Maybe we are Minivan People | Honda Odyssey Test Drive

Three years ago, we needed to purchase a new (to us) car.

Because of my Infertility PTSD, we went with a Yukon even though Mr. R really wanted a minivan. I just couldn’t bring myself to purchase a minivan when I had no idea if we’d ever be able to fill all those empty seats. In my mind, those empty seats were less obvious in the Yukon. Over the past 3 years, the third row of seats has been folded down most of the time.

Now, through some miracle of heaven, we have three children. (Say whaaaaa? I still cannot believe it.) We don’t have very many empty seats any more …and I am rethinking my stance on “not being minivan people.”

Ken Garff Honda of Orem let me test drive the Honda Odyessy. It is perhaps the most luxurious vehicle I have ever driven–probably not the flashiest (I did go to prom one year in a Lotus), but if I could design a car for this season of my life with three little boys IT WOULD BE THIS CAR.

We named her Cleo.

Everyday I fell in love with a new feature and I found myself making up errands to run or taking the scenic route home just to get a little more time behind the wheel of our beloved Cleo.

Here’s what captured my heart each day.


DAY ONE: Ken Garff Honda of Orem’s Service.

This car is brilliant. It syncs up your phone to the dashboard so you can listen to all your music (even Pandora!) while driving and make phone calls …all wirelessly and through the dash. I figured out how to have Siri send a text for me just by using the voice commands and again, all through the dashboard. I never picked up or looked at my phone.

You can even load a family photo to be the “wallpaper” of your dashboard screen. No seriously, you can.

This does, however, require some set-up. As someone who doesn’t read directions very well (read “at all”), I appreciated the time Ken Garff Honda of Orem took to walk me through the features and set things up for me.

They even installed my car seats (all three!) without batting an eyelash while the kids and I enjoyed complimentary popcorn and soft drinks (and a billion bathroom emergencies!) from their waiting area.

When I couldn’t figure out a feature in the car, I texted them and they got right back to me. That’s service!

I mean, really …these guys are taking the stress out of car purchasing! Loved them.


DAY TWO: Opening and closing the doors (and trunk!) from the driver’s seat.


When we pick up Tyson from school, we go through the kindergarten pick-up lane. To keep the line moving, parents are supposed to stay in the car while the kids open and close the car doors during loading. No matter how much I WD-40 that Yukon door for Tyson it is still so hard to open and close. Half the time a kindergarten aide has to run over and help the poor soul out.

With the ability to open and close the doors at my fingertips, I can stay in my seat and open the door for my favorite kindergartener. So slick.


DAY THREE: Um yeah. It has a cooler.

Let’s say you like to have a chilled beverage while you are running errands. This baby has a Cool Box that keeps a cold bevvie cold by running the AC through the box. Dreamy.


DAY FOUR: Massive Trunk Space

This is one of those long Sit and Stand strollers that is standing upright in the trunk. Have mercy. #hugetrunk #hondatestdrive
This is my Sit N Stand stroller standing upright in the trunk leaving tons of trunk space for shopping or whatever else. My Yukon cannot do this. It doesn’t even come close.


DAY FIVE: A Level Floor = Lots of Room

This is my beast of a little brother saying, “Lots of leg room!”

The minivan feels like a moving room. The floor is level (instead of raised in the third row like the SUV) so moving around (and cleaning up french fries) is really easy. Something about the floor being level makes it feel extra spacious.


With the middle seat of the middle row being removable and connecting right to that level third row, it creates an aisle for kiddos to use to get to the back seat without climbing over the seat. It also adds to the roomy feeling.


DAY SIX: Key Fob Door Opening

Sitting on the couch with a sleeping baby on my lap. Pre-schooler left his backpack in Odyssey and wanted to show me his artwork from today but couldn't get the car door open. So he brought me the keys and I opened and closed the door from my perch in the
If your hands are full, you don’t have to put everything down to open and close doors. (And the trunk!)

Let’s say you are sitting on the couch with a sleeping baby on your lap and your pre-schooler approaches you saying he left his backpack in the car and wants to show you his artwork from school but cannot get the car door open. With this key, you can open and close the doors while kicking it on the couch.


DAY SEVEN: Mirror for Spying/Conversing


I like to keep an eye on my people in the back seat (even with my apparently very creepy eyebrows!). While there are external gadgets that do the same thing, I love that this one is built in.

This car is packed with thoughtful features like this that make momming a little easier while on the road. Thank you, Honda!


Other features I loved.

Honda test drive

  • Cup holders galore
  • Third row seats fold into the floor
  • Hooks in the back for grocery bags (and one on the front passenger side)
  • Power outlets
  • DVD player with removable face that acts as a remote (and the headphones that make it so I can still listen to music while they are watching their current favorite movie for the 900th time)
  • Built in USB port
  • Individual temperature control for passenger and driver as well as the rear
  • Heated seats
  • Ability to store music (from a CD or USB) to the “hard drive” dashboard
  • WAY better gas mileage (SLC to Provo 4 times only cost half a tank)
  • XM radio


Size matters.

One thing I like about my SUV is how tall it is. The Odyssey is not as tall as the Yukon, but it also isn’t as short as a car. It’s in the comfortable middle and actually the perfect height for snapping in a baby carrier without reaching up (SUV) or bending over (car). Of course that probably has something to do with how tall I am too (5’2″).

The Yukon and the Odyssey are nearly identical in width. Three full car seats will fit across the middle row of the minivan–from what I understand, that has not always been the case with earlier models. In fact, the two chairs on the end will actually move out a few inches and lock into place making more room for car seats. That middle seat is totally removable though creating the walkway that I fell in love with on Day Five.

