Interior & Cargo

A winged dashboard layout keeps things as simple as possible in a minivan loaded with gizmos. The center stack of controls is broken up into a number of zones: climate controls on top, then audio settings, DVD (if equipped) and a center control knob at the bottom that's the easiest to reach of them all.

The materials quality is typical for Honda, which is to say excellent. It seems richer than an Accord and certainly more so than a Pilot SUV. With leather seating, the higher trims seem too opulent to accommodate a busy family, which generally equals a messy family.

To me, what separates Honda from other automakers can be exemplified in the small drawer below the center controls. It's sized to fit a few small items, like a smartphone and wallet, and the drawer itself is constructed of high-quality plastic that slides out smoothly. In Chrysler minivans, these types of drawers stutter out in harsh jolts and are made of rough plastic. This high level of quality is evident in all the Odyssey's cubbies and seat-adjustment levers, as well as the glove box, and it really is a hallmark of this brand.

Cargo space behind the third row is unchanged for 2011, at 38.4 cubic feet. That's slightly smaller than the Toyota Sienna's. With the third row folded flat, cargo space expands to 93.1 cubic feet, which is more than the Sienna's 87.1 cubic feet. With the second row removed, the Odyssey has a total of 148.5 cubic feet, just behind the Sienna's 150 cubic feet. Both outdo the Chrysler minivans.

The third row folds easily into the rear cargo compartment using a single strap and one fluid motion that requires little effort. A power liftgate is standard on EX-L and Touring trims, but there is no optional powered third row.

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