The 2012 Honda Odyssey continues the 19-year history of the exceedingly popular family van. The current style — a larger and wider body, lower roofline and a more sleek and modern appearance — debuted at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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

Fuel economy: 19 mpg (city), 28 mpg (highway)
Horsepower: 248.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $43,675.00

 

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

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

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