2007 Honda Odyssey

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2005 Honda Odyssey

This 2005 review is representative of model years 2005 to 2007.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
Rating: 8

Bottom Line:

Redesigned Odyssey has many improvements to make it even more popular.
Pros:
  • Better styling
  • More power
  • Gas-saving engine
Cons:
  • No folding second-row seat
  • No all-wheel drive
  • Easy to select wrong gear

The third-generation Honda Odyssey minivan should be more popular than ever, with everything from sharper styling to an engine with a cylinder deactivation feature to improve fuel economy.

The minivan market has become more competitive since Honda last revamped the Odyssey for 1999, as minivans have become increasingly like small mobile homes with lots of comfort and convenience features, including DVD entertainment systems.

Honda thus was left with no option but to redesign the 2005 Odyssey. Its predecessor was clunky looking, but was roomy and car-like—and carried Honda's revered nameplate.

Variety of Improvements
Revised styling eliminates the front-wheel-drive Odyssey's boxy styling, and it gets more power, better road manners and additional safety features.

Odyssey drawbacks include no all-wheel-drive feature like the Toyota Sienna's, and the Nissan Quest minivan is more sharply styled. Also, the Odyssey's second-row seats don't fold into the floor as they do in Chrysler minivans. (Second-row seats are removable in the Odyssey.)

New Top-Line Odyssey
But the new Odyssey provides more performance and versatility. And there's a new top-line Touring trim level, which has features including power adjustable pedals, Tri-Zone automatic climate control for all seating areas, premium audio system and power tailgate.

A new, easily used fold-in-the-floor third row seat is split 60/40 to make it easier to fold than the old single-piece full-across seat. The new seat provides room for one or two third-row passengers if one half of it has to be folded forward for more cargo room. Such space is plentiful, even with the third-row seat completely in its normal position.

Roomier
The new Odyssey has the same rather long 118.1-inch wheelbase of its predecessor and nearly the same length and height. However, it's about an inch wider for added shoulder room and third-row leg room. The extra width also gives it a slightly more muscular look.

The front-wheel-drive Odyssey line starts as the $24,995 LX, continues with midrange EX trim levels and ends as the Touring.

There actually are two versions of the Touring; the top one costs $38,295 and has a navigation system with voice recognition, DVD entertainment system, satellite radio and a rearview camera. Don't need all that equipment? If you can do without it, the regular Touring version lists for several thousand dollars less, at $34,995.

Well Equipped
Even the entry LX offers lots of stuff; it has the usual power accessories and plenty of comfort, convenience and safety items, which include a new anti-skid system and side-curtain airbags with rollover sensors for all seating rows. Anti-lock brakes and traction control also are standard.

Merging and high speed passing abilities are improved because horsepower of the Odyssey 3.5-liter V6 has gone up to 240 to 255, and there is more torque.

Cylinder Deactivation
A new high-tech feature: The V6 in the EX-L, which has leather upholstery, and Touring trim levels have Honda's new Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system. It imperceptibly deactivates three cylinders while cruising for improved fuel economy, and really should be in all Odyssey trim levels.

Estimated fuel economy with VCM is 20 mpg in the city and 28 on highways. Without it, the figures are 19 and 25.

Both versions of the smooth Odyssey engine are hooked to a responsive 5-speed automatic transmission, which is controlled by a new dashboard-mounted shifter. While that's a handy location, I found the shifter action makes it easy to slip into the wrong gear if a driver isn't careful.

Sharper Handling
Sharper handling is provided by a more rigid structure, revised all-independent suspension and larger tires. But Honda is overreaching when it says that the Odyssey provides a ride quality that "approaches the level of a luxury-class sedan." Rather, the ride is firm—although supple and never punishing. The Touring's run-flat tires can provide peace of mind, but provide a slightly stiffer ride.

While rather heavy, the steering is precise, and the brake pedal has a linear action that helps allow smooth stops.

Easy In and Out
It's easy to get in and out, thanks to a low floor and wide doors. The interior is more stylish and has been made exceptionally quiet with plenty of sound insulation material.

Gauges can be quickly read, but EX, EX-L and Touring versions have more complicated controls, with lots of buttons and switches that take getting used to.

New Jump Seat
Standard for all trim levels are front and second-row bucket seats, in addition to the third seat. The EX adds a removable, narrow "PlusOne" stowable jump seat that's only suitable for children. It fits between the second-row bucket seats for occasional eight-passenger seating.

That seat can be converted into a center tray table. It folds into the floor between the first and second rows. If not holding the PlusOne, a new in-floor storage area contains a rotating Lazy Susan storage unit.

Thin Padding
Front seats are supportive, and second-row seats also are comfortable, if slightly less supportive. The third-row seat area is roomy for adults, but has thin padding that wouldn't be appreciated on long trips.

Sliding side doors now have power roll-down windows that lower most—but not all—of the way.

The new, more refined Odyssey has caught up with its competitors in many areas and has the old version's solid reputation—not to mention the illustrious Honda nameplate.

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BB02 - 7/29/2014 6:20:36 AM