With more than two thousand miles accumulated, July was one of the Odyssey's busiest months since its arrival in early April. The majority of those miles were added by our deputy editor, Joe DeMatio, during his ten days with the car over the Fourth of July holiday. He rounded up several other staff members before heading to Traverse City, Michigan for some sun, sand, and the northern Michigan city's well-known cherry festival.
Always the doting son, DeMatio made a stop on the way north to see his mom. "When I picked up my 88-year old mother to take her to dinner, she appreciated the easy step-in height but was shocked to find out that she was in a Honda, saying, 'I thought Honda only made small cars.' She was no doubt thinking about the 1978 Civic CVCC hatchback that was part of the DeMatio family fleet when I was growing up. This big van just didn't compute to as a Honda."
Before stuffing themselves with cherry pie, cherry cobbler, chocolate-covered cherries, and the like, they picked up west coast editor, Jason Cammisa who flew in to Traverse City's -- what else -- Cherry Capital Airport. Being based on the West Coast, Cammisa hadn't driven our Four Seasons Odyssey and was eager to get some seat time and, as is his want, levy his opinion on the big people mover.
He had plenty of praise for the Honda, calling it "handsome, comfortable, and a quick and quiet highway cruiser." He raved about the expansive cabin and thoughtfully configured interior storage spaces as well. The compliments ceased when he got to the Odyssey's powertrain, though: "The engine is okay until it reaches 4000 rpm at which point it becomes coarse and unpleasant." He was equally critical of the Honda's six-speed transmission which he felt completed shifts too slowly and harshly. "Instead of a single, fluid gear change, the Odyssey has five perceivable steps each time it shifts." The back-seat staffers agreed but DeMatio tempered all the kvetching by adding, "yes, the Toyota Sienna's powertrain is smoother but the Odyssey's engine and transmission are more than acceptable, and I suspect that few buyers will complain about them."
As of this writing, the Odyssey has just returned from a very different road trip: to the Kanrocksas music festival. Come back next month to read about the vehicle's wild makeover and how well it survived its rock-and-roll weekend.