Minivans get a bad rap but they are very useful vehicles. If you’ve got a big family, it makes a lot more sense to buy a minivan than a gas guzzling SUV. That is, unless you plan on regularly taking your brood of 7 on treks through the wilderness. For most consumers that doesn’t happen, so a minivan like the Honda Odyssey is a wise move.
HISTORY OF THE HONDA ODYSSEY
First Generation (1995-1998)
When the Odyssey debuted in 1995, it was Honda’s first foray into the minivan market. It was based on the Accord platform and powered by the same 4-cylinder engines (either a 2.2L or a 2.3L). The Odyssey was also front-wheel drive, like the accord. The dependability and low cost of ownership made the minivan an instant success.
Second Generation (1999-2004)
The second generation Odyssey was significantly larger than its predecessor and was equipped with new sliding rear doors. The four cylinder engines got dumped in favor of a 3.5L 6-cylinder engine. Transmission options were either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic (though nearly all came with the automatic). A navigation system and DVD player were also introduced.
Third Generation (2005-2010)
Model year 2005 marked the introduction of the third generation Odyssey. Following the trend, the updated van was wider and heavier than the previous generation. The exterior was more stylish and modern and the interior got more standard features. The 3.5L engine carried over, but a new 5-speed automatic was added to the drivetrain.
Fourth Generation (2011-present)
The most current version of the Odyssey was introduced in 2011. Once again, the new Odyssey is larger than the outgoing model. All kinds of improvements were made including the addition of voice-controlled satellite GPS and DVD navigation systems, HID xenon low-beam headlamps, and a backup camera. The 3.5L engine carried on mated to a new 6-speed automatic.
If you’re in the market for a people mover and don’t need four-wheel drive or an 8,000 towing capacity, forget SUVS. Minivans are the way to go. The Odyssey is one of the best minivans on the market and the kids will love it, too.