Honda Odyssey 2.4EXV

HONDA ODYSSEY 2.4EXV RM258,896

Top Gear (Malaysia) - - Contents -

WE SAY: PLUSH PEO­PLE-CAR­RIER IS RE­FRESHED WITH SOME HIGH-TECH IN­TEL­LI­GENCE, MAK­ING IT BOTH EAS­IER AND SAFER TO DRIVE

Now in its fifth gen­er­a­tion, the Odyssey has come a long way in­deed and this is ar­guably the best yet thanks to its re­cent mild nip and tuck and adop­tion of Honda’s renowned Sens­ing suite.

We took one for a spin re­cently with our col­leagues from TG Chi­nese to see just how it stacked up. Even though it was a one-day drive, we were able to get a proper feel of the big, fam­ily-friendly MPV and un­der­stand why many are will­ing to meet its pre­mium price tag.

Ar­guably, this Odyssey isn’t the pret­ti­est of its lin­eage, but still far from ugly for a seven-seat MPV. Its nip and tuck saw tweaks in de­sign to its front and rear, the changes in front be­ing the more ob­vi­ous. Match­ing those changes are things like full LED head­lights and the snazzy de­sign of the 17-inch al­loy wheels. Com­pared to the vari­ant it re­places, it ex­udes a greater pre­mium feel. Honda’s ef­forts to con­vey that have paid off.

In­side, it’s the usual Honda af­fair, al­beit with a dash of added class and more abun­dant space than usual. Honda po­si­tions the Odyssey as an “ex­ec­u­tive lounge on four wheels”, and things such as plush leather seats, sec­ond row ‘cap­tain’ seats, the black-fin­ished trim of the dash, and nov­el­ties such as pow­ered slid­ing doors are there to back the claim. Plainly, those be­ing driven in the Odyssey will have lit­tle to gripe about, even when seated in any of the third row’s three seats.

How­ever, those tasked with driv­ing it may not find things that rosy. The pow­er­train, which con­sists of a 2.4-litre petrol four-cylin­der mill and a CVT au­to­matic box, is rather un­der­whelm­ing, es­pe­cially if one is used to some­thing smaller and lighter, like an Ac­cord.

Given the Odyssey’s 1,855kg bulk, it’s hard ig­nore that it’s short on power de­spite the 173bhp and 225Nm pow­er­ing the front wheels. How­ever, it must be said, speed isn’t a pri­or­ity in such a ve­hi­cle. In­stead, a smooth, com­fort­able and ef­fi­cient drive mat­ters most, and the Odyssey scores there. The pres­ence of Honda’s in­tel­li­gent Sens­ing suite is clearly ben­e­fi­cial, sig­nif­i­cantly boost­ing the Odyssey’s long dis­tance driv­abil­ity and safety mea­sures over that of its ri­vals.

It all makes sense es­pe­cially when cruis­ing on the high­way, the Adap­tive Cruise Con­trol keep­ing the car straight and true, and the Lane-Keep As­sist and Lane-De­par­ture Warn­ing sys­tems ready to kick in when re­quired. A Lane-Watch As­sist fea­ture, now also found in the flag­ship Ac­cord, helps to make left-side merg­ing both eas­ier and safer. Com­bine all that with the ex­pected fea­tures, like ABS, sta­bil­ity con­trol, six airbags plus ISOFIX child seat an­chors, and this siz­able MPV truly stands out.

While not the most dy­namic to drive, the Odyssey’s un­ri­valled safety and plush com­fort jus­ti­fies its steep start­ing price of RM258,896. Be­sides, there’s lit­tle else out there of sim­i­lar size and price car­ry­ing a proper fac­tory war­ranty. THORIQ AZMI

Pricey, but def­i­nitely a spa­cious, plush and safe steed fit for a fam­ily

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