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Heels On Wheels- 2013 Honda Odyssey Review

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2013 Honda Odyssey


By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

The Honda Odyssey is a value-driven minivan with a hard-to-beat safety record and spacious environment for eight. Last year the model took on a sleek redesign that equated to a larger third-row window and more standard entertainment technology. It’s also more fuel efficient than many SUVs thanks to an upgraded six-speed automatic transmission that helps the V6 engine deliver a fuel economy of 22 miles-per-gallon combined.

I drove a 2013 Honda Odyssey with the standard 248-horsepower 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard, but my Touring model came equipped with a six-speed automatic. Available in EX, EX-L, LX, Touring and Touring Elite trims, my test drive came with the following standard features: leather-trimmed interior; leather steering wheel with mounted controls; heated front seats; ten-way driver’s power seat; eight-inch display screen with navigation and backup camera; upgraded audio system; Bluetooth; XM radio; moonroof; power tailgate; cool box; second and third-row sunshades; tri-zone climate control; power sliding doors; rear DVD entertainment system; third-row Magic Seat; eighteen-inch wheels; fog lights; and heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals. Total vehicle price came to $41,530.

Changes for 2013 include a now-standard rearview camera. Main competitors include the Nissan Quest, Volkswagen Routan, Dodge Caravan and Toyota Sienna. The interior inside these family rides are growing increasingly functional and refined thanks to loads of technology and comforts, taking the stigma right out of being a minivan.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: The Odyssey features spacious dimensions for up to eight with the third-row Magic Seat folding down quickly and easily using a pull-strap system. Honda claims the center stack design has simplified, but there’s a lot going on. Flagging the top is an eight-inch full-color display with an awkwardly placed climate control system and its dials and digital readout directly below. Underneath this is a second multi-information digital screen, with audio controls below that – and finally, nearing the bottom is the master navigation control dial to work the top display screen. This isn’t counting a sprinkling of more buttons, dials and glowing screens. Unlike the Quest, the sliding doors lack a convenient push-open button at the handles.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a Top Safety Pick with ratings of “Good” in all crash test areas. The Toyota Sienna, Dodge Caravan and VW Routan are also on this list, but the Nissan Quest is not. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives it an overall 5-Star rating with just 4-Stars in rollover results.

Cost Issues: A base Odyssey LX starts at $28,675. The Touring Elite adds an ultra-wide rear DVD screen with HDMI Technology, a Blind Spot Information system, more audio sound and high-intensity discharge headlights for a total price of $44,025. (See all Odyssey models below)

Activity & Performance Ability: The V6 engine has a nice combination of performance and fuel efficiency going on to eradicate a need for a smaller four-cylinder option – something the Toyota Sienna offers. Its longer wheelbase and fully independent suspension with standard Vehicle Stability Assist deliver a composed ride at during tight turns. Far from sluggish, the high-strength steel keeps the road noise out and the minivan light on its wheels.

The Green Concern: Fuel economy is 19 miles-per-gallon city and 28 highway for a combined 22 MPG with the V6 engine and upgraded six-speed automatic transmission. LX, EL and EX-L trims lose 1 mile-per-gallon under the standard five-speed automatic.

The 2013 Honda Odyssey has a couple kinks to work out – like further simplifying the center stack features and dropping the five-speed automatic to make the fuel-saving six-speed the new standard transmission – but this refined minivan is still quite able to satisfy family safety, space, performance and entertainment requirements for up to eight.

2012 Katrina Ramser