2011 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite Review Redux
THE AUTO PAGE
SPECIFICATIONS: 2011 HONDA ODYSSEY TOURING ELITE
Model: 2011 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite
Engine: 3.5-liter V6
Horsepower/Torque: 248 hp @ 5,700 rpm/250 lb.-ft. @ 4,800 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 118.1 in.
Length/Width/Height: 202.9 x 79.2 x 68.4 in.
Cargo volume: 38.4/93.1/148.5 cu. ft. (3rd row seats up/down/2nd and 3rd row seats down)
Fuel economy: 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway/20.0 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 21.0 gal.
Curb weight: 4,560 lbs.
Sticker: $44,030 (includes $780 destination and handling)
The Bottom Line: For years, the Chrysler corporation (in all its variations) minivans have been the benchmark for other manufacturers to aim at. With the new Honda Odyssey, there's a new kid on the block. While the bottom line on the sticker is shocking to a degree, the Odyssey offers just about anything you'd want and more in a minivan.
This is my second shot in the new Honda Odyssey minivan, and I'll willingly volunteer for more. As constant readers of my reviews will note, we are a van family, having spent the better part of 14 years in a full-size van that took us from Brownies through college(s).
In my opinion, the Odyssey is the best minivan on the market today, edging perennial favorite Chrysler (and Dodge). Why? Well, it has tons of features, has a good engine that gets you up and going without a major sacrifice from the wallet, and it's distinctive.
When I drove the Odyssey at the local introduction, we all chuckled about Honda's "lightning bolt" side design. When the family of a classmate at my daughter's nursery school showed up in an Odyssey one day, it was immediately recognizable by the "lightning bolt." All the other minis look too much alike. Dismiss the chuckles.
You want a mini for the cargo and people capacity. The Odyssey is a true 8-passenger mini, with two seats up front, three in the second row and three in the third. With a flat floor and relatively easy access, eight adults can really fit in it.
With all the seats up, there's also good cargo capacity. There are 38.4 cubic feet of cargo behind the third row seats that includes a deep well behind the seat. This well holds the third row seats when they're folded out of he way if you don't need them. When they're folded, you have 93.1 cubic feet of cargo, and if you're really hauling, fold or remove the second row seats and you've got 148.5 cubic feet. That's enough to start a small moving van company.
The quiet 3.5-liter V6 engine is quiet, yet it develops enough power for the Odyssey to get out of its own way, a problem we had with our full-size van. Ride quality is excellent, with a tight turning radius for a large car. The Odyssey is built on a long wheelbase and is long overall, yet if you want to maneuver in a tight parking lot, you can.
In addition, there's blind spot indicator that lights up on the outside rearview mirror when there's a vehicle there.
Among the features is a "cool box" located at the base of the center stack below a nice drawer that's convenient for hiding things. The cool box won't freeze ice cream, but it will keep water bottles cool in hot weather.
There's a "master knob" located in the center of the center stack. this isn't too esoteric, as some manufacturers' are, but it handles most of the main functions well. You can control the audio, navigation and HVAC with this knob. The navigation/audio screen is clear, and setting the nav system is relatively easy.
The glove box has a USB hook-up with a nice cubby beside it to hold your iPod.
I liked the dual door pockets. The top pocket folds out slightly to hold sunglasses. The hard-sided pocket below is more conventional with room for a water bottle.
There were a couple of complaints. Our nursery school buddies noted that if by some chance the rear seat belt isn't attached, a bell DOESN'T go off, as it would for a front seat. She discovered this when another child said "Mommy, Timmy's not belted in."
Second, the arm rests on the front seats lock nicely in place. But if, by some chance, you life it too far, you have to lift it all the way to the top before you can lower it all the way down to begin the process of finding the right place again.
The only other problem I had was with the sticker. As I said, I feel the Honda Odyssey is the best minivan on the market today. It would be a hell of a lot better if it was about $10,000 cheaper. © 2011 The Auto Page