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
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.