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A large cabin, excellent crash test scores, a reputation for reliability and a high resale value make this our favorite minivan on the market.
Good power, excellent crash test scores, tons of interior space.
Transmission hesitates to shift, leather seating not available.
Available Odyssey Models
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The only new feature is an optional navigation system on the EX.
The second-generation Honda Odyssey is only a year old, and already it is recognized as the new minivan benchmark. It's powered by a 3.5-liter 24-valve VTEC V6 that produces up to 210 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque, according to Honda. To get that kind of power requires 91-octane, but with 87-octane fuel, the engine makes 205 horses and 217 lb-ft of torque. The V6 is based on the Accord's 3.0-liter engine but it offers more power, since the Odyssey's got a bit of extra girth.
The base model LX includes such standard fare as dual sliding doors, power windows (including power rear-vent windows), power locks, power mirrors, cruise control, a theft-deterrent system, two 12-volt power outlets, front and rear air conditioning, antilock brakes and, of course, the 3.5-liter V6 engine. The EX features such niceties as dual power-sliding doors, body-colored door handles, a roof rack, keyless remote, an eight-way power driver's seat, alloy wheels, traction control, a CD player and steering-wheel-mounted radio controls.
Sitting on a four-wheel independent suspension, a first in the minivan segment, the Odyssey is supported comfortably and keeps the driver in touch with the road. Combined with the Odyssey's wide track, the suspension adds a nimble feel. Body roll around corners is well-damped for a vehicle of this height.
The most unique Odyssey feature continues to be its hideaway, or "magic" seat. With a minimum of effort and the use of one set of hands only, the rear seat can be folded out of sight and be flush with the floor in a matter of seconds. The second-row seats are convertible and can be used as separate captain's chairs or as a bench.
A minivan would not be complete without safety features, and the Odyssey comes with its share. All seven seats have headrests and three-point seatbelts, both firsts in the minivan market. ABS and an Electronic Brakeforce Distribution system (EBD) are also standard. EBD senses the placement and amount of cargo, then compensates for it during hard braking to avoid rear-wheel lockup.
With terrific crash test scores, innovative features, and nice power to boot -- the Honda Odyssey might just be the ultimate family vehicle.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.