Acceleration, ride and handling: The new Odyssey gets excellent marks for ride and handling and good marks for acceleration. The EX-L's 3.5-liter, 255-horsepower V-6 is the most powerful in a minivan. But it doesn't move that model any faster than lower-horsepower engines in the Sienna or Town & Country. They are minivans, after all.
Head-turning quotient: My neighbor Ria is right. Externally, the new Odyssey is not spectacularly different from her 2003 model. The interior is warm, comfortable and laden with cup holders -- 15 in the tested version.
Engine/transmission: It is equipped with a 3.5-liter, V-6 VTEC engine developing 255 horsepower at 5,750 revolutions per minute and 250 foot-pounds of torque at 5,000 rpm. The engine is linked to a five-speed automatic transmission. The optional Variable Cylinder Management system in the i-VTEC engine saves fuel.
Safety: Honda offers a raft of standard safety equipment in the new Odyssey, including side air bags, three-row curtain bags with rollover sensor, traction and stability control -- and a child-minder mirror that gives the driver a panoramic view of what's happening in the back seats.
Capacities: The Odyssey has seating for up to seven or eight people, depending on the model. Maximum cargo volume is 147.4 cubic feet with third-row seats folded and second-row seats flipped or removed. Cargo volume is 38.4 cubic feet with all seats upright. The fuel tank holds 21 gallons of regular unleaded gasoline.
Mileage: We averaged 23 miles per gallon in a week of city/highway driving.
Price: Base pricing for the 2005 Odyssey will range from $24,995 to $38,295 depending on model and equipment chosen, according to Honda. Some dealers may seek premiums for this high-demand minivan.
Purse-strings note: The new Odyssey is a buy, but not a "must-buy." It has strong competitors. Bargain accordingly.