Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Honda Odyssey and the Competitors - Honda Cars Rock Hill

In the November 2007 issue, the editors of Car and Driver compare the Honda Odyssey EX-L with the Nissan Quest SL, Toyota Sienna LE, Hyundai Entourage Limited, and Dodge Grand Caravan SXT. When the comparing was done, Odyssey was solidly in First Place! Here is what the editors had to say about Odyssey and each of the competitors:

Fifth Place: 2007 Hyundai Entourage Limited
Pros:Second least expensive model as tested. "On the road, the powertrain impresses." HVAC and audio controls are "a short eye flick off the road." Third-row split seats are folded down and removed easily. Cons:"Outer fantasyland" front styling. "Toe space" in second row is "limited." Seat cushions are "too low to please adults." Ride quality is "unpleasant" on rougher roads. Removing second row seats is a "pig wrestle." "Narrow passage" to get into third-row seats.

Fourth Place: 2007 Nissan Quest SL
Pros:"We like the space-bubble exterior styling." Longest minivan and longest wheelbase. Best 70-0 mph braking distance (186 ft) and skidpad score (0.78 g). Lowest step-in height. Wide passage to the third row seats. Second lowest curb weight. Most second- and third-row interior volume. Tied for most cargo capacity. Cons:Most expensive model as tested. "Steering is a bit vague on-center." "Accelerator response yo-yos when moving away from rest." Slowest 0-60 time (8.8 seconds). Uncomfortable driver's seat. Difficult to remove third-row seats. Least horsepower. Slowest 30-50 mph time (5.0 seconds).

Third Place: 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT
Pros:"Inside, the Dodge has carved in so many nooks, crannies, cup holders, and juice-box niches that the soccer team will have to find something else to squabble over." "The Stow 'n Go seating … is back and easier than ever to operate." Second most horsepower. Second best 0-60 time (8.0 seconds). Tied for first 30-50 mph time (4.0 seconds). "Very little road noise." "The new 4.0-liter SOHC V-6 is a strong performer…" Chrysler's long experience satisfying minivan customers really shows in the cleverness of the interior features. Wide variety of storage compartments. Cons:"…it's isolated in that indifferent way that keeps the driver from feeling in charge." Longest braking distance 70-0 mph (203 ft). "If we have a reservation about Stow 'n Go, it comes down the rickety feeling of the mechanism." Optional console between front seats is "wobbly." Interior has a "cheap motel look about it … with plastic gestures everywhere…" Cloth upholstery looks "plebeian."

Second Place: 2007 Toyota Sienna LE
Pros:"If choosing a minivan came down to the powertrain, this Toyota would be a slam dunk." Second-row seats rated highest for comfort. Door panels are "scooped out to give exceptionally good elbow space." Least expensive model as tested. Lowest curb weight. Most front row interior volume. Most horsepower. Best 0-60 mph time (7.2 sec). Tied for first 30-50 mph time (4.0 seconds). Tied for best fuel economy (17/24 mpg). Tied for most cargo capacity. Cons:"Less satisfying are the generally aloof responses of the controls." Brakes feel "wooden." "The steering lacks sharpness." Third-row headroom is "scant." "Folding the [third-row seats] drew low marks because of the effort required to unlatch them…" "…Third-row shoulder belts will dig into youngster's necks…"

First Place: 2007 Honda Odyssey EX-L
"This Honda has all the competitors covered when it comes to driver confidence. It feels purposeful, motivated, even athletic in ways the others do not." Driving position is "one of the best in the business." "The driver's seat is easily the most comfortable of the group." "The Odyssey is the only eight-passenger hauler of the group…" Comfortable second- and third-row seats. "Excellent foot space under the rows ahead." Tied for best fuel economy (17/24 mpg). Third row "stows easily." Cons:"The suspension motions are stiffer than the others, and the interior is quite loud, with notable wind noise and plenty of roar and thump…" Narrow opening to third-row seats.

Conclusion"Minivans are the sum of lots of little pluses and minuses, but the Odyssey's intuitive, confident stride over the road has once again won us over."