By on August 14, 2017

2018 Honda Odyssey Touring – Image: © Timothy CainIn the 2016 calendar year, the Honda Odyssey was Canada’s 41st-best-selling vehicle.

In the first half of 2017, as the fourth-generation Odyssey’s tenure came to an end, the Honda van plunged 11 positions to 52nd. Odyssey sales were down 18 percent, year-over-year. Odyssey volume was on track to fall to a five-year low. Hashtag minivans dead.

Then, descending from the top of Mount Fuji with a Soichiro-shaped halo, hosting enough seats for the entire Odyssey SCCA pit crew, declaring 30 more horses than the original Acura NSX, equipped with enough gears in its transmission for 2.5 copies of the Toyota Yaris, and speaking with just enough of an Alabama twang to be authentically North Americanized, the 2018 Honda Odyssey appeared.

Canadian sales of the Honda Odyssey consequently rose to the highest level in 15 years. And so shall it ever be.

The venerated Honda Odyssey became Canada’s 24th-best-selling vehicle in July 2017, a result that had Honda Canada so excited that initial celebratory statements weren’t adding up. On the one hand, Honda Canada said the Odyssey “recorded its best-ever sales.” Not just the best July, but the best month ever.

But then Jean Marc Laclerc, Honda Canada’s senior vice president for sales and marketing, said the Odyssey “recorded its best ever July sales figures since 2002.” Either it was the best ever or it was the best since 2002, but it can’t be both.

Because this is the revered Honda Odyssey, we took this muddled language extraordinarily seriously. And by “extraordinarily seriously” we mean we emailed Honda Canada to clarify. The Honda Odyssey’s July performance in 2017 — 1,794 sales, a 41-percent year-over-year increase — marked the best July for Honda Canada’s van in history, and the best any-month performance since 2002.

The Odyssey, typically outsold by vehicles such as the Kia Sorento, Ford Edge, Chevrolet Equinox, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Kia Forte, Nissan Murano, Honda Accord, Honda HR-V, Toyota Highlander, and Kia Sportage, outsold all of those vehicles in July. The Odyssey outsold the third-ranked minivan in Canada, Toyota’s Sienna, by a 47-percent margin.

Despite the blessed Odyssey’s growth — and largely because of plunging sales from the class-leading Dodge Grand Caravan — the Canadian minivan segment nevertheless fell 7 percent in July 2017. (Sales are down 4 percent, year-to-date, excluding mini-MPVs from Kia and Mazda.) The Honda Odyssey nevertheless grew its share of the minivan market from 15 percent in July 2016 to 23 percent in July 2017, all because Canadians saw the light.

The switch was flicked. The mind’s eye was opened. Savviness became the standard. Older siblings now bask in the ease with which the Odyssey’s Magic Slide second row seats allow for easy third-row access. Mothers are seen overtaking pedestrian Mazda 5s like they’re, well, pedestrians. The infotainment-frustrations of fathers has finally faded. The beautifully chubby cheeks of a sleeping, rear-facing infant are now analyzed in perpetuity by every fawning Odyssey-driving nanny.

Automotive enlightenment has reached Canada.

U.S. sales of the Honda Odyssey fell 10 percent, year-over-year in July 2017.

[Image: © Timothy Cain]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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46 Comments on “Canadians Are Falling Head Over Heels in Love With the All-new 2018 Honda Odyssey, As They Should...”

  • avatar

    That’s some serious Odyssey Obsession there, Tim…

  • avatar

    Anybody hauling around a family is doing themselves a disservice by driving an SUV instead of a minivan. Unless your home is off the beaten trail everything about the Odyssey will be better. Everything except trying to spell Odyssey.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      Unless their family fits in a 2-row SUV/CUV, which is smaller and easier and more enjoyable to drive than a blimp on wheels.

      The whole “minivan > SUV” is only really applicable to THREE ROW SUVs, and only if you need the extra room. If you don’t, there are a myriad of reasons why you might not want the van.

      • 0 avatar

        “and more enjoyable to drive.”

        No one that has actually experienced the Odyssey’s telepathic driving experience would say that.

        • 0 avatar

          I dunno, I did not find my Great Aunt’s 2010(?) Odyssey to be any better to drive than my Mom’s 2010 VW Routan. Drove both a fair bit. They both just drove like big, soft cars. Nicer engine certainly, a little nicer interior, but not remotely worth the real world price premium to me. Is the new one massively better? The Chrysler vans all seem to have adopted the VW version chassis tuning now and drive just fine. The Pentastar makes them go faster than any van needs to go.

