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Discussion Starter #1
Well.. our '02 is (finally) here. We took it on a road trip this weekend, so it is now broken in, sitting right at 602 miles. Adhering to the break-in procedure was a bit difficult on a road trip, but more on that later.

I had a 2001 EX for about three weeks starting July 15th. Sold it after the 2002 specs were released. Ordered the 2002 on Aug 8th from one dealer who promised 2nd week of Sept delivery. On Sept 17, I ordered from a second dealer after the first dealer told me "maybe 2nd week of November" on our supposed delivery date. The second dealer nailed their delivery date, and treated me right.

This is meant as more of a comparison than a review, but sorta serves both purposes. Both vans are stock -- no cross bars, no mud guards, nothing.

PRICE
Hats off to Honda for giving away a lot of the improvements on the 2002. If the new plant eases demand, this van will be a steal!

BUILD QUALITY/QUALITY CONTROL
Our 2001 had no defects that I could find. Everything lined up perfectly, there were no unexpected rattles/squeaks from day 1, and the paint was flawless. It tracked perfectly straight, and the road/wind noise was better than my sedan.

The 2002 is close, but not quite, as carefully assembled. The driver side door is out of alignment, causing it to be more difficult to latch/close than normal. I hear an annoying low sqeaky sound while driving that I cannot yet pinpoint. It tracks close to straight, but it has been windy so I cannot be sure. The road noise is similar to the 2001, but the wind noise is worse. There is a distinctive howling/whistling sound above 60mph (highway limit is 65-70 here, flow of traffic close to 80 between towns) that was not present on our 2001. The tailgate does not latch as easily (even w/ the bumpers adjusted) as the 2001 did, but it is close enough.

RIDE/HANDLING
This is what motivated us to sell the 2001 for a 2002. And, boy, are we glad we did it.

POWER TRAIN
The extra power makes a big difference. The VTEC effect is much more noticable now, and seems to kick in later in the RPM range. I believe Honda added a second adjustment in the higher revs, so there is effectively three engine settings in this one. The upper VTEC makes the engine sound like a monster -- similar to the Integra's VTEC that I also drove this weekend. The extra 40HP (we ran 87 octane in the 2001) are very noticable. Power response is like what you expect from a quality V6 sedan.

The new tranny is substantially better than our 2001. The shifts are much smoother -- particularly the 1st to 2nd shift, which you can now only feel when the car is cold. 5th gear is an awesome cruising gear, doing 80mph at about 2000rpms, and resulting in seemingly better fuel economy than our V6 sedan (have not run the numbers yet). The transmission is very willing to downshift. On the highway stretches during our trip, I experimented with throttle response from the tranmission. If I applied light pressure (10-20%) the transmission stayed in gear, and slightly accelerated in 5th. A little more pressure, and the tranny should downshift to 4th for slightly more brisk acceleration. Even more pressure (~50%), and the tranny should select 3rd gear, for very impressive acceleration. From there, the amount of throttle applied intuitively affects how late the shifts back to 4th and 5th are done. This tranny extracts every last drop of power from the engine in the smoothest possible way. No rumble/dieseling like the 2001 had. It's worth my sales tax loss on the 2001 all by itself.

SUSPENSION/STEERING
The new suspension is a bit floaty compared to the 2001. Some found the 2001 "firm" or "rough." Those people will love the 2002 (my uncle is an example -- he didn't like the 2001 but loves my 02). I personally would like a tweaking that would be somewhere between the 2001's firmness and the 2002's more floaty nature.

Cornering is great. Sedan-like, with little body roll, and great steering wheel response. During our trip, we stopped to gas up and buy some sodas. While I was waiting for my wife to come out from the convinience store, I drove very tight "ody circles" in the gas station parking lot... much to the dismay of the three-point turning SUVs in the area
Our 2001 was basically the same here.

Cross-winds cause the van to drift a bit -- requiring more adjustments than my sedan, but not something I would consider excessive.

BRAKING
I cannot comment on braking performance, because I never had to do any hard braking in the 2001. However, the 2002 brakes very well. I had a surprise braking (not HARD braking, but not soft either) at highway speed when a suburban ahead stood on the brakes. The Ody was controlled and capable, shedding a lot of speed without much effort.

INTERIOR FEATURES
Small changes here (ignoring the RES).

The speakers sound a little better, but no miracle. They are acceptable, but that's it.

The new grab handles in the second row have yet to be used by any of my passengers. Everyone still ackwardly gets out from the van w/o using the handle.

Second row sits still fold frighteningly when you pull the recline lever w/ no occupant. We do this to help passengers access the third row w/ the middle seats in bench mode. If you don't hold the seatback, it slams into the bottom cushion with a nasty sound. The spring's a little strong for my tastes.

