2012 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite Review

Jerry Reynolds | February 2, 2012
2012 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite Review


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.

2012 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite

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.
  • MSRP: $44,485
  • Fuel Economy: 19 city/ 28 highway.
  • 2012 Odyssey in a few words: If you need a van, this one is top notch.
  • Manufacturer's Website: Honda

Photo Credit: Honda

Tags: 2012, Honda Odyssey, minivan
Gary B.
I have a 2002 Oddy and found another item that isn't covered but should have been a recall. There were many others with the same problem on the Honda blog. The rear vent widow motor thermister. Repair is $300 per side. bypassing the resister was $0. I always use the A/C anyway.
Pei D.
We got an Odyssey Touring three weeks ago, just in time for our Christmas travel. Love love it! All the bells and whistles made driving this minivan such a luxurious experience. However, after the post-Christmas snow storm, the driver's side's power door mirror suddenly had a hairline crack. It was intact when we got out of the driveway. After a few minutes, we noticed the crack. The only thing we could think of was the mirror wasn't completely thawed out and the heated mirror cracked because of it. We looked in the owner's manual, and the only thing they said was the mirror will be automatically tilted when we put gear to reverse for a better view. No warning about the possible damage that might be caused by frozen mirror when automatically tilted. Honda dealer said glass isn't covered under the warranty, thought (we thought) this seems to be a defect of its own. Oh well. Live and learn. Hope others learn from our mistake as well. Other than this, we have no complaints about our new minivan.
Kevin .
I just purchased a 2013 EX for my family's use about a week ago. Worked an excellent deal, and I'm very happy with the options that are provided on the EX (we didn't want leather and didn't need power rear hatch). We are expecting TRIPLETS in about a month, so I was very limited in the cars I would have to get to be able to maximize my utility. Between the Odyssey and the Sienna, it's a no-brainer when comparing like for like. The Odyssey's second row is a GODSEND and unless you go with the top of the line Sienna, the Odyssey is really the standout winner.

Power is very good to excellent for the car's size and it handles amazingly well for what it is. I drive a 2012 Infiniti M37S and this is my wife's car, but I still enjoy this car when I am driving it. Including the backup camera as standard on 2013 is a really nice touch.
raygel b.
i purchased my 2012 honda odyssey touring elite lastnight. the vehicle is immaculate. i had no money for a down payment. i had to give up my 2005 mercedes-benz e500 as a trade in, in order to make my monthly payments reasonable. i have no regrets. the elite model is stacked with features that made giving up my e500 easier to cope with. the e500 was for me, but now that i have a family i needed to get a vehicle for them. i chose the odyssey for it's solid brand reputation, and vehicle longevity honda is known for.
Charlie P.
I have the 2011 Odyssey EX-L that I have had for about a year and I can echo your findings, I have to have a van for my disabled spouse. The Odyssey is a fantastic vehicle all around. Great gas mileage. Love the stereo system and the rest of the electronics.
Sandra S.
The Odyssey is the best vehicle I have ever owned. The older I get the more I love it!! Mine is a 2004 and I thank her everyday for the wonderful service she provides for me!! I would love a new one but unfortunately we the "older generation" have been typically priced out of new cars. And in looking for a later model used Odyssey van---it seems everyone tends to keep their Honda Odysseys longer. Very few are ever in the paper. Proves it is a great car! Love you Jerry!! You do a great job and you have always been there to answer my questions!! Thanks again for all you do!!