Honda Odyssey:

Honda Odyssey Leapfrogs Minivan Competition

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Has the new 2018 Honda Odyssey leapfrogged its competition the way Chrysler’s second generation minivans did in the early ’90s?  After spending several days with the Odyssey on the Big Island of Hawaii, the case can be made that the Odyssey is the best minivan out there.  Up until now, the clear leader was the new-for-2016 Chrysler Pacifica.  Its advanced styling, stow-‘n-go seating and available plug-in hybrid make Pacifica a persuasive choice in the minivan category.  Only the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna are real competitors.  Other minivans like the Nissan Quest and Kia Sedona don’t have the volume to be mainstream players.  Ford and General Motors abandoned the minivan market years ago to concentrate on SUVs – a good move.

Odyssey a Cornerstone of Honda Brand  Honda has a relatively narrow and focused lineup for a mainstream brand.  The Honda Odyssey is one of its cornerstones.  The new 2018 Honda Odyssey is the fifth generation of the minivan.  The fourth gen Odyssey was with us for seven model years which is long for a Honda product.  Based on Honda’s Global Light Truck platform, the new Odyssey shares major components with the Honda Pilot crossover SUV and the Honda Ridgeline pickup.  From AutoPacific’s assessment, all three of Honda’s new truck products are fully competitive and compelling.  The new Odyssey checks most of the boxes to make it the best minivan available today.

Still a Soccer Mom Image  Lets talk about minivans a minute.  Minivans are the perfect vehicle for a family.  They carry kids, their friends and their stuff.  They are seen as suburban taxis driven by a mom schlepping her little darlings from LaCrosse practice to Little League to band practice.  When we note in focus groups of suburban mothers that they should be driving a minivan, most women strongly disagree.  When compared with the active image of even the tamest crossover SUV, the SUV wins and the minivan loses.  The soccer mom image of the minivan cannot be avoided.

2018 Honda Odyssey Elite

Evolutionary Design With Bold Cues  The new 2018 Honda Odyssey comes pretty close to avoiding the minivan image as does the Chrysler Pacifica and the “swagger-wagon” Toyota Sienna.  The styling of the new Odyssey is evolutionary but more  interesting than before. Odyssey continues with the chrome “lightning bolt” window surround that has been a distinctive design cue since the previous generation.  Now, however, the bodysides get a few more curves to add more personality to the design.  The front end design is a swath of brightwork similar to the Pilot and Ridgeline.  This look is being adopted throughout the Honda lineup and adds interest to the Honda “face”.

Magic Slide Seats Compete with Chrysler’s Stow-‘n-Go  The interior is very comfortable and accommodating for any size family.  Gone is any pretense of a walk-through from the front seats to the rear.  There is now a very usable console including excellent cupholders and a deep console box.  Honda has made interior flexibility one of its hallmarks.  The very small Fit and HR-V crossover SUV have interior flexibility that can accept many different sizes of cargo.  The Odyssey “Magic-Slide” second row seat counters the Chrysler Pacifica’s stow-‘n-go rear seating design.

In the Honda design the individual second row seats can be moved from side to side and fore and aft.  The center position is good for children in child seats which can be fixed toward the center of the vehicle – a good location in a side impact.  One of the rear seats can be positioned in the center and pushed forward so the driver and/or front seat passenger can tend to a baby in a child seat.

2018 Honda Odyssey Center Stack w/Apple CarPlay

Ergonomics Top Notch, But Nav Screen Display Needs Work  Ergonomics are always a Honda forte and the 2018 Honda Odyssey does not disappoint.  The instrument cluster gauges are bright and easy to read.  The center screen is large and bright with navigation by Garmin.  I found the information display on the screen to be hard to read because the fonts were so small.  While Garmin provided the guts, Honda designed the display graphics and could have made the font size bigger, contrast better and included the city name in addition to the road name on the display.  (Why is it so hard to get the city name on the display?  Everyone should do it!).  I ended up using Apple CarPlay maps and streaming in lieu of the Honda system.

Loaded Odysseys Want for Nothing  95% of the 2018 Honda Odysseys (EX and above) will have the full suite of Honda’s safety features standard including Honda Sensing and blind spot monitoring with cross traffic monitor.  The top level Elite model includes acoustic windshield and side glass that Honda contends makes the vehicle the quietest minivan on the market.  In fact, when you opt for the Odyssey Elite, there is very little missing from its equipment list.

