The Honda Odyssey's creature comforts feel like home.
Homer may have had to deal with the Cyclops Polyphemus, the witch Circe, and the sea monster Scylla, but at least his Odyssey never involved a traffic jam with a gaggle of grass-stained adolescent girls in the next car shrieking over why Mia Hamm should dump Nomar for A-Rod. I achieved the proud rank of soccer mom by tooling around Westchester County in New York in the 2005 Honda Odyssey. And I'm secure enough to say I enjoyed the experience. Then again, it was make-believe for me: I don't live in the suburbs or have kids -- and I hate soccer.
Sticker price: From $25,000 for the LX; $34,000 and up for the Touring edition.
Vital stats: All versions come with a 255-hp V6 engine, front-wheel drive, side-curtain airbags, antilock brakes, vehicle stability assistance, 118-inch wheelbase, and 209.8 cubic feet inside.
Nice touches: 28 (highway)/20 (city) mpg for the Touring edition, which also features the cinemarific nine-inch DVD screen with wireless headsets, 17 cup holders, a hideaway lazy Susan -- ideal for teenage contraband -- and a six-CD changer behind a panel that folds down like the entrance to the Batcave. This is the premiere vehicle for trapping clients with your promotional video.
Drawbacks: The "extra" middle seat on the EX editions barely fits a regular-size American, let alone a supersize one.
What you think it says about you: "I am a responsible parent whose priority is safe and efficient transportation and thus a level-headed, trustworthy business partner."
What it really says about you: "When is the lacrosse dad going to get his due?"
Second opinion: "The minivan is the ne plus ultra of automotive practicality," says Gary S. Vasilash, editor-in-chief of Automotive Design & Production magazine. He then addresses the so-square-it's-hip theory of minivans. "Those who embrace vehicles like the new Odyssey could claim they're really about rebellion," says Vasilash. "They would be dreaming."