(First Posted 1/12/2014, new updates at the end) After several months in our new home with just an older Chevy Tahoe and a Honda Civic Hybrid, going anywhere with our three kids became more of a chore than it needed to be. Clearly we needed to get another vehicle with at least three rows of seats to quell the constant bickering from the back…
Even since before our old Sienna burned to a crisp, we’d been thinking about buying an AWD version for Colorado. However, the new ones were quite expensive and old ones were not in abundance on the used market; people seem to hold on to them. We also realized that here in the northern part of the Front Range we get much less snow than we thought we would. We get about half of what Denver gets and even Denver is not considered one of the snowier places in the country. So FWD would probably be OK with decent tires.
Having preferred the Sienna to the Odyssey the last time I was looking, I figured we’d get another one, but when I was taking another look at the Odyssey, whatever had bothered me about it last time was no longer an issue. In fact, I found that I liked the Honda and my focus jumped to it, rather than the Sienna. At that time (about three years ago) Kias and Chryslers were not on our radar but as fairly popular, pleasant vans, we would now find either to be an acceptable choice.
Anyway, I searched up and down the Front Range, eventually settling on the one we bought. Equipment-wise, neither Navigation nor DVD players were important, and we did not want the lightest interior color, but we definitely wanted leather and power sliding doors. We would have also preferred a power hatch, but it was not offered by Honda in the model years and trim levels we were considering.
Prevented by Honda’s strict price structure from ordering options a la carte, the EX-L (L for leather) trim level best suited us–ours actually does have the DVD player but we very rarely use it. This is the first of the cars that we actually still have, I’ll bet you thought we would never get to this point!
As I relayed in the an earlier post, I traded in my Civic Hybrid for this van, a 2006 model with 67,000 miles on it. That, oddly enough, is about the same mileage our Sienna had when we lost it. So in a way, we took over where we left off but with a different steed. As of today we are pushing 114,000 miles. So over almost three years we have driven the Odyssey 47,000 miles. Oddly enough, just yesterday a salesman from the dealer where I bought it called for his annual check-in, asking how it was doing and if he could do anything else for me. To his credit, his persistence will help me remember him if I ever buy from the same dealer.
The exterior color is called Silver Pearl, the interior is sort of a two-tone gray. Unlike Toyota, Honda uses a faux-stainless steel panel across the dashboard that looks pretty good and works well with the dark gray dashboard. I also think the dashboard looks more high-tech and modern than the Toyota’s, however in both, controls are easily located and work well. Between the front seats is a little tray with four cupholders (supplementing the double cupholder that slides out of the dashboard) which can be folded down to open up a walk-through to the back.
In reality the tray stays up 100% of the time because even without any drinks, all the other stuff that rests on it would just fall to the floor. The front seats are heated and have fold-down inboard armrests. There are two gloveboxes, and a third covered compartment under the radio, along with large door pockets. Also behind the front row, in the middle of the van, is a large covered compartment with an under-floor Lazy Susan, i.e. it rotates and only part of it is visible/accessible at any time. We have never used it, but it seems to be a good place to hide cameras or other odds and ends if needed.
By the way, an interior color called “Olive” was available in these. As the name implies, it is kind of a dark green color. I happened to see one when I was looking and honestly it was a bit much. The color was just not very attractive but I have to give Honda props for trying.
The black interior that is also available is very cave-like (I usually like black interiors, but in the Odyssey, it’s too much dark space). Gray and ivory are by far the most popular interior colors, but I wonder how the burgundy Honda used in the ’80s would look.
The seats appear a bit larger than the Toyota’s, but it’s a wash, overall comfort-wise; i.e. none of us have any complaints. Our van has an optional 8th seat insert that can be put between the two seats in the middle row. We have only used this once when we had to transport 6 kids, and while it came in handy, we prefer the aisle in the middle left open to aid third row access.
As with all third generation Odysseys (released for 2005, updated for 2008, replaced for 2011), our EX-L example came with 16” alloy wheels. Pictured here, our van is wearing the set of Continental ExtremeWinterContact snow tires (mounted on Moda alloy wheels) ordered from The Tire Rack soon after we bought it.
While an improvement over regular all-seasons, they’re still not great–Blizzaks are definitely better. You would think that the van is very front heavy but the tires do not seem to dig in when accelerating and spin very easily even with very light throttle.
All Odysseys of this generation feature a 3.5l V6 and a 5-speed transmission. It delivers 244 horsepower at 5750rpm and 240 ft/lbs of torque at 4500rpm. Weighing just over 4500 pounds with a full twenty-one gallons, fuel economy is rated at 17 mpg city, 26 highway; numbers which for us have proved quite accurate.
One of the engine’s nice features is cylinder deactivation (standard after 2006, on EX trim and up). With this feature, 3 cylinders are shut down when not needed–pretty much whenever you have a steady throttle and are under 80mph. A little “Eco” light illuminates when this mode is on. Along with only needing regular gas, it blows our old Sienna out of the water when it comes to fuel costs. In terms of performance, it is on par with the Sienna and can hold its own. There is nothing slow about a modern minivan.
EX-L trim also comes with a sunroof, which we never use, and an in-dash CD changer, which we use frequently. The heater/defroster is excellent, which is important out here, as are traction control (used a lot when snowing), stability control (not overly intrusive) and many airbags, which we’ve thankfully never needed.
Honda pioneered the flat-fold third row seat which works very easily; headrests can remain in place when the split bench is folded into its well, which is helpful. The second row seats can collapse but remain inside unless owners are inclined to risk their backs removing them.
We’ve had a few incidents with this van. At one point, something broke inside the heated driver-side mirror and it would not stay still anymore. I’m not sure if we hit something with it or what, but the cheap pot-metal-looking post inside was snapped in half.
After a few days of searching online, I gave up and for about $240, got a replacement in the right color from the dealer. I kept the old mirror in case something happens to the new one so I can use the parts to Frankenstein it myself.
We had a large snowstorm a year after we bought the van. I had been lazy and did not install the snow tires but was forced to drive it to an appointment. Sure enough, after making a left turn I was forced to hit the brakes in an attempt to avoid hitting a Saab which I hadn’t noticed stalled in front of me and wound up sliding into the back of the car. The other driver was fine and after an uneventful exchange, I went on with my day.
Our bumper cover was cracked and hung off slightly, but the other car’s bumper was damaged along with some of the rear sheet metal on the left. Since I was already on the hook for the claim, I had my insurance company repair our van as well. After the bodyshop ended up fixing and repainting it, the bumper looked like new but it has since acquired a few scuffs.
Mechanically, this van has not been as good to us as I would have hoped. While the transmission has not had problems besides a low-rpm judder–eliminated by revised software (covered by a warranty extension to 8yrs or 105k miles), the steering became very heavy right just as a recall was issued, resulting in a new power steering pump being installed for free. The AC condenser wound up with a hole punched in it due to being mounted right at the bottom of the bumper with nothing to protect it (very poor design), and after a class action lawsuit, Honda now offers a protective grill at no charge to owners willing to pay the cost of installation. When we had the bumper fixed we asked to have the grill installed, requiring no extra labor and working in our favor.
