Tuesday, November 8, 2011

2011 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite: Roomier And Curvier

Highlights: The Odyssey was introduced in 1995 as Honda's first minivan. The vehicle was based on the Accord platform.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $44,335* (Base price of starts at $28,885)

Seating Capacity: 7 to 8 occupants

Standard Equipment: 17-inch tires; wheel covers; 5-speed automatic transmission; manual a/c; 4 cargo area bag hooks; front seats occupants illuminated vanity mirrors; front-center tray table with beverage holder; steering-wheel mounted cruise control; manual tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel; three-row side curtain airbag with rollover sensors; 10 cup (beverage) holders; rear privacy glass; automatic headlights; remote entry system; two, 12-volt power outlets; 8-way power cloth driver’s seat; second-row lateral sliding seat; and three rows of seats

Standard Audio: 229-Watt AM/FM/CD Audio System with 5 Speakers - including Subwoofer

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

Trim Levels: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring and Touring Elite

Bluetooth Compatibility: EX-L Trim and above

USB and iPod Capability: EX-L Trim and above

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 3.5-liter, 6cylinder/248-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular Unleaded

Standard Fuel Mileage: 18-city/27-hwy

What’s New: The fourth-generation 2011 Honda Odyssey has been redesigned for the 2011 model year, allowing for a roomier and more spacious interior, when compared to the previous model.

Pros: The redesigned Honda Odyssey with its car-like ride due to its front MacPherson suspension and rear double-wishbone suspension is available in five trim levels. We were fortunate to get our hands on the top of the well-equipped Touring Elite model. This model was outfitted with Honda’s first new six-speed transmission, which slightly improved the fuel-economy from the standard five-speed model.

Also our luxurious minivan was equipped with leather power (heated) front seats; a rear entertainment system with a 16.2-inch screen; an upgraded 12-speaker, 650-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with a 15GB HDD- based audio system which digitally holds 175 CDs; XM satellite radio; a 2GB memory CD-Library  which digitally holds approximately 18 CDs, eliminating the need for the 6-disc changer; second-row power windows; 18-inch alloy wheels, dual power sliding doors; a power tailgate; HID (High Intensity Discharge Headlights); an exterior temperature gauge; a power moonroof; a rear back up mirror; front-and-rear audible parking sensors; and blind-spot electronic mirrors, which warns the driver of occupants in its blind-spot before changing lanes.

Furthermore, just like with a truck or SUV, the minivan provides versatility, allowing the ability to carry loads of cargo. However, unlike a truck or SUV, the Odyssey offers a variety of seating arrangements. For instance, the second-row slides on a track five inches forward and about 1.5 inches to the side, providing more leg room and space for other occupants.  

Moreover, the third-row seats are capable of disappearing into the floor, allowing for more cargo space and room to carry four other occupants.

And our vehicle was equipped with a removable front center console, which provided easy access to the second-row. So, the interchangeable seats allows the vehicle to go from being a people mover to carrying loads of cargo, even a sheet of 4x2 plywood.

Beyond the seating arrangements and the cargo space, the Odyssey is also equipped with power second-row windows, a tri-zone automatic climate control system and power sliding doors.

Cons: The downside of the Odyssey, just like every other minivan, is the cool factor. No matter how futuristic the vehicle is or how many gadgets the vehicle contains, the vehicle is still a minivan.

Also since Honda uses a simplified ordering system, buyers will have to gravitate toward a  higher price minivan for such luxury features as a back-up camera, a navigation system or leather seats. Unfortunately, these features aren’t available in the entry-level models nor or the features available as a stand alone option.

Also where's the fixed skyroof for the rear occupants and the power telescopic steering wheel on the high-end models? 

The Verdict:  Honda has been in the minivan game for almost two decades now. The Japanese automaker now offers a minivan which compete toe-to-toe with the minivan creator, Chrysler. Like Chrysler, Honda offers everything one has come to expect in the people mover. For those looking for space, style, versatility and the latest high-tech features, the Odyssey should fit the bill. In fact, J. D. Power, latest dependability study gives the vehicle 4.5 out of 5 stars for long-term dependability. So, consumers in the market for a versatile people mover know that by choosing the Honda it will be around for years to come even if the style fades. 

Odyssey’s Competition: Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Caravan, Nissan Quest and Toyota Sienna Limited


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