Editor's note: This is the latest in a series. Read all of the Patch Drives installments here.
Who says boring isn’t cool?
OK, I said that, just a couple days ago. But after driving a Honda Odyssey I realized boring still isn’t cool, but smart is.
And the Odyssey is a smart person’s car.
Am I a Honda person?
This week I headed over to Honda Bloomfield to test drive an Odyssey.
Here’s the thing: I know a few Honda people. You probably know Honda people, too. People who swear there is nothing better than a Honda. People that are practical. People that are serious. People that read the safety reports before shopping for a car. People that are, well, kind of boring.
I like to think of myself as more of an edgy, fun, cool kind of chick (that’s why I drive a 2001 full-sized van around town, of course). Full disclosure here: my rebellious (some might say juvenile) spirit might be at work here (again, waaaaah). My very practical, smart (not too boring though) older sister is a Honda person. My father is a Honda person. I had a very serious stepmother once who was, and just might still be, a Honda person.
Maybe I am still trying to live up to my black sheep label and be different.
I went into the dealership with a chip on my shoulder and pre-conceived ideas of how boring it was going to be.
Yep, it hugs the road
The sales manager, Diane Boring-Lucaj, was nice and helpful, and in fact very serious. She hooked me up with a semi-loaded 2012 Odyssey EX.
Once again I was impressed with the hands-free technology and ability to synch my iPhone. A very nice sales consultant, Shaban Shkembi, showed me all of the car’s features and then sent me on my way.
I instantly knew this: The minivan didn’t feel like a minivan at all. This new model is sleeker, lower. Honda people talk about how the Odyssey “hugs the road” and they aren’t lying. It was a smooth ride that felt safe.
I felt very comfortable.
Holding up the car loop
Off to the crucial elementary school car loop test. I pulled up not so much ready to wow, but ready to show off how safe and practical, yet modern and sleek I could be. Dare I say mature?
Until I couldn’t figure out how to open the automatic doors and held up the entire line of quite anxious parents. (This was user error, nothing to do with the car.)
The kids liked it, and I liked how they all fit. My 10-year-old son said he was neutral because he didn’t want to hurt either Honda's or Ford’s feelings in declaring whether he liked one better than the other. (I test drove a Ford Flex last week.) “Awww, that’s sweet, kid, but that’s not how you write a review,” I told him lovingly.
Hands down my kids’ favorite feature was the windows being able to go down in the back. They looked like little puppies sticking their heads out to feel the wind on their little faces.
Hands down my favorite feature was what a smooth operator the Odyssey was. That and the fact that it can seat up to eight people: the middle seat in the second row can be easily removed and stored in the trunk or even in the garage. Not that I’m looking for more passengers than my own four kids, but if I happen to ever host a play date, I could offer to drive that child, or two, home.
Let's see how the Odyssey measures up with the my checklist:
- Was there chemistry? Somewhat. It felt comfortable, like we fit together nicely, my family and this Honda Odyssey. Super excited, fever-like anticipation to get in and drive as soon as possible? Not so much.
- Appearance? I liked the fact that it wasn’t very van-like. This year's model is sleeker than its predecessors.
- Lifestyle? The Odyssey absolutely fits well with my family’s lifestyle. There is plenty of space for the kids and their school bags, sports bags and any other bags they have. The trunk is deep and would work well when we traveled, too.
- Affordability? I drove a 2012 Odyssey EX, which starts at $32,435.
Overall, there is something to be said for safety and comfort. It’s actually a pretty cool thing to be smart and mature.
I just may not be ready for it yet.
Angela shopped for her Honda Odyssey at Honda Bloomfield in Bloomfield Hills. The dealership is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday and Thursday; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. To build your own Odyssey or to check on the inventory at a dealer near you, visit automobiles.honda.com/odyssey/
Next week: Patch readers suggested a mighty sport utility vehicle may be the way to go. I'll drive one to see for myself.
Patch Drives is an editorial series. The cars Youngblood chooses to test will be at her discretion and not affiliated with any advertising relationships.
Honda dealerships in the Patch Drives area: