2011 Honda Odyssey: The Sportin’ Life

22 Oct 2010 | 2,282 views | No Comment
       By Don  Hammonds Everybody's got a "thing," so to speak when it comes to car brands. Honda's thing,"  in our view, is bringing sporty driving experiences to everyone, no matter what type of car you're talking about, and making even the trip around the block a cause for pure driving  joy.   The all--new Odyssey is no different. Yes, it's roomier. Roomier in fact than its competitors. Yes, it's well-equipped. It comes with all the bells and whistles, and then some.  And yes, it's luxurious.  Honda's sales team will tell you that when people are looking for an upscale minivan experience, the Odyssey is the ticket for most of them. But the overwhelming thing we remember most about the ride and drive intro event for the Odyssey is how it felt on the road--responsive, reasonably agile, and pretty darn quick to be a minivan.  The interior carries the sporty theme out, too, even on the new top of the line Touring Elite model. The easy to read gauges, no-nonsense operation of controls, and precision and top notch fittings all worked together to enhance the sporty feeling.    The Odyssey's strong performance on the road came courtesy of a 3.5 liter i-VTEC V-6 engine that, at 248 horsepower, has four more horse than the 2010 engine, and 250 pounds/feet of torque--up anywhere from five to 10 percent over the 2010 engine  team. Along with that good news, a bonus is that fuel mileage is up, too, even with better performance.  The 19/28 rating on the Odyssey touring model is up between two and three miles per gallon, and the 18/27 miles per gallon raitnig for the LX and EX is up from two to four miles per gallon.      Inside, a really cool feature is a three mode second row seat, which, when desired, has a wide setting which expands space  by up to 1.5 inches to make more room for three passengers using the second row seat. It also allows easy access from the side for those trying to get to the third row seat, and they can do that even if there's two child seats in place in the second row.      Honda also deserves applause fror its 3rd row Magic Seat, which allows you to fold down the third row seat with only one hand. There's a high mounted strap along with a built in release for fold down operation. Honda says that's more ofortable for most car owners than the lower-mounted latch style release that requires more bending forward to operate.    In terms of technology, wait until you see Honda's DVD rear entertainment system with a 16.2 inch "Ultra Wide" display.  You feel as though you're sitting in your very own back seat  movie theater, and the dimensions make it the larest Honda's ever offered in one of its products.      Oh yes-- it can simultaneously show two different sources of programming side by side, so you can have one child playing a video game while the other child watches a movie.      Another new feature worth mnmtioning is the blindsport information system on the Touring Elite model. the Odyssey has sensors at each rear corner to detect another car that has moved into the driver's blind spot.  You'll see a graphic indicator in the interior garnish near the side mirror will flash to help0 you avoid a possible accident.       Other new features for the Odyssey include a 15 GB memory Hard disk drive-base audio system which can digitally hold 175 CD,s, FM traffic data for the EX-L with Navi and the Touring model; a cool box to keep favorite beverages cold, a removable from the  floor conosle for EX models and above, and our personal favorite-- a flip up trash bag ring for EX and above that you use to attach a plastic bag in which to toss all that icky stuff you want to toss out. Styling wise, much has been made of a "lightning bolt"  belt line along the windows in the car. It takes some getting used to, but it makes the car look more youthful and exciting, and improves visibility back, there.  Thank goodness Honda is breaking out of the minivan box with something new and fresh looking. 2011 Odyssey prices start at $27,800. We'll have more to say on the new Odyssey when we test drive it during our regular week-long tests later this model season.

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