The year is 2007. Presidential primary elections are taking place, modern classic films like "No Country for Old Men" and "Shrek the Third" are in theaters, and everyone is sick of hearing "Irreplaceable" by Beyonce. If you wanted the ultimate in family-hauling luxury in the tail end of the (second) Bush era, the Honda Odyssey Touring was the way to go. See the 2007 Honda Odyssey models for sale near you
Fast forward to 2017. My wife and I recently welcomed our second child into the world, and we’re just getting warmed up (we’re Catholic). For this reason, I have officially entered the minivan market to transport my growing family. After a lot of shopping around and researching what the few brands still in the minivan game have to offer, I ended up with a 2007 Honda Odyssey Touring.
In my search, I test drove a 2015 Chrysler Town & Country Touring-L. It was … okay. The seats were a little stiff, the ride quality was sub-par, the transmission shifted at weird times, and the infotainment system was atrocious — it was clumsy and the Bluetooth just plain didn’t work. While it had some of the virtues shared by all modern minivans (like a lot of space and sliding doors), I certainly didn’t like this Chrysler enough to get excited about making the switch to a minivan.
Then I found a 2007 Honda Odyssey Touring for much less money than the Chrysler, and I figured I’d give it a shot. I’ve heard mostly positive things about the Odyssey across its five generations, so I figured it would be worth consideration. Despite being eight years older than the Chrysler I drove previously, the Honda was worlds better in just about every way — with a smoother ride, more comfortable seats, more intuitive controls and stronger fuel efficiency (at least on paper) than the Town & Country that was a generation newer. I was sold.
A 10-year-old Honda minivan might not sound like a desirable vehicle, but my family and I are very happy with this choice. After all, it’s the Touring model! For those unfamiliar with Honda parlance, that’s the top trim level (for this generation), meaning it comes fully loaded with a DVD player, a navigation system, heated leather seats, a backup camera, parking sensors, a six-disc CD changer and, of course, the all-important power sliding doors and liftgate. Here’s why I couldn’t be happier with my boring Honda minivan.
I Want to Live in This Interior
The most comfortable furniture I’ve ever owned is on the inside of my Odyssey. The plush leather seats have already been sat in by other people for a decade, and they still hold up as comfortable, supportive Lay-Z-Boys that I never want to get out of. Not to mention the space! This Odyssey really hits home the whole "living room on wheels" persona that makes minivans desirable to families. Everyone has miles of leg room, and it’s far less cramped with four people inside than the compact cars I’ve gotten used to.
It’s Borderline Fun to Drive
Fun is a strong word which is generally not associated with minivans — and for good reasons. While the performance of my Odyssey is nothing to write home about, I’m very impressed with the 3.5-liter SOHC VTEC V6 under the hood. The engine is smooth and rev happy, and it will gladly spin all the way to redline before the five-speed automatic transmission shifts. It also has cylinder deactivation with the ability to turn off a whole cylinder bank, making the van run on just three cylinders under light-load driving to save gas.
What’s perhaps even more surprising than the pep of the engine is the handling: steering is accurate and there’s surprisingly little body roll. Overall, it handles like a much smaller vehicle. Sometimes I’ll be darting around a corner or performing a quick lane change, and I’ll be surprised by how large this vehicle is when I’m checking my blind spot. Speaking of which, visibility is excellent thanks to acres of windows without the massive pillars found in newer cars.
It Has Enough Technology to Warrant Acura Badges
Since I spend most of my time in my basement slaving away at my computer writing articles for Oversteer, I don’t go on a lot of long road trips. However, when it’s time to go down to Milwaukee to visit the kiddos’ great-grandparents, it sure will be nice to have that DVD player in the back. My three-year-old is already quite well-behaved on long trips, but being able to put on "Trolls" and throw some wireless headphones on her makes the trip a lot less boring for her.
The navigation system is okay. It’s a bit dated, but it’s still nice to have. What’s really great is having a backup camera (which has great night vision) and parking sensors both in front and in back. Many car enthusiasts might poo-poo such "nannies" — and they are, indeed, designed for people who don’t like driving, but dang it, they do make parking a heck of a lot easier.
All in all, it’s nice to have a vehicle that’s comfortable and relaxing to drive. After years of driving my Ford Focus ST with a manual transmission, heavily bolstered Recaro seats and compact size, I take no issue with driving a vehicle where it isn’t a pain (sometimes literally) to simply load and unload my kids from the back seat.
Is my Honda Odyssey cool? No. Is it good at its job? Absolutely. All it’s supposed to do is transport people and cargo comfortably and safely, and it fulfills that duty tremendously well. So if you love driving, but need an aggressively practical large vehicle, skip the crossover and don’t be afraid to take the minivan plunge. Everyone who drives a minivan loves it. Just please promise me you won’t put a stick figure family on the rear glass. Find a 2007 Honda Odyssey for sale