I hear this all the time at the dealership, but some would disagree! Especially after they get to demo a Honda Odyssey. I call it the coolest Minivan in town because on a scale of "mom mobile" to "spaceship"...it sits comfortably somewhere above the center line.
Thank you for venturing over to our blog, I hope you enjoy this post! If you finish reading and you find you'd like to know more about the Odyssey, or if you'd just like to watch a video instead, there's a video at the bottom of the page that we released last month for you to check out! Or you can simply CLICK HERE.
Let's dig a little deeper into the world of Minivans!
Let's address the minivan in the room. I think the stigma surrounding minivans comes from the fact that they used to have an all-encompassing, bulky, non-fun appeal. Historically they've been designed for convenience and not for fun. Looking at older model years, you'd assume manufacturers fired entire teams of designers and engineers when they were at the drawing board.
The Minivan has grown to symbolize the point in someone's life when they begin stepping out of the comfort of their carefree younger years into adulthood where soccer moms and shuttle drives to school are the new things. After all, chances are if the people today in their early 20s to late 20s had multiple siblings, they grew up with their parents owning one. Therefore, It's not hard to attach the concept of a minivan to the thought of your dad driving, listening to classic rock and yelling dad jokes at you from the driver's seat on your way to hockey.
So why is this class of monstrous vehicles even still a thing? I'm here to tell you that it's because the 'Minivan' has come a long way from it's bland clunky ancestors and that it does serve a purpose. An honorable one at that!
Team Foui makes a point of showing our customers their options. Which is why when someone says they need a family vehicle, a minivan is often on the table. They're almost always hesitant to mention it, but something deep inside of them is telling them they should. There's a little voice that whispers "You have a growing family, give it a shot" gently in their ear. Most of the time, there is a larger, "cooler", AWD SUV option at the ready as well, just in case they can't swallow the pill. When the time comes to test drive and have one of the team members demonstrate the vehicle, we represent both options in a non-biased way. It's very important that all the information be presented, so they can make an informed decision for themselves and their families.
There is a certain percentage of people who opt into the minivan option after seeing just how zeroed in some of these minivans are when it comes to family needs. Also, I'm going to mention some of these customers come back years later saying they love their van and that it's made their lives so much easier with the kids.
So let's look at some of the features my favorite minivan has that make life easier:
The first thing I consider is what stage is your family in? Are you expecting triplets? Definitely a good option. Are the kids out of car seats? Still a great option. Are the kids old enough to walk to school? Still great for family road trips, sports, etc. Are they moving out soon? You can probably do without the minivan but some people drive minivans purely for the comfortable drive. Maybe by the time the kids grow up you'll end up wanting all that elbow room?
Regardless, there is a very delicate, fleeting phase in a family's timeline where the children finally gain a little independence. When they no longer need you to help them in and out of their seats. They might still be below your waist in height, but they want to do it themselves! Most minivans have a lower step height in the rear, allowing smaller people or even people with mobility issues to get in and out of the vehicle with a little more ease. Not to mention, the power doors allow one quick pull of the handle to open them. It's almost as easy as saying "Open Sesame". Which means the kids can have the door open and seat belts buckled before you even get to start the engine.
The stowaway seats need to be mentioned here too. Some minivans have a three or four step process to hide the seats. The Odyssey has a one-pull system with a single strap for tucking the third row away and a couple clicks and levers for the center row seats to be removed. This is also demonstrated in the video below!
Not outer space (although you might think so when you see the technology in these things), I'm talking about passenger and cargo space!
Typically passenger space is a big deal with these sorts of things. If you're a growing family, you'll need enough room for multiple troublemakers in the back seat and potentially (depending on the trouble maker's age) multiple car seats. The configuration of said seats is also important because you may need to separate the troublemakers or maneuver the seats in a particular way based on cargo. Take the Honda Odyssey's 'Magic Seats' for example. They allow you to remove the center row middle seat, so you can slide the outboard seats horizontally from door to door. The versatility truly is, magical. This is demonstrated in our video at the bottom of this post!
Cargo space is usually important as well! Again, depending on the age of the little ones, you're going to need stroller or hockey bag space. This is when removable or stowaway seats really come in handy. Meaning you have the potential to use the entirety of the rear compartment for larger items like couches, home renovation materials, and a lot of other things you would have trouble fitting in most large SUVs.
It's 2018, we were supposed to have flying cars by now. We don't have flying cars, but at least it's safe to say vehicle "safety ratings" have pretty much been mastered by most of the manufacturers on the market. Although, is anything truly safe enough when it comes to your family?
Minivans are purchased mainly to be used by families. Parents have the instinct to protect their young at all costs. So it's no wonder why parents everywhere choose the minivan route against their inner teenager's wishes.
