Talk to me about transmissions and engines and you’ll lose me pretty quickly. When I am shopping for a new car I am looking for a few very specific things:
- space (does it hold my family of seven?)
- features (does it have a DVD player? GPS? Bells and whistles?)
- comfort (how do I feel driving it?)
Of course, all of the technical aspects that I try to avoid are important….but I leave those details to my husband. I want to know if a car fits me and my kids, my gear and my lifestyle.
I often feel awkward getting into a new vehicle, and honestly, I was expecting the Odyssey to take some getting used to. On the contrary – as soon as I belted myself in and started backing out of the driveway I had that “old, worn-in pair of shoes” sensation. The Odyssey FIT me, and felt 100% natural.
Please note: I drove the Honda Odyssey Touring Elite, and so not all of the features listed here are in all models. Also please refer to Honda’s site for specific details. I do not claim to be a car expert, but instead looked at features from a busy mom’s perspective.
What I loved about the 2012 Honda Odyssey
One of the first things I noticed (since I was backing out of a driveway) was the back-up sensor and camera. While I am a creature of habit and would still always look over both shoulders, it was nice to have a view behind the car – in my house, there are often balls or bikes left out near the cars. The back up camera was certainly helpful.
The front seats were roomy and comfortable. I spend a lot of time sitting in my car (especially when we take driving trips to Florida for holidays) and I was my seat to cushion me just right. Sitting in the driver’s seat, I was also impressed with all of the conveniences that were within my reach – from the built-in navigation system to the radio to the pull-out cooler in the front center console. How nice would it be to have a cold drink handy when driving to and from practices and activities?
The built-in navigation system was easy to use and I LOVED that I could keep my radio on and still listen to directions. The GPS system has voice recognition so that you can speak your destination instead of having to enter addresses in manually. That feature alone would save me so much time!
A few other pluses: power doors and eight seat belts. Love!
The middle seats were easy to move forward to allow access to the back row of seats, and I certainly liked the fact that the set-up offered access to 8 seat belts, but I was a little worried that it would be hard to get kids in and out of the van when having to stop to lift up a seat. I thought of the days when I had THREE full sized car seats, and wondered if this configuration would have been a hassle. Luckily, you can remove any of the seats, opening the car up to several additional seating configurations (such as no center seat in the middle row).
I also wondered how much leg room there would be in the back seat. It looked pretty tight, so I had the nearest tall person act as a tester (Marshall) and he said that his long legs did in fact fit and that he was pretty comfortable back there. I told him that I’d like to ask him again after sitting in that seat with a few of my kids for a few hours….
While he was sitting in the back, Marshall noticed that the back row head rests extended really high. Cool!
One of the other features that I always look for in a family vehicle is cargo space. Not only do I take a few road trips with luggage for 7 a few times a year, but groceries for 7 tends to fill quite a bit of space. I need a car that will hold a lot. The Odyssey was very impressive in this regard.
Speaking of traveling with kids, one of my modern-day must-haves is an entertainment system. I thought that the DVD screen in the Odyssey Touring Elite was abnormally wide, but was very impressed (and surprised) when I read that the length of the screen allows for two movies to be played at once. You mean no more fighting over which movie to play? Awesome!
I also loved the fact that some models came with 15GB of storage space so that you could store a few playlists on the vehicle’s audio system. That way, when I forget my CDs I always have something to listen to.
After years of losing, breaking, and replacing car chargers, I was so happy to see that I could stick my USB cables or flash drives straight into the car. There were even USB ports in the back.
The rear seats were very easy to fold down, and I was so impressed with how easily and quickly the seats stowed, I had Louise from Momstart.com record a quick video.
I’ve saved my very favorite feature til the very end. The Odyssey has something called the Blind Spot Information System (BSI) – this may be my favorite car feature since they started putting DVD players in the back. Sensors located on the rear of each side of the vehicle detect another vehicle approaching. I noticed the sensor alert (near the side mirrors) before I saw cars come out of my blind spot. I was so excited every time the sensor went off.
And now for a few technical things (ok, they aren’t really technical, but they ARE two of the details that I do like to pay attention to, and two of the questions most often asked about new cars):
- MSRP starting at $28,375
- MPG 19 city/28 hwy/22 combined
In the end, I felt like the new Odyssey was a fantastic family car, with a ton of features that I loved. The only slight negative that I discovered was the leg room in the third row in the back. But the benefits of the vehicle far outweighed the leg room issue. Plus, kids have short legs, right??
Check out these 2012 Honda reviews from some of the other bloggers who were in Florida with me:
- The 2012 Honda CR-V: Who Knew Small Could Be So Big?
- Five Family-Friendly Features You’ll Love About the 2012 Honda CR-V
- 2012 Honda Odyssey Review: 5 Features This Mom Loves
- Honda Civic 2012 Hybrid
Disclosure: Honda provided me with an Odyssey to use in Florida, but I did not receive any compensation for this post. The observations and opinions included here are my own.
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