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Hello,

We are considering getting our first Odyssey. We are expecting our second child around October and the first one will be almost 2 by then. We make frequent road trips of the 4-5 hour variety to see family. Hence, the consideration of the minivan.

My main question/concern is how this vehicle will handle wintry weather. We live in a mostly urban area so roads are plowed quite regularly. There are a few small inclines we have to climb getting to our place.

It sounds like snow tires are almost required with this car. Is it necessary to put them on all 4 or just the front 2 is good enough? Any other tips will be appreciated.

I live in Southern NH - any tips on which dealers are good with deals on minivans? I bought my last honda from a dealer in Mass about 50 miles away - so I am willing to drive to get a better deal.
 

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Hello,

We are considering getting our first Odyssey. We are expecting our second child around October and the first one will be almost 2 by then. We make frequent road trips of the 4-5 hour variety to see family. Hence, the consideration of the minivan.

My main question/concern is how this vehicle will handle wintry weather. We live in a mostly urban area so roads are plowed quite regularly. There are a few small inclines we have to climb getting to our place.

It sounds like snow tires are almost required with this car. Is it necessary to put them on all 4 or just the front 2 is good enough? Any other tips will be appreciated.

I live in Southern NH - any tips on which dealers are good with deals on minivans? I bought my last honda from a dealer in Mass about 50 miles away - so I am willing to drive to get a better deal.
I think a mini van is a mini van and all "handle" snow about the same. We are replacing our 2008 Sienna with a 2011 Odyssey (EX-RES) this week. Our Sienna served us through 3 winters without snow tires and it was fine. We have clear main roadways and snow covered side streets for about 5 months of the year.

Our new Odyssey will be fitted with a "winter set". In this case we'll get a set of steel wheels, wheel covers and lug nuts from the Honda LX model and put Michelin X ice tires on the rims. The new vans get good fuel economy, in part because of lower resistance tires and a smoother tread. A bit disastrous on snow covered surfaces (in our area, anyway).

If you are considering snow tires, I'd put them on all 4 wheels. Stopping is actually more important from a safety perspective than getting traction to move forward.

Shazzam.

PS Good luck with the 5 hour road trip with a 2 year old. He/She might sleep for a couple of hours, but then what?? (maybe we are doing something wrong). :)
 

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I think a mini van is a mini van and all "handle" snow about the same. We are replacing our 2008 Sienna with a 2011 Odyssey (EX-RES) this week. Our Sienna served us through 3 winters without snow tires and it was fine. We have clear main roadways and snow covered side streets for about 5 months of the year.

Our new Odyssey will be fitted with a "winter set". In this case we'll get a set of steel wheels, wheel covers and lug nuts from the Honda LX model and put Michelin X ice tires on the rims. The new vans get good fuel economy, in part because of lower resistance tires and a smoother tread. A bit disastrous on snow covered surfaces (in our area, anyway).

If you are considering snow tires, I'd put them on all 4 wheels. Stopping is actually more important from a safety perspective than getting traction to move forward.

Shazzam.

PS Good luck with the 5 hour road trip with a 2 year old. He/She might sleep for a couple of hours, but then what?? (maybe we are doing something wrong). :)
I'll have to agree with Shazzam. Winter tires should be put on all 4 wheels mainly to stop, not for traction. If you're going to drive around for 4-5 hours, better be safe than sorry.

We've gone the "low-budget" route and are getting the LX in a couple of weeks. We are required winter tires through March 15th here in Quebec so trying to avoid that expense right now!

Although we could afford the EX, we're not willing to sacrifice savings for gadgets... Anyways, we plan on riding the stock tires for the summer, buying winter tires and mounting them on the stock rims and I might consider finding used mags for summer 2012. We'll see... All I know is I'm getting good winter tires on all four. Like I said, better safe than sorry.

As for travelling with kids, I go to Philly to visit family once or twice a year (8 hour ride) and have done it last summer with a 3 and 1 year old and its gone well. They can sleep and have to luxury of DVD players (which I did not have when I was dragged along for the same trip when I was a kid!). They seem to be fine. With kid #3 on the way, I hope the Odyssey makes the ride a bit more spacious and comfortable!
 

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It sounds like snow tires are almost required with this car. Is it necessary to put them on all 4 or just the front 2 is good enough? Any other tips will be appreciated.
As stated, go with four winter tires, if you go with winter tires. If you only have them on the front the rear will get loose on you the first time you brake on a slippery surface. Very nasty.

Nicolas
 

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Snow tires can be very helpful, but are not required. If you decide snow tires are worth the cost for you, then make sure you understand some of the new technology that are related to having 2 sets of tires.

