Minivan Magic

The new 2018 Honda Odyssey’s striking design, 10 cup holders and plenty of horsepower impress local photographer and auto enthusiast Dan Cutrona.

Photography and text by Dan Cutrona

Odyssey: A long and eventful or adventurous journey or experience. (Oxford Dictionary)

Anyone with children can attest: This definition describes our everyday life, except with a little more “long” and a lot less “eventful”—but always an adventure.

With school starting, these adventures are not so much beach days at Sandy Neck as they are racing to the school drop-off line to prevent another tardy mark.

Usually these pages are reserved for Corvettes, Ferraris and Teslas. But this time, we’re going mainstream, baby. The Odyssey we’re embarking on is of the Honda variety. You know what I’m talking about: The minivan. Vehicle and facilitator of many family odysseys, big and small.
There once was a time when all I cared about was if a car could go from 0 to 60 mph in under 6 seconds. Three kids later, I can’t stand it when a car has less than six cup holders.

I’m not alone. In 2016, more than 500,000 minivans were sold.

Definitively un-cool in 1984 when the first Dodge Caravan was introduced, minivans have come a long way. Compared to that jagged box on wheels, now there are visual moments where the 2018 Honda Odyssey is downright sporty. The LED headlights and swooping accent lines on its large sliding doors make the Odyssey arguably more striking than anything else in its class. Once you start driving, the 280 horsepower V6 impresses immediately. The 10-speed transmission is so effortlessly smooth, you forget about the 12 feet of additional vehicle that is following you around. It hustles to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds. And has 10 cup holders.

I don’t know what methods Honda used to interrogate parents when designing this vehicle, but kudos to all involved. How about a built-in vacuum cleaner to clean up those broken Cheez-Its? Check. There’s an app that plays on the entertainment system showing a map and countdown timer to the destination entered into the navigation.

Parents will never again have to answer the famous “are we there yet” question.

There is a host of other brilliant features as well, such as Cabin Watch, which has a tiny camera in the ceiling of the vehicle so you can see everything, night or day, allowing parents to answer our own famous question, What’s going on back there?, without even turning around. The third row is spacious enough for an adult and easily accessible. But have you ever tried talking to the people in the third row over the din of road noise, an open window, music and a chatty toddler? For this reason, Honda introduces Cabin Talk, so you can be heard in that faraway third row, through the speakers, when you ultimately have to shout “Knock it off!”

We have two SUVs in our family, and anytime my wife brings up the possibility of a minivan, I always get a gnawing feeling and respond, “But it’s a … MINIvan!” But once the kids are comfortably loaded into the Odyssey, all doubt melts away. Are convertibles cool? Yes, of course they are! But can they take eight people to the Wellfleet Drive-in with a cooler, four chairs and a pack-and-play? It’s like the vehicular version of Cape Cod—it’s not the hippest place in the world, but it’s the quality of life and open spaces that make it irresistible.

Hyannis Honda, 830 West Main St., Hyannis, 508-778-7878, hyannishonda.com

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