2010 Odyssey New Car Test Drive
The Honda Odyssey might be the best minivan on the market. It's one of the most enjoyable to drive and lives up to Honda's reputation for refinement, convenience, and great fit and finish. Its flexible seating system can accommodate up to eight passengers and it has plenty of room. In short, it's a good choice for families.
Four trim levels make it affordable to a wide group of buyers: The base LX starts just below $27,000 and includes most of the features that make family travel easier. The line-topping Touring has as many bells and whistles as a good luxury sedan and offers Acura handling and Acura pricing.
Yet all Odyssey models deliver car-like ride and handling and a comprehensive set of safety features, including electronic stability control and side curtain airbags for head protection.
Honda Odyssey is powered by a 244-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine with a five-speed automatic transmission, and it's a good powertrain. Even on base LX and one-step-up EX models it features Honda's efficiency-enhancing Variable valve Timing with Electronic lift Control (VTEC). EX-L and Touring upgrade to intelligent i-VTEC with Variable Cylinder Management; VCM shuts down two or three cylinders to conserver fuel when conditions allow it.
High-tech features you can see and touch include a CD player that can play MP3 or WMA files, an auxiliary audio input jack, and an available Bluetooth cell phone link and a rearview camera display integrated into the inside mirror.
The current-generation Odyssey is now in its sixth year of production, and in its third season following a 2008 freshening that brought a new look up front and some new technology inside, including refinements to the VCM system described above. Changes have been minimal since then. For 2009, Honda added some more content at the EX-L level. For 2010, the DVD entertainment system is now available on the EX as well as the EX-L and Touring. It includes a 9-inch screen an a 115-volt AC power outlet. The Odyssey has won numerous awards and critical acclaim.
The 2010 Honda Odyssey lineup comprises four models, LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring.
Odyssey LX ($26,805) comes with cloth upholstery and seating for seven with second-row caption's chairs and a 60/40 split fold-down third seat. It also has manual sliding side doors, manual seat controls, front and rear air conditioning, air-filtration system, power door locks with remote keyless entry, power windows, power exterior mirrors, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, AM/FM/CD four-speaker stereo with MP3/WMA playback and auxiliary input jack, 15 cupholders, rear roof spoiler, and P235/65R16 tires on steel wheels with hubcaps.
Odyssey EX ($29,905) adds power sliding doors, tri-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power driver's seat with manual lumbar support, a storable second-row PlusOne seat, six-speaker stereo with in-dash six-disc CD changer and steering wheel audio controls, heated exterior mirrors, automatic headlights, outside temperature display, universal garage door opener