Smooth Sailing from New York to Florida in the 2015 Honda Odyssey.
I can remember driving to Florida from our home in Connecticut when I was a kid. Crammed into the backseat of the family clunker, my brother and I fought over space and pretty much everything else during our 24 hours of vehicular confinement. We were plagued by boredom and sleep deprivation as my dad drove through the night so we could just GET THERE ALREADY. It was all about the destination—the journey was simply required.
The memories of that trip made the thought of hitting the road from New York to Florida in 2015 Honda Odyssey with my own three girls a bit daunting. Still, my grandmother was nearing 89 years old and I wanted them to spend some time with her this summer without having to shell out over a thousand dollars for airfare and a rental car. Driving would be much more cost-effective.
The Old Gray Mare, She Ain’t What She Used to Be
This would not be our first time making the great New York to Florida trek, and doing the drive in our family’s 2006 Honda Odyssey offered a big boost in the comfort department compared to those notorious trips of my youth. So when I learned that I had the chance to take the 2015 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite on the road for this trip, I jumped at the chance.
The 2015 Honda Odyssey was not only a far cry from the semi-misery I endured during my childhood road trip, but was also a substantial upgrade from our own, well-loved 2006 model. My ‘06 was slowing down a bit, having worked hard over the past 8 years toting our family of five over 120,000 miles. It was also somewhat lacking in terms of the latest technology that Honda has rolled out in their newer fleets.
With plenty of space for everyone, comfortable seats, a great sound and video system and lots of places to stow snacks, games and books, the drive itself became part of the fun.
Let’s take a look at some of those updated features, shall we?
A Living Room on Wheels
As my husband’s work schedule didn’t allow him to join us, I called my dad to see if he might be down for a road trip. To our delight, he was game. Departure day came and while I packed our luggage into the Odyssey’s spacious trunk, my dad and my husband explored the vehicle’s on board navigation and sound system.
Meanwhile, the girls busied themselves getting all arranged for the first leg of the drive that would take us to Richmond, Virginia for the night. They happily found places for their water bottles in the numerous, well-placed cup holders and stowed their books and games in the wide seat pockets in front of each seat.
Second Row seating for two or three: the choice is yours
In our own van, we’ve removed the second row middle seat to offer the third row passengers easier access to the rear seats. For this trip, we decided to leave that seat in place so that the kids in the middle row could take advantage of the fold-down console on that seat’s back.
This configuration made it a bit awkward for my oldest daughter to get out from the way back, as we call it, but that was mostly because her sisters’ seats were laden with their pillows and other belongings, making it difficult to tip them forward.
A built in vacuum means never having to say you’re sorry; just clean up it up!
If the kids spill a handful of goldfish crackers on the floor, track sand in or have a glitter fight, the 2015 Honda Odyssey has a built in vacuum with a super-long hose that allows you to clean up spills or bits of flotsam and jetsam littering the floor and seats. The hose reaches all the way to the front seat (so you can get sand from under the pedals!) and its container holds a bit more than a handy-vac. It pops out of the side of the back wall for emptying.
The soft, leather seats in the van were comfortable for everyone, reclining almost fully to allow for a nap. I could have used a bit more lumbar support in the driver’s seat though my dad and I were both pretty comfortable despite the long hours of driving we both did throughout our nine-day trip.
The van took on the quality of a well lived-in family room versus the back seat of a car, with the girls lounging and reading. They were clearly comfortable in the seats, and had no trouble napping when they were tired.
It’s all in the ride
The Honda Odyssey was generally a pleasure to drive, even over long distances. Visibility is terrific in all directions, and the blind spot blinkers and rear view camera make it even better, even just pulling into the parking lot at the grocery store or cruising through in-town traffic.
Though no hot rod, it has sufficient get up and go to cruise effortlessly at highway speeds and up hills, and to pass slower vehicles without straining. The car’s steering is more responsive than might be expected in this type of vehicle, and braking was quick and easy. Fuel economy was also respectable. The ride is very comfortable; suspension is not overly soft and squishy, nor will going over bumps cause any spinal distress.
As someone who promotes an unplugged lifestyle both at home and during travel, we spent a lot of our road trip hours on what I like to call analog activities—reading, drawing, license plate games, counting billboards, etc.
But when you’re in the car with three kids for a total of about 40 hours, you’ve got to balance the unplugged time with a bit of connected tech therapy. The entertainment system in the 2015 Odyssey was fantastic. The front dash allowed for the easy connection of pretty much any device that played music from an iPod to and iPhone and the speakers were close to audiophile quality.
Considering that when we go on long road trips our girls watch movies on a portable dvd player with an 8” screen, channeling the audio through the car’s speakers with an FM transmitter, the video system in the 2015 Odyssey was like being in a movie theater, with a fold-down screen that is clearly visible for everyone in the back and the aforementioned awesome sound quality.
What We Loved
- The vacuum!
- The panoramic moon roof AND a DVD system
- Easy to use cruise control
- Blind spot blinker on side view mirrors
- The fabulous sound system
- Household plug in the second row
- Second row center seat that folds forward to supply cup holders
- Plenty of storage including pockets in front of center row seats where kids could store books and games
What You Need to Know
- The Odyssey is equipped with Bluetooth Technology—a hand’s free, voice activated system.
- Navigation system cannot be manually operated when the car is in drive--even by a passenger
- Priced from $29,000 for the base LX model to about $45,000 for the top end Touring Elite Edition.For the Odyssey Touring Elite, test driven by Gina: $44,600
- Uses regular gas
- Fuel economy averages 19 MPG city/28 MPG highway; we averaged 24.8 highway mpg on our road trip
Note: Honda provided car for my review. Opinions are my own.