Honda Odyssey

The economical carrier

"I thought MPVs were just meant for hotel guests"

"Our aim was to check if the car does make any sense for families"

"Odyssey is indeed a big family car"

Here's a piece on my first ever MPV ride. To be honest, I had no knowledge about the MPV segment to the extent that I thought MPVs were just meant for hotel guests. Unlike the US market where minivans are popular, the Middle East seems to have less interest in them and I think it's because of the popularity of larger SUVs in the region. Last month, we took the all new Odyssey from Honda and since then, I have started to notice quite a lot of them on road. We wanted to check if the Odyssey really has any chance in the market and if yes, who the target buyer is.

Exterior
Talking about the model, we saw the 4th generation Honda Odyssey introduced in 2011 and late last year came the latest edition. In the front, we have a deeply sculpted aluminum hood design with a new chrome grille. HID headlights with a black housing go well with the rear design: red light bar and rear deflectors coupled with pipe LED tail lights. Our tester was a top of the range Odyssey "Touring" and so came with features such as 18 inch 2-tone pewter gray aluminum wheel design, Smart Entry System with Push Start/Stop button, the Honda LaneWatch with blind spot monitor and the 7 inch touchscreen. The new model features a revised door side mirror and turn light indicator. Further, we've got dual power sliding doors that automatically slide to open and close - very efficient considering the fact that it's not easy to do so manually as the doors are very heavy.

Interior
Inside the car, things look very much purpose built. There are three rows of seats for passengers. The Touring model comes with a standard tri-zone automatic A/C, leather seats and power lumbar support for driver's seat. The driver's seat was 8-way power adjustable and to my surprise it's a standard option for passengers too but limited to 4-way adjustable. Now let's see why we should consider Odyssey as a family car. It can accommodate a child seat in the second row by pulling the seats apart and can be adjusted to 5 different positions. The third row has a lot of space, hence, not limited for children. There is a beverage cooler box and many other storage options. Cargo space in the boot was huge thanks to the deep floor, and if there were larger objects, one could fold the second and third seat rows as per the requirement. The dashboard looks simple and control buttons are in easy reach for the driver.

Features
New in Odyssey is the 2-layer instrumental panel. Like in Honda Accord, we see an 8 inch i-MID display in the center console panel and a lower 7 inch touchscreen for synchronized media controls. We have a list of features in the infotainment department starting from Bluetooth Hands Free Link, rear multiview camera, navigation and the exclusive and new factory-integrated Rear Entertainment System. AUX/USB/HDMI ports are available and we can experience music from a 12-speaker sound system which is pretty okay. Over to safety features, we have VSA, ABD with Brake Assist and EBD. The list goes on with dual front airbags, front side airbags and side curtain airbag system, 3-point ELR seatbelts for 8 passengers, Occupant Position Detection System and front active headrests.

Drivetrain
Engine is common across all three variants of Odyssey. It's a 3.5 liter V6 that delivers 250hp at 5,700rpm. A reasonable torque for a car of this size, 338 Nm@4,800rpm, and the whole set up runs on six speed automatic transmission system passing the power to front wheels.

Driving Impressions
Before I get into my drive impression, let's be clear. We aren't in a sports car and our aim now is to check if the car does make any sense for families. Two of my friends joined me for a short drive as I thought their feedback sitting behind me in the second and third rows was crucial. As far as driving is concerned, it was comfortable. With its overall big size, Odyssey drove just like a normal sedan. I barely had any issues in parking and the car was a decent performer on the move. Handling was above average thanks to VSA and a well designed suspension system. In corners, I didn't feel any trouble as a driver but my friends in back rows complained about a little body roll. That can be due to its long dimension but overall the car was stable. Steering feedback was upright most of the times and I barely felt that I was riding a minivan - this is good!

Verdict
Features are simple and easy to use, and Honda is lucky with hardly any competition in the market. Toyota Previa, which has a smaller engine, and Chrysler Voyager which could be a little pricey, are probably the only two alternatives. Honda Odyssey proved to be an economical carrier too. Eight individual adjustable seats, loads of cargo space and some practical storage inside insisted that I change my perception about MPVs. Honda Odyssey is indeed a big family car.

Specification

Year: 2014
Engine Cylinder: V6
Displacement: 3.5 Liter
Power: 250 hp
Torque: 338 Nm
Transmission Type: 6 Speed Automatic
Drive: FWD

Performance

0-100: 8 Sec
Top Speed: 190 kph
Fuel Efficiency: 11 liters/100km

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