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A family is shown walking towards a red 2020 certified pre-owned Honda Odyssey.

Cool Moms Agree: It’s Time to Stop Shaming the Minivan

If you’re shopping for a family-friendly vehicle that’s actually family-friendly and not just depicted that way on the manufacturer’s marketing materials, you have one choice: a minivan. Better yet, buy a Certified Pre-Owned Honda Odyssey. It may not be the news you wanted to hear, but no SUV can match the myriad of conveniences found on an Odyssey. We promise the existential crisis triggered by merely mentioning the word minivan will pass quickly, especially after the first time you stuff little Janey in her car seat without suffering a slipped disk or whacking your head on the B pillar. Does it really matter what you drive when your shirt is splattered with spit-up, and you haven’t showered in two (OK, three) days?

Multi-kid families know all too well the Herculean task of getting the kids to school on time. We must first survive breakfast (yes, we’re having Eggo waffles again), outfit selection, tooth brushing, lunch, and backpack packing, and then herd the brood into the car without a potentially time-sapping meltdown. It’s not easy, but we promise it’s easier – and surprisingly affordable – in a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Odyssey. Here’s our best argument for why ending up with a minivan in your child-rearing years is actually a good thing.

Minivan Utility for the Parental Assist

We can’t all have full-time nannies and housekeepers to lighten the parental load, and even if we could, the primary job of parenting your kids falls on you. This includes big decisions like which vehicle you’ll choose to shuttle everyone to school and go about the business of running your household. Your decision has major implications on your entire family’s quality of life, so our advice is to press the easy button and get a minivan.

Minivans like the Odyssey have dual sliding power side doors that open wide. Their car-like dimensions mean ground clearance is low, so you’re not reaching up to retrieve your crying baby or lending ten fingers to launch your wobbly toddler into the back seat. You’re also not refereeing WWF knockdowns over who gets stuck in the way back because, unlike SUVs, minivans are like family rooms – there are no bad seats.

Most minivans, including the Odyssey, offer impressive fuel economy relative to their size and weight. That means fewer stops at the gas station and a lighter load on your wallet. The newest models hover at around 22 MPG combined. If you’re the weekend home project type, the Odyssey’s 140-plus cubic feet of total cargo volume is a pleasant surprise, especially when combined with Honda’s cool Magic Seats that fold flat into the floor (check model year specs for availability).

Take it from cool mom and automotive blogger Maria Smith, who ardently loves her minivan. Her “ride or die for my Honda Odyssey” stance is unapologetic. As for the dreaded minivan shame, it’s nonexistent. Similar to jumping in a cold lake, the build-up is where you feel the most resistance, but once you get past the initial shock, you find it wasn’t as uncomfortable as your brain led you to believe. The pros far outweigh the cons.

A family is shown getting out of a silver 2021 Honda Odyssey Elite.

Your Minivan Is a Mobile Family Room

Moms of little ones can relate to the idea that being anywhere but home with your brood introduces a lot of variables. If you can’t relate, then check back after your progeny’s first grocery store temper tantrum. Giving up control is the trade-off for staying mobile. In a minivan, however, your on-the-road escapades won’t fray the nerves quite as intensely, thanks to more space and tons of family-oriented features.

What else can you expect with a minivan? A long list of cabin conveniences designed to maintain your sanity by optimizing space and comfort for your mini-me. Examples include an available rear entertainment system with wireless headphones and an in-cabin cellular data-saving WiFi hotspot for older kids who can’t tear themselves away from Tik Tok. Newer model years offer tri-zone climate control, so you can set the rear temp higher to keep the baby warm and cozy without roasting in the front seat.

Fifth-generation Odyssey model years (2018 – 2021) offer CabinTalk and CabinWatch, two systems that undergird parent and caregiver authority while the vehicle is in motion. Isn’t it funny how stepping on the gas pedal tends to trigger the most robust sibling scuffles? With these two features, you can display a live cabin view on the touchscreen and bear witness to who started it, and then override cabin audio with a clear audible warning to “keep your hands to yourself.”

Minivans contain some mind-blowing convenience features you won’t find in an SUV. Close your eyes and picture the crime scene in your car’s back seat (hint – look on the floor below the car seats). There lies the remains of goldfish crackers coated with a thin layer of Cheerios dust. Imagine a world where you don’t have to haul out the Shop-Vac to get rid of the evidence. It exists – some Odyssey model years feature a built-in vacuum cleaner.

The Benefits of Buying CPO

Not all families want to invest in a brand new minivan. We get it since the price of a base model Odyssey hovers in the mid-$30,000 range. Bargain seekers who don’t want to roll the dice on a sketchy private seller should take a close look at Certified Pre-Owned minivans. CPO vans are recent model year, gently used, and have fewer miles than many typical used versions.

Honda Certified Odyssey minivans come in two main categories – HondaTrue Certified+ (2019 and newer, less than 12 months or 12,000 miles from the in-service date) and HondaTrue Certified (2015 and newer, more than 12 months or 12,000 miles from the in-service date). Each includes a 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Certified+ models receive an additional 24-month/50,000 limited warranty, and Certified versions feature 12 months/12,000 miles of additional coverage.

Both Certified+ and Certified Honda Odysseys come with two complimentary oil changes and 24/7 emergency roadside assistance. Properly equipped vehicles also come with a free 3-month SiriusXM satellite radio trial. For those prone to buyer’s remorse, Honda has you covered. Take advantage of the no-questions-asked 3-day exchange policy and swap out your Odyssey for a different vehicle.

All potential CPO Honda Odysseys are put through an exhaustive 182 point inspection to rule out inventory with chronic mechanical issues or excessive wear and tear, so the result is a filtered and highly scrutinized pool of options. It’s well worth considering. Think of it this way: choose a CPO model, and you might even have a little extra cash leftover to throw at the orthodontist.

A mom is shown getting a group of kids ready for baseball practice near a green 2021 Honda Odyssey.

Let Go of Minivan Angst

We get it – parenting is a time of shifting roles and transition. For a time, you’ll abandon your pre-kid persona and shift the focus to tending the flock. It’s hard work, but if you take our advice and choose a minivan as your primary family vehicle, life gets exponentially easier. This is the ultimate parent life hack.

The idea that you’re less cool in a minivan is hogwash. Who cares what anyone thinks if your carpool duties and errands are stress-free? If you end up the subject of derisive mom gossip, know that it’s a sign of their less evolved relationship with utility. Have pity because these moms are sacrificing back health for appearance. Like any other revolution, there’s progress in numbers. Show your zealous support for these brave and unapologetic Minivan Moms by becoming one of them.