2003 Odyssey New Car Test Drive
The Honda Odyssey is at the top of its class. It's a big van, and does everything a minivan is supposed to do exceedingly well. Nifty features such as a disappearing rear seat, a deep storage well in the floor and optional power sliding doors allow it haul to groceries home, kids to school, adults to dinner and plywood to the shop, all with equal convenience.
For 2002, Odyssey will haul all those things a little faster, with 30 more horsepower than before. Amazingly, fuel efficiency has not suffered, thanks at least partly to a new five-speed automatic transmission. Backing up that newfound go-power are new four-wheel disc brakes, which come standard. Inside, Honda has added side-impact air bags, a leather seating option, a DVD entertainment option, and other refinements.
Add to that Honda's hallmark levels of design, engineering and quality, and you get a vehicle that is a joy to live with on a daily basis. The Honda Odyssey gives the acknowledged benchmarks of the minivan category, the Dodge Caravan and the Chrysler Town & Country, a run for your money.
Odyssey comes in two trim levels, the $24,250 LX and $26,750 EX.
A 3.5-liter 24-valve V6 powers the front wheels, now generating 240 horsepower when fed premium-grade fuel. (Regular unleaded can be used, but output suffers.) A new five-speed automatic transmission is standard.
The LX offers most of the popular features, including air conditioning, antilock brakes, traction control, cruise control, adjustable steering column, and power assists for windows, mirrors and door locks.
EX adds power sliding side doors, automatic climate control, upgraded sound system with a CD player, a keyless remote entry and security system, and handsome alloy wheels.
Honda lists the EX with leather trim as a separate model, stickered at $28,250. All leather-clad Odysseys come with electric seat warmers. Leather-covered seats are a prerequisite for the DVD entertainment system, which adds another $500, and for the $2,000 factory-installed GPS navigation system. The latter works in conjunction with a DVD-generated map to give route instructions within major cities in the 48 continental states.
Standard Odyssey safety features include dual front airbags, side-impact airbags, and a three-point seatbelt/shoulder harness for each of the seven seating positions. Child safety seat anchors for the second and third-row seats were added last year. NHTSA awarded the Odyssey five stars for occupant protection in frontal collisions, the highest possible government rating.
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