I am not a minivan mama. I drive my four-door SUV around town with soccer mom pride (fist pump!) All kidding aside, with just two girls a minivan doesn’t seem like a necessity. We don’t have that much gear to hall around, yet, although I know when the girls are teenagers and we hit the mall, we’ll need lots of cargo space, just don’t tell my husband. There are times, though, when a minivan is appealing, especially if we are making the 8-hour trek down to the Florida Panhandle, our favorite vacation spot.
Last month I traveled to La Jolla as a guest of Honda to attend their Ride N Drive blogger event unveiling the 2011 Odyssey at the beautiful Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa.
The evening of arrival we all were able to mingle with each other as well as key Honda team members behind the engineering and design of the Odyssey. Honda also had set up three Odysseys in the reception hall so we were able to see first hand many of the exterior and interior changes for the 2011 model. I was definitely impressed with the vehicle. Was this really a minivan?
The following morning we all attended an information session with presentations and then the real fun began. We teamed up with another blogger to drive a course that took us along the beautiful West coast and ultimately ended at our final capabilities course location at QualComm Stadium, home of the San Diego Chargers.
Here are some interesting facts I learned during the morning session about the 2011 Odyssey:
- Honda sells more minivans to people 35 and younger than any other manufacturer
- The Odyssey is an all American vehicle from research and styling in California to R&D in Ohio and manufacturing in Lincoln, Alabama, where the plant is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary
- The Odyssey has a 5 star NHTSA rating
- The Odyssey is a 2010 Kelley Blue Book Top 10 Family Car
- Exterior features a lightening bolt beltline that makes the Odyssey stand out design wise
- Best in class brake performance
- Only minivan with fully independent front suspension
- Six airbags
- 5 LATCH locations for car seats (three LATCH child seats will fit easily in 2nd row)
- Best in Class leg room in every row (2011 Odyssey has 6 inches more leg room in 3rd row over the competition)
- 6 passenger adult comfort
- 15 drink holders that accommodate different size drinks
- New ultrawide rear entertainment system with a split screen (one person can play a video game while one person can watch a DVD) so your kids don’t beat each other over the head
- 28 mpg highway fuel economy in the touring model
My driving buddy was Niri from MommyNiri.com. She and I had bonded with our kindergartners back in July in Kentucky at another blog event. We made it to our destination without the aid of GPS (our Odyssey model did not include it but the higher-end models do.) We felt like navigational ninjas!
Road tripping in Southern California in the Odyssey with Mommy Niri.
The first time I sat behind the wheel of the Odyssey I was pleasantly surprised that there was no comfort learning curve. The seat adjusted well to my 5 ft. 2 inch frame and driving it I didn’t feel like I was in a completely foreign vehicle. The 2011 Odyssey drives like a dream and on the capabilities course I tested out the brakes as well as the amazing turning radius and the rearview camera.
Most of the team behind the Odyssey are parents and from an interior design standpoint they have thought of everything:
- Front-row removable center console (Odyssey EX and above)
- Second-row 3-mode seating with multi-function center seat armrest (Odyssey EX and above)
- A cool box located beneath the lower area of the instrument panel that can accommodate up to four 20-oz bottles or a six pack of your favorite drinks! (I loved this feature…how great for road trips.)
- Dedicated mobile device storage areas for your iPhone, Blackberry, iPod, etc
- Bluetooth audio streaming (Odyssey EX-L and above)
- An incredible audio system (Navigation equipped Odysseys offer Song by Voice feature and the Odyssey EX-L and Touring audio systems include XM Radio)
The Honda Odyssey is the ultimate family road trip vehicle, but it also offers incredible storage space. Trust me, the design engineers have thought of space for everything, down to every type of juice box, water bottle, or to go beverage from your favorite fast food restaurant. The back hatch cargo area is deep and will hold tons of luggage as well as large sports gear. One engineer showed me how a large wagon (the kind you tote your toddlers around in at the local park) will fit easily in the back cargo area.
The Honda 2011 Odyssey goes on sale Sept. 30; read even more about the new 2011 Odyssey online. Pricing begins at $27,800 for the Odyssey LX to $43,250 for the Odyssey Touring Elite.
Participants in the Honda Ride N Drive Event:
Kristin Varela: http://motherproof.com/
Nirasha Jaganath: http://www.mommyniri.com/
Tiffany Noth: http://www.bloggymoms.com/
Deborah Steenhagen: http://www.momstakeonthings.com/
Kim Orlando: http://travelingmom.com/
Jodi Grundig: http://momsfavoritestuff.com/
Becky Scott: http://www.askpatty.com/
Alicia Hagan: http://www.themommyinsider.com/
Christine Young: http://www.fromdatestodiapers.com/
Ciaran Blumenfeld: http://www.momfluential.net/
Kari Aceto: http://nateandjakeandme.blogspot.com/
Aracely Worley: http://daytrippingmom.blogspot.com/
Jennifer Regan: http://eightymphmom.com/
Elizabeth Peterson: http://www.tradedmybmwforaminivan.com/
Renee Smith: http://mominthecity.com/
Darren Qunell: http://carseatblog.com/
Caryn Bailey: http://rockinmama.net/
Tara Hernandez: http://www.hulahoopingmom.com/
Disclosure: Honda paid all of my travel expenses for the Ride N Drive Event. They are also sending me and 10 other bloggers to Beverly Hills for the Variety magazine 2nd annual Power of Women luncheon in late September.