Both sliding doors have been balky, reversing themselves on inclines and refusing to close easily. There is an actuator inside each door that costs about $32 online and can be replaced in under an hour. A great video on YouTube explains the process and I replaced the part on both doors but one is starting to act up again. I may have to order another actuator and have another go.
A recurring issue has been a Check Engine light that first came on in the middle of Nebraska, during a trip. I would not care except that if the light is on, the engine will not go into the fuel-saving mode and will run on all six cylinders all the time. I had the codes read after finding an Autozone which also offered to reset the light and took the van in when I returned. It appears the culprit was a valve with a sensor easily accessed at the front of the engine.
My shop replaced it with a used one from their boneyard for $50 which worked for a while but the light came back on. In the meantime, I had bought a code reader for $20 from Amazon and was able to determine it was the same code again. So I made sure the sensor’s plug was properly seated (it apparently wiggles loose easily) and reset the code. The light still comes on every few months or so, but now I just reset it and everything seems fine; the van passes emissions and doesn’t use any more gas than is normal.
I’ve figured out under what conditions the light comes on, and can almost make it happen on command. The engine has to have been running for a couple of hours at freeway speeds, then I have to apply and release and reapply the throttle in a specific sequence. This most often occurs when in traffic on the freeway and I’m trying to switch lanes but without a large gap and/or on an incline. It seems the rapid throttle movements confuse the sensor.
A couple of months ago it started leaking a lot of oil onto the garage floor and, like a naughty dog, was banished outside. After some reading I was convinced it was the rear main seal. The dealer wanted about $1000 to fix it, but my regular mechanic quoted under $700, so he got the business and repaired it just before Thanksgiving. I was delighted when he called to tell me the oil pan gasket was the culprit instead and the repair would cost much less. He will be getting more of my business going forward.
In addition to all the other problems, it appears that the rear AC is no longer working correctly. It could be major or it could just be a blockage somewhere. I probably need to spend some time looking into it but right now it’s not important.
The summer after I took my daughter to Glacier National Park we decided to do the father/daughter trip again. This time (2012) we headed to the Midwest; Illinois and Indiana specifically. We have good friends outside of Chicago and in Fort Wayne and spent several days with each.
Heading east from Colorado, you go through Wyoming, Nebraska and Iowa before hitting Illinois. I like Wyoming but Nebraska is pretty boring (along I-80 anyway) and is where the Check Engine light came on to boot. Iowa was a surprise. I expected it would be flat and featureless but that turned out not to be the case; it was very picturesque, for the most part.
Getting to Fort Wayne from Chicago is not the easiest voyage, the section of I-80 you need to take is in poor condition and there is heavy freight traffic. Once in Indiana we took state highways through lots of small towns–with lots of Broughaminalia for sale on the front lawns–until we hit Fort Wayne, which was nicer and larger than I remembered.
On the way back we took the southern route through Indianapolis, a large chunk of Illinois (which I forgot stretched so far South), then Missouri and Kansas before reaching the eastern part of Colorado. Kansas was a surprise like Iowa, I also thought it would be dead flat, which is not the case, but it turned out that eastern Colorado is how I had always pictured Kansas. Driving towards Denver on I-70 it is fascinating to see the Rockies get bigger and bigger as you approach the city, only to realize you are still fifty miles away from them!
The van did great, cruising comfortably, quietly, and steadily at 80mph. Except for the Check Engine light, there was no drama (although that admittedly caused some concern).
We’ve also taken the van to Southern California a couple of times (most recently this past Thanksgiving) and also to Albuquerque for the Balloon Festival a couple of years ago. On the way home, I got pulled over by the New Mexico State Patrol. He asked if I knew what I was doing and I conceded that I perhaps was exceeding the posted limit by almost 20mph.
He went back to his patrol car with my documentation, came back ten minutes later, told me that he A, appreciated my honesty; B, would give me a written warning since it was the day after my birthday and C, wanted to warn me about the Colorado State Trooper, apparently always at mile marker 13 just across the border, looking for people to be going faster than the posted 55mph on a steep downhill section.
In hindsight, the van has had several relatively small issues but nothing really major. We do ride it hard and put it away wet and I believe it had belonged to two other families before we got it. It does not get much love besides the regular prescribed maintenance (generally a good value at our dealer, otherwise we use our mechanic) and we definitely often ask 110% of it. I also use it as my “work truck” when I am rehabbing a foreclosed house or condo and load all manner of tools, supplies, appliances and trash into it. I’ve thought about getting a real truck but this is really very user-friendly, convenient, and holds 99% of the stuff that I need it to. On rare occasions, I either rent a truck or have something delivered.
While this is not the longest period we’ve owned a car (we had the Volvo V40 and the Audi S4 for four years each), the Odyssey is getting close to covering the most miles travelled, again being edged out (barely) by those two cars and my first car, the Mazda 626. At this point it is getting a bit beat though, and since we both sell Real Estate, a different vehicle would be better for clients if our preferred car is already in use. I actually washed it and cleaned it out for these pictures, and while far from clean, the carpets at least look better in person than these pictures would suggest. Something about gray.
We’ve also recently gotten a large-ish popup trailer and are deciding how best to tow it. A newer Suburban would be tempting if not for the gas mileage and the price tag. I’m considering getting tranny and power steering coolers and a hitch for the van as space-wise, it is perfect. I’d still be getting close to the weight limits, however, and we face steep grades and major elevation changes most places that we go. Being at 5000 feet to start with makes everything work harder to begin with, and the last thing I want is to overtax the van and be faced with a large repair bill.
At this point the future of the Odyssey is uncertain. A minivan is still a good option, but our needs have changed a bit. The kids are also at the point where two of them no longer need any assistance getting in and out, and the third is getting close. Ideally we’d have four (or more) cars, but our house and garage don’t make that feasible.
In case you were wondering whether the Odyssey or the Sienna was better, it’s pretty much a draw and comes down to personal preference. By the mid to late 2000s, most minivans pretty much hit the sweet spot in regard to power, space, safety, and features. Both are capable vehicles, but neither is quite as trouble-free as its nameplate might suggest. I would not regret choosing either one over the other, but I will say that unlike the current Sienna, which has taken a small step backwards, the newest Odyssey builds on the model’s strengths (for a large price).
Update 6/10/2018: The Odyssey is long gone, in fact we traded it in a few months after this was originally published and then sold the extra set of wheels with winter tires the following winter to someone else that had one. There wasn’t any one thing that was wrong with it, in the end I wanted a change (shocker, right?), had my eye on something different, and the timing worked out extremely well. Looking back on it, and seeing how and what I use a vehicle for these days, it would have been a handy van to have kept around, however that wasn’t feasible at the time.
