m not saying it’s more capable, but in certain condition, like her getting called into the hospital in a winter storm, she prerfered my audi. Once the snow had already fallen and it was deep though, she took the land cruiser.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    I think Honda’s doing their customers a favor by not trying to push that half-assed “real time” AWD on them.

    That, or they simply have more respect for the intelligence of their minivan buyers than their CUV buyers.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    In the 21st century, for non off-road vehicles AWD is best accomplished with electric motors in the rear rather than a driveshaft. The “D” models of the Tesla model S, with all-wheel drive are heavier and faster but get more miles on the same charge because of efficiency in putting power down and picking it up again. Even on an otherwise non-electric vehicle, the AWD version of the Toyota Rav-4 brings power to the rear wheels with an electric motor. This preserves space in the compact vehicle and maximizes fuel economy.

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