Honda Odyssey Review: VTi-L

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The Basics

Air bags: Driver, passenger, second and third rows
Air-conditioning vents: front, middle and all important third row.
Child seat Anchor points:  4 altogether, 2 in second row, 2 in third row.
Fuel type: Unleaded petrol rated at 9.4 litres/100km local and 7.6 combined
Storage: Split third row that also folds away into floor.  Room for pram and $200 shopping even when all seats are occupied
Access:  Captain’s chairs in second row mean an adult can easily move throughout the car if needed
Engine: Solid 2.4 litre unleaded with Good performance with ample power even with four adults and two young children
Parkability: Reversing and 360 degree camera and automatic sliding rear doors
Technology: Keyless entry, push-button start, multiple reversing cameras, plus much more
Warranty and servicing 5 year cap price servicing, 3 year or 100,000km warranty
Price: VTi from $42,600 and VTi-L (reviewed here) from $51,500.

Our Review

We’ll start by calling it the people mover with style.  Some people might say it is not as elegantly styled as the previous models of the Odyssey but we really liked the funky, more angular new look, particularly with regard to the high end VTi-L that we tested.

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What’s more important though is how it drives, and how it accommodates our most precious cargo.  In short it is great to drive, quite smooth and solid on the road giving security and confidence to the driver at all times.  It accelerates well from standing even when fully loaded (well we had mum, dad, two small kids and two grandparents in the car), can do the hills quite comfortably, and has the punch to overtake when needed.  It obviously loses a bit of that with the air-con on, but overall it can still do what it needs to when required even with a full load.  One interesting feature is the engine cut-off at idle, a great fuel saver, but can take a bit of getting used to initially.  Basically when you come to a stop with your foot on the brake, after a second or two the engine will cut off and turn on again quickly when you take you foot off the brake to get going again.  It does this really well though and is quite seamless rather than clunky.

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In terms of how it accommodates passengers, the VTi-L we tested has the configuration of two-two-three that is driver and passenger in the front, two captains chairs in the second row and a bench seat of three in the third row, totalling seven.  The base model Vti option has a two-three-three configuration totalling eight.  The two captains chairs in the Vti-L model are fantastic for access, both with anchor points for child seats. There is a generous gap between the two chairs which make access to the third row easy for kids, adult passengers and parents needing to adjust or help with seatbelts (We particularly loved this feature and the ease of access inside the car it allowed). The third row has two anchor points, left and right but not middle, so in the VTi-L there are four in total (strangely enough the base model VTi has five).  Another great feature is the remote opening powered rear doors on both sides in the Vti-L and just the curbside in the VTi.  They can be opened from the key and are easy for kids to use, but also lockable from the driver’s seat for those mischievous little fingers.  Its ANCAP safety rating is to be announced in the very near future but we’re sure it will be quite high.

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Storage and boot space is next on the list and while not massive, there is room for a single pram and $200 worth of shopping (photo) which is not too bad considering the cars overall size is more refined than most other bulky people movers eg Carnival/iMax.  So there’s enough storage for a pram and shopping even with a full load of humans in tow and if you’re looking for some serious space without having to have everyone in the car…the third row folds away cleverly into the floor.  So if need be there is a floor to ceiling storage clearance from the tailgate all the way to the second row which is fantastic if you need the occasional bit of space for transporting gear.  The space saver spare wheel is located under the front seats.

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Technology and Features: Keyless entry and push button ignition, as in all you have to do to open and start the car is have the key with you. Dual zone air-con with vents in second and importantly in the third row, bluetooth phone and audio streaming were good once we worked out how to use them, which took a while as they weren’t particularly intuitive.  There are twin USB ports and an HDMI input. Stereo sounded fantastic and I’m big on music. At least 4 maybe 5 exterior cameras in the car give you a good reversing camera plus a 360 satellite view of the car when reversing or parking. Cruise control.  One helpful feature was a fuel consumption gauge which was a linear display that showed your fuel consumption instantaneously depending on how you were pumping the accelerator. Also fantastic once you got used to them were the blind-spot mirrors that beep and flash when a car is close enough to be in your blind spot.

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Engine:  In-line 4 cylinder, 2.4 litre petrol injected, Automatic transmission, unleaded 91, Fuel consumption (litres/100km) 7.6 combined, 9.4 urban, 6.8 extra urban.  We found the petrol consumption sitting on 10.4 but that was with the air-conditioning on at a relatively low level. Towing capacity is 1000kg unbreaked. If you want to find out about the kW’s, Newtons and other finer details check out the specs at the Honda website here: http://odyssey.honda.com.au/specifications.aspx

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Warranty and servicing:  Honda offers capped price servicing over 5 years or 100,000 kilometres. Service intervals are every six months or 10,000 kilometres, with an average cost per service over the period of $258 excluding some consumables. Its warranty is three years or 100,000km.

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Environmental considerations:  Engine cut off helps with fuel consumption and emissions and the car is rated at European Emissions Standard 5 which is the highest rating.

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Verdict:  Loved It!  Great family car with lots of interior space, access, safety and fancy features without some of the bulkiness of the larger people mover models out there. Ideal for any family with 3 to 4 kids (5 at a stretch).

Written by School Mum AND School Dad (husband to School Mum)

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Being a mum to 3 kids (one of them full time at home with me) and trying to juggle everything became pretty crazy.

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