I’ve thought about acquiring another as I do now have the space and use for it, but am torn as to whether it would be another Honda, in fact I think I’d probably lean toward a second generation Kia Sedona if purchasing used. This one worked great, when it worked great (intentional phrasing). It was annoying when it didn’t. My tolerance for failure is quite low and sorry, a minivan just doesn’t have enough character to overcome niggling issues of any sort. Even though they caused issues, I wouldn’t mind the powered doors again, they are such a convenience. And we missed the powered hatch from the Sienna, I’d get that again. But, and this is a big but, ONLY if the van was mainly being used for people duties. If I were to purchase a van for work and hauling purposes (as a truck substitute), it would not need either of those things.
Seems like this Odyssey has been the vehicle you’ve kept for the most miles. That says a lot.
This is the story of seven 2005 minivans.
Two were Town and Country
Three were Honda Odysseys
One was a Dodge Caravan
One was a Saturn Relay 2
Most expensive were the Hondas at $32-35,000. The T/C were $25-28,000. The Caravan was $23,000. The Relay 2 was $22,000.
The first to go was the Dodge, because the new dad didn’t like it anymore after three years. No problems with it during those three years.
Then the Hondas started losing their transmissions. The first Odyssey was sold after losing its first transmission – cost, $4000. Traded it in after four years. The second of the three Hondas was traded after multiple problems, worse of course, was the transmissions of which it went through two at $4000 during year 5.
One of the T/C was traded in last year after going strong with only electrical door problems. Owner got another Chrysler minivan. I consider it a success after years of hard family service.
This month, the last of the Odysseys got traded in when its second transmission started going. This Honda was owned by a big Honda fan and still drives his old 2002 Accord. He told me he was really disgusted at how badly the Odyssey did compared to his other Hondas. He had a lot of problems with it and was angry that he couldn’t get over $3000 in trade in on it. He always bragged about how his other Hondas retained their values, so he had nothing good to say about the Odyssey.
This leaves one T/C and the Relay 2.
The T/C is going strong mechanically, but its doors no longer open electrically and have been that way since 2010. It has had a lot of work done, a new transmission two years ago which cost $2700. It still looks good.
The Relay 2 had a new transmission last year at $1990. It started leaking last month, but not enough to be needing service yet. Still OK to park in the garage with a sheet of cardboard under the engine, not staining the floor yet.
So, although the Odysseys cost $10,000 more than the cheapest of the minivans, they couldn’t deliver what the cheapest minivans delivered. They were expensive, overweight vehicles that owners spent too much on.
My wife wanted the Relay 2, but its reputation back in 2005 was about as bad as you could get in reviews. Being Saturn loyalists and loving our dealership and having a bunch of toddlers and newborns necessitated getting the minivan, but I was embarrassed that I was in the Relay instead of one of the office guy’s new T/C or Odysseys.
When I bought it to keep my wife happy, the other guys laughed at me. But she got the last laugh, didn’t she? And yes, I acknowledged to her that I was wrong about her minivan choice. That silly GM minivan I had no confidence in, ended up being the best of the seven. Who would have thought that?
What did they not deliver? They all needed a tranny except for the Dodge that was traded at year three and one of the T&C’s.
I’m curious what the mileage was on all of these vans, especially the one that apparently had two transmissions replaced within a year, both at the owner’s expense (the way I read it).
In my neck of the woods, my van as it sits should bring about $10k, assuming I sell it privately. I would not expect a dealer to give me much for a van with 114k miles on it, that $3000 trade-in for your buddies van with a bad tranny seems like a fair value.
A used Honda or Toyota in good condition generally will recoup ALL of the extra upfront costs (or more) during the first few years of ownership.
What I will say is that by 2005, all of the imported vans had full side-curtain airbags and stability control standard. Those were options if even available on the Relay and the Chrysler products.
One of the main reasons people buy these things is to haul their kids around. Safety sells. It also costs money to engineer in and assemble. The other thing that sells is reputation, you said it yourself, you were set against the Relay and in the end got a good car for a lot less money. The reason is reputation.
I believe the only evidence one can really believe is what one themselves experiences. i.e. if you yourself own Brand Y and Brand Z and one is worse than the other, then it can be assumed that you treated both the same way and hopefully as recommended by the manufacturer. Comparing your car to someone else’s is a crapshoot.
I will also say that my Honda had its warranty extended on the Torque Converter (which is apparently the part that fails on these). It has never had any repairs done to it except for the software reflash that was mentioned in the post. So for me it’s been a good experience.
Interesting anecdote, though, thanks for sharing the experiences.
My folk’s 05 Sedona does not have side air bags, stability control, or fold flat seats.
When I bought my 2005 Odyssey LX in Jan 2005, the price was right in line with the domestics. Cross shopped the Odyssey with the Relay and the Chevy Uplander, plus the Toyota Sienna and Nissan Quest. Really wanted the Relay as I love Saturns too and I thought it was a great looking vehicle. The reviews and my own hit-and-miss track record with GM products meant we took a pass. Opted for the Odyssey because it was a Honda, with all that implies, and a new LX was the about the same price as the Chevy or Saturn – we paid $22k and change brand new. Sienna at the time was a bit more, so that was out, and the Nissan had just received a scathing review in Consumer Reports, plus the wife and I both hated the cheap, low-quality feel of the interior.
123,000 miles on the Odyssey now and not a single problem with the transmission, or anything else apart from a few rinky-dink non-mechanical issues – the manual sliding door mechanism broke a few years ago, hatch struts failed but were covered under warranty and so on. The other Odyssey owners I know have similar stories. A friend’s 2004 lost the trans at 140,000, everyone else reported no significant issues. The Dodge/Chrysler van owners I’ve talked to, on the other hand…well, the less said about that the better. Suffice to say I didn’t even bother looking into the Caravan/T &C back then, nor will they be on the list when I shop for my next van in a few years. A shame though – I’ve rented and borrowed a few over the years and I like ’em a lot.
Some friends of my wife and I have an Odyssey, but I believe it is around an ’08 model.
It is a very nice minivan, with a rich brown leather interior. They bought it new and she has been the only one to drive it (he’s legally blind). Having ridden in it several times, it is as quiet and smooth as some of the Ford built barges from the ’70’s – that is a compliment.
Thank you for explaining the eco light; hers does the same and she had no clue what it did when I asked her about it.
Despite having poked fun at the weight of these on numerous occasions, they are extremely nice and it is good to hear about actual owner experiences. This series has been great.
Your Odyssey will tow the trailer OK. The tranny cooler is essential, as are more frequent fluid changes. But the trailer adds no load the the power steering, so an auxiliary cooler won’t do much. 47,000 miles in my book doesn’t even get it broken in.
That’s 47k miles on top of the 67k when we got it. I was understanding that the PS cooler might be needed when moving the trailer around a lot, i.e. not in a pull-through camping spot.
