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A Honda family Odyssey

There are two things that are synonymous with Summer in the Great White North: Road trips to the cottage and construction. We have many traditions around each of them, and both clog our highways with mind numbingly bad traffic. One of the traditions among many cottagers is the seasonal closing. Depending on where you live, this takes place at different times of the year. Closing almost always happens on a long weekend.

This past Labor Day, that’s what our family did. It was the same weekend we had the 2018 Honda Odyssey for our road test, which you can read here. The perfect time to pack up the kids, cat, bikes and power tools the weekend would require. Road trips are a popular way for families to travel. Flight ticket costs can be several thousand dollars for parents with three or more kids. Minivans, with their interior space and seating configuration, are the perfect tool for road trips. The 2018 Honda Odyssey is nearly the perfect minivan for a road trip.

Hitting the road

Three kid seats pack easily across the middle row, something other minivans don’t quite do the same. This leaves room for all sorts of cottage related items in the back. Only a large SUV can compete with this space. Easily stored inside were: Two kid’s bikes, luggage, travel fridge, two food bags, bedding, cat, cat box, video game console, and a VersAttach with all attachments. Just to mention a few.

What minivans offer, where SUVs fall flat, is moderate fuel mileage. Smaller SUVs with four cylinders do better, but they can’t take anywhere near as much stuff or people. Honda has invested a lot of modern technology into the 2018 Honda Odyssey, including an efficient drivetrain. Fully loaded, at freeway speeds, the van made 25.6 MPG (9.2L/100km) round trip. Higher than the EPA numbers Honda reports for highway travel, 27.7 MPG (8.5L/100km), but an hour in thick traffic isn’t economic driving. Travelling 211 miles (340 km) with three kids can be a test. Thankfully, there are plenty of entertainment options in modern vans. The 2018 Honda Odyssey, like the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, feature an entertaining “are we there yet” video for kids to enjoy while travelling.

Loading and unloading minivans like the 2018 Honda Odyssey is fast. Flat floors afforded by disappearing rear seats make for easy unloading. Kick activated power tailgate lets overburdened parents open the tailgate without dropping things to search for keys. An onboard vacuum makes on-the-spot cleaning easy and fast. The hose on this Odyssey easily reaches the interior of the van, though it’s stuck to the inside.

At the cottage

Closing up weekends at the cottage often mean long days with piles of equipment. A chainsaw can be a property owner’s best friend, but a lot of property maintenance is outside a chainsaw’s strengths. A nifty solution is a powerful multi-tool like the Honda VersAttach. It’s powered by a small, but mighty, 25cc four stroke engine. None of the smelly blue oil-gas exhaust from the chainsaw. Quiet enough to hear the kids playing nearby while it ran.

A large patch of rogue hickory bushes had become overgrown throughout the season. Five minutes of quick work and it was all gone. The only time the trimmer blades got stuck was operator error. It made easy work of bushes with stems as much as an inch and a half wide. Trimming the invading canopy on the trails is made even easier by an extension arm. Doing this with a chainsaw alone would have taken much, much longer. It doesn’t look as powerful as any one of these tools would be on their own, but they are.

And home again

After a long weekend making short work, the whole lot is packed up again. You might leave the VersAttach at the cottage, but you still have some “honey do” list items around the home it might be useful for. That grass along the fence, for example, or the dead fruit tree, which the chainsaw attachment handles with ease. A long trip home is highlighted by roadside pit stops, Pixar movies on the center screen, and a few food spills. Family memories are made on trips like this. Stories the kids will cherish well into adulthood. It may only be a weekend, but in the moment, it feels like a whole summer.

And, as you gaze at their sleeping, smiling faces in the review mirror, you’re reminded of the road trips you took as a kid. So many family trips you took at their age. Now you’re making new memories, one family odyssey at a time.

About Dan Croutch

Dan is a freelance automotive writer and YouTuber (DanDrives). He enjoys all things pickup trucks, classic cars and minivans (really). Fascinated by technology and cars. EV hopeful, but slightly skeptic. He blogs at http://dan.croutch.ca occasionally, tweets @dcroutch obsessively.

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