Okay, maybe that’s a terribly cliche headline to use when a vacuum is the main subject matter of a story. While it’s certainly not a derogatory comment on Honda’s overall ability to innovate, I do have to wonder what’s going on at Honda when the biggest new feature of the 2014 Odyssey is an in-vehicle vacuum.
Now that Honda has mastered the equation of understated comfort, exceptional reliability and dependable resale values, the only place left to go is… well… vacuums. Okay, in truth, Honda could probably stand to update its powertrains, build even more efficient engines, explore turbocharging or diesel options, upgrade its transmissions or, heck, even invest in some shiny new wheels. Instead of all that, though, Honda went with the vacuum.
The industry’s first built-in vacuum, mind you, but still a vacuum.
While Honda may lack certain technological advances or the striking design seen in vehicles made by other automakers, it has at least one thing going for it: functionality. A Honda will do exactly what it’s meant to do. Over and over again. With very little effort. Forever. Buyers love that about Honda and continue to sign on the dotted line in mass numbers.
When you look at Honda through the lens of functionality, rather than from the perspective of exciting innovation, a vacuum makes a lot of sense. Plenty of Honda owners have kids, pets or both, and the ability to quickly clean up the crushed remains of car-snack cookies or embedded Golden Retriever hair will speak directly to potential customers on the showroom floor.
The HondaVAC will run indefinitely, as long as the engine is running, or up to 8 minutes with the engine off. It comes with attachments, a replaceable filter, canister bag and a hose long enough to clean the entire interior.
For convenience-minded American minivan shoppers, this is the kind of technology that will keep the Odyssey on top. Yes, it’s more fun for auto writers to wax ecstatic about increased horsepower, 9-speed transmissions and carbon fiber body parts, but at the end of the day it’s features like the vacuum that will close the deal.
Would an in-car vacuum sway you to buy a Honda Odyssey over another minivan?