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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The review of the new Odyssey you are about to read is a comparison between the brand new 2011 Honda Odyssey EX-L vs. the 2008 Honda Odyssey EX-L.

So the three year lease is ending on our 2008 EX-L and she has been a great van. Other than the recall issues we haven't had one problem at all with this van. We have enjoyed multiple road trips of 28 MPG and love the creature comforts the 2008 EX-L offers. Granted, there are some things such as the poor quality sound system and the road noise that has annoyed me, but we got a great deal on the lease, and we have been seriously considering just purchasing the van when the lease runs out middle of Oct 2010.

BUT, before we did that I wanted to check out the new Sienna and the new Odyssey and see if upgrading was a better choice for us. I'm not going to talk about the new Sienna because that isn't the purpose of this post. The purpose of this post is to tell you how dissappointed I am with the brand new 2011 Odyssey.

The first thing I noticed right away when I walked up to the van is it seems lower to the ground than the previous style. It may be as tall as the previous style, but I noticed right away the window frame was lower and the handles to the doors was lower. The fact that it also appears to have lower ground clearance was turning me off already. My wife commented that is looks more like a crossover now than a mini-van.

When I got into the van I immediately noticed the steering wheel is the same as the recent Accords and Civics, which I felt was a nice improvement over the previous style. The dash is much cheaper looking than the previous Odyssey, and almost has a Ford plastic quality look to it (no offense Ford owners :D). The really nice two tone is gone and it is just stale. The dash controls have been updated, but they seem somewhat flimsy and with too much pressure seem as if they could break easily.

I noticed right away that the seats had that cheap Ford leather on them as well, and not the plush high quality leather my 2008 EX-L has. That instantly turned me off from the seats. The driver seat also wasn't as wide as my 2008 which made it feel like my butt was hanging off on both sides. I thought to myself did they design this seat for small women only?

As I scanned through the van I noticed another redesign that I felt was not great was they moved the rear A/C controls to the right side of the van. My wife and I have little children and having the A/C controls over our left shoulder makes controlling the air for them much easier. There is no way you could do it via the driver in the 2011 style.

The sunroof was just a cheap plastic cover that had hardly any weight to it, especially compared to the quality sunroof cover with carpet that the 2008 EX-L has.

The way the van drives is pretty much the same as the previous Odyssey. I believe that is because the new Odyssey is built on the same exact frame and it has the same exact engine. I know it has been tweaked a bit but its the same. It looks exactly the same when you lift the hood.

The salesman kept pushing the fact that this van gets 28 mpg on the freeway which is a 3 mpg improvement over the previous model. I believe part of the ability for this new Odyssey to get a few mpg better is literally they've lighten the van with cheaper materials. There is no question to me that the interior of this van is a downgrade compared to the overall quality of the previous Odyssey model. He also had a hard time believing me when I told him I already get 28 mpg with my 2008 Odyssey as long as VCM is kicked in and my speed remains constant around 65-70 mph.

Bottom line my wife and I decided to go ahead and purchase the 2008 Odyssey EX-L off lease and keep what we have. The 05-10 model is excellent in so many ways (has some weakness I know but most vehicles do), and compared to the new 2011 Honda Oydssey EX-L it just isn't worth it.

Bottom line, the new 2011 Honda Odyssey EX-L is cheaper looking, has a physically cheaper interior, and a sticker price that absolutely doesn't warrant the cost. The dealership I was at had a Touring Elite (there are two tiers of Touring models now) with everything you can get with a sticker price of $47,998. It blew my mind how expensive this vehicle was. That's another story though.

This 2011 Honda Odyssey EX-L was priced at $38,998, and the sales man said since it was brand new there wasn't much they could do on the sticker price.

That's my review ladies and gentlemen. You can agree or disagree if you would like.
 