Engine Upgraded – 10-Speed Transmission  The 2018 Honda Odyssey is powered by a 280-horsepower 3.5L single overhead cam V6.  The additional 32 horsepower over its predecessor gives the new Odyssey the power to pass at will.  On a long stretch uphill climb on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway on the Big Island, the engine strained a bit.  On anything but steep grades the power is adequate.  The Elite model includes a 10-speed automatic transmission – all others have 9-speeds.  The shifting is transparent in the 10-speed model.

~$30,000 – $47,000 – Is There Room for a +$50,000 Model?  The base price of the 2018 Honda Odyssey is $29,990 with a $940 delivery charge.  The Elite model is $46,670.  Honda pays particular attention to vehicle price points as do all manufacturers.  As a high volume, mainstream brand keeping prices affordable is paramount.  However, some automakers are wrestling with ways to charge even more for their top of the line products because buyers want more stuff.  The Odyssey Elite is $46,670 – $3,230 below $50,000.  Could there be a place for a $50,000 entry in the very price-conscious minivan market?  While Honda competitors are moving mid-size SUVs into the low $50,000 range could there be a place for an even higher spec Odyssey?  It would be interesting to do the analysis.


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2014 Honda Odyssey Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award

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The 2014 Honda Odyssey is the top scoring Minivan in AutoPacific’s 2014 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research. Coming in behind the Odyssey is the Nissan Quest, followed by the Toyota Sienna, Dodge Grand Caravan, Ford Transit Connect, and the Mazda5.

In achieving this level of satisfaction, the 2014 Honda Odyssey wins in eleven categories and ties in eighteen. The Odyssey is also within one tenth of a rating point in another six satisfaction categories. The Odyssey is at the top in seventy percent of the satisfaction ratings.

The top ten highest ratings by Odyssey owners are: the brand and vehicle reputation, safety ratings and features, the perception of reliability and dependability, seating capacity, overall quality and braking, the ease of loading and unloading cargo, and feeling safe while driving.

The Odyssey has been the top rated Minivan in three of the past five years… and don’t forget – you can get it with an integral vacuum cleaner.

AutoPacific VSA Logo Feature


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Honda Odyssey – Most Ideal Minivan in AutoPacific Research

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AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) recognizes the vehicle that best hits the target its buyers demand.  Winning an IVA shows the product planners, engineers and designers of the manufacturer understand what their target customers want and have created the vehicle to best meet their demands.

Odyssey Edges Chrysler Town & Country for IVA Win: The 2012 Honda Odyssey comes closest to the ideal of any Minivan.  The Odyssey edges out the second place Chrysler Town & Country by 21 rating points to win in its class.   Having eighty-percent or more of owners rating a characteristic ideal is outstanding.  Achieving a score of ninety-percent is even more impressive.  Ninety-percent or more of Odyssey owners rate its exterior size, passenger roominess, cargo space, wheels and tires, ride and handling ideal.  Eighty-percent or more of Odyssey owners find these additional characteristics ideal:  interior lighting.

The Honda Odyssey was also best in class in AutoPacific’s 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.

A Few Shortfalls – Some Could Have Been Offset by Selecting Available Options and Powertrains: About 27% want more infotainment technology than now.  About 8% would like for Odyssey’s technology to be easier to use.  About 25% of Odyssey owners want better visibility than now.  About 24% want more interior storage compartments than now.  About 21% want a softer driver’s seat.  About 20% want more daring exterior styling than now.

You can find an Autobytel review of this IVA award winner at  http://www.autobytel.com/auto-news/awards/ideal-suvs-pickups-rated-by-owners-in-2012-iva-awards-112117/

For a complete summary of all AutoPacific 2012 Ideal Vehicle Award results contact karin.turner@vehiclevoice.com and title your email “IVA Results”.  A copy of the results will be emailed to you within 48-hours.


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2012 Honda Odyssey Most Satisfying Minivan

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Best in Class 2012 Minivan:  Honda Odyssey

2012 Honda Odyssey Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award

Owners of the all-new 2012 Honda Odyssey Minivan give the vehicle top ratings in fourteen of forty-eight attributes in AutoPacific’s 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.  The top ratings are for:  Exterior Size, Seating Capacity, 2nd Row Seat Comfort, Cargo Space, Handling, Fun to Drive, Reliability, Cupholders, Tire Size/Brand/Appearance, Wheel Size and Style, Environmental Friendliness, Dealership Experience, Overall Quality, and Durability.  With a maximum score of 5.0 satisfaction rating points a score of 4.5 is considered very good.  Odyssey owners gave the minivan a rating of 4.5 or higher in:  Overall Satisfaction, Exterior Size, Seating Capacity, Cargo Capacity, Ease of Loading Cargo, Vehicle’s Reputation, Brand’s Reputation, Handling, Reliability, Feeling Safe While Driving, Safety Features, Safety Ratings and Overall Quality.  Owners rate Odyssey below 4.0 satisfaction rating points in five attributes:  Fuel Economy, Range, Easy to Understand Controls, Price and Recyclability.


