2009 Honda OdysseyEnlarge Photo
I've read so many reviews for cars that had a safety rating of 9 out of 10. Nine. Not 10. So, what does get a rating of 10? The 2009 Honda Odyssey. Safety, convenience and practicality, the hallmarks of a minivan. Although my first mention of an Odyssey was to compare it with something very unminivan-like, I now have to give this vehicle some love.
Families with young children really appreciate the safety features on the Odyssey, and I can understand why. The five-star rating from the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a great place to start. I gotta say, though, that I expect a minivan to have "active front seat head restraints and daytime running lights as standard equipment." What I do love is the front and rear "obstacle detection system" and rear-view camera. Let's face it... minivans are hulking vehicles still, and visibility is a problem. How do you think the crash ratings turned out so well? Big, sturdy structure. So, I'll take a little help with some sensors and cameras.
Size still concerns me with most SUVs and minivans, but really there's a reason that young families like all that space... strollers, portable cribs, booster seats for dining with Grandma & Grandpa, and the Diaper Bag (TM). Not to mention the tub of toys, books and sippy cups it takes to keep a two-year-old happy on that ill-fated trip to the restaurant. For those of you scrutinizing these huge vehicles, your kids may have already grown old enough for you to forget what it's like to be a new parent and forget Blankie back at home during nap time. A large vehicle like the Honda Odyssey can help parents in that confidence arena. And sometimes it's a good thing to practice the Boy Scout creed, "Be prepared."
So, in the features arena, the Honda Odyssey really wins. Storage, seats that easily accommodate booster seats and infant car seats alike. Visibility from any seat in the vehicle helps stave boredom. And I'm sure I could figure something clever to do with a Lazy Susan tray. And did I mention space? Whether you have to stuff Auntie Marie in the third row, or bring several Costco boxes of diapers home, the Odyssey has plenty of room.
Yes, there can be a time in your life for a minivan. Check out The Car Connection's review of the 2009 Honda Odyssey to see if it fits your idea of a family car. Or, check out theOdyssey photo gallery at AllMinivans.com.