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Photos to follow in good time (of mods), but here is the review comparison of our 2006 EX-L to 2011 Touring Black with Truffle. Was very very hesitant on this purchase knowing the driving experience would degrade somewhat, studied and test-drove several alternatives, Quest, MDX, Highlander Hybrid, Outback and Tribeca. Searched but found little in the way of 2010 Tourings available. Ultimately the 2006 was getting on in miles (we're doing 25k per year now) and the timing was right for replacement. Is the new van better, overall yes, but still wouldn't hurry out of your Gen3. There is a bit sacrificed. If you can wait until MMC, will be able to get into an EX-L better than this 2011 Touring. Discussed choice of trims extensively elsewhere. Here is the vehicle and how it compares. (prices paid $37583 + TTL, $1048 for towing and hood deflector installed)


Modifications:
  • Hood deflector- finally, it’s low profile, can hardly see it on the black
  • Tow kit- not impressed, not well hidden, kind of angled
  • Lug covers- black highlights against the silver wheels
  • Rebadge Stream Type-S, no real reason, wanted Legend, but it cost too much
  • Aluminum door sills- need a warmer day to put them on
  • Upgraded interior dome lights
  • Painted calipers (in progress)
    [*]Can't wait for a decent billet Mr. Grille
    [*]
    Honda All-Weather Mats, cargo liner, tray liner
Ways the 2011 Romps on the Gen 3
  • Steering wheel… knobbies, perf leather, Acura quality, feels great in hand (and compared with my 2006 pre-telescoping, it telescopes. My 2006 had old school smooth leather on a thin round wheel. Too bad you can feel the funky chicken through it (more later)
  • My trip home recorded 25.8 mpg on a fresh powertrain. I don’t know whether to trust these trip computers or not, but my 2006 never topped 23. It’s telling me I have nearly a 500 mile range, wow !
  • It’s quiet in there. It was raining on my way home, and with the wind noise so low on the 2011, the rain actually sounded like rain falling on our aluminum roof at home, it was odd to hear that in the car. I like long stretches of quiet, no stereo, in the car… and this will be much better. Somehow the road and engine noise seems more pleasant without the wind.
  • Tailgate is so much better in every way. Power tailgate warning is perfect, not overdone. After 5 years, still failed to close the 2006 tailgate about a third of the time, and I would describe myself as quite strong. Never liked that I had to put my hand on the paint somewhere to push it shut.
Ways the 2011 is slightly better
  • The audio system on the Touring is decent. It’s very peaky on the high mids (my guess is this is necessary for clear hearing on the blue tooth and with the nav audio talking to you), but definition is quite good from mid bass up to the highs. The subwoofer isn’t all fat and wanked out cheap sounding like on some other Hondas, maybe because of the Ody’s size. It’s merely filling the holes on the lower end. I will probably swap the 4 main drivers, but it’s still good, much better than the 2006.
  • The voice commands on the Nav rule all, wow, but since it’s a Nav luxury (and my 2006 was Nav free), will put it in this list
  • 3rd row bench is more comfy mostly, but we don’t use it much. Also, in our Gen3, we left the space between the captain benches empty, which gave the 3rd row center rider a better experience. With the middle console bench always there in the 2nd row, kind of makes the 3rd row more insulated. Drop that 3rd row armrest, though and it feels more intentional, that you got your own private space.
  • The little vanity windows in the front pillars definitely added to a feeling of spaciousness up front
  • Switchgear is very high quality. Exceptions are the brights stack flip, which was very clunky and mechanical.
  • The brakes seem better, I had just upgraded the brakes on my 2006, the larger rears make a difference
  • It’s possible that the moonroof is slightly larger, not sure if that is good or not… don’t use it much.
  • So far no strange door seal whistles or internal creaks, the 2006 whistled from the beginning and the passenger slider creaked and popped for the life of the van.
  • Power side doors… anything new there? They seem smoother and quieter, but maybe that’s just the newness of them. Little disappointed that you still need to pull the handle to actuate from outside. My kid broke the handle actuator on the 2006 eventually, just a typical kid, kind of yank-snapped it all the time, replacement cost me $450 out of warranty.
  • Good riddance to the roof rack, we carry bikes on the hitch, although it might be a lot easier to load bikes on top of this lowered 2011 than a Gen3 Ody
  • Honda maintained the nice tight turning circle of Gen3, better than the Accord by far.
Ways the 2011 is slightly worse
  • Not impressed with the dash night lighting, too many shades and colors. I like the 11 dash at day but at night, not so much, not enough illumination at top setting. Center stack letters are white, steering wheel a dim green, left dash lighting an off white with some green, speedo stack has greens, blues and reds, and the Nav shines, it’s all a concert of too much.
  • Shutting the door on the 2011, not so pleasant, a hollow tinny ring, don’t park with the Mercedes, find the Chryslers. First Honda in I ever had this concern with.
  • The driver’s bench was not as nice for someone my size, 6’ 220. Was narrower than Gen 3, and each section of the bottom bench was not as rounded out fluffy, more flat, and I noticed by feeling a little seat burn after 3 hours, something I never ever felt in my 2006.
  • Lots of vinyl match… not sure what to make of that. It makes sense economically, happening all across furniture, but if it ends up not holding up as well or fading, I may mind
  • The 2011 exterior is not as pretty to look at (or pass on the road). The rear looks dated already, the lightning bolt incomprehensible, the wheels uninspiring and the front of the van just sort of meh. I’ve got an ugly vehicle. But- and someone mentioned this before- you don’t often see your van from afar (as in the photos), but from up close, and from there, you don’t see the whole lightning theme, and up close it looks just fine and well put together.
