Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Review: 2017 Honda Odyssey 2.4 EX


Honestly, Honda didn’t need to bring in an “entry-level” Odyssey. At 2,399,000, the top-of-the-line EX-V Navi is smartly packaged and well done. It does the job of being a business-class shuttle and family mover equally well. That said, Honda saw a market gap that wasn’t being served: one where its patrons longed to upgrade from an Innova into something more sophisticated, but still didn’t want to let go of their practical, “low key” image. Enter the Odyssey EX, essentially a low-calorie version of the EX-Navi that’s P 440,000 cheaper.

Those pesos saved all had to somewhere though, right? That starts with the looks. As a variant in the Odyssey range, it retains the same sleek and angular body that’s made it a hit with Filipino consumers. It escapes the often bland, unattractive function-over-form styling so prevalent with MPVs. At a quick glance, it passes for an Accord and for that, it gets two thumbs up. However, peering at it for some time unravels the fact that a lot’s been removed. And once you see them, you can’t unsee them. It gets its own bumpers, grille, headlights, and wheels. Overall, its plainer and dulls the sharp styling of the Odyssey. It’s not helped that this particular unit came in the inconspicuous Super Platinum Metallic.




Three years since this Odyssey’s debut, it still manages to hold the crown of being the best packaged MPV. Considering its relatively compact exterior dimensions, it opens up to a wealth of space. The low overall height (it goes through any underground parking space unimpeded) and generous 150-millimeter ground clearance should mean that there’s not much headroom, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. A low floor not only gives the Odyssey generous headroom, but it allows the seats to be mounted high (like an SUV) while giving easy access to children and even the elderly. Though both sides offer sliding doors, in this base version only the passenger’s side is power actuated.

Aside from its packaging marvel, there’s little to complain about the Odyssey’s interior. Though things like the leather upholstery and some electronic doodads were ditched for the sake of cost, the Odyssey EX still manages to give off an upscale vibe. The glossy wood is, unfortunately, still there, but at least so are the soft-touch plastics and crisp controls. The gauges, with its line-graph tachometer look like a predecessor of the current Civic’s and CR-V’s, and for that, it’s in a desperate need of the LCD treatment. However, at least all the information is easily digestible. Not to nitpick, but if there’s one thing that needs to be changed is the seat fabric itself. Going with fabric seats is alright for an entry-level model, but for goodness sake, the velour-type material causes static electricity each time you go in and out. It’s a neat practical joke you can play with your bros, but it’s totally uncool when grandma’s the one getting shocked it.





Despite being smaller dimensionally than even the Accord, there’s ample space in any of the Odyssey’s three rows. With the Captain’s Chairs gone and replaced by a conventional bench, seating is back up to 8 adults. What’s even better is that the added passenger count hasn’t dented the Odyssey’s flexibility. The floor remains flat throughout the cabin; the reclining second row slides fore and aft in a 60/40 split (it folds in a 40/20/40 split); and the third can, at least, decently seat people. Obviously, the knee room back there is largely dedicated to how generous those in the second row are, but at least it’s knees down for everyone. Behind the third row, there’s usable cargo room thanks to a carved-out space, but in case you need more, the last row of seats actually flips flat into the floor.

Already weighing in empty at 1,745 kilograms, a potentially fully-loaded Odyssey would come out to around 2,300 kilograms. That sounds like a lot of weight for the 2.4-liter Earth Dreams i-VTEC 4-cylinder to pull, right? And it is. Packing 175 horsepower and 226 Nm of torque, it’s merely adequate on a flat surface. Show it a steep enough incline and you’ll feel it heave up. It’s true that no one expects an MPV to be blistering quick, but the Odyssey needs to be prodded to get even a decent pace going. Only when provoked will the Odyssey come alive. It gives off a sonorous note that’s satisfying and smooth. Sadly though, all that Earth Dreams stuff doesn’t seem to produce great economy numbers. Though the highway figures remain great 15.5 km/L (average speed of 67 km/h), the city mileage drops down to 7.8 km/L in the city (average speed of 16 km/h). Both figures were achieved with the ECON and idle start/stop engaged.





The Odyssey doesn’t score well in terms of straight line grunt, but it performs excellently in terms of overall drivability. The manageable proportions alone mean it’s easy to maneuver in traffic, but add obedient steering and responsive chassis into the mix and you’ve got a relatively fun-to-drive MPV. There’s no denying that the softly sprung Odyssey still tips and understeers its way around bends, but at least it remains composed in all but the most extreme cornering situations.

