by Dave and Carolyn
edited by Paul Williams

2007 Honda Odyssey EX-L
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Read more of Dave & Carolyn’s comments on the 2007 Honda Odyssey EX-L:
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3
Read all the articles in the Minivan Challenge

Photo Gallery: 2007 Honda Odyssey

Dave and Carolyn have a lot to say about the Honda Odyssey, and that�s partly because they�ve now been in three vehicles back-to-back over a three-month period. This experience brings into relief the differences and similarities of the test vehicles that you wouldn�t get on a half-hour test-drive from the dealer. This is largely the purpose of the Minivan Challenge.

Both Dave and Carolyn mentioned the solid feel and high quality of the Odyssey throughout their time with it. The structure and the look of the Odyssey (it�s a sleek vehicle) impressed them, but some of its operational features detracted from their experience with it. Both also mentioned the Odyssey�s fuel consumption. Dave and Carolyn (who do a lot of driving!) put 3,627 kilometers on the Odyssey in their month of driving, and by their calculations, returned 12.0 L/100 km city/highway (mostly city) and 9.5 L/100 km highway/city (mostly highway). This is not as bad as they may think, as their �mostly city� consumption is better than Canada�s Energuide rating of 12.7 L/100 km, and comparable to many midsize cars. Their �mostly highway� results of 9.5 L/100 km were not as good as Energuide�s prediction of 8.2 L/100 km, however.

Finally, Dave and Carolyn had quite different subjective impressions of the Honda Odyssey. The chart below shows where the differences occur, and certainly Carolyn’s recent emergency situation has had a positive impact on her assessments. In other key areas, their opinions also differ, although in ride, comfort, build quality and overall appeal, they are fully in agreement.

Dave�s Week Four comments and final rating:

�Our time with the Odyssey has come to its end and I must admit that it seems as though we just picked up the van the other day. It�s a smooth riding, quiet, stately looking, and comfortable vehicle.�It fit right in to our family�s needs and activities.

2007 Honda Odyssey EX-L
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For me, the notable attributes of the Odyssey are that it handles the rough roads well, and it is basically devoid of squeaks or rattles. Everything inside the van looks well made; even the plastic parts look well made.

But as I become accustomed to driving these minivans I must admit that I find myself re-evaluating some of my comments re the Entourage. When we picked up the Entourage neither of us had any experience driving �contemporary� minivans (I drove my share of the much smaller, less luxurious, and less well equipped Chrysler minivans during the late 80s.) I wonder if I would be so picky about the Entourage�s handling and �bulkiness� if I was driving it now. For instance, the Odyssey feels just as big as the Entourage and I am not so bothered by this anymore. One thing for certain, the Entourage was loaded with features (some of which we took for granted) and still priced under $40,000. Our Sienna and Odyssey test vehicles were much less well equipped in this regard.

2007 Honda Odyssey EX-L
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So far, I would really prefer to buy a minivan with a power lift gate. To my knowledge, to obtain a power lift gate in the Odyssey one must spend well over $40,000. It seems every time I attempt to close the Odyssey�s tailgate I never succeed in fully closing it � and, as one who has a background in weight lifting, I can assure you this it has nothing to do with lack of strength. Granted, I could slam it shut with a tonne of force, but this seems unreasonable.

The fact the doors remain locked on this vehicle once it has been placed in Park continues to annoy me, and holds up passengers as well.

We learned something else about the Odyssey the other day: not unlike the Entourage�s armrests, the Odyssey�s armrests also lock into position if raised beyond a certain point. In other words, when you reach this point you cannot put them down without first lifting them all the way up. I am not sure why this is the case, and doesn�t seem to add anything to the armrest�s functionality. The lack of a power switch on the B pillar to operate the power sliding doors is also mildly annoying.

2007 Honda Odyssey EX-L
Click image to enlarge

Back to some more positive features: The leather seats and steering wheel are very luxurious, and I am now using the power moonroof frequently � what a nice feature it is, and really brightens up the interior. The centre console can be collapsed easily and this proves very helpful. The built-in privacy screens are very useful/helpful, very easy to use, and an appreciated feature that we haven�t seen on other vans. One can still raise and lower the window while the screen is up, by the way. Lastly, the climate control system is easy to operate and works very well (some of these features you just take for granted, but they need to be mentioned just to point out how effective they are).

Carolyn�s Week Four comments, and final rating:

The Honda Odyssey continues to perform well for me. In fact, I had the opportunity the other day to test this minivan�s braking performance in an important and authentic context. While driving through an intersection another vehicle cut in front of me to make a left hand turn through the intersection, thus requiring me to stop extremely quickly. I thought for sure that I was going to drive into the side of this other vehicle but amazingly the Honda Odyssey stopped in time � in a very impressive fashion.

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2007 Honda Odyssey EX-L
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I think it is worth noting that, despite its overall size, I felt in total control of the Odyssey while it was braking; the minivan did not swerve to the left or right and seemed to be under my command. This is very reassuring when you have to use emergency manoeuvres, as at some point everybody does.

On another note, I am positively impressed with the sound system in this minivan and with the moonroof, since both are very easy to operate. I was looking through the manual the other day and I did not have a problem at all in finding the information that I was looking for, even though the manual is very large indeed! I must admit, however, that I continue to be annoyed by the automatic locking system that is engaged once you are in the minivan. This means that every time I try to get out of the minivan I have to take two actions; first I have to press the button which unlocks the doors and then I have to open my door � this is very annoying. Otherwise, I have really enjoyed driving the Honda Odyssey and I cannot believe that I have been doing so for almost a month now.

