HONDA’S ODYSSEY MINIVAN GETS UPGRADED FOR 2014
By Tom Crosby
The minivan continues to be the choice for many families with sports-active kids and Honda’s Odyssey, getting some upgrades for 2014, provides peace of mind attraction for so-called “soccer moms.”
Odyssey boasts top revised government and industry safety ratings, interior versatility, unique features and an efficient gas-saving V-6engine.
For 2014, the Odyssey Touring Elite, top model in the five-trim Odyssey line and our test-drive, became the first minivan to add a powerful vacuum cleaner to gobble up mud and debris collected from playing fields and post-event snacks.
Another Odyssey neat feature is a standard cooling beverage compartment.
Honda Odyssey was the first eight-occupant minivan and with automatic sliding doors, numerous knick-knack and cupholder storage nooks, plus ample spacing in all three rows, it remains one of the most popular minivans and has won several awards for being family friendly.
Touring Elite also comes with a rear seat 16.2-inch flip-down DVD powered screen for keeping kids – and some adults – occupied on long trips.
Getting 28-miles per gallon on the highway, the two-wheel drive Odyssey tops Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Town and Country minivans, helped by the standard smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission.
Well-modulated and responsive handling, perhaps best for any mini-van, accompanies a nicely tight 36.7-foot turning radius. McPherson strut front suspension and double wishbone in the rear produce a sedan-like ride.
Already attractive and sleek – eschewing the boxy van look – Odyssey’s hood shows subtle style changes along with the front fenders, grille, and lower front fascia. New badging and two-tone side mirror housings were added along with two new exterior colors.
Inside, the center stack now contains two levels of controls, not hard to reach but sometimes hard to read with sunglasses on a bright day.
HondaLink connects smartphones’ online links and can get Facebook and Twitter feeds as well as on-screen texts through a SMS messaging function.
The standard navigation system is easy to understand and responds well to voice commands (manual operation is time-consuming).
The interior is spacious and comfortable in all rows, quiet underway, and versatile with various configurations for second and third rows.
Touring Elite has an array of standard safety features, along with a structurally reinforced front end. Lane departure warning, blind spot mirror flashes, rollover sensor and side curtain airbags, forward collision warning and multi-rear camera all contribute to a strong array of safe driver support.
LIKES: Vacuum, space, handling, versatility, safety DISLIKES: Dashboard visibility
BOTTOM LINE: Odyssey’s popularity continues to be well-earned
- Base price w/destination fee $45,280
- Vehicle weight 4,613 lbs.
- Wheelbase 118.1 inches
- Length 202.9 inches
- Width 79.2 inches
- Engine 3.5 liter, 24 valve, 6 cylinder, SOHC variable valve timing
- Horsepower 248 hp at 5,700 rpm
- Torque 250 lbs.-ft. at 4,800 rpm
- Transmission 6-speed automatic w/GLC
- EPA Rating 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway
- Range 21 gallon tank, regular
- Performance 0-60 in 8.5 seconds