Published on July 13th, 2016 | by Subhash Nair0
Honda Odyssey Review: The Whole Package
The Odyssey – currently Honda Malaysia’s only MPV on offer – is pretty much exactly the sort of vehicle you’d want to find yourself in if you’re a family man. It’s everything the Accord manages to be, but with loads more space for additional passengers. For RM255,000 you get a luxurious, fuel-efficient Honda that’s built completely in Japan, meaning excellent fit and finish with no compromise on material choices and standard equipment.
You feel that immediately as you enter the car. The test unit we drove was well over 2 years old, but it still felt brand new, with no creaks or rattles whatsoever. Honda have given the Odyssey’s cabin a special treatment.
There’s a real ‘Accord’ feel in the cabin with tasteful faux wood and leather trim throughout. Honda’s ergonomics team have done their work extremely well in every aspect, with buttons easy to find and reach and plenty of space for larger people no matter where they sit. The screens and meters blend modernity with practicality, so there’s a nice mix of digital and analogue around the information cluster.
In front you’ll find automated controls for climate control, but passengers in the 2nd and 3rd row have their own module to operate if they wish. The rear doors on both sides are electronically controlled too, which gives the Odyssey an edge over cheaper MPV alternatives.
The absence of a centre console makes it possible for passengers to move from one seat to another without exiting the vehicle. We found this extremely useful in cases where the Odyssey was blocked in on one side by another vehicle and when we needed to carry out a driver change in the rain.
The seating arrangement is typical for this segment – 2-2-3. The first two rows consist of individual seats, giving the Odyssey a ‘Business Class’ aura. The middle row seats are fully adjustable and can even be moved closer or further together. Honda calls these two seats ‘Premium Captain Cradle Seats with Ottomans’, and that pretty accurately sums them up. There’s a sense of modularity here that makes the Odyssey useful no matter what or who you’re hauling.
The final row is the best example of this. In typical Honda fashion an unconventional, but easy-to-understand system is used. Essentially, it collapses into itself to extend the boot space while providing a flat floor in the process. The amount of room freed up for cargo can be extended further by pushing the middle row of seats forward. Or if you prefer a limousine experience, fold the rear seats down and push the middle row all the way back and you effectively have 2 beds.
The use of a CVT instead of a conventional automatic is pretty wise choice on Honda’s part. It’s by far the most efficient, and puts its fuel-sipping prowess to good use. It delivers power well at all speeds, but can get a little noisy if you’re looking for pulling power on the highway. Speaking of pulling power, the Odyssey certainly has it. We travelled with all 7 seats occupied and found that the 175PS and 225Nm of torque generated by the 2.4-litre Earth Dreams motor was perfect. It had adequate pulling power and the lack of a turbo gave it a linear progression.
Of course, anyone buying an MPV isn’t looking to speed, but it’s always good to have that extra bit of power for overtaking or emergency manoeuvres.
In terms of safety, the Odyssey takes the typical Honda route of giving customers more than what they’re accustomed to. 6 airbags are standard on the Odyssey, extending safety to all three rows with extended curtain airbags. The front passenger and driver get the most protection with additional thorax and frontal airbags.
Ventilated and solid disc brakes are found at the front and rear respectively, but that’s to be expected. Honda have also thrown in LED Active cornering lights to make night driving a lot easier on trunk roads. The side mirrors also have integrated Blind Spot Information sensors and markers – definitely making life easier on the highway despite the absence of LaneWatch.
There are plenty of practical parking aids as well. Cross Traffic Alert monitors and warns the driver when he’s reversing out of a perpendicular parking spot, while Smart Parking Assist performs parallel parking manoeuvres with basic inputs from the driver. Surprisingly, our favourite feature was the Multi-Angle rearview camera. This gave us loads of angles and views that made tighter courses easier to navigate.
At RM255,000 the Odyssey is the most expensive Honda on sale, but it’s in no way overpriced. Honda Malaysia is known for packing the most tech and features but pricing below expected market prices, and when you look at the Odyssey’s extensive equipment list, there’s nothing amiss here either. If you want a long, extensive warranty on a versatile, well-furnished people mover, the Odyssey is a no brainer.
Of course, there are grey market alternatives that are larger and cheaper too, but the Odyssey is definitely a lot more accessible to the common buyer and better packaged. Not only is there a 5 year/unlimited km warranty but also loads of information on estimated maintenance costs for the first 200,000km on the website.
Honda Odyssey Specifications
Engine: 4-cylinder Naturally-aspirated
Power: 173bhp @ 6200rpm
Torque: 225Nm @ 4000rpm