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3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Honda today gave us the first look at the next-generation of its award-winning Odyssey minivan with the new Honda Odyssey Concept, which is on display at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show.

Unlike previous Odyssey models, the new Odyssey Concept shows that the next-generation version will offer a more aggressive take on minivans with a wider stance and a slightly lower roofline.

“The Odyssey established its reputation by providing families with what they most want in a minivan – great functionality, an emphasis on safety and good fuel economy,”
said Vicki Poponi, assistant vice president of American Honda product planning. “Odyssey then further delighted customers with its surprisingly engaging, fun-to-drive and dynamic nature. The next-generation Odyssey promises to take these strengths to a higher level while adding more style and personality.”

Honda says the redesigned Odyssey will also see improved interior seating, packaging and storage.

Honda said that enhanced aerodynamics and advanced powertrain technologies will contribute to the next-generation Odyssey’s increased fuel efficiency. Ready to make its debut in the fall, the 2011 Honda Odyssey is expected to achieve an EPA-estimated fuel-economy of 19/28 mpg (city/highway) on select models.

straight (father) hood!
2,362 Posts
don't know if I like it yet. Gotta see the production model. But might be too far in the future for me. Gotta get an Odyssey in a few months.

2,657 Posts
That's pretty cool looking! You can bet there will be Mugen parts available for it soon.

2,660 Posts
That's pretty cool looking! You can bet there will be Mugen parts available for it soon.
it's designed entirely in the US. would be interesting to see if mugen decides to make anything for it, or if the US is stuck with HFP parts, if any.

it's a really sleek-looking mini-van. but i still probably wouldn't get one.

3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
6 Speed Transmission & 28 MPG Hwy

Honda Motor Co. is hoping to jump-start sales of its Odyssey, the top-selling minivan in the U.S., with a sleeker design that it describes as "athletic," while adding space and better fuel efficiency.

Later this year, the auto maker will launch a redesigned version of the Odyssey that is sculpted and shaped to tone down the traditional squarish look and soccer-mom image—factors that have caused many consumers to stop buying minivans and move to sport-utility vehicles for hauling kids and cargo.

A concept car unveiled at the Chicago auto show earlier this year offers hints of what the redesigned 2011 Odyssey will look like. A previous design was more suited to older couples, who are part of the Baby Boomer generation, says a company representative.

Honda, which has steadily increased its U.S. market share for more than a decade, needs a shot in the arm. Honda has an aging lineup with some of its best-selling models, including the Odyssey and Civic compact, facing stiff competition. In the first four months of the year, it has gained little ground even though its biggest rival, Toyota Motor Corp., has been hindered by recall and quality troubles. From January to April, Honda's U.S. sales rose 11.5%, while total light vehicle sales jumped 16.7%. During the same period, Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. saw sales rise more than 30%. As a result, Honda's market share has slipped to 10.5% from 11% in 2009 through that period.

John Mendel, vice president of sales for Honda's U.S. unit, said the company doesn't try to "chase share." Mr. Mendel added that the dip in market share this year comes after strong sales in 2009, when nervous buyers flocked to Honda, while the economy slumped and General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC sought bankruptcy protection. Honda's market share is now settling to a more normal level as the economy improves, he says.

The company is counting on the 2011 Odyssey to win over what it calls "hesitaters"—people who need the space and seating capacity of a minivan but don't like the idea of cruising around in a big box on wheels. Customer research found that people fall into three categories, said Vicki Poponi, a Honda product planning specialist in a presentation to journalists in Chicago a few months ago: "Those who embrace the minivan; those who outright reject it; and those who appreciate its practical value but remain somewhat on the fence due mainly to styling and image concerns."

More than in past years, Honda brought in customers to help them redesign the vehicle. Owners wanted to take away the boxy look and give it better handling and a sportier feel. A common desire by customers and Honda engineers was for a car that would be recognizable from 100 yards in a parking lot, said Christina Ra, a Honda spokeswoman.

To give the new Odyssey a sleeker profile, Honda gave the vehicle a more slanted windshield and a slightly tapered rear roof line. The rear-side window is angled to streamline the back end, and is also taller than the other side windows, creating a lightning-bolt-shaped line above the side panels. The Odyssey also will be wider and lower to the ground and have bumped out wheel wells, making it look more like a sport-utility vehicle. The new version will have a six-speed automatic transmission rather than a five-speed, and technology that can shut off three of its engine's six cylinders to reduce fuel consumption. This minivan, which will get 28 miles per gallon on the highway, is aimed at Gen-Y buyers, who are around 33 years old. The previous van was more suited to older couples, even grandparents who are part of the Baby Boomer generation, Ms. Ra said.

The Odyssey has the potential to be a big seller for Honda. It is the company's fourth best-selling model in the U.S., after the Accord sedan, Civic compact and CR-V crossover. But Honda faces an uphill battle with hesitaters. In Ann Arbor, Mich., Tammy McCollough, a mother of two hockey-playing boys, has been shopping for a replacement for her 2001 Odyssey, and she wants something more fashionable. "No one ever checks you out when you're driving a minivan," she said with a laugh.

The minivan segment has been steadily shrinking. Auto makers sold 424,007 minivans last year, down from more than a million in 2005, according to Autodata Corp. In 2000, total minivan sales hit 1.4 million vehicles. Minivans made up just 4.1% of the U.S. market in 2009, compared with 7.9% in 2000. Both GM and Ford have stopped making minivans and now offer seven-passenger crossovers like the Chevrolet Traverse and Ford Flex as family-movers.

The Odyssey will face competition from Toyota, which just updated its van, the Sienna, and Chrysler, maker of the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan. This year, the Town & Country has outsold the Odyssey through April.

3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #9

Honda has officially taken the cover off of the 2011 Honda Odyssey, which will hit dealerships later this fall. As you can tell right away, the 2011 Odyssey draws much of its design influence from the Odyssey Concept we saw earlier this year. When compared to the current model, the 2011 Honda Odyssey has a lower roofline (-1.6 inches), a wider track (+1.4 inches) and overall improved aerodynamics that help increase fuel-economy while adding more interior width.

“We recognize the minivan is first and foremost a functional vehicle,” said Art St. Cyr, Chief Engineer of the 2011 Honda Odyssey. ”One thing we know and confirmed throughout this development was that minivan customers were unwilling to sacrifice any of their interior space and functionality. So, we focused on maintaining and enhancing this interior space.”

Of course, when it comes to minivan segment the interior is the most important thing. Here are some of the impressive interior features on the 2011 Odyssey:

* 15 beverage holders.
* Second- and third-row passenger window sunshades.
* Removable 1st row center console with hidden storage.
* Two captain’s chairs in the second row provide adult comfort with center seat folded down.
* One-strap stowable 3rd Row Magic Seat.
* Increased 3rd row leg room by one inch and added a center arm rest.​

As for power, the press release states that the 2011 Honda Odyssey is powered by a 3.5L i-VTEC V6 with 3-mode Variable Cylinder Management. No specific horsepower numbers were discussed, but Honda does say that the Odyssey Touring Elite manages a fuel-economy of 19/28 mpg (city/highway).

We’ll bring you more details as we get them.

Press Release:

06/17/2010 – DENVER -

The all-new 2011 Honda Odyssey seeks to redefine the concept of the minivan with its aggressive stance and sporty “lightning-bolt” beltline. The lightning bolt not only provides an exclusive appearance, but also adds increased visibility for third-row passengers. New interior features add more convenience for families, while available entertainment technology introduces high-definition connectivity and split-screen viewing. Currently the best-selling minivan in the U.S., the all-new 2011 Honda Odyssey is set to go on sale this fall. Compared to the current Odyssey, the 2011 model’s lower roofline (-1.6 inches versus 2010 Odyssey EX) and wider track (+1.4 inches) contribute to a sleeker, stronger and more dynamic presence with improved aerodynamics that help increase fuel economy and also translate into more interior width.


* 3.5-liter i-VTEC™ V-6 engine with three-mode Variable Cylinder Management™
* Preliminary estimated fuel economy, Odyssey Touring Elite (City/Highway): 19/28 miles per gallon*

* Preliminary EPA mileage estimates determined by Honda. Final EPA mileage estimates not available at the time of printing. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.

Features of the 2011 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite model as shown in the June 17, 2010, reveal video:
(please reference the June 17 reveal video script @ for items not listed here)


* AM/FM/XM/CD Premium Audio System with 12 Speakers
* Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ with Voice Activation
* Ultra-Wide Rear Entertainment System (RES) with split-screen capability
* External HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) input
* 150-watt AC power outlet
* Media tray with integrated beverage holder
* Removable 1st row center console with hidden storage
* New cool box in lower center stack (keeps items cool when vehicle is running)
* Leather-trimmed seating with heated front seats
* Memory-linked 10-way power driver’s seat
* LATCH child seat anchors in five seating positions, including three positions in the second row to accommodate three child seats simultaneously
* Two captain’s chairs in the second row provide adult comfort with center seat folded down
* One-strap stowable 3rd Row Magic Seat®
* Second- and third-row passenger window sunshades
* 15 beverage holders
* Trash bag ring


* HID front headlights
* 18-inch alloy wheels
* 12.6-inch ventilated front disc brakes
* Power side mirrors with integrated turn indicators
* Power tailgate

For animated gifs of car features: 2011 Honda Odyssey - Official Site


3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #10

1st Drive: 2011 Honda Odyssey
Honda Doesn't Redefine the MiniVan, They Strive to Perfect It

Honda did something silly during the launch of its all-new 2011 Odyssey minivan. The automaker built a large autocross-type "track" in the parking lot of San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium and invited journalists to take its latest 8-passenger family hauler for hot laps. It was an interesting "fish out of water" introduction to Honda's 4th-generation people mover.

Designed, developed and manufactured in the United States, Honda considers the 2011 model an "American Odyssey." The domestic development team, owners of 46 Odysseys between them, labored to deliver a minivan with distinctive style, greater interior versatility and improved fuel economy. Did Honda build itself a worthy successor and how did it fare on the autocross?

