Minivans take a bad rap. They’re the ultimate family cars and have sometimes been referred to as “loser cruisers” or the vehicles of choice for overprotective soccer moms who carry endless supplies of juice packs.
The less-than stellar reputation is unfair, however. Minivans make ideal family vehicles. They’re more economical in some instances than family sedans. And for long vacation hauls, comfort and cargo space are import.
TheWeeklyDriver.com’s two favorite family are the Honda Odyssey and Ford Flex.
The Odyssey is arguably the most versatile vehicle available in the United States. The seat configuration, high seating and, of course, it’s now famous accoutrement — a portable vacuum cleaner — make it the ultimate family mover.
The Flex is likely the most unheralded family car in the country. It may look funny. But it’s handsome and efficient on the inside. It’s nearly plush, too, with plenty of comfort features and some sufficient power cruising down the freeway.
Here’s a brief look at the Ford Flex and Honda Odyssey and our list of 10 great family vehicles.
Introduced six years ago, the Ford Flex still sometimes gets odd looks. It looks like an oversized wagon with a glandular issue. But the Flex is far better than its looks. It’s a seven-passenger crossover with a cavernous interior and an available second row with captain’s chairs.
With its massive space, comfortable ride and sturdy build, it’s an ideal family vehicle. It’s standard with 3.5-liter V6 with 287 horsepower. But the performance-oriented Limited edition offers a turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 with 365 horsepower and all-wheel drive. It adds to the overall coolness of the the family mover.
The Odyssey, now 22 years old, features a 24-valve, 248-horsepower engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. It has 0-60 mph acceleration in 7.9 seconds and comfortable seating in three rows and for seven or maybe eight adults. The interior and exterior designs are sleek, modern and ultimately non-minivan.
Its safety features list is long and for gets 28 mpg, great for the segment. The Odyssey has great all-around and comfort without compromise. It’s an ideal cruising car for an individual or for a weekend getaway for as many as three couples. It’s also an ideal soccer mom’s transport vehicle or a makeshift camper.
My blog post was written as part of my collaboration with eBay.
Article Last Updated: October 7, 2014.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.