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By Rick Popely
December 1, 1999
Vehicle Overview Odyssey was redesigned for the 1999 model year and is based on the front-wheel-drive platform used for the Honda Accord. The big news for 2000 is that a satellite-linked navigation system is a new option for the top-line EX model.
Honda sold a smaller Odyssey minivan from 1995 through 1998 that it shared with Isuzu in an exchange program. Isuzu received the minivan, called the Oasis, and gave Honda a version of its Rodeo sport utility vehicle Hondas version is the Passport. However, Honda keeps the current Odyssey to itself, and Isuzu has left the minivan market.
Exterior The original Odyssey was 187 inches long and had four conventional, swing-out side doors. The current Odyssey is 201 inches long about the same as a Ford Windstar or Dodge Grand Caravan and has sliding rear doors on both sides. Both sliding doors are power-operated on the EX model, and they open and close manually on the base LX model.
Interior All models seat seven, but the LX model comes with a standard two-place middle bench, and the EX comes with two bucket seats in the middle row. The buckets are optional on the LX.
A carry-over feature from the original Odyssey, the three-place rear bench seat folds flat into the floor instead of being removed, which creates enough space for a 4-by-8-foot plywood sheet. When the rear seat is in use, there is a deep cargo well at the rear and 32 cubic feet of storage space. With the rear seat folded and the middle seats removed, maximum cargo volume is 163 cubic feet.
Under the Hood A 3.5-liter V-6 with 210 horsepower teams with a four-speed automatic transmission as the only powertrain in the front-drive Odyssey. The same engine powers the Acura RL luxury sedan, and it runs smoothly and delivers brisk acceleration in the Odyssey.
Safety Antilock brakes are standard on both models, and the EX adds traction control. Side-impact airbags for the front seats a feature available on some competitors models are not available on the Odyssey. Nevertheless, the Odyssey recently received the highest rating in the federal government's side-impact tests. The Odyssey and Ford Windstar are the only minivans to earn five-star ratings for both front and side impacts.
Performance A potent engine, carlike ride and handling, a spacious, well-designed interior and reasonable prices make the Odyssey an excellent choice among minivans.