HONDA ODYSSEY REVIEW
Vehicle style: People mover
Engine: 2.4 litre naturally aspirated petrol DOHC inline four
Outputs: 132kW / 218Nm
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Official fuel efficiency: 8.9 l/100km
On test fuel efficiency: 9.9 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 212g/km
With a seven-person capacity, handsome styling and car-like dynamics, Honda's classy Odyssey people mover proves that a big, bulky SUV isn't necessarily the answer for large families.
- Quality: The Odyssey's interior is typically Honda, with high-quality plastics and excellent build quality. There is a sense of solidity and longevity to the interior in both materials and fit; only the light fold-away centre tray detracts here.
- Comfort: The driver's seat is very accommodating, and the steering wheel adjusts for rake and reach.
Fold-down front armrests provide extra comfort on long hauls, and, with the spacious second row slid forward slightly, even the third row seats have enough leg and headroom for adult passengers.
The centre position on the second row isn't quite so accommodating however - it’s best for smaller fry.
- Equipment: The base-model Honda Odyssey is fitted with cruise control, single-zone climate control, rear ventilation controls, trip computer, single-disc six-speaker audio system with aux-in, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and 16-inch alloys.
- Storage: There's 259 litres of space behind the third row seats, and 708 litres with the third row stowed. Fold the 60/40 split second row seats flat, and there's a huge space for bikes, skis or flat-pack furniture.
ON THE ROAD
- Driveability: The 2.4 litre engine is a good performer, although its relatively low torque means lots of revs are needed to lug a heavy load up hills.
The five-speed auto anticipates inclines however, so it's rare for the Odyssey to be caught out in the wrong gear.
Crucially for a family car, outward vision is great thanks to the skinny A-pillars, generous glasshouse and large wing mirrors.
- Refinement: The cabin is quiet during cruising, thanks mainly to the Odyssey's smooth, low-slung aerodynamic shape. The tyres can be a little noisy over coarse bitumen, but otherwise refinement is excellent.
- Suspension: Riding on 16-inch alloys, the base Odyssey has a comfortable ride. The electric power steering lacks feel, but dynamically the Odyssey shames any other seven-seater.
- Braking: The large disc brakes have no problem stopping the 1645kg Odyssey, and the pedal has a nice, progressive feel to it.
- ANCAP rating: Not tested
- Safety features: Six airbags (front, front side and full-length curtain), three-point seatbelts on all seats, ABS, EBD, stability control and traction control are standard.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
- Warranty: 3 year/100,000km.
- Service costs: Servicing costs vary from dealer to dealer. Before purchase, contact your local Honda service centre for servicing costs.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
- Dodge Journey SXT ($36,990): The Dodge may not have the interior fit and finish of the Honda, nor quite so much passenger room, but it's an enticing package for the price and has significantly more torque.
- Kia Grand Carnival Si petrol ($39,990): The Grand Carnival looks and feels dated, but seats eight and has excellent luggage space – even with the third row raised. Its 3.5L V6 has huge power and torque, but at two-tonne it's also got the most heft. (see Carnival reviews)
- Hyundai iMax petrol ($36,990): This van-based people mover can carry a total of eight people. However a less refined finish makes it better suited to corporate transport than a family bus. (see iMax reviews)
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The Odyssey may cost a little more than its closest competitors, but none can match the quality of its interior and its outstanding on-road dynamics.
As a proper seven-seater, it's a more attractive family proposition than most SUVs at the same price point, many of which have unbearably tiny third-row seats.
In the case of the Honda Odyssey, you truly do get what you pay for. Highly recommended.