2005 Honda Odyssey

Mike Dushane
Driver Side View

Because the Touring rolls on run-flat tires, a spare isn't needed. Instead, the well for the spare tire-which is found beneath a panel between the first and second rows-is filled with a lazy Susan. Who knows what use this may find? Snacks? Band-Aids? A game of roulette? It's also worth noting that the sliding side doors now have power windows, and sun shades roll up to shield occupants. The powered doors and liftgate work seamlessly.

The Odyssey features enough safety features to make a soft landing on Mars. Standard on all Odysseys are antilock brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control, impact beams in the front and sliding side doors, front seatbelt pre-tensioners, and advanced front, side, and three-row side-curtain air bags. Tire-pressure monitoring and rear parking assist are exclusive to the Touring models.

Front Interior View

For all its wonderful attributes, the Odyssey has a few shortcomings. The 18-inch Michelin PAX run-flat tires contribute to a bit of impact harshness on broken pavement. The interior could be quieter, and the front doors need some internal reinforcement to render a more solid slam. Although the third-row seats-now splitting 60/40-easily flop into the cargo area's floor, the second-row seats come out about as easily as impacted molars.

Still, dislodging the Odyssey from the head of the pack is a tough job. It's fast, corners well, and keeps everybody entertained while leading on the backstretch. If any competitor has an advantage, it would show up off road, where all-wheel drive-not available on the Odyssey-would be an asset. Otherwise, wagering against this horse isn't recommended.

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