Hot off the heals of its world debut at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show, the 2011 Honda Odyssey heads to showrooms this month. With fresh exterior and interior styling, more power and additional features Honda is hoping the new Odyssey will meet the needs of existing owners and maintain its benchmark status in the minivan segment.
|2011 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite|
Base Price: $$43,250
At-Tested Price: $44,030
Built in Lincoln, Alabama.
Engine: 3.5-Liter V6
Transmission: Six-Speed Automatic
Drive Wheels: Front-Wheel Drive
Odyssey not only competes with true minivans like the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Caravan, Kia Sedona and Toyota Sienna, but it also must do battle with seven-passenger crossover SUVs like the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, Hyundai Vera Cruz, and Mazda CX-9.
Dimensionally, the 2011 Honda Odyssey is very similar to the model it replaces. The biggest differences are width and height. The changes are much more significant on the inside where the all-new interior features an available 16.2-inch rear-seat video screen.
Five models are offered, all come standard with front-wheel drive. LX, EX, EX-L and Touring return from last year. New for 2011 is the Touring Elite trim level. All are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 248 horsepower. That's up four from last year. The engine mates to a five-speed automatic on LX, EX and EX-L models. Touring and Touring Elite get a new six-speed automatic. All models get Honda's variable cylinder management system that is designed to improve fuel economy when cruising or coasting. Towing capacity is 3500 pounds.
Standard safety features on all Odyssey models includes antilock brakes with electronic brake assist, stability control, tire-pressure monitoring system, front-seat active head restraints and dual-front, front-side, curtain-side airbags. Navigation equipped models get a rear-view camera. A blind-spot detection system is standard on the Touring Elite, but not offered on other models.
Odyssey LX starts at $27,800. It includes front and rear air conditioning, cruise control, tilt and telescopic steering column, front center tray, illuminated vanity mirrors, sunglasses holder, front door courtesy lights, rear window defroster, driver's seat with eight-way power adjustment, wide-mode adjustable second-row Seats, foldaway 60/40 split third-row seat, 229-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with five speakers and auxilary input jack, trip computer, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, variable intermittent windshield wipers, intermittent rear window wiper/washer, keyless entry, power mirrors, power windows, power locks, child door locks, rear privacy glass, rear spoiler, floor mats and 235/65R17 tires.
The Odyssey EX stickers at $30,950 and adds to the LX tri-zone Automatic climate control, universal garage door opener, removable front center console, conversation mirror, second-row seatback pockets, ten-way power driver seat, multi-function second-row center seat, CD-Library 2GB memory audio system with seven speakers, compass, exterior temperature indicator, power sliding doors, theft-deterrent system, second-row sunshades, third-row floormat, heated side mirrors and automatic headlamps.
EX-L lists for $34,450 and adds to the EX moonroof, power tailgate, Bluetooth cell-phone connection with steering wheel-mounted controls, leather-wrapped steering wheel, console cool box, automatic dimming rearview mirror, four-way power passenger seat, leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats, satellite radio and USB audio interface.
Available as factory-installed packages on the EX-L are either the navigation system or rear-seat entertainment system.
Odyssey Touring lists for $40,755 and adds to the EX-L satellite-linked navigation system with voice recognition, FM Traffic and Multi-View Rear Camera, DVD rear entertainment system, steering wheel-mounted navigation controls, 246-Watt AM/FM/CD audio system with 15GB memory and with seven speakers, 115-volt power outlet, fog lights, memory seats and mirrors, acoustic windshield, ambient footwell lighting, corner and dackup sensor indicator, third-row sunshades
The new Touring Elite has a sticker price of $43,250 and adds to the Touring 16.2-inch rear entertainment screen with HDMI port, blind spot information system, 650-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with 15GB Memory and 12 speakers, 5.1 Surround Sound Theater Mode, HID headlights and 235/60R18 tires.
As per Honda practice, there are no additional factory-installed options. Odyssey is built in Lincoln, Alabama, and has a $780 destination charge.
Get Up and Go Honda pegs the 0 to 60 mph time for the 2011 Odyssey at 8.8 seconds. That's quick for the class, trailing only the new '11 Toyota Sienna. Around town, the new Odyssey feels lively with good low speed throttle response and plenty of giddy up. Once on the open road, the engine seems to run out of gas in high-speed passing, but that's not uncommon for the class.
The six-speed automatic in the Touring model has well-spaced gears and reacts quickly in passing situations. The five-speed in lesser models is no slouch, either, and doesn't carry much of an EPA penalty.
Speaking of EPA ratings. Though they aren't officially available yet, Honda is hoping to a city highway rating of 19/28 mpg on five-speed models and 18/27 mpg on Touring models. Given that this is a 4500-pound box on wheels, those are impressive numbers to say the least. The new Sienna, for example is EPA rated at 18/24 mpg. Add to that the fact that Odyssey runs fine on regular-grade gasoline and you have the makings of a fuel-economy champ--at least in the minivan class.
