2012 Honda Odyssey Reviews — Autoblog and New Car Test Drive

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2012 Honda Odyssey Review: Autoblog


The review is for a 2011 Model There may be minor changes to model you are looking at.

A Minivan For Vengeance

2011 Honda — Click above for image gallery

While we be shocked by anything coming out of Avenue, part of me is incensed to Honda using Judas to advertise its new Odyssey. That’s the opening riff of the greatest from the gods of heavy deployed, not in the service of Satan, but to a minivan?

While the 18-year-old in me would like to stand up and against Honda (If you think going to make me think stupid soccer mom taxi is well, You’ve Got Another Coming!), the truth of the matter is Honda’s ad agency nailed it. not teenagers anymore. We’ve up and had families.

I even own a minivan, indeed, there is at least one Priest CD that lives in the console. And after driving the new for a week, I have serious van Honda has crafted the ultimate, people mover, even if not much more than flashy design and incremental in areas like powertrain, efficiency and equipment.

Photos 2011 Steven J. Ewing / AOL

The changes in the redesigned Odyssey are at first glance, as it no longer so much like a conventional Honda’s ideas on styling been polarizing as of late the Accord Crosstour is ugly as so it’s smart that the chose the Civic as the donor of the new face.

The venerable compact is the most complete and fluid of modern Honda design and what it lends to the Odyssey to make Honda’s largest appear smaller and sleeker. It that the Odyssey has a lower and wider stance, having stretched over two inches

While its front and back don’t exactly mate up in profile, each works on its The flying buttress D-pillar the rear end achieve a more look, like that of crossovers. Honda is calling the jog in the beltline at the Odyssey’s C-pillar a bolt, and it’s more just a clever device to the vehicle a dynamic, moving-forward

That little dip makes the windows bigger and increases the of roominess for passengers in the way back.

clearly wants to make the of the bus a more desirable place to and it’s come up with enticing new features to serve the needs. The first is that the row now has two sets of LATCH anchors, the second row can be had with three. carseat attachments mean than horsepower to breeder and the Odyssey has more of them the competition.

The second row is interesting in Honda has decided not to follow into its folly of designing to fold into the floor those in the third row. that it’s the rare day you want to use your minivan a pickup truck, Honda designed a system that the second-row seats to be moved to make more room for or car seats, while improving access through the center in the

The optional second-row-center seat can be moved forward to place an carseat closer to mom and pop in the front. is smart engineering trumping marketing.

Up front, the cockpit is and the controls are similar to any number of Honda or Acura vehicles for a dash-mounted shift lever). having a central LCD display a field of buttons and one large knob below seems to be the norm these days, unfortunate to see Honda abandoning the interface that made its navigation systems the class of the a decade ago. Also is Honda’s decision to place the controls above those for the and navigation systems, a huge when you consider that drivers will set an automatic setting and then rarely at it.

Behind the wheel, the Odyssey is a driver, though it no longer as much like an Accord. not that this new version of used to be the best driving on the market can’t corner, but the steering doesn’t provides as feel as its predecessor.

If the Odyssey more like a minivan a station wagon now, it doesn’t accelerate like Honda’s 3.5-liter V6 makes 248 in the 2011 Odyssey, along 250 pound-feet of torque. It revs and has great throttle response, and has done a masterful job of matching the ratios of the new, optional automatic transmission to make the move.

This is a minivan can go quicker than it should, at with babies onboard.

has also included its Variable Management (VCM) system as equipment. This shuts two or three of the V6’s cylinders they’re not needed, improving economy. This and some measures, including a 50-to-100 weight reduction, have the Odyssey boast some EPA numbers for a roughly 4,400-pound

With the standard five-speed the van is rated at 18 mpg city, 21 combined and 27 on the The six-speed automatic improves of those numbers by a single and that’s tops among any that can carry eight

No minivan these days be complete without some of video screen for the kids, and has gone big in this department an optional 16.2-inch widescreen folds down from the in the second row. (A more nine-inch screen is also Before you get too excited about a display larger than a Pro in the Odyssey, however, understand is really just two normal-sized mated into a single, LCD panel. While it’s to stretch out a single video to cover the entire screen in a distorted aspect ratio, the useful application is to allow side of the vehicle to select a input source for their of the screen, choosing from the DVD composite auxiliary inputs and an port.