Sharing its platform architecture with the Honda Ridgeline and Pilot, the all-new 2011 Odyssey is wider and lower than the model it replaces. The automaker's California design team penned a much more stylish and distinctive edge to the new model, unlike its arguably bland predecessors. It's a look we 1st scoped in concept form at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show. Most striking is its unique "lightning-bolt" beltline. The "bolt" is functional, as it improves outward visibility from the third row, but the placement is arguably less than attractive at 1st glance. It's as though the trailing edge of the sliding door cuts the minivan in 2 pieces – like the back half had been surgically grafted to the front. Making things even more awkward, the optical illusion is reinforced as the sliding door channel abruptly ends in the same spot.

The interior, on the other hand, is far from controversial. It features an expensive and upscale Acura-like look and feel. Pleasantly traditional in layout, and very friendly to the eye, the center stack is much improved over last year's model with the audio and HVAC controls now occupying the same general real estate, and human-friendly round knobs replacing toggle switches for temperature adjustments. The analog tachometer and speedometer, now the same size, join analog coolant temperature and fuel level gauges on each side.

To avoid confusion going forward, it's best to outline the model hierarchy. Anyone familiar with this automaker, or current Odyssey owners, will realize it follows Honda's existing 2010 trim levels. The entry-level model is badged the LX, followed by the EX, EX-L, EX-L RES (rear entertainment) and EX-L NAV (navigation). The flagship models are the Touring and (new for 2011) Touring Elite. Pricing starts at $27,800 (plus $780 destination) for the LX model. Odysseys with leather upholstery, such as the EX-L, start at $34,450 (plus destination). Lastly, we have the Touring ($40,755 plus destination) and the new-for-2011 range-topping Touring Elite ($43,250 plus destination).

While all models share the same basic primary instrumentation, the multi-information display centered on the top of the dashboard varies by model. The standard model (LX trim) has a 1-line segment readout. This is improved slightly with a 3-line segment display on mid-grade models (base EX trim). But the real eye candy is the full-color, eight-inch QVGA display (EX-L and EXL-Res trim) or its VGA counterpart (EX-L Touring trim). Both are capable of presenting a full range of graphics, including navigation, audio, trip computer and even background images similar to those on your PC or smartphone.

Dash aside, the rest of the cabin is a reflection of the American family road-trip dream. There are 12-volt power outlets galore and cup holders everywhere (15 in all but the LX trim, which only has 13). Storage nooks and crannies are seemingly hidden behind nearly every panel and there's even a chilled "Cool Box" for keeping drinks crisp (EX-L and both Touring trims).

The driver and front passenger seat are bucket-style captain's chairs with 8-way (LX trim) or 10-way (all other trim levels) power assist. Each seat features an individual fold-down armrest in the center and leather, seat heating and seat memory are trim-dependant. Between the front seats is a reconfigured center console with storage and a new flip-up trash bag ring that's sized to accommodate ordinary grocery bags. The center console is also removable, allowing a generous pass-through for those who to choose to give up the storage.

The 2nd-row of seating has been significantly redesigned compared to last year's model. Constructed in 3 seating segments, the center seat is 3.9 inches wider and can slide forward 5.5 inches – bringing it closer to the front seats. Even better, the 3 middle seats have a "Wide-Mode" configuration where they can be slid apart laterally by 1.5" each (allowing three child seats to go side-by-side-by-side with ease). The seats also fold down or can be completely removed.

The 3rd-row of seating has also been enhanced. It has an additional 1.1 inches of legroom (for "adult-sized levels of comfort," says Honda) and outward visibility has improved thanks to the "Lightning Bolt" design. Honda's 3rd-row "Magic Seat" is split 60/40 and each side folds and collapses flat and flush into the floor in a simple 1-hand operation while the headrests remain in the seats.

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

The Odyssey's infotainment system is very capable, even in its simplest form. The base audio package (LX trim) is a 229-watt AM/FM/CD 5-speaker system. Higher option levels (EX or EX-L trim) gain a 2GB audio library and 2 more speakers. Adding the navigation system brings a 15GB hard drive to the package. The top audio package (found only on the Touring Elite trim) is a 650-watt AM/FM/CD/15GB Hard Disk premium audio package with 12 speakers including a subwoofer. The center channel speakers for its 5.1 surround-sound audio system are located in the roof just in front of the 2nd row.

The basic rear entertainment system (RES) available on the EX-L and standard Touring models is a 9" wide QVGA ceiling-mounted screen (480 pixels x 234 pixels) for viewing DVDs or devices through the audio/video input jacks. Even more enticing is the Touring Elite model's "Ultrawide" RES, featuring a 16.2" wide WVGA ceiling-mounted screen (1,600 pixels x 480 pixels). It can show 1 (full screen) or 2 sources (split screen) of programming simultaneously while the audio portion is sent to wireless headsets. The system also includes a high-definition HDMI port for external device input. A similar ultra-wide viewing screen can also be had on the 2011 Toyota Sienna and seems to be making its way around the minivan segment.

Under the hood, Honda is hiding a 24-valve 3.5-liter V6 that's nearly identical to last year's engine. However, Honda has pulled a few tricks to wring out more horses from the proven powerplant. To reduce friction, the aluminum engine block has been honed and very lightweight 0W-20 oil fills the crankcase. To improve breathing, there is a new 2-stage intake manifold, and Honda claims the refined engine delivers 248 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque on regular unleaded fuel. (For the record, last year's models are rated at 244 horsepower and 245 pound-feet of torque).

Honda's now-familiar Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) is standard on all trim levels for 2011. In layman's terms, the technology starts the engine with all 6 cylinders firing. Things change during moderate-speed cruising and at low engine speeds when the rear bank of cylinders shuts down to effectively create a 3-cylinder powerplant. For moderate-speed acceleration, the left and center cylinders of the front bank operate, and the right and center cylinders of the rear bank operate (the engine runs on only 4 cylinders). Computer-controlled, VCM closes the intake and exhaust valves of the cylinders that are not used, thereby eliminating pumping losses. Fuel supply is cut, but the plug continues to fire to prevent fouling and keep the spark hot.

While Honda has gone to exhaustive lengths to improve the engine's efficiency (even lowering the amount of tension on the alternator belt), one cannot help but wonder why they haven't embraced today's innovative technologies. If you've already relegated owners to driving on 3 or 4 cylinders during most of their driving, why not just seal the deal with a direct-injected turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in the 1st place? (We'll remind readers that Hyundai's new 2.0T Theta II engine trumps the Honda 3.5-liter in horsepower, torque, efficiency, weight and packaging).

Power is sent to the front wheels (there is no all-wheel-drive offering) through 1 of 2 transmissions. The standard transmission on the lower trim levels is a 5-speed, while a 6-speed automatic – a Honda brand 1st – is standard on the top trim levels (Touring models). Compared to the 5-speed, the gearing on the 6-speed transmission is lower in first through 5th to improve acceleration, and taller in 6th to boost fuel economy.

The Odyssey's wheelbase is unchanged from last year's model, but its track is up 1.4" in the front and rear. The independent suspension design remains the same (MacPherson struts up front, multi-link out back), but Honda engineers worked hard to isolate passengers from road noise by using very stiff mounting points in the rear and "blow-off" valves on all shock absorbers that reduce harshness when a wheel hits a severe jolt, such as a pothole.

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

The disc brakes on all 4 corners are larger than their predecessors. The standard wheels have grown by an inch across the board, with all lower trim levels wearing 17-inch steel wheels (235/65R17 tires) and Touring models equipped with 18-inch alloys wrapped in lower profile 235/60R18 tires. Honda does not offer run-flat or extended mobility tires and instead, the minivan is equipped with a compact spare hidden out of view under the load floor between the front seats.

The curb weight of the flagship Touring Elite model we tested is 4,560 pounds (the entry-level LX tips the scales about 200 pounds lighter). Nevertheless, it still scoots to 60 mph in about 8.5 seconds, says Honda. Much more important to minivan owners is fuel efficiency. This is where the 2011 Odyssey shines. Models with the 5-speed transmission (LX, EX and EX-L) earn 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway (21 combined). The Touring/Touring Elite models, with the 6-speed automatic, earn 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway (22 combined). With a standard 21-gallon fuel tank, the range on the highway should easily exceed 450 miles.

Safety also sells minivans, so Honda has made occupant and pedestrian protection part of its core business strategy. Standard safety equipment includes Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and 4-wheel ABS with electronic brake distribution (EBD) and brake assist. Dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags and active head restraints protect those in the front seats and there are standard 3-row side-curtain airbags with a rollover sensor for all outboard passengers within the cabin. The driver's and front passenger's side airbags are fitted with Honda's Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS) - an innovative technology that deactivates the side airbag if sensors determine that a child or small stature adult is leaning against the door.

Inside the cabin, all seating positions feature 3-point seatbelts (automatic pensioners on the front seats) and there is a class-leading total of five childseat Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) positions (four in the entry-level Odyssey LX). There is also a "pedestrian injury mitigation design" in the front of the vehicle. The 2011 Honda Odyssey has not been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) yet, but Honda says its Odyssey minivan is targeted to achieve the best 5-Star/Top Safety Pick scores.

We spent a full day with the 2011 Honda Odyssey in San Diego, but before heading out, we took a few minutes to sit in all three rows of the Odyssey - and each proved comfortable for a six-foot two-inch average-weight male. Even the third row, often the seating zone for small children, was accommodating thanks to the additional shoulder room gained by keeping the sliding door tracks low on the platform. Honda brought along a 2011 Toyota Sienna for comparison, and the 3rd row in the Odyssey was noticeably roomier for our adult frames.

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

A slight press on the throttle sends the Odyssey off the line with confidence. Around town, there is more than enough torque to move around smartly and weave between the tourists who obviously aren't under any type of schedule. We spent about 15 minutes on the surface streets, never bumping much over 50 mph. The transmission shifts smoothly, the brakes work as expected and outward visibility is just fine. The power from the engine is exactly what you would expect from a 6-cylinder 8-passenger minivan.

