Pros: Huge trunk space, no major breakdowns thus far.
Cons: Automatic sliding doors heavy when broken,CD player stopped working, engine hesitates at times.
I have this car as a lease that will expire in July of 2003. I plan to turn it in and not purchase it unless it will kill me financially.
The trunk space is indeed amazing, and I can't complain about any major engine issues. With regards to trunk space and seat configuration, there are a number of models available in Japan that are incredible with seat configuration. We owned a Toyota in which the middle row of seats could flip around to face the rear row. I am guessing these are not available here due to safety regulations. I know they have incredible ideas for space savers in their models overseas.
I have a couple of issues with this van that may not be of concern to others.
The automatic sliding doors are my primary complaint. They have broken a couple of times. I was told at the dealer that this is a common problem. While they are broken, they are extremely heavy. They do not open like regular sliding doors. A child cannot open them alone when the automatic function is broken.
Also, the sliding doors can be opened from either the driver's console button or by lightly pulling the sliding door handle. It will not work if both features are activated at the same time. For example, if you are in the carpool line dropping your children off for school and you have cars and buses waiting behind you, and your kids try to open the sliding door at the same time you push the button for the door to open, it will not open. There is a delay before the system resets itself and the door can be opened. Moms are well aware that buses do not want to have to wait on you when you have a door that does not open. Worse still, the kids have gotten out and they pull the handle to close the door at the same time as you push the button to close it, you will again be stuck for a period only this time, your door will be stuck open until the system resets. I have found myself slowly starting to drive while the door is still open, just to get out of everyone's way. It will not open while the car is in gear, which is a safety feature. It is a good feature, but it means you cannot put your foot on the brake and open the doors...you must actually put the car in park. The door will however close when you are in gear. For example, you can pull away from the curb with an open door and shut the door as you drive away.
Another feature on my particular model is a navigation system. I used to hate my navigation system as we lived in Tennessee. It does nothing but give general direction in a rural area. It did come in handy when I was stuck on a windy road in the middle of nowhere because I at least knew which direction to go. We are currently in Detroit and naturally, being the automotive capital, the navigation system maps are much better stocked. I can find about anything...grocery stores, schools, gas stations. It could be set up better, but it has been extremely useful. This is a feature that I would recommend if you are using it in a larger city. In a more rural area, it can be helpful in a general sense, but is a pretty expensive option for just that. Please keep in mind that when I rate this navigation system I have had the best of the best in Japan in the past. I do not believe we have anything in the United States yet that will compare to the information provided by the systems available in Japan.
We have had trouble with the CD player and plan to have that replaced soon. It just stopped one day. Replacement runs around 300 dollars. Honda was not able to give us a reason for breakdown. They just said it is cheaper to replace than to repair.
One feature I do not like on my model is that you cannot have a tape deck with the navigation system. They claim that is because there is no room; however, on our Toyota model in Japan, the navigation screen flipped out to reveal the tape deck and CD player underneath. I know this is technology that is available. Honda just did not use it for this model.
I have enjoyed the traction control system on my model as we are in a snowy area now. I don't know if it actually works yet, but I guess that is something you never really know unless it stops working.
I have owned a Dodge Caravan in the past...a 1994 Grand Caravan. The Honda is much better built. We have far fewer problems with this car. I had to have the transmission replaced within the first year on my Dodge.
The interior fabric on this model is relatively cheap. It is not top notch. I am not sure what else to say. My husband is an automotive engineer with tons of background in interiors. His opinion is that it just doesn't stack up. They took shortcuts in quality that were not worth it. For the price of 28k, I would have expected just a tad better than this.
This car is good quality, and the trunk space is great. I just wish they had not skimped on the extras for the smaller stuff like the doors, CD player, and interior.