The 2011 Honda Odyssey has served us well over the last year. It's versatility has really impressed us, offering seating for eight people with 38.4 cubic feet of luggage, without sacrificing luxury. Leather seating, navigation, and entertainment keep all occupants happy on any road trip. If it's just a trip to the furniture store you're making, the Odyssey's got your back. With the second-row seats removed, and the third-row Magic Seat tucked into the floor, Honda's superstar minivan provides a flat load bed, able to tote up to 148.5 cubic feet and 1040 pounds. Now all your friends will be asking YOU for help with their next move!

Considering its size and incredible usefulness, the Honda Odyssey handles very well, compared with other minivans. The precise steering, firm suspension tuning, and lower-than-expected center of gravity help the minivan feel planted through corners, even while hauling a half-ton of stuff or people. The engine always felt up to the task, and was still able to deliver up to 31 mpg. The blind spot sensors, lane-departure warning, rearview backup camera, parking sensors, and auto-tilt side mirrors give drivers the confidence of knowing exactly where each corner of this vehicle's 202.9-inch-long by 79.2-inch-wide body is at any given time. Parallel parking angst is eased with these handy features, though it's still no match for Infiniti's around-view camera system.

Aside from being such a utilitarian machine, the Odyssey offers a plethora of creature comforts. The light gray leather seats have held up nicely over the past 13 months, even with constant use and abuse. Though not quite a refrigerator, the cool box at the base of the center console provides an air-conditioned, insulated compartment for beverages, best used while the engine is running. The rear entertainment system with a 16.2-inch double-wide split screen keeps the kiddos (and coworkers) engaged for hours when used with the dash-mounted DVD player or back seat video inputs. Wireless headphones mean everyone can enjoy their program without disturbing each other or the driver.

If you’re in the market for a minivan, the Odyssey will not disappoint.No need to sacrifice comfort for versatility here!”

Though we loved most things about the Odyssey, there were a few features that needed some adjustment. One item I had taken care of at my first maintenance visit was the default programming that unlocked all the doors as soon as I put the transmission into park. I prefer to have manual control of the locking and unlocking of my vehicle's doors, and fortunately the dealer was able to make this simple change. More recently, the power sliding doors were malfunctioning. After taking it in for a later maintenance visit, the dealer re-lubricated the door track, and the power doors were back to normal.

One complaint that couldn't be fixed by the dealer was how heavy and awkward the second row seats can be to remove or replace. In order to take full advantage of the Odyssey's carrying capacity, we frequently had to remove them. The seats are heavy and the rugged latches that secure them to the floor require a firm force to release or engage. It takes a bit of practice to get it right, not to mention needing somewhere to store the seats while they're out. Certainly a less convenient solution than the disappearing second row in some other minivans.

The Odyssey will be sorely missed. There is something to be said about the luxury of always knowing you'll have enough room for visiting family, a weekend camping trip, or an impromptu visit to the furniture store. As the SUVs are giving way to crossovers (many without four-wheel drive), it raises the question, why not drive a minivan? I have recommended the Odyssey to all my friends with families. It's time to let go of the wood-paneled mommy-mobile stereotype, and recognize that the modern minivan is more than just a vehicle for getting groceries and carrying kids to soccer practice. As our Honda Odyssey Touring Elite proved, you no longer have to sacrifice luxury, ride quality, and conveniences for versatility.

2011 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite
Service life 13 mo/27,764 mi
Base price $41,840
Options Elite package ($2190: High-intensity discharge headlights; blind spot monitoring; Honda DVD rear entertainment system; 650-watt, 12-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system)
Price as tested $44,030
Problem areas None
Maintenance cost $502.31
Normal-wear cost $4.51
3-year residual value* $21,881
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ 19/28/22 mpg
Avg fuel econ 21.6 mpg
Recalls None
*Automotive Lease Guide