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

However, prodigiously consuming fuel is not one of the Odyssey's strengths. While there was plenty of six-cylinder power around town, the minivan seemed to prefer running on fewer cylinders on the highway where it could squeeze another ten miles out of each gallon. Drop your right foot to pass at 60 mph and there's a slight hesitation (and a simultaneous downshift) as everything spools back up. It feels as if part of the engine has gone to sleep – because it has. While the behavior is far from a deal breaker (we became accustom to it after a few hours), it served to remind us that saving fuel was much more important than entertaining acceleration. And as it should be.

Over at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium, we took Honda up on their offer, but with reservation. Nobody enjoys flogging a 4,500-pound front-wheel-drive minivan around a road course – even when it's someone else's vehicle.

Not to burst anyone's bubble, but the Odyssey didn't carve corners like a Porsche Cayman. This is still a minivan, after all. Yet, when we expected it to exhibit severe understeer in the corners and roll over its front outside tire, it didn't. With 56% of its weight over the front tires, a wide track and some downright ingenious suspension tuning, the Odyssey feels almost neutral at the limit. Apply power mid-corner and the eight-passenger family hauler drifts wider and wider in a completely controlled increasing radius arch. While not exactly a joyride, it's safe and predictable (not sketchy and sloppy, as we had predicted). We refuse to call it sporty, but "impressively competent" seems like the best description.

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

Honda and Toyota have unquestionably raised the bar significantly with their latest round of completely redesigned minivans, leaving their primary competition all but wallowing in a trail of spilled Cheerios. Both vehicles offer comfortable accommodations for 8, with a slew of amenities and entertainment to keep occupants occupied through the road trip doldrums. However, the similarities end there.

While Toyota's product is sleekly styled, modern and sporty, it's Honda's approach – familiar, family-friendly and fuel efficient – that seems to have earned the edge.


3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #11

SAN DIEGO -- After a sequence of foul-tip product launches from Honda -- the Insight, CrossTour and CR-Z receiving mixed reviews at best -- getting the Odyssey minivan right was more than just crucial. It was essential.

The 7 lead engineers and chief designer have owned a total of 27 Odysseys, so they know firsthand what needed to be upgraded or improved.

The basics
: The redesigned Odyssey is 2 inches wider, an inch longer, rides lower and is more aerodynamic than its predessor. Under the hood, the Odyssey will have a re-engineered version of its 3.5-liter V-6 engine, with variable cylinder management and an estimated 18/27 fuel economy.

As of now, the Odyssey is the only minivan with independent rear suspension. Combined with a more rigid body and subframe structure, that means more sensitive ride control and more precise handling. Honda made the brakes 1 inch larger in diameter, leading to claims of best-in-class stopping distances.

In addition to performance and features, Honda also made the vehicle more stylish, with a signature lightning-bolt beltline. Honda says the vehicle will get 5-star safety ratings in all measurements.

Notable features
: The center console between the 2 front seats can hold a purse and is removable. Underneath the instrument panel is a “coolbox” that can hold a 6-pack of soda and which bleeds air after the evaporator, keeping items cold much longer than typical duct-fed coolers.

As for seating, the 2nd row can be fitted with 3child seats but also can pivot outward by 2 inches so 3 adults can sit in comfort. With 6 inches more legroom than the Toyota Sienna, the Odyssey's 3rd row has enough space for 3 full-sized adults -- and with seats that also recline. The cantilevered foldaway function for the 3rd-row seats is now performed with a single strap pull.

With the seats removed, the Odyssey can accommodate a 4-by-8 sheet of plywood, 3 mountain bikes or 10-foot 2-by-4 studs.

The entertainment system features a 16-inch hi-definition monitor with split-screen capability for kids quarrelling in the second row. The “song by voice” telematics system replicates the iPod operating system.

 	2011 Honda Odyssey	2011 Toyota Sienna V6
Wheelbase	118.1 in.	119.3 in.
Length	202.9 in.	200.2 in.
Width	79.2 in.	78.2 in.
Height	68.4 in.	68.9 in.
Base engine	3.5-liter V-6	3.5-liter V-6
Horsepower	248 @ 5,700 rpm	265 @ 6,200 rpm
Torque, lb-ft	250 @ 4,800 rpm	245 @ 4,700 rpm
Curb weight	4,337 lbs.	4,380 lbs.
Base price	$28,580	$26,510
What Honda says: “We wanted to create a vehicle that got away from the conservative stigma applied to minivans,” said Catalin Matei, Odyssey chief designer, a father of 3 and owner of 7 Odysseys. Added chief engineer Art St. Cyr: “We had a hard time distinguishing minivans from across a parking lot.”

Compromises and shortcomings
: The slide rail for the 2nd-row doors mars the sheet metal, but incorporating it into the beltline would have meant unacceptably crimping 4 inches of shoulder room in the 3rd-row seats. The 3rd-row windows do not pop open for venting. The base Odyssey has a 5-speed automatic; higher trim levels get a more costly 6-speed box. All-wheel drive will not be offered. Officials expressed doubts that a hybrid version will be added.

The market: The minivan segment is off 50% compared with the boom years. But unlike other segments, minivans may not be coming back to pre-recession numbers. Pricing was not available at press time.

The skinny
: Although down on power compared to the Sienna's V-6, the Odyssey feels more nimble and accurate. The improvement in interior features, fitments and tactile surfaces means the segment has a new mark to shoot for. Honda nailed this one.

3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #12

SAN DIEGO -- The minivan segment may be in a swoon, but that isn’t stopping Honda from going all-in with its latest Odyssey.

“This is not your ordinary kid or cargo hauler,” said John Mendel, American Honda Motor Co. executive vice president.

The Odyssey is the top-volume nameplate in the minivan segment, although the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country combine to outsell it. But the overall health of the segment began plummeting well before the recession hit.

U.S. minivan sales passed the million-a-year mark in 1993 and peaked in 2000 at 1.37 million. Then customers started abandoning the segment. In 2008, automakers sold just over 600,000. Last year's tally fell below 450,000.

By 2014, Mendel hopes, the segment will have returned to about 650,000 sales, but he isn’t holding out for much growth beyond that.

“This is not a recession-reliant slump,” Mendel said. “But social trends will lead to returned growth in the segment.”

That’s a big reason for a conservative volume estimate for the Odyssey. Once a consistent 150,000-unit seller, with a peak of 177,919 in 2006, the Odyssey’s new annual target is 110,000.

But the combination of Gen X and Gen Y families vastly outnumbers the baby boomer demographic that once fueled the original minivan boom.

That leads Odyssey chief engineer Art St. Cyr to hope for a better future for the segment. Gen X and Gen Y are likely to embrace family life and minivans -- Gen X because they were mostly latchkey kids, Gen Y because they seek closer family relationships, St. Cyr said.

Despite what might be an upward trend in minivan intenders, Honda also will market aggressively to “hesitators,” those who should buy a minivan but buy a crossover instead.

The Odyssey goes on sale Oct 1.

3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
NY Times

THE conventional wisdom is that the minivan is on life support, a victim of drive-by shootings by marauding gangs of part-truck, part-car crossover wagons. But some automakers just won’t pull the plug.

While General Motors and Ford abandoned the sliding-door minivan in recent years, Toyota has doubled down with a new version of its Sienna that went on sale in February. Chrysler, which created the modern minivan, is bringing out redesigned Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans around Christmas. Kia has freshened its Sedona with a smaller but more powerful and efficient engine. Nissan has temporarily dropped its Quest while it prepares to introduce a new version early next year.

Among mass-market minivan makers that leaves Honda, which has redesigned its Odyssey — America’s favorite minivan the last 2 years — for 2011. While the van shows improvements in features, room and fuel economy, its driving dynamics, which had previously made it the sportiest-feeling minivan, seem to have suffered.

This 4th-generation Odyssey, which went on sale Sept. 30, replaces a version that made its debut as a 2005 model. The new van is the 1st one developed by a team of Honda engineers in the United States — based in Ohio — and is built at the same Alabama plant where the previous model was made.

The new model is slightly longer, lower and wider. It not only looks more jaunty, with a body-side character line extending forward from the boldly shaped rear side window, its slicker aerodynamics aid fuel economy.

All 2011 Odysseys come with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine rated at 248 horsepower. This is an improved version of the previous engine, with 4 more horsepower and 5 pound-feet of torque. The V-6 can still run on only 3 or 4 of its 6 cylinders when full power isn’t needed.

The new Odyssey comes in 7 trim levels with prices ranging from $28,580 to $44,030.

2 transmissions are available, including Honda’s 1st 6-speed automatic, which comes only on the Touring ($41,535) or a new top-line version called the Touring Elite ($44,030). Other trim levels get the 5-speed: the basic LX, the EX and 3 variations of the EX-L — the “L” stands for leather.

The Odyssey’s chief engineer, Art St. Cyr, said the 6-speed wasn’t offered across the board because Honda wanted to hold down the price of the LX while imparting a “more premium” driving feel to Touring models with a smoother, quicker transmission.

A comparison shopper might note, however, that while Honda puts the admission price for a 6-speed above $40,000, all Toyota Siennas have 6-speeds, for as little as $26,510.

Odysseys with the 5-speed get better mileage than before (2 m.p.g. more in town, 4 more on the highway). And 6-speed models beat the comparable Sienna by 1 m.p.g. in town and 4 m.p.g. on the highway. Low-rolling-resistance tires account for some of the gain.

I briefly drove an EX with the 5-speed transmission — which worked just fine — and spent a week with a preproduction example of the 6-speed Touring Elite. This fanciest of Odysseys has everything: leather, sunroof, rear-seat entertainment system with a 16-inch-wide split screen, navigation system, 18-inch wheels, parking sensors, premium audio system and blind-spot sensors.

Safety features on all Odysseys include antilock brakes, electronic stability control, active head restraints and 6 air bags, including curtain bags in all three rows to protect occupants’ heads in side impact crashes. The Sienna goes the Odyssey one better with a driver’s knee air bag.

Mr. St. Cyr said the engineers tried to make features simpler and more intuitive — by, for instance, moving handles on the 2nd-row seats. The 3rd row, which seats 3 and is split 60-40, folds cleanly into the floor with one tug of a strap.

