The 2016 Honda Odyssey SE provides a solid ride, offers spacious hauling capacity, and can tow up to 3,500 pounds.The 2017 Acura RDX AWD, shown with roof rails, has an abundance of safety and creature comforts.

Honda and Acura deliver multitude of standard features and pizazz

We recently completed consecutive drives of several Honda and Acura models and as we generally experience, each offered genuine performance and superb usability.

     The 2016 Honda Odyssey 5-Door Special Edition (SE) minivan (not so mini at just over 118 inches) we tested, the middle of five trims, again proved that these are not the former “soccer mom” vans of yesteryear. This unit is attractive, offers dynamic safety and creature comforts, and has quantitative hauling capacity from people to camping gear to a 10-foot metal sign we transported for a friend.

     There is no shortage of power on the Odyssey with its 3.5-L SOHC V-6 i-VTEC engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with Grade Logic Control. The powertrain package executed well and provided all the power and smoothness we needed. Fuel economy is rated at 22 MPG overall (19/city and 28 highway) and we experienced 24.2 overall over a week’s test.

     Likeable features on the Odyssey, among a multitude of standard equipment, include heated power door mirrors, Honda Lane Watch, a tri-zone climate control system, heated power door mirrors, dual power sliding rear doors, power liftgate, and the Honda Multi-Information Display (i-MID) that includes a rear view camera. We  also had one option package we really adored that included a DVD rear entertainment system with a nine-inch screen and wireless headsets (great for family outings), XM radio, a 115-volt power outlet, and the very cool Honda Vac (built-in vacuum with a disposable waste bin; standard on SE and Touring Elite models).

     The Odyssey has plentiful safety aspects, including Vehicle Stability Assist and a 5-Star overall safety rating, plus interior comforts ranging from assorted connectivity features to a third row Magic Seat (in one easy move the seat goes down and variable cargo space is available).

     From handling to cargo capacity (up to 148.5 cubic feet), we found the Odyssey to offer a solid ride feel with great visibility, comfortable seating, and it was actually fun to drive. The MSRP on our SE model tested had a total price of $33,375 with a discounted price for the Special Edition package.


Acura RDX another favorite from the automaker

     The 2017 Acura RDX AWD Advance we tested is the top of two RDX models (FWD and AWD) and several trim levels available on the small crossover SUV. These units are loaded with standard equipment and safety features and provide exceptional ride quality with McPherson strut front and multilink rear suspensions, both with stabilizer bars, electronic power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, plus 18-inch high-performance all-season tires.

     Both models of the RDX are equipped with the SOHC 3.5-L V-6 and a six-speed auto transmission with Sequential SportShift paddle shifts and Grade Logic Control. Like the Odyssey, the combo provides smooth, seamless performance, achieving 0-60 MPH in a quick 6.5 seconds, as well as 279 HP and 252 lb.-ft. of torque.

     With much to like on the RDX AWD, some of our favorites are the jewel eye LED headlamps, heated mirrors, power tailgate, heated and ventilated front seats, Lane Departure Warning system, Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Information system, Rear Cross Traffic Monitor, remote engine start, fog lamps, adaptive cruise control, and power sunroof, among an impressive list of standard equipment on the Advance model.

     The cabin on the RDX is both spacious and comfortable. Ergonomically -designed and heavily cushioned seats with breathable perforated leather offer three-level heating and cooling settings (Advance model), and the driver’s seat has a 10-way power adjustment (4-way on the passenger side). With the tech package, the navigation system with voice recognition is combined with a 10-speaker ELS Studio premium audio system and a multi-use screen display. On the Advance AWD there is also real-time traffic, traffic rerouting, SMS text message functioning, and more.

     With the second row seats down, the RDX offers 76.9 cubic feet of cargo space, and this second- generation unit has a tailgate width of 48.8 inches, wide enough to fit a sheet of plywood as the 60/40 split rear seats fold flat for optimum cargo hauling.

     Safety ratings are 5-Star overall, with 5-Star frontal and side crash, and 4-Star rollover ratings. The AcuraWatch Plus package provides virtually all safety needs from a sophisticated six-airbag system to an Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure that uses a network of connected structural elements to distribute frontal crash energy.

     The RDX lineup sold 51,026 units in 2015 in the U.S., its highest sales year since the model’s debut in 2006, and the automaker is about on target to reach equal sales for 2016.

     Our tester had an MSRP of $42,520, but there were dealer- installed options that included roof rails, crossbars, running boards, a cargo tray, and more so our final price was $47,094. A base RDX FWD model can start as low at $35,570, but adding AWD plus tech, AcuraWatch Plus safety, and Advance packages adds to the price.

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.