On the Road For a minivan, Odyssey has a very firm ride. That's not to say it's harsh, but it certainly isn't as cushy as you'd expect. The suspension does a good job of soaking up larger bumps, but small road imperfections seem to transfer through with little filtering. On the plus side, Odyssey doesn't bound or bounce on wavy roads and remains composed at all times.
The Odyssey has long been the sportiest-feeling minivan, though it's questionable if that's a positive trait in this class. The steering is direct and natural and body lean is nicely kept in check. Brakes are up to the task and the pedal is quite easy to modulate.
Touring Elite gets 18-inch wheels and tires versus 17-inchers on other models. That makes some difference in handling traits and ride quality. For example, lesser models seem to have more bump absorption and the Touring Elite has a crisp feeling in turn in that's lacking on other models.
High interior noise levels were a weak point on the previous Odyssey, with road and wind noise making conversation difficult between the first and third row seats. Honda engineers have deployed the active noise control across all models now and that seems to help, although there's still more tire noise in the third row than expected. Thankfully, wind rush and engine noise are well muffled.
Behind the Wheel Honda designers upgraded Odyssey's interior, giving it an upscale feel compared to the previous-generation's utilitarian design. Materials are class appropriate and fit and finish is top notch.
You really get the idea you're commanding a starship when you sit behind the wheel of a Touring Elite. There are three banks of buttons and knobs and a very large display screen. It can be a bit daunting at first, but over time you become accustomed to the various buttons and their functions. Lesser models have simpler controls that are more intuitive.
Thankfully gauges are easy to read and most other controls are placed exactly where you'd want them.
The front seats are quite comfortable and provide adequate support when tackling twisty roads. Leg and head room are quite good and entry-exit is easy through wide doors and modest step up. Outward visibility is excellent forward, but somewhat blocked to the rear quarters because of the thick rear pillars. This isn't uncommon for minivans, but in the case of the Odyssey, blind-spot identification is only available on the top-line Elite.
Second-row seats are nearly as comfortable as the first, especially when set in wide mode. This puts additional space between the seats that's welcome when adults are forced to sit there. It also provides a wider center pass through when the center seat/console is removed. Third-row seats are actually adult comfortable. Getting back there isn't too difficult either, as Honda has done a good job of making the second-row seat tip and slide at the touch of one lever.
Most minivan owners are toting around kids and make good use of the rear-seat entertainment system. Odyssey's standard option in the EX-L and Touring features a single screen in the center that's best suited to playing DVDs. Touring Elite gets an ultra wide (and narrow) 16.2-inch screen that can play two different movies at once. There's also an HDMI input in the back for video game consoles.
Odyssey boasts an impressively versatile cargo area. Not only is it among the more capricious in the class, but it's also easily configured. There's a deep well behind the third row seats. Folding those seats into that well is a simple one step motion and creates a long and flat floor. Second-row seats don't fold into the floor, like on the Chrysler or Dodge, but they are easily removed to provide a long and wide enough cargo space for a 4x8 sheet of plywood. Interior storage cubbies and bins abound and there are plenty of drink holders.
Bottom Line Though minivan sales are down, Honda's still betting it is a profitable segment and the new Odyssey is proof of that. It's better than the outgoing model in every way, with more room, amenities and safety features. It's also the sportiest van in the segment and one of the easiest to drive.
No matter what model you buy, Odyssey is going to be slightly more expensive than most competitors. However, if you talk to Odyssey owners that premium price means exceptional reliability and resale value. Though there aren't many true minivans any more, Odyssey is among the best and a sure-fire winner for families on the go.
|Specifications, 2011 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite|
|Dimensions||4-door wagon||Engine||DOHC V6|
|Wheelbase, in.||118.1||Size, liters/cu. in.||3.5 / 212|
|Length, in.||202.9||Horsepower @ rpm||248 @ 5700|
|Width, in.||79.2||Torque (lb.-ft.) @ rpm||250 @ 4800|
|Height, in.||68.4||Transmission||6-Speed Automatic|
|Weight, lbs.||4560||EPA Estimates, mpg||NA city / NA highway|
|Cargo Capacity, cu. ft.||170.1|| |
|Fuel Capacity, gals.||21.0||Manufacturer's Warranty|
|Seating Capacity||8||Bumper-to-Bumper||3 years / 36,000 miles|
|Front Head Room, in.||38.3||Powertrain||5 years / 60,000 miles|
|Front Leg Room, in.||40.9||Corrosion||5 years / Unlimited miles|
|Second-Row Head Room, in.||39.4||Free Roadside Assistance||None|
|Second-Row Leg Room, in.||40.9||Free Scheduled Maintenance||None|