The new interior has some nice features for on-the-move families. A “cool box” below the gearshift can chill six 12-ounce cans or 4 20-ounce bottles. A new center console between the driver and passenger seats is large enough to hold a purse, and it can be removed to create a walk-through to the 2nd row.

The base LX seats 7 with 2 captain’s chairs in the 2nd row; other versions seat 8 with a center seat position that is 3.9 inches wider than before. Folded down, the seatback can be used as an armrest, cupholder and tray. You can slide that center seat forward or backward 5.5 inches to bring an infant closer to parents in the front row. And while that’s a nice touch, the Sienna’s 2nd-row seats can move 23 inches.

The 2nd row has “wide mode” seating that allows each of the 2 outer seats to move laterally 1.5 inches each. Doing this creates a bit more room if 3 people or child seats are in the 2nd row.

I had looked forward to driving the new Odyssey. The last generation of the van was a joy on the road — at least by minivan standards — with steering that had enough weight to establish a connection to the pavement and impart a sense of confidence on turns. Its downside was a ride that some critics (myself included) considered a little stiff.

With the 2011 Odyssey, my main problem was the steering feel at speeds below 45 m.p.h. At these lower speeds I found the steering so light that it lacked a feeling of connection with the road.

The overassisted steering was not simply in my imagination — it was designed that way. Mr. St. Cyr said Honda wanted the van to have generally lighter steering feel. Customers had complained, he said, that the previous model’s steering was too heavy, causing arm fatigue on long drives. I would have preferred keeping the old steering and advising the whiners to do a few bicep curls.

In back-to-back drives with the new Toyota Sienna, the Odyssey felt more nimble and quicker to change direction. But that driving pleasure is undermined by the light steering feel.

When I reviewed the new Sienna for these pages in June, I said the steering was light and vague. That is still the case, but the new Odyssey’s steering is even more disappointing.

I also found the Sienna to ride more comfortably. You feel road imperfections more in the Odyssey, along with more vibration and harshness. The Odyssey seemed a bit more noisy.

Americans liked the old Odyssey; it was the best-selling minivan in 2008-9, according to J. D. Power & Associates (although the Chrysler Town & Country is the sales leader so far this year).

Honda hopes to sell more than 110,000 of the new models each year. That may be a challenge. For all its other virtues Honda has jeopardized the Odyssey’s distinctive advantage as the “sporty minivan” just as the Sienna has become more competitive and other new vans are warming up.

3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #14

The redesigned-for-2011 Honda Odyssey is longer and wider than other major minivans, but it's still tops in fuel economy.

With sleeker styling and lighter weight than its predecessor, the roomy, V-6-powered 2011 Odyssey with 6-speed automatic transmission is rated at 19 miles per gallon in city driving and 28 mpg on the highway by the federal government.

For 2011, Variable Cylinder Management, which can automatically deactivate engine cylinders when they're not needed, such as when the van is coasting, is standard on all Odysseys. It previously was reserved for the top Odyssey models.

Best of all, perhaps, for everyone riding long distances in this van, the Odyssey has voice recognition commands for navigation and song selection as well as a 16.2-inch, ultrawide, split-screen-capable display that folds down from the ceiling aft of the front seats for good viewing by 2nd- and 3rd-row passengers.

The system has HDMI technology, too, and because of its wide, rectangular shape, this screen does not block a driver's view out the back of the vehicle. This rear entertainment system is on certain Odyssey models.

But all Odysseys still have the 1-hand, fold-and-flip down, split rear seats that fit smoothly into a recessed cavity to make way for a flat cargo load floor.

Starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, for the 2011 Odyssey is $28,580.

The test model, a top-of-the-line Odyssey Touring Elite with all available factory features already on it, was priced at $44,030.

All Odysseys come with a 248-horsepower V-6 and automatic transmission.

Competitors include the 2011 Toyota Sienna, which has a starting retail price of $27,270 with 187-horsepower 4 cylinder and $29,910 with 266-horsepower V-6.

Another top-selling van is the Dodge Grand Caravan with a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $25,830 for a passenger van.

Minivans, as they're still called, waned in popularity in the last 10 years as families moved to sport utility vehicles, which have become increasingly car-like in ride and amenities.

But the Odyssey remains a consistent top seller, though quality ratings have slipped.

In the latest J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study released in June, before the 2011 Odyssey was out, the predecessor Odyssey didn't rank among the top 3 minivans. Toyota's Sienna, the Kia Sedona and the Grand Caravan held those spots.

Still, it's easy to see why families — young and old — can enjoy this new, 4th-generation Odyssey.

Interior space is generous and pleasant, and this includes a noteworthy 42.4 inches in the third row seats. Indeed, thanks to the lengthened body, passengers in all 3 rows have at least 40 inches of legroom.

Middle seats — 3 separate sections in the test van — could move forward on their tracks by a decent 1.6 inches, so passengers can arrange seats so everyone shares good legroom.

And the new, extra-wide sliding door openings were a dream as elderly, less mobile passengers entered and exited without fuss. Everyone liked that the passenger floor is flat, too.

Passengers also commented about the nicely padded the leather-trimmed seats. They don't feel like thick, hard, foam but have some give in them as people sit down.

Plus, the Odyssey has the most anchor and tether points for installation of child safety seats of any normal production vehicle — 5. So families with quintuplets will have no problem.

The wide front center console is well thought out. The covered storage area is large enough for most purses, and the top of the cover has a high enough lip to keep cell phones and other loose articles from tumbling out during turns. The console can even be removed entirely, if a driver needs to move from the front to the back seats without going outside.

The navigation screen in the dashboard is large, and letters and numbers are good-sized and easy to read.

The Odyssey is a tad bit lower to the ground now, so the step up is a bit easier to make. But everyone continues to sit up well above the road, and the driver and front passenger, in particular, can see above cars and down the road. And the ride is quite smooth. I felt only big road bumps a bit harshly.

To make the new Odyssey more aerodynamic, the windshield is more steeply raked than before, and the roof rack is gone.

So wind noise is reduced. Passengers still hear a good amount of road noise from the tires, though, and sounds from a loud diesel semi-hauler came through readily into the test Odyssey.

Driving the test van, I had ample power from the 3.5-liter, single overhead cam V-6 — no matter if I was merging into city traffic or passing on a highway.

Torque peaks at 250 foot-pounds at 4,800 rpm, and since the new Odyssey is about 75 pounds lighter than its predecessor, the vehicle moves right along.

Shifts from the 6-speed transmission were smooth, and while I could hear the engine as it accelerated, the sounds were pleasant, not strained, even when the van carried six people.

Note that the 6-speed is in Touring and Touring Elite trim level Odysseys. All others have a 5-speed automatic, but even with that, the government mileage rating is class-leading among V-6 vans: 18/27 mpg.

The bright green letters "ECO" illuminate every time the engine cylinders are deactivated to conserve fuel. Honest, that's the only way a driver knows the van is saving fuel by using fewer engine cylinders.

All Odysseys come with the usual standard safety features including curtain air bags, antilock brakes and stability and traction control.


3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #15

While we shouldn't be shocked by anything coming out of Madison Avenue, part of me is incensed to hear Honda using Judas Priest to advertise its new Odyssey. That's right, the opening riff of the greatest album from the gods of heavy metal deployed, not in the service of Satan, but to sell a minivan?

While the 18-year-old headbanger in me would like to stand up and rail against Honda ("If you think you're going to make me think your stupid soccer mom taxi is cool, well, You've Got Another Thing Coming!"), the truth of the matter is that Honda's ad agency nailed it. We're not teenagers anymore. We've grown up and had families. I even own a minivan, and, indeed, there is at least one Judas Priest CD that lives in the center console. And after driving the new Odyssey for a week, I have serious van envy. Honda has crafted the ultimate, state-of-the-art people mover, even if it's not much more than some flashy design and incremental improvements in areas like powertrain, fuel efficiency and equipment.

The biggest changes in the redesigned Odyssey are obvious at 1st glance, as it no longer looks so much like a conventional minivan. Honda's ideas on styling have been polarizing as of late (read: the Accord Crosstour is ugly as sin), so it's smart that the company chose the Civic as the donor of the new minivan's face. The venerable compact is still the most complete and fluid execution of modern Honda design language, and what it lends to the Odyssey works to make Honda's largest vehicle appear smaller and sleeker. It helps that the Odyssey has a lower and much wider stance, having been stretched over 2 inches across.

While its front and back sections don't exactly mate up well in profile, each works on its own. The flying buttress D-pillar helps the rear end achieve a more contemporary look, like that of many crossovers. Honda is calling the quirky jog in the beltline at the Odyssey's C-pillar a "lightning bolt," and it's more than just a clever device to give the vehicle a dynamic, moving-forward look. That little dip makes the third-row windows bigger and increases the feeling of roominess for passengers in the way back.

Honda clearly wants to make the back of the bus a more desirable place to ride, and it's come up with some enticing new features to serve the rear-seaters' needs. The 1st is that the 3rd row now has 2 sets of LATCH anchors, while the 2nd row can be had with 3. These carseat attachments mean more than horsepower to breeder parents, and the Odyssey has more of them than the competition.

The 2nd row is interesting in that Honda has decided not to follow Chrysler into its folly of designing seats to fold into the floor like those in the 3rd row. Understanding that it's the rare day when you want to use your minivan like a pickup truck, Honda instead designed a system that allows the 2nd-row seats to be moved laterally to make more room for passengers or car seats, while improving 3rd-row access through the center in the process. The optional 2nd-row-center seat can even be moved forward to place an infant carseat closer to mom and pop in the front. This is smart engineering trumping gimmicky marketing.

Up front, the cockpit is functional and the controls are similar to any number of other Honda or Acura vehicles (save for a dash-mounted shift lever). While having a central LCD display with a field of buttons and one large controller knob below seems to be the industry norm these days, it's unfortunate to see Honda abandoning the touch-screen interface that made its in-car navigation systems the class of the industry a decade ago. Also upsetting is Honda's decision to place the climate controls above those for the audio and navigation systems, a huge flaw when you consider that many drivers will set an automatic temperature setting and then rarely look at it.

