Now in its fifth generation, the Odyssey has come a long way indeed and this is arguably the best yet thanks to its recent mild nip and tuck and adoption of Honda’s renowned Sensing suite.
We took one for a spin recently with our colleagues from TG Chinese to see just how it stacked up. Even though it was a one-day drive, we were able to get a proper feel of the big, family-friendly MPV and understand why many are willing to meet its premium price tag.
Arguably, this Odyssey isn’t the prettiest of its lineage, but still far from ugly for a seven-seat MPV. Its nip and tuck saw tweaks in design to its front and rear, the changes in front being the more obvious. Matching those changes are things like full LED headlights and the snazzy design of the 17-inch alloy wheels. Compared to the variant it replaces, it exudes a greater premium feel. Honda’s efforts to convey that have paid off.
Inside, it’s the usual Honda affair, albeit with a dash of added class and more abundant space than usual. Honda positions the Odyssey as an “executive lounge on four wheels”, and things such as plush leather seats, second row ‘captain’ seats, the black-finished trim of the dash, and novelties such as powered sliding doors are there to back the claim. Plainly, those being driven in the Odyssey will have little to gripe about, even when seated in any of the third row’s three seats.
However, those tasked with driving it may not find things that rosy. The powertrain, which consists of a 2.4-litre petrol four-cylinder mill and a CVT automatic box, is rather underwhelming, especially if one is used to something smaller and lighter, like an Accord.
Given the Odyssey’s 1,855kg bulk, it’s hard ignore that it’s short on power despite the 173bhp and 225Nm powering the front wheels. However, it must be said, speed isn’t a priority in such a vehicle. Instead, a smooth, comfortable and efficient drive matters most, and the Odyssey scores there. The presence of Honda’s intelligent Sensing suite is clearly beneficial, significantly boosting the Odyssey’s long distance drivability and safety measures over that of its rivals.
It all makes sense especially when cruising on the highway, the Adaptive Cruise Control keeping the car straight and true, and the Lane-Keep Assist and Lane-Departure Warning systems ready to kick in when required. A Lane-Watch Assist feature, now also found in the flagship Accord, helps to make left-side merging both easier and safer. Combine all that with the expected features, like ABS, stability control, six airbags plus ISOFIX child seat anchors, and this sizable MPV truly stands out.
While not the most dynamic to drive, the Odyssey’s unrivalled safety and plush comfort justifies its steep starting price of RM258,896. Besides, there’s little else out there of similar size and price carrying a proper factory warranty.
Lack of power aside, this is a very comfortable family mover that’s safer than ever.
|Powertrain||2.4-litre DOHC 4-cylinder petrol, 173bhp, 225Nm, FWD, CVT Auto|