A Mom’s Review of the 2012 Honda Odyssey

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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.

Last week, while I was in Orlando on my press trip for Disneynature’s Chimpanzee, Honda supplied me with a 2012 Odyssey Touring Elite to drive to and from the airport and the store.

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.

Honda Odyssey 2012

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?

 

Honda Odyssey 2012

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!

Honda Odyssey 2012

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).

Honda Odyssey 2012

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….

Honda Odyssey 2012

While he was sitting in the back, Marshall noticed that the back row head rests extended really high. Cool!

Honda Odyssey 2012

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.

Honda Odyssey 2012

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.

Honda Odyssey 2012

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.

Honda Odyssey 2012

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.

Honda Odyssey 2012

 

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.

Honda Odyssey 2012 BSI

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:

 

 

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.

© 2012, Lolli. All rights reserved.

About Lolli

Lolli has written 2888 posts on this blog.

I became a mom in 1996, and in 2005 I had my fifth. Yes, 5 kids. In 2007, this blog was born (my 6th baby that will never grow up) and I've been sharing recipes, photography tricks, parenting tips, and everything in between. You can also find me writing at Home Made Simple, Famous Footwear blog and P&G Everyday. *Add my posts to BlogLovin' or Feedly today!*

Comments

  1. With the addition of our third child I have found the need to have captains chairs in the middle so my oldest can walk through middle without having to side seats to access back ( which is difficult when middle seats have car seats in them.) but looking at the odyssey with the center seat removed ( the whole reason we are in the minivan market) there seems to be no place for the kids to put drinks, food, etc and be able to reach them easily. Have you found this to be a problem? Also there are no armrests anymore on the middle captains chairs which seems quite odd. So with the center seat removed for pass through purposes where do kids put their drinks, snacks, etc?

    [Reply]

    Lolli Reply:

    Amy, I just tested this van for a few days in April 2012 and kept the middle row console in the entire time, so I’m not really sure about the cup holder issue. I wish I could help you more!
    Lolli´s last blog post ..My Favorite Things Giveaway

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  2. I love the features of this 2012 Honda Odyssey! :) But as long as my wife and I do not have kids yet, we’ll still be sticking with our red three-year-old two-seater top-down. Thanks!

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  3. My hubby’s grandpa has an Odyssey and loves it. So many amazing features. I also looked at one, but decided it was too large for our family of 4.

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  4. You sound exactly like me when it comes to choosing a car! But that one is PRETTY. I’m sold. :)
    Shell Fruscione´s last blog post ..I See Me: “My Royal Birthday Adventure” Book Review

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  5. Look at all of those bells and whistles. Lots of awesome features. I drive a Honda Pilot, and it would be hard for me to give up my SUV but this mini van sure has all of the features a family needs.

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  6. i love that marshall modeled for you. ;o)

    i am kind of glad i didnt get the odyssey for my car to drive last week- i’d have had a very, very hard time coming home to my own minivan with those bells and whistles. the blind spot feature is AWESOME!
    Brett´s last blog post ..One Tree Hill: The Past Catches Up

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  7. Thanks for the mom’s perspective. We have the 2011 Elite and got it just before it became hard to find. You mentioned the USB port in the back – I believe it’s actually an HDMI port. The only usb port that is in my 2011 is in the glovebox. Nevertheless, great minivan that keeps my family of 6 very happy and safe!

    [Reply]

    Lolli Reply:

    Thanks for pointing that out! See, I warned you that I’m not technical. :)

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  8. We have been going back and forth between getting the Honda Odyssey and the Nissan Quest. I LOVE the older quest model and in a heartbeat would snatch one up, but not so much of the new one with totally the diff. look :( Lately the hubs has been pushing for the Odyssey and is slowly swaying me towards it. Glad to see that you liked it and would recommend it. Thanks for doing this post.
    Catrina´s last blog post ..He’s how old?

    [Reply]

    Lolli Reply:

    I have a 2004 Quest, and it really has been a good car for us. However, it’s showing it’s age (really, it was a dealership car for 2 years before it became ours. We bought it in 2006 with only 4000 miles on it).
    Lolli´s last blog post ..A Mom’s Review of the 2012 Honda Odyssey

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  9. I own a 2007 Honda Odyssey and I really LOVE my van. I always said I would NEVER drive a minivan, I can honestly say, it’s the best! My van has the rear back up camera, the Navigation system and the DVD player. I had no idea the new one had voice activated Navi, that is awesome! And the blind spot sensor, that is nifty!