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

If the Odyssey drives more like a minivan than a station wagon now, it certainly doesn't accelerate like 1. Honda's 3.5-liter V6 makes 248 horsepower in the 2011 Odyssey, along with 250 pound-feet of torque. It revs quickly and has great throttle response, and Honda has done a masterful job of matching the gear ratios of the new, optional 6-speed automatic transmission to make the Odyssey move. This is a minivan than can go quicker than it should, at least with babies onboard.

Honda has also included its Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system as standard equipment. This shuts down 2 or 3 of the V6's cylinders when they're not needed, improving fuel economy. This and some other measures, including a 50-to-100 pound weight reduction, have helped the Odyssey boast some impressive EPA numbers for a roughly 4,400-pound vehicle. With the standard 5-speed automatic, the van is rated at 18 mpg city, 21 combined and 27 on the highway. The 6-speed automatic improves each of those numbers by a single mile-per-gallon, and that's tops among any vehicle that can carry 8 passengers.

No minivan these days would be complete without some sort of video screen for the kids, and Honda has gone big in this department with an optional 16.2-inch widescreen that folds down from the headliner in the 2nd row. (A more conventional 9-inch screen is also available.) Before you get too excited about having a display larger than a MacBook Pro in the Odyssey, however, understand this is really just 2 normal-sized displays mated into a single, wide LCD panel. While it's possible to stretch out a single video source to cover the entire screen in a grotesquely distorted aspect ratio, the more useful application is to allow each side of the vehicle to select a separate input source for their half of the screen, choosing from the DVD player, composite auxiliary inputs and an HDMI port.

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

As much as I like the Odyssey, I do have three caveats that are absolutely worth mentioning. The 1st is an audio system that had issues outputting varying levels of distorted sound across all audio sources throughout a 1,000-mile roadtrip, making even podcasts unlistenable. I'm trusting the tester was merely defective, and that this isn't a widespread problem with Honda's Active Noise Cancellation system, which uses the audio system to make the interior of the vehicle quieter.

The 2nd issue is an aesthetic one: Why can't Honda hide the Odyssey's door track? Honda knows the importance of styling, given how much its redesign of the Odyssey was based on making a van that looked different from any that have come before. So why is it, then, that this company continues to allow these giant gashes on either side of the minivan to persist. Toyota and Chrysler tuck their door tracks under the 3rd-row window, and such a configuration would make all the difference in tidying up the Odyssey's busy rear, which looks too much like it has been on the losing end of a battle with a guardrail.

My final complaint has as much to do with my own financial situation as it does with Honda, but $40,775 to get an Odyssey with the 6-speed automatic seems a wee bit dear. That's an exceptional amount of money when the base model costs just $27,800. Whatever happened to paying an extra $1,500 for the better transmission? Why is the 6-speed transmission bundled with a nav system and DVD player? This kind of business practice is akin to a cell phone provider offering a cheap plan with a token few minutes for 30 bucks, and then charging twice that amount to get enough minutes to actually use your phone.

As fantastic as the Odyssey is, there's a bigger question at hand: Can it (or Toyota's "Swagger Wagon," or a nicely revamped Grand Caravan from Dodge, or the all-new Nissan Quest) convince the masses that minivans aren't the automotive equivalent of wearing sweatpants? Surely there are a sizable amount of people who wouldn't drive a minivan even if it came with a personal invitation from Rob Halford himself. But Honda thinks that this market is primed for growth, and that's reasonable speculation. With plenty of consumers making the SUV-to-crossover jump in the interest of cutting their fuel bills while maintaining a capacious interior, giving minivans another look is the smart thing to do.

3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
5 *

TORRANCE, Calif., Jan. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The all-new 2011 Honda Odyssey has earned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA's) best-possible Overall Vehicle Score(1) of 5 stars and is 1 of the 1st 2 vehicles ever to earn 5 stars in each seating position for all 3 crash tests, each crash test category and the overall rating, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced today. The Odyssey joins the 2011 Accord Sedan as 1 of the few vehicles to date that achieves the federal government's best-possible 5-star Overall Vehicle Score and 5 stars in the combined frontal and side crash safety ratings.

The Odyssey achieved its top Overall Vehicle Score with 5-star ratings for the frontal crash safety test and both side crash safety tests(2) in all evaluated front and rear seating positions and scenarios. Additionally, the Odyssey received 4 stars for the rollover rating(3), the highest achievable in the light-truck vehicle class using the program's measurement methodology.

The newly introduced Overall Vehicle Score is part of the federal government's New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) that is first being applied to 2011 models. As a convenience to new car shoppers, the Overall Vehicle Score represents the combined results of the overall ratings from the frontal crash tests, the side crash tests and the rollover-resistance into a single, summary score between 1 and 5 stars. Additional information is available at Home | Safercar -- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Complete NCAP safety rating results for the 2011 Odyssey are:
2011 Honda Odyssey Sedan NCAP Ratings


Star Rating

Overall Vehicle Rating


Overall Frontal Crash Safety Rating


Driver (male)


Passenger (female)


Overall Side Crash Safety Rating


Overall Side-Barrier Crash Safety Rating


Front Seating Position (male)


Rear Seating Position (female)


Side-Pole Crash Safety Rating


Front Seat Side Impact Rating


Rear Seat Side Impact Rating


Rollover Rating


All 2011 Odyssey vehicles utilize the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure. ACE is an exclusive body design that enhances occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal crashes. The ACE design utilizes a network of connected structural elements to distribute crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle. This enhanced frontal crash energy management helps to reduce the forces transferred to the passenger compartment. Standard safety equipment includes Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with traction control; an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS); three-row side curtain airbags with rollover sensor; dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags; a driver's front side airbag; and a front passenger's side airbag with an occupant position detection system.

Overall, the Odyssey improves for the 2011 model year with greater interior functionality, a more distinctive style and higher fuel economy. Significant enhancements to the interior include a new "3-mode" 2nd-row seat design that is more comfortable for center passengers (Odyssey EX and above). A more powerful and efficient 3.5-liter i-VTEC V-6 engine features Variable Cylinder Management (standard on all models for 2011) and produces 248 hp while delivering an EPA-estimated(4) city/highway/combined fuel economy of 19/28/22 mpg on Odyssey Touring models.

New technology available on certain models includes a rear entertainment system with a 16.2-inch ultrawide split-screen display and an auxiliary High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) video input, an "intelligent" Multi-Information Display (i-MID) with customizable wallpaper, integration of FM traffic data on navigation models and much more.

The 2011 Odyssey is truly an American-made vehicle – designed, engineered and assembled in the United States. The Odyssey is produced exclusively at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama (HMA) using domestic and globally sourced parts.

For more information and downloadable high-resolution images of Honda vehicles, please visit Honda Media Newsroom. Consumer information is available at Official Site of American Honda Motor Co., Inc..

(1) Government star ratings are part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) New Car Assessment Program (Home | Safercar -- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)). Model tested with standard side-impact air bags (SABs). Vehicles tested under this program cannot be compared to model-year 2010 and earlier vehicles. Ratings can only be compared with similar ratings on model year 2011 and later vehicles if rated under the new program.

(2) Includes a new, additional test mode for side-pole impact.

(3) Vehicle tested includes electronic stability control as standard equipment, branded as Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) on Honda and Acura vehicles.

(4) Based on 2011 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.​

3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #17

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has named the 2011 Honda Odyssey a Top Safety Pick, confirming its position as a safety leader among family vehicles.

Although the Odyssey had already earned top 'good' ratings from the IIHS, the Institute only recently tested the model in its new roof strength test—now a prerequisite for Top Safety Pick status. In that test, the Odyssey's roof withstood more than 5 times the van's weight—the best performance yet and 1 of the best ratings among all vehicles.

The Toyota Sienna is the only other Top Safety Pick among minivans, but with just 3-star frontal results it doesn't do nearly as well as the Odyssey in the new, more stringent safety testing and rating system introduced this year. In those federal tests, the Odyssey gets top 5-star ratings.

Also, minivans, along with larger luxury cars, are among the vehicles with the lowest rates of driver death. While that likely has something to do with their driver profiles, it also relates to occupant protection. Their centers of mass are lower, too, which typically makes them better-balanced in emergency maneuvers compared to higher utility vehicles. In our full review, we laud the Odyssey for its excellent steering and handling, and it is, in our opinion, the best-handling among larger vans.

Does that, and the Odyssey's top-notch safety ratings from both agencies, make it 1 of the safest vehicles on the market? Quite possibly.

3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Ultimate MiniVan

It's not often you see an entire segment of the auto industry redone at the same time, but 2011 is a renaissance for minivans. All the major players in the group had some level of redesign, from new interiors to whole new vehicles debuting., USA Today and "MotorWeek" put 6 of these new minivans to the test in Atlanta over 3 days, including 1 day with a suburban Atlanta family. The 6 minivans we tested were (in alphabetical order):
2011 Chrysler Town & Country
2011 Dodge Grand Caravan
2011 Honda Odyssey
2011 Nissan Quest
2011 Toyota Sienna
2011 Volkswagen Routan​
We also sent 2 inquiries to Kia to try to include the Sedona in our tests, but the automaker did not respond to either request. We left out smaller, less-well-equipped vehicles, including the Mazda5 because the price points were different. Since this is the Ultimate Minivan Shootout, we capped the price at $45,000, not including destination charges.

Our reviewers were:
David Thomas, senior editor
Kristin Varela, senior editor
Jennifer Newman, editor
James Healey, USA Today reviewer
Brian Robinson, "MotorWeek" producer and reviewer
The Weatherby family: Travis, Heather and their 3 kids.​
We put the minivans through three days of tests:

1-day mileage drive, which put the vans through roughly 175 miles of highway travel
1 day of round-robin expert driving, where each expert or team of experts drove the six vans over the same course for an hour
1 day of family testing and driving, where the Weatherby family compared the features and cargo space of each van, and then Travis drove each van over the same drive route to test for ride and handling, acceleration, braking and more​

Read through our coverage to see which van won over our experts and our family. The experts' opinions fueled 65% of the final score; the Weatherby family, 25%. Fuel economy made up the final 10% of the score.


