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1995 HONDA ODYSSEY EX MINIVAN

by: BILL RUSS

SEE ALSO: Honda Buyer's Guide

Honda, a longtime industry leader in quality and customer loyalty, has finally entered the minivan market with its new Odyssey. While it is brand new, the Odyssey has a proven heritage, as many of the components in its chassis, powertrain and suspension are already used in the latest Honda Accord sedans.

Trust Honda to be different. The Odyssey is unlike anything else in the minivan field today. Many minivans evolved from panel delivery trucks, while the Accord sedan was used as the starting point for developing the Odyssey. It is the first minivan with four-wheel independent suspension The Accord's independent front suspension was kept largely intact, while the rear suspension was exchanged for an all-new compact, independent arrangement that not only allows good ride and handling characteristics, but reduces height requirements so the rear of the Odyssey can have a flat floor. It has four-wheel disc brakes, another first in the field, and the EX model also has three- channel anti-lock brakes as standard equipment. Another similarity with the Accord is its powertrain. The Odyssey uses a modified version of the four-cylinder, 2.2 liter, overhead cam, fuel injected engine found in the Accord, and an electronically-controlled four-speed automatic transmission.

There is another, major difference between the Odyssey and other minivans. The Odyssey has four hinged side doors, two on each side, that open out like on a station wagon. It was the first four- door minivan, and is still the only one with four doors as standard equipment. Also, for versatility it has a station-wagon type tailgate with a lift-up rear window.

A week of well-balanced test driving in the mountains and back roads as well as in the city and on the interstate brought out these comments:

APPEARANCE: The Odyssey has the typical minivan look with a low nose, short, steeply-sloped hood, large windshield, and a long smooth cabin with lots of curved, tinted glass. Integrated plastic- coated bumpers, side body rub strips, and styled alloy wheels shod with touring tires display the modern minivan look.

COMFORT: The low floor height and four wide-opening door make it easy to enter and exit the Odyssey. Its large, versatile interior allows for seating for up to six passengers, with a variety of loading combinations. The front bucket seats are highly adjustable, and the drivers' is powered. Captain-style second row seats are easily removable. A sunken compartment behind the third seat provides extra storage space, and when not in use the third-row seat can be retracted into that compartment. For temperature control, the EX has a console-mounted heater/air conditioner with dual controls and an air conditioner mounted in the cabin ceiling to direct cool air where needed. The heater has under-seat ducts to spread heat evenly throughout the cabin. An excellent six-speaker stereo AM/FM/cassette system fills the cabin with fine tone. Other items deserving attention are easy-to-read and reach analog instruments and controls, remote lock/unlock, cruise control, power windows and locks, beverage holders, and many storage compartments.

SAFETY: The Odyssey minivan is built to meet passenger-car safety standards, rather than the less stringent ones for light trucks. It meets 1997 Federal side impact standards. It has dual air bags for the front seats, height-adjustable seat belts on front seats, three point seat belts on outboard seats, four- wheel anti-lock disc brakes, ladder frame, front and rear crumple zones, and 5 mph bumpers.

ROADABILITY: Honda designed and engineered the Odyssey suspension to deliver a passenger car type of ride. The chassis structure is lightweight and strong, providing a rigid platform for the front and rear suspension as well as passenger safety. To reduce noise and vibration, special materials are installed on specific body panel and frame components. Honda's double wishbone suspension with stabilizer bars assures car-like handling, while the four-wheel disc and anti-lock brakes together with effort-sensitive power steering allows controlled driving on all surfaces. The Odyssey is quiet and carlike at all speeds. There is not a truck to be found anywhere in its ancestry.

PERFORMANCE: The Odyssey uses a modified version of the 2.2 liter single overhead cam four cylinder engine found in the Accord. It develops 140 eager horsepower. Honda's smooth-shifting electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels. Power for merging and passing is more than adequate, and the engine is very quiet at speed.

CONCLUSION: The Odyssey is the latest in a long line of innovative, high-quality automobiles from Honda.

SPECIFICATIONS:
1995 HONDA ODYSSEY EX VAN

           
       Base Price             $ 25,225
       Price As Tested        $ 25,994
       Engine Type            I-4, sohc, 16v, mpfi
       Engine Size            2.2 liter/132 cid        
       Horsepower             140 @ 5600                         
       Torque (ft/lbs)        145 @ 4600 
       Wheelbase/Length       111"/187"
       Transmission           four-speed ECautomatic w/overdrive
       Curb Weight            3470  
       Pounds per Horsepower  25
       Fuel Capacity          17
       Fuel Requirement       Unleaded regular (87 oct)              
       Tires                  Goodyear Conquest P205/65SR15 M+S
       Brakes                 ABS standard, vented disc/disc
       Drive Train            Front engine/front drive 
       
                    PERFORMANCE
       
       EPA Economy - miles per gallon   
         city/highway/observed        20/24/21.1
        to 60 mph                     10.4 sec  
       1/4 mi (E.T.)                  18.5 sec 
       Coefficient of Drag  (Cd)      .35

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