Long-Term Review

2018 Honda Odyssey Ownership: Usefulness Above All

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author photo by Brian Moody May 2018

I have to admit, I have mixed feeling about the 2018 Honda Odyssey. There are so many good, useful things about it I'm hesitant to even say anything negative. Plus, the available pool of new minivans is shrinking and has been for many years, thereby pushing the already-good Odyssey to the top.

Here's a rundown of minivans we've loved (or not) and lost: the Buick Terazza, the Chevrolet Venture, the Chevrolet Uplander, the Chevrolet Lumina APV, the Chevrolet Astro, the Chrysler Town and Country, the Dodge Grand Caravan, the Ford Aerostar, the Ford Windstar, the Ford Freestar, the GMC Safari, the Hyundai Entourage, the Mazda MPV, the Mazda5, the Mercury Villager, the Mercury Monterrey, the Nissan Quest, the Oldsmobile Silhouette, the Pontiac Trans Sport, the Pontiac Montana, the Plymouth Voyager, the Saturn Relay and the Toyota Previa. They're all gone, and most are forgotten. The fact that the Odyssey remains is a testament to just how good it is and has been over the years. It's easy to argue that the minivans listed above just weren't good enough to compete with vans like the Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.

Recently, we compared the all-new Odyssey with the all-new Chrysler Pacifica  and found both to be so good that we really can't firmly come out in favor of one over the other. The Honda will have better resale value and may be more reliable over a long period of time. However, I can't experience either of those things right now, as I drive the Odyssey to drop my daughter off at school.

Even so, I have to admit that the Odyssey is super useful. There are bins and storage areas, literally, EVERYwhere. Recently, we picked up a lunch at a drive-through and ordered six drinks plus we already had three water bottles. The Odyssey handled it all with no problem. Also, the Odyssey's in-car tech is excellent. The features, ease of use, Apple CarPlay, Cabin Watch, cabin talk and even the native navigation system are all great.

To anyone looking for a minivan, I wholeheartedly recommend the 2018 Honda Odyssey. Just drive the Pacifica too, then make your choice. However, the one thing that has me a little wishy-washy on the Odyssey is a personal preference, not a professional opinion. I don't love driving the Odyssey. Is that because it's a minivan? Maybe. Even though the Odyssey has a more sure-footed handling attitude and is quieter on the highway, I simply enjoy driving both the Sienna SE and Pacifica Limited more than the Odyssey.

Maybe it doesn't matter what I enjoy. I feel the same way about the Nissan Murano -- I don't look forward to or necessarily love driving it either. But, guess what, I actually bought a Murano because it fit my family's needs best of all the mid-size crossovers available. It's the new car I chose to spend my own money on. I'm not sorry I have it.

I think I might know what the problem is -- nothing wrong with the Honda Odyssey. It's nearly perfect and perfectly adapts to your lifestyle. Maybe, just maybe, sometimes the thing that really makes you love something or someone in life is that little bit of friction, that little bit of inconvenience, that little bit of a minor clash that makes you love it or them all the more. The Honda Odyssey has no inconvenience; everything it does it does for a reason. I admire that kind of usefulness. I admire it, I recommend it, but I don't love it.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Honda Odyssey Ownership: Usefulness Above All - Autotrader