Best New MinivanHonestly, Honda had only the new quartet of minivans from General Motors to beat for the Autobytel Editors' Choice award for Best New Minivan of 2005. Our jurors voted unanimously for the redesigned Odyssey. But the reality is that even stacked up to the best minivans in the class today, models like the Dodge Grand Caravan, the Nissan Quest, and the Toyota Sienna, the 2005 Honda Odyssey is our pick as the best of the bunch.
While each of these minivans offers an exclusive feature or two that owners find useful, Honda does the best job of creating an all-inclusive package that bundles major class innovations of the past decade into one vehicle. But don't think of the Odyssey as an aggregator of been-there, done-that design. Exclusive new features like Michelin PAX run-flat tires, variable cylinder management that reduces fuel consumption, a PlusOne baby seat, and a Lazy Susan storage compartment in the floor behind the front seats bump the bar a bit, though not to the extent that the previous Odyssey did when it hit the ground running in 1999.
What the 2005 Honda Odyssey lacks is an optional all-wheel-drive system and second-row seats that fold into the floor. But we can live without them in exchange for the Odyssey's dynamic driving characteristics, superb seat comfort, and reputations for both durability and resale value. Plus, every Odyssey comes equipped with stability control, brake assist, and side-curtain airbags with rollover protection for all three rows of seats.
Stylish, roomy, and fun to drive, the 2005 Honda Odyssey is also packed full of value and safety technology. We can't think of any reason why it shouldn't be our Autobytel Editors' Choice for Best New Minivan of 2005.
- Christian J. Wardlaw