An Odyssey of comfort

An Odyssey of comfort

Balbeer S Jessy

THE third-generation Honda Odyssey was launched in Malaysia soon after its

debut in Japan. With a roofline that is extremely low for a multi- purpose

vehicle (MPV), the new 2004 Odyssey has been described as both a car and

an MPV.

Following an earlier first impression drive in Putrajaya, Malaysian

Business had the chance to pilot the new Odyssey during a Honda City

getaway from Penang to Lumut, to see if this vehicle was as versatile as

claimed to be.

The route was an excellent test, as it covered both trunk roads and the

North-South Highway before we headed for Lumut via some demanding

stretches.

Styling

The design of the Odyssey which adopts the `car + MPV’ concept, suits

the marque very well.

This is because the Odyssey’s new design makes it appear less van- like,

away from the boxy chassis to a sleek and sporty design.

The body is now lower and flatter while the external styling is geared

towards an aerodynamic stylish design more commonly found in a sports car

than an MPV.

Its low and sleek image is suited to the large grill, bound on each side

by a smoked combination of HID Xenon headlights and a thick bumper with

built-in air dam.

MB Rating: ****

Interior

Despite having a roofline 80 mm lower than the older model, the new

Odyssey is very roomy, with 5 mm more headroom and interior width while

the cabin length is 50 mm longer than its predecessor.

Despite its sleek look, the Odyssey can seat seven people comfortably

with spacious headroom and legroom. Another unique aspect is the shifting

of the gearshift lever to the dash panel. This makes the dashboard, with

its wood trimming, look very chic and up-market.

If more boot space is required, the rear- most seats can be folded

electronically at the press of a button. In addition, the second row seats

can also be split and folded in numerous combinations, making the Odyssey

a versatile vehicle.

MB Rating: *****

Engine & Performance

The new Odyssey is fitted with the 2.4- litre DOHC i-VTEC K24A engine,

similar to that used in the local 2.4-litre Accord, which optimises intake

valve timing according to engine loads.

The engine is rated for a maximum power of 160 ps at 5,500 rpm and a

maximum torque of 22.2 kg-m at 4,500 rpm, identical to that of the 2.4-

litre Accord.

This power is transferred to the road through a five-speed, sport shift

electronically controlled automatic gearbox, using the front wheels.

Despite its sheer size, this i-VTEC power plant does not disappoint,

though overtaking has to be done carefully with enough distance, mainly

due to the length of this MPV. However, press the accelerator hard enough

and the Odyssey does not fail you in this respect.

MB Rating: ****

Ride & Handling

The ride was very comfortable and the noise was negligible. This has

always been the plus point of the Honda range. The suspension set- up was

on the firm side and bumps and potholes were easily absorbed, even as far

away as the third row seats.

The Odyssey comes with four-wheel independent suspension, with double

wishbones and coil springs all round, and weighs 1,675 kg.

It is 220 kg heavier than the 2.4-litre Accord but despite this, the

suspension still does a good job.

MB Rating: ****

Safety

The Odyssey comes with four-wheel disc brakes, Anti-Lock Braking System

(ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and a full SRS airbag

system.

It is equipped with dual front and side airbags for driver and front

passenger. For the rest of the passengers, side curtain airbags have been

fitted.

The job of this `curtain’ airbag is to fill in the window glass area in

the event of a side impact. The chassis is the new generation GCON design

while front-row seats are fitted with three-point load limiter- equipped

ELR seatbelts.

MB Rating: ****

Value For Money

The new Odyssey is priced at RM239,888, on the road with insurance. It

should be very attractive to families who need the comfort and driving

refinement of a car and the space of an MPV.

The Odyssey fits into both categories. With its excellent interior,

engine management system and good safety features, this MPV has all that

is required.

Adding to that is a three-year or 100,000 km warranty package from Honda

Malaysia Sdn Bhd and two years’ free maintenance for labour, parts and

lubricants. A Honda Assist insurance package has also been thrown in.

MB Rating: ****

Conclusion

The new Odyssey with its revolutionary design, is set to take on the

more established MPVs with its contemporary features. Backed by Honda

Malaysia, it caters to a niche market – mainly because of its price that

caters to the upper end of the market.

With the high duties imposed on imported vehicles, this completely-

built-up unit has to compete with its Japanese rivals and other makes

being brought in by other private importers. Feature-wise, it is a

versatile MPV that would fulfil all your family’s needs.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

HONDA ODYSSEY 2.4-LITRE i-VTEC

General

Layout Front engine, front wheel drive

Displacement 2354 cc

Bore & stroke 87.0 mm x 99.0 mm

Engine type Inline-4 16V PGM-Fi DOHC iVTEC

Engine

Compression ratio 9.7

Max power 160 ps at 5,500 rpm

Max torque 22.2 kgm at 4,500 rpm

Fuel tank size 65 litres

Gearbox 5-speed automatic with Sports-Shift

Torque Converter with lock-up clutch

Rack & pinion ratio 14.6

Chassis

Brakes Front ventilated disc, rear solid disc

Suspension Front independent double wishbone, rear reactive

independent double wishbone

Dimensions

Length 4,765 mm

Weight 1,800 mm

Height 1,550 mm

Wheelbase 2,830 mm

Ground clearance 155 mm

Tyre 215/60/R16 95H with rim size 16 X 6.5 JJ

Curb weight 1,675 kg

Our verdict:

Factor Rating

Styling ****

Interior *****

Engine & Performance ****

Ride & handling ****

Safety ****

Value for money ****

Overall rating ****

Rating Key:

***** To die for

**** Impressive, but …

*** Good but can improve

** Just OK

* Passable

Copyright 2004

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.