INSIDE: Finally pulled the trigger to see what the fuss was about. Picked up a Honda Odyssey & so far so good?! Here’s my thoughts as a minivan dad.
And boy, do I feel like a dad haha…
One of the first things I actually noticed, but it’s kinda cool! I AM a dad, and I’m proud to be one! :)
But seriously, here’s my thoughts on being a minivan dad…
What Being a Minivan Dad is Like
I’m not sure it’s my favorite car yet, but after a week of driving it so far, it isn’t the worst thing in the world… And my kids are obsessed with it! They literally ask to go with me EVERYWHERE now just so they can hang out in it, haha… They’re also enjoying their newfound independence of buckling themselves in and opening/closing the doors too – now that they can’t ding a car even if they tried. They even stand up in the back to put their jackets/backpacks on – it’s crazy roomy!
The one thing I’m finding I like the most so far, though, is just the fact we’re finally now *experiencing* life with a minivan instead of always wondering and thinking about it all the time. We bought it, and will now know pretty shortly whether the fuss was all worth it! ;)
And thinking about it along those lenses makes decisions like this a lot easier to swallow too – especially when you’ve been fighting it so long ;) Regardless of how it turns out we’ll now KNOW instead of wonder! And so far I’d say I’m about 70% convinced it was the right move?
I’ll have to come back in a few months and see where we’re at ;)
In the meantime, here are some of the stats of the van for those who enjoy such things:
- 2016 Honda Odyssey
- 60,000 miles
- 3.5-liter V-6 engine
- 19/28 mpg
- Seats 8
- Leather seats
- 5 out of 5 star safety rating
- Backup and side cameras (which I never use, hah)
- Third row seating that folds down flush with floor for more cargo area (great for yard saling!!)
- Detachable 2nd row middle seat for creating a walkway and/or hang out area for our dog (who now LOVES being in the car too! Hasn’t thrown up once since shuttling her around compared to being in the back of the SUV (where she threw up almost every time :())
- Purchased at Carmax again, because despite the higher prices I just love how easy and efficient they are! And always such a good inventory to poke around and test drive from too…
As for costs, we paid a little over $21,500 which includes tax and titling (and NOT having to spend 10 hours at the DMV – a priceless win itself!!), and we traded in our 2005 Toyota Corolla as well.
And then we also got to cross off another experience on the list – PAYING FULLY IN CASH! My first time doing so, which surprisingly also cut down the time and paperwork involved by half too. Though only because we paid w/ a *check* vs cash in a briefcase, haha… I asked about that, of course, but apparently that actually doubles the time due to all the compliance stuff it triggers! And unfortunately the option to slap it on a credit card for rewards wasn’t available either, which was my first question ;)
At any rate, a far cry from this experience 3 years ago when we were on the verge of depleting our cash reserves and barely hanging on cash-flow wise, but as it tends to do, it just goes to show that a lot can change over the years when you keep at it… I never want to go back to those days again, but I sure can appreciate where we are now more having gone through it! :)
So there we have it! I’m officially a minivan dad now, and my wife has already plundered the Lexus for her daily driver, haha… I’ll keep you posted with how it goes, but so far I haven’t suffered any dire consequences or major hits on my street cred, at least that I’m aware of…
How are your car journeys going? Anyone else recently give in to The Van life? Anyone pulling the trigger on *other* experiences they’ve always wondered about?
That really has been the best part of it for me so far… Just finally *going for it* and experiencing the hubbub once and for all… Not completely sold on it yet, but for now we turn up the tunes and roll!
PS: There are some things I’m NOT liking very much so far… Like the millions of *electronic* features from the keyless push start to the automatic sliding doors to the dual screens and cameras that just seem to complicate things even more! I get that it’s more convenient, but man – so many more things that can now break! What was wrong with early 2000’s technology?! :)
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Congratulations on the car – may you have thousands of miles of fun!
But your Carmax wouldn’t let you put anything on a credit card? I bought from a dealer, and was able to at least get points on the deposit.
Believe me, I triple checked :)
Before you know it the keyless push start becomes second nature. Mom’s car has it in a different spot than mine, or driving a rental with a key feels so weird.
I drove the family hand me down mini van for a while. As a commuter vehicle with 0 kids, really unnecessary, but hey it was a functional vehicle!