The leather is nice, although not quite as soft as I expected compared to my living room sofa. But, I'm sure I wouldn't want to sink into my car's seat anyway. The seats feel substantially firmer than our 01's fabric seats. Other than that, not much different.


CLOSING
We sold our 2001 for MSRP - 500, barely used. That amounted to a sales tax loss of nearly $2,000, in the name of buying a 2002 instead. I think I speak high praise for the 2002 when I say that I would DEFINATELY do it again if I had a time machine.

I'm not going to review the RES yet, because I'm not totally solid on my opinion of it yet.

Now... if I can just get my driver's door to align...

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2002 Mesa Beige EX-L-RES w/ misaligned, hard to close driver door
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by pummal:
That amounted to a sales tax loss of nearly $2,000,</font>
Income tax benefit?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
How do ya mean?


If I had done a trade, I would have saved some sales tax on the new one. We don't have a state income tax.

As far as I know, the Govt doesn't have a deduction for "buyers remorse"


Does it work differently where you live?

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2002 Mesa Beige EX-L-RES w/ misaligned, hard to close driver door
 

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Pummal,
I really enjoyed reading your review. I, too, notice a low sqeaky sound when I drive. I was able to pinpoint the driver seat for part of the noise. The other part may come from the suspension as I read it in another post.
 

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pummal,

Check with your state Department of Revenue. Here in Missouri when you sell an automobile to another individual, and them replace it with a purchase from a car dealer, you can apply for a rebate on the sales tax that would have saved if you had traded the vehicle to the dealer. If Texas has a similar law you could save that $2000 you spoke of.

Good Luck!

-John
 

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Great post, love the detail and comparison. Couple of area to explore <we have a 01 EX Navi now>.

Suspension - I know they changed the spring rates to be more progressive, but I wasn't expecting it to be "softer" or more floaty. Can you tell if heavy loads cause the back end to sag less? When we went camping, we had the rear tire clearance from the fender go from +2" above the top of the tire to -3" or about 5" of sag. I added AirLifts to keep the trailer hitch from hitting the driveway. How is the car handling/suspension on highway turns? Its possible to be "soft" on small bumps (e.g., gravel, rough roads) but firm on hard turns, which is a good balance between ride and handling. Would you say the 02 fits this description?

Driving noise - do you think the wind noise about 60mph is a result of cross winds or is it actually louder than the 01 model? Highway wind noise was a known issue on the 99-01, so I would imagine that they would have tried to address this issue or leave the design alone. In actual driving on our 01, highway wind noise is there, but not as bad as I expected.

It seems that the engine and tranny are a great improvement and make it worth the trade up. But I am concerned about the quality issues. Would love to read another update from you in another few hundred miles. MPG comparison would be nice to know.



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2001 Ody EX Navi GG + Infinity speakers, trailer hitch, Yakima bike rack, AirLifts, cross bars, rewired sliding doors, inside/outside thermometer
2000 Acura TL Navi Gold + Comptech sway bars, metallic tints, Infinity speakers
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, I have not put any very heavy load on the rear end. However, with a moderate load I noticed little if any sag in the back.

The van does not tip into corners like some "soft" cars I have driven. It does lean more than the 01, but it is not what I could consider to be excessive. They have in fact achieved more softness over bumps at "some" sacrifice in handling. They did not quite excel and achieve it at no sacrifice, nor did they botch it and make a leaner. The floaty-ness that it exhibits that I'm not crazy about is mostly over soft bumps, where you might get an extra bouce instead of a firm settling, or under hard acceleration/braking where you get a little more tip up/dive than I'm used to.

I think the wind howl is noticeably louder than before, but I cannot be certain that I drove the 01 under identical circumstances.

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2002 Mesa Beige EX-L-RES w/ misaligned, hard to close driver door
 

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The '02 is certainly more comfortable to the passengers in terms of suspension. But it is not as sporty or as well damped as the '01 and earlier... The ride is a lot closer to that of the MDX - though the MDX seems to have a more rigid chassis/body - resulting in better feel. What I'd really want is an Ody Type S!
 

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I agree with Pummal. The wind noise is above 60 mph is too much compared to 20k sedan.

We also chose to keep the middle seats apart.
This means passengers have to in between the seats to reach the 3rd seat. We did this mainly the wheel well was knocking off some room to access the 3rd seat if we put in bench configuraton. Also, it was easier to move from 1st row to rear seats this way. (Yes we dont plan to get any console in the near future).
The first road trip is planned for this weekend with maybe 6 passengers. More later on that.



[This message has been edited by honda4 (edited 11-13-2001).]
 

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VTEClover,

Maybe you can e-mail me, I'd like to know about the Airlift install. I have to have them because I tow my sea-doo's, I once saw an Ody towing a tent trailer, back end sagged big time, I imagine the hitch would scrape on entering just about any driveway!
 
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