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Amen, and like I've said before, I'm sure they will sell some, but I really don't think sales are ever going to take off the way they did for the 2nd and 3rd generations. To add to the review, I hit the ground all the time in the 3rd gen, why would they go even lower?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I am glad that you reminded me of the wind noise because I forgot that part. I did not feel the ride noise had been decreased at all but that is just my opinion. The ride was practically the same as the 2008 that I drive almost daily. That is why I feel it is built on the exact same frame and chassy as the previous style. So with that said the ride is excellent and one of the main reasons we bought the 2008 model that we have. These vans drive like cars, handle like cars, and avoid that big clunky truck like the Ford Aerostar that I grew up in.

Bottom line I don't think the 2011 model is worth the money at all. If a friend of mine asked me what I thought about the Honda Odyssey, I would tell him to buy the 2010 model right now. Hopefully it will improve in the future.
 

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Did you drive a 2011 Sienna as well? If you did, how would you say it compares?

We are in the market for a new mini van (our 2008 Sienna is off lease in about 3 months).

I haven't found the Odyssey seats comfortable in the past (short seat cushion that is also flat and hard).

For what it is worth, The 2011 Sienna's interior has it's share of "cheap" as well. The top glove box cover is very cheap, thin plastic.
 

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imgreenlantern2, Thanks for the review. Well done.

imgreenlantern2 andShazzam, A little off topic here, but do you two really lease new vehicles every three years? That must be nice, but how expensive is that? I know this is not a financial forum, but will you ever own a car, or always spend $400 or $600 or whatever per month for what you drive? I am not saying you are wrong to lease (although the financial experts probably would), but you can save so much money by buying a van and driving it for five or ten years. I am thinking your decison, imgreenlantren2, to buy your van off lease was a great one.
 

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The two Touring models have "Acoustic Windshield", so this much reduce road/wind noise more? Can anyone confirm this one?

Well, hopefully, that they will improve or fix all the complaints on the 2012 or 2013 model when I need to get one.
 

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tom34diy said:
imgreenlantern2, Thanks for the review. Well done.

imgreenlantern2 andShazzam, A little off topic here, but do you two really lease new vehicles every three years? That must be nice, but how expensive is that? I know this is not a financial forum, but will you ever own a car, or always spend $400 or $600 or whatever per month for what you drive? I am not saying you are wrong to lease (although the financial experts probably would), but you can save so much money by buying a van and driving it for five or ten years. I am thinking your decison, imgreenlantren2, to buy your van off lease was a great one.
Are you new to internet forums? Yes, you will "meet" other people that can afford more than you and can also afford less than you. Why question it? Just roll with it.
 

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tom34diy said:
A little off topic here, but do you two really lease new vehicles every three years? That must be nice, but how expensive is that? I know this is not a financial forum, but will you ever own a car, or always spend $400 or $600 or whatever per month for what you drive? I am not saying you are wrong to lease (although the financial experts probably would), but you can save so much money by buying a van and driving it for five or ten years. I am thinking your decison, imgreenlantren2, to buy your van off lease was a great one. [/B]
Just because you "own" a car doesnt mean it isn't costing you money every month.

While it may be true that it costs you "less" to own, having a new car is often worth it to some. We went almost 6 years owning our Touring Ody for a total cost in depreciation of approx $541 per month not including any opportunity cost of the capital nor any repairs no longer covered under warranty (and there were a few coming).

Our new Sienna costs more per month on the 48 month lease but it's a write off through the company so leasing is the only way for us and after tax the cost per month is virtually identical, and actually cheaper when you consider that the Sienna had a higher cost than the Ody.

You could, as you stated, also purchase it off lease and there may even be equity sitting there. We got a trade value at 6 years on the Ody that is within 12% of the buyout option after the 4 year lease so there may be some equity there to grab.

Different strokes for different folks......
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Your question about why did my wife and I lease is valid and I'll answer it for you. Remember the economic situation back in October 2008? It was horrible if you all remember, and the Honda dealership we were at was offering some incredible incredible deals that month to keep their sales alive.

I remember when we went into the dealership and I saw their sales board, they had had only 3 sales that day and it was 7pm at night. They were really desperate to sell something.

