With a grand total of 36,630 miles traveled, the Honda Odyssey goes down in the Automobile Magazine record books as one of the highest mileage Four Seasons cars we've ever had. This isn't necessarily surprising when you consider that from the moment it arrived at our office, the Odyssey was the go-to vehicle for family vacations and road trips.
In fact, within a day of arriving in Ann Arbor, the Odyssey was on Interstate 75 heading south to Birmingham, Alabama to take in a Grand Am race at Barber Motorsports Park. Upon its return, it went to Chicago and back with the Tierney family for a long weekend, then on to Upper Michigan for the Cherry Festival in Traverse City. Soon after, it was converted into a rock and roll tour bus -- with bright pink shag carpeting, a bean bag chair, and a lava lamp -- by road test editor Chris Nelson and intern Greg Fink and driven to Kansas City, Kansas, for the Kanrocksas Music Festival. After four months, the odometer already read almost 13,500 miles, but we were just getting warmed up.
Over the next eight months, the Odyssey was enlisted to carry kids, dogs, and untold amounts of gear, equipment, furniture, and other extra large cargo. It did round trips to Indiana, Chicago (four times), South Dakota, and Florida (twice), and spent ten days with the family of copy editor Rusty Blackwell, touring the Great Smoky Mountains. Its split-screen, ultrawide DVD-player made it a no-brainer for family trips, but its cavernous interior, low load floor, and wide hatch made it the perfect choice for transporting large objects. In fact, it was chosen more often than another Four Seasons vehicle, the Infiniti QX56 full-size SUV, for such chores. On several occasions it played the role of moving van, going as far away as Chicago to relocate everything from desks to dining room tables to miscellaneous household items. It was also enlisted on several occasions to bring home large or bulky purchases that no SUV could ever dream of swallowing.
What was almost more surprising about the big Honda was how well it functioned as an everyday vehicle. Entry and egress are effortless, visibility is good, and, there are tons of convenient cubbies to keep phones, iPods, or purses within easy reach. Its 248-hp V-6 was praised for being responsive and providing more than enough power, even when fully loaded. It's steering also drew compliments, with senior editor Jason Cammisa calling it the "best-weighted steering of anything in its class." The Honda's six-speed automatic gearbox wasn't as well liked and was without a doubt the source most ire from the Automobile Magazine staff. All in all we found it livable, but the most vocal among us called it "hesitant" and "clunky."
What we here at Automobile can all agree on is that we are going to miss our dark cherry Honda Odyssey. Most Americans have shied away from minivans in the last ten years, either because they are considered mommy-mobiles or just plain uncool. A year and a whopping 36,000 miles later, we can say with confidence that no vehicle combines the people comfort, cargo-carrying utility, and the versatility to do both better than a minivan. And no minivan does it quite as well as the Honda Odyssey.