Great read. Our neighbors just bought a CPO 2009 Odyssey after their 2004 XC90 killed its second “main electrical harness” and of course the transmission and tires had just been replaced on the Volvo. Instead of another $3k repair they got the Honda. And love it so far. Like us, they’re a one car family now… Mostly due to our proximity to downtown Boise.
I’m not sure how heavy your popup is but a Pilot may work well. It’ll probably be what we get when the boys get a little older and we, too, get a small camper.
We’ve looked at the Pilot. Very nice, cargo space when using the third row is a concern for us. I also can’t figure out why the Pilot comes with a 4500lb tow rating and the Odyssey with a 3500lb rating when the Pilot is built on the Odyssey platform, has the same powertrain, and has a shorter wheelbase. Seems counterintuitive. Our popup is one of the larger Coleman’s, 3000lbs or so IIRC.
My understand is that the 4WD system gives the vehicle better engine braking capabilities. Same reason a 4WD Explorer is rated around 4k but the 2WD is rated at 2k, both with the V6.
By this time the Accord had gotten fat and ugly but not the Odyseey. Form followed function like on an old Volvo wagon — huge doors, huge lights, huge window and enormous space. Substantial not heavy, designed not styled.
The detailing was first rate too. Notice how the rings in the large headlamps take away the bug-eyed look. The door handles looked like they were unique to the Odyssey and not shared with a million other units in production. The glass was flush and rear lamps horizontally oriented, which was unique at the time. Mercedes is just learning that now with their ML crossover.
The speedo and tach were old school Honda. It was vehicles like this that made me think Honda and BMW should collaborate more.
The drive completely blew away the Sienna. It’s like Toyota put a minivan body on the Camry and called it a day. Handling was just awful. I was always amazed at how little body roll the Odyssey had. Maybe Honda optimized the platform for a minivan application, I don’t know.
I noticed Honda sold more premium trim levels than any other minivan. I would say EX-Ls and Tourings made up half the mix. The paint in particular seemed to come from a category two classes higher.
I bet this generation becomes a classic. It certainly has a timeless look and feel about it.
The last and current gen Accord share similar great qualities, but I am biased and we chose an EXL over any other similarly sized competition. And yes, it’s gray.
The Accord is a bit off the topic of this very informative post, but I have to agree with you, Texn, and I may be biased too as I have a 2009 EX. I wonder how many people calling the current and previous generation Accords fat or bloated have actually driven one much less been in one. Yes, the previous generation grew over the one before it, but Accords have been getting progressively larger since the mid 1980s. It’s what the market demands. Want the equivalent in size to the 1988 Accord with more power and better fuel economy? Get a 2014 Civic. Want a roomy car, that I argue is not bloated, with a smooth I-4 or a rather quick for the mid-sized sedan category V-6, go with the Accord. The reason I say the Accord is not bloated is the extra space is useful space. People talk about them sometimes as if they are 1975 Torinos. The last generation Accord, which is probably the largest Honda will ever make, still handles remarkably well, gets up and goes if you want to put your foot into it, and has tons of interior space. Adults are amazed at the leg room and shoulder room when they sit in the back of mine, especially compared to something like the concurrent full-sized Impala as well as other mid-sized offerings of the time like the Camry, Fusion, etc.To me, terms like “fat” or “bloated” imply the extra space is wasted space. But if you get extra useful space, what’s wrong with that? Until Americans become a bit less fat and bloated, we need that space.
I don’t have a lot of road time in all of the competing cars, but I do have a bit in Impalas and Camrys of the same generation, and I much prefer the Accord’s driving dynamics. In terms of looks, well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I certainly don’t consider the last generation a beautiful future classic, but compared to its contemporary competition, I certainly wouldn’t rank it among the ugliest, either. On the exterior, I preferred the looks of the Fusion to the Accord, but I’d take the Accord over the Camry, Sonata, Altima, and Malibu on sale at the same time. The Sebring and Avenger…well, they were from a whole other planet. Probably the only thing I could do without are the big headlights pushed so far out and back on the fender that the car takes on a sort of Marty Feldman appearance from some angles.
So, I wonder, what is it about the Accord that draws such a negative reaction? If it’s that it’s not the same Accord we grew up with, well, what is? Compare today’s Camry to a 1984. Or today’s Altima with a 1980s Stanza. Or today’s Malibu with a 1978-1983 Malibu. The list goes on and on. If Honda is “guilty” of anything, it’s with keeping nameplates for long periods of time thus implying a car with the same name as a car made 20 or 30 years ago should be comparable. I had a 1989 Accord and loved it; I didn’t expect the 2009 Accord to be the same thing.
We had an almost identical van, an EX-L also, but “slate green”, which (like practically all cars now, was actually gray/silver. We had it from new and it was trouble free for the three years. Like yours it did several road trips, includingto NY and back from San Diego via Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, Niagara Falls, (old) Yankee Stadium, Philly, St Louis, Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, and Tucson. Our only quibble was the gas mileage. Unless we actively turned off the A/C (it has climate control) , we might as well have bought a Tahoe. 13 around town sometimes. It was better on the highway but it took a really long time to break in, over 10k. (Our mileage on the return from NY was probably over 2mpg better than the eastbound trip.)
I think that lazy Susan is aftermarket. On ours that well was for the 8th seat.
Your comment made me curious, it appears the lazy susan was standard for ’05 and ’06, and only on Touring for ’07 and then discontinued. I did not realize untl I just looked it up that you could actually take it out and that the 8th seat fits in there like you said! Thanks for that nugget of info.
I’ve generally been impressed with the gas mileage, always better than the Sienna and nowhere near as low as you reported. Maybe since our van has many more miles than yours did, who knows? Then again, we have much less traffic in town here than I think you do.
It could indeed be the age, as it eventually would get pretty close to EPA estimates on the highway (if I was drving anyway). And you’re right , around town here is **really** around town, and in fairness many of the trips were under 3 miles round trip to the school. (Plus I could never convince my wife not to use the climate control.)
Still, it was definitely more sensitive to having the AC on than any other car I have owned, and the climate control kept it on most of the time. (On my Subie , it makes perhaps one MPG difference on the highway, vs 3 or more in the Oddy. ) I vaguely recall hearing that Honda uses a different system than e.g. Ford and Subaru to reduce the AC load under acceleration, a variable valve IIRC instead of a clutch?
Not sure if it is different or not, I do notice that when it is on ours cycles on and off much more noticably and often than in other cars. (I notice it, my wife does not, you know how it is). I usually keep the AC on during the summer at least but override the automatic climate control function and just operate the fan and temp controls manually.
Electric sliding doors on these vans are a nightmare and it doesn’t matter what brand they are, they all break. There are too many motors and actuators and places for crud to build up in. I realise the convenience, but there is a price for that.