Bottom line they offered us a better deal to lease for three years then to buy it at that point. The deal was zero down and $480 a month for a brand new EX-L with 14 miles on it. That was $70 cheaper a month than if we bought it out right at that point.

At the time we thought we would eventually buy it at the end of the lease because we loved the van so much, but as you can see in the original review I wrote we looked at other vans as well.

To answer another posters question I did test drive the 2011 Toyota Sienna, and I have to say I liked it a lot better than the 2011 Honda Odyssey. As someone had mentioned it does seem like it has been cheapened up some as well in the interior. Overall though it was a very nice van, and if I was in the market to purchase a brand new mini-van I would go with the 2011 Sienna over the 2011 Odyssey in a heart beat.

The problem with it though was they were even more stringent on the sticker price than Honda was. The sticker for the comparable model to EX-L was $38,790 which was a few dollars cheaper. They wouldn't budge on the price either because they claimed they were selling like hot cakes.

Buying out the lease for us was the best deal, and overall it took my brand new 2008 EX-L in October 2008 that had a sticker price of $36,998 to $24,400 total price. We couldn't be happier with that price which again is why we just bought it out.

To be honest though if I had to recommend a one of the new/newer minivans, I would have to lean towards the 2010 Odyssey. Not only can you get an awesome deal on a 2010 model, but I really do feel after test driving both 2011 Sienna and Odyssey the 05-10 style Odyssey is better than them both.

Of course this is only my wife and my opinions. To each his own right.

If there is anyone else out there that has done the same as I have (test driven both new models), I would love to hear what you think about them as well. I don't think my wife and I are outliers in this situation, but I will bet there are a lot of people feeling the same way we are.
 

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That is disappointing to hear about the room in the seat. When I bought my 05 back in 08, I thought I was going to buy a Sienna. But when I drove it, I felt like I did not fit very well, and was just unimpressed pretty much. Which is why I decided to at least check out the ody.
 

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Cntrtwnltd said:
Amen, and like I've said before, I'm sure they will sell some, but I really don't think sales are ever going to take off the way they did for the 2nd and 3rd generations. To add to the review, I hit the ground all the time in the 3rd gen, why would they go even lower?
X2. I hit curb side from time to time with 2010, can't imagine what'd happen w/even lower bumper! Besides, 2011 is 3" wider now, I wouldn't be able to get off the van with two car in garage!
 

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imgreenlantern2 said:

As I scanned through the van I noticed another redesign that I felt was not great was they moved the rear A/C controls to the right side of the van. My wife and I have little children and having the A/C controls over our left shoulder makes controlling the air for them much easier. There is no way you could do it via the driver in the 2011 style.

Kudo! First time seeing someone else notice this flaw. I guess not many have small kids? I use that control often too. They said they designed the new van based on real parents' input, I don't believe them. Another parental need is the ability to go to the back of the van from INSIDE. You have to give up the center console to get to the second row and two 2nd row armrests to get to the third row. With the loss the upper glove box, dash drawer, one of the dash cup holders, and the underfloor storage, that means just one cup holder in dash and one glove box (reduced volume by USB module) for all the kid stuffs! Well, may be they asked the empty nest parents...
 

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Re: Re: Test Drove 2011 Honda Odyssey EX-L. Very dissapointed.

jsw2233 said:
Kudo! First time seeing someone else notice this flaw. I guess not many have small kids? I use that control often too.
Wouldn't that be a safety concern? I am glad handa moved the control away for you guys.

Maybe the parents they surveyed all had the upper trim levels and used the controls on the dash to adjust the temperatures. Or maybe that's their intent to force you to buy a trim level that has the 3-zone controls on the dash?
 

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Thanks for the review - it's disappointing to read but very good feedback comparing the two generations.

It looks like the probability of us getting a second Odyssey is diminishing, but we'll give it a fair shake when the time comes to test drive it and the competitors.

The new Nissan Quest continues to intrigue, but there's no way of knowing what's in the box until we get more info.

Thanks again, that was insightful.
 
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