The Odyssey has been with us for a couple months now and our editors have begun to weigh in on its functionality and design. It's been enlisted as a cargo carrier for numerous errands and chores including duty as a work van for DIY home improvement projects, where the reconfigurable seats have come in handy. The third-row bench, which Honda calls a "Magic seat," folds flat into the floor, a common feature in modern minivans, but what sets this one apart is how effortless it is. "Honda's fold-flat third-row seat is arguably one of the easiest to use," commented assistant web producer Evan McCausland, who used the Odyssey to transport a door and several sheets of drywall. "It's literally a one step process; yank firmly on the release strap and continue to pull it towards you until the seat tumbles into the floor in one fell swoop." Senior web editor Phil Floraday, added that it's also nearly as easy to pull the seat back out of the floor and restore it to its upright position when the cargo is removed or when more people room is needed.
Minivans are rarely credited with being stylish or fashionable but, as evidenced by the company's recent racy ad campaign that portrays the vehicle as an object of desire, Honda is hoping to change that with the redesigned 2011 Odyssey. Staff opinions on the exterior styling range from "dynamic" and "futuristic" to "overstyled" and "busy," but most agree that, if nothing else, the Odyssey's new design makes it stand out in the minivan crowd. Copy editor Rusty Blackwell was the first to come to the defense of the controversial zigzag rear windowline and art director Matt Tierney agreed, but he went on to say: "I like the Odyssey's stylized look, but I think the concept version was better. I wish the inset door handles, which created a seamless, smooth side surface, had been preserved in the production model. It was one of the most striking details."
Looks aside, the versatile and entertainment-packed Honda is sure to become a coveted vehicle as the summer travel season gets into full swing. Check back for our latest adventures in the Odyssey.