End-of-term Report: 37,000 Miles and Three Years in a 2015 Honda Odyssey EX

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
end of term report 37 000 miles and three years in a 2015 honda odyssey ex

We weren’t the typical minivan buyers. Yet with only one child (at the time), and desirous of full-size pickups, and frequent travellers of off-road paths not designed for an especially low-slung vehicle, we acquired a new 2015 Honda Odyssey EX in June 2015.

Three years and 37,000 miles later, after mountains of dog hair and many pounds of cracker crumbs and sand from a couple dozen beaches proved the merit of the OEM floor mats, our Odyssey’s odyssey is complete.

Do minivans still make sense in 2018? Do Odysseys hold up to the rigors of a young family’s life? And was it worth paying a premium for America’s favorite (retail) van?

Start by answering that last question. In Canada, the 2015 Honda Odyssey EX was a $37,195 van when new. Three years later, the Odyssey held strong with 67 percent of its original value. Our annual insurance costs were roughly $900. The van averaged 24 miles per gallon, better than the 20 mpg results on Fuelly but not surprising given the small percentage of time the van spent in urban settings. Our first service was free; we then spent around $650 on routine maintenance. The original Michelin Primacys called it quits after 15,000 miles. We replaced those and also added a set of Yokohama IceGuards that we’ve retained.

The kicker, of course, is that resale value. While the 2015 Odyssey EX – which sits above the LX and SE but below all leather-clad Odysseys – is now a $25,000 pre-owned van, there are similarly equipped 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan Crews with substantially less mileage listed for less than $17,000.

To be fair, the Odyssey’s resale value is built on a reputation for pristine Honda reliability that wasn’t entirely fulfilled in the real world. Front struts failed early. There was also work done to front brakes under warranty, corroded wheels replaced under warranty, and a failed integrated sunshade replaced under warranty.

On the flip side, the Odyssey runs, sounds, looks, feels (inside and out), handles, steers, and brakes like a new van. Indeed, it brakes better than it did originally.

As for the question of minivan sensibility in an SUV era, there was never any doubt in our minds that life with a large three-row crossover would have been complicated during this period in our lives. With a third row that was called upon weekly, at least, the ample cargo volume was truly a vital component. If you haven’t seen the number of Tonka tractors a 3-year-old boy can put in a wagon that must go to the beach, then you may not recognize the limitations of the nearly nonexistent cargo space behind the third row of most non-Suburban SUVs.

We tried to buy a roof rack when we acquired the Odyssey three years ago, since we already had a Thule rooftop carrier. The sales manager pleaded with us to save our money, saying, “You will not need it.”

He was right. We didn’t.

Flexibility is the name of the minivan game, so we frequently challenged the Odyssey to become a pickup truck, a rapid bladder transport vehicle for the I-need-to-pee toddler who should most definitely have gone before we left Grammie’s house, and a cross-province mile muncher with eight aboard.

There is no other vehicle that could even dream of accomplishing all of these divergent tasks: a Toyota Highlander can’t swallow this much stuff, a GMC Yukon XL can’t be hustled down a rural road this swiftly, and a Ford F-150 can’t carry this many people.

It’s also worth noting that the few vehicles that can come close to exhibiting the minivan’s well-roundedness do so at higher price points. Minivans aren’t for everybody all the time everywhere – I commute in a Miata, after all, and I spent much of the winter in a Nissan Armada.

But how do you argue with the minivan’s sheer functionality?

[Images: Timothy Cain/TTAC]

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5 of 48 comments
  • EX35 EX35 on Jun 22, 2018

    Is Honda's reputation for reliability deserved? My father's 2005 Accord has been his most unreliable vehicle he's owned. Constant issues involving vtech, ball joints, shocks, ignition system, cooling fan, batteries. My co-worker's '11 Oddy has also been a disaster wrt cooling system, A/C, and shocks. Plus, a high-speed shimmy that was never resolved by the dealer.

    • See 2 previous
    • Mtxjohn Mtxjohn on May 05, 2019

      275000 miles on my 97 crv still running perfect. 204000 on my 2002 rsxs literally everything original. I never even had to replace a shock or a wheel bearing or anyting. 190000 thousand on my wife's 2008 TL. 88 thousand on my current 2015 Odyssey... I just have to replace the gas cap for $40. Maybe you just had really bad luck on one model that's 15 years old dude.

  • Mtxjohn Mtxjohn on May 05, 2019

    What's up with Michelin lately? I've got 88,000 miles on my 2015 Odyssey and still running the original Continental tires (tires have about 57,000 on them because the other miles were snow tires) 4/32 still. Weird. I bought my car for 6000 off sticker... The resale is absolutely incredible on these. I've literally spent more on fuel than the vehicle has depreciated.

  • SPPPP It seems like a really nice car that's just still trying to find its customer.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird I owned an 87 Thunderbird aka the second generation aero bird. It was a fine driving comfortable and very reliable car. Quite underrated compared to the GM G-body mid sized coupes since unlike them they had rack and pinion steering and struts on all four wheels plus fuel injection which GM was a bit late to the game on their mid and full sized cars. When I sold it I considered a Mark VII LSC which like many had its trouble prone air suspension deleted and replaced with coils and struts. Instead I went for a MN-12 Thunderbird.
  • SCE to AUX Somebody got the bill of material mixed up and never caught it.Maybe the stud was for a different version (like the 4xe) which might use a different fuel tank.
  • Inside Looking Out Scandinavian design costs only $600? I mean the furniture.
  • Akear Lets be honest, Lucid will not be around in five years. It does not matter that it is probably the world's best EV sedan. Lucid's manufacturing and marketing is a complete mess. The truth is most EV companies are going under within the decade.