    I bought mine used, so I’ll have to wait a few years for this one! :)
    Tiffany´s last blog post ..Day 2: You Comfort Me

    [Reply]

    Lolli Reply:

    Yes, I’m sure I’ll be one of those waiting in line to buy this model used. :)

    [Reply]

  10. Wow! that car looks like it combines all of the functional aspects of a minivan — without looking like one! Love all the room and that back-up sensor, built in nav and BSI area ll really cool! Great review!
    Henrietta´s last blog post ..jcpenney Portrait Studio tips & deals – 6 sheets for $20!

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  11. I have never owned a van, but I would totally go with the Honda Odyssey if I was to choose one. My favorite feature is all the spacious room that this vehicle had, but also the back up camera to help you back up!

    [Reply]

    Lolli Reply:

    It really is nice when you can load up a vehicle with ADULTS and still feel comfortable. :)
    Lolli´s last blog post ..The McClain Sisters – Family Comes First

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  12. That was huge car I remember looking around it when you opened the door. Certainly so many things I love about it. Having 4 kids roomy is the ONLY way to go!!
    Tricia @Night Owl Mama´s last blog post ..Miracle-Gro® Kids Pixie Hollow Greenhouse Gardening Sets Review and #Giveaway

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    Lolli Reply:

    Yes! Actually, with 5 kids, minivan is the only way to go. And not all minivans are created equal. :) The Odyssey was luxurious!
    Lolli´s last blog post ..The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie #Recipe

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  13. We actually looked at these when they first came out but finding the Touring Elite was impossible. We spent 6 months at over a dozen dealerships and NOT one had any in stock. They had the lower models, but not the Touring Elite and that was the one we wanted. We eventually had to trade in our 2008 Odyssey and had to go with a different manufactuer because we couldn’t buy this one ;-(

    All that said to say we loved our Odyssey and the space it gave our family of 5. The bells and whistles are definitely a plus and now we can’t live without them.

    [Reply]

    Lolli Reply:

    Oh, that would have been frustrating! I guess many other people recognized how amazing the extras in the top model were and snatched them up fast. I am definitely going for an Odyssey when we need to replace our current van. And at the rate our family of 7 (and our yearly trips to Florida) is wearing it down, I’m sure it won’t be too long.
    Lolli´s last blog post ..Wild Africa Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Give Me Your Best Shot #PSF

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  14. I am an SUV girl for life, but I do LOVE my Honda Pilot!
    dumb mom´s last blog post ..Dumb Mom’s Guide to Blogging for Good.

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    Lolli Reply:

    I like SUVs, too, but I’ve always been a minivan girl. Heck, I even learned how to drive on a Grand Caravan. When you’ve got 5 kids like me and my mom….I guess it’s part of the territory. :)

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  15. We bought a Honda Odyssey before our 6th child was born. So I can tell you that we can fit three car seats in. Putting two of them in the back row has really helped the getting in and out issue. Ours is a 2008 I think, so we do not have all the same things you had, but I do feel this is a car designed for families. I love it.

    [Reply]

    Lolli Reply:

    Being a well-versed car seat user myself, the thing I worry about is having rear-facing car seats in the back row. Those are so hard to get in and out. And, yes, I have had two rear facing seats at once. I am glad those days are over! Getting in and out of the car is so much easier. :)

    [Reply]

  16. I love this review and such great modeling from Marshall and Louise! I’ve been thinking for awhile now that I’d like to have a car with a third row. Even as a family of four, I think it would come in handy! And how cool that it has USB ports! Now, I want a minivan! :)
    Carrie with Children´s last blog post ..What I Saw This Weekend…

    [Reply]

    Lolli Reply:

    Marshall and Louise came by at just the right time and were great sports! It made my analysis so much more fun. :)

    [Reply]

Trackbacks

  1. […] to check out some other Hondas?  The 2012 Honda CR-V: Who Knew Small Could Be So Big?, A Mom’s Review of the 2012 Honda Odyssey, Five Family-Friendly Features You’ll Love About the 2012 Honda CR-V, 2012 Honda Odyssey […]

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