Haha… Would make for an excellent *tiny home* in that case! :)
J. congratulations and WELCOME to the minivan club!!!
When my wife was expecting our 3rd child we bought our minivan in 2012 (oh my gosh that is 7.5 years ago!!!). We traded in our 2005 Toyota corolla too.
I wanted to get the Honda Odyssey, but my wife (main driver) insisted on the Toyota Sienna as she is a Toyota woman!
anyway, just like budgets are sexy I think minivans are sexy too :-) and comfortable to drive!!
best wishes to you with the new purchase. I DO NOT think you will regret it, especially when full sized SUVS are double the price.
Sienna’s were at the top of my list too actually, but couldn’t find ANY that were reasonable so we went with the #2 Honda which was pretty close on the list anyways… They’re both such great cars for that class :)
We had a Honda Odyssey when our three kids were younger, and absolutely love it! A ton of space to store crap. Watch out.
Were you the one who was telling me the 2 best days of a minivan owner was the day you buy it and the day you sell it? :)
We’ve had a minivan for 11 years, since right before our first child was born. My wife apparently wanted to dive right into being a mom. I’ve always thought it was a nice vehicle. The automatic doors come in super handy and the space is nice. I wish they got better gas mileage though.
Yeah, not the best mileage especially compared to the Corolla, but at least it’s not the worst either.
Congrats! I loved my minivan days because it meant I had little ones. The best part…..the room! I was also very excited when I made it back to a new small suv with all the whistles.
I was lucky enough to put $5K on a credit card at my dealership so the cash back was a win! I might also ad that was some 24 years ago :(
You just made me sad a little, because it means when we no longer have it we’ll probably be out of the little kids stage too! I don’t like that!! :(
I’m currently rockin’ a 2006 Honda Odyssey, it’s the bomb! I’m such a geek about it that I’m legitimately excited for you! I could see how the new tech is a bit much, but I sure do love automatic sliding doors.
One of ours literally stopped working properly this afternoon (!!!). Maybe it’s user error (hoping it’s user error!) but if it keeps up i’m gonna have to take it back to get looked at/fixed.. EXACTLY WHY I DON’T WANT IT ALL AUTOMATIC!!
My mom drove minivans for years. She finally let go of her minivan when she realized she didn’t need all that space (when my sister and I were like 34 and 37). She still talks about how she misses having a mini van, and I am not going to lie, there are times I miss that minivan because it was great to borrow when you needed to pick up something that was pretty big but not huge. They are so practical and useful.
That second part I’m very much looking forward to too.. Especially come yard sale season! :)
Nice score. And kudos on paying cash. I will say, make sure that you are rigorous with transmission service as the Odyssey of certain years has been known to not like neglect. Another thing, timing belt maintenance is key as well. Honda motors are what is known as “interference” meaning if the belt were to snap, you need a new engine. Lastly, any reason why you didn’t look at the Sienna as well? We are a minivan family (we own two) and the Sienna is rock solid. Also, Toyota uses a timing chain which is lifetime and requires no maintenance. My 1996 Previa has a timing chain as well. It is flawless. Welcome to the do-it-all minivan club.
I wanted a Sienna :( Just couldn’t find any easonable enough and Hondas were *everywhere*! So we just went with our top 2nd choice – which was close enough to our first – before we changed our mind again :)
Love our minivan! Even the dog loves it! Funny story, our neighbor, a State Trooper with 4 kids, actually got a bit misty talking about how much he loved his minivan when his kids were small, now they have a Suburban to haul bigger kids kids and ever growing amounts of stuff! Enjoy it!
I will try!!! I don’t want to think about the time when they’re all grown up like that yet!! :)
I agree on the feeling nice to no longer wonder on things. So far it sounds like it will work out well for your family.
As for the tech, I’ll tell ya, our current car has more of that technology than any other car I’ve had. Ultimately I love the keyless start and door locks. Makes it nice when its cold out or I have my hands full and I don’t need to pull out cold keys or dig to find them. That being said, after 4ish? Years the lock on the passenger side stopped working. It’s not as big a deal since it’s not the drivers side but still annoying. And the back up cam, I always said I didn’t need it but you get used to it. I now feel weird driving cars that don’t have them.
Okay, maybe they’ll grow on me :) My kids like looking at the cameras at least, haha…
We got a minivan nearly two years ago, and purposely bought one with no features, not even electric doors (my sister-in-law had a door get caught open in a MN winter, and it turned me off to that immediately).
