More than a peo­ple mover

The fourth-gen­er­a­tion Odyssey was a big hit with fam­i­lies, but watch out now for ‘kid­die lit­ter’, GRA­HAM SMITH says

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE -

THERE’S noth­ing very sexy about peo­plemovers. Well, most of them any­way, be­cause Honda tried to make them ap­peal­ing with its Odyssey.

When most peo­ple movers had all the ap­peal of a com­mer­cial van, the Odyssey had many of the at­tributes nor­mally as­so­ci­ated with a car.

With room for seven peo­ple, car-like safety and driv­ing dy­nam­ics, at­trac­tive looks and lots of stan­dard fea­tures, there was a lot to like about the Honda peo­ple­mover. NEW

The fourth gen­er­a­tion launched in 2009 had more equip­ment, more power, elec­tric power steer­ing, slim­mer A-pil­lars to im­prove visibility and new looks. While all of those im­prove­ments made the Odyssey more ap­peal­ing, its prime func­tion — to trans­port fam­i­lies — re­mained.

In that re­spect it hit the bulls­eye with a flex­i­ble cabin that of­fered a range of pas­sen­ger/lug­gage op­tions.

The mid­dle seat could slide and re­cline, while the sec­ond and third row could be split and folded to pro­vide a mul­ti­tude of pas­sen­ger and cargo op­tions. There was even the op­tion of a full-length, flat floor like you’d find in a com­mer­cial van.

Honda of­fered just the one en­gine in the form of a freerevving 2.4-litre four-cylin­der unit punch­ing out 132 kW and 128 Nm. With 14 kW more than its pre­de­ces­sor it was bet­ter able to han­dle hills, though it could at times still feel un­der­pow­ered.

Five-speed auto was stan­dard. It was smooth and com­bined well with the 2.4-litre en­gine.

One of the Odyssey’s most pleas­ing at­tributes was its on- road dy­nam­ics. With a low, wide stance and well-tuned sus­pen­sion it was ag­ile and re­spon­sive, and had a com­fort­able ride. Safety was up­graded with all mod­els boasting six airbags and sta­bil­ity con­trol. NOW

When check­ing a car that has been used for fam­ily trans­port it’s best to start in­side where you could find scuffs, scrapes and food residue from con­stant at­tacks by ju­nior pas­sen­gers. Mod­els with leather trim are likely to with­stand the abuse from kids bet­ter than those with cloth trim.

Thor­oughly check all fit­tings in the cabin, and op­er­ate all con­trols — kids of­ten fid­dle with things they can get their hands on and oc­ca­sion­ally can cause nui­sance dam­age.

Look around the lug­gage area for pos­si­ble wear and tear from car­ry­ing sport­ing gear or pets. Gen­eral wear and tear on the in­te­rior doesn’t usu­ally af­fect the func­tion, but can dras­ti­cally af­fect the price.

One of the things that ap­pealed about the Odyssey was its wide open­ing doors that made get­ting in and out easy, but they can some­times be swung into ad­ja­cent things like posts, walls or other cars, so look for dents and scrapes.

Ear­lier Odysseys had trou­bles with the auto trans­mis­sion, but th­ese is­sues were said to be fixed with the five-speed used in the 4th Gen model. It’s still worth thor­oughly test-driv­ing a car to put it through as many driv­ing sit­u­a­tions as pos­si­ble to flush out any prob­lem that might be lurk­ing in the back­ground.

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