By on June 21, 2018

2015 Honda Odyssey EX - Image: © Timothy Cain

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? (Read More…)

By on March 28, 2017

2015 Honda Odyssey EX PEI - Image: © Timothy Cain

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. (Read More…)

By on November 25, 2016

2015 Honda Odyssey EX PEI Cottage – Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

Just when I think to myself, Do we really need a minivan?, we plan a week-long road trip to Prince Edward Island. We didn’t need to add mileage to the lease on GCBC’s long-term 2015 Honda Odyssey EX. We had the option of driving a 2017 Ford Escape Titanium EcoBoost 2.0 from the press fleet instead.

But numbers matter. Indeed, the numbers pertaining to the cargo volume available behind the second rows of each vehicle matter greatly. 34.3 cubic feet vs. 93.1 cubic feet: nearly triple the amount of space for our stuff.

Yeah, we’ll take the van. (Read More…)

By on October 24, 2016

Freightliner Crew Cab Ambulance Nova Scotia EHS“I Drove My Newborn Son Home From The Hospital In A Minivan Like A Real Father Ought To,” the headline was supposed to read. But deliveries, whether of the UPS or child variety, do not always go as expected. As a result, the all-important first drive does not always occur as planned, either.

Nine days ago, with Mrs. Cain one week past due to deliver a new baby boy, she asked her mother about driving over from Prince Edward Island to our Nova Scotia home before, rather than after, the baby was to be born. With Grammie quickly installed in the spare room, Mrs. Cain texted me from elsewhere in GCBC Towers at 2:15 p.m. the next day to say we had to leave for the hospital in her mom’s Hyundai Elantra, leaving our Odyssey with the house’s remaining occupants for child seat and canine purposes.

But that Elantra journey to the local hospital had nothing to do with the vehicle in which the new baby boy would experience his first vehicular experience. We didn’t make it to the local children’s and maternity hospital. But at 3:20, we had a new baby boy whose first drive took place in a Freightliner. No word of a lie. (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2016

2015 Honda Odyssey speedometer

“How do I name drop, how do I name drop, how do I name drop?”

I couldn’t find the words.

Last Tuesday, I was driving GCBC’s long-term 2015 Honda Odyssey across Halifax, Nova Scotia, (where my best friend Ken is a police officer) to a very expensive dental appointment.

As soon as I noticed flashing lights in my rearview mirror, the first image that flashed into my mind was of Ken’s hairless dome and bearded face.

“Maybe they know each other,” I thought. Maybe this cop and good ol’ Ken had their seatbacks kicked by the same juvenile delinquent. Maybe they share boxes of Tim Hortons donuts while parked side by side in a mall parking lot waiting for crime to happen on cold winter nights.

Maybe, on the merits of Ken’s good name, I’ll be allowed to go free. (Read More…)

By on August 31, 2016

2015 Honda Odyssey EX front

Update: Added statement from Honda Canada 

Surely part of the reasoning behind a minivan buyer’s decision to end up with a Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna relates to reliability reputations. For most buyers in most trade-in situations, a similarly equipped Dodge Grand Caravan will cost a lot less. But the belief that the Odyssey or Sienna will be more reliable over a longer period of time supports the idea of spending more on the Honda or Toyota.

In our relatively short-term leasing case, reliability wasn’t a top concern, and we weren’t spending extra to acquire reliability anyway. (Because of trade-in issues, local Chrysler dealers wouldn’t play ball, not that we were desperate for them to do so.) And truthfully, there are other reasons a minivan buyer may choose an Odyssey or Sienna over a Grand Caravan: an eighth seat, greater space, more comfortable seats, exterior styling, unique feature content, or any number of things.

For our long-termer, we wanted a minivan that drove more like an Accord than a minivan. There was one option. 14 months later, our 2015 Honda Odyssey EX has spent three unscheduled days at the dealer and has by no means been a picture of reliability.

Stranded on the side of the road? No, not yet. But the front struts failed at 11,000 miles. (Read More…)

By on July 26, 2016

2015 Honda Odyssey EX potato field, Image: © 2016 Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

Ten days ago, we were reaching the final stages of a basement semi-renovation that would see GoodCarBadCar’s headquarters moved from the top floor of GCBC Towers to the basement. The new office would make room for a new miniature inhabitant upstairs, create easier outside access for the dog, and carve out greater work/life balance. Ikea is more than a year from opening in our locale, however, so it fell to Mrs. Cain and me to install new shelving. We needed lumber. Lots of it.

Naturally, this calls for a pickup truck. That’s how it works, right? That’s what the marketers tell us. That’s what many of us tell ourselves. That’s what society has led us to believe.

We took our Honda Odyssey instead.

