Honda Odyssey's onboard vacuum cleans up

Paying about $45,000 for the top-level Honda Odyssey EX-L Touring Elite minivan buys you a 12-speaker sound system and other features you might expect, plus one you might not—a canister vacuum that’s hardwired to the vehicle. Made by Shop-Vac, it includes a 16-foot hose and tools, and it runs for eight minutes off the Odyssey’s car battery—or as long as you like while the engine is running.

The Honda Odyssey is a winner in our tests but is the built-in vacuum as good as the rest of the vehicle? To find out, we pitted it against our two top corded hand vacuums, the Eureka Easy Clean 71b, $50, and the Black & Decker Dustbuster HV9010P, $65, along with a high-scoring Kenmore canister. Our results show this winning minivan is also a winner at helping clean up the messes these family haulers may attract.

How we tested. We duplicated our hand-vacuum tests on carpets with cereal, uncooked rice, sand, and pet hair. Honda’s vacuum vanquished most of those spills as thoroughly as the Black & Decker and even more quickly than the Eureka and the Kenmore. The Honda vacuum holds as much in its bin as the Kenmore holds in its bag. It’s also as quiet as the Kenmore, and quieter than both of the hand vacuums in our test. Pet hair is where the Eureka hand vacuum and its powered brush had an edge in speed, though the Honda vacuum eventually got it all.

The bottom line. Honda’s built-in vacuum is a worthy addition to an impressive van. Of course, you can save at least $2,500 by ordering an Odyssey without the vacuum and fancy sound system—and using one of our top-scoring hand vacuums or canisters instead.

—Ed Perratore

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