I think a minivan is the only large car we will ever have. If it ever dies, we will buy another one. Our second car is a sedan which I hope to keep drivable for nine more years until our oldest needs a car.
You can find them without all that fancy stuff??! Everyone we looked at had it (auto doors, cameras/etc), though we were also looking at like 2013s and above….
Wife and I got a minivan last year to replace the totalled Honda Fit and it’s been a great decision. Our new-to-us 2003 140k Odyssey was the right price for us to pay cash. Sure it has a lot of quirks but we are more comfortable modifying this $5500 adventure vehicle, that came with dents and rust, than we would have a new model that cost more. Want to cut a roof top vent in, but never done it before? sure thing! Considering gluing some weather striping in the driver door inset to maybe stop the mysterious leak that happens? Why not, I can always just scrape it off later.
We used it a lot last year after the first modification : putting a platform in the back for sleeping. This made Sunday night stealth camping easier. And speed up the transition from sleep to driving back from mountains for work Monday.
For reference we have been a one car couple for 7+ years and we have no kids. The van sits waiting to play weekdays while we bike to work.
Sadly even the 2003 model has its technology burdens. It dings when driving with backdoors open and I have to be in park to open them. The electronic slide is noisy, especially when going to bathroom in middle of night. But I’m really glad we don’t have any screen ( my ability to purchase a replacement vehicle will be harder and harder as not having a screen is so valuable to me). I wish the adjustments on the driver seat were manual, some of our electronics are failing and the replacement cost is $$$.
FASCINATING!!! Do you have pics of it anywhere??! Love that idea of tweaking stuff around and not worrying about it :) If I didn’t have kids I’d go back to an older car in a heartbeat but w/ all the safety stuff the parent inside of me won’t risk it :(
Practical and nice! This sounds like a great purchase for this season of your life. Congratulations!
Thank you friend! I like thinking of phases as “seasons” too :)
We got a Honda Odyssey a couple years back (it’s a 2016, too, I think). It had a lot of miles, though – somewhere north of 90k – which was too our advantage because it dropped the price significantly, but their was nothing wrong with the van despite the miles.
Totally! Even going from 30k to 60k mileage shaved off a few thousand for us… Good to know your comfort range with this stuff when searching around.
Congratulations on joining the minivan club! And paying cash too! You joined the right way.
We did the same thing in 2015 when our 3rd child was born. I was skeptical, but now I LOVE our minivan. It is so versatile and just has so much room for kids and luggage.
We recently spent 3 weeks in Costa Rica (and now have 4 kids) and they don’t have rental minivans. All we could get was a 7-passenger (3rd-row seat) Mitsubishi Montero Sport, and it could fit our kids or our luggage, but not both. It was crazy! (In Latin American countries, our family now qualifies for its own tour bus.)
Anyway, enjoy the minivan and all the space for whatever you choose to pile into it!
Haha… that’s a trip I wish I could have come along on and watched :)
Oooooh shiny! We only have one kid but with the two large dogs I’ve been wanting a minivan, I’m jealous ;)
My problem (aside from the cost) is not wanting to have to face today’s technology though. Whenever I get in a rental car or someone’s brand new after driving our early 2000s cars and it’s baffling how many doodads and doohickeys they have. Still, you have me pondering those Odysseys again ;)
You can test drive mine anytime you want!! Just fly on over to this coast! :)
That large dog space came in handy many years ago when we had a minivan. We adopted a large dog fro the pound, and it took several people to get him in to the car for the ride home. At home we took the second row seats out, opened both doors and coaxed him in and out over and over using treats. After a couple weeks of that he loved car rides.
Enjoy the new wheels!
I can remember being excited about our first, and only, minivan. That feeling didn’t last for us. We had three small kids so it made sense but it sure took the fun out of driving. Or maybe the kids did that? Either way we decided after a few years we simply were not minivan types and went back to SUV’s. But minivans do have some outstanding features, if you can drive one and be happy about it they are a great choice.