You have had a few mechanical issues, but then again, you’ve kept it longer and for more miles than any other vehicle you’ve had. It wasn’t exactly low mileage when you got it. The basic Honda J series V-6 is a sweet unit and very durable. While I am at it, I will open a can of worms here: even the infamous Honda five speed isn’t bad if you a) don’t stomp it at stop lights all the time and b) do a complete 3X3 fluid change on it every 50,000 km. In fact, I just did a 3X4 on my TL and it shifts like new. When the torque converter does its shudder thing, it’s time for a fluid change. Now, let the flames come on from those who have never owned one….
I was hoping you’d comment – So you’ve found that the fluid change removes the juddering? I happen to also have the paperwork from the Honda Warranty Extension in front of me, it specifically references the juddering and that a software update is available for free from the dealer. In addition, the torque converter warranty is increased to 8years from original purchase date or 105k miles, whichever is first, no matter if you bought it new or used.
I’m not familiar with the terms 3×3 and 3×4 fluid changes. Can you please define? We did have the dealer change the fluid a couple of years ago.
The software update seemed to cure the juddering we sometimes experienced, it was done well before the fluid change, in any case it has not juddered since.
The best way to service this transmission is the open the drain plug and let the fluid drain. Add three litres, and run it. Repeat until all nine litres are swapped. Since I had twelve litres in the case I bought, I did 3X4. NEVER use anything but Honda fluid and never use the machine that attaches to the cooler likes. Many Honda transmission disasters are caused by retards at the Jiffy-Lube dumping Dexron and Snake Oil into it. Hondas do not use planetary gear sets but are in fact like a manual made to act like an automatic, which has lower mechanical losses than a conventional system.
The torque converter shudder is due to a couple of things. First, modern transmissions go into lock-up mode as fast as possible. Mine would do it on medium to steep grades at low speed. The TCM was reflashed and that, along with the fluid change, took care of the problem. The second issue is not doing the correct fluid change.
In the past, with old cars, we didn’t see a lot of transmission problems with Powerglides and THM350’s since cars didn’t last as long as they do now. That’s why transmission maladies tend to be magnified, and there is a lot of fanboi/brand slappy stuff in the debate. A car goes 200,000 km and the tranny fails, so it is a POS, and all of the brand are the same. Thing is in the old days, few cars made it that distance.
I’ve read enough transmission threads on Odyclub and the acura forum to know that the type of fluid has very little to do with whether your transmission will fail or not. Too many posters on these forums have done everything right, not to mention all of the above-and-beyond measures (magenifine filters, oversized coolers with temperature-regulating valves, new and improved solenoid valve packs, etc) and still had failures.
I’m running the cheapest Dex III ($25 per 12-qt case @ Sam’s Club) that I can find with the ‘snake oil’ Lubeguard black friction modifier in my 2001 Odyssey with the 4-speed auto. After 1.5 years and almost 40K miles, the fluid still looks bright, clear pink, doesn’t smell, and it shifts perfectly.
I couldn’t stomach doing a 3×4 or 4×4 fluid change with $8+/qt. ATF.
My sister’s Odyssey is nearly identical but has the cloth interior. They bought it new, and so far it’s held up pretty well other than an accident about 5 years ago. It’s starting to show its age, but I think they’ll get a few more years out of it. It comes in handy when they pack up their two kids and head for the cottage. I imagine they’ll look for another Odyssey once they decide to retire it, but you never know. She gave her 2000 Accord to her daughter and bought herself a new Passat TDI, and she’s quite happy with it, especially the mileage. Maybe she’ll shop for something besides a Honda.
This would have been my choice of minivans as well, until Chrysler released its update of their vans along with the Pentastar + 6-speed auto.
My parents wanted a van for various reasons as they are both in their 60s, but the Chrysler and Dodge were the only options acceptable thanks to Stow n Go. My dad works on various projects but can no longer muscle around removable second row seats, and due to my mother’s back issues she cannot help him.
Stow n Go really is the killer app for folks that frequently use these things for other than kid-bus duty.
I always preferred this generation Odyssey to the Sienna that you owned. Their wider, lower stance gave them a bit more aggressive look. I agree with your feelings about the current Odyssey and Sienna.
Yes indeed you hit the nail on the head about the lower, wider stance. That was a big part of the appeal.
Isn’t it weird how styling can make it appear so? I thought the same thing originally but looking at the figures the Sienna is slightly wider AND slightly shorter than the Odyssey.
I guess it’s all about how you carry the weight…
Great article – I have a 2010 EX-L, which I bought used in 2011 and promptly took on a 5,000km trip from Toronto to Nova Scotia and back. Mine’s “Polished Metal Metallic” – graphite if you ask me. I’ve used the 8th seat only once or twice too, but like that it is available.
I looked at a Sienna with 3-buckets in the mid-row, but after taking a taxi cab ride in one in Vancouver, I realized there were no arm rests or handles to grab onto while the lunatic driver careened around corners. I could just imagine the resentment from my kids if I did that! Odysseys offered armrests in the mid row.
My 2010 replaced a 1998 first-generation Odyssey, so it was quite a jump up in size. At the time I bought it, the 4th-gen Odyssey had come out (lightening bolt), but I liked the styling of the 3rd generation much better. Both the Ody and the 3rd gen Sienna are wider too, which is a problem if you use your garage.
The Odyssey accelerates well, is very comfortable on the highway, and handles well. It drinks more gas than my old one, but not so much that I notice a big difference. I haven’t had much trouble with the doors, and have had no more than routine maintenance (I just repaced the battery after my original conked out in a deep freeze last week). My wife has a 2010 RX350, but I always prefer the Odyssey. My only complaints are that the OE Michelin LX4 tires are loud, hard, and have miserable traction in rain, snow and ice (I use X-Ice Xi2s for the winter).
If I had to replace it right now, I’d probably go get another.
Since you are doing an update, I thought I would too!
I still have my ’10 EX-L (which has the power rear hatch – must have been added in the ’08 refresh). I got it in 2011 with 16,000kms and it now has about 120,000. It has been very reliable overall, but two days before Christmas in 2017 the Check Engine light came on – neither the dealer nor my local Midas could look at it so I went to Canadian Tire – the diagnostics showed code P304 (fouling of plug #4). All plugs were replaced along with the ignition coil, and a fuel injection service to clean unburned fuel, for CDN$800. I later found a letter we had gotten from Honda Canada saying this was a known issue for the VCN system and that the costs would be covered if returned to the dealer – unfortunately I didn’t have time to go to the dealer as we had a booked vacation out of town right after Christmas. Honda Canada refused to honor the claim despite proof of booked travel and receipts from Cdn Tire. You can be sure that I’ve let friends/colleagues know not to trust Honda to do the right thing by their customers.
The tires would be Extreme WINTER Contact. I’ll take them over Blizaks any day of the week. For one they all come out of the box round and stay that way. The problems you are experiencing must be due to the van, check the tests at Tirerack the perform very similarly in the snow and ice but way out perform them on wet roads and are also better in dry. For the price they are the only winter tire I would buy now after purchasing some for my wife’s car and driving in on snow that was melting when it fell one night so the next morning the roads were truly a sheet of ice. .
