Different Shapes of Family Haulers

By Don Armstrong

Whether you’re on a budget, or have a preferential shape or style, every manufacturer offers a variety of vehicles with hopes of winning your approval. This month, we look at the two most popular styles in the Bay Area, a minivan and a crossover.

Lexus NX 200 T
Known for quality workmanship and service that has set the new benchmark, Lexus offers a compact SUV that is perhaps the most stylized of all, the NX 200 T.

From its oversized, spindle-shaped grille and scalloped sides to edgy lighting fore and aft, the NX turns heads wherever it goes.

The outside-the-box design continues on the interior with its unique approach to controlling the infotainment system. The screen is set too far back on the dash for the driver to facilitate finger-touch control so a joystick-like pad is placed atop the center console, forward of the shifter, to move the invisible cursor with your finger. A slight vibration on your finger tip and a highlighted option on the screen’s menu indicates where you are. A press of the pad will select the desired function.

Cargo space behind the second-row seats is smaller than its competitors but you’ll have to decide its importance.

Our 200 T version of the NX includes a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that produces 235 horsepower.

Starts at $35,285.

Honda Odyssey
Will you ever use your SUV for true off-roading? Our guess is, probably not. So, why buy something that you’ll only use some of its capability? The minivan remains the ultimate people hauler and Honda has an all-new version of its reliable Odyssey.

Now in its fifth iteration, the Honda Odyssey is a solid contender in the minivan class. Its attractive, conservative shape will appeal to everyone. The hallmark of the minivan, of course, is its sliding, second-row passenger doors. And, yes, the popular, on-board vacuum system returns

New this year is a second row of seats that slide fore and aft, making it easier to get back to the third row of fold-in-the-floor seating. Honda also has a rear cabin camera system that allows mom to monitor the goings-on behind her without having to stop the vehicle and referee the misbehavior.

Thank you, Honda, for keeping the 3.5-liter V-6 engine that is now married to a nine or ten-speed automatic transmission. Plenty of horsepower for luggage, 6-kids and mom and dad.

Start planning the summer vacation starting at $30,965.

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