Thursday, October 13, 2011

Honda Odyssey Review: Looking hot for a minivan

My family owned the previous generation of the Honda Odyssey and I ‘m a bit of experienced in driving.
The 2005 model was a good vehicle, but there was no denying it was a minivan in the way it looked and felt.
But, the Odyssey has undergone quite a journey since then, with a complete overhaul for 2011.
My first impressions of the work of Honda engineers is nothing but positive.
They deserve kudos for making a minivan that really doesn't drive like one and looks pretty darn good.
Standing next to the redesigned Odyssey, I found myself being able to look at the van's roof at eye level, something I definitely was not able to do with the previous generation.
Honda Odyssey
While I thought they had made the Odyssey shorter, The Honda in fact just made it sit lower to the ground.
It has the added benefit of making entry and exit much easier for passengers. In fact, it feels just like getting in and out of a car.
But the "car" has room for seven passengers and my tester was loaded with just about every bell and whistle you could think of.
The Honda Odyssey comes in five trims, starting with the LX at $29,999 and goes to $46,990 for the top-of-the-line Touring model I tested.
For that price, you get a luxurious family mover that is sure to make everyone happy.
It comes loaded with plenty of good features to make driving it easier, including a rear-view camera, Bluetooth mobile phone interface, fourwheel anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and a parking sensor system.
Some of the many convenience items include driver's seat with eight-way power adjustment, passenger's seat with four-way power adjustment, heated front seats, power sliding doors, power tailgate, 115-volt power outlet, automatic day/night rear-view mirror, leather-trimmed interior, a power moonroof with tilt feature, 18-inch alloy wheels and auto-levelling high-intensity discharge headlights.
The Touring is the only model where you can get what is perhaps one of the nicest DVD entertainment systems I've seen in a vehicle. Honda's DVD Ultrawide Rear Entertainment System features a 16.2-inch display, which takes up more than half of the Odyssey's ceiling. Coupled with the 650-watt audio system that has 12 speakers -including subwoofer - and you have a seriously fun entertainment package.
 Because of being a minivan, you might be shocked to hear this, but the Honda Odyssey looks darn good from just about every angle.
The new, wider front grille, narrowed headlights and reshaped bumper make the Odyssey look wider - which it in fact is.
Perhaps the best angle of the fourth-generation Odyssey is the profile shot.
It's got a distinctive wedge shape and the beltline that raises front to back enhances that look.
I also liked the handle treatment, which sees them indented somewhat, meaning they don't stick out as much as on previous generations.
At the back, wraparound taillights are joined across the tailgate by a chrome bar, making it look like one piece.
The spoiler at the top of the rear door also adds a sporty touch.
Inside, the Odyssey has also received many upgrades, including an improved gauge cluster and a much nicer centre stack, which is now split into several well-divided tiers that make operation easier.
At the top of the stack is the large display, followed immediately by controls for the ventilation system - and there are separate controls for the rear system.
The third tier has all your radio controls, as well as the control for the i-MID (intelligent Multi-Information Display.
The last piece of the centre stack is the shifter, which is something that has become fairly standard in minivans these days.
The entire Odyssey lineup is powered by the same 3.5-litre i-VTEC V6 that offers 248 horsepower and 250 foot-pounds of torque.
All trims except the Touring are equipped with a five speed automatic transmission, but the Touring gets a six-speed automatic gearbox.
Honda says the Touring consumes fuel at a rate of 10.9 litres per 100 kilometers in the city and 7.1 L/100 km on the highway. The other trims are rated at 11.7 L/100 km city and 7.2 L/100 km highway.
The sixth gear makes a huge difference on fuel efficiency, but also on how well the Odyssey drives.
That fuel efficiency is also helped by Honda's Variable Cylinder Management system, which shuts down half the engine's cylinders when they are not needed for power.
When the system is activated, the only way the driver knows is by the ECO indicator that lights up in the dash.
I never thought I would say this, but I actually had fun driving a minivan.
The Odyssey is quite nimble for a vehicle of its size and it's easy to forget you are driving a minivan since its feel and driving characteristics are more in line with a car.
Acceleration off the line is excellent, corners can be taken with alacrity - something not all minivans can handle - and the ride is extremely smooth even on some of the bumpiest roads.
Of course, being a minivan, there is room for seven passengers and access to the rear-most bench is fairly easy.
And there is 38.4 cubic feet of cargo space available behind the rear bench, an amount that increases considerably with the easy stowage of one or both halves of the rear seats.
The Odyssey has been a popular model for Honda for some time and the newest generation should only enhance its popularity. It offers plenty of room, good cargo space, an excellent ride and it looks really good.
It's hard to make a minivan look good, but Honda designers have figured it out.


  1. Honda is the most popular car manufacture brand in the world which make good design of the car. Honda Odyssey is one of the best family car which has great features. It is really good for a comfort ride with family. I really like to drive this car.

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