While this port is bound to get video geeks excited, it’s of a way for Honda to future-proof its van than else. The screen in the Odyssey is pretty small, making modern video games for widescreen, high-definition displays Your World of Warcraft will have to be a lot more than mine to want to in the back of an Odyssey.

As much as I the Odyssey, I do have three that are absolutely worth The first is an audio system had issues outputting varying of distorted sound across all sources throughout a 1,000-mile making even podcasts I’m trusting the tester was defective, and that this a widespread problem with Active Noise Cancellation which uses the audio to make the interior of the vehicle

The second issue is an aesthetic Why can’t Honda hide the door track? Honda the importance of styling, given how its redesign of the Odyssey was based on a van that looked different any that have come So why is it, then, that this continues to allow these gashes on either side of the to persist.

Toyota and Chrysler tuck door tracks under the window, and such a configuration make all the difference in tidying up the busy rear, which too much like it has been on the end of a battle with a guardrail.

My complaint has as much to do with my own situation as it does with but $40,775 to get an Odyssey with the automatic seems a wee bit dear. an exceptional amount of money the base model costs $27,800. Whatever happened to an extra $1,500 for the better

Why is the six-speed transmission bundled a nav system and DVD player? This of business practice is akin to a phone provider offering a plan with a token few for thirty bucks, and then twice that amount to get minutes to actually use your

As fantastic as the Odyssey is, there’s a question at hand: Can it (or Toyota’s Wagon, or a nicely revamped Caravan from Dodge. or the Nissan Quest ) convince the that minivans aren’t the equivalent of wearing sweatpants? there are a sizable amount of who wouldn’t drive a minivan if it came with a personal from Rob Halford himself.

But thinks that this is primed for growth, and that’s speculation. With plenty of making the SUV-to-crossover jump in the of cutting their fuel while maintaining a capacious giving minivans another is the smart thing to do.

Photos 2011 Steven J. Ewing / AOL

doesn’t redefine the minivan, strive to perfect it

2011 Odyssey Click above for image gallery

Honda did silly during the launch of its 2011 Odyssey minivan. The built a large autocross-type in the parking lot of San Diego’s Qualcomm and invited journalists to take its eight-passenger family hauler for hot It was an interesting fish out of water to Honda’s fourth-generation people

Designed, developed and manufactured in the States, Honda considers the model an American Odyssey. The development team, owners of 46 between them, labored to a minivan with distinctive greater interior versatility and fuel economy. Did Honda itself a worthy successor and how did it on the autocross?

Photos copyright Michael Harley / AOL

Sharing its architecture with the Honda and Pilot. the all-new 2011 is wider and lower than the it replaces. The automaker’s California team penned a much stylish and distinctive edge to the new unlike its arguably bland It’s a look we first in concept form at the 2010 Auto Show.

Most is its unique lightning-bolt beltline. The is functional, as it improves outward from the third row, but the is arguably less than at first glance. It’s as the trailing edge of the sliding cuts the minivan in two pieces the back half had been grafted to the front.

Making even more awkward, the illusion is reinforced as the sliding channel abruptly ends in the spot.

The interior, on the other is far from controversial. It features an and upscale Acura -like and feel. Pleasantly traditional in and very friendly to the eye, the stack is much improved last year’s model the audio and HVAC controls now the same general real and human-friendly round knobs toggle switches for temperature

The analog tachometer and speedometer, now the size, join analog temperature and fuel level on each side.

To avoid going forward, it’s to outline the model hierarchy. familiar with this or current Odyssey owners, realize it follows Honda’s 2010 trim levels. The model is badged the LX, followed by the EX, EX-L RES (rear entertainment) and NAV (navigation). The flagship models are the and (new for 2011) Touring Pricing starts at $27,800 $780 destination) for the LX model.

with leather upholstery, as the EX-L, start at $34,450 destination). Lastly, we have the ($40,755 plus destination) and the range-topping Touring Elite plus destination).

While all share the same basic instrumentation, the multi-information display on the top of the dashboard varies by model. The model (LX trim) has a one-line readout. This is improved with a three-line segment on mid-grade models (base EX

But the real eye candy is the full-color, QVGA display (EX-L and trim) or its VGA counterpart (EX-L trim). Both are capable of a full range of graphics, navigation, audio, trip and even background images to those on your PC or smartphone.

aside, the rest of the cabin is a of the American family road-trip There are 12-volt power galore and cup holders everywhere (15 in all but the LX which only has 13). nooks and crannies are seemingly behind nearly every and there’s even a chilled Box for keeping drinks crisp and both Touring trims).

