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Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - MOTOR GUIDE -

The dash­board-mounted gearshift to­gether with a pull-out stor­age tray and drink hold­ers opens up the space be­tween the front seats suf­fi­ciently to al­low ac­cess to the rear rows of seats. Con­ven­tional ac­cess to the rear seats is made easy through pow­ered slid­ing side doors that can be op­er­ated ei­ther by touch­ing the han­dles or us­ing the key fob. The VTi only has the pas­sen­ger sides pow­ered, the VTi-L also on the driver’s side.

With all seats in place there’s just 330 litres of rear lug­gage space, it can ex­pand when the third row of seats are folded (they fold com­pletely into the floor) to 1332 litres and with the cen­tre row down to a van-like 1867 litres.

One no­tice­able omis­sion is the lack of a pow­ered tail­gate even in the VTi-L. EN­GINE / TRANS­MIS­SION There is only one pow­er­train; a 2.4-litre four-cylin­der petrol unit with peak power of 129 kW and top torque of 225 Nm at 4000 rpm.

It drives through the front wheels us­ing the greater ef­fi­ciency of con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion (CVT). There are steer­ing wheel-mounted shift pad­dles that bring in pre­set ra­tios for driv­ers who don’t trust the au­to­matic’s com­puter.

Fuel con­sump­tion is listed at 7.8 litres per 100 kilo­me­tres; at 8.2 L/100 km we came rea­son­ably close dur­ing our test. These are im­pres­sive fig­ures for a big seven-seater. SAFETY Ac­tive safety fea­tures (crash pre­ven­tion) in the Odyssey VTi in­clude ABS brakes with brake as­sist and elec­tronic brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion; emer­gency stop sig­nal; sta­bil­ity and trac­tion con­trol; hill start as­sist; day­time run­ning lights; and tyre de­fla­tion warn­ing.

Pas­sive fea­tures (crash mit­i­ga­tion) are front, side and full-length cur­tain airbags with whiplash mit­i­ga­tion front seats; and Honda’s Ad­vanced Com­pat­i­bil­ity Engi­neer­ing (ACE) struc­ture.

To get the ma­jor­ity of the ad­vanced ac­tive safety fea­tures that are rapidly be­com­ing stan­dard in most cars you’ll need to pay the nearly $10,000 sur­charge for the VTi-L. For that, you’ll get the Honda Sens­ing pack­age which pro­vides For­ward Col­li­sion Warn­ing; Col­li­sion Mit­i­ga­tion Brak­ing Sys­tem; Lane De­par­ture Warn­ing; Lane Keep As­sist Sys­tem; Road De­par­ture Mit­i­ga­tion Sys­tem; and Adap­tive Cruise Con­trol.

VTi-L also adds blind spot mon­i­tor­ing; IsoFix child seat an­chor­ages in the two sec­ond-row bucket seats; Smart Park­ing As­sist; Rear Cross Traf­fic Alert and LED ac­tive cor­ner­ing lights. Both vari­ants have a multi-an­gle re­vers­ing cam­era with the VTi-L adding front, side and 360-de­gree top­down cam­eras. IN­FO­TAIN­MENT The Odyssey’s in­for­ma­tion and en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem uses a dash­board­mounted colour touch screen to dis­play its in­fo­tain­ment range. It sits be­tween air con vents and is quite small for a ve­hi­cle of its width and it’s not easy to use which re­sults in far more inat­ten­tion than is safe.

There’s no Ap­ple CarPlay or An­droid Auto and satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion can only be ac­cessed via a smart­phone. DRIV­ING Get­ting into and out of the Odyssey is a breeze re­gard­less of your po­si­tion­ing within the car. There was no se­ri­ous climb up or bend­ing and head scrap­ing, just a nice com­fort­able slide in. The down­side to that is that the rel­a­tively low ground clear­ance does need a bit of cau­tion at times on rough roads or get­ting on and off some drive­ways.

With its large glass ar­eas all round Odyssey has a lovely airy feel in­side and pro­vides out­stand­ing ex­te­rior vis­i­bil­ity.

En­gine start/stop is via a dash-mounted but­ton although the park­ing brake is the ridicu­lous old-style foot op­er­ated unit.

NVH (Noise, Vi­bra­tion, Harsh­ness) was one of the is­sues with previous Odyssey mod­els but this has been im­proved no­tice­ably with the MY18 Odyssey.

The 2.4-litre mo­tor revs freely and qui­etly through the rev range and the Odyssey cruises ef­fort­lessly and qui­etly with its strong torque over a wide rev range. The CVT is smooth with none of the an­noy­ing high revving of ear­lier units.

Around town it be­haves in a sur­pris­ingly sprightly man­ner, chang­ing di­rec­tion con­fi­dently while it cruises ef­fort­lessly on the mo­tor­way.

The sus­pen­sion gen­er­ally copes well, but rough roads can cause it has­sles at times. Han­dling re­ally isn’t the rea­son you choose a peo­ple mover but the big Odyssey is safe and sure at higher than nor­mal cor­ner­ing speeds. SUMMING UP In this era of crossover ve­hi­cles that at­tempt to be jacks of all trades it’s nice to re­view a ve­hi­cle that has one clearly de­fined pur­pose – to pro­vide spa­cious, com­fort­able and eco­nom­i­cal trans­port for more than five oc­cu­pants.

Although not nec­es­sar­ily the mar­ket leader in sales Honda Odyssey has long been the queen of its class and the MY18 up­date sees it re­main­ing there.

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