Well it’s nice to know not everyone is brainwashed! :)
I think it would have been harder for us if we didn’t already have an SUV, so I guess worse case I can just convince my wife to switch back and then she can ride the van to work ;)
nerd alert! we needed a car this past summer and really could have used something like a minivan. i just couldn’t do it. mrs. me is a painter and needed/wanted the cargo room to move large paintings around and a van would have been perfect. alas, we settled on a VW wagon, one of those that was recalled due to cheating the emissions and fixed and released. we don’t have any kids so 95% of the time it’s just 1 or 2 of us and the dog.
so far it’s worked out pretty well and we paid 9k cash/check for a 2012 with 70k miles. the mileage is great but diesel isn’t always easy to find. we’ll see what fixing those warning lights/sensors costs next week. i guess that’s the risk with a used car that sat around waiting for a home for a couple of years. congrats on the new purchase.
A wagon! You don’t hear about those too often anymore! Guess the minivan killed them over the years… But is a nice middle ground it feels like :)
I bought a 2006 Honda Odyssey Touring Minivan and I Love it! All my kids are grown, but it comes in handy with my 17teen Grandkids who love it as well, it has 206,000 miles on her, I would love to have the New 2020 but don’t want a car payment, The 2020 has all the bells and whistles. Mr. Minivan You will love driving this Van,Have Fun!!!
Good luck with those 17teen grandkids – wow!
As a minivan owner since 2006, I love minivans. We have moved 2 x just using the mini van. We have a whole crew if kids, 8 seats is no longer enough to fit my whole crew, but I use it for everyday, since I don’t have everyone with me all the time. I used to have an odyssey for 10 years, adored it. Have a sienna now, it’s ok. Not loving it, but at the time of the switch theborice difference was too much to ignore. Either way, the ease of kids, space, height, and lugging capabilities is sure to win you over. Enjoy!
Thanks! Interesting you don’t like the Sienna as much as the Odyssey… They were all much more expensive so we finally just went with our #2 even though I preferred the Sienna.
Way to go! Lookin’ sharp! As a driver of a white 2014 Honda Civic, I can say I’m a fan of the Honda. I have also totally succumbed to the ridiculousness of the electronics. Now, if I get a rental car that doesn’t have a backup camera, I get all diva….you expect me to TURN AROUND?!?! This was an upgrade from my previous car that I’d had for I think 11 or 12 years…and was a Chevy Cavalier and was as basic as they come with the bells and whistles (though in a jaunty yellow that I still miss). Enjoy the roominess!
Haha…. funny how us creatures get once used to something :)
Congrats on your minivan purchase!! We bought an SUV last year to get ready for the arrival of our second kid. We paid in cash as well and like you said it’s better to do it that way so you don’t have to worry about car payments stringing you along the next few years along with the interest on top of that.
I think with the technology in cars like the rear/side cameras, you can view it as great tool to add when you’re driving and use it to your advantage. Like when you parallel park, you can use that rear camera instead of looking back and guessing it see if you have enough room. Basically use technology at certain situations and not all the time.
yeah, probably true… I just can’t gauge how *close* things are or not in those things yet! I’ll feel super close to something looking in the cam and then when I walk out i’m so far away! Guess I just gotta get used to it more…
You will soon use all the cameras and wonder how you ever lived without. We have the same style Odyssey. It’s been a good vehicle so far. 150k miles now.
nice! i’m hoping it lasts at least a decade so long as we’re still cool with it :)
At some point in life you buy what is needed and not what you want. This is when you know you are all grown up. :) But, when you are all grown up, then what is needed is what you want.
I agree that all the electronics are overkill. Just more things to break.
I def. feel more like a grownup no matter how hard I fight it :)
You won’t regret this! We have two minivans and one is a 2007 Honda Odyssey. With three kids, minivans are necessary. Eventually when the kids are off to college, we will most likely trade them in, but right now, minivans are perfect for families!
Cool! hoping so!
We are on our 3rd used Odyssey van following 2 Plymouth minivans back in the 80s and 90s.
All of them have hauled our three kids who are now in their 30s and early 40s, several dogs, relatives, airport runs filled with people and luggage, uncounted remodeling supplies of lumber and sheetrock, soccer teams, appliances, furniture, artwork, yard waste, and the flotsam and jetsam of life. (0h, and several transcontinental trips around the US and Canada.)
Now that we are retired, our current 2011 Odyssey Touring just returned from a Minnesota to Outback Bowl in Tampa to Dallas, and then home reaching 186,000 trouble free miles. In a bit we leave for a weekend in Duluth, Minnesota, heading into a huge Winter storm with blizzard winds and more bitter cold by Sunday. it always starts and doesn’t get stuck.
