Needing a vehicle that carried more than 5 adults comfortably, I started my search focused on third-row comfort, as differences in comfort for first- and second-row passengers in current minivans are minimal.
An owner of German cars, I first looked at the new M-B R class but found it's third row lacking (and I have not found M-B reliability to be the best).
A fan of good car design, I next looked at the Ford Flex.
It was a real possibility.
But then I test drove a Honda Odyssey and found myself sitting in the most comfortable interior -- in any position -- of any vehicle I have ever encountered.
Here's a shock.
I am a performance nut and own a 2010 Audi R8 V10.
But more and more often, when I am driving alone or carrying just one passenger, I grab the Honda keys.
Well, the thing is just so darn all-around pleasant.
It drives astonishingly well for a vehicle of its size.
It's reasonably peppy and gets surprisingly good gas mileage.
And, whether it's just me or a passel of friends, everyone is comfortable from stem to stern.
The biggest surprise:
the sound system.
It's perhaps the best of any car I've owned, including several high-end German cars and a Lexus.
(I have the Touring Elite with the 12-speaker systems.)
The dashboard functionality is fine, but it could look at bit more classy (especially in the top-end models).
And there is a highly annoying chirp at highway speed that one should never encounter in a Honda.
I'm going to have the dealer look into it at the first oil change, we be all know how devilishly hard those creaks can be to locate.
In a vehicle that does so many things sometimes conflicting things so surprisingly well, a loud chronic squeak is VERY frustrating.