Tested: 2013 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite

Wednesday September 4th, 2013 at 12:99 PM
Posted by: Francois

Description

The Honda Odyssey is a the latest in a series of minivans from Honda. The Odyssey has changed with the times as it has grown bigger and bigger and then it toned down to be lower and sleeker. It grew in abilities but then it toned down and became easier to drive and live with. The electronics have aged quite a bit as it is not up to par with the latest integrated navigation screens from Europe and Korea. But the driving experience still remains as one of the most comfortable, responsive and easy to drive in its class.

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Pros:

  • Massive, highly usable interior
  • Seating for up to eight
  • Quick acceleration
  • Exceptional driving comfort

Cons:

  • Lower than expected fuel economy
  • Polarizing body design

Price

Odyssey Touring Elite ($43,675) is a Touring model with blind-spot warning system, HID headlamps, and a dual-input 16.2-inch widescreen rear entertainment system linked to a 650-watt, 12-speaker 5.1 surround sound system.

What’s New

Backup camera, Bluetooth handsfree, 8-inch information display and USB input now standard on base LX model.

Although the 2013 Honda Odyssey arrives mostly unchanged from the previous model year, the popular minivan has come a long way from the 5-door hatchback that first hit the market in 1995. Instead of sliding doors like a regular minivan, that first Odyssey had front-hinged doors that opened like the doors on a sedan. It wasn’t until the 1999 introduction of the second generation model that the Odyssey got the traditional minivan sliding doors.

Honda launched the current, fourth-generation Odyssey in 2010 with updated body lines and a new overall design. What was once a banal body with a flat window line was transformed into a more bulbous and modern-looking family hauler. Although some have applauded Honda for taking a design risk with the new Odyssey, others have derided the current model’s looks.

The 2013 Odyssey is available in LX, EX, EX-L (which has available rear entertainment system or navigation options), Touring and Touring Elite versions. The LX includes new standard features like Bluetooth handsfree, a backup camera, an 8-inch information display and a USB input. The rest of the lineup is unchanged. The 2013 Odyssey starts at $28,575 and tops out at $43,925.

Comfort & Utility

The Odyssey’s interior and features are much like those of nearly every other minivan on the market. The most notable difference between the Odyssey and its competitors is its interior build quality. The seats, dash, storage compartments and trim in the Odyssey are all surprisingly well constructed. Every surface in the Odyssey looks and feels sturdy.

The interior of the 2013 Odyssey is cavernous, with 172.6 cu-ft of total passenger volume and 148.5 cu-ft of cargo volume behind the front seats. With comfortable and flexible seating configurations, numerous storage bins and pockets and up to 15 beverage holders, the Odyssey is ready for whatever a family can ask of it.

The third row, which Honda calls a Magic Seat, is 60/40 split folding and enables the Odyssey to quickly and easily adapt between passenger and cargo hauling. It can accommodate three passengers and still provide 38.4 cu-ft of cargo volume behind the seats, or it can fold completely flat into the floor, creating 93.1 cu-ft of cargo volume behind the second row. Maximizing the Odyssey’s cargo space requires removing the second-row seats. Total interior volume, with passenger and cargo volume combined, measures 210.0 cu-ft.

Technology

The 2013 Odyssey is available with most every modern technological treat a customer could desire from a minivan. The Odyssey can be optioned with satellite navigation, a rear-seat DVD screen that folds down from the headliner and a “cool box” for chilling drinks.

All models now include an improved multi-information display with on-screen custom programming of functions like interior lighting and door locking, Bluetooth handsfree, USB inputs and a backup camera.

Performance & Fuel Economy

The Odyssey is powered by a a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 248 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque, and there are two transmission choices. On the LX, EX and EX-L, Honda offers a 5-speed automatic transmission. On the Touring and Touring Elite models, the Odyssey is fitted with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The EPA estimates the Odyssey LX’s fuel economy at 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The Odyssey Touring, thanks to its 6-speed automatic transmission, does slightly better at 19 mpg city/28 mpg hwy.

Safety

The 2013 Odyssey features dual-stage, multiple-threshold front, side curtain and dual-chamber front and side airbags with Honda’s passenger-side occupant position detection system. A vehicle stability assist system, active front-seat head restraints and pedestrian injury mitigation are all standard. So is Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure. It helps the Odyssey better absorb collision energy, especially in a front-end crash. That structure is now in its second generation in the Odyssey.

Driving Impressions

Many people promise themselves they’ll never own a minivan. But for millions of Americans, family life necessitates owning one. Should they climb behind the wheel of the Odyssey, they’ll be pleasantly surprised by its excellent driving characteristics. Most impressive is the power output from the 3.5-liter V6.

When a driver puts his or her foot to the floor in the Odyssey, it doesn’t rocket forward in a jerk of power. Instead, it builds like a force of nature beneath the driver, sending the vehicle smoothly forward across the landscape. Power delivery is linear, intense and quite satisfying.