In a couple of months it will continue to pull our 20’ boat and a utility trailer during Spring clean up at the lake place.
We appreciate the comfort, safety, versatility, economy, and reliability that Honda has engineered into its DNA.
Damn!! I can see that!
They need to pay you for all that testimonial talk! haha…
And way to bring back flotsam ;)
Congratulations on the purchase of your van!! I have a 2006 Odyssey with 179,000 miles. I have thoroughly enjoyed driving it. It doesn’t have an aux input so that has been disappointing for my kids as they grew up. Haha My kids are now 21 and 25 and we are needing to trade this van in. You know what, I’m buying another Odyssey. People say why?? I’ll tell you why, so comfortable, reliable and versatile. Great for traveling and moving stuff. Carried almost all of my kid’s stuff when they moved into their first apartment. Can carry luggage and passengers when traveling. We do not own a truck or have another way to move larger items or to haul stuff and the odyssey is perfect for that. Super comfortable for road trips. Looking forward to driving around grandkids… one day in the not toooo distant future, I hope!
Enjoy your van!!
Thanks Linda!! Sounds like a great life you’re living over there :)
I am totally jealous! I’ve had Subaru Foresters since 2000, and use them to sleep in when car camping. But doing road trips in a van means you really do have a tiny home on wheels! Maybe when I’m retired and traveling more, I’ll get one! Honda van… so nice!
I will cheer you on for that!
In fact, maybe it’ll motivate ME to keep it long term too and convert it to a home on wheels once our littles are gone?! That would be fun!
Congrats on becoming part of the minivan team! I myself have been driving a Honda Odyssey for 2 and half years and have loved it. I started off with a 2011 Odyssey because my husband bought it for my birthday even though I was against driving a minivan for so long lol but once he brought it home and we started driving it my kids and I loved it, it was exactly what we needed to maneuver around easier. Just last year though we traded in our 2011 Odyssey for the 2019 model and we have loved it. I am pretty sure you will love it just as much as we do, now we don’t know what we were waiting on to get one prior to our first minivan since I was driving a 2016 GMC Sierra with 2 toddlers which was so not comfortable when traveling and dinging all the other cars doors when trying to get kids out.
The door dinging anxiety I will not miss at all, haha… Still catch myself getting nervous for a hot second, but that should eventually dissipate over time :)
I went the opposite way: I downsized my car from a four door to a two door.
Just before Christmas I bought a 2016 Smart ForTwo with 17,000 miles on it for $10,700 (including shipping from Washington to Texas). I purchased it through TrueCar.com and sold my 2014 Nissan Cube to Carvana. I paid cash as well – I never thought to ask if I could put it on a credit card! Since I knew exactly what I was looking for (model. color, trim level, etc.) and had driven a Smart before, purchasing it online wasn’t a problem for me. I did a FaceTime call with the dealer so he could show me the car (which is in practically perfect condition). I loved the whole process – by far the easiest car purchase I’ve ever made! And selling my old car was just as easy: I filled out a form online, brought it in and they transferred the money to my account within a day or two. Quick and painless, which are two words I have NEVER associated with car sales!
Haha yeah!! Good work on that! :)
This article came at the perfect time! I have two kids and am anticipating a 3rd in the near future. Trying to convince the wife that the practicality of a van is the way to go! The sliding doors along convinced me.
I have a question for everyone. What type of terms should I be looking at?
J. Money I saw that you had a longer than 36 month term on one of your recent purchases. Thoughts?
Hey, congrats on the upcoming addition! It really depends on your comfortability and finances, but typically the lower terms you can get the better… I’ve had them from 36 months to 60 months (!!) before, but in almost all cases I paid it off way sooner anyways. And some people will still recommend financing it even if you have the cash! (so they can maximize the dollars by investing/etc…). Really just depends on your overall strategy and comfort with it all :)
Minivans forever! Be proud!
this minivan T-shirt is perfect for you now! You’ve earned it :p
Haha, yeah it is…
I had a minivan (as a single young man!) for years and LOVED IT.
I could fit dogs, surfboards, everything. It’s the only car I miss. Got a prius to spend less on gas, but man, I loved the Man Van.
awesome :) it’s helping hearing how so many people love them!