Thus began a 1,000-mile nine-day span in which our long-term 2015 Honda Odyssey would once again prove that minivans make the most sense most of the time. (Read More…)

By on June 29, 2016

2015 Honda Odyssey EX

365 days ago, we drove away from the Honda dealer in a brand-new 2015 Honda Odyssey EX.

While minivan ownership was never an aspiration of mine, neither was I ever of the mindset that minivan ownership made it obvious that I was a parent. I figure the first boy we brought home from the IWK Health Centre had already made that apparent enough; my wife’s womb swollen with another boy serves as further evidence.

Children, a 70-pound Boxer/Ibizan Hound mix, periodic child care responsibilities, an ever-present InStep bike trailer, frequent grandparent visits, and a home renovation that’s not quite two-thirds complete don’t mandate minivan ownership.

But minivan ownership sure does make life easier.

One year into this four-year Honda Odyssey experiment, there are no regrets. (Read More…)

By on May 23, 2016

2015 Honda Odyssey EX

8,000 trouble-free miles ended in early April when our 2015 Honda Odyssey EX began squeaking, squawking, and groaning.

An intermittent rattle in the glovebox this was not. The noise was growing worse by the day. Sounding like a flexing structure when turning into an uneven parking lot entry, like a handful of golf balls bouncing around together when traversing a rougher section of road at very low speed, and like a dying crow in nearly every other circumstance, our Odyssey went from refined to cacophonous in a matter of days.

All blame was laid at the feet of our minivan’s power sliding doors, large apparatuses responsible for shuttering two vast orifices in the sides of a 17-foot-long pod that lacks the inherent structural rigidity of a traditional three-box saloon car. (Read More…)

By on February 18, 2016

2015 Honda Odyssey EX

With 6,402 miles under its belt, it’s safe to say our 2015 Honda Odyssey is in its prime; fresh enough to feel new, broken in enough to make the most of its 3.5-liter V6, yet not beaten into submission by too many toddler snacks or dog hairs. We now have our Odyssey right where we want it.

Alas, this too shall pass. The floor trays aren’t quickly removed, so the winter’s salt and grime, mixed in with some of Prince Edward Island’s red dirt, is accumulating swiftly. Hairs from the dog, who’s always kept behind the second row, are somehow attracting one another along the sills of the two front doors. We’re rapidly approaching the Odyssey’s first service, a free one at Centennial Honda during our next visit to the in-laws in PEI.

With a dirty, hairy interior and the first service complete, it’s official: our long-term Odyssey is no longer new. (Read More…)

By on November 25, 2015

2015 Honda Odyssey vs 2016 Honda Pilot

They say the grass is greener on the other side. I say, just give me more grass on my side; any color will do.

I’m blessed with a job that enables me to work from home and drive a whole bunch of new cars. Strangely, even with a new vehicle delivered to my driveway each and every week, my desire to own a multitude of vehicles of different types – Miata and Wrangler, Mustang and Raptor, Suburban and M5, Volt and 911, Macan and GTI – only seems to increase. In other words, I’m not operating under the assumption that I’d find vehicular happiness if only I could have that vehicle. Rather, I’m under the belief that I’ll source vehicular happiness only if I own so many vehicles that I can always be able to exit my nonexistent garage/barn in the right vehicle for the right moment. This would require a Miata for sudden Friday night trips to the grocery store for children’s Tylenol, a Suburban for the holidays when all the family visits and wants to go out on our nonexistent boat, a Wrangler for those pointless off-road jaunts one takes when one owns a Wrangler, a Raptor for those pointless off-road jaunts one takes when one owns a Raptor and needs to pick up lumber on the way home, a Volt for the commuting I don’t do, a GTI for when we have a babysitter, a Macan for winter weekends away, and an M5 and 911 because, well, why not?

Alas, it is not to be. So we drive a 2015 Honda Odyssey. (Read More…)

By on September 9, 2015

2015 Honda Odyssey Bothwell PEI

We’re kidding. Yes, Odyssey sales were falling. Then we used our own money to pay for a new 2015 Honda Odyssey. Forthwith, Odyssey sales increased.

You know better than to connect the two, of course. Post hoc ergo propter hoc, and all that. But I can dream about the power of GoodCarBadCar.net and the sway of a single Jalopnik-recommended article on our Kinja page.

In July and August, 26,274 Americans registered new Odysseys, 12 percent more than in the same period one year ago. This is a strong end-of-lifecycle follow-up to the Odyssey’s 14 percent plunge in the 2014 calendar year and a 1 percent drop in the first half of 2015. Yet even to the sales-stats-obsessed founder of GCBC, the U.S. sales story is secondary, if only in this instance.

As of June 2015, we have a minivan, and I’m too busy loading ten-foot-long 2x4s in the back of my people carrier to care about the Odyssey’s best-selling status or the reasons for the uptick. (Read More…)

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