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honda odyssey

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’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 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.

honda odyssey

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.

Related From
Minivan Sliding Door Track Photo Comparison
U.S. Minivan Sales – May 2010
Minivan Sales In Canada – April 2010
All The 2011 Toyota Sienna Swagger Wagon Clips
2009’s The Good 12 Supersize Part IV – Honda Odyssey

  1. I totaly agree with you, that looks awfull – maybe it was the same guy who designed the back end of their Crosstour. It looks good up to the end of the rear door and then it looks like a seperate vehicle has been tacked on the back. If Toyota and Chrysler can hide it – come on Honda what were you thinking! Maybe if they are all sold in dark colours!
    "goodcarbadcar" guy, maybe you should do one of your side by side comparison shots for the various minivans.

  2. I agree guys. I keep thinking, why didn't I think the Odyssey looked awkward as the concept? (Since there have hardly been any changes from concept to reality) I realised that the sliding door tracks actually makes a big impact on the looks. However, it looks better in the new official Odyssey pictures posted on "Future Vehicles"

  3. Minivans should try harder to make the outside look good. Hide the track… have the technology. I am so against the 2011 Honda track….and the New 2011 Nissan that I will in no way by one of those vehicles. I drive a Dodge Caravan now….with a hidden track…..Toyota Sienna will be my next van…

  4. Why do they keep saying that they are updating the image of the minivan (both Honda and Toyota have said this)…. and then come up with something like this? I totally agree… the track should be hidden as much as possible, and the take end shouldn't look like a the complilation of a funny car. Really? Seriously? I'm a female in my 40's.. with small kids… give me a break! All the cute videos and lightening bolt design hype isn't going to make this "hesitator" cross over the the minivan sign. The interior would be great… if I didn't have to look at the outside 20 times a day in parking lots. Ugh!

  5. As a mother of four, I could personally care less about the track on my Odyssey, and aren't I the target market? In fact, I've never even looked at it besides when it's detailed and I assure it's clean. I personally went out and looked and the 2011 this week. I'll be going with Black, I think the white just looks bad but I love the design and can't wait to upgrade my current Odyssey to the 2011 🙂

  6. I absoultely love the design. Going to pick out the color next week – It is so sleek and the waiting lists for these vehicles is amazing. My husband doesn't like vans but loves this one. Totally sold on the design. Great work Honda!!!!!!

  7. I just signed my paperwork for my new 2011 BLACK Odyssey. This is the most awesome "MOM VAN" ever. Who cares if the tracks are not hidden, i have a COOLER IN MY DASHBOARD!!! I think that these door tracks just look like part of the design. All that the inside of this van offers outways door tracks, this is a great min-van and do not overlook it because of door tracks, its beautiful.

  8. We test-driven both 2011 Odyssey & 2011 Sienna… You instantly feel a certain level of luxury and comfort with the Odyssey – A clear winner!

  9. In terms of design, at least the 2011 Odyssey is trying to look more like a car instead of looking like bulky clunky can on 4 wheels.

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