2014 Honda Odyssey: If you need what it can do, it can do what you need

Of all possible prices, “free” has always been my favorite. So when a friend of a friend decided to give away an old dining-room set, we were only too happy to help find it a home.

The only stipulation: haul it away — today!

Were the right vehicle not available, that would have been a deal-breaker and, gee, I thought this was an awfully good deal. Did I mention my affection for the price?

Fortunately, parked at the curb like the arriving cavalry was the right vehicle: a 2014 Honda Odyssey minivan.

With its third row folded into the floor and second row laboriously removed — those outboard chairs in the 40/20/40-split middle row weigh a ton! — Odyssey’s flat-floor cargo bay resembled an airplane hangar. There was plenty of room for the counter-height table (legs removed), four legs, four chairs, table-enlarging leaf and a 54×54-inch glass top.

Minivans aren’t sexy and sometimes go unappreciated, but when you need what they can do, they can do what you need. With seating for up to eight or, properly configured, enough cargo room to haul the contents of a furniture store, Odyssey is versatile and endlessly endearing.

 

Available in LX, EX, Touring and Touring Elite trim, Odyssey for 2014 enhances that charm with (and I’m not kidding about this) a built-in vacuum in our top-of-the-line Touring Elite.

Located in the left-side wall of the cargo bay, that vacuum was developed with the folks at Shop-Vac. (Honda cleverly calls it HondaVAC.) Just like the vacuum in your garage, Odyssey’s features a canister bag and replaceable filter, not to mention a hose long enough to reach all interior points and enough attachments to satisfy all your nozzle needs.

Keep Odyssey at idle and the capable 3.5-liter, 248-hp V-6, which buttons to a six-speed automatic, will keep that vacuum sucking all day. Shut down the motor and the appliance will still work for up to eight minutes, Honda says. Fido’s deposited hair doesn’t stand a chance.

On this Odyssey, look closely for a new aluminum hood and fenders, updated grille, reshaped lower front fascia and reworked head- and LED taillamps. Also notable: in a first for a minivan, Odyssey earns from the Insurance Institute its highest rating, Top Safety Pick+.

Of course, all the smartphone-friendly infotainment stuff and modern nanny features — collision and lane departure warning among them — are available.

Odyssey may not be sexy, but it has the right stuff for a happy, long-term relationship.

Louisville Kentucky Honda Dealer, Bob Montgomery Honda, http://www.bobomontgomeryhonda.com

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