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.
The Odyssey Touring Elite has a distinctive body design with a signature ‘lightning bolt’ side character line that creates a dynamic appearance, and improves the outward view for third-row passengers through a large rear window. The profile also shows a full-perimeter chrome strip around the greenhouse, chrome door handles and blacked-out aero-styled sideview mirrors. The front fascia shows the Honda grille with three chrome horizontal bars. Down below is another air-intake in black with foglamps at the sides. The cat’s-eye’ HID headlamps of the Touring Elite also feature a full-perimeter chrome strip. The rear features a flat power liftgate, rear wiper/washer, a step-up bumper with a rubber insert and a black spoiler at the top of the liftgate to help with rear downforce.
The interior of the Odyssey Touring Elite is one of the most spacious, comfortable, luxurious, high-tech and safe of all of today’s minivans. It offers a range of seating versatility to accommodate child seats, adult passengers and cargo. The passenger volume is 172.5 cu.ft. and the cargo volume ranges between 38.4 cu.ft. of cargo volume with all seats up, to 148.5 cu.ft. depending on the seating configuration. With the second-row seats removed, a 4X8 ft. sheet of plywood can fit inside the Odyssey’s cargo bay. With the available front console removed, 10 ft. long 2X4 studs can fit inside the vehicle. The Odyssey’s interior provides three rows of comfortable seating with generous legroom in each row. Up to five LATCH child seats allow parents great flexibility in locating car seats. The driver’s seat is 10-way power adjustable and the passenger-seat is 4-way power adjustable for maximum comfort. A three-mode second-row seat design provides the ability to attach up to three child seats across the second row by relocating the outboard seats to alternate positions closer to the doors. The one-motion, 60/40 split third-row Magic Seat, one of Odyssey’s most versatile features, is easy to operate with one hand. The instrument panel is made from soft-to-the-touch material and the instrument cluster is easy to see and understand with trip computer readouts seen in the middle.
Standard features in the Odyssey Touring Elite that I tested, not mentioned above includes a leather trimmed interior Honda Navigation system with voice recognition and multi-view rear camera, hard disk drive FM-Traffic, ultra-wide 16.2 inch DVD rear entertainment system with HDMI and wireless headphone, a Dolby 650-watt AM-FM-CD surround-sound audio system with 12 speakers and a subwoofer with MP3/WMA playback, XM satellite radio, Bluetooth hands free phone, Bluetooth audio, MP3/auxiliary input jack, USB audio interface, leather-wrapped/tilt/telescopic steering wheel with audio/Bluetooth/cruise control buttons, tri-zone automatic climate control, two-position memory, front express up/down windows, second-row power windows, power door locks, power side-doors/rear liftgate, 115-volt power outlet, locking glove box, cupholders at each seat, storage bin under the center console under the dashboard, and in each door, 12-volt power outlet, exterior temperature gauge, floor mats front/middle/rear, Home-Lind system and a maintenance minder system with the trip computer, heated sideview mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirror, variable-speed windshield wipers/washers, dual map lamps, dual lighted vanity mirrors, remote entry, grab handles above all doors, and middle/rear reading lamps.
Standard safety features include 3-point safety belts for all 8-seats with front pretensioners/load limiters, driver/front passenger dual-stage airbags, driver/front passenger side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, active front head restraints, tire pressure monitor, front/rear parking sensors, Blind Spot information system, ACE body structure, and daytime running lamps.
There are many first-class minivans on the market today but the 2013 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite is one of the best with excellent driving characteristics, plenty of seating and cargo carrying versatility, luxury, convenience, connectivity and safety.
COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