Its been quite some time that I have been keeping silent on this blog but today I just could not resist the need to announce it to the who-so-ever-is-interested (may be its just me – and yes I do like to read what I wrote in the past some times) that I bought my second car – which is not a car but a mini-van and the best in its category at the time of the purchase – the new 2011 Honda Odyssey. I went for the EX-L trim which comes with leather seats and many other luxuries which one does not often need but are nice to have. The color is Polished Metal (dark grey) and the interior leather color is beige (light greyish brown). I just drove it a little bit till now (from dealer’s showroom to home) but the feel of driving a brand new Odyssey is just as I read about it described on the several forums (which I visited while researching which of the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna or Acura MDX should be my next car). They said it is a driver’s mini-van (meaning you will have perfect control on the vehicle while steering it – the steering control is almost perfect) and which makes even a big mini-van quite easy to maneuver. Also the 2011 is state-of-the-art with many of the tech features coming standard (like Bluetooth, Auxiliary Jack for MP3 players, USB port to charge iPODs etc). There are some unique convenience features like the cool box refrigerator, a trash holder in the 2nd row which are unique to the Odyssey 2011 (no other mini-van has it right now).
After juggling between Sienna, Odyssey and MDX we decided to go for Odyssey because of its better ratings as the best mini-van and economical mileage, nice technical package that came standard (which definitely increase the ease of use of the vehicle), the 2011 is a design refresh year for Honda Odyssey so many improvements have been made over the previous model, the cost was bearable (compared to MDX), even though it does not have a 4WD I decided to go for it because I already have the Honda Element which is a 4WD vehicle and in the bay area we don’t usually need the 4WD unless you are travelling to the Sierra’s (lake tahoe etc) where there is snow fall. We also considered the equally priced Honda Pilot EX-L but somehow after having one SUV (even though Element is a compact SUV) I did not want to own another similar (only little bigger) vehicle. Mini-vans are more roomy, more comfy and the 2011 model of Ody also looks and feels more like driving a car than a mini-van.
I have a 3.5yr old kid and the purpose of this van was to mainly drop and pickup the kid from school. But we also wanted to buy something more comfortable, not very luxurious but at least one that makes those couple family vacations to LA and the like more pleasurable. I first wanted to buy an MDX but I realized that it was too much of a stretch to go for (in terms of the cost of the car and its maintenance cost – only take premium gas and mileage is 16mpg, parts are expensive etc.). The other option was to get a used MDX but then I somehow prefer to own a less luxurious or less powerful *new* car than a fully loaded luxury car which is used one (I know this is not exactly being practical but Ody seemed to be a nice compromise and here’s why – I could get a fully loaded MDX Touring with RES/NAV used 2005 model with 50K+ miles on it comes for 24K approx. and if I spend 13k more I get a new Honda Odyssey 2011 which is not the fully loaded model but has all that I care for with just 2 miles on it ). I did not need the RES/NAV but what I cared for more was the leather seats, power doors, power tailgate, blue tooth hands free support. For RES and NAV I did not want to shell out another 3-4k more. I can always put a GPS in the car for much less price. Also the mini-van is in general more roomy and hence more comfortable on longer trips than any SUV. Also climbing in and out of the van for kids and older people is generally easier.
Enough with the pros of Ody, now the cons are: it does not come with 4WD, parking is a hassle some times, does not look as cool as an SUV would. But for me the pros outweighed the cons. Between Sienna and Ody, the Ody looked much better than the 2011 Sienna (which to me looked more like an ambulance). Sienna has a 4WD option but the mileage was minus 3 mpg from the 2WD one. Also the reviews that 2011 Ody got were better than 2011 Sienna.