Just about any car can go on a road trip. But not just any car can be a great road trip car.
The 2018 Honda Odyssey can proudly wear the title “Road Trip Car.” This hot little number is filled with creature comforts, storage space, terrific tech and just about everything a family needs to spend days and cover miles on a road trip.
Admittedly, I have never been a minivan fan. When we started having kids and had to trade in our tiny two-door, we headed straight for the SUV aisle. We were far too cool to consider a minivan.
Turns out we might have been mistaken. When Honda invited me and my husband to join a road trip to see the fall foliage in northern Michigan, it was a great chance to finally get to know a minivan. Here are 10 reasons the Honda Odyssey should be on your short list if you’re looking for a great road trip car, or just a great family vehicle.
1. It’s roomy.
We had plenty of room in the front seats, with space for cups and water bottles, a big space for holding my big purse and storage for things like phones, maps and all of those tourism magazines we picked up at a Michigan welcome center. There is even a little hook on the passenger side just made for that most important road trip accessory: the garbage bag.
2. It’s full of tech.
The easy-to-use display connects to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The fully loaded model we drove had a wifi hotspot powerful enough for streaming video. I was surprised, though, that the 115V AC outlet offered only a 2-prong plug. My 3-pronged laptop cord didn’t fit.
3. Lots of creature comforts.
There’s a lighted mirror in each sun visor, a convex mirror that gives you a nice view of all passengers, plenty of cupholders, both in the center console and in the doors, lumbar support buttons on both the driver’s side and passenger side seats, and tons of leg room in every seat.
4. The sliding second row seats.
With the middle seat removed, the seats easily slide side to side (just squeeze the grip on the side of the seat, push it to the spot where you want, then listen for the click that says it’s locked into place). The second-row seats also slide forward to give the third row passengers more legroom.
5. It has a built-in vacuum!
The worst part about a road trip is the clean up afterward. Because, of course, the key to road trip happiness is road trip snacks. But road trip snacks lead to post road trip crumbs and messes. The built-in vacuum has an attachment that fits in between all of the Odyssey’s nooks and crannies, even the rows where the middle seats slide side to side.
6. It’s easy to see what’s going on with CabinWatch.
This parent-friendly feature lets you monitor the back-seat business with a touch on the display screen to bring up a view of the middle and back row seats. No more turning around while driving to see who is hitting whom. Just turn on the camera and commence with the threats: “If you don’t stop right now, I’m turning this car around!”
7. No need to yell with CabinTalk.
This feature—a button right on the CabinWatch screen—lets you dispense the threats easily. You can either broadcast your commentary over the speaker system. Or, if the kids are engrossed in a movie and wearing the wireless headsets in the 2018 Honda Odyssey. Your commentary will pause the entertainment during your announcement. So when you tell them “Stop that right now or I’m turning this car around,” it will feel just like an airline pilot telling you it’s time to buckle up for landing.
8. It’s quiet.
Honda engineers did a great job of quieting the road noise. I don’t notice it much on city driving. But road noise can begin to grate on one’s nerves during a long road trip.
9. The 2018 Honda Odyssey is low, but you sit up high.
I drive an SUV, mostly because I like to have a big view of where I’m going, especially on road trips. The problem with that, though, is climbing in and out. When I drive my mother-in-law, with her replaced hip, it can be a bit of struggle to get her up into the SUV, then down safely onto the pavement. She wasn’t with us on this road trip, but I thought of her every time we stopped. It was so easy to swivel in the seat and put a foot right down on the pavement.
10. Rear seats have their own controls.
No need to freeze in the front row to ensure the back row isn’t roasting. They have their own controls and can change it via a smartphone app.
Disclosure: Honda loaned me a 2018 Odyssey to drive for the purposes of this post. All opinions are my own.