Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Review: 2015 Honda Odyssey EX-V Navi

Photos by Ulysses Ang
It’s not every day you get excited about driving a luxury MPV: they’re cumbersome and unwieldy. They’re just too big to drive around Manila and sometimes too big to fit in the garage. And unless you plan to chauffeur drive it (and some motoring journos do this despite an explicit no-no in the test drive agreement) or drive it out of town, they’re at the bottom of any must-drive list. Probably even below a pickup truck. But the all-new Honda Odyssey’s different. For starters, the proportions are actually humane. It’s actually shorter than the Accord. And for that, it gets your attention.

The arriving Premium Twinkle Black Pearl (this is the actual color name) unit looks pretty much like any Honda of late. Some have criticized it for looking like a blown-up City, but that’s not a bad thing. At least Honda’s gotten their designers all on the same page, working on a family look. It’s all angular with lines that don’t look out of place in cubic art. The turbine-style alloy wheels look small, but are actually 17-inch rollers. Admittedly, the front end is over styled with way too much chrome. But hey, at least you won’t mistake it for a City, right?



The reduced overall height causes you to think that there’s not much headroom in the Odyssey, but that’s where Honda’s design know-how comes to play. The 150-millimeter ground clearance is no different from a typical sedan, but opening the door reveals the obvious: the low floor. Plus, the door actually opens low; it’s no more than ankle height because of a cleverly-designed hidden rocker panel. It makes for easy ingress/egress for children and the elderly and prevents the wanted soiling of pants. The side doors are power actuated, although the rear hatch is oddly enough, manual opening.

Aboard the Odyssey, it takes a very serious tone. Normally, this is where other carmakers would slather all the beige upholstery and fake wood they could find. Not in the Odyssey. It goes the all-black route giving it an executive car vibe. One can also say it looks very Teutonic. In either case, there’s nothing to fault in the cabin. The craftsmanship is top-notch with soft-touch plastics and supple leather seats. There’s a bit of wood going around, but it’s not distracting at all. Like other family-oriented Hondas like the CR-V, the most comfortable position is a tad high. That may necessitate adjustment to the driver, but that takes only a day. The gauges do look plain, but the information presented is easily digestible.



Despite the smaller proportions, there’s ample space in any of the three rows of seats. Granted it can’t seat eight anymore, this new one does offer improved flexibility. For instance, the floor’s flat throughout the cabin, front to back. The driver’s seat benefits from power adjustment though oddly enough, there’s no adjustable lumbar. It’s the second row that’s the talk of the town. The long seat rails, though unsightly, offer a clue to the tremendous range of adjustment available. The Captain’s Seats slide fore or aft and even side to side. There’s a built-in footrest as well and the seat rake adjusts in two locations. As much as the second row seats feel like a Business Class affair, the third row is more Economy in its execution. Knee room is dictated by how generous the second row occupants are, but at least, it’s knees down for everyone. And there are adjustable headrests too. Behind the third row, there’s usable cargo space thanks to a carved out space. In case you need more, the last row of seats actually flip flat into the floor.

This puts to rest one concern about the Odyssey; now, moving on to the other big concern: the way it drives. Understandably, there are skeptics given how the previous Odyssey had a ginormous 3.5-liter V6. This one swaps that out for a 2.4-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder with Earth Dreams. Despite the terminology, there’s no direct injection tech yet. With the same K24 stamped on the block, Earth Dreams just means optimized running gear and reduced friction. It packs 175 horsepower and 225 Nm of torque, which are alright for an executive sedan, but how does it handle a fully-loaded people carrier?



It won’t light the drag strip on fire, if that’s your thing. After all, why would you consider a family hauler to be blistering quick. It’s best suited for smooth cruising—because, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do with an MPV? It’s only in the final 10 percent of pedal travel where the Odyssey comes alive and the entire Earth Dreams package kicks things up a notch. It obliges but only if you intentionally want it to. Other than that, it defaults to its tree-hugging, fuel-sipping mode. And on the subject of fuel-sipping, the Odyssey is the first Honda to offer the full suite of Earth Dreams stuff including an idle start/stop system. The resulting economy is good, but not dreamy: 7.7km/L in the city, 14.7 km/L on the highway. And that’s with the ECON mode on the entire time. In comparison, the Toyota Previa does 6.26 km/L in the city while the Mitsubishi Grandis does 5.99 km/L.