After a steep decline in the minivan market several years ago — Ford and GM pulled out of the segment altogether — minivans are making a comeback.

The Weatherby family joined the Ultimate Minivan Shootout to lend real-world expertise to the tests.​

You can't argue with the minivan's functionality for busy families juggling life, careers, school and afterschool activities. And they're not just coming back in that retro-cool sort of way, like Converse sneakers. They're being completely redesigned and re-engineered for today's families, offering a mix of seating and cargo flexibility, high-tech entertainment features and even luxurious finishes and modern styling.

Our experts put 6 minivans to the test for our Ultimate Minivan Shootout in Atlanta. Of course, we asked a family to provide their unique perspective on how they take advantage of a minivan's usefulness in their daily lives.

Enter the Weatherbys. Travis and Heather Weatherby are parents to 15-year-old Colin; Loralei, 6; and Dexter, 1.

The Weatherbys used to drive a 2007 Honda Odyssey and loved it. However, for budget purposes, they traded it in for an older-model Chevy Suburban, which Travis says "fits us really well." Heather would love to get back into the ease of use of a minivan, and spending the day in the minivans in our Shootout seemed to reignite her love affair with family haulers.

The Weatherby family explores all the nooks and crannies of a minivan.​

When car shopping, it's important to clarify and prioritize the features most important to the family and stay focused on those. The Weatherbys have the added challenge of finding a car whose features appeal to the wide age range of their children.

When asked what family features are most important in a minivan, Travis answered, "The perfect blend of storage and seating space." What else? "Automatic everything, a 3rd row with air vents, entertainment with rear controls to keep the kids occupied," Travis said, along with "window locks and plenty of legroom." The legroom is both for Dad and the gangly-legged teenager Colin.

However, like most of us carrying around our families daily, safety is the most important feature to the Weatherbys. After driving several of the minivans in the Shootout, Heather said, "I really liked the backup cameras and alarms for the blind spots when driving."

Beyond safety, Heather loved the keyless entry and push-button start offered in some of the minivans. "As I'm heading out, I can toss the keys in my purse or diaper bag and then not have to dig for them," she said. She also likes minivans that have seats that move or fold flat easily "so that my 6-year-old can operate them and help Mom out." Other key features for Heather? Cupholders that the kids can reach so they don't spill. "I also like the auto liftgate function," she said.

What about the cool factor? The only features of the Weatherbys' current car, an older Chevy Suburban, that have proven to be "uncool" to the whole family are the age of the vehicle and the fact that it's as big as a bus. Colin seemed unfazed by any sort of perceived status, or lack thereof, associated with being a teen and riding around in the back of a minivan, and he definitely didn't scoff at the undeniably cool technology in many of the minivans we tested.

Inside the Odyssey, Colin's eyes opened wide, and he said in a dazed tone, "Whoa — that's a huge TV. This is cool." For any teenager, that's an enthusiastic endorsement and pretty much sums up how the Weatherbys felt about the Odyssey.

Many of the safety and convenience features of minivans were important to the Weatherbys.​

After testing, Heather said, "I pretty much am in love with the Honda and want every feature it offers." However, if she could make any changes to improve it, she'd add a soundproof glass barrier "like a limousine."

If Travis had his way, he'd be driving around a "convertible minivan with 4-wheel drive and 0-percent financing." Right. We won't be holding our breath for that one.

Real World Mileage

Minivans aren't known for their frugalness at the pump. They're heavy, have the aerodynamics of a refrigerator, and they put carrying people and utility over fuel efficiency. It's clear after a 175-mile test route that one automaker put its focus on fuel efficiency.

The Honda Odyssey bested the group of 6 minivans with a tally of 25.9 mpg, according to the van's trip computer. That result surprised no 1 because the EPA highway ratings for the Odyssey are higher than the nearest competitor by a whopping 3 mpg, which is a lot in the minivan segment.

Car EPA mileage
(city/highway and combined) Trip computer mpg
2011 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite 19/28 (22) 25.9
2011 Volkswagen Routan SE 17/25 (20) 25.1
2011 Chrysler Town & Country Limited 17/25 (20) 23.2
2011 Dodge Grand Caravan Crew 17/25 (20) 22.7
2011 Toyota Sienna XLE 16/22 (18) 22.0
2011 Nissan Quest SL 19/24 (21) 21.4​

What caught our eye was the Volkswagen Routan's performance compared with its Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan compadres, which share powertrains but were separated by roughly 2 mpg in the final readings. The Routan led the 3 at 25.1 mpg while the Town & Country measured 23.2 mpg and the Grand Caravan 22.7 mpg.

Volkswagen officials were also surprised by the results when we asked if there's any reason the VW should perform better than the Chrysler and Dodge, considering they share EPA ratings of 17/25 mpg. VW said that weight differences from the more feature-laden Dodge and Chrysler could have affected mileage.

Despite the Sienna's low EPA rating — helped by its class-exclusive all-wheel drive — the Sienna stayed above the bottom with a 22 mpg final reading, matching its highway rating. Our Sienna had the optional V-6 and all-wheel drive, the least fuel-efficient combo in the lineup. Base models have a standard 4-cylinder engine with front-wheel drive that gets a 3 mpg bump in combined ratings.

The minivans for the Shootout were tested on a mileage course with a variety of driving conditions.​

Route & Methodology

We drove all 6 minivans from a location near the Atlanta airport to Macon, Ga., and back, mostly on two-lane highways and large 4- and 6-lane interstates. 6 times during the drive we stopped to swap drivers, accounting for varying styles (and weight) of each driver. The route averaged 174.9 miles from the six odometer readings.

Before we departed, all tire pressures were set to manufacturer recommendations, and eco modes that changed driving characteristics for optimal fuel economy were turned off. Windows and sunroofs were closed, and air conditioning was kept on.

What U Get for the $$$

The Reviewers: David Thomas,; Kristin Varela,; Jennifer Newman,; James Healey, USA Today; Brian Robinson, "MotorWeek"; Travis and Heather Weatherby, family testers.

The Scoring: Expert reviewers made up 65% of the final score; the family made up 25%; gas mileage accounted for 10%. A perfect score would be 1,000 points.

No. 6: 2011 Toyota Sienna; 715.15 points
(See the scorecard or the Monroney sticker)

The term "disappointment" came up again and again in the comments from our expert reviewers when it came to the Sienna. Several noted that while they enjoyed the "Swagger Wagon" marketing for the redesigned minivan, in reality, it fell short of that title.

Pros: Thomas "found its performance quite good with a strong engine and exceptional handling," while Healey applauded the fact that the Sienna was the "only van available with all-wheel drive, a definite plus." Newman noted, "I like that the Sienna's exterior styling doesn't scream minivan."

Cons: The reviewers' disappointment showed itself in several ways. Many disliked the loud engine noise, while Varela noted the poor interior quality. Several commented that the "loungelike 2nd-row seats" were "gimmicky."
"I'm just not that impressed with the Sienna," Travis Weatherby said. "I was expecting to be blown away." "It's comfortable enough," Robinson noted, "and although there are lots of ways to configure the seats, they're not the easiest or most intuitive to figure out."

Key Features
Price as tested: $41,144 (2nd most expensive of the 6)
16/22 mpg; 18 mpg combined (worst in class)
Features common to all vans: Bluetooth connectivity, power sliding doors, power liftgate, some form of rear entertainment, V-6 engine and a backup camera
Only model with all-wheel drive
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick
16.4-inch video screen in 2nd row
Lounge seats in 2nd row with retractable foot rest
All windows have auto up and down
2 115-volt house-style power outlets
Backup sensors

No. 5: 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan; 721.6 points
(See the scorecard or the Monroney sticker)

Although it wound up at No. 5 on our list, the Grand Caravan earned plenty of props for its low cost and high number of features. "Price is a big bonus," Robinson said. It's "extremely well equipped for $34,000." Still, in a field that was pretty evenly matched, it fell short. "For minivan drivers on a budget, this 1 is for you," Varela said, adding, "Just don't compare it to other minivans on the market."

Pros: "1 of my favorite features in the Grand Caravan was the 2nd-row cupholders that slide out of the back of the center console," Newman said. Several reviewers liked the high number of features for the lowest price among the competitors. "Say what you want about the lack of comfort to the Stow 'n Go seating, I love the under-floor storage that it provides when the seats are up," Robinson noted.

Cons: "A bit disappointing," Healey said, "given that it's so similar to the [Chrysler] Town & Country. Seemed downscale, coarser." "While powerful, the new Pentastar V-6 is noisy," Robinson said, "and fuel mileage, while better than before, is still not that great." "The cloth seats alone would make this a no-go, in my book, for families," Varela said. "If there's a poster child for competency, it's the Grand Caravan," Thomas wrote. "It's good at everything, yet excels at nothing."

Key Features
Price as tested: $34,055 (least expensive of the 6)
17/25 mpg; 20 mpg combined
Features common to all vans: Bluetooth, power sliding doors, power liftgate, some form of rear entertainment, V-6 engine and a backup camera
9-inch video screen in 2nd row
Manual 3rd row with tailgate seating
Remote start
Cloth seating
Heated 2nd-row seats, heated steering wheel
Flat-folding 2nd row
115-volt house-style power outlet

No. 4: 2011 Volkswagen Routan; 757 points
(See the scorecard or the Monroney sticker)

The Volkswagen is in an interesting place. It shares a lot with the 2 Chrysler minivans in this Shootout, but it retains much of the older, pre-redesigned Chrysler look and feel, though it does have the same, new V-6 engine. It has a slightly changed exterior, and it doesn't have the Stow 'n Go seats. Overall, our reviewers and family felt it was an intriguing choice, both for its value as well as for its VW background.

Pros: "I grew more fond of the Routan as the family inspected it," Thomas said. "When they saw it was priced the same as the Dodge, but added a second DVD screen and leatherette seats, it was easy to be swayed. That swayed me, too." Robinson liked the "European tuning. OK, it's probably not actually tuned in Europe, but the Chrysler vans are already pretty good handlers, and this one seems a bit better." Healey felt that the Routan "has much nicer seats than the Chryslers." "It looks like a 10 all around," Travis Weatherby said, "because of the price point." Newman called it "wonderfully quiet."

