HONDA ODYSSEY VTi
Sharp starting price. Equipment includes LED daytime running lights, cruise control, hill start assist, two 12V power outlets, electric passenger side sliding door, 10 cupholders, seven-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth with audio streaming, HDMI port and two USB ports. Warranty only average, though, at three years or 100,000km. Capped price servicing costs are high at $1973 over three years, with six-month intervals. Resale strong at 64 per cent.
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder (129kW/225Nm) won’t win any drag races but combined with the continuously variable transmission it makes a good fist of moving eight people at a reasonable pace, if a little noisily. Its biggest drawcard is fuel economy. Partly thanks to an engine that switches itself off at the lights, it uses just 7.6L/100km. With petrol at $1.50, that’s about $900 less than the Carnival each year.
The Odyssey may not look as sleek as the previous generation but its gawky looks allow for a big cabin with decent leg room in the second row and enough space for full-size adults in the third row in relative comfort. The interior is comfortable enough but looks fairly plain. Trumps the Carnival with a bigger, more useful centre screen and an electric sliding rear passenger door. Cargo area behind the third row is useful, if not as huge as the Carnival.
Six airbags, including curtains that extend through to the third row, earn the Honda a five-star rating. Reversing camera standard, with clear readout.
New model takes a backward step in driving dynamics, with bumpier ride, more body roll through corners and vague steering. But vision is good and the seats are comfortable and supportive, with plenty of room for all occupants.
VERDICT The Carnival is roomier, more powerful and has a much better warranty but its sub-par crash rating means the more efficient Odyssey comes out on top