The things I do for my listeners! I didn’t have to review a minivan, I had choices, but enough of you ask about vans that I have spent this week in the 2012 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite. I can tell you that unlike many of the cars I review, I have no sudden urge to go buy this van, but God forbid should I ever have that desire, this is probably the one I would choose.
Over the years, I have gone back and forth between the Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna when asked about the best van. I have generally recommended the Odyssey and after the re-redesign of 2011, and now driving it, I am certain that at least for now, it is worthy of the recommendation.
Honda thought of everything for those who need to carry 7 people, especially if some of them are children. The interior is wonderful and ease of getting in and out for all occupants is simple and easy. The Odyssey has a manually but easily operated 3rd row seat that folds flat, but even with the 3rd row up it has a tremendous amount of cargo room. The 3rd row seat is in a 60/40 configuration so one side can be down for cargo, the other side up for a passenger or two.
Odyssey will fit 3 child safety seats in the second row, a feat not many vehicles can boast. The 2nd row seating is split into 3 independent sections. The center section will slide toward the front of the van so the driver or a passenger can reach a small child. This version of the Odyssey has a power liftgate in the rear, and power sliding doors on both sides of the van. All three electric doors can be activated from the key fob.
The Odyssey Touring Elite comes with a DVD player that is pretty incredible. The screen is just over 16” wide and has surround sound. It will also accommodate games if your kids have a portable device, and all of it can be heard through headphones, so the rest of the vehicle can listen to the stereo system. There is even a refrigerator in the front area to keep drinks cool. I counted 18 cup and juice holders through the van.
Under the hood, there is a 3.5–liter 6-cylinder putting out 248-horses. Power-wise, it is adequate. The Touring Elite comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission. One of the goals last year was to improve fuel-economy, and they achieved that. I am actually getting better mileage than stated, coming in at 20 in town and 29 on the road.
The van package I am testing comes with everything, including a great navigation system, a 650-watt stereo with XM radio and Bluetooth, dual power front seats that are heated, a power outlet for electricity and multiple 12-volt power outlets. In addition, you get keyless entry, blind-spot monitoring, rear camera, backup warning system, leather interior, and a power moonroof. There are even 2nd and 3rd row shades to keep the sun off your little angels.
The Odyssey rides really well on the highway as well as in town. It is super quiet, and has a good feel when you are behind the wheel. It is easy to forget you are driving a minivan.
I drive a lot of exciting cars. This is not one of them, but if you have made the decision that a minivan is right for you, you’d be hard-pressed to find a nicer one.
What I liked most: The attention to detail and fuel economy of this large vehicle.
What I would change: The 3rd row operation being power would be great.
Fuel Economy: Rated at 19 city and 28 highway.
2012 Odyssey in a few words: If you need a van, this one is top notch.