2015 Honda Odyssey EX Long-Term Test: 19,000 Miles And Counting

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
2015 honda odyssey ex long term test 19 000 miles and counting

I’m an idiot.

Thursday night, I filled up a car with gas. That was clearly in the background of my mind when on Friday, we loaded up our 2015 Honda Odyssey for a long-weekend trip to Prince Edward Island. Luggage, children, dog, stroller, front door locked, back door locked, side entrance locked, patio door locked, heat turned down, and finally, departure.

I hadn’t driven our Odyssey in a couple of weeks, having focused my attention on the Toyota Corolla iM and Hyundai Ioniq discussed on these pages already. Distracted by a thousand tasks, and presumably still conscious of a trip to the fuel pumps the night before (in the Ioniq, it turns out), I ignored the signs at the approach to the Cobequid Pass that warn of a lack of services for the next 27 miles.

We drove up the Cobequid Pass toward the tolls when I finally noticed we had no fuel. Estimated range? 0 km. Fuel gauge? Well below the Empty line.

Fortunately, from that point of realization until the Ultramar in Thomson Station 16 miles later, our 2015 Honda Odyssey travelled at a rate of 35 miles per gallon.

Thankfully, we made it to the Ultramar with around a half gallon to spare. We did not need to sit on the side of the Trans-Canada Highway in a freezing-too-cold van with little ones spooked by the tractor trailers speeding by as we waited for Honda Canada’s roadside assistance.

The gradual descent from the Cobequid Pass toll plaza to the gas station in Thomson Station deserves much of the credit. With a few steady declines, the Odyssey was able to coast along in Eco mode, a handful of cylinders shut down, counteracting the somewhat hefty load and sub-freezing temperatures.

But it’s the fact that a 35-mpg result offered so little surprise that’s most pleasing. We average 23 mpg in urban/suburban/rural driving, significantly better than the Odyssey’s 19-mpg EPA city rating. Yet the 27-mpg EPA highway rating is easily and frequently crushed. In fact, the highway drive preceding our minor thrill just last Friday produced a 27-mpg result despite the bitterly cold weather, winter tires, a full load, and the ascent toward the Cobequid Pass toll plaza.

The next-generation 2018 Honda Odyssey, Honda says, will be even more efficient. My desire for that van — a more attractive, more powerful, more flexible, more feature-laden Odyssey — is palpable.

Not that our experience with the current Odyssey has been completely trouble-free. We had long-running issues with sliding door noises. Then at 11,000 miles, the front struts failed. I got pulled over for speeding.

Perhaps that last one was not Honda’s fault.

Complaints regarding the sometimes rough six-speed automatic transmission have decreased with time, both as we become accustomed to its quirks and its quirks are worked out with mileage. We also grew accustomed to the odd infotainment system, and we did so quickly, but time has revealed the utter lack of speed with which it operates. The sunglasses holder is too small. There’s a recall we’re waiting to have cleared up for second-row seat mechanisms. Ride quality is certainly not up to Chrysler Pacifica standards. The sliding door track and the beltline mess with what could have been considered a clean exterior design.

But our Odyssey’s faults and foibles are entirely counteracted by three factors: the way it drives, the way it does its primary job, and the way it’s held its value.

With 248 horses, the Odyssey’s 3.5-liter V6 is down on power compared to competitors. But it’s such a happy revver that acceleration is encouraged, not frowned upon. Besides typically slow minivan steering, the Odyssey can cope in the corners at a rate of speed the V6 generates, shrugging off swift changes of direction with great composure.

Most minivan drivers won’t place nearly as much emphasis on the Odyssey’s dynamic repertoire as on its interior layout. Lacking Chrysler/Dodge’s Stow’N’Go, the Odyssey’s second row seats are more comfortable and provide greater legroom. It’s the third row that really impresses, however, as banishment to the way back is no punishment at all. We’ve frequently had adults undertake long journeys in the third row without complaint, and I’ve spent time in the rear of our Honda dealer’s shuttle, criss-crossing the city with no problem. This is a class-leading third row, and it truly separates minivans from crossovers.

Perhaps of greater consequence, in light of the 2018 Honda Odyssey’s forthcoming arrival, is our current Odyssey’s worth. We’re not yet halfway through our lease and my Honda sales manager of choice is already touting the fact that our van, with such extraordinarily low mileage, is worth more than our buy-out. That truly separates our Odyssey from the Grand Caravan.

Do we swap sooner than expected, taking a risk on the first model year of an all-new vehicle? Or we do we continue to fill our van with dog hair, dried cranberries, salt, and sand for the foreseeable future?

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.

Join the conversation
2 of 45 comments
  • Mikeg216 Mikeg216 on Mar 28, 2017

    I'd get a new one if you are money ahead, new one can't be worse can it?

  • Car Ramrod Car Ramrod on Mar 29, 2017

    Over the weekend a friend and I were comparing his new '17 Odyssey EX-L RES to my '11 touring. We both agreed that my older car's "sea of buttons" dash is a hell of a lot easier to use than his dual screen mess, even when you're parked. His takes several presses just to get to bluetooth audio, while I just hit a button. How is this progress? We have 120K on ours, and the original suspension is definitely showing its age. Can't say I've ever seen more than 24 mpg though.

  • MelanieRichardson GOOD
  • El scotto @jwee; Sir, a great many of us believe that Musk is somewhere (pretty high) on the spectrum and move on.I work on the fringes of IT. Most of my presentations get picked over extensively and intensely at meetings. I'm smart enough to know I'm not that smart and willingly take advice from the IT crew. I bring them Duck Doughnuts too. We also keep a box of Crayolas in the meeting room.At one meeting an IT guy got way into the details of my presentation, the meeting went long as we discussed my target audience. Same IT guy insisted it was a disaster and would fail miserable and that I was stupid. Yeah, F-boms get dropped at our meetings. I finally had enough and asked if he was such an expert, did he want to stand up in front of 30 senior executives and give the presentation? His response was a flat "NO". He got the box of Crayolas. For you non-military types that means shut up and color. Musk is the same as that IT guy, lots of gyrations but not much on follow-through. Someone just needs to hand him a box of Crayolas.
  • FreedMike The FJ Cruiser would be a better comeback candidate. The gang back at Toyota HQ must be looking at all those Broncos flying off Ford lots and kicking themselves.
  • Tassos 2015 was only 7 years ago. $58k is still a whole lot of $ to pay for a vehicle. FOrtunately one can buy a flagship vehicle with great active and passive safety for half this amount, if one does the SMART thing and buys a pre-owned luxury flagship vehicle. they have historically been SCREAMING BARGAINS. A breadvan on stilts SUV, wether the more compact Macan or the more bloated Cayenne will never pass as a Flagship Vehicle. No matter how well it drives or how reliable it suprisingly is. It still is a breadvan on stilts.
  • Sean Ohsee Bring back the 100 series and its I6 diesel.