People mover still standing tall
Honda Odyssey has been on sale in Australia since 1995 when the people mover was the vehicle of choice for those needing to transport more than five. For most of that period it’s been a three-way tussle between Odyssey, Toyota Tarago and Kia Carnival although the SUV phenomenon has taken many sales away from the segment.
Honda made a bit of a gamble in its third and fourth generation model by lowering Odyssey’s height to make it look and perform more like a station wagon but with the arrival of the gen-five model in 2014 it’s reverted to its previous height of just under 1.7 metres. The MY2018 Odyssey gave it an external facelift, upgraded interior and improved driver assist technology.
Two variants are offered, VTi and VTi-L with the ‘L’ standing for luxury rather than a long wheelbase as used elsewhere.
VTi now has the ‘aero’ front fascia design that was previously only available with higher spec VTi-L. It also now has bright chrome surrounds for the new front foglights.
The VTi-L steps up to a new Solid Wing Face premium aero package with bolder bumper shaping, LED foglights and a dark chrome finish on both upper and lower grilles as well as the door handles.
At the rear there’s a revised fascia and a stylish tailgate applique. VTi-L also gets a small sunroof over the front seats as well as rear door LED puddle lights..
Odyssey VTi comes with eight seats while the more luxurious VTi-L has seven. The latter features twin buckets instead of the second-row bench in the VTi. The second-row pair have built-in adjustable footrests, reshaped headrests and seat-mounted storage compartments. The seatbacks can also be reclined and, when the third row seats are folded flat, the central seats can slide up to 740mm forwards or backwards as well as laterally. So there’s choice.
The second and third rows in the eight-seater have three-way split seatbacks that provide a variety of seating and cargo options.
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 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.
Engine / transmission
There is only one powertrain; a 2.4litre 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/100km we came reasonably close to during our test.
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.
The Odyssey’s information and entertainment system uses a dashboard-mounted colour touch screen to display its infotainment range.
Getting into and out of the Odyssey is a breeze regardless of your positioning within the car.
Engine start/stop is via a dash-mounted button although the parking brake is the ridiculous oldstyle foot operated unit.
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.
In this era of crossover vehicles 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.
Honda Odyssey is an attractive spacious and economical people mover.
Honda Odyssey drives through the front wheels using the greater efficiency of continuously variable transmission.
A dashboard-mounted colour touch screen displays the Odyssey’s infotainment range.