To give you an example of the attention to detail involved here, there's something special about the power doors on the Honda Odyssey. Imagine a power sliding door with the window rolled all the way down. Now, let's say a curious youngster decides to stick their head out the window at the same time that door begins opening. Honda's engineers anticipated that you probably don't want your children to have damaged limbs, so they made it so that when the window is open the power door only opens half way to prevent injury. The vehicle also has pinch sensors on every powered door. You could close the door on your hand and barely even feel it before it automatically senses something is interfering and opens itself up again.
Honda has also introduced two new features in the Odyssey's redesign that they call "Cabin Watch" and "Cabin Talk". Both of them are demonstrated in the video below. Cabin Watch allows the driver of the vehicle to keep an eye on the kids in both the second and third-row seats by using a camera mounted on the headliner to broadcast your passengers on the touch screen in front of you. This enables you to keep your eyes and head in a forward position at all times.
Paired with Cabin Watch is 'Cabin Talk', which acts as a sort of intercom system in the vehicle. The driver can alert their headphone wearing, movie watching occupants of the approaching destination and they don't have to yell at the top of their lungs for the people in the third row to hear them.
Lastly, something else I think is pretty underappreciated in the world of safety is the Odyssey's ability to put itself in park if it's still in drive when the doors open. Which means unless you're jumping out the window, the vehicle will stay put if you forget to push the park button.
How many times have you thought to yourself "There's so much space in my civic! I could sleep in it if I wanted to!". I've never said it about mine...
This is where minivans have you covered! Theoretically, you could remove the seats, throw in an air mattress and take a nap. That would work, but Honda takes it to the next level with an available tent attachment. Designed to wrap around the back portion of the Odyssey, this tent has enough room for the entire family and allows you to use the Odyssey's interior trunk space as a "hatch" for your belongings inside the tent. It's genius!
Fuel efficiency, when compared to larger SUV's with AWD or 4x4, will also come out on top. The clunkiness and weight of AWD systems combined with the extra power used to run them basically says you'll be spending more on fuel on those road trips to your summer home in Arizona.
One thing I'm not too happy about with the new redesign is Honda's decision to remove the drink cooler in the front. It did come in handy for a lot of road trippers for their water bottles. That being said, anyone that has the previous generation of Honda Odyssey might have the famous "Cool Box" in the console. Cool!
In the EX-L Navi and Touring models, you now have Garmin navigation. Which is far more intuitive and easy to use than most stock navigation systems. Honda was smart to do away with their previous gen stock navigation for a partnership opportunity with Garmin. Garmin equipped Hondas will also have free map updates available for 5 years! Alternatively, all Odysseys now come standard with Apple Car Play and Android Auto. So if you don't end up getting the highest trim levels, you'll still have access to features like GPS and Siri Handsfree by using your phone.
Lastly, let's say you go for a hike and your boots get dirty or let's say you like to bring your dog with you everywhere you go. Well, you're in luck because the Odyssey has a built-in vacuum! The enclosed vacuum can be found in the trunk area, the hose reaches all the way to the front of the vehicle, comes with numerous attachments, and can be easily removed and emptied in a nearby garbage bin when the time is right! It's perfect for those long lost cheerios and crumbs beneath the seats. In the previous generation you had to pay the big bucks for the touring model to get this vacuum, however, now the vacuum comes in almost every model of the Odyssey for your convenience. I don't know why, but I'm super pumped about that.
As a parent, having control over what happens in the van is paramount to a safe and efficient trip with the kids. That's why as the driver you have more access to features than anyone else in the vehicle. For example, you pull up to the pickup zone at school. Instead of getting out, you can simply push the button adjacent to the steering wheel to have the powered doors or the hatch open on their own, allowing the kids into the vehicle.
You can control the rear entertainment display. Meaning you can play, pause or stop the video to interrupt their regular scheduled broadcasting with important parental questions or demands. There's even a feature called 'How much Farther?' where you can display an animated description of your trip for the kids to watch as you travel that displays how long your trip is in a fun informative way. Similar to what you might see on the screen in an airplane as you fly.
Climate control in both the front and the back can be controlled and locked by you, to deter the kids from playing with the buttons available to them in the back and your steering wheel is jam-packed with in-cabin controls for your radio, your cruise control and your info display behind the steering wheel.
Speaking of control, Honda now offers an advanced, subscription based version of Hondalink. It's a service that allows you to use your phone to locate your vehicle, remind yourself of a parking meter and you guessed it, as long as you have service, you can now start your Odyssey from literally anywhere in the world and precondition the climate in the vehicle before you leave the house.
The video below is TFA's most recent Vlog featuring the Honda Odyssey!
Thank you so much for reading and we'll see you on the lot!