  • Strange thing, the edge of the drivers seat catches my pants every time I try to slide in, it’s getting old… (or I am)
  • Hey where did the All-Cabin light switch go; poster here helped me find it, unlit, not well labelled, D-
  • The climate controls are not in good reach and I have longish arms, bothered me a bit until I figured out to voice the temperature control
  • Have not fully gotten the hang of the rear seat drop yet, was so easy in the 2006, now the one pull, a couple of times already the seat locked in a very strange position and I had to push it back to standing and start over. Will read the manual, dealer showed me this one.
  • Verdict is out on the 2nd row middle seat/console. We would have preferred captain chairs and an empty space or a removable console. The seat console is too bulky and will collect so much in the way of crumbs and dirts, don’t know that I would ever want to sit in it. However, we never had a 5th seat in our 2006 (the jump seat kept in barn), so this one is available right away instead of lifting the 3rd row. That might prove a convenience. Now our dog cannot get through, she used to like to be right between the two captain chairs, again verdict is out, will have to see how it shakes out.
  • Watch out for the curb, new lowered height means no going over a concrete strip, so far parking sensors haven’t alerted me to curbs yet. Actually, let’s talk parking sensors… they are useful but take some adjusting too, they are a little slow and late with their information, you basically need to do your parking slower if you want them to be effective. In one lot, the front right sensor beeped a lighting column that was quite further away than the shopping cart I was going to hit on the left side, which produced no beeps… can the parking sensor indicate more than one corner at a time?
  • I miss the small front-door cubby on the 2006 dash, the new one slides out so my wallet doesn’t quite cut it there, top gets scraped and could get snagged, and ultimately I cannot fit as much in there
Big Setbacks for the 2011
  • It’s been talked about and it’s all true, the steering is a big setback. At slow speeds it is very numb; all speeds little feedback. I don’t know if it’s the steering or suspension, but the 2011 sets up in the curve much later than the 2006, it doesn’t progress into the curve, but sort of lurches all of a sudden into it. Once it finds the line, it holds fine. The Gen 3 Ody progressed so linearly and confidently into turns… with the 2011, on my first onramp I thought I was going to flip the Ody
  • Low speed ride is very unsettled, some pitching front to back going on, steering doesn’t help, if you can’t feel what the wheels are doing, the ride seems more mysterious. Lots of vibration coming up through your hands on the wheel up to 40 mph, but do not mistaken it for confident road feel. It all tightens up with speed, but the 2006 didn’t have this problem. Very similar to the experience I had with the Nissan, which the press thinks has a miraculous ride… must be they all forgot about the Gen3 Ody, whose very controlled 0-30 mph ride romps both vans.
  • Door switch bezel panel has frayed edges as well as the lighter piece it sets into, on both sides, looked really low rent, lower on door the second shelf had a raw edge on it
  • The stock floor mats are an insult, thin with no Odyssey sewn in, we use liners anyway, but $40k and wally world mats?
  • The dead pedal is as everyone is saying… anything but dead, it is much too alive and in your… foot.
  • Color combos- Honda deprecated black on ivory, no idea why, they definitely sell a lot of that combo across all models. So now I have truffle interior, which is fine, but shows shows shows the dirt… and I live on a dirt driveway.
  • Exhaust finisher, just looks bad, especially with the tow bar
  • I don’t like the red/white lighting bar across the tailgate, would look much better in Gen3 style.
Other Notes (non comparison)
  • The rear floor is not as flat, 3rd row seats down take a slightly different angle than the rest of the floor, so no flat, maybe one reason WeatherTech is not going with a cargo liner, too lumpy
  • The Nav search positively sucks. What a joke, this thing can’t find anything. The Garmin is back in the van alongside this unit, just plain sad. Find… Moe’s, found one 1405 miles away for example, after about 20 clicks. My kid’s 10 cent phone can find the right one in 3 clicks. OK OK, I understand that you need to give me a stupid warning every time I start the car, but then please go back to where I left off last time I drove, if I was on Audio, please return to Audio.
  • Where is the fog light on/off
  • The rear view camera gets dirty easily and it matters, wonder if the touring 3 way camera sticks out more than the EX-L camera.
  • Some of the press have talked about a cheap headliner… I don’t see how it’s much different from Gen 3, it’s just fine. And the light stone pillar up front was a nice contrast to the truffle interior.
  • Heard some complaints on paint and build quality on these boards. I thoroughly inspected my new van and it seems great, the black paint probably better than my 2006. One not so great panel, the driver side slider side cover sticks out a bit too much, smooth on passenger side.
  • The center stack bezel is “piano” wood grain like the MDX… it’s very subtle, but no one mentioned it, I like it. On the weird side, the top trim on the door below the window has a weird horizontal brush to it that doesn’t match any other textures. It doesn’t offend, but it’s amusing. (LATER, I found the matching trim across the front of the windshield)
  • The Truffle interior is so hard to describe, and still not sure I entirely like it. It’s 70% dark grey, 20% chocolate, and 10% olive. Not sure how it is different enough from gray to justify it’s existence…. It goes well with blacks though (Honda mats).
  • Folks have been giving me lots of complements on the exterior of the van, especially people I don’t know…
 

