HONDA ODYSSEY EXV-S
From $180,999, from Kah Motor Fuel consumption: 7.9 litres/100km Main safety features: Six SRS airbags, ABS, EBD, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) System. Family-friendly features: Dual-zone air-conditioning, conversation mirror, auto-dim rear view mirror (to cut down high-beam glare from tailing vehicles), auto headlamps. This zippy car packs a good mix of family-friendly features to keep driver and passengers happy. THUMBS UP FOR: • A smooth drive. It drove, turned and reversed breezily, like the Previa, but a too-responsive brake pedal made my maiden drive a little jerky in slow traffic. • The largest boot space. It edges out the Elgrand by a mere 5cm to claim top spot. The third-row seats can be tucked under, into a cellar-like space that keeps them hidden and makes room for up to five suitcases – three large 32-inch ones and two cabin-sized ones. • A comfortable steering wheel that’s not
too small or thin. • A low floor (about 8cm lower than those of the other cars), as well as handles and lights by the door, make boarding a cinch for kids and old folk. • It has pedal shifters – switches that let the driver shift gears manually, usually to rev the engine for quick acceleration. I felt they were good for a bit of motoring fun, but unnecessary in a family car. The blind-spot indicator is a great safety feature. These icons on the side mirrors flash when there are vehicles in my blind spots, to warn me against switching lanes. Cameras on both sides of the car allow me to check the dashboard screen before opening the passenger doors. WHAT COULD BE BETTER: • It did not cushion the impact of bumpy
and noisy roads as well as the Elgrand did.
It has the most comfortable third-row seats, which feel like a reclining sofa thanks to the slight incline of the bench; the other cars have flat benches. This makes up for its lower headroom.
It's the only car that can reverse- or parallel-park on its own (with onscreen instructions to the driver to apply the brake at times). It is an appealing idea in theory, but in practice, it’s quicker to reverse-park manually; for parallel parking, it takes practice to overcome the fear of accidentally scratching other cars.