top rear-entertainment options
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Don’t leave home without ‘em?

Whitney Friedlander, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Are we there yet?

The dreaded “family bonding” expeditions of years past can hit the road now that more rear-seat entertainment features are appearing in everything from luxury SUVs to mid-priced minivans.

These optional high-tech features once out of most parents’ price range have become a popular attempt at a little peace and quiet.

J.D. Power & Associates recently asked consumers to name their 10 favorite rear-entertainment systems. Of the 10 most recommended systems, the top three spots contained systems supplied by Panasonic. (Honda)
No. 1: Honda Odyssey

The Honda DVD Entertainment System, which is available on the EX-L and standard on the Touring model, has a 9-inch screen that not only works for movies but the 115-volt outlet in the third row lets kids conquer their favorite video game.

Option’s retail price: $1,600 (Honda)
No. 2: Acura MDX

The 9-inch flip-down color screen entertains the second- and third-row passengers with Dolby Digital surround sound. Laptop computer and video game hookups are available through an auxiliary input jack.

Option’s retail price: $2,200 (Honda)
No. 3: Honda Pilot

The Honda DVD Entertainment System’s 9-inch screen plays DVDs, CDs and video games. A fold-down tray in the second row keeps loose jackets and game cartridges hidden and minimizes mess in the cabin.

Option’s retail price: $1,600 (Honda)
No. 4: Ford Edge

The DVD entertainment system’s 8-inch LCD screen drops down behind the front passengers to allow those in the back seat to watch DVDs, listen to CDs and play video games. Package comes with two pairs of wireless headphones.

Option’s retail price: $1,295 (Ford)
No. 5: Chevrolet Silverado

Covering both bases, the Silverado 2LT and LTZ crew cabs can come with two dealer-installed 7-inch flat screen players that fit in the back of the front seats or a portable DVD player that attaches to a docking station on the ceiling that comes with a wireless remote and headphones.

Option’s retail price not available (General Motors)
No. 6: Dodge Nitro

For the really long road trips, Dodge has an in-dash six-disc CD/DVD player with AUX inputs to keep passengers busy between rest stops. The 7-inch headliner-mounted LCD screen also comes with a remote control and two wireless headphones.

Option’s retail price: $1,300 (Daimler Chrysler)
No. 7: Lexus GX470

This posh SUV’s Rear Seat Audio (RSA) system has a 9-inch screen that hangs from the roof behind the front seats. It comes with two wireless headphones and a remote control with a holder that attaches to a seat back pocket.

Option’s retail price: $1,650 (Toyota)
No. 8: Chrysler 300 Series

Skipping the stop at the video store, this rear-seat Video Entertainment System package has SIRIUS Backseat TV and a one-year subscription to SIRIUS Satellite Video for its 7-inch console-mounted LCD screen.

Option’s retail price: $1,460 (Daimler Chrysler)
No. 9: Saturn Outlook

The flip-down portable DVD player has an 8-inch screen and locks into an overhead docking station, making it easily transferable to hotel rooms or Grandma’s house. Although it also comes with two wireless single-channel headphones, it requires the DVD/Navigation Advanced Audio Package. But hey, at least you won’t have to worry about asking for directions.

Option’s retail price: $1,295 (General Motors)
No. 10: Nissan Quest

The DVD Entertainment System – complete with an 8-inch screen, DVD player, remote, auxiliary inputs and two wireless headphones -- is available on the three lower models to entertain the brood on long drives. Those hauling a larger herd – or just a finicky twosome -- can go for the top-of-the-line model, which has an additional 8-inch system for the third row.

Option’s retail price: $1,550 (Nissan)