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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, not really a 1-to-1 apples comparison with the 4th generation Honda Odyssey, but very close to our needs, especially the fact that you can have 3 car seats on the 2nd row (with proper latches, AKA ISOFLIX) and still have tons of space for cargo. I'd say the car size is in between the 1st generation Odyssey and the 4th generation one...

Also, Honda, if you are reading, get some clues

Ups:
  • A proper people mover WITH manual transmission (6MT) :D
  • Diesel, good fuel economy
  • Diesel, decent torque at low RPMs
  • Optimized 6MT for the autobahn. Driving at 150-160Km/hr and low RPMs is great because the diesel engine noise is greatly reduced
  • Push-Start button and keyless entry
  • Integrated navigation WITH Tom-Tom, not the proprietary (read expensive) navigation system.
  • 3 latches for car seats on the 2nd row
  • Door mounted A/C controls, much easier to manage
  • The gas cap system has been extremely simplified
  • Parking sensors, really useful for parking in reduced street spaces

Downs:
  • Wimpy diesel engine to keep the fuel economy high
  • Digital speedometer and tachometer, difficult to read. The overall dashboard is stylish, but weird...
  • No sliding doors, it is a pain with little kids (especially in European style parking lots)
  • Middle seat does not slide forward like the 4th Gen Odyssey one, it is a great feature if you have an infant who needs to be checked from time to time
  • The 3rd row seats have to be taken out, they are extremely heavy and bulky
  • Leatherette is easy to clean but it is sticky on humid days
  • Maybe moot, but the manual transmission shifts feel long and imprecise

I attached some cheap phone pics (see thumbnails below)
 

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Seems small. Probably more in line with a Mazda 5 size-wise just from the pics. I do like the fact that it's a diesel and can be driven with a stick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Seems small. Probably more in line with a Mazda 5 size-wise just from the pics. I do like the fact that it's a diesel and can be driven with a stick.
A bit bigger. The analog to the Mazda5 would be the Renault Scenic over there (my daily driver is a Mazda5 so yes, I can tell the Espace is much bigger)

Diesel is nice but it is noisy, especially city driving and stick is always a plus. Luckily renting an auto there can be very expensive so we stuck to manual :)
 

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A friend of mine with 4 kids rented a bigger Renault van in France, but that still had a diesel and a stick :) Forgot the name, but it seems to be sized between a NA minivan and a Sprinter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A friend of mine with 4 kids rented a bigger Renault van in France, but that still had a diesel and a stick :) Forgot the name, but it seems to be sized between a NA minivan and a Sprinter.
Yes, there are no NA minivan size cars there it seems, the next option size we found was a VW Multivan (I guess similar in size to the Renault you say). I think the traveling problem is not just the number of passengers, but the crap (sorry, luggage) you have to bring along
 
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