You are correct, it is Winter, not Weather (I fixed the text), thanks. I remember reading the reviews and yes they were positive. And in fact they I do find them excellent in weather besides snow/ice. We drove to Southern California over Thanksgiving with them on, in the mostly dry weather they were really good, not any worse than our normal dry weather tires. In the snow/slush over Vail Pass they were not nearly as confidence inspiring. If I get to the point of replacing them I will try something else. I would not expect them to be that great in the wet or in the dry but I do expect my snow tires to be excellent in the snow. I guess different cars and/or configurations may experience different effects.
I happen to be in my mid 20s and have owned two Minivans so far (a 95 Voyager and a 03 Caravan SE) and should I be in the market for another Minivan I will look back on this article so thank you. The 08-10 Dodge Caravan with the 3.3 Liter or 3.6 Liter V6 is also tempting. By the way, why do you not have rubber floor mats in this vehicle?
I have been to 46 states and the Eastern 2/3rd of Nebraska is the dullest place I have ever been. When I passed through on I-80 during a Full Moon I actually turned off my lights for a minute or so. In regards to the AC Condenser I have seen and heard of people using a license plate as a makeshift shield for the items the car companies do not bother shielding. My family’s 05 Sedona no longer has rear heat due to the underbody lines rusting away. The 99-04 Odyssey makes a poor choice for Minivan demolition derbies because once you remove the bumper cover there is a thin metal bumper underneath it and the front wheels are quite exposed so it is easy to rip one right off. Looks like the 05-11 Odyssey has the same design flaw.
GEAUX BRONCOS, but mainly Payton Manning.
We own a 2005 Odyssey, same generation as this one except the base LX model, purchased new new, has 150K on it. Nothing major has gone wrong but a few things
1. we change the tranny fluid roughly every 45K and it is BROWN when it comes out. i still do not fully trust the tranny on this thing.
2. compared to my 98 Civic EX (259K), the build quality/integrity on the Odyssey is much worse. Light bulbs that are just starting to wear out on the Civic have already been replaced on the Odyssey. Door panel is starting to separate on the Odyssey, no such issues anywhere on the Civic. It seems to me that the Civic was built to last forever while the Odyssey has been decontented.
3. I like to keep track of how many Odysseys have a bumper/tailgate that lacks scratches and dents (like yours). Very very very few .
4. I would get rid of ours, wife says no way, i guess were gonna keep it.
While our tailgate has no issues, the bumper does. A big vertical scratch from I think a washing machine that I underestimated the weight of and then a bunch of license plate bolt impacts from when I was in a car wash recently and somehow got myself hung up on the guide rail allowing the Ford Expedition that was behind me to ram me about half a dozen times. With all of the soap and the brush things going neither of us had any idea what was happening for a couple of minutes until the operator noticed and stopped the line. Thankfully there was NO damage except the little round impacts from his license plate bolts, the back end is tougher than it looks. I guess my camera does a good job at hiding the little imperfections… I’ve been thinking about getting a quote to have it smoothed/sanded and repainted but then again it has enough other little cosmetic flaws that it’s probably not worth it at this point.
150k on the original tranny is good for any car in my opinion, especially one with the weight/usage of this one. I don’t think it owes you a thing!
I think we had one tail light bulb go out and I did have to replace the hatch struts now that I think about it. Watch out for those, one minute mine was up and then it came crashing down. That hatch is extremely heavy, almost impossible to lift without both struts in place. And one good strut is not enough to hold it up either. Replacements are cheap though and install is under five minutes. Door panels are still as new, no issues there even after I took the ones off the sliders and put them back on when replacing the actuators.
“150k on the original tranny is good for any car in my opinion, especially one with the weight/usage of this one. I don’t think it owes you a thing!”
I guess I am spoiled because my ’98 GMC Safari had 189k on it when I sold it last year with the original transmission. It was never rebuilt. The same with my 1986 Volvo 760T. It had 231K when I sold it. My wife’s ’02 Town Car has 206k on it with the original transmission. I would be disapointed and po’d if I had an automatic transmission go out on me at 150k.
I have to agree. Will put up with a myriad of broken stuff as long as its not core to the functionality of a car. I will put up with broken radio, HVAC, automatic doodads that still work in manual – but fundamentally a car has to GO. If engine/tranny/suspension are now working then forget it.
The ATF should be changed out at 50,000 km, or 30,000 miles, or three years, whatever is first. The manual says that. It is interesting you “do not trust” a transmission that still functions as it should after 150,000 miles. It doesn’t owe you a cent, really.
I might add your car is nine years old and a high miler. Scratches are kind of inevitable in a vehicle like this, as are other wear issues. Vans tend to lead hard lives.
This is the one generation of Odyssey that I do not have firsthand experience with. A coworker had the prior generation (04) which I did not like as well as my 99 Town & Country, mainly due to the Ody’s structural flex. After the tranny was diagnosed with a terminal illness, he replaced it with one of the new ones. I was surprised to conclude that my Sedona has a tighter feeling structure, and that the Honda’s level of trim materials is not as much better as you would think.
Although I generally like Hondas, I have not really been a lover of these. For my money, they are crazy expensive, both new and used. I also recall spending some time on forums, and there seemed to be more people than expected saying that this would be their last Odyssey.
I am with Canucklehead on the power doors. In addition to a high failure rate, they are too slow for me. However, try to find a minivan without them these days. To find a Sedona without them, I had to take a strippo, and even then the dealer had to go 175 miles away to get it. With rebates and some dealing, I was out the door for $20k 2 years ago on a new one early in the model year. I have no doubt that an Odyssey is a nicer van. But it is not $15 or 20K nicer.
I was considering writing up my 2007 as a COAL and attempting to become a contributor… just hadn’t got around to it yet. I’ll have to look into that for the future.
We bought a used 2007 LX in 2009, had 53k miles on it. At the time we had a 2 year old and another kid on the way. The van had been a Orlando rental car. We were the third owners. The second owner had two (a silver and a burgundy one, and he drove it from MI to AZ and GA regularly.) After the purchase (bought the silver one), I realized it had the trans judder, the software fix made it worse, and was able to get the torque converter replaced under the original 60k warranty. Further digging (used to work with a Honda tranny engineer) led to the discovery that the trans was modified/fortified in 2007 with the introduction of the Ridgeline. I don’t expect to have trans durability issues. The factory Michelins were terrible in the MI ice and snow, so we put Blizzaks on it in the winter… absolutely amazing transformation. As good or better than an SUV. Take the kids skiing in the mountains with it quite often, the confidence that comes from those snow tires is truly impressive. Our summer tires are Hankooks, and they have been durable and quiet.
At this point it has 123k on it, and has been from MI to CO 3x times, MI to NY/NJ 2x and went to So Cal from Denver and back over thanksgiving… and the snow tires made that trip happen! Absolutely love that van for road trips. We moved back to CO from MI in June, managed to drive that van completely across the country this year, broke up into 3 legs.
