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2004 Minivan Buyer's Guide
by Steve Siler

Honda Odyssey
Honda Odyssey minivan

Minivans were just minivans before this version of the Honda Odyssey came and upped the ante. Boasting a very powerful V-6 engine, seemingly boundless interior space and clean, crisp duds, the Odyssey was suddenly beating the segment-leading Chryslers at their own game. Is it still that good? Yes, in fact, it's even better.

The Odyssey is a plus-sized model, literally, Among minivans, its overall length is longer than all but the Nissan Quest and the Oldsmobile Silhouette. Accordingly, its interior is very spacious and unlike the Quest, refreshingly straightforward when it comes to layout and ergonomics. The Odyssey starts as an LX, with lots of goodies for its sub-$25K price, including ABS, side air bags, front and rear a/c, power accessories and more. The EX adds power seats, power sliding doors, keyless entry and other goodies to the mix. Leather is comes standard on the EX-L model, and a factory-installed rear-seat DVD system is on the "EX-L with DVD." The Odyssey "EX-L with Navigation" was the first minivan to offer a navigation system, thus enable mom and dad to answer the age-old question "Are we there yet?" with a real answer, including coordinates, actual distance to destination and estimated time 'til arrival. That should shut 'em up. Beyond all that, there are no options, so the sub-$31K top-of-the-line "EX-L with Navigation" model represents something of a bargain in this market.

Every Odyssey is propelled by a 3.5-liter V-6 that ties the Nissan Quest for best in class grunt: 240 hp and 242 lb-ft of torque. With such a stellar list of standard features at such an attractive price, it's easy to see why the Odyssey is still so hard to find.