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Geeez, more details are needed. J/k, good write-up.

[*]Tailgate is so much better in every way. Power tailgate warning is perfect, not overdone. After 5 years, still failed to close the 2006 tailgate about a third of the time, and I would describe myself as quite strong. Never liked that I had to put my hand on the paint somewhere to push it shut.
We initially thought we'd never use it, but wife loves it now. I also like the fact that it automatically fully closes if not firmly closed at first. My other car is a pain on that sense, I hate it when the door is not fully closed and the only the warning is a light on the dashboard

[*]The little vanity windows in the front pillars definitely added to a feeling of spaciousness up front
Interesting way of seeing it :)

[*]The brakes seem better, I had just upgraded the brakes on my 2006, the larger rears make a difference
I read about some complaints and actual TSBs, but the 2011 ones are really good for its size/weight. The touch/feel is not BMW type, but decent enough.

[*]Honda maintained the nice tight turning circle of Gen3
Wife and I love that, much more manageable when in the city or at reduced parking spaces.

[*]The rear looks dated already,
It is true. LED tails for the mid-cycle refresh would make it a bit better at least

[*]Verdict is out on the 2nd row middle seat/console.
The lack of inner armrests due to the design was not very good for 3rd gen owners I guess, but for us it was major sales point for us with 3 small kids on car seats. That actually became a deal breaker for other cars we looked at/tested.

[*]The dead pedal is as everyone is saying… anything but dead, it is much too alive and in your… foot.
Funny, I started noting that until I read it in the forum, I was and I am OK with it I guess :)

[*]Folks have been giving me lots of complements on the exterior of the van, especially people I don’t know…
I've been getting them as well from people I don't know. Most of them have mentioned that they own or have owned an Odyssey (gas station, school, grocery store?). A couple have particularly commended the lower stance/profile compared to the older gens. Nobody has said anything about how nice the lightning bolt looks though... and I doubt somebody will :D
 
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