The 2011 Odyssey has TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System). There are sensors in each wheel. The sensors are programmed to the van. The van only supports 4 sensors at a time, so each time you change wheels, you need to have the dealer re-program the sensors (usually at a cost).

You could just deal with the warning light on the dash and not get TPMS sensors in your second set of wheels. However, the van's VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist) system is tied to the TPMS. According to the manual, if TPMS is failing, then VSA cannot be turned off. This may not be a problem for most situations. However, when stuck in snow, it can be useful to turn off VSA. Without a working TPMS you may not be able to.

You may be able to pull the VSA fuse to force VSA off if necessary, but this is only a theory I have, and I haven't seen anyone verify this.
 

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I'll have to agree with Shazzam. Winter tires should be put on all 4 wheels mainly to stop, not for traction. If you're going to drive around for 4-5 hours, better be safe than sorry.

We've gone the "low-budget" route and are getting the LX in a couple of weeks. We are required winter tires through March 15th here in Quebec so trying to avoid that expense right now!

Although we could afford the EX, we're not willing to sacrifice savings for gadgets... Anyways, we plan on riding the stock tires for the summer, buying winter tires and mounting them on the stock rims and I might consider finding used mags for summer 2012. We'll see... All I know is I'm getting good winter tires on all four. Like I said, better safe than sorry.

As for travelling with kids, I go to Philly to visit family once or twice a year (8 hour ride) and have done it last summer with a 3 and 1 year old and its gone well. They can sleep and have to luxury of DVD players (which I did not have when I was dragged along for the same trip when I was a kid!). They seem to be fine. With kid #3 on the way, I hope the Odyssey makes the ride a bit more spacious and comfortable!
We considered the LX, but decided to splurge on the EX to get aluminum wheels, second row shades, bluetooth and power side doors (my wife wanted these, if possible), power seats, security system and the backup camera.

We ended up with a RES, because the dealer with the best price didn't have an LX and his price for one with RES was only $400.00 more than the more expensive dealer with the LX. My wife doesn't want RES, but I think it will ultimately come in handy on longer trips. Our 4 year old only watches about 1- 1/2 hours of video a week, so we don't want to let her watch hours in the van.
 

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Just found a video by that shows tests of FWD cars with and without winter tires - TireRack and others rarely use FWD cars in their tests.


The braking with rear all seasons is scary.

Nicolas
 

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We were never happy with how the Ody performed in the snow. We live out rural roads that don't get plowed that often and there are some very steep hills. It has been by-far the worst FWD I've owned for climbing hills. We switched to snow-tires (all 4) and it performs ok but still not all that impressive. I don't see much different about the latest setup that I can think would make it handle snow better. That being said...if you're on relatively decent roads that get plowed...I don't think it would be an issue to stick with the stock tires. If you go with snow tires...go four.
 

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We were never happy with how the Ody performed in the snow. We live out rural roads that don't get plowed that often and there are some very steep hills. It has been by-far the worst FWD I've owned for climbing hills. We switched to snow-tires (all 4) and it performs ok but still not all that impressive. I don't see much different about the latest setup that I can think would make it handle snow better. That being said...if you're on relatively decent roads that get plowed...I don't think it would be an issue to stick with the stock tires. If you go with snow tires...go four.
I'm not sure why it would be any different than any other FWD vehicle when it comes to traction. The engine sits on top of a pair of drive wheels as opposed to a RWD vehicle that has less weight over the wheels. The rest is up to available traction, which depends on the rubber you are driving on.

My wife's 2003 Accord is better in the snow than our 2008 Sienna, but then the Sienna is driving on summer tires.
 

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The 3rd gen Ody is very low and plows through the snow with its front end. The fog light compartment is often times packed with it. The 2011 is even lower, and after driving a 3rd gen and knowing the 4th has less clearance, I would not recommend it as a good vehicle if snow is a major concern.
 

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The 3rd gen Ody is very low and plows through the snow with its front end. The fog light compartment is often times packed with it. The 2011 is even lower, and after driving a 3rd gen and knowing the 4th has less clearance, I would not recommend it as a good vehicle if snow is a major concern.
Is it lower than my wife's 2003 Accord? The new Odyssey has 6" of ground clearance as compared to the 2011 Sienna. I doubt there is any performance difference going through snow. Our 2008 has had no trouble. No, if you are talking about trailblazing in 10" of snow, then maybe an SUV or 4WD pickup would be more suitable.
 

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I'm not sure why it would be any different than any other FWD vehicle when it comes to traction. The engine sits on top of a pair of drive wheels as opposed to a RWD vehicle that has less weight over the wheels. The rest is up to available traction, which depends on the rubber you are driving on.

