The Honda Odyssey is arguably best car available currently in the United States when considering its versatility. The 2013 model is the vehicle’s 20th model year. But last year’s edition, which debuted at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show, is a good value as two-year–old model.

Despite is “van” status, the Odyssey is a powerful and performance oriented for its class. It features a 24-valve, 248-horsepower engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Its has 0-60 mph acceleration in 7.9 seconds and comfortable seating for seven adults.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

I drove the five-door Touring Elite, the most expensive of five available trim levels. In addition to the vast list of standard equipment on the LX, EX and EX-L models, the two Touring trims offer a bunch more.

The Touring trim includes: 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, front and rear parking sensors, memory settings for the driver, retractable third-row sunshades and a fold-down armrest for third-row passengers and both the navigation and rear-seat entertainment systems.

(Editor’s note: We’re visiting our archives to review cars once new and now well-suited for best buy status in the used market. The 2012 Honda Odyssey is now two model years old, and it’s likely just hitting its stride as a fine people mover.)

The Touring Elite model adds xenon headlights, a blind spot warning system, upgraded rear-seat entertainment system with a 16-inch HD widescreen video monitor (with HDMI input) and a premium 650-watt, 12-speaker surround-sound audio system.

What’s immediately impressive is the Odyssey’s all-around spaciousness. There’s head room and leg room aplenty and comfort without compromise. It’s an ideal cruising car for a weekend getaway for three couples without having to worry about a gas-guzzler’s limitations. Likewise, it’s an ideal soccer mom’s transport vehicle or a makeshift camper.

Likes:

Strong, aggressive driving experience.

Large, clear navigation system and back-up camera screen.

Deep trunk.

Comfortable seats . . . all three rows.

Functionality, maneuverability and functionality of all seats, particularly the forward and backward-facing option of the third row.

Smooth operation of sliding doors.

Easy entrance, exit.

Clean, large-numbered and lettered dials and gauges.

Interior space. Head and leg room, space between rows and cargo space is all impressive.

Strong overall vision, with “in-charge” driver’s positioning.

Dislikes:

Base price too high.

Expensive options may deter buyers.

Facts & Figures: 2012 Honda Odyssey

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 7.9 seconds.
Airbags (6): Standard front, front side and side curtain.
First aid kit: Not available.
Fuel economy: 19 mpg (city), 28 mpg (highway)
Government Safety Ratings: frontal crash (driver/passenger), five stars; Side crash (front/rear seat), five stars; Rollover, four stars.
Horsepower: 248.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $43,675.00
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.honda.com.
Price As tested: Not available.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,0000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, miles; Roadside Assistance, 5 years/unlimited mileage.

What Others Say:

“If you have more kids than you can fit in a sedan, it’s likely you’re considering a minivan or a three-row crossover. If you’re not turned off by the minivan stigma, the Odyssey should be your first stop when shopping. I recommend leaving the kids at home, though, because once they hear that surround-sound system in the Touring Elite, they will not let you buy a lesser trim.” — Cars.com.

“If you need a comfortable, roomy and reliable family wagon that is also slightly cool and holds it value like gold in a bear market, the 2012 Honda Odyssey is the minivan for you.” — Kelley Blue Book.

“The Odyssey is also a bit pricey compared to vans like the Dodge Grand Caravan and Kia Sedona. But all things considered it’s a great choice for a family vehicle. And if people say it’s uncool, well, they don’t know what they’re missing.” — Edmunds.

What The Wife Says:

“It’s got a low step, so it’s easy to get in and out. I like the way you us the push button on the tailgate. When you have your hands full, it’s a welcomed featured. And it’s twice the size of my Honda CR-V, but it’s just as easy to drive with easy parking and maneuverability.”

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“A great family car that year after year keeps getting better as its price gets higher and higher.”

Text and images © James Raia/TheWeeklyDriver.com. Click on thumbnails below for larger views.

1 COMMENT

  1. I’ve had my ‘EX’ now for 1 week…and absolutely love it. Highly recommended as both a family and fun-to-drive vehicle.

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