An enriching experience

The Honda Odyssey offers superior driving performance, comfortable interiors and ample tech gadgetry to satisfy discerning customers. An OER review

The Honda Odyssey has long been an international best seller in its class, and the 2014 edition comes to the market armed with upgrades that make it clear that Honda is taking nothing for granted. Outfitted with the very latest in family-friendly technology, the Odyssey is set to maintain its position at the top of the ladder.

On the outside, the Odyssey exhibits sleek youthful lines and an aerodynamic profile creating an image of sporty elegance. From bold headlights and chrome grille to 18-inch aluminium wheels and LED tail lights, each feature emanates elite quality. On the interior there are plenty of changes. There are more standard features this year, as even the base 2014 Odyssey LX comes with a four-way power passenger seat, an 8-inch colour display and an upgraded audio system with Bluetooth streaming audio and a Pandora interface. Newly available features include keyless ignition/entry, forward-collision and lane-departure warning systems, and even an in-vehicle vacuum cleaner.

Powertrains and performance

On the road, the 2014 Odyssey continues to impress. Though it’s a roomy minivan that seats up to eight, it drives like a much smaller vehicle. It’s also among the most fuel-efficient choices in its segment, as now all Honda Odysseys come with the fuel-saving six-speed automatic transmission, which was previously offered only on the top trim levels. The Honda Odyssey comes with a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 248 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission on all trim levels. The handling too is quite remarkable for a large vehicle. Navigating parking lots is a breeze thanks to pinpoint steering and a great sense of space granted by the driver’s view over the hood. On the open road, the Odyssey is quiet and comfortable.

All trims, however, have probably the Odyssey’s biggest selling point for families: an adjustable second row that can expand width wise. The row is composed of three separate seats that function as a single bench. The two outboard seats can slide outward with a pretty simple, two-step motion, adding 1.5 additional inches of width. In the two-passenger cargo mode, there is impressive storage space to match the demands of every travel occasion. The Odyssey’s maximum of 148.5 cubic feet behind the first row (with the second and third rows folded flat), is almost best in class.

There are also plenty of storage options throughout the cabin. A removable console sits between the driver and front passenger and houses a large, covered bin. At the bottom of the dash, where it meets the floor, is a large cubby that in some models features a Cool Box option that can keep drinks cold. A small trash-bag holder pops up from the back of the centre console so rear passengers can easily dispose of trash.

Options galore

The Odyssey Touring has a number of gadgets and gizmos. They are all well-thought-out and practical for families. A large 16.2-inch widescreen is also standard in the Touring Elite and can play one DVD or video from two different sources at once via a split screen. They can be heard over wireless headphones or through the surround-sound system, which includes 12 speakers and a subwoofer.

The 2014 model also gets updated centre controls. There is an eight-inch touch-screen that’s within arm’s reach and controls audio and environmental settings. A second screen sits higher in the dash. A separate control knob allows drivers to adjust that screen, which houses navigation and other functions. Overall, the Odyssey delivers a certain edge in terms of performance on the road and fuel efficiency.

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