          My Great Aunt traded hers for an Impala, my Mom for a Prius-V. Both decided the land-whale size vans were too big to drive, and my Great Aunt couldn’t climb into her van anymore. She is short and very fat with bad legs.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          Pretty sure my wife’s RDX blows the Odyssey out of the water on driving fun (all relative of course).

      • 0 avatar

        It’s really too bad the “short” minivans went away, because they had the same advantages over the 5-seater SUVs as the long minivans do over the 3-row SUVs. And even the short minivans could seat 7 in a pinch, just with no cargo room. But you still had a cave if you took both seat rows out, low step in and upright seating, and less weight to haul around. And sliding doors are so much more useful, especially once they started being on both sides.

        When looking for a Mom mobile for my place in FL I casually looked at a few SWB Caravans. But they are surprisingly expensive when they are nice, and a friend offered me a 9-5 wagon at a price I couldn’t refuse. Would have been nice to have the van for DIY projects, but the Saab works too, just have to rent a trailer now and then.

        • 0 avatar

          I had a ’91 Chrysler SWB AWD minivan that was a very practical vehicle, when it wasn’t eating transmissions. More people wanted Stow & Go seats than AWD so they stopped offering it but it was perfect for Michigan winters and camping in the Upper Peninsula.

        • 0 avatar

          Agreed. It’s a shame that all the shorty-vans went away. I think the Transit Connect is the last one standing.

          I admit. If I were able to stow my ego and get something based on pure practicality for my 3 person family, I would get a shorty-van.

          But I have no particular desire to do so, so my family will continue to pile into my impractical, illogical, and fun Mustang instead.

          • 0 avatar

            And I applaud you for it as a kid who grew up in the back of a ratty old 911.

            Why people think they need a bus to cart around a couple sprogs is beyond me.

  • avatar

    It’s expensive, and it’s ugly. Did I mention it’s ugly? I don’t care if it is more reliable than a Pacifica, I could stand to look at a Pacifica in my garage.

    Or better yet, since the things you use a minivan for destroy it from the inside out anyway, a cheap low mileage disposable Caravan.

    • 0 avatar

      I dont understand the theory, espoused here often, that because kids spill food often in mini-vans, one should buy a used stripped van. Similar to people who buy a Lexus or the like, but only use it for “trips” so they dont “beat it up commuting”. Is it a museum piece? Does the time spend one spends in the car commuting somehow not “count”?

      Schlepping kids around is the mission statement of the minivan, why would you chose an inferior tool for the job so as to not wear the interior?

      • 0 avatar

        Because I don’t consider a Caravan to be inferior. It’s not as nice, but it’s a LOT cheaper, and even the basic versions are nice enough. It’s not like we are talking the RAM Cargovan version with cardboard walls. If I am schlepping sprogs around, I see no point in spending an extra $10-15K for something they are just going to destroy anyway. Similarly, putting DIY materials in the thing. I can’t see buying a “luxury” van to load it up with mulch.

        Now if you are buying it as the stereotypical Grandparents who just likes a big vehicle, occasionally hauling the grandbabies, then you might as well go for the super nice interior versions, whichever floats your boat.

        Of course, if I had kids, there would be no eating or drinking in the car. My brother and I weren’t allowed to, and our parent’s cars weren’t pig stys like all my friend’s with kids vehicles are today.

        And those kids should stay off my lawn. :-)

        • 0 avatar

          I don’t understand the sentiment that kids will destroy the interior? Growing up we were always taught to respect the car. We never ate in the car and always took care of it. Now? We don’t eat in the car with my toddler either. This whole “the kids will destroy the inside” is nonsenical to me. Don’t eat in the car, keep your feet off the seats unless shoeless, and give it a vacuum every week or two and bam. Not destroyed, and not that hard.

          • 0 avatar

            I was raised that way too. My parents cars were immaculate inside. But that does not seem to be how it is done today. My friends with children all let them run rampant in the car (and pretty much everywhere else), heaven forbid they don’t have sippy cups and snacks, the world would end. If my brother or I had indulged in the antics in restaurants and other public areas that I see on a daily basis we would not have lived to see today. As Bill Cosby once said “I brought you into this world, I will take you out. And make another one that looks just like you.” But today, actual parenting will evidently get you arrested.

            Probably best I never bred and never intend to.

          • 0 avatar

            “I don’t understand the sentiment that kids will destroy the interior?”


          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            A few years ago I was cleaning out the car I bought when my daughter was born and saw her through 14 years old. I smirked at the treasure chest of Happy Meal toys and Cheerios I found under the seat cushion and front seat.

