What you'll find under the hood of the 2012 Honda Odyssey—if you even look, as we're not sure many minivan owners ever do—is a version of Honda's 3.5-liter i-VTEC V-6, here making 247 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque. While all Odysseys come with the same engine, top-of-the-line Touring and Touring Elite models get a six-speed automatic and the rest of the line gets a five-speed auto.
With either transmission, acceleration isn't quick, but it feels fast enough; with the six-speed, the Odyssey can get to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds, according to Honda. That's technically a slight bit faster than the Sienna V-6.
Although the Odyssey is much more closely related to the Pilot SUV, it really handles a lot like a V-6 Accord. Engineers have managed to give this minivan remarkable cornering poise, and the suspension, which is isolated on separate front and rear subframes, somehow manages excellent body control (for such a large vehicle) while keeping out those queasy secondary motions that plague most of the SUV field, along with some minivans. What might have a big part in this is that Honda managed to cut a hundred pounds from the Odyssey with its redesign last year.
The Odyssey also steers remarkably well for such a large vehicle—or one that's not necessarily geared for performance. A variable-displacement power-steering pump is far better than the electric power steering systems in Honda's smaller CR-V or Civic, providing great weighting and even a little road feedback in the corners.