Considered the Sienna at the same time, (rented one of each for a week) and the Honda handles better, feels more substantial, and doesn’t use as cheap feeling interior switchgear. When we bought ours in MI in 2009, they were hard to find. I had a guy follow me home on a test drive and when I got out of the car to have my wife take a look at it, he asked me if it was for sale… he was trying to find one too. After that my wife believed me when I said they were hard to find. She hadn’t believed me until she was asked by that guy.
We wanted no power doors, no DVD player, had to have rear A/C. That was pretty much it. The LX fit the bill and was easy to identify. (Wheel covers and cloth interior) With the Sienna, I couldn’t readily tell what options came with what trim level… the base Sienna didn’t have rear A/C or tinted glass ?!
So other than the Torque converter, (fixed under warranty) and the A/C line issue (poor design, but finally rectified) the only other issues we have are that we wore out one roller on the sliding door ($30 part, easily fixed myself via you tube) and an intermittent TPMS monitoring light (only illuminates on a long road trip), and the factory base model CD player won’t eject a CD once it heats up. And on the move to CO from MI, in a huge crosswind (left to right) , the front right fender liner rubbed the tire and wore through the liner. There was another ody (same gen) in front of us at the rest area, and the same thing happened to theirs… I ordered the part on Rock auto for less than $20 and did it myself.
One other observation… have made the mistake …more than once :-P… of jumping into the pool with the key in my pocket.
Honda has wrapped the electronics for keyless entry inside a waterproof box inside the key. Took it apart to dry it after the first time and was pleasantly surprised to see the overengineering. Very impressed!
We probably saw you on the highway as we made the same CO to SoCal trek over T-day.
The base Sienna (CE) level does not have tinted windows, not sure about the rear AC. I think the Sienna LE is more like the Odyssey LX. Then there are usually two versions of Sienna XLE – a lower one that is kind of like the EX, then a more loaded one that is like the EX-L. After that is the Sienna Limited which is analogous to the Odyssey Touring.
In Canada, Honda offered an Odyssey DX in some years of this generation, I think this is like the Sienna CE – no tinted glass, etc.
We have an ’08 Odyssey EX-L, bought new, now has 117K miles. We had some trim issues (the panel under the dash on the passenger side has never been right), otherwise we have had no mechanical issues at all. The ’08 got the Ridgeline Transmission, which from what I read solves the tranny issues. The ’05 still had the old tranny that goes back to the previous generation and is very troublesome.
We changed the tranny fluid every 50k and the oil whenever the reminder light comes on. We changed the timing belt at 100K, which was expensive but necessary.
We have towed a pop-up with it since it was new, and now it tows a Forest River rPod, a little travel trailer that sleeps 4 and has a bathrooom. It has the factory towing package…we’re maxed out for towing, but never had a problem.
I am reviving an old thread because I to have just recently purchased the exact same vehicle as the author. I have read the horror stories of the Transmissions (I think they are over blown and probably due to bad driving habits and lousy maintenance. Yes mine is an 06 EX-L and it was well maintained the interior grey leather looks new as does the outside it has miniscule scrapes and paint chips. I don’t drive so much anymore maybe 4 to 5 K a year and needed pickup truck with a roof . Traded in my 08 CR-V EX-L with just over 40K for this 06 with 195,000K. and walked away with 7K . So I paid $4200.00 for a near mint vehicle . I have over 1 k on it so far and because of the firewall between the dealer and the previous owner I have no access to maintenance all I know is the brakes are over 90% , so I am through YouTube tutorials conducting most of the maintenance , Tranny flush X3, Power steering fluid flush/change, Air filter change , cabin filter change , Coolant change, spark plug change, tires also though they still have 40% . At 200,000K take the hit and do the Timing belt. But this first 1000 miles I have been very impressed ! I took one 300 mile trip and averaged 29MPG w A/C on , and in short Stop N Go city 20MPH ! One annoying thing is a light tinny metallic clink that only occurs at startup cold or warm and happens right at 10MPH and sounds like it is just under the gas pedal. And they say it is noisy but I am getting deaf ! But overall I am impressed ! I believe if you take good care of anything it will take good care of you . Hey for $4200 I think I did well .
I noticed that the Odyssey has a 160mph speedometer like my Civic does, I just don’t understand. A 100 mph or 110 mph speedometer would be more appropriate and much more legible in the speed ranges that are typically used. Most people drive in the 70-80 mph range and these cars would need a rocket strapped to the roof to go probably even 120 mph.
The reason for seemingly unnecessarily high-reading speedometers has nothing to do with the capability of the vehicle. Rather, it has to do with accuracy in the middle of the band. Speedometers read the most accurately at the mid-point between zero and whatever the top reading might be. Therefore, a 160 mph speedometer would be most accurate at 80 mph, a speed which is actually the limit in some sparsely-populated areas of the southwest.
It’s also the reason speedometers were (stupidly) limited to 85 mph during the dark-days of the 55 mph speed limit. If the speed limit was federally mandated at 55 mph, everywhere, why weren’t speedometers limited to 55 mph? Now you know.
In fact, one of the smarter companies during this time was Ford, specifically the Mustang’s 85 mph speedometer. Although it technically stopped at 85 mph, there was a blank area with no markings past 85. It wasn’t done for any kind of nefarious reason; it was simply to maintain the accuracy at the speed most people drive.
Actually, if it had been done correctly, speedometers during that period should have had a top reading of 110 mph. Or, better still, just continued using the traditional 120 mph speedometers all along where 60 mph would have been the accuracy point.
I figure it was done to keep folks from either flooring it on a straight highway to see how fast their car could go or make the 40-60 mph markings accurate.
Interestingly, most cruise controls of the time would still let you set for 89 mph, despite the 85 mph markings. My 91 Olds Calais would do that.
Speedometers have been electronic for a couple decades now. 160 MPH is purely an aesthetic choice. And a silly one at that.
Although they get almost universally positive reviews, I stay away from Honda products for two reasons: brake and transmission issues. It’s particularly insidious because these are two things that likely won’t expire until after the warranty has. While the Sienna (and other Toyotas) might not have the superior driving dynamics of Hondas, I’d feel a lot more secure with a Toyota’s longevity.
That’s why I avoid Subaru now. They have had head gasket issues for far too long for me to see it as anything other that not giving a hoot about the customer.
That’s a shame that Subaru can’t get a handle on their head gasket issues (or don’t care to even try). They have a very loyal following, bordering on VW-like worship. And, honestly, it’s understandable, particularly in the midwestern and northeastern snow-belts.
The Subaru faithful are sort of a variation of those who embrace the Jeep outdoors lifestyle, but more urban and not willing to give up a easier, car-like ride for the harsh ruggedness or ‘trail-rated’ ability of a Jeep Wrangler.