Cons: "It carries over the obnoxious center stack, rickety gearshift lever and awkward interior front-door handles of the previous version," Healey said. "It's missing VW's legendary styling," Newman added. "How can this feel cheaper than the Grand Caravan?" Robinson asked, and Varela noted that "there's no telescoping steering wheel. Wow. What year is this?" She damned it with faint praise: "The Routan looks and feels like a really well-kept and clean rental car that's not quite up to par with how other vehicles have evolved over the past couple of years."

Key Features
Price as tested: $34,750 (2nd least expensive of the 6)
17/25 mpg; 20 mpg combined
Features common to all vans: Bluetooth, power sliding doors, power liftgate, some form of rear entertainment, V-6 engine and a backup camera
Dual 9-inch video screens for 2nd and 3rd rows
Leatherette seating (simulated leather)
Tailgate seating for 3rd row

No. 3: 2011 Nissan Quest; 769.1 points
(See the scorecard or the Monroney sticker)

Nissan returns to the minivan game after taking a couple of years off, and the reviewers were largely happy with the results. The combination of a high-quality interior with an extremely quiet and comfortable ride helped it score highly against the more established competition. Still, it's not without its faults.

Pros: "This is a different level," Travis Weatherby said about the Quest's interior, which said a lot since the Quest was the last van he drove for the day. "If there was a van I'd buy, this would be it," Thomas raved. "The fact that you can fold all of the seats flat in the Quest without having to remove any of them is fantastic," Varela added. "The Quest's mixture of chrome and faux wood trim was understated and looked luxurious," Newman said.

Cons: Healey was less impressed. "Odd-looking, pricey, not especially well-suited to the American market, but boy, those seats are great." Odd-looking was a common refrain. "I still don't care for its ugly squared-off rear that makes it look like a brick on wheels," Newman said. On the other hand, Robinson applauded that look: "I like that the styling is still big, boxy and minivan-looking." Still, he didn't care for "the smell of cheap leather." Both Robinson and Travis questioned why a $38,000 van wouldn't have navigation. "Navigation is almost standard today, isn't it?" Travis said.

Key Features
Price as tested: $38,040 (4th most expensive of the 6)
19/24 mpg; 21 mpg combined
Features common to all vans: Bluetooth, power sliding doors, power liftgate, some form of rear entertainment, V-6 engine and a backup camera
11-inch screen in 2nd row
Dual moonroofs
Only model without navigation
Crossover-SUV-like folding 2nd row
Removable 2nd-row center console
115-volt house-style power outlet

No. 2: 2011 Chrysler Town & Country; 822.4 points
(See the scorecard or the Monroney sticker)

Chrysler has long been the minivan king, with the success of both the Grand Caravan and the Town & Country. For 2011, both were redesigned extensively, with new interiors and engines. The changes to the Town & Country wore well for our reviewers and our test family, which liked not only how the interior looked, but also appreciated its smooth ride, quick engine and overall flexibility. "I liked the Honda, but I might like this better," Heather Weatherby said.

Pros: "Generally excellent," Healey raved, a thought seconded by Thomas: "I couldn't believe how upscale the Chrysler interior was versus the Dodge." "I'm not a Dodge guy," Travis Weatherby said, "but I'm impressed by this Chrysler. You can't beat the horsepower in this thing. It makes you feel fancy driving it." "The Stow 'n Go captain's chairs, combined with a power folding 3rd row, easily make the T&C the most flexible minivan we tested," Varela said. "This might be the simplest minivan to live with."

Cons: "Like the Grand Caravan, the loud engine noise is inconsistent with the level of luxury on the interior," Robinson noted. "I felt a little claustrophobic and smooshed up against the windshield," Varela said. "The Stow 'n Go seat storage compromises comfort," Healey noted, while Newman bemoaned the lack of visibility: "Seeing out the rear window was difficult because the 2nd-row head restraints got in the way."

Key Features
Price as tested: $40,835 (3rd most expensive of the 6)
17/25 mpg; 20 mpg combined
Features common to all vans: Bluetooth, power sliding doors, power liftgate, some form of rear entertainment, V-6 engine and a backup camera
Dual 9-inch video screens for 2nd and 3rd rows
Power folding 3rd row with tailgate seating
Remote start
Heated front- and 2nd-row seats, heated steering wheel
Flat-folding 2nd row
115-volt house-style power outlet
Blind spot monitoring system
Backup radar

And the winner is ...

No. 1: 2011 Honda Odyssey; 854.55 points
(See the scorecard or the Monroney sticker)

"The Odyssey has the most updated and modern exterior styling without being too strong or offensive," Varela wrote, and the others agreed. Our family may have been a little biased toward the Odyssey since they previously owned 1. The combination of ride, features and handling made this 1 the winner for our experts and our family. And while you may think that the more expensive a van is — and the Odyssey was the priciest van in our Shootout — the better it will perform, please note that the Sienna, the 2nd most expensive van, came in last.

Pros: "It doesn't look like such a mommy car," Heather said. "I love the smooth, powerful, nearly carlike ride," Varela chimed in. "Satisfying to drive," Healey said, and it "gets good mileage for a van." "Only 2 of the vans" stereos impressed me," Thomas said, "and the Odyssey did the most impressing." "The outboard seats in the 2nd row are the comfiest seats in the Shootout, and the expandable 2nd row seats 3 car seats," Newman noted. "By far the best handling of the bunch!" Robinson enthused. "It really comes down to which van fits you best as far as comfort and use of controls, and for me, it's the Honda Odyssey," he said. "1 thing I think this shootout proved was just how good the Odyssey is," Thomas wrapped up. "It does everything very well."

Cons: That look. It's angular, it's different, and our reviewers either loved it or hated it. "Crossover-like styling fools no 1," Robinson said. "Looks atrocious." "Distressingly ugly in profile," Healey agreed. The Weatherbys and Thomas were happy with the looks, though. For Newman, "a lot of road noise crept into the cabin." And, she noticed, "the Odyssey has floppy seat belt buckles, which are a major annoyance to older kids in booster seats." And finally, Varela pointed out, "For more than $42,000, I demand power folding 3rd-row seats. I'm also surprised at this price point that the Odyssey doesn't have push-button start. Seriously, I have to use a key to start it? How retro."

Key Features
Price as tested: $43,250 (most expensive)
19/28 mpg; 22 mpg combined (best in class)
Features common to all vans: Bluetooth, power sliding doors, power liftgate, some form of rear entertainment, V-6 engine and a backup camera
16.2-inch video screen in second row with HDMI input
Only minivan with room for 8 occupants
NHTSA 5-star overall score (revised 2011 methodology)
2nd row has adjustable seat width and removable center seat
115-volt house-style power outlet
Blind spot monitoring system
Backup radar

3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
C&D Long Term Test

Date: December 2011
Months in Fleet: 10 months
Current Mileage: 28,655 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 24 mpg
Range: 504 miles
Service: $292
Normal Wear: $16
Repair: $0
Damage and Destruction: $1969​

Minivans are the true automotive appliances: unsexy, underappreciated, and indispensable to many families. That the Honda Odyssey is entertaining to drive—as far as these vehicles go—is something we’ve recognized before and why we jumped at the chance to add the latest version to our long-term fleet for a 40,000-mile test. Besides, we all appreciate a good living room on wheels every now and then—or, as it turns out, all the time. More on that in a bit.

Introduced in late 2010 as a 2011 model, the new, 4th-generation Odyssey further refines Honda’s people-moving mission and came out on top in our last minivan comparison test, besting the revised Chrysler Town & Country, the Toyota Sienna, and the Nissan Quest. There, we gave it another nod for good road manners and noted its excellent ergonomics and configurable seating for up to 8.

6 Cogs and Features, Features, and More Features

Upper-level Touring and Touring Elite models like ours are noteworthy for their 6-speed automatic transmissions, which replace the 5-coggers in lesser models and are a 1st for Honda in the segment. Starting at $44,335, our top-trim Touring Elite example is a far cry from the $28,885 LX base model. All 2011 Odysseys come with Honda’s 248-hp, 3.5-liter V-6, which can run on 3, 4 or 6 cylinders, switching seamlessly depending on engine load. Even the entry-level LX is well equipped: automatic projector-beam headlights; MP3 and auxiliary audio inputs; 2 12-volt outlets; four LATCH (“Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren”) positions for child seats; separate front and rear climate controls; an 8-way power driver’s seat; Honda’s 60/40-split Magic Seat 3rd-row—which stows into the floor; front, side, and curtain airbags; active head restraints; and 10 cup holders.

By the time Honda customers have bypassed the EX, EX-L, and Touring trim levels and arrived at the Touring Elite’s doorstep, they’ve amassed everything a large modern family needs or wants on the road. That includes the aforementioned 6-speed automatic, a power hatch and power side doors, and leather seats—power-adjustable and heated for the driver and front passenger. There’s an 8-inch infotainment screen in the dash—with navigation and a rearview camera—as well as a 16.2-inch split-screen monitor hanging over the 2nd row, the latter equipped with an HDMI input so the kids can simultaneously watch a movie and play video games. The basic stereo is swapped out for a 12-speaker, 650-watt audio system with navigation, satellite radio, steering-wheel controls, Bluetooth, and a 2-gig hard drive. The Touring Elite also has a sunroof, a 115-volt outlet, an additional 12-volt plug, a fifth LATCH anchor, a 3rd climate-control zone, 2nd-row seating that can slide fore-and-aft and slide outward to allow easier passage to the rear seat, and a cup holder count of 15. Not quite satisfied, we opted for roof rails ($210) and crossbars ($163) for additional luggage capacity, bringing our as-tested total to $44,708. Whew. (Feel free to take a break before continuing on.)

It’s a Minivan: It Goes, Stops, and Turns

Our Dark Cherry Pearl Odyssey has actually been in the C/D fleet for a while now; once initial testing was complete, it took to the highways for our fair-weather travels and amassed nearly 30,000 miles before sitting still long enough for us to snatch its logbook and write up an initial report.

