In addition to eight seatbelts, 15 cupholders, convenient sliding doors and all the other conveniences that define the modern minivan, the 2012 Honda Odyssey boasts a rear-seat entertainment system with 12 speakers and a 650-watt 5.1-surround sound system, a 2-gigabyte music storage system and a cool lightning bolt design feature on the side.
In other words, the Odyssey minivan offers more than a great reputation and stellar resale value.
And in relative terms, the Odyssey is even a little bit fun to drive. When the automaker introduced the latest Odyssey, Honda engineers let us loose on a track where we were able to push it in a way you wouldn't normally bother or dare to drive a minivan. The Odyssey impressed in emergency maneuvering, performed multiple rapid stops and remained on course through some fast turns.
But especially in the world of minivans, it's what's inside that counts, and the 2012 Honda Odyssey minivan puts every inch to good use. The second-row seat can actually slide outward by 1.5 inches, allowing three child safety seats to be placed side-by-side. And the "Magic Seat" system makes it easy to fold the third-row seats rearward into the floor with the simple pull of a strap. Other minivans offer power-folding third rows, which are also nice, but Honda's system is impressively easy and definitely faster.
Fuel economy is another reason some consider the Honda Odyssey the best minivan ever. Odyssey EX and Touring trims feature a six-speed automatic transmission in place of the standard five-speed unit, which helps the big people-mover return truly impressive highway fuel economy of 28 mpg.
The 2012 Honda Odyssey starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of around $29,000 and can top $44,000 when fully loaded. Yes, it's among the priciest minivans out there, but its class-leading residual values help offset the premium commanded by this long-running favorite.