As someone who owns a second generation Kia Sedona with 126k on it, I can recommend them with no reservations whatsoever. Maintenance has been routine, nothing major has broken, and it’s been very comfortable in out two or times a year Richmond-St. Augustine runs. It’s only weakness it that it isn’t good for hauling motorcycles.
It’s tough to make a bad midi/minivan decision these days. With one exception, they’re all relatively decent and all excel in one area or another. The exception is the Ram Promaster City (nee: Fiat Doblo) wagon, which supposedly has a craptacular dual-clutch transmission. For a small, two-row minivan like the Chrysler original way back in 1984, the Ford Transit Connect wagon is probably the best bet.
My choice would be the decade-old Dodge Grand Caravan. Yeah, it’s aged, but for the maximum people/cargo hauler at the lowest price, it simply can’t be beat. I think you can still get a new one for less than $20k. Yeah, it won’t have dark tinted glass and the second row seat will be a bench that needs two people to remove but, hey, for someone with multiple small children who are going to be spilling crap, anyway, you don’t really need one of the new, top-of-the-line, sophisticated rides costing over twice as much when loaded.
In fact, the base Grand Caravan is enough of a value that it reminds me, a lot, of the final generation A-body Valiant sedan that stayed in production for nearly as long. It’s something of an irony that one of the vehicles that came out during the hoary Daimler merger years is still hanging in there. Personally, I think it would be great if FCA just made the necessary annual regulatory changes and kept the GC around for another five, maybe even ten years.
I looked at a Transit Connect and was not impressed. It was not nearly as versatile or refined as the mainstream vans yet the price was not that far off.
The old Grand Caravan is still selling in high numbers because it’s the most affordable van out there.
We had three Odysseys… a ’99 LX, an ’03 EX, and an ’07 EXL. All great cars, exactly what our family of six needed, and each kept to a bit over 100,000 miles. The only issue of note was… no surprise… the ’07’s transmission needed replacement. I can’t recall the symptoms any more, but believe it was around 70,000 miles. The dealer replaced it at no charge. Can’t recall if we were past warranty.
In 2010 I purchased a 2008 Ody LX with about 20K, is was a great vehicle, I gave it good maintenance and never had a serious problem with it. In regard to transmission issues, I put almost 146K on it and never had a transmission problem. I put about 20K a year on it and changed the transmission fluid annually. Previously I had owned a Plymouth Voyager that had experienced all sorts of transmission issues which left me in shell shock, hence the annual fluid changes.
Whoa, you were freaking me out for minute there Jim, I thought you’d kept a vehicle for ten years. 😉
Agh, shoot me now! 🙂
I think the biggest problem with vans for so many years is they were just underspeced for the job. Essentially hauling truck loads with car mechanicals. That seems to have been largely addressed in the past 5-10 years.
I have never really liked our Town & Country, it’s just not very refined. But the price was right and the only repair it’s needed over 6 years has been a wheel bearing. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy a new Pacifica, that plug-in hybrid would be about perfect for us.
I had an 06 Caravan with the Four cylinder engine purchased brand new. It was the next to the last year of the second generation of the egg shaped models. I got 232000 miles out of it before I pulled in front of an F150 and it got T boned. It was an excellent vehicle. Roomy with lots of cargo/people space and it only had a couple of problems in 10 years. The driver’s side door latch had problems twice and then there was an air conditioner blower something that went out. Also, it got stolen two or three times. I laughed when we bought it because the dealer was touting an immobilizer which shut off the car after a few feet if it hadn’t been started with the key, and someone tried to break into it and steal it and couldn’t get anywhere with it, but did an incredible amount of damage.
I was looking at replacing it after it got wrecked, but the Pacifica was coming out and I’m happy that I waited. I looked at base models of the Odyssey, Sedona, Quest, Caravan, Sienna, and Pacifica in 2016-2017 (I take my time making my car purchase, as I am going to typically spend upwards of 6-8 hours in it every day.)
The Quest didn’t have much useful space and wasn’t discounted sufficiently for the fact that no one is buying one. It was by far the blandest of what is already something of a bland category. It had the worst, cheapest feeling interior of all the cars.
The Sienna did not feel well put together. It seemed to have a lot of parts moving around separately. It was squishier and not as appealing as the other minivans and had the second cheapest interior. The driving dynamics were the worst.
The Caravan was a LOT cheaper than the pacifica, and very tempting, but did not ride as well and did not drive as well. The cowl was a good bit higher and it didn’t feel nearly as luxurious. There is a reason the Caravan/Town and Country were cheaper, and depending on how much time you spend in the car, you may not care.
The Sedona was acceptable and possibly better than the Caravan/Town and Country but it was a 2015 model and I was looking at 2017s and they weren’t discounting it. It would have been acceptable but not at the same price as the Pacifica.
The Odyssey of the generation that just passed, before they made it EXTRA HORRIBLE UGLY was a pretty good car. It drove well and was quiet. The shifter position was not so good, because when I went to change radio stations (I don’t think it had steering wheel controls) I bumped the shifter. I also had a good experience with the Chrysler product and the Pacifica looked like it would look more modern/new into the future v. the Odyssey. It drove a little better and the Stow N Go was improved for the Pacifica, and the seats are much more comfortable. It priced out about the same as the base Odyssey. The only thing I do not like about the Pacifica is that it does not have a spare tyre at all, and I had to buy a spare after we got stuck on the side of the road.
You just cannot beat a minivan if you are going to have one vehicle. There is not much that cannot fit inside the thing. Unless you are carrying loose loads of something extremely dirty like manure (and I suppose you could put a tarp down) I cannot see what a truck does which is better. All your possessions are locked and stored away neatly in the van v. open to everything like a truck and sliding around. The minivan is much, much bigger inside than the C/SUV but the same size on the outside. It’s really hard to want anything else once you’ve experienced the joys of minivanning.
Interesting insight, as an owner of a ’12 T&C for the past 3 years I agree. The Sienna reminds me of the 70’s with its super light and completely numb steering. I hated the Odyssey’s dual screen setup and the way they forced you into trim packages for any options. The Nissan was just kinda odd and the Sedona was lacking in minivan features and priced like a Honda. My T&C was all about the value. We were able to get it pretty loaded for less than a base Honda (both used). Honestly I didn’t really like any of them compared to our previous ’05 Grand Caravan. Nicer, safer, more efficient and much more powerful, but just don’t have the same open and comfortable feel from the driver’s seat.
I have a pickup as well, and it fits a lot more cargo, and does it more safely, when carrying a family of 5. Tonneau cover keeps things dry, toppers are available if you need more space. If I had to choose only one, for my use, I’d go with the crew cab pickup.
The only reason I’d buy a CUV would be for the AWD. Granted, here in Minnesota, that is pretty tempting. Not a fan of the Sienna AWD with the run-flat tires.
I think Chrysler made the spare tire optional in 2011. Can’t imagine how many folks were taken by surprise when they needed it. Though I haven’t had to use a spare in 20 years. Quite a lucky run I guess.