All things considered though, handling is not really an important attribute when it comes to MPVs, but comfort and refinement surely are. Suffice to say, the Odyssey performs well in those aspects as well. At city speeds, it’s extremely refined. Whisper quiet with top-notch NVH. As speeds go up, a bit of road noise enters the cabin, but not to an uncomfortable level. It also manages to soak up most ruts and bumps thrown its way, but because of some noticeable body flex, the ride tends to feel less than opulent at undulating surfaces.




Going down to the most interesting question: is the Odyssey EX worth the P 440,000 savings? Let’s consider what’s been pruned out: LED headlights, aero bumpers, 17-inch alloy wheels, power driver’s side door, sun roof, leather upholstery, smart keyless entry with push-button start/stop, illuminated vanity mirrors, GPS navigation, rear entertainment system, dual zone climate control, rear window shades, 360-degree camera, blind spot monitoring, cross traffic alert, and automatic parking assist. That certainly sounds like a lot, and it is. The Odyssey EX may be less than P 2 million cheap, but at the same time, you feel like that price tag came at a huge cost. At this price range, buyers would gladly pay full price and get the full-on Odyssey EX-V Navi executive suite experience.

In the end, the Odyssey lite sounds more like a showroom come on more than anything else. For sure, it nails down the fundamentals: excellent packaging, solid driving dynamics, and great refinement. It also manages to look great in brochures, “The Japan-made Honda Odyssey, yours for only P 1,959,000.” Upon closer inspection though, a lot of sacrifices have been made just to keep the prices low. For sure, those who cannot spring for the additional P 440,000 may find this a tempting offer, but let’s not fool anyone. The buyer who’s got two million pesos to spare won’t mind spending a fraction more. In other words, for everything it’s got going for it, the Odyssey EX’s greatest flaw is the existence of the EX-V Navi.



2017 Honda Odyssey EX
Ownership 2017 Honda Odyssey 2.4 EX CVT
Year Introduced 2016 (Refreshed: 2017)
Vehicle Classification Entry-Level MPV
The Basics
Body Type 3-door + 2 sliding MPV
Seating 8
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.4
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 175 @ 6,200
Nm @ rpm 226 @ 4,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 91~
Transmission CVT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 7.8 km/L @ 16 km/h,
15.5 km/L @ 67 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,830
Width (mm) 1,820
Height (mm) 1,695
Wheelbase (mm) 2,900
Curb Weight (kg) 1,745
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam Axle
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires Yokohama BlueEarth A34 215/50 R 16 H (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors No, with Camera
Other Safety Features Hill Start Assist
Exterior Features
Headlights Halogen
Fog Lamps No
Auto Lights No
Rain-sensing Wipers No
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Urethane
Seating Adjustment Manual
Seating Surface Fabric
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 40/20/40, folding, sliding (2nd row);
50/50, folding (3rd row)
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Yes, with Rear Controls and Vents
Audio System Stereo
CD
MP3
Aux
USB x 2
HDMI
Bluetooth
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes

9 comments:

  1. Had they brought this down to at least 1.6m, then it has a poor value indeed. The Odyssey's EX Navi is an excellent offer. Yes, it's gas compared to the Carnival, but it has more toys than it (let alone the Sorento, with its ancient infotainment system, headlights, etc).

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    Replies
    1. Only a handfull will buy this over the sorento. The minivan market is dead plus you have to spend twice in fuel as compared to diesel

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  2. Terrible decision by Honda Philippines. Nobody will buy that specific variant, it will just gather dust in the showroom.

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  3. I agree with the author. The only downside is that it doesn't have leather. Hell even 1.5m crv has leather

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  4. Leather really makes a hell of a difference. It makes the interior look more premium.

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  5. Sir Uly, have you tried the Kia Grand Carnival as well? I'm thinking if this would be a better value especially the Carnival is now over Php2M.

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    Replies
    1. The Kia Carnival is more of an American sized minivan. Honda Phil did import the USDM Odyssey for a while then switched to the JDM Odyssey. The Carnival has a larger interior than this Odyssey that's for sure.

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  6. Kia Grand Carnival far better than this van tapos cvtec petrol pa...

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    Replies
    1. Except this minivan is miles ahead of the Carnival in terms of equipment, especially in safety. I honestly don't get why the Korean brands love scrimping safety kit, their cars aren't even cheap at all.

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