I have recently (re)discovered that the Honda Odyssey is just about the perfect road trip vehicle. Over the long holiday weekend, I took the minivan on a camping trip up to Sequoia National Park. Having not made a campground reservation, we removed the second row seats in the Odyssey in case of a last minute need for sleeping in the van. Luckily, that wasn't necessary since we eventually found a campsite.

Two reasons why this was lucky: first, the lock-down points for the seats protrude above the floor level, making kneeling or sitting in the center of the floor less than comfortable (let alone sleeping on it). And second, can you call it camping if you're not sleeping in a tent? Aside from the floor knobs, the Odyssey really feels cavernous with the second row removed. We could have fit a bear in there!

The drive to the national park was a comfortable one, thanks to the leather seats and firm (but not too firm) suspension. It's no Nissan Quest, with its La-Z-Boy-like front seats, and ueber-soft suspension, but it's comfortable enough for any road trip. As mentioned in my last update, the road noise leaves a bit to be desired, but when it came time to hit the twisty roads, the Odyssey proved that road noise is a worthwhile compromise for decent agility. For a minivan, the Odyssey handles quite well, holding its line through medium tight turns without too much body roll or tire screeching.

We drove through some pretty hot, dusty countryside to get to our cool forest destination, and I was thankful for not only the air conditioning, but the beverage cool box as well. The cool box resides at the bottom of the center stack, and is sized to fit up to four 20-oz water bottles (or one 32-oz Nalgene bottle, and a couple 12-oz bottles). This handy little feature should not be confused for a refrigerator, but it does divert the air conditioning to the cool box to keep beverages refreshingly cool. Quite a relief, since outside temperatures were hovering near 100 degrees.

During our stay in the giant forests of Sequoia, we were tempted to forgo a campfire, make ourselves comfy in the third row seats, and fire up the DVD rear entertainment system with its 16.2-inch wide screen. Instead, we enjoyed our view of the night sky, and the peace and quiet afforded by the surrounding wilderness. It's nice to know the luxuries are available but, more importantly, the Odyssey got us there and back in comfort, with plenty of room to spare.


Our Car
Months/Miles in service 5 months / 11,910 mi
Avg econ/CO2 21.1 mpg/0.92 lb/mi
Energy cons 159 kW-hr/100 mi
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $82.90 (oil change, tire rotation, inspection)
Normal-wear cost $0