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Though now six years old, continual improvements have helped the Odyssey maintain its status as one of the best minivans on the market.
Excellent crash test scores, huge interior, fold-flat third-row seat, powerful V6, optional navigation and entertainment system.
Quality of some interior materials could be better, stability control and side curtain airbags aren't available.
Available Odyssey Minivan Models
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Other than an improved database for the navigation system and a seatbelt reminder system, there are no significant changes for the '04 Odyssey.
The second-generation Honda Odyssey is most often 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 slide together to serve as a bench are among the reasons the Odyssey has won every Edmunds.com minivan comparison test conducted since 1999.
For 2004, however, the Honda faces revitalized competition in the form of the all-new Toyota Sienna and Nissan Quest. Though neither looks to be revolutionary, minivan shoppers would be wise to add them to their list of potential purchases. And even if you still decide on an Odyssey, keep in mind that this new competition could aid you in getting a better price on the Honda -- in years past, the high popularity of the Odyssey gave dealers the advantage when it came time for price negotiations.
There are two trim levels: LX and EX. The base LX model includes such standard fare as a height-adjustable driver seat, traction control, dual manual-sliding doors, power windows (including power rear-vent windows), power locks, power mirrors, cruise control, front and rear air conditioning and antilock brakes. Step up to the EX and enjoy features like dual power-sliding doors, automatic climate control, keyless remote entry, an eight-way power driver seat, alloy wheels, a CD player and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. Should you want more, leather seating, a navigation system and an entertainment system for rear passengers are all available for EX models. Worthy of note, however, is the fact that the nav and entertainment systems, both DVD-based, cannot be ordered together and are only available when the optional leather interior is specified.
The 3.5-liter V6 produces a stout 240 horsepower and 242 pound-feet of torque. It's connected to a five-speed automatic transmission that puts power to the front wheels. This is one of the quickest minivans available, with 0-to-60 mph coming up in less than 8.0 seconds. It also posts an EPA mileage estimate of 18 city/25 highway.
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 four-wheel antilock disc brakes and side airbags for front occupants. In government crash testing, the Odyssey has earned five stars, the best ranking possible, for both frontal and side-impact safety. The IIHS has also given the minivan a "Good" rating (the highest possible) for its performance in the 40-mph frontal offset crash test. Two relatively new safety features found on the new Nissan Quest and Toyota Sienna -- stability control and head-protecting side curtain airbags -- aren't available on the Odyssey.
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. A number of other manufacturers have copied this design, however, and the Sienna now offers a 60/40-split folding version that offers greater seating flexibility for larger families. The Odyssey's second-row seats are convertible and can be used as separate captain's chairs or as a bench. With the third-row seat lowered and the second-row seats removed, the Odyssey can fit up to 146 cubic feet of cargo, almost twice the amount of your average midsize SUV.
Sitting on a four-wheel independent suspension 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 does a respectable job of smoothing over bumps.
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