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

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
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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]

Timothy Cain
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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.

  • ToolGuy I appreciate the thoughtful comments from the little people here, and I would like to remind everyone that Ford Motor Company offers a full range of vehicles which are ideal for any driving environment including New York City. The size and weight our of product portfolio has been fully and completely optimized to be friendly to the planet and friendly to pedestrians while consuming the bare minimum of resources from our precious planet (I am of course a lifelong environmentalist). Plus, our performance models will help you move forward and upward by conquering obstacles and limits such as congestion and your fellow humans more quickly at a higher rate of speed. I invite you to learn more at our website.Signed, William Clay Ford Jr.
  • George Hughes What ever happened to the American can-do attitude. I know what, it was coopted by the fossil fuel industry in their effort to protect their racket.
  • 28-Cars-Later "But Assemblyman Phil Ting, the San Franciscan Democrat who wrote the electric school bus legislation, says this is all about the health and wellbeing of Golden State residents. In addition to the normal air pollution stemming from exhaust gasses, he believes children are being exposed to additional carcinogens by just being on a diesel bus."Phil is into real estate, he doesn't know jack sh!t about science or medicine and if media were real it would politely remind him his opinions are not qualified... if it were real. Another question if media were real is why is a very experienced real estate advisor and former tax assessor writing legislation on school busses? If you read the rest of his bio after 2014, his expertise seems to be applied but he gets into more and more things he's not qualified to speak to or legislate on - this isn't to say he isn't capable of doing more but just two years ago Communism™ kept reminding me Dr. Fauxi knew more about medicine than I did and I should die or something. So Uncle Phil just gets a pass with his unqualified opinions?Ting began his career as a real estate  financial adviser at  Arthur Andersen and  CBRE. He also previously served as the executive director of the  Asian Law Caucus, as the president of the Bay Area Assessors Association, and on the board of  Equality California. [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Ting#cite_note-auto-1][1][/url][h3][/h3]In 2005, Ting was appointed San Francisco Assessor-Recorder in 2005 by Mayor  Gavin Newsom, becoming San Francisco’s highest-ranking  Chinese-American official at the time. He was then elected to the post in November 2005, garnering 58 percent of the vote.Ting was re-elected Assessor-Recorder in 2006 and 2010During his first term in the Assembly, Ting authored a law that helped set into motion the transformation of Piers 30-32 into what would become  Chase Center the home of the  Golden State Warriorshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Ting
  • RHD This looks like a lead balloon. You could buy a fantastic classic car for a hundred grand, or a Mercedes depreciationmobile. There isn't much reason to consider this over many other excellent vehicles that cost less. It's probably fast, but nothing else about it is in the least bit outstanding, except for the balance owed on the financing.
  • Jeff A bread van worthy of praise by Tassos.