Honda's defining people mover, the stylish Odyssey, has copped a fourth-generation make-over with styling revisions, a more powerful engine and improved safety.
The 2009 Odyssey's 2.4L DOHC i-VTEC engine gets a power lift to 132kW @ 6500rpm (up from 118kW at 5500rpm), with torque unchanged at 218Nm @ 4500rpm.
The Odyssey has always felt 'car-like' at the wheel. With tilt and telescopic steering and double wishbone suspension, its driveability and handling are not at all like people-movers of old. And, thanks to a five-speed automatic transmission and a slippery shape, fuel economy remains an outstanding feature with the 2009 Odyssey returning a combined cycle average of 8.9 1/100km.
It also comes with Vehicle Stability Assist, Grade Logic Control, Motion Adaptive Electric Power Steering (MAE) and Shift Hold.
Safety too is front-of-mind with the new Odyssey. In addition to the Vehicle Stability Assist, the new model comes with six airbags, three-point seatbelts in all seven positions and active front seat head restraints.
With slim-line ?A? pillars, driver and front seat passenger get a panoramic front view and improved visibility, while its ?V-shape' seating layout also provides passengers with a clear view forward. (Important if you've experienced the singular joy of taking a car-load of the sprogs on a driving holiday.)
Inside, the Odyssey comes with improved seating, more foot and leg room in the third row, and 20mm greater head clearance and a 25mm increase in the width of the centre armrest in the middle row. The centre seat also gaining a three-point seatbelt.
Honda has also thought about the environment with its new Odyssey, ensuring that all materials used in its manufacture have been selected for their recyclability and environmental compatibility.
We'll keep our powder try till we can post a full road-test, but the gen-three was far from shabby at the wheel. If gen-four is an improvement, the 2009 Odyssey promises to be very good family driving and worth a close look.
Pricing? The 2009 Odyssey starts at $43,990, rising to $49,990 for the luxo model (plus dealer and statutory charges).