Welcome to the forum and congratulations on seeing the greenlight for minivans. Your situation is sort of similar to mine. We are a family of five as well. I decided to buy a minivan last year when the third child was cooking. I did a lot of back-and-forth between the Odyssey and the Pacifica. The hybrid was not in my target range because of the lack of eighth seat as well as losing out the second row cargo space. The frequent visits of our parents was also a consideration for minivans.
The advantages of Odyssey are obviously magic slide seats as well as smoother engine and long term reliability per reviews. The pentastar V6 is good too but not Honda good (I had and still have Honda and Acura in my garage). That engine note is simply unbeatable. The hybrid may win the best drive battle here though.
The downsides for Odyssey are that it simply doesnít feel upscale. It feels like a cheap Honda especially the interior at night (the Pacifica wins the aesthetics for me). Lots of minor quality issues for the Odyssey for my taste (though it may be sorted by now), but the Pacifica has that occasional major one
. I hope Iím not one of those.
The Pacifica truly feels and drives like a luxury car at least from the driverís perspective. The rear seats are better and more comfortable in the Odyssey though.
Having said that, itís a wash between Odyssey and Pacifica with regards to seating flexibility. I frequently change the seating configuration depending on how many people are riding (few weeks at a time), and most of the time the 8th seat sits in the garage (covered obviously).
Now if you have to change the seating instantly all the time, there is no comparison to magic slide seats. Even though the Pacifica seats have flexiblity, you still need some work to do to change them (think about your wife here)
. Also the Odyssey second row seats can slide forwards in sitting position (to provide more 3rd row leg space if needed) which the Pacifica canít do. But the easy tilt seats of Pacifica are a god send for 3rd row access.
I hope that when the kids grow up a little, all can sit side by side in the second row.
The other issue is rear screens. The Odyssey has only ceiling mounted but Pacifica offers both seatback and ceiling mounted depending on trim levels. So far only one child wants to watch something, but in the coming few years they may want to watch different videos, so my seat back screens might help.
Cargo capacity (with third row up): the Odyssey has better rear cargo compartment, but Pacifica has more cargo volume if you add all the stow and go spaces.
The Odyssey is better if you want to carry large stuff such as strollers along with suitcases. In Pacifica my folded stroller sits only side to side while it will fit lengthwise in an Odyssey (I checked before buying). But the more space in Pacifica comes handy for longer trips when you want to place a lot of stuff out of sight such as cameras, or other expensive stuff, or even spare carton of diapers or a carton of bottled water (it sure comes handy- when traveling with kids). During my last trip I loaded the bins with dirty laundry which freed up space in my suitcases and car interior. You can see how the hybrid wonít fit my lifestyle.
If your wife loves the Odyssey, then you should give serious thought to that. My wife still gives me that occasional stab when the kid in third row complains that she cannot see the screen when someone is sitting in the 2nd row or the 8th seat is up.
Hope it helps.
Please let me know if you have any specific questions.
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