I love a good people mover and while they’ve waned in popularity with the growth of SUVs, they’re still practical and versatile.
The Honda Odyssey VTi a pretty good car – easy to drive and passenger oriented, although a bit behind the times.
When you drive new cars every week, you get accustomed to having these modern comfort features almost to the point of taking it for granted.
But by comparison with its competitors, I did expect specifications like powered front seats, push button start, keyless entry, parking sensors and advanced driver assist systems to be included.
The Honda Odyssey is a little dated and was good maybe 3-5 years ago.
Soft furry fabric on the seats and doors, while plush and comfortable, appears a little old-fashioned especially when upholstered on the doors as well.
What it does have is a rear view camera, Eco drive mode, seat mounted front arm rests, auto start/stop and paddle shifters.
As a Honda there is of course no pre-installed sat-nav which can only be accessed through a hock up with your smartphone, and the Bluetooth was also slow to connect.
A two zone A/C system (front and rear) will keep everyone happy, though the touch sensitive controls on the dashboard look nice but aren’t so practical.
The sliding is powered to save some precious energy and is controllable from the key or the driver’s seat for extra convenience, though this is only for the passenger side door, unlike the Carnival.
I did a lot of driving during the week; gave it a good test run ferrying a full load of tourists around to see the sights.
The Odyssey drives well, as Honda’s usually do with smooth steering and a comfortable ride.
It is however, underpowered at 129kW/225Nm from the 2.4 litre engine and could do with a turbo while the brakes could be more responsive.
Though it severed us very well as a transport and was carefree to drive.
With its eight seat capacity, and ease of access for egress and ingress it kept us on the move.
Taking all that into account, 9.1L/100km is still a fair result.
Honda’s are also known for their magic seats, and while there aren’t any here, the third row is split into three section which fold down and the whole unit rolls back into a hole in the floor leaving ample storage space.
Passenger comfort is at a premium with cup holders and roof mounted air-vents, but while there is a 12V socket in the back it could do with a USB port.
The Odyssey doesn’t appear from the outside to be the biggest people mover but it fits the eight seats in comfortably with no sense of being cramped for the three passengers in the back and plenty of legroom in the middle row with the seats pushed right back.
There is more space between the driver and front passenger so storage of extra gear is never a problem.
One of my major criteria, being a new dad, is ISOFIX and the ability and ease of fitting a baby seat.
Often, it’s never an issue. On occasion there are no ISOFIX anchors and you have to resort to the traditional way.
But options in the Odyssey VTi for fixing child seats are limited.
The only position I found suitable for installing my baby seat was the centre of the cabin as there is only one tether point - on the ceiling - never mind advanced anchors.
Another an oversight are the rather dim automatic halogen headlights especially in an age where the presence of LED headlights just about goes without saying.
All up, the Honda Odyssey serves well in its primary purpose as a people mover even though it may be behind the eight-ball.
Here’s hoping a bigger engine and more up-to-date features to match the rest of their revived range are included in the future Australian model.
NUTS and BOLTS 2017 - Honda Odyssey VTi
- Engine: 2.4L petrol producing 129kW/225Nm
- Transmission: Seven-speed CVT
- Warranty: 5 Years
- Safety: Five Stars
- Origin: Japan
- Price: From $37,610