Mon | May 21, 2018

Honda Odyssey - A minivan the family will enjoy

Published:Sunday | April 29, 2018 | 12:00 AMKareem Latouche

The minivan has not necessarily been one of the most-sought-after vehicles in the world, but in Jamaica, the segment has been steadily growing. Both by design and functionality, minivans are a favourite for anyone who is interested in transporting people. Models such as the Nissan Noah and Toyota Alphard are slowly populating our roads, and now Honda is determined to take a piece of this market with the Odyssey.

One of the greatest selling points of a minivan is that it is a people mover, and for this model, it can do so in both comfort and style. This is the pivotal selling point that Honda tries to capitalise on, as it uses its intuitive design to give the driver a unique experience.

The front fascia has a horizontal chrome grille that sports the Honda insignia, complemented by daytime run lights on the far end of either side. Given that the headlights are relatively far from the ground, the bumper houses floodlights, which come in very useful when driving at nights.

There are few lines throughout the sheet metal, and this gives the vehicle a very clean and sleek look. It also sports 20-inch black-on-black tyres and rims which add some aggression to its appearance and makes it look much different from the stock version.

There are also huge windows throughout the vehicle to ensure good visibility for the driver and passengers alike. This can be very important for passengers who are claustrophobic.

 

The drive

 

Dimension-wise, this is a long and broad vehicle and the driver will have to adjust his spatial thinking to be mindful of this. The length is about 17 feet, which is a couple inches shorter than the average pickup.

As for the width, it's 6'5" without the side mirrors that are mounted on the door panels, which add to the girth of the vehicle. This means that if you are approaching a narrow space, simply stop and allow the oncoming vehicle to pass.

Luckily there are sensors galore, a rear camera for reversing and a lane departure camera on the right-side mirror. All this helps the driver to manoeuvre the vehicle with relative ease.

The park break, located to the lower left of the steering wheel, can take a little while to get used to. The driver has to push it a certain way to activate it, after which he will feel a slight lowering of the brake pedal. Overall, the brake system works very intuitively. I must say, once I was on a hill, while in neutral and the vehicle senses it was rolling back and applied the brake.

The driving experience was quite pleasurable, beginning with the ideal weight of the steering, which makes it very easy to manage the vehicle, but not to the point where you don't have any road feel.

The suspension system also did a good job at absorbing the potholes without too much contortion of the chassis. This, coupled with the comfortable leather seats, makes for an enjoyable ride on our roads, and as for cornering, the wide 275 mm tyres ensure that there was minimal body roll.

As it pertains to the engine, remember it's a minivan and not a sports car, so speed should not be a priority. The six-speed automatic V6 engine performs very impressively and gives power whenever needed; it's also efficient on fuel.

 

Creature Comforts

 

I presume that the decision-making process for prospective buyers will be heavily influenced by the creature comforts that Honda has added.

 

Parental monitoring

 

There is the conversational mirror which is a part of the glasses holder that is embedded in the ceiling. Once it is in use, the driver can easily see all rear passengers. This is ideal for the parent who always has to monitor her children during the sibling rivalry years.

There is also a built-in microphone for the driver to use when talking to the third-row passengers. This ensures that the driver does not have to shout to be heard. In addition, there is a built-in camera that can be used to monitor all the occupants in the second and third rows.

 

Entertainment

 

To help keep the passengers entertained, there is a 10.2-inch entertainment screen, which plays Blue-Ray and DVD, mounted in the ceiling for the viewing pleasure of rear passengers. In addition, there are multiple headphone outlets to ensure that the sound from the movie is not a distraction for the driver. This screen can also function independent of the vehicle's multimedia system, which means that the driver can listen to his or her music while the kids watch Frozen.

 

A/C vents

 

The vehicle has a multiple-zone A/C unit which features different climate zones for the driver and front passenger. The rear passengers can also control their own climate with multiple vents for the second and third row passengers.

 

Seating configuration

 

A nifty feature is that the rear seats can be configured in multiple ways. For the second row, the middle seat can be completely removed and the end seats can shift sideways or remain detached. The only drawback is that removing the seats come with a slight learning curve. However, once the driver has figured it out, he or she will be using this minivan to carry just about anything, from a ladder to a bicycle.

 

What I like

 

- Lots of space

- Multiple A/C climate zones

- Easy to manoeuvre

- Above average trunk space

 

Gripes

 

- The width takes some getting used to, especially with the door-mounted side mirrors

- Remote door opening features not intuitive

- Ease of use of the seats

 

Specifications

 

Trim level: EX-L navi/res

Price: 8.95 mil

Engine: V6, 3.5-litre, 24-valve SOHC i-VTEC

Horsepower: 280

Length (mm): 9'

Height : 5' 8"

Weight: 4500 lb

Gas tank: 73.8 litres (which means it cost $9,427)

*Calculation of E90 gas at $127.73 was done on April 20, 2018

Vehicle provided by:

ATL Honda (876) 960-8500, 1-888-285-778