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The new 2002 Ody has changed everything. The new 2002 Ody put the best combination of both 2001 Ody and 2001 MDX. The new 2002 Ody added MDX's 240-hp 3.5 liter SOHC 24-valve V-6 engine, it also added MDX's 5-speed automatic transmission. So this 2002 Ody has the nice 2001 Ody look (interior and exterior) but with MDX's strong body. Don't even mention leather seats and DVD entertainment system, and best of all, you're not paying the $38,000 MDX price.
If you're looking for a vehicle puts the best of both world, 2002 Ody is the car you want to own.
According to this review, http://www.edmunds.com/edweb/romans/01.acura.mdx.fd.html , the 2001 MDX shares about 12 percent of the 2001 Odyssey's architecture. MDX was built on Ody's platform. Now after Ody borrowed MDX's engine and transmission, I bet both 2002 vehicles would share about 50% of each other.
The minivan will get better mileage and less emissions. The minivan will have more seating flexibility, and easier access to rear rows. The Minivan will have larger sliding doors and a lower step-in height making loading and unloading easier. The minivan will have better handling and braking. According the the IIHS, Vans over 4000 lbs (Includes Odyssey, Windstar, Grand Caravan etc) are in the best group for lowest death rates ( http://www.iihs.org/sr_ddr/sr3507_t1.htm ). The minivan will have lower tendency to rollover. Odyssey and Windstar also get top crash ratings across the board, something matched by very few SUVs of any size. The minivan will also be less hazardous to other vehicles in a crash, as the unibody design tends to crush to absorb energy instead of acting like a battering ram. Similarly equipped, minivans tend to be a bit less expensive, though this can vary depending on trim level.
On the other hand, the SUV will be much better for towing. With 4WD, it will also be much better for serious off-roading and very severe weather. The also don't have the family "image" of a minivan. These are not small considerations, especially if you must do heavy towing or off-roading on a regular basis. In those cases, a minivan is probably not an option.
Again, there are exceptions, I only state some generalizations for sake of debate. Which is right for you depends mostly on your specific needs.
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