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Replace Honda Odyssey

My wife’s 2001 Honda Odyssey needs work - about as much as the car is worth - time to trade it in. The issue is that we need 4WD, carry 2 (smallish) dogs, 1 kid with friends, she likes to be “high up” so she can see the road. I care about gas mileage. The van has been great except for the lack of 4WD to climb the steepest road in Vermont in the middle of a blizzard. We test drove a Honda CRV, which seemed nice enough - although there was noticeable engine noise. We also tried a Jeep (too “cheap” and too big). Then we tried the Honda Pilot. Ok, but it’s big. To the point where my wife exhibited “SUV Syndrome” - total obliviousness to all other cars on the road. I would appreciate suggestions on alternatives.

For what you describe, it’s hard to beat the Pilot or CRV. Maybe try a Venza.

I test drove a CRV. Same impression on road noise. Did you sit in the back seat? Not much room and the seat cushion is rather austere to put it mildly.

You’re used to minivan so it will be hard to give up the convenience. Have you considered the Sienna? It’s available in AWD…

Thank you, will go have a look.

The best approach IMHO is to pick up a Consumer Reports New Car Buyers’ Guide at the local bookstore, circle all the ones you both like, and spend a few weekends doing test drives. Car selection is a highly personal thing, and only you can really determine what you like best.

Get another Odyssey and put good winter tires on it. The FWD with winter tires will go up just about anything. I don’t think you need 4WD or AWD. Michelin X-Ice tires are “green” tires and have low rolling resistance so you won’t loss much if any mpg if you go with them.

One of the best winter cars I ever had was a '96 Chevy MPV mini van with 4 Goodyear winter tires on it. I was a sales manage with upstate NY, Vermont, and New Hampshire all in my district. I had no problems with that car and those tires over 4 very snowy winters. If you aren’t running winter tires on your current Odyssey then that’s why you are having issues with that big hill.

I’ve driven that hill for 30 years in good and bad weather. I’ve been down it sideways in a Nissan PathFinder, I’ve had to back down it a few times in several cars. Even with snow tires, the Odyssey is not a reliable way to get up or down in snow, the traction control is useless on that hill. We put cables on one year which did the trick, but we were lucky to not get blasted with severe weather.

Maybe too many $$, but an Acura MDX would have the ‘super handling awd’ system, might be a bit better than the awd system on a Pilot or Sienna.

How about a Subaru wagon?

I love Subaru handling, she hates them.

Get another Odyssey and put good winter tires on it.

Be very careful if you do consider a new Odyssey. I bought a 2012 and it’s the only new vehicle purchase I have ever regretted. I love everything about it except the VCM. It has a super annoying shudder anytime it is in VCM mode and under light load. Cruising along at anything above 40 and light throttle is the worst case. It can be felt through the entire van but obviously worst by the driver. It didn’t seem so bad on the test drive but under normal driving exposure, it’s almost unbearable. Might as well be a diesel truck…