The and front passenger seat are captain’s chairs with (LX trim) or 10-way (all trim levels) power Each seat features an fold-down armrest in the center and seat heating and seat are trim-dependant. Between the front is a reconfigured center console storage and a new flip-up trash bag that’s sized to accommodate grocery bags.

The center is also removable, allowing a pass-through for those who to choose to up the storage.

The second-row of seating has significantly redesigned compared to year’s model. Constructed in seating segments, the center is 3.9 inches wider and can slide 5.5 inches bringing it closer to the seats. Even better, the middle seats have a configuration where they can be apart laterally by 1.5 inches (allowing three child to go side-by-side-by-side with ease).

The also fold down or can be removed.

The third-row of seating has been enhanced. It has an additional 1.1 of legroom (for …-sized of comfort, says Honda) and visibility has improved thanks to the Bolt design. Honda’s Magic Seat is split and each side folds and flat and flush into the in a simple one-hand operation the headrests remain in the seats.

A (LX trim) or tri-zone (all models) climate control occupants comfortable, with the system allowing the driver, passenger and rear passengers to the temperature and distribution automatically. fitted with the navigation take things one step Based on GPS data, the system adjusts fan speed to compensate for sunlight (don’t ask us how it knows or not there are sunlight obscuring overhead).

The Odyssey’s infotainment system is capable, even in its simplest The base audio package (LX is a 229-watt AM/FM/CD five-speaker Higher option levels (EX or trim) gain a 2GB audio and two more speakers.

Adding the system brings a 15GB drive to the package. The top audio (found only on the Touring trim) is a 650-watt AM/FM/CD/15GB Disk premium audio with 12 speakers including a The center channel speakers for its 5.1 audio system are located in the just in front of the second

The basic rear entertainment (RES) available on the EX-L and Touring models is a 9-inch QVGA ceiling-mounted screen pixels x 234 pixels) for viewing or devices through the audio/video jacks. Even more is the Touring Elite model’s RES, featuring a 16.2-inch WVGA ceiling-mounted screen pixels x 480 pixels).

It can show one screen) or two sources (split of programming simultaneously while the portion is sent to wireless The system also includes a HDMI port for external input. A similar ultra-wide screen can also be had on the 2011 Sienna and seems to be making its way the minivan segment.

Under the Honda is hiding a 24-valve V6 that’s nearly identical to year’s engine. However, has pulled a few tricks to wring out horses from the proven To reduce friction, the aluminum block has been honed and lightweight 0W-20 oil fills the

To improve breathing, there is a new intake manifold, and Honda the refined engine delivers 248 and 250 pound-feet of torque on regular fuel. (For the record, year’s models are rated at 244 and 245 pound-feet of torque).

Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management is standard on all trim levels for In layman’s terms, the technology the engine with all six cylinders Things change during cruising and at low engine speeds the rear bank of cylinders down to effectively create a powerplant.

For moderate-speed acceleration, the and center cylinders of the front operate, and the right and center of the rear bank operate engine runs on only cylinders). Computer-controlled, VCM closes the and exhaust valves of the cylinders are not used, thereby eliminating losses. Fuel supply is but the plug continues to fire to fouling and keep the spark

While Honda has gone to lengths to improve the engine’s (even lowering the amount of on the alternator belt), one cannot but wonder why they haven’t today’s innovative technologies. If already relegated owners to on three or four cylinders most of their driving, why not seal the deal with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the place? (We’ll remind that Hyundai’s new 2.0T II engine trumps the Honda in horsepower, torque, efficiency, and packaging).

Power is sent to the wheels (there is no all-wheel-drive through one of two transmissions. The standard on the lower trim levels is a while a six-speed automatic a brand first is standard on the top levels (Touring models). to the five-speed, the gearing on the six-speed is lower in first through to improve acceleration, and taller in to boost fuel economy.

The wheelbase is unchanged from year’s model, but its track is up 1.4 in the front and rear. The independent design remains the same struts up front, multi-link out but Honda engineers worked to isolate passengers from noise by using very mounting points in the rear and valves on all shock absorbers reduce harshness when a hits a severe jolt, as a pothole.

Many automakers have towards electric power pumps, but Honda bucks the by retaining a traditional hydraulic As expected, there is more assist at lower speeds to steering effort. At higher when more feedback is the system automatically reduces to improve steering feel simultaneously lowering parasitic on the engine.

