Honda Odyssey Review New Zealand
There is one question that anyone that owns a people mover dreads and that is ‘What car do you drive?’ Aside from the fact that the question itself is generally laced with more hooks than a deep sea trawler, it often causes the owner of said vehicle to question how their life’s had come to this – after all, aren’t people movers, in essence, a sign of surrender? But having just been behind the wheel of the new Honda Odyssey for a week, I now beg to differ.
Alright, from the outside there isn’t that much for sports car enthusiasts to brag about, but that doesn’t mean that Honda haven’t let their design department have a crack at it. The L Sensing model I had been given, came with an LS Aero sports kit (with focus on bumpers, shadow chrome grille and side skirts), 17” Alloys with silver and gunmetal finish, Halogen headlights, LED Tail, Fog and Daytime Running, keyless access and remote opening of the two rear sliding doors – which were awesome.
Step inside and things take a major upward turn. First of all, the seats. From front to back they scream out luxury and comfort, complete with armrests and a style more in keeping with a boardroom than a motor vehicle – way too good for snotty kids. Black leather throughout with gloss black, glass and chrome trim. A glass sunroof, privacy glass and blinds, tri-zone climate control and a lush carpet, all there to bestow a sense of upmarket achievement, it’s like being given a guest pass to an airline lounge.
Infotainment comes via a 7” colour touchscreen and aside from a decent stereo and navigation, it flashes up a 360 parking camera and cross traffic alerts. On the subject of alerts, the sensing model comes with a whole suite of clever road and traffic reading technology. Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Warning and Assist, Road Departure Mitigation, Forward Collision Warning and Collision Mitigation Braking – so all you have to do is sit back and relax.
And relax I did. The Odyssey is a really smooth ride. Road noise is dampened and its suspension goes a long way to soften any tarmac blows. The 2.4L i-VTEC engine isn’t going to win many drag races but its 128kW and 225Nm is neat underfoot (the CVT isn’t overly apparent either). Amusingly, the Odyssey does ‘sport’ 7-speed Paddle shifters and I did wonder how often these would get used – I stopped after one go.
Spending a lot of the week shuttling around town, the one-touch sliding rear doors was a breeze and the couple of long runs allowed the technology to do its thing – an easy combination to live with. Auckland’s weather did send the thermometer mercury south during my time with the Odyssey which meant that the leather styled seats were a little attention-getting upon greeting and it was only after several minutes of searching that the heated seat button was discovered, oddly in the door handle beside the electric windows.
The Honda Odyssey is the type of vehicle you’d hope to be picked up by on your way to your luxury resort. It’s spacious and refined, yes it moves people but it does it with a certain amount of flair and dignity. The world may be moving towards SUV nirvana but I say people mover vehicle owners stand firm and hold your head up high – especially if you have a Honda Odyssey on your driveway. For when you’re asked what car do you drive? You can say boldly say (alright maybe a little tongue in cheek) a Koru lounge crossover.
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