It may not score high in straight line performance, but it does fair excellently in terms of drivability. With its manageable proportions and excellent visibility, it’s easy to maneuver it around in traffic. For the most part, it behaves almost like an Accord wagon because it’s easy to dart it in and out. The ride is subjectively firm, but that’s a given because it needs to carry 7 adults with no compromise. It absorbs a lot of the crashiness before making its way to the cabin save for sharp ruts and narrow undulations—those make their way up almost unfiltered. Making it even more maneuverable in urban conditions is a set of cameras that project a 360-degree view around the car. It makes slotting into tight spaces easy. And it operates continuously at speeds below 40 km/h. And if you still can’t park it properly, it can park itself both in perpendicular and parallel spaces. This is also the best application of blind spot indicators. There’s no need to be overly reliant on the system because of the wide mirrors.



At higher speeds, NVH remains top notch, although a bit of road noise does permeate the cabin on the highway. The steering tightens up nicely, but there’s no denying the Odyssey being a top-heavy car. Though it remains stable and secure, it does understeer a lot in tighter corners because of the limitation of its non-independent rear suspension. In addition, there seems to be a lot of flex in the body when being pushed.

An executive or luxury MPV isn’t the first thing you’ll think of when it comes to a great driving machine, but Honda does manage to achieve the impossible with the all-new Odyssey. It certainly won’t replace an Accord in terms of driving goods, but it does manage to offer a very different choice for the would-be executive, especially if he or she’s got a family. Not only does it offer tons of space and a trick second row in a well-proportioned body, but it’s also well-designed, well-kitted, and lovely to drive. This is one MPV that will change your preconceptions.



2015 Honda Odyssey 2.4 EX-V Navi
Ownership 2015 Honda Odyssey 2.5 EX-V Navi CVT
Year Introduced 2015
Vehicle Classification Luxury MPV
The Basics
Body Type 3-door+2 sliding (powered) MPV
Seating 7
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.4
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Layout / # of Cylinders Inline-4
BHP @ rpm 175 @ 6,200
Nm @ rpm 225 @ 4,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 91~
Transmission CVT
Cruise Control Yes
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,830
Width (mm) 1,820
Height (mm) 1,695
Wheelbase (mm) 2,900
Curb Weight (kg) 1,851
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam Axle
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires Yokohama Blue Earth A34 215/55 R 17 V (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors No, 360-degree Camera with Cross Traffic Alert
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front
Auto Lights Yes
Auto Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjustment Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Electronic (driver)
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 50/50
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Yes, Dual (front), Rear
Audio System Stereo
CD
MP3
Aux
USB
Bluetooth
GPS
HDMI
Rear DVD
No. of Speakers 6
Steering Wheel Controls Yes

17 comments:

  1. Beautiful MPV. Mobilio's big brother!

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  2. The Odyssey looks odd. I wish there was a cheaper option without the luxury crap.. Might be priced at 1.7M with 8 seats... It would be a winner.

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    Replies
    1. I think the Taiwan market version has a base model (e.g. tanggal and start stop button, etc.)

      Pero yeah, removing the niceties makes it less appealing.

      Either way though, the new Japan-made Odyssey is a success here.

      200 units sold so far........with a 2 month waiting list atm. In fact, Honda PH is trying to ask Honda Japan if they can get more allocation

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  3. If Kias have "tiger nose" grille, Hondas have "rabbit tooth" grille. --- how stylish and very sophisticated of Honda!

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    Replies
    1. If Honda has quality, Kia has none!

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    2. Eh lahat naman ayaw nyo. Ayaw nyo ng mukhang insekto, ayaw nyo ng mukhang tiger, ayaw nyo ng mukhang rabbit, ayaw nyo ng mukhang kahon. Eh ano ba talaga kuya! Hirap kasi dami expert sa designs dito eh

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  4. front looks good, the rear isn't ugly but looks too much like the previous gen toyota previa

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  5. MASIKIP ANG LOOB!! PANGET TALAGA ANG HONDA!!!

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    Replies
    1. wow elepante ka ba at di ka magkasya sa likod

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    2. Nice one dude. You made my day..

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    3. Pangit ka naman eh so I'm sure people won't mind,

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  6. How does it stack against the new alphard?

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    Replies
    1. Good question. Have yet to test the Alphard, but the Odyssey has the lead in both pricing and tech. The Alphard? Space.

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  7. Any idea what factory the odyssey comes from?

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  8. Sir Uly, does this Odyssey have the HondaVac?

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  9. One has to wonder how anyone can get laid while being seen driving this car.

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