Peo­ple mover still stand­ing tall

South Western Times - - Wheels - Alis­tair Kennedy

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.

Styling

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..

In­te­rior

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.

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.

In­fo­tain­ment

The Odyssey’s in­for­ma­tion and en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem uses a dash­board-mounted colour touch screen to dis­play its in­fo­tain­ment range.

Driv­ing

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.

Sum­ming up

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.

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