Sliding doors require something on which to slide. We call it a track. Whether it’s the doors leading out onto your patio or the frosted-glass room dividers in your studio apartment, sliding doors need a track. What you see in the pictures in this article are the two most ostentatious, outlandish, obtrusive sliding door tracks of all time.
This is the 2011 Honda Odyssey. Though it’s a styling improvement in almost every way over the 2010 Honda Odyssey, this vehicle is roundly tarnished by some of the most utilitarian gaps we’ve ever seen. This is concern for practicality gone awry; the theory of function over form taken to a whole…. nuther…. levaaaahl.
It’s not in GoodCarBadCar.net’s best interest for minivans to be taking up such a large chunk of the site, so we won’t belabour the point. Scroll through the pictures in the Gallery below after taking note of four essential points.
First, Honda says in the press release for the 2011 Odyssey that the 2010 Odyssey is currently America’s best-selling minivan. Hmm. Last month Toyota’s Sienna beat the Odyssey by 1,003 minivans. 3,732 more Chrysler Town & Countrys were sold than Honda Odysseys. Clearly Honda’s “currently” is different than the last month on record, May 2010. For the calendar year ending December 31st, the Honda Odyssey reached 100,133. The next closest was the Dodge Grand Caravan at 90,666. But who splits the Grand Caravan and Town & Country? Not GoodCarBadCar.net. Combined, Chrysler minivans out-sold Honda minivans by 75,000 units in one year. But in 2009 the Honda Odyssey was the best-selling minivan nameplate in America, for what that’s worth.
Next, think about minivan styling. None of them are pretty. These are unibox vehicles with limited room for styling consideration. Does a gigantic slat along the side of the 2011 Honda Odyssey make a difference to the typical minivan customer? Probably not. The previous-generation Odyssey did have a visible sliding door track (Chrysler and Toyota hide their tracks under the window) and this 2011 Odyssey’s track wouldn’t look so bad if Honda had released their press photos of an Odyssey painted black or navy.
Then there’s the Odyssey Concept which, like most concept versions of forthcoming production vehicles, looked better than the end result. Notably, however, Honda knew well enough to make the concept’s sliding door track less visible. It’s slimmer, a little hooded, and in typical concept fashion doesn’t even have to sit above a fuel door.
Finally, be annoyed by this: Honda has a title for the Odyssey’s styling. Remember how Infiniti went crazy with the whole Bionic Cheetah thing? Ah-noooy-ing. Well, get this, Honda says the Odyssey features a “sporty ‘lightning bolt’ beltline”. That reverse Hoffmeister kink aft of the C-pillar is sporty? The “lightning bolt” only draws more attention to the obstructive sliding door track and reeks of an attempt to inject a sense of uniqueness to a vehicle that, for all intents and purposes, looks just like its competitors.
The 2011 Honda Odyssey goes on sale in the fall of 2010. It will be fast, roomy, supremely comfortable, surprisingly fuel efficient, and an incredible family vehicle. And it will have a horrendous sliding door track.