            Growing up, fancy Grandma had plastic on all her living room furniture, as her generation was wont to do. Peasant Grandma had 2nd hand furniture. Guess which Grandma left a deeper impression?

            Different strokes I guess…..

          • 0 avatar

            I transported my kids around mostly in BMW coupes and sedans and never had a problem. The leather cleaned up nicely and looked good.

          • 0 avatar

            Depends on how you define “destroy the interior”. I still remember a realtor talking about replacing his minivan because the interior was “ruined” – turned out there was some small squeak coming from the back that he couldn’t get fixed to his satisfaction. I could barely hear it.

            I never had a thing for fancy interiors – i like the idea of being able to throw in a bike, a Christmas tree, or various lengths of lumber without worrying to much about doing any damage. Despite my best efforts the rear of my vehicle is full of rust spots from a wet bike, the dash has marks from 2 x 4’s and I’m sure I could find pine needles from Christmas trees. Life happens…

          • 0 avatar

            Yes…I think it depends on the parents. My kids, teens now, spent a lot of time in the back of my 3. The cloth seats were undamaged when the car went away after 14 years of car seats to adult size. The truck has seen more damage from jet ski hauling than kids.

            We have seen some cars used to transport kids, but to be honest, the parents are/were pigs with the car anyway. I grew up with the sort of Italians who keep the cars perfectly clean-I even have a memory of my mom cleaning her last car with handi-wipes on the interior…and the car was already clean.

            We didn’t care if they ate in the car…that is what a vacuum is for, and they knew all wrappers go in the door pockets for easy disposal…

            Then again, I am known to clean rental car windows and interiors before use……

  • avatar


    I honestly cannot tell if Tim wrote this to poke fun at all the flack he has gotten about his Odyssey love or if he just seriously loves the Odyssey that much. The lines have gotten pretty blurry. But good to know, hopefully we get weekly (at a minimum) follow ups on the Odyssey a/k/a the luxury sliding door sports car a/k/a the smartest automotive purchase anyone anywhere can possibly make this century.

  • avatar

    I’m a frequent reader of the 2018 section on and it’s interesting to see how many problems these expensive vans have, especially considering they’ve only been out for 4 months. Here’s a fun list of issues the owners have compiled:

    Driver’s armrest mounted too high. Uncomfortable even at its lowest setting.
    Elite model missing gloss black air vent trims (matte black installed instead).
    Interior rear roof trim falling off.
    Black plastic door sill plate not fastened properly. Moves or gives when you step on it.
    Extreme glare / total washout on instrument panel in certain situations.
    Air vent fell off.
    Something loose rattling around inside passenger door.
    Passenger dash compartment not aligned properly.
    Sliding door or body frame making loud creaking noise (door seal issue?).
    Missing wire management bar in sliding door.
    Missing driver’s seat plastic rail guards.
    Misaligned steering wheel parts producing sharp edge on lower part of wheel.
    Unevenly wrapped steering wheel (lumpy).
    3rd row middle seatbelt recall.
    Control button/knob illumination not working.
    Front armrest jammed in ‘all the way up’ position.
    Missing centre console bin light on Elite model.
    Excessive wind noise coming from front passenger side door. (Door does not close tight? Seals not installed properly? Replace front triangular glass window?)
    ‘Puckered’ leather on seats (locally).
    Black plastic door sill plate damaged (scraped).
    Centre console scuffed/scratched.
    Humming/rattling/creaking noise coming from behind dash when in drive with air conditioning on.
    Passenger side sun visor “popped out”.
    Right steering wheel controller not flush with wheel – sticks out with gap (defective controller).
    Rattle sounds coming from hatch and B-pillar while driving overly bumps.
    Constant squeaking sound from second row passenger side seat when no one is sitting in it.
    With driver’s side 2nd row seat slid to the middle (with the center seat removed), there is a definite, straight tear in the carpet under the seat. [NEW]

