Although it revolutionized stowable seating in minivans with the third row in the first-generation Odyssey in 1995, and improved it with the 1998 redesign, Honda Motor Co. Ltd. says it saw no need to follow the lead of Chrysler Group's Stow 'n Go minivan seating for the new-generation Odyssey.

The Odyssey, which set a benchmark with its “Magic Seat,” does not have the same second-row stowable seating available in Chrysler and Dodge minivans.

Chrysler minivans boast two rows that disappear into the floor, avoiding the hassle of manually removing and reinstalling the seats.

Seating comfort and size played a role in Honda's decision to forgo a similar system for the Odyssey, says Yutaka Fujiwara, chief engineer for Honda R&D and head of the Odyssey engineering team.

“(Chrysler's seats) didn't seem to have the right level of comfort, and the seat was quite small,” he tells Ward's.

Fujiwara says Honda did not want to sacrifice the comfort of the captain's chairs, nor did it want to omit some planned second-row features to make under-floor storage space available for the seats.

The '05 Odyssey opted instead to offer a second-row center “Plus One” seat, which folds down and converts into a table.