Here are some positive and negative observations; likes and dislikes, if you will:

Likes:

  1. The midnight pearl blue exterior (love the colour!)

  2. The many options that are included for the $40,000 price-tag for the Honda Odyssey including a moonroof (very nice), climate control heating and air conditioning, comfortable leather seats, the futuristic looking dashboard, power seats and sliding doors, heated side mirrors, the dome convex conversation mirror, and of course the built-in sunshades!
  3. The third fold-away seat in the second row of the minivan (useful!)
  4. The sleek design of the back lift gate and front lights (looks good!)
  5. The Honda Odyssey offers a very smooth, quiet ride and accelerates quite well
  6. The braking system performed extremely well for me when put to the test and this created a feeling of safety � my baby did not even wake up at all from her sleep
  7. Customer service � I am extremely impressed that a Honda representative took the time to respond via e-mail to some of my concerns about the remote lock � this suggests that Honda representatives are taking the minivan challenge seriously and are using this opportunity to connect with and understand the needs of potential consumers � this is extremely important to me.

Dislikes:

  • The Honda Odyssey is not as fuel efficient when compared with the Toyota Sienna (Odyssey returned 10.6 L/100km mostly city; Sienna returned 9.4 L/100km mostly city: Ed.)

    1. This particular Honda Odyssey (worth $40,000) does not come with a power lift gate and an entertainment system � two key features for parents who could use the help in keeping their kids �busy & happy� and who could use a bit of help opening the back tailgate because there are always carrying a ton of stuff!

    2. The front passenger seat should fold down completely (as was the case in both the Hyundai Entourage & Toyota Sienna � this is also the case in our Kia Sportage which is a much smaller vehicle) � this is an essential feature of any family vehicle because it allows a parent to easily change his/her baby�s diaper/clothes (when the vehicle is stopped of course)
    3. While the Honda Odyssey may be similar in size to other minivans it felt much bigger to me for some reason and I would feel somewhat intimidated trying to parallel park the Honda Odyssey, which is a feeling that I do not experience in other vehicles
    4. The automatic locking system which means that the passenger has to always first unlock the doors before being able to get out of the minivan, which is really annoying when you just want to get out quickly

    Final reflections on the Honda Odyssey! (Okay, I�m going on a bit, but for some reason I have a lot to say about the Odyssey in relation to the other vehicles I�ve tested).

    In the end, I suppose the Honda Odyssey reminded me a great deal of the Hyundai Entourage in terms of its exterior/interior styling and overall size, handling and ride.

    2007 Honda Odyssey EX-L
    Click image to enlarge

    In fact, these minivans shared several features including leather interiors, climate control heating and air. Upon reflection I believe that my final comments and ratings for the Hyundai Entourage were overly critical because it was the very first minivan that I had the experience to drive and I did not know what to expect! I also tend to adopt a tentative and critical stance when I evaluate the first paper on the top pile of my students� term papers. In this regard, however, I usually go back and reevaluate the first few term papers at the end, and I will most likely want to do this with the Hyundai Entourage. It is worth noting that some of the features that initially impressed me about the Honda Odyssey may not be inherent to Honda engineering (e.g., midnight pearl blue exterior, climate control heating and air conditioning, fancy dashboard, built-in
    sunshades) and might be available when considering other minivans � just a thought. The Honda Odyssey seemed to fall somewhere in between the Hyundai Entourage and the Toyota Sienna in terms of my final evaluation. For example, the Honda Odyssey accelerated and cornered better than the Hyundai Entourage but not quite as well as the Toyota Sienna. Also, while the Honda Odyssey came with more features than the Toyota Sienna did (I wish I could have tested their next model up – to be fair in my evaluation of what is available from a Toyota Sienna for the $40,000 price range), it did not have as many attractive features as compared with the Hyundai Entourage such as power tailgate and DVD system (too bad the brakes on the Hyundai were so problematic for me!).

    I guess these are the kinds of things prospective buyers have to weigh when making a purchase. Is there a totally ideal vehicle? Maybe every vehicle purchase is a compromise in some way.


    Read more of Dave & Carolyn’s comments on the 2007 Honda Odyssey EX-L:
    Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3

    Read all the articles in the Minivan Challenge

    Photo Gallery: 2007 Honda Odyssey EX-L


    Dave and Carolyn’s evaluation of the 2007 Honda Odyssey

    (Each item is rated on a scale of one to five. Maximum score: 100)

    Item Dave Carolyn
    Exterior Design 4 4.5
    Ease of Entry/Exit 3.5 4.5
    Ride 4 4
    Engine/Transmission 3.5 4
    Ease of Operation 4 4
    Visibility from Driver’s Seat 3.75 4
    Comfortable Driving Position 4 4
    Interior Ergonomics 3.5 4
    Quality of Materials 4.5 4.25
    Interior Design 3.25 4.25
    Interior Functionality 3.75 4
    Build Quality (rattles, etc.) 4 4
    Entertainment System 3 3.5
    Night Driving 4 4
    Braking 3.5 5
    Acceleration 3.5 4
    Cornering 3.5 4
    Stability 3.75 4.5
    Fuel Economy 3.5 3
    Overall Appeal 4 4
    Total 74.5 81.5


    Pricing


    Specifications

    • Click here for complete specifications for the 2007 Honda Odyssey…


    Crash test results


    Related stories on Autos


    Manufacturer’s web site


    Read more of Dave & Carolyn’s comments on the 2007 Honda Odyssey EX-L:
    Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3
    Read all the articles in the Minivan Challenge

    Photo Gallery: 2007 Honda Odyssey EX-L

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