The disc brakes on all corners are larger than predecessors. The standard wheels grown by an inch across the with all lower trim wearing 17-inch steel (235/65R17 tires) and Touring equipped with 18-inch wrapped in lower profile tires. Honda does not run-flat or extended mobility and instead, the minivan is equipped a compact spare hidden out of under the load floor the front seats.

The curb of the flagship Touring Elite we tested is 4,560 pounds entry-level LX tips the scales 200 pounds lighter). Nevertheless, it scoots to 60 mph in about 8.5 seconds, Honda. Much more to minivan owners is fuel This is where the 2011 shines.

Models with the transmission (LX, EX and EX-L) 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway (21 combined). The Elite models, with the automatic, earn 19 mpg city/28 mpg (22 combined). With a standard fuel tank, the range on the should easily exceed 450

Safety also sells so Honda has made occupant and protection part of its core strategy. Standard safety includes Vehicle Stability (VSA) and four-wheel ABS with brake distribution (EBD) and assist. Dual-stage, multiple-threshold airbags and active head protect those in the front and there are standard three-row airbags with a rollover for all outboard passengers within the

The driver’s and front passenger’s airbags are fitted with Occupant Position Detection (OPDS) — an innovative that deactivates the side if sensors determine that a or small stature … is against the door.

Inside the all seating positions feature seatbelts (automatic pretensioners on the seats) and there is a class-leading of five childseat Lower and Tethers for Children (LATCH) (four in the entry-level Odyssey There is also a pedestrian mitigation design in the front of the The 2011 Honda Odyssey has not crash tested by the National Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway (IIHS) yet, but Honda its Odyssey minivan is targeted to the best 5-Star/Top Safety scores.

We spent a full day the 2011 Honda Odyssey in San but before heading out, we a few minutes to sit in all three rows of the — and each proved for a six-foot two-inch average-weight Even the third row, the seating zone for small was accommodating thanks to the additional room gained by keeping the door tracks low on the platform. brought along a 2011 Sienna for comparison, and the third row in the was noticeably roomier for our …

Turn the traditional key (there is no start, as found on the Sienna) and the V6 fires to a muted idle. the dashboard-mounted shifter down D and the Odyssey is good to go.

A slight press on the throttle the Odyssey off the line with Around town, there is than enough torque to around smartly and weave the tourists who obviously aren’t any type of schedule. We spent 15 minutes on the surface streets, bumping much over 50 The transmission shifts smoothly, the work as expected and outward is just fine.

The power the engine is exactly what you expect from a six-cylinder minivan.

The new Odyssey was every bit as on the highway. Stable as a laden Accord in its mannerisms, the minivan down the highway at 70-plus aplomb. We could have this way content, comfortable and in conversation with our passenger the fuel tank ran dry.

prodigiously consuming fuel is not one of the strengths. While there was of six-cylinder power around the minivan seemed to prefer on fewer cylinders on the highway it could squeeze another ten out of each gallon. Drop right foot to pass at 60 mph and a slight hesitation (and a downshift) as everything spools up. It feels as if part of the engine has to sleep because it has.

the behavior is far from a deal (we became accustom to it after a few it served to remind us that fuel was much more than entertaining acceleration. And as it be.

Over at San Diego’s Qualcomm we took Honda up on their but with reservation. Nobody flogging a 4,500-pound front-wheel-drive around a road course when it’s someone vehicle.

Not to burst anyone’s but the Odyssey didn’t carve like a Porsche Cayman. is still a minivan, after Yet, when we expected it to severe understeer in the corners and over its front outside it didn’t.

With 56 percent of its over the front tires, a track and some downright suspension tuning, the Odyssey almost neutral at the limit. power mid-corner and the eight-passenger hauler drifts wider and in a completely controlled increasing arch. While not exactly a it’s safe and predictable sketchy and sloppy, as we had predicted).

We to call it sporty, but impressively seems like the best

After a long day driving San Diego, we came away by the Odyssey and had a much clearer of how it compares to the 2011 Toyota its primary competitor.

Honda and have unquestionably raised the bar with their latest of completely redesigned minivans, their primary competition all but in a trail of spilled Cheerios. vehicles offer comfortable for eight, with a slew of and entertainment to keep occupants through the road trip However, the similarities end there.

Toyota’s product is sleekly modern and sporty, it’s approach familiar, family-friendly and efficient that seems to earned the edge.

Photos 2010 Michael Harley / AOL


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