HONDA’S FAM­ILY ODYSSEY

New Straits Times - - CBT - AR­MAN AH­MAD

EV­ERY time you see a mini­van on the road and a mid­dle aged-man be­hind the wheel, please honk and flash your lights in re­spect.

Be­fore you is proof that a man has sac­ri­ficed many things, in­clud­ing the joy of driv­ing, for his loved ones.

Kids love mini­vans and so do their mom­mies. Why wouldn’t they? There’s am­ple space for them to get com­fort­able. Get a mini­van equipped with a screen and seat trays for the chil­dren’s McDon­ald meals and you will soon have trou­ble pry­ing your chil­dren out of the ve­hi­cle.

There are so many MPVs around be­cause these ve­hi­cles are well-equipped to cater to the needs of fam­i­lies. Every­one loves the MPV, ex­cept maybe, the driver.

Some time back, when Honda in­tro­duced the Odyssey RB1 in 2003, the MPV con­cept was turned on its head. Sud­denly, here was a mini­van that looked in­cred­i­bly good, and most im­por­tantly, didn’t han­dle like a C20 Econo­van. If ever there was a “driver’s MPV”, that might have been it.

In Ab­so­lute trim with the RB2, Honda per­fected their de­sign, and un­til to­day, there are le­gions of fans of this “sporty” MPV.

When Honda in­tro­duced the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion plat­form, it was re­vealed that the new MPV had grown in size. It had grown by a stag­ger­ing 136mm in height, and now stood at 1,685mm-tall, com­pared with the pre­vi­ous model.

More cru­cially, the rear doors, which were hinged on pre­vi­ous mod­els had been changed to dual power slid­ing doors, mak­ing it closer to a typ­i­cal MPV.

Now in RC2 guise, the Odyssey has un­der­gone an­other facelift. Does it live up to the Odyssey badge? Well, yes and no.

The Odyssey we tested was a sev­enseater con­fig­u­ra­tion with two in­di­vid­ual cap­tain seats in the sec­ond row, with ot­tomans.

The sec­ond row seats are fully ad­justable, while the third row can be folded in a typ­i­cally in­ge­nious Honda way that leaves a rel­a­tively flat floor for stor­age.

The third row seat in par­tic­u­lar, is amaz­ingly com­fort­able de­spite its abil­ity to fold flush into the floor.

First off, the ride around town is a bit choppy. It’s not as poised as we ex­pected it to be. But with dual slid­ing doors and a cav­ernous space in the mid­dle, a com­pro­mise prob­a­bly had to be made with re­gards to ride qual­ity.

It does how­ever, han­dle well enough for some­thing so large. Han­dling is rel­a­tively sta­ble on high­ways and spritely in town. Some­thing that is es­pe­cially wel­come is the ex­cel­lent turn­ing ra­dius, which at 5.4m is bet­ter than some smaller sedans.

The 2.4L DOHC i-VTEC en­gine has 173hp at 6,200rpm and 225Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm on tap, and does a de­cent enough job of haul­ing the MPV around. Drive is sent to­wards the front wheels via a CVT au­to­matic. It’s a de­cent enough driv­e­train for the rigours of daily life, al­though a bit pricey with the road tax.

For the Malaysian mar­ket, the Odyssey is equipped with Honda Sens­ing, Honda’s suite of lat­est driv­ing aids and safety fea­tures.

This in­cludes Adap­tive Cruise Con­trol (ACC), Lane Keep­ing As­sist Sys­tem (LKAS), Lane De­par­ture Warn­ing (LDW), Road De­par­ture Mit­i­ga­tion (RDM). Col­li­sion Mit­i­ga­tion Brak­ing Sys­tem (CMBS) and For­ward Col­li­sion Warn­ing (FCW).

The equip­ment list is com­pre­hen­sive as well, with a seven-inch touch­screen in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem, pow­ered front seats, re­verse cam­era, front and rear park­ing sen­sors, dual-zone cli­mate con­trol in front as well as of course, power-slid­ing rear doors (which much to the de­light of chil­dren, can be opened with the re­mote con­trol).

With prices start­ing at RM258,896, it’s pricey, but com­pared with the ask­ing prices of some of its com­peti­tors in the Malaysian mar­ket of­fers a good value propo­si­tion for all self-sac­ri­fic­ing Malaysian dads.

PICS BY HALIMATON SAADIAH SU­LAIMAN

The Odyssey has grown in size, and is now 136mm taller com­pared with the pre­vi­ous it­er­a­tion.

Third row seats can be folded in a typ­i­cally in­ge­nious Honda way that leaves a rel­a­tively flat floor for stor­age.

The sec­ond row seat cap­tain seats are fully ad­justable.

For the Malaysian mar­ket, the Odyssey is equipped with Honda Sens­ing, Honda’s suite of lat­est driv­ing aids and safety fea­tures.

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