During hard off-the-line acceleration, the Odyssey does suffer from some front-wheel slippage. But that is to be expected from a 248-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine wedged into the front end of a big family vehicle.

Unfortunately, the fuel mileage we observed wasn’t as good as advertised. We suspect it will take a soft-footed, Zen-like driver to get close to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s fuel economy estimates.

Other Cars to Consider

Toyota Sienna: Starting at $26,435, the base Sienna L is one of the cheapest minivans on the market. But it doesn’t beat the Odyssey by much. For 2013, the base 4-cylinder engine is discontinued, replaced by a standard V6. The Sienna can be equipped with all-wheel drive for those who need extra traction for winter weather or slippery roads.

Chrysler Town & Country: Starting at $29,995, the Town & Country is an old favorite among minivan buyers–with an emphasis on old; the Town & Country hasn’t been updated since 2007.

Nissan Quest: Starting at $25,990, the Quest comes standard with a 260-hp 3.5-liter V6 mated to a continuously variable transmission. We think the Quest is far and away the best competitor for the Odyssey, with comparable power, efficiency, utility and technology.

Bottom Line

We think even the base 2013 Honda Odyssey is fantastic at $28,575. But budget allowing, we’d definitely upgrade to the Odyssey Touring for $41,180. The Touring includes satellite navigation, rear entertainment and the 6-speed transmission. The 6-speed automatic makes the Odyssey not only more fuel-efficient but also more enjoyable to drive.

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2011 Honda Odyssey Review – More of a Good Thing

Thursday January 13th, 2011 at 11:11 AM
Posted by: twain

By Twain Mein

Pros:

  • More utility than a Swiss army knife. This is one car that can handle most anything you throw at it, including seating for 8 passengers and lots of space.
  • It offers a limousine-like 58 cubic feet up front and in the second row seats, as well as 38 cubic feet for parcels (behind the third row) and up to 149 cubic feet with the seats folded flat
  • Car-like driving despite its behemoth size
  • Thoughtful and convenient features such as the “magic” third row seats, low rear liftover, “conversation mirror”, and built-in cooler for drinks and sandwiches up front
  • Serene ride and luxurious appointments
  • The family-hauler records a respectable 19 mpg

Cons:

  • Exterior styling is a step backwards
  • Minivan stigma
  • Not available in all-wheel drive

Driving impressions
Though minivans have a negative stigma, I was excited to drive the new Odyssey. Rolling up in traffic, looking down at other commuters, I was as pumped as if I were driving a BMW 7-series. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t challenged to any drag strip races and women drivers didn’t pay me a second, let alone first, look. Hah! Little did they know what they were missing!

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Travelogue Video: Honda Odyssey Minivan

Saturday August 21st, 2010 at 10:88 AM
Posted by: Derek

Ryan, suffering from severe jetlag, questions the need for a minivan now that his family is growing up and carting around a lot more stuff. A common dilemma is trying to determine if a minivan suits the needs or will an SUV or station be the better choice. Tune in to find out how Ryan resolves his problem while test driving the Honda Odyssey.

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Driving Sports TVDriving Sports is an online publication and video series that strives to entertain, inform and engage. Click in every Wednesday at 10pm PST at drivingsports.com to watch a live streaming broadcast. If you can’t watch live, view the archives posted at drivingsports.com as well as their various syndication partners (YouTube, Streetfire, etc.)

Driving Sports is a registered trademark of MediaSpigot LCC.
Content is copyright 2003-2010 Driving Sports. All rights reserved.

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Real Men Drive Minivans

Thursday June 17th, 2010 at 8:66 AM
Posted by: asgruben

real_men_drive_minivansBy Adrienne Gruben

Back in 1981, when the Talking Heads sang about the “large automobile” in their class-angst anthem “Once in a Lifetime,” and its spirit-shriveling effect on the song’s anti-hero dad, no one had a clue that just two years later, something called a “minivan” would debut, and proceed to enchant, confound, comfort and embarrass scores of dads to come–especially because it all started innocently enough.

With the van no longer the stuff of Beach Boys songs, portals between virginity and crabs, and false memories of family vacay singalongs (instead of the real version where dad swerved the van onto the shoulder, slammed it into park and threw everyone’s luggage out before threatening to take off alone),–the family decided it wanted to actually be able to park their lugging mechanism in the garage, and get more efficiency out of the deal.

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2008 Honda Odyssey Review – The King of Swat Brings Everyone Out to the Ballgame

Friday May 23rd, 2008 at 8:55 AM
Posted by: twain

By Twain Mein

Pros:

  • Clever packaging
  • The ultimate vehicle for families with young kids
  • Lots of space
  • Reasonable gas mileage; about 17.5 miles per gallon

Cons:

  • Could use more power
  • Could have 4wd
  • Could be hybrid
  • It’s a minivan…

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