Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Honda Odyssey is a Cool Take on the Minivan
How do you get excited about a minivan?
Well, it can be a little difficult, frankly, unless you're talking about the 2011 Honda Odyssey.
Honda has given a brand new exterior and interior to the Odyssey, and both are sharp improvements on what already had been very good designs.
The engine is a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 248 horsepower and 250 pounds-feet of torque.
It comes with Honda’s fuel-saving cylinder deactivation system, which turns off cylinders in the engine when they are not needed, to conserve gas and raise efficiency.
The LX and EX trim levels have a five-speed automatic transmission and the Touring and Touring Elite have a six-speed.
The fuel efficiency on the Odyssey is remarkable for such a large vehicle. City numbers are 18-19 mpg and highway numbers are 27-28 mpg. In a week of combined driving, we got approximately 26 mpg.
There are other really nice minivans on the market, including the Toyota Sienna, Dodge Grand Caravan, and Chrysler Town and Country, but those models don't come close to the Odyssey in fuel economy.
The exterior changes on the Odyssey include a sharp slope on the belt line under the side windows to the rear of the sliding doors. Honda says the design inspiration was lightning bolts, and that the new styling improves third-row visibility. There is also a larger, more aggressive grille, sportier front headlamps and 17- or 18-inch wheels.
Honda's interior renovations include a flip-up ring to mount a trash bag for second-row passengers, a “cool box” in the front that allows you to keep a six-pack of beverages chilled and a center second-row seat that slides fore and aft, in case you might have a young passenger who you'd like to keep closer to the first row to attend to.
Plus there are 15, that's right, 15, cupholders. Your crew will never be thirsty.
Comfort and convenience factors abound. All but the LX trim models have tri-zone automatic climate control, with optional heated leather seats and moonroof.
Honda also offers a rear entertainment system with a 16.2-inch widescreen display, which can split the screen and play different programming for the right or left side passengers. Honda says navigation and the rear entertainment system are standard on Touring/Touring Elite trims.
The Odyssey's safety features are outstanding and include front-, side-impact and three-row side curtain airbags, antilock brakes and an active electronic stability system. A blind spot warning system is optional and the Odyssey includes LATCH anchors for up to five child safety seats.
So Honda is proving that a little bit of style can go along with the functionality people expect in their minivans.