About a month ago, we passed the 100,000 mile mark on our 2002 Honda Odyssey which, if you were Dave, meant that it was IMMEDIATELY time to change the timing belt, an expensive but “must-do” piece of maintenance.  If you were me, it meant that we can push the timing belt thing out a little longer because we really don’t need to change it at exactly the recommended mileage and in the mean time if we are going spend $800 maintaining a 10 year old vehicle, why don’t we put that money into a down payment on a new vehicle?

Speaking of timing, Honda coincidentally just came out with a series of TV ads highlighting the hotness of their brand new 2011 Odyssey.

For the record, I am not a huge car person but the thought of pimping my ride after a near decade of driving the standard-issued silver mini-van was intriguing.  And after seeing that commercial, I wanted a giant oyster in MY van.  Because it can only improve the smell that has already made its permanent home in the depths of the backseat.

Yes, MoB readers.  I am committed to one more “cycle of mini-van.”  Aside from the sex appeal I exude while driving one, we still cart a ton of crap kids and equipment around and likely will for the next 8 -10 years.

So I was excited to see what new features my friends at Honda developed in the last decade.  We test drove a 2011 Honda Odyssey EXL this past Saturday and experienced the following whiz bang options:

A cooling box in the front console. Our sales guy suggested that “men like to put beverages in there” which I took to mean beer which sounded a little off to me.

Blue tooth connection in the steering wheel for hands free jabbering. Given my propensity to text while driving in states where this remains legal, this feature was a plus.  Still, I don’t look forward to sharing my conversation with everyone in the van.

Rear entertainment system with an 8 inch screen. If you want the dual 16 inch screen you have to order the Touring Edition which we were told takes months and several thousand more dollars.  Shhh.  Do you hear that?  It’s my future.  Kids fighting over what to watch on a tiny 8 inch screen.

Side view mirror warmers. Because those poor reflective babies are so pathetic when they get chilled.  I would have suggested rear seat warmers instead so that the humans can enjoy this technology, but I guess side mirrors are people too.

Another rear seat. Only suitable for the tushie of a 6 year old, but bringing the capacity of the van up to 8 people.  This seat, while removable, sits between the two bucket seats in the second row and blocks the nice pathway to the way back which is frequently used mid-travel when one brother finally loses it on the other and needs to retreat.  Since we need this path and don’t have any 6 year old tushies regularly riding in our car, this extra seat is of no use to us.

New car smell. We get this once every ten years for about 10 minutes.  Also included is new car paint, — free of scratches, dings, and dents.  And there are no rips in the leather interior.  All of these niceties promise to throw me into a state of anxiety until the first mark, dent, rip, or spill is complete, at which point I can relax and let nature take its course.

And all of this could be ours for about $40,000 dollars.  Hmm.

Throughout our test drive, something was bothering me and I couldn’t put my finger on it.  The van drove very nicely ,much like the Honda Odyssey we have.  It had front seat warmers, automatic doors, and a radio, much like the Honda Odyssey we have.    We complimented the van’s practicality and functionality, much like the ….

Wait a minute.

None of these features is so amazing that it’s worth jumping the gun on a new purchase.  Most of these accessories I already have, just not attached to the car.  And the spoiler alert:  These vans don’t really come with giant oysters in the back.  Basically, if we buy now, we are purchasing $40,000 worth of marginal features, a few more reasons for kids to fight, and some additional worry about how soon and how badly we are going to ruin it all.  $40k of angst.

Unlike the timing belt, that can wait.

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