A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away minivans were popular. Then a seismic shift shook the foundation of this popularity with the rise of the Sport Utility Vehicle. Deemed uncool, the minivan became the dinosaur as behemoth SUVs grew in size with increasing sales.
Like the believer of an old religion, I favor minivans over SUVs. I am a car, motorcycle and motorsports enthusiast, which means I love to drive. On road performance, i.e. acceleration, lateral maneuvering and braking are paramount attributes to me, not sitting high like a child in a highchair.
My first experience in a Honda Odyssey minivan was behind the wheel of the first generation. This first model started as an Isuzu Oasis minivan. Like the Isuzu Rodeo, which was renamed a Honda Pilot SUV, the Oasis became the Honda Odyssey. I drove the minivan from Charlotte to Sebring, Fla.
A lot has changed since then. I’m old, Isuzu is no longer in business in the U.S., and Honda now produces its own minivans. In fact, the Honda Odyssey is seen as one of the best on the market.
The 2016 Honda Odyssey is a handsome van. It is packed with features like a rear entertainment system, front and rear controllable climate zones and a very handy built-in Honda Vac vacuum.
Unlike most SUVs I really enjoyed driving the Honda Odyssey. Acceleration is really strong and lateral maneuvers are controlled. There is noticeable body roll under lateral maneuvers, but this is expected with a large vehicle. Speaking of lateral maneuvers, the flat floor allowed items to slide all over the place. The ride was really smooth and was more luxurious than most SUVs.
I really enjoyed my time behind the wheel of the 2016 Honda Odyssey. Like a Jedi mentoring young Padawans, the Honda Odyssey continues to teach SUVs, CUVs (crossover utility vehicles) and minivans why it is the best.
Larry Cornwell is an automotive journalist based in the Charlotte area.