Used 1997 Honda Odyssey Minivan Review
With its doors open and beckoning, Honda's stylish and competent family hauler resembles a tall station wagon more than a minivan. Why? Because instead of the expected sliding side door--a staple of minivan design from the start--you find that all four side doors swing open, like those in a sedan. They contain roll-down windows, too. Naturally, Honda hopes that this unique attribute will help steal sales away from the competition, but a single special feature isn't enough to ensure success in the ferocious minivan market.
Fortunately for Honda, Odysseys possess other virtues. For starters, you get plenty of room for four or five, with a spacious center section that's exceptionally easy to enter. Either bucket seats or a three-place bench can go there. Not enough? Well, a handy two-passenger bench seat pops out of the cargo floor to expand passenger capacity to seven. That back bench folds flat very easily when cargo is the priority, and an inside-mounted, compact spare tire takes up very little space.
The driver occupies a comfortable position, ahead of a low cowl and steering wheel, and a severely sloped windshield, its base stretched far forward. Small front quarter windows do little for visibility in that direction, but mirrors are very good. An unusual slanted dashboard holds a distinctive speedometer. In addition to a large glovebox and ample console storage box, the Odyssey offers a smaller supplementary glovebox. On the safety front, airbags are installed for both the driver and front passenger. So is all-disc antilock braking.
Power comes from a VTEC 140-horsepower, 2.2-liter 16-valve four-cylinder engine, borrowed from the Accord. Adequately brisk performance is accompanied, unfortunately, by an excess of buzziness. If noise is a drawback for you, a V6 choice is likely to arrive soon. Engines in both the LX and EX editions drive an electronically-controlled four-speed automatic transmission, complete with a Grade Logic Control System and controlled by a column-mounted gearshift lever. Both Japanese-built models are well-equipped, priced competitively, and carry on Honda's reputation for solid construction.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.