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2010 Honda Odyssey Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award

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Hon_10_Odyssey.jpgIn its last year before being replaced and in the face of an all new Toyota Sienna Minivan, Honda Odyssey owners rated the Odyssey tops in its class in AutoPacific’s 2010 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.
Overwhelming Minivan Victory Odyssey’s win is overwhelming. Its owners gave Odyssey the highest ratings in thirty-five of forty-eight categories. Odyssey won superlative ratings (4.5 or higher on a 5-point rating scale) in: overall satisfaction, exterior size, ease of getting in and out, driver’s seat comfort, overall seating capacity, second row seat comfort, cargo space, vehicle reputation, brand reputation, color, exterior and interior styling… the list goes on.
Next Gen Odyssey Needs to be Outstanding The 2010 Odyssey is a hard act to follow. With a new Odyssey getting ready for launch late in the 2010 calendar year, Honda will need another superlative performance to match its outgoing Minivan.
For a complete list of winners and description of the Awards, click here.


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2009 Honda Odyssey: Motorist Choice Award Winner

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Hon_08_Odyssey_Touring_3 copy.jpg“Minivans aren’t for everyone, but those that like ’em love ’em. And the Honda Odyssey is the one to beat, winning its segment in the Motorist Choice Awards but also in the 2009 AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Awards. There are sound product and financial reasons for selecting the Odyssey, including seating capacity, reputation and safety features. Some owners consider it stylish as well.” – AutoPacific
“The Odyssey was a 2009 BOVY Winner. The Odyssey has best-in-segment ownership costs and segment-leading retained value and low insurance costs.” – IntelliChoice
Owner Satisfaction Highlights
• Overall Seating Capacity
• Driver’s Seat Comfort
• Brand Reputation
• Safety Features
• Feeling Safe While Driving
Cost-of-Ownership Strengths
• 2009 BOVY Winner
• Best-in-Segment Ownership Costs
• Best Retained Value
• Low Insurance Costs


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2009 Honda Odyssey Wins AutoPacific 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award

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2009_Odyssey_205_IVA.jpg“The Honda Odyssey wins AutoPacific’s 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award achieving the highest IVA score of any vehicle measured. Odyssey not only is the highest rated minivan, but also the highest rated vehicle!” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, Inc. “Owners rate the Odyssey best-in-class in seven of fifteen rating categories and very competitive in the others. Clearly Honda understands what the Minivan buyer wants and have designed the Odyssey to hit that target.” Top-scoring Odyssey characteristics include:
* Exterior size
* Passenger room
* Cargo room
* Both ride and handing
* Power and acceleration
* Safety features


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2007 Nissan Quest: Do the Interior Improvements Make the Grade?

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With the 2007 model year, Nissan offers an improved Quest, introducing the model at the Chicago auto show. At the time, we posted a blog that detailed the changes, but now we’ve had the chance to drive it for ourselves and can report back on the results of Nissan’s most extensive mid-cycle change ever. Along with the Versa, AutoPacific and VehicleVoice correspondents had the chance to get behind the wheel of the Quest this week. While I drove the Versa to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery, I drove a Quest 3.5 SL back.
But First, the Counterpoint
How many times have we researched minivans and people who don’t drive them say they are for soccer moms to schlep their kids from activity to activity? How many times have SUV drivers, clearly with a family profile suited to a minivan, refused to consider a minivan because of their image? How many times have men been embarrassed to really like driving a minivan? These reactions happen just about every time we talk to USA consumers about minivans.
After driving the Quest from Nashville to Lynchburg, I came away with a renewed appreciation for how great a minivan really is. Easy to get into and out of. Great visibility. Flexible interior. The Quest is very pleasant to drive and the major interior upgrade for 2007 should help Quest achieve better sales performance against Honda and Toyota competition.
If it wasn’t a minivan, I could see a Quest in my driveway. It has all the attributes I am looking for in a vehicle… but it’s a minivan. Lots of people feel that way. What will it take to change their brains?–G. Peterson

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Improvements Bring Quest Nearer the Target
There is no doubt that the Quest improvements are significant and will result in a happier ownership experience and, hopefully, loyal and repeat buyers. What these changes do not do, however, is to bring the Quest to the head of the minivan pack. Improved as it is, Toyota and Honda are still the segment leaders, with Chrysler’s minivan products still the total segment leader in sales if not image. Quest offers a better, nicer package than the minivans from General Motors or Ford, but that was largely true before this update.