My wife's 2003 Accord is better in the snow than our 2008 Sienna, but then the Sienna is driving on summer tires.
I would venture that part of it is the wider tires and face it...these are very heavy FWD vehicles. Going up hills in a FWD is never the best choice as far as physics are concerned. Perhaps it's where the weight is sitting over the wheels....I dunno. I've had quite a few FWD cars for commuting over the years and never had too much trouble running all-seasons. I put Nokians on my VW diesel when I was driving up north a lot and that thing was unstoppable until it got so deep you were pushing it with the bumper. First snow with this Ody the wife came home shaking because she had such a hard time getting home. Next time she parked it and wouldn't drive it home from getting the kids at school. Put the Blizzaks on and it's been a lot better but she still would rather drive something else when the snow flys. If we're supposed to get very much snow she'll make me take my truck and she'll drive my Pathfinder.
 

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all I know is I'm definitely getting snow tires. The extra safety is definitely worth it. When my girlfriend got her new Civic, the stock tires were not doing good at all. We got her snow tires and at first she was still scared/hesitant about going up the hill towards work but after a few times, she is much more confident with the snow tires. Sometimes a little too confident. I would say if you are having issues in the snow with snow tires, you probably shouldn't be out and about anyways. If you live in an area where it doesn't get plowed, choosing the right vehicle would be a better choice.
 

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You just can't rely on clearance only to determine whether a vehicle will be good in the snow or not. When I had my Jetta, it was like driving a tank in the snow. I never got stuck and even while in the city (Montreal) with the plows piling on the night snow along the curbs, all I had to do was shovel a little bit and power out of there! I'm sure good snow tires had a good say in it though.

Now I'm driving a Sportage and of course the clearance is great and never get stuck, but driving on the highway is not as enjoyable and stable as the Jetta.

With the Odyssey's "sedan-like" feel and width of the vehicle, I hope I find that "stable" feeling again. First AT for me so we'll see how that goes!! And the clearance on the van is so low!

A couple of weeks to wait before I find out...
 

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Is it lower than my wife's 2003 Accord? The new Odyssey has 6" of ground clearance as compared to the 2011 Sienna. I doubt there is any performance difference going through snow. Our 2008 has had no trouble. No, if you are talking about trailblazing in 10" of snow, then maybe an SUV or 4WD pickup would be more suitable.
I wouldn't bet against it, there is a driveway downtown that the Ody cannot clear not matter how slow your moving. When ever I go there I either have to back in or park on the street. The homeowners however have a Toyota Camry that has no problem getting in and out. The only possible way to get the ody up without backing in is to approach the driveway at an extreme angle which is only doable when no cars are parallel parked on the street in front.

I think its more that the Ody is rather clumsy in the snow. Its a lot of weight that just isn't balanced to maneuver in it. I also think that the problem is also the way the front end is built and the materials they chose to put in that particular area. I came from a Ford Taurus into the Ody and the Taurus had low clearance, but the bumper curved up a little bit and it didn't have vulnerable components so low in front. The stone shield blew out while driving through a few inches of water.
 

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I wouldn't bet against it, there is a driveway downtown that the Ody cannot clear not matter how slow your moving. When ever I go there I either have to back in or park on the street. The homeowners however have a Toyota Camry that has no problem getting in and out. The only possible way to get the ody up without backing in is to approach the driveway at an extreme angle which is only doable when no cars are parallel parked on the street in front.
Keep in mind that the Ody has an extra foot of wheelbase, which, for the same ground clearance, will make it rub before the Camry.

Nicolas
 

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I think the Toyota Sienna and the Odyssey will both perform the same in the snow and driving on and off driveways. Good for the Camry that has a shorter wheelbase, but it can't carry 8 passengers. I've driven a 2008 Sienna in all conditions during a typical prairie winter, with no issues. The van drove fine after 25 cm of snow and without snow tires. The undercarriage wasn't dragging and I didn't get hung up. I doubt 2/10ths of an inch less clearance will make a difference.

The worst clearance issue I've had has been backing onto the grass from a gravel road and getting the back end hung up - wait that wasn't the van getting hung up, but rather the Class III trailer hitch. I'll be going with the slimmer line Honda factory hitch this time around.
 

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The 3rd gen Ody is very low and plows through the snow with its front end. The fog light compartment is often times packed with it. The 2011 is even lower, and after driving a 3rd gen and knowing the 4th has less clearance, I would not recommend it as a good vehicle if snow is a major concern.
No problems with our 2011 in the bad snow this winter (OEM 18" all season Michelin tires) in tne NY City area. In fact it did better than our 2005 Oddy, in terms of traction/braking/handling. The 2011 had more traction than I thought it would.
 

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Another benefit of snow tires is that the rubber is more pliable at low temperature. Even on bare pavement, snow or winter tires always outperform all seasons when it gets really cold.
 
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