Honda Odyssey - Car Review

by under Review on 16 Dec 2009 03:04:27 PM16 Dec 2009
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2009 HONDA ODYSSEY
Price Range
$44,250 - $51,150
Fuel Consumption
8L - 8L/100km
PROS

CONS

Hardly Resting On Their Laurels, Honda’s Fourth Generation Odyssey Is Set For More People Mover Awards

Honda’s cleaners must hate the Odyssey – all those damn People Mover awards trophies to dust.

2009 HONDA ODYSSEY LUXURY

Better make room in the trophy cabinet and stock-up on the feather dusters and polish folks – the company has just launched the face-lifted fourth generation Odyssey lineup and it has the ingredients to scoop the pools at this year’s awards. 

What You Get

Good looks, nice to drive, space for seven, advanced safety features and Honda’s renown build quality and engineering – the fourth generation Odyssey takes all of this on-board and improves just about every aspect.

Already the most car-like people mover on the planet, the new Odyssey is actually lower again (now down to 1545mm) and has a lower center of gravity than its predecessor.

Pricing is sharp - $43,990 for the base model and $49,990 for the sumptuous leather-kitted luxury version.

Under The Hood

Odyssey continues with Honda’s excellent 2.4-litre Double Overhead cam (DOHC) i-VTEC engine coupled to 5-speed automatic transmission.

Power is up by 14kW to 132 kW at 6,500rpm. Peak torque remains at 218Nm.

Honda claims the combined cycle fuel economy is down from 8.4l/100kms to 8.9l/100kms.

The Interior  

Odyssey’s V-shaped interior layout (provides all passengers with a clear forwards view) and excellent legroom have always been major winners for People Mover customers.

2009 HONDA ODYSSEY LUXURY

The Fourth generation model improves even further with extra cabin length (now 2850mm), 20mm more head-room for the second row passengers, plus more leg and foot-room for third row passengers.

In addition, the C-pillar is 40mm thinner allowing the rear door opening to be larger for easier access to the third row.

The driver benefits from improved visibility thanks to clever slim-line A-pillars. 

Boot capacity with the third-row seats folded (accomplished via a powered push-button system in the luxury model) is 708 litres or 259 litres with the third row seats in place.

It’s difficult to think of a comparable vehicle with superior legroom for all passengers than the Odyssey and the V-shaped layout plus extensive glass does enhance all-round visibility for everyone.

2009 HONDA ODYSSEY LUXURY

For the driver, the tow-tiered instrument panel is lower for an improved forward view. The curved, illuminated 3D layout is one of the best.

Drivers will also appreciate the inclusion of telescopic adjustment for the steering wheel.

Base models come with a single disc CD sound system plus auxiliary jack, while range-topping luxury versions gain a six-stacker with MP3.

A myriad of detail changes complete the impressive upgrades for the Odyssey’s interior – including drink holders positioned so children in booster seats can reach them…Honda certainly knows the Odyssey’s market.

Exterior & Styling

Key to the Odyssey’s success has been its low-floor, 4-door platform which is very sedan-like. This has not changed (in fact the floor is lower than the previous model) but exterior enhancements have certainly given the Fourth Generation models a fresh appearance.

The sharp front lines remain with a sculptured V-line extending to the bonnet and spoiler shaped flairs at either end of the front bumper. Narrow headlights with blue lenses deliver a contemporary, sophisticated edge to the overall look.

2009 HONDA ODYSSEY LUXURY

A-pillars are further rearwards for increased angle and combine with an extra incline for the larger rear tailgate to deliver a more sporty appearance for the Odyssey.

Flared rear guards and enhanced tail-lights give the rear a wider, lower look. 

On The Road

Car Showroom tested both Odyssey variants back-to-back and renewed our enthusiasm for Honda’s People Mover king. The addition of telescopic adjustment for the steering wheel is a significant advance and the electronic adjustment of the drivers’ seat in the luxury version delivers an excellent driving position.

The 2.4-litre engine provides handy performance and the five-speed auto works well even in rapid highway acceleration. Refinement levels remain high even when the powerplant is being worked hard.

Tipping the scales at 1700kgs in luxury form or 1645 kgs in the base model, the Odyssey does at times remind you it is a seven-seat MPV and not a Civic Type R – but that is to be expected.

The base model comes with 16-inch alloy wheels while the Luxury gains 17-inchers – both work well with the coil spring/multi-link suspension to deliver good grip and predictable ride and handling.

As you would expect from Honda, safety is first-class and now includes standard Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and revised airbag deployment (six airbags are standard). All seven occupants have 3-point seatbelts and the front head-restraints are active.

Challenges

It’s always risky talking about colors but while we really like the beige leather interior of the luxury Odyssey, we reckon the grey cloth trim in the base model – although excellent quality and beautifully finished - to be a little dark and detracts from the overall light/airy feel of the interior.

Verdict

The Odyssey is good – very, very good. It is the only vehicle in the history of Australia’s Best Car Awards to win a category (Best People Mover) four consecutive years and was knocked from its perch last year by the Hyundai i-Load largely on value-for-money and the availability of a diesel engine in the very impressive Korean newcomer (a favourite of the Car Showroom team too).

Only time will tell whether the Fourth generation Odyssey has done enough to convince the judges from Australia’s motoring organizations.

2009 HONDA ODYSSEY LUXURY

Odyssey does remind us that 7-seaters needn’t be considered in the same league as commercial vehicles.

It’s safe to say you’ll be seeing lots of these at school pickup very soon. 

The Competition

A major consideration in the buying process is just how often you will be using all seven seats.

On one hand, genuine car-like 7-seaters that compare directly with the Odyssey are thin on the ground but you should shop Dodge Journey – it arrives at a similar conclusion but does so in an American way. Which is best for you?

Then you venture into more van-like vehicles where the field is massive, including Citroen C4 Picasso, Chrysler Grand Voyager, Kia Grand Carnivale, Mazda CX-9, the superb Hyundai i-Load, Mitsubishi Grandis, Mercedes-Benz Viano and Volkswagen Multivan to name a few.

In the current economy, Honda has done well to price the Odyssey at $43,990 and $49,990 – and in our minds that effectively knocks some of the van-based rivals out of the picture.

* The price quoted is indicative. Actual prices for this car are set by dealers and may be more or less than the indicative price quoted and may also include dealer delivery fees and taxes. You should check the price of this car with your local dealer.

Thumbs-up:

Keeps doing what Odyssey does best – 7-seats with the feel of a car; gorgeous interior in Luxury model; enhanced safety

Thumbs-down:

Chassis balance is so nice it needs a bigger engine; base model cloth trim too dark

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