The 2013 Odyssey is a little bit longer than the Yukon–which I noticed only because I had less wiggle room in the garage.


What did I miss about my SUV?

Aside from the height (although I don’t know how I really feel about that now that we get to snap in a baby carrier again), I missed one major thing about my SUV: The 4 Wheel Drive. It really is the best in the snow.

I also think I prefer the taller front seat console of the Yukon as well as how cozy my 12 year old driver’s seat has become.

And as cute as Cleo is, in all honesty, the Yukon is better looking.


Again, a special thanks to the good people at Ken Garff Honda of Orem for helping me make an informed (and reformed!) decision about minivans. What can I say? I am a minivan convert.

Check out Ken Garff Honda of Orem on Facebook where they are giving away an iPad Mini right now!


*Disclaimer: I was given the Honda Odyssey to drive in exchange for this post. My conversion story is real and authentic.




  1. says

    This post made me smile because we just bought a Honda Odyssey for the same reason, 3 kids! Mine looks very much like yours inside with the two older kids in back, and a newborn in the middle row. Thank goodness for that middle isle so I can climb back and buckle them in! None of my friends have a mini van, I don’t think they will get one because it is a “mom” car. But I figure, I am a mom, so it totally makes sense to drive around in something made just for me! Glad you have been converted too! And so happy for you that you have 3 children. I never thought I would have 3 either, miracles miracles.

  2. says

    Lots of cool features! We have 3 kids, but still haven’t been converted to a minivan. We love our Honda Pilot, though, which the salesman told us was an SUV that was based on the Odyssey minivan instead of a truck. If I had 4 kids, I’d definitely do the minivan thing, though.

  3. says

    AWESOME review. Of course, I’m biased being an Odyssey owner. I’m a huge fan for so many reasons, many of which you highlighted in your review. And yes, an SUV is “cooler” but does it have a cooler? (Bad joke, sorry.)

  4. Kim says

    I love the Honda Odyssey! My friend has one and I’ve always thought it was the most thoughtful minivan out there. We have a Dodge Caravan and only two children. I love that I can remove the back seat when we’re not taking extra people with us. I can’t imagine not having that extra cargo room for long trips! Our friends totally made fun of us for getting a minivan but I know they just have NO idea how comfortable and efficient (especially fuel-efficient) they can be. Sometimes we just have to get over that whole stigma of having to be cool and realize that necessity trumps everything else when it comes to what our families need.

  5. Foster Mommy NY says

    Wow that is awesome, I wish you all the best with it. I am also a new mini van lover, who would have thought! LOL Though mine is almost 10 years old now, wanted to make sure I loved it before buying a newer one….LOL

  6. Stacey Hay says

    We have a 2001 Honda Odyssey, and love it. We got it when we had adopted our second child. I loved how it was car like, but had lots of seats for friends. Now we have 3 more children added to the family and have no room for friends. I think I need one of those super long vans. I’m glad you have changed your mind on the minivan.

  7. Aubrey says

    Our Chrysler Town and Country has a lot of the same features as the Odyssey. I am totally a minivan convert!! I drug my feet when we were buying a new car, especially since I am “that mom” who only has two kids and a minivan. But my hubby convinced me it was the way to go, and I have to tell you, I LOVE it!! Especially when we are on road trips. So easy to maneuver in and the cargo space CANNOT be beat!!

    I am jealous of the Bluetooth capabilities the Odyssey has (ours has the buttons, but for whatever reason, it is not hooked up for the phone or voice recognition) and the cooler!! What a cool (haha get it, cool?? :P)) feature!!

  8. says

    Great review! The Odyssey looks like an awesome minivan! I just wanted to let you know, if you’re looking for a minivan with 4 wheel drive, I *believe* that it is available as an option on the Toyota Sienna. That’s what I learned when we were shopping for our minivan 3 years ago, but we ended up getting a Hyundai Entourage instead.

  9. says

    I bought a 2012 Odyssey while my wife was pregnant with my first, AmoebaJr. Since I had bought my previous car 9 years earlier I had various ideas of what I wanted: midsize truck, midsize suv, small suv, minivan. By the time I was ready, I test drove some minivans. The Odyssey had every feature I wanted and more. Mine looks similar to yours except for the DVD player, which I didn’t want.

    Even though I only needed room for one car seat, we going camping and we needed room for all of our stuff, which at the time just barely fit in my wife’s car. So with the idea that we needed something a little bigger at minimum, we decided full size vehicle in case we wanted to expand our family further, then we just priced out suv vs minivan. The Odyssey won hands down in every category. And even though I don’t drive much, we do road trip. We’ve had the van about 15 months and taken 3 long drives (18 hours, 10 hours, and 13 hours, respectively, one-way). It does about 27 mpg and I get about 8 hours per fill up, which is way more than we can actually go without stopping.

    The price was better than the Sienna and the quality and drive was virtually the same. I definitely backup your thoughts. And while I continued the XM, which I really enjoy, I keep a 16 GB USB drive plugged in at all times, so between those 2 options and streaming music via my Pandora app, there’s no reason to hear the same song twice no matter how far you have to drive.

    • says

      Oops, had to add one more thing, when I went back and reread your post. The key fob is actually even better:

      In the summer, when the car is blazing hot in the sun, click the unlock button once and then hold it down a second time for 3-5 seconds and the windows go down! I freaking love that feature and it was one I found on the ‘net, not something Honda even told me about.