The Honda Odyssey: Are Minivans Becoming … Cool?

Natalie Josef
January 5, 2011

The other night, I was suffering through the seemingly endless barrage of commercials in hopes of someday getting back to watching South Park when the strangest thing happened—I thought I heard the opening bars to the classic Judas Priest song, “The Hellion/Electric Eye.” Fearing I had fallen asleep and was having a Headbanger’s Ball flashback/fantasy, I sat up straight in my seat and turned up the volume.

It was no fantasy. Here, on national television, the soaring twin solo guitars of Glen Tipton and K.K. Downing were shredding through my TV screen, taking me back to a time when all was right with the world, when heavy metal ruled and music was fun, when guys had prettier hair than girls and black leather and ripped T-shirts were the standard uniform, when only rock stars had tattoos and no one went to rehab.

And then—what was that? A growling black panther? A Marshall stack? A fire-breathing dragon and a heavy metal dude on dual TV screens? Pyrotechnics? What is that … a minivan?

Wait a second. A minivan? What the …?

And then it flashed on the screen—the Honda Odyssey … a van that beckons like no van has before. Hell yeah, it does! I need a minivan, right? Sure, I do. No, I don’t have kids, but Judas Priest doesn’t play when I open up my little Honda Hybrid. I don’t look at my car and mistake it for a black panther. My car doesn’t have a Marshall stack for a sound system!

It wasn’t until I had calmed down a bit and returned to watching South Park that the truth of the matter really hit me—that commercial made me want to buy a minivan, or at least made me watch a minivan commercial with the same interest and concentration I normally employ only when working or cutting my fingernails.

And then, yesterday, in the business section of the New York Times, an article on minivans … and how they are making a comeback … and how they are … dare I say it … cool?

I wrote a blog back in October describing the three coolest minivans out there today, but I never really thought driving a minivan was cool, not by a longshot. They will never be cool—just like having your baby throw up on you isn’t cool or spending your money on diapers isn’t cool.

The truth is, we all grow up, all of us, even the dudes in the 80s metal videos. They all have kids now. I bet some of them even drive minivans. I used to spend my time figuring out guitar riffs on Megadeth albums and thinking about how to sneak backstage at Whitesnake concerts—now I think about Roth IRAs and spend my time trying not to eat too much pizza. Honestly, most people my age don’t even think about being cool anymore … but we will never stop loving metal.

It makes me happy that my generation is making commercials and holding onto the things in our collective past that resonate with all of us. People may not go out in droves to buy the Honda Odyssey, but if they are going to buy a minivan, why not buy that one? Rock on, Honda, rock on. \m/



Natalie Josef

About the Author

Natalie Josef is an automotive expert at RepairPal, the leading online source of auto repair resources and estimates. With many ASE Master certified mechanics on staff who have decades of experience, RepairPal knows all the fine points of car repair.

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