    Rear bumper on the left and right side where it meets with the left and right ¼ panels do not line up. Sticking in on one side, sticking out on the other.
    Exterior black driver’s side trim piece next to door warped or popped out.
    Rear hatch not closing properly/fully due to interference with striker.
    Lower exterior chrome window trim not lining up across door joints.
    Misaligned rear sliding door.
    Door weather stripping incorrectly positioned.
    Dented lower door edge.
    Local paint issues.
    Scratched windshield.
    Front bumper gaps not consistent. Bumper locally bows out.
    Hood gaps not consistent.
    Rear spoiler misaligned.
    Loose rear bumper.
    Drivers side windshield vertical trim popping out.
    Local flaking cracked paint and rust.
    Front bumper paint peeling off.
    Front passenger side bumper too tight against headlight resulting in ¼” offset of panels.
    Front passenger wheel well lining not flush along the wheel well.
    Drivers lower door panel scraped.
    Scratch in paint.
    Tailgate difficult to fully close. Requires more force (slamming it), than it should.
    Large gap between lower interior trim and upper interior trim on C-pillar.
    Asymmetrical LED headlight range (right and left headlight range different from one another).
    Front doors require more than normal force to have them close flush with surrounding door/panels.
    Left and right tail light gaps between light and body are significantly different from one another.
    ‘Elite’ emblem missing on an Elite model. (All other features that come with the Elite model also missing. O.k., just kidding. Couldn’t resist. Emblem was missing though).
    Crease in lower corner of passenger front door panel. Indented.
    Rear bumper very tight to side panel on one side. Paint scraping off.
    Passenger front door sticks out 1/8” beyond sliding door when closed. (Note this could be causing above wind noise issue coming from front passenger door if door is not closing fully).
    ‘Bubbles’ in black plastic trim around the front doors, above the windows.
    Driver door sticks out beyond B-pillar when closed [NEW]
    Rear spoiler paint scratched/damaged – Appears to be from tooling. [NEW]
    Front windshield wiper tip hitting top of windshield trim during operation. [NEW]

    Cabin watch image freezing and lagging.
    Hissing noise coming from front centre speaker (and potentially other speakers) when you turn the car off (battery impact?).
    Rear entertainment system blacking out (black screen) randomly.
    Front speaker crackles while navigation system is operating.
    Rear back-up camera fuzzy and dark (Note: Possible solution for darkness. – While in reverse hit the brightness button and adjust. Will not affect brightness of other screen applications.)
    Apple car play automatically turning on when car is off.
    Sound system starts up when iPhone left plugged in with car off.
    Cabin watch screen colors not displaying properly.
    AT&T 4G LTE incompatibility error message (unsupported). Registration number incorrectly entered by Honda.
    Rear back-up camera guidance lines off.
    Dash infotainment system excessive start-up time (interferes with rear-view camera when you start up car and back up).
    Faulty connector in rear entertainment system (harness).
    Infotainment screen freezes when using Android Auto after car is turned off and with cell phone plugged in.
    Various glitches with RES and Cabin Watch making them virtually unusable.
    RES apps and/or remote not working properly.
    Lock notification “beep” inconsistent when using fob.
    Rear entertainment system, cabin watch and Wi-Fi hotspot don’t work if car is started using remote start (key fob). (Honda claims it’s normal. If starting using remote start, you need to turn car off and on again before using accessories).
    RES shuts off and restarts on its own when ‘How Much Further’ app is in use.
    Infotainment screen/system freezes while running. Turning car on and off did not resolve until it was left off for 30 minutes.
    Honda Link App not working.
    Playing video thru USB and then turning on cabin watch results in crackling, blank infotainment screen, blank screen RES followed by rebooting.
    AM, FM & XM radio sound periodically breaks in and out like its losing signal.
    Apple Carplay crashes regularly. Requires unplugging and pugging back in to get it working again.
    When using Maps with Apple Carplay, an android specific error message pops up when a route is ended.
    “Anti-theft System” error message popping up saying system power loss. “Push and hold power button…”
    Only front speakers were available in the sound settings menu. (The other audio zone options were “greyed out”). The RES power was NOT on.
    Cabin watch screen intermittently all solid grey or fuzzy green.
    HDMI jack passing only audio, not video.
    Static when streaming using Bluetooth from android phone. Also drops intermittently.
    Horizontal line across rear entertainment system screen regardless of media source. [NEW]
    XM tuner randomly not working. “CHECK TUNER” message. [NEW]

