A great family Odyssey

A great family Odyssey

Muhd Razif

MULTI-UTILITY is a much overworked description of what most seven- seater `vans’ offer. Quite often, one can indeed pack seven people in and go from `here’ to `anywhere’, but so can sardines in a pull-ring flat can. The Honda Odyssey is one such conveyance that actually does justice to this claim of passenger-carrying capability.

As is the norm, Honda has upgraded the Odyssey to become more stylish and dynamic, as it strives to make this Multi-Purpose Utility Vehicle (MUV) the benchmark of luxury. It has received a sporty facelift and incorporates new features and improvements. Indeed, the Odyssey is the pioneer in the MUV class that offers the interior spaciousness of larger sedans despite its sleek external dimensions, making it an excellent choice for a family car.

Honda Malaysia’s CEO Yasuhide Mizuno went so far as to say that this new Odyssey has been designed for the discerning driver wanting both luxury and comfort in equal measure.

Styling * The new Odyssey retains its `patted-down’ posture that gives it its unique `bulk-at-base’ outline. This can put off drivers who think it is unwieldy to handle, but really, it is a cinch to drive. It may look a little ungainly but the newly designed front and rear bumper add a touch of muscley elegance.

Its wider bumper apron and new floating chrome grill design add to the Odyssey’s prestige and sporty look. New side mirrors with signal lights combine with the new rear LED taillights to provide better visibility. On the exterior, the Honda Odyssey gets new bumpers on the front and rear, and the grille gains Honda’s new floating design.

MB rating: ****

Interior * Honda’s engineering innovation shows up in the shape of the Odyssey’s ultra-low floor platform design. This gives it increased headroom and generous passenger and goods carrying space. Herein lies its genuine claim to multi-utility. The roomy interior is enhanced by its flexible seating configuration with a double-folding mechanism that allows seats to be stored flat.

The steering wheel column now is more than just for holding on to – it features a new integrated audio system which means the driver has complete audio and vehicle control at the same time. For audio enjoyment, there is a six-CD changer while ceiling-mounted air- conditioning blowers ensure everyone from front to rear keep their cool.

MB rating: ****

Engine & Performance * The DOHC i-VTEC powerplant combines Honda’s Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) with Variable Timing Control (VTC), which optimises intake valve timing in response to engine load. It delivers a maximum of 160ps at 5,500 rpm and 22.2 kg-m maximum at 4,500 rpm. The five-speed Sports Shift automatic transmission delivers smooth high-speed cruising while contributing to improved fuel economy. This Sports Shift automatic system also allows flexibility in switching between automatic and manual shift modes.

MB rating: ****

Ride & Handling * The Odyssey’s independent double-wishbone with coil spring suspension ensures straight-line stability and outstanding ride comfort. The rear reactive link double wishbone suspension helps stabilise braking and absorb road shocks. There is an improved handling responsiveness and a more comfortable ride all- round. A more compact powertrain and Variable-Steering Gear Ratio (VGR) give the new Odyssey a class-leading minimum turning radius of just 5.4m.

MB rating: ****

Safety * The Odyssey employs Honda’s original G-CON (G-force Control) technology, which creates a body with a crash safety design that can withstand a 55 km/h full-frontal collision; a 64 km/h front offset collision; a 55 km/h side collision; and a 50 km/h rear collision. It has a `crash compatibility body’ that reduces damage inflicted on other vehicles. The ABS (anti-lock braking system), EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution) and BA (Brake Assist) provide active protection when braking regardless of road and weather conditions.

There’s the now standard array of airbags for the front and sides as well as side curtain airbag system for the 1st to 3rd row seats – it has 10 airbags in all. The driver’s side belt is equipped with a lap pretensioner on the outer end of the lap belt, in addition to the shoulder belt pretensioner, for improved occupant retention in both the pelvic and thoracic regions.

MB rating: ****

Value for money * At close to a quarter-of-a-million ringgit, the Odyssey is certainly not an impulse purchase for those not quite financially well-endowed.

However, once committed, the running cost is certainly far from ruinously expensive. It gives rather good mileage in the fuel consumption stakes, while its excellent engineering pedigree and build integrity ensures lasting hardiness. With a quarter tank left, the odometer showed the Odyssey had travelled more than 350km.

MB rating: *** 1/2

Conclusion * This combination of new chrome front grille, stylish mirror-mounted side-turn indicators and combination rear headlights that feature LED technology may not be enough of a turn-on for some. However, the grand feeling of spaciousness, mobility and comfort would, in no time, win over the doubters.

Available in five attractive colours, the new Honda Odyssey also features new choices for interior colour schemes. Individuals who want a sportier look will prefer the black interior scheme that is paired with the labaster Silver Metallic or Premium White Pearl exterior colours. Alternatively, those who want to portray an elegant, prestigious appearance will prefer the beige interior with the Nighthawk Black, Grayish Mauve Metallic and Carbon Bronze exterior colours.

* OVER RATING **** 1/2

RATING KEY

***** To die for

**** Impressive, but …

*** Good but can improve

** Just OK

* Passable

THE BARE FACTS

* HONDA ODYSSEY SPECIFICATIONS

Engine : Water-cooled 4-stroke DOHC i-VTEC

Fuel supply : Programmed fuel injection

Bore*Stroke : 87.0*99.0

Displacement : 2,354cc

Max horsepower : 118kW(160PS)/5,500 rpm

Max torque : 218Nm(22.2kg-m /4,500 rpm)

Transmission : 5-speed electronically-controlled automatic

Brakes : Ventilated disc (front); solid discs (rear)

Suspension (front & rear) : Independent double wishbone with coil spring

Length/Width/Height (mm) : 4,770/1,800/1,550

Wheelbase (mm) : 2,830

Ground clearance (mm) : 155

Fuel tank capacity (litre) : 65

Price : RM236,800 on the road, exc insurance

Copyright 2007

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