With all the family detritus cleared out of the van’s many cubbies, our 4573-pound Odyssey was able to reach 60 mph in 7.5 seconds and trip the quarter-mile lights in 15.9 seconds at 89 mph; respectable numbers, but just behind those of the other 2011 Odysseys we’ve tested. Since only some of our commuting happens at the test track, we’ve been able to split our van’s 19 mpg city and 28 highway fuel-economy ratings with a 24-mpg average.

A 188-foot stop from 70 to 0 mph and 0.77 g of grip around the skidpad slightly trail the performance of other Odysseys we’ve taken to the track, as well. The van’s primary dynamic demerit continues to be focused on the steering. It’s slow, numb, overly boosted, and too light—complaints that, with its new variable-displacement power-steering pump, are new to this generation of Odyssey. “The steering is still terrible, but I got used to it, and it’s not so bad if you don’t turn,” noted one editor.

Comfy Travel Companion

The Odyssey has meandered all around the Midwest and stretched its legs as a photography and support vehicle for our annual Lightning Lap at Virginia International Raceway. Our impressions and comments have been mostly positive, with lots of praise for the van’s ability to swallow 8 occupants or a whole apartment’s worth of stuff and for the ease with which the trick 3rd row disappears into the floor. The 2nd row, on the other hand, has given us a bit of trouble, with a couple of staffers having had difficulty removing it.

The new gearbox has been a solid plus and works well with the V-6. Combined with the smooth ride and the entertainment system’s ability to occupy restless passengers, miles disappear quickly. Other notables include the ease of entry and exit for the 1st 2 rows, as well as a center stack that is easier to decipher at a glance than those of other Hondas. “The great goiter center [infotainment] knob is dumb, but at least there’s less button overload than in other Hondas,” quipped executive online editor Erik Johnson.

Low Service Costs and Some Jerk in Ohio

A couple of miscellaneous rattles cropped up and were easily addressed, but our main quality concern involves brake rotors warping. The front discs needed smoothing out at 15,000 miles, and all 4 needed truing at 18,000. The procedure was covered under warranty both times.

The Odyssey determines its own oil-change schedule by monitoring its oil quality. When the computer determines that only 15% of the oil’s useful life remains, it issues a warning, followed by another when the oil’s life drops to 5%. For us, the 1st oil-and-filter change came at 9500 miles and totaled $60, including an inspection. A 2nd, similar visit at 18,200 miles coincided with the resurfacing of the brake rotors and ran $49. At 27,000 miles, the 3rd visit cost us a more substantial $199 and included a new air filter and fresh transmission fluid, as well as $16 in windshield wipers.

Our biggest issue came at 1700 miles. While the van waited outside a water park in Ohio, some jerk clobbered its left-front fender and headed for the hills. No note, just crumpled metal. The Odyssey was wounded but still drivable. We dropped it off at the body shop and picked it up as good as new a couple of weeks and $1,969 later.

Winter Prep

With about 10,000 miles to go in our test, we have fitted our Odyssey with a set of Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1 winter tires. The snow shoes diminish the Odyssey’s responses and dry-weather grip—one editor noted that it now corners like it’s “on pudding”—but they should nonetheless keep it rolling through the winter months. Actually, the Odyssey doesn’t even need to be moving to be useful. It’s a perfect extra bedroom when visiting relatives get carried away with the eggnog.
Specifications >

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 8-passenger, 5-door wagon

PRICE AS TESTED: $44,708 (base price: $44,335)

ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection

Displacement: 212 cu in, 3471 cc
Power: 248 hp @ 5700 rpm
Torque: 250 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic

Wheelbase: 118.1 in
Length: 202.9 in
Width: 79.2 in Height: 68.4 in
Curb weight: 4573 lb

Zero to 60 mph: 7.5 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 20.5 sec
Zero to 120 mph: 40.9 sec
Street start, 5–60 mph: 8.0 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 4.0 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 5.6 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 15.9 sec @ 89 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 120 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 188 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad*: 0.77 g

EPA city/highway driving: 19/28 mpg
C/D observed: 24 mpg
Unscheduled oil additions: 0 qt

3 years/36,000 miles bumper to bumper;
5 years/60,000 miles powertrain;
5 years/unlimited miles corrosion protection​

3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #20

Of all the features Honda's minivan offers -- or perhaps in part because of them -- the Odyssey's versatility leaves the most lasting impression. With 3 rows of seating, this minivan can carry 8 people and 38.4 cubic feet of luggage. Tuck the 3rd-row Magic Seat into the floor, remove the (somewhat clumsy) 2nd row seats, and voila! The Odyssey transforms from a touring coach into a cargo van in minutes, able to haul 148.5 cubic feet and up to 1040 pounds of anything your heart desires.

Considering its size and incredible usefulness, the Honda Odyssey handles very well, compared with other minivans. The precise steering, firm suspension tuning, and lower-than-expected center of gravity help the minivan feel planted through corners, even while hauling a half-ton of stuff or people. The engine always felt up to the task, and was still able to deliver up to 31 mpg. The blind spot sensors, lane-departure warning, rearview backup camera, parking sensors, and auto-tilt side mirrors give drivers the confidence of knowing exactly where each corner of this vehicle's 202.9-inch-long by 79.2-inch-wide body is at any given time. Parallel parking angst is eased with these handy features, though it's still no match for Infiniti's around-view camera system.

Aside from being such a utilitarian machine, the Odyssey offers a plethora of creature comforts. The light gray leather seats have held up nicely over the past 13 months, even with constant use and abuse. Though not quite a refrigerator, the cool box at the base of the center console provides an air-conditioned, insulated compartment for beverages, best used while the engine is running. The rear entertainment system with a 16.2-inch double-wide split screen keeps the kiddos (and coworkers) engaged for hours when used with the dash-mounted DVD player or back seat video inputs. Wireless headphones mean everyone can enjoy their program without disturbing each other or the driver.

"If you’re in the market for a minivan, the Odyssey will not disappoint.No need to sacrifice comfort for versatility here!"

Though we loved most things about the Odyssey, there were a few features that needed some adjustment. One item I had taken care of at my first maintenance visit was the default programming that unlocked all the doors as soon as I put the transmission into park. I prefer to have manual control of the locking and unlocking of my vehicle's doors, and fortunately the dealer was able to make this simple change. More recently, the power sliding doors were malfunctioning. After taking it in for a later maintenance visit, the dealer re-lubricated the door track, and the power doors were back to normal.

1 complaint that couldn't be fixed by the dealer was how heavy and awkward the 2nd row seats can be to remove or replace. In order to take full advantage of the Odyssey's carrying capacity, we frequently had to remove them. The seats are heavy and the rugged latches that secure them to the floor require a firm force to release or engage. It takes a bit of practice to get it right, not to mention needing somewhere to store the seats while they're out. Certainly a less convenient solution than the disappearing 2nd row in some other minivans.

The Odyssey will be sorely missed. There is something to be said about the luxury of always knowing you'll have enough room for visiting family, a weekend camping trip, or an impromptu visit to the furniture store. As the SUVs are giving way to crossovers (many without 4-wheel drive), it raises the question, why not drive a minivan? I have recommended the Odyssey to all my friends with families. It's time to let go of the wood-paneled mommy-mobile stereotype, and recognize that the modern minivan is more than just a vehicle for getting groceries and carrying kids to soccer practice. As our Honda Odyssey Touring Elite proved, you no longer have to sacrifice luxury, ride quality, and conveniences for versatility.

2011 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite
Service life 13 mo/27,764 mi
Base price $41,840
Options Elite package ($2190: High-intensity discharge headlights; blind spot monitoring; Honda DVD rear entertainment system; 650-watt, 12-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system)
Price as tested $44,030
Problem areas None
Maintenance cost $502.31
Normal-wear cost $4.51
3-year residual value* $21,881
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ 19/28/22 mpg
Avg fuel econ 21.6 mpg
Recalls None
*Automotive Lease Guide

Drivetrain layout Front engine, FWD
Engine type 60-deg V-6, aluminum block/heads
Valvetrain SOHC, 4 valves/cyl
Displacement 211.8 cu in/3471 cc
Compression ratio 10.5:1
Power (SAE net) 248 hp @ 5700 rpm
Torque (SAE net) 250 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
Redline 6300 rpm
Weight to power 18.2 lb/hp
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Axle/final-drive ratios 4.25:1/2.36:1
Suspension, front; rear Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs
Steering ratio 16.4:1
Turns lock-to-lock 3.5
Brakes, f;r 12.6-in vented disc; 13.1-in disc, ABS
Wheels, f;r 7.0 x 18-in cast aluminum
Tires, f;r 235/60R18 102T M+S Michelin Primacy MXV4

Wheelbase 118.1 in
Track, f/r 68.1/68.2 in
Length x width x height 202.9 x 79.2 x 68.4 in
Turning circle 36.7 ft
Curb weight 4519 lb
Weight dist, f/r 56/44%
Seating capacity 8
Headroom, f/m/r 38.3/39.4/38.0 in
Legroom, f/m/r 40.9/40.9/42.4 in
Shoulder room, f/r 64.4/63.5/60.9 in
Cargo volume (beh f/m/r) 148.5/93.1/38.4 cu ft

Acceleration to mph
0-30 2.6 sec
0-40 4
0-50 5.5
0-60 7.4
0-70 9.6
0-80 12.2
0-90 16
Passing, 45-65 mph 3.8
Quarter mile 15.7 sec @ 89.2 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 127 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.73 g (avg)
MT figure eight 28.8 sec @ 0.57 g (avg)
Top-gear revs @ 60 mph 1750 rpm
Stability/traction control Yes/yes
Airbags Dual front, front side, f/m/r curtain
Basic warranty 3 yrs/36,000 mi
Powertrain warranty 5 yrs/60,000 mi
Roadside assistance NA
Fuel capacity 21.0 gal
Energy cons, city/hwy 177/120 kW-hrs/100 mi
CO2 emissions 0.87 lb/mi
Recommended fuel Unleaded regular
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