    Auto idle stop feature stopped working completely. Initially seems to work for a couple of weeks. (Related to battery? Drained battery?)
    Seat ventilation not functioning properly. Even on high, it’s very weak.
    Sliding door button (inside) not working.
    Faulty tail gate lift mechanism. Opens, bounces when it gets to top, and then automatically closes.
    Sliding door window(s) not working (potentially shorted out control switch or faulty master switch).
    “Low battery” messages for no obvious reason.
    Sliding door stopping half way when closing or not closing fully (misalignment issue?).
    Complete power failure while driving at highway speeds (battery issue?). Power automatically came back on and then the car tried to throw itself into ‘park’. (The gear ‘park’. Not a playground ‘park’).
    Faulty parking/back-up sensors.
    Intermittently working collision mitigation braking system.
    Driver’s side door locking mechanism not working properly (mechanically gets stuck).
    Collision mitigation braking system automatically engages for no reason (scary).
    Forward collision warning system activated for no reason.
    Intermittent break squealing.
    Steering wheel alignment off. Wheel needs to be turned 15 degrees to keep car straight.
    “Clunk-clank” sound between 4th & 5th gear on 9-speed.
    Load “knock” or “bang” near front drivers side wheel when backing up and turning steering wheel.
    Hands-free tailgate not working.
    Ventilation seat fan loud.
    Weak air conditioning.
    Blind spot indicator either never works or works intermittently.
    Metallic banging noise from back underside of car after parking. Muffler replacement in some cases.
    Loud repetitive knocking sound coming from rear wheel area. Loose bolts on right rear strut.
    Car throwing itself into park shortly after putting vehicle into motion (drive or reverse). Driver’s door sensor software not working properly causing car to think its driving with door open.
    Driver’s side rear sensor indicator coming on when object is on passenger’s side. (Sensors mixed up?)
    Power tailgate does not open fully (not a result of auto stop feature). Have to raise the tailgate manually the rest of the way.
    Auto high-beam headlights not working.
    HondaVac not working consistently when car is running (but parked). (Works in accessory mode though.)
    Lane keep assist out of alignment (not centred).
    Sun-roof not opening. (Switch failed).
    Rain sensing auto windshield wipers not working properly (speed not recognizing or adjusting for rainfall intensity).
    Right front axle leaking (front drive shaft assembly replaced).
    Intermittent “lurching” while driving. Each lurch lasting a few seconds. All warning lights came on.
    Emission system warning light. (Possible poor seal on capless fuel system.)
    Brake Hold automatically turned on while moving. [NEW]
    Knocking sounds coming from engine between 0 and 30mph. [NEW]

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    Allright Tim, I’ve gladly added you to the list of people who would probably think poorly of me if I ever sold my M5, but no amount of pro-Odyssey content will get me to hang on to mine forever.

    The joke will be on me if the Odyssey is worth more than the M5 in 10 years.

  • avatar

    Did they increase the legroom on the driver’s side in the Ody? That’s what’s kept me from considering one.

  • avatar

    “That joke isn’t funny anymore” – Morrissey

  • avatar

    Sliding Door Supercar.

  • avatar

    ” Jean Marc Laclerc, Honda Canada’s senior vice president for sales and marketing”

    Honda bothers to have an office in Canada with a full staff? Are there enough people in Canada to justify that?

    • 0 avatar

      Good god no. You’ve answered your own questions by just posing them. Amazed you had to ask, really.

    • 0 avatar
      Tele Vision

      There is no one in Canada. Carry on, ‘Merkin, nothing to see here but a fantastic Honda. That said I love this van in an earlier guise, as owned by a good friend and traded for road trips. It’s like driving your living room around by way of your bay window. Everything important has the word ‘Honda’ on it and, as such, inspires both confidence and calm. I’d love to have a roar in the new one. My two-and-a-half year-old would love it, too. Unfortunately the GF has a ‘thing’ about minivans so she has an Equinox – which is ‘adequate’.

  • avatar

    Trump, Kushner, Bannon, Flynn, Manafort and the rest of the scumbag criminals are about to have their real dirt exposed and have massive legal exposure and I’m lovin’ it:

    They can haul their a$$es to federal-pound-them-in-a$$-prison in this vehicle. Perfect!

  • avatar

    I posted two comments about the flaky quality of the 18 Odyssey, yet they don’t appear? Is it because I included a dot com in my comment? If that’s the case we really could use some slacking of the rules.

  • avatar

    They also buy more Ridgelines (relative to market size) than in the US…I live on the border and we see more total Ridgelines in Canada than Stateside (of course, I’m looking as I drive a 2017 Ridgeline)…

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      The U.S. pickup truck market is 6X the size of Canada’s. Ridgeline sales in the U.S. are 8X stronger than they are in Canada.

      U.S. Ridgeline YTD pickup truck market share: 1.4%
      Canada Ridgeline YTD pickup truck market share: 1.1%

      However, if you narrow it down to midsize, then yes, Canadians (in their tiny midsize market that only forms 8% of the overall truck segment, compared with 16% in the U.S.), then the Ridgeline appears marginally more common than in the U.S., relative to segment size.

      U.S. Ridgeline YTD midsize pickup truck market share: 8.2%
      Canada Ridgeline YTD midsize pickup truck market share: 14.0%

      And in the overall market, the Ridgeline owns a 0.24% share of the Canadian auto industry; 0.21% in the U.S.

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