Minivans continue to be a big seller for large active families that can take care of their local personal needs and take them in comfort and safety to their favorite weekend or vacation locations. It continues to lead its class in fuel economy (19mpg/city/28mpg/highway), safety while giving up to eight passengers a spacious comfortable interior with a refined and fun-to-drive experience.
I tested the ‘top-of-the-line’ Touring Elite Odyssey and was impressed with all of the attributes that makes today’s minivan such a favorite among families.
All Odyssey models (there are five) are powered by an advanced 3.5 liter, 24-valve, SOHC, all-aluminum V6 engine with i-TEC and variable cylinder management. It generates 248hp at 5,700rpm and 250lb.ft. of torque at 4,800rpm combining a balanced combination of fuel efficiency and low emissions. The engine gives excellent responsiveness and acceleration that I really enjoyed while maneuvering around slow city traffic and when merging on the highway. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission turning the front wheels. This Honda six-speed changes gears quickly with no perception of each change. It pulls strongly all the way up the gears.
The body of the Odyssey is very rigid utilizing 59% high-strength steel to help isolate noise and to reduce body weight for agile handling and excellent fuel efficiency. This strong and rigid body structure and long 118.1 inch wheelbase, ensures a comfortable ride and confident driving performance further enhanced with the fully independent suspension. Up front is a MacPherson strut setup with gas-charged shocks and a 24mm stabilizer bar. The rear features a unique multi-link double-wishbone setup with gas-charged shocks and a 24mm stabilizer bar. This suspension keeps body lean to a minimum when traveling on curving roads and flattens out poorly paved road surfaces. Standard Vehicle Stability Assist and traction control keep you in control when driving on steeply curving roads at speed. Variable power-assisted rack & pinion steering gave me an excellent feel for the road, good on-center feel and light steering effort when driving slow and heavier steering feel at highway speeds. It was responsive to all of my steering inputs. It is one of the best driving minivans that I have tested over the years.
Slowing the Odyssey Touring Elite down from speed are large, power-assisted, four-wheel disc brakes. Up front are 12.6 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 13.1 inch solid discs clamped with large single-piston calipers in the rear. Braking control and power are enhanced with standard ABS, EBD and BA. Whenever I used the brakes hard the feel was very linear and assuring.
The Honda Odyssey Touring Elite rides on 17X7 inch alloy wheels wrapped with 235/60R18 inch all-season radial tires for excellent grip and a smooth, quiet ride.
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