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The best minivan sold in America just got better for 2002.
Excellent crash-test scores, huge interior, fold-flat third-row seat, powerful V6, optional navigation and entertainment system, a bargain at sticker price.
Slow power sliding doors, dealer markup still a possibility.
Available Odyssey Minivan Models
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The Odyssey gains a number of improvements this year. Included with the Odyssey 2.1 upgrade is more power, a new five-speed transmission, standard rear disc brakes and side airbags, optional leather seating and DVD entertainment, two new exterior colors and minor interior storage refinements.
The second-generation Honda Odyssey is currently recognized as the minivan benchmark, having thieved the crown from Chrysler shortly after its debut in 1999. Honda reliability, coupled with a cavernous interior and useful features like a fold-flat third-row seat and second-row captain's chairs that can be slid together to serve as a bench are among the reasons the Odyssey has single-handedly revived interest in minivans. For 2002, Honda has made a number of changes to ensure that its minivan stays on top.
Headlining the changes is an increase in horsepower. The 3.5-liter VTEC-equipped V6 now produces 240 horsepower and 242 pound-feet of torque, an increase from 210 hp and 229 lb-ft. Honda says the revised engine provides for quicker acceleration and no longer requires premium fuel. It is connected to a new five-speed automatic transmission (upgraded from a four-speed) that offers improved shift quality and efficiency.
There are two trim levels: LX and EX. The base LX model includes such standard fare as a height-adjustable driver seat (with thicker bolstering this year), traction control, dual sliding doors, power windows (including power rear-vent windows), power locks, power mirrors, cruise control, a theft-deterrent system, front and rear air conditioning and antilock brakes. Step up to the EX and enjoy features like dual power sliding doors, a roof rack, keyless remote entry, an eight-way power driver seat, alloy wheels, a CD player and steering wheel-mounted radio controls.
Sitting on a four-wheel independent suspension, a first in the minivan segment, the Odyssey rides comfortably and keeps the driver in touch with the road. Combined with the Odyssey's wide track, the suspension contributes a nimble and stable feel. Body roll around corners is minimal, particularly for a vehicle of this size, and the suspension has been retuned this year to reduce harshness over bumps.
A key Odyssey feature continues to be its hideaway, or "magic," third-row seat. With a minimum of effort and the use of just one set of hands, the rear seat can be folded out of sight and sit 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. In terms of features, a navigation system is optional on the EX and employs a single DVD disc for nationwide mapping. For 2002, Honda has added leather seating to the list, as well as a DVD entertainment system with a 7-inch LCD monitor that flips down from the ceiling.
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, and each Odyssey comes with ABS (four-wheel disc brakes are standard this year), traction control and an Electronic Brake Distribution system (EBD). Also new for this year are dual stage front airbags and driver- and front passenger-side airbags. In government and insurance institute crash testing, the 2001 Odyssey couldn't have scored better, getting five stars all around. This is one van that does a great job of protecting occupants.
With its excellent crash-test scores, innovative features and cavernous interior, the Honda Odyssey might just be the ultimate family vehicle.
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