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2018 Honda Odyssey Ownership: The Real Utility Vehicle

I’m starting to like the 2018 Honda Odyssey more than I initially thought I would. In fairness, there is a social psychology term called the “Mere-Exposure Effect,” which basically says we start to like people and things more just by the nature of frequent exposure or familiarity. I’ve noticed that this social psychology phenomenon takes more time than usual to work on my brain.

Truthfully, I don’t think I’m liking the Odyssey more just because I’ve been driving it more frequently. I think it’s winning me over with useful tech, solid build quality and a flexible interior. Also, after more time spent behind the wheel, I’ve had the opposite reaction to cars like the BMW X2, the Chevrolet Equinox and the Honda Pilot.

Effective Tech

First, the combination of Apple CarPlay and a wireless phone charging pad is brilliant (in the Odyssey Elite). Honda totally gets that true usefulness in modern machines is moving well beyond just their mechanical nature. Well-engineered, reliable, refined and efficient — Honda has all that down. But they’ve backed that up with good software to enhance the mechanical high points.

Ultimate Utility

Next, the reconfigurable interior is another aspect of the Odyssey that proves Honda totally gets it and lives it. Many years ago, Honda had an Odyssey presentation somewhere in California and had several vehicle experts, engineers and vehicle planners speak about the van with an unusual level of familiarity and passion. Turns out, all of these people, Honda employees, were Odyssey owners. One guy said he was on his eighth or ninth Odyssey. That kind of “getting it” is hard to match. That really stuck with me all these years.

One question worth asking — do the Odyssey’s second-row seats fold into the floor like on the Chrysler Pacifica? No, they don’t. Only the third row does that (in a 60/40 split). The Honda Odyssey’s second-row seats, however, can be completely removed.

Recently, my wife and I ordered a barn door kit from The Home Depot so we could separate our finished basement from the rest of the house. Unfortunately, there was an error with the delivery — thankfully, we were able to get the door by just driving down to the local store and picking it up in person. The door with the kit, in the box, was seven feet long. I don’t own a pickup.

My wife says, “I wonder if it will fit in the van?” Me: “No, it’s too…, wait let me measure it.” Honda Odyssey to the rescue. It took me about 15 min to fold down the third-row seats and remove the second-row seats. This included time spent watching Honda-produced videos on YouTube that show exactly how to remove the seats. Removing the seats isn’t hard, but it’s not super easy either. The videos helped — A LOT.

Two things to keep in mind, the Odyssey’s front seats have to be moved almost all the way forward in order to remove those second-row seats. The second thing is that the seats themselves are moderately heavy. I recall how heavy the third-row seats in the Chevy Tahoe used to be, bordering on impossible, before they added fold flat seats. With the Odyssey, it isn’t that bad, but it is the one area that has room for improvement — lighter-weight second-row seats would make the job much easier. Still, subtract the video viewing time, and the average person can likely remove the second-row seats in about five minutes. I actually found the seats easier to re-install than to remove. You do not need tools for removal or re-installation.

I get that simply being exposed to something can make you like it or them more. But you know what another key is? Don’t be terrible. It doesn’t matter how much you see someone or something, if it’s always malfunctioning or telling the same lame joke, you’ll start to NOT like it pretty quickly. I imagine Honda engineers have a much more elegant way of saying it. However you word it, the 2018 Honda Odyssey just makes life easier, and that’s something we all like. Find a Honda Odyssey for sale

Check out our 2018 Honda Odyssey New Car Review

Brian Moody
Brian Moody is an author specializing in transportation, automotive, electric cars, future vehicles as well as new, used, and certified pre-owned advice. He also specializes in liking ridiculous cars like the Buick Reatta, Studebaker Lark, and the GM A-Body wagons from the late 80s and mid-90s. Why? You'd have to ask him. Brian graduated from Cal State Long Beach and has been creating written... Read More about Brian Moody

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