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First Drive: 2018 Honda Odyssey

Putting some "fun" in functional.

by on May.15, 2017

Is this a minivan you can go nuts for?

The locals will tell you that if you don’t like the weather on the Big Island of Hawaii, you just have to drive 15 minutes. With 11 of the world’s 13 climactic zones on one volcanic rock in the middle of the Pacific, that gives us plenty of opportunity to check out the 2018 Honda Odyssey. About the only place we won’t be driving during our visit is up to the peak of Mauna Kea where there’s still some snow in the early days of May.

The Odyssey has long been at the top of the people-mover sales charts, and with the launch of the fifth-generation van, Honda is determined not to cede ground despite the fact that its key rival, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, launched a complete remake of its own minivan – renamed the Chrysler Pacifica – just last year.

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Together the two dominate the segment, and while minivans have lost a lot of momentum in recent years — millions of owners and potential buyers opting instead for SUVs and CUVs — there’s still a sizable market, especially among family buyers and, to a lesser degree empty-nesters and retirees. While minivans may long ago have lost their cool factor, they remain the vehicle of choice for those who put a premium on space, flexibility and creature features.

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