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Automotive Lease Guide Releases Residual Value Awards

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Automotive Lease Guide is an influential and closely watched barometer of the value of brands and vehicles in the USA. ALG’s data are used by leasing companies to set the values for vehicles two and three years in the future and are critical in determining what lease rates a lessee will pay.
While ALG’s Residual Value Awards are not of the ilk of Motor Trend, Automobile, Car & Driver enthusiast awards, they provide an interesting counterpoint to awards based test track measurements, zero to 60 times and seat of the pants opinions. Here is the text of the ALG release…

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ALG’s annual Residual Value Awards honor those vehicles in each automotive segment predicted to retain the highest percentage of their original price. For the third consecutive year, American Honda Motor Company, Inc. heads the list with the Honda Brand winning the Industry Brand Residual Value Award. Honda also received two individual segment awards: the Odyssey for the Minivan Segment and the Accord for the Midsize Car Segment. This is the fifth consecutive win for the Honda Odyssey and the second win for the Accord.
Acura, a division of American Honda Motor Company, Inc., is the winner of the Near Luxury Car Segment for the TL.
BMW of North America, LLC has once again made a strong showing by winning the Luxury Brand Residual Value Award for the third consecutive year. MINI USA, a division of BMW of North America, has won the Compact Car Segment for the MINI Cooper for the fourth time.
Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. took home the most Residual Value Awards this year by winning six individual segment awards: the Avalon for the Fullsize Car Segment, Tacoma Pick-up for the Compact Truck Segment, Tundra for the Fullsize Truck Segment, RAV4 for the Compact SUV Segment, 4Runner for the Midsize SUV Segment, and the Sequoia for the Fullsize SUV Segment. This is the fifth consecutive win for the Toyota Tacoma, Tundra and Sequoia; and the third consecutive win for the 4Runner.
Mercedes-Benz USA LLC is the winner of this year’s Luxury Car Segment award for the CLS Class.
The Sports Car Segment award this year goes to Porsche Cars North America, Inc. for the 911 Carrera.
And last but not least, the CUV (Crossover Utility Vehicle) award goes to Land Rover North America, Inc. for the Range Rover Sport.
“In an era of negative pricing and overcapacity, Residual Value excellence is increasingly difficult to achieve,” said Raj Sundaram, President of Automotive Lease Guide. “Both the segment and brand winners clearly demonstrate that quality products combined with effective pricing strategies will rise to the top.” Sundaram added that, “While the top rankings did not change, several brands have shown significant improvement over last year, highlighting the importance manufacturers are placing on residual value as a long-term objective.”
This year’s awards are based on 2006 model year vehicles. For the fourth year, ALG has also included awards for the brand with the highest predicted resale value of all industry and luxury vehicles. The awards are derived after careful study of segment competition, historical vehicle performance and
industry trends. Award winners are featured on http://www.alg.com, The Wall Street Journal, Automotive News, and other automotive publications and websites dedicated to bringing the industry’s best performing models into the
public eye.


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2005 Japanese Minivans Tie for AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award

Japanese Minivans Win AutoPacific 2005 Minivan Vehicle Satisfaction Award

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“In the first ever 3-way tie in AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award research, the three Japanese brand Minivans are in a dead heat. Owners of Honda Odyssey, Nissan Quest and Toyota Sienna rate the three Minivans so equally it is difficult to tell them apart. The differences in ratings between the three are usually too close to call. Toyota and Honda owners rate their Minivans ahead on brand reputation, the Nissan is rated more fun to drive and easier to get into and out of. Nissan’s distinctive interior styling rates more strongly among its owners than the more conventional interiors of the Sienna and Odyssey.”
“It’s remarkable that these three Minivans are so close in their owner ratings. They have become similar to Premium Mid-Size Cars where many people feel they have to look at the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima when shopping for a Mid-Size Car. In minivans, many people think they have to at least look at the three Japanese-brand Minivans before making a decision. These are vehicles you don’t have to explain to your neighbors when they show up in your driveway.”
“For 2005, at least, American brands are not in the hunt for a Minivan category win.”


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