For almost any minivan shopper, interior space and versatility are what matter most—as well as comfort, of course, and any design features that help soothe children on long road trips. With respect to nearly all those items, the Odyssey is perhaps the best. It's absolutely loaded with thoughtful touches, and the seating layout has been revised yet again to make the second and third rows even better for full-size adults while maximizing the number of positions (up to eight) for kids or child seats.
Last year, the Odyssey became slightly larger on the inside, with a reconfigured interior, better seats, and an improved seat-folding mechanism. Between the Odyssey's three rows of seating, the interior is now great for six adults. Thanks to a new second-row configuration that allows the outboard seats to actually tilt and slide outward—changing the width of the second row depending on whether there are two adults, three, or a combination of child seats there (there are now five sets of LATCH connectors, for child seats). The third row gains an inch of legroom and in some trims an armrest, while its folding mechanism gets even better. It's still a little more confining, for headroom particularly. While this 6'-6" editor fit well enough to be good for quick trips in the third row, I would have been happy all day in the second row.
You can fold either section of the seat into the floor with a single motion, with only the firm pull of a strap. Honda didn't bother with a power-folding third row arrangement, as all the ones that it tried took longer to deploy and were unnecessarily complicated (and another power item to fix after some years of ownership). Honda's system is simple, elegant, and easy enough to do even with an arm of groceries.
For those who need a more continuous cargo floor, for projects or moving large items, you can now fit two ten-foot-long 2x4 studs into the Odyssey, and of course with the second row out of the way you can fit 4x8 plywood. You'll also find plenty of spaces for smaller items, including a a media drawer with damped opening, a cooler compartment below good for several beverage containers, and a trash-bag ring—which cluttered families are bound to find useful.
In front, seats are comfortable buckets with a good view outward—although we'd like a little more lateral support from them, along with more mid-back support.
The Odyssey rides smoothly and is a surprisingly quiet, refined place—in part, thanks to some high-tech wizardry. Active noise cancellation and active engine mounts both help quell any vibrations from fuel-saving cylinder deactivation, as well as excess road noise. Interior materials and trims aren't in the luxury realm, but they're not bad for also being Wet Wipe friendly.