The Odyssey makes travelling with family, friends or both a much more enjoyable experience than Minivans of the past.
Back in the 1980s when my wife and I bought our first Minivan, there wasn’t much to them. Options were basic as were most of the items inside and out. Things have changed, and Minivans of today like the Honda Odyssey, make travelling much more luxurious and provide a better driving experience.
This Odyssey Touring model I received to test has to be one of the best equipped vehicles I have been in so far. It has all the equipment comparable to any luxury car on the market, and being a Honda, there are no speaks or rattles anywhere.
Today’s vans are much bigger than the original Minivans, which have followed the trend of bigger vehicles on a whole. The wider doors, front and rear, make for easy entry and exit. Large windows give the Odyssey an airy feeling on the inside as well as great viewing for the passengers. The Touring edition has power side doors and a power rear hatch. The large side doors are not that easy to open and close on their own, so keep this in mind if you are in the market for one.
Inside you find a well-laid out cabin with easy to reach controls. The dash instruments are bright; the centre area houses all the standard modern controls plus a few more interesting features. The one that really caught my eye was the interior rear camera that allows the driver to just glance at the centre screen to see rear passengers or unruly children, something I would have loved when I had a Minivan. This vehicle is also equipped with a flip down screen that is Blu-ray compatible and set up for other entertainment inputs as well.
As for interior seating, the Touring model comes with eight-passenger seating but for comfort I would say six people could sit comfortably and eight in a pinch. The third row seats will fold flat (60/40 split) into the floor, something Honda pioneered. This makes for a big load area when needed. The middle seats fold forward for even more room if needed. If one does have to leave all the seats up, cargo room is still good as the rear area is low, allowing for more space. Having sat in the rear for a while I have to admit the seats there were comfortable, so travelling with adult friends and family is a pleasant experience.
Giving the Odyssey lots of get up and go is a 3.5-litre V6 with variable valve timing, like many of the Honda cars. Variable valve timing allows the Odyssey to keep pulling though a wider range, which means that uphill acceleration is possible for a longer period. Due to the Odyssey’s weight (2,086 kg) and size, Honda uses a 10-speed automatic in the Touring model to give it a better fuel economy of 12.2 L/100 km city and 8.5 L/100 km on the highway which isn’t bad all things considered.
The Odyssey makes travelling with family, friends or both a much more enjoyable experience than Minivans of the past. The features of this vehicle allow passengers to relax, view the surroundings, catch a movie or play video games. If you need space for people or cargo and want quality, then the Odyssey, and more so the Touring edition, is the way to go. The Odyssey Touring lists for $52,200 basically fully equipped, which seems like a pretty good value.
Motor: 3.5-litre V6 SOHC
Horsepower: 280 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 262 @ 4,700 rpm
Lay out: Front engine, front-wheel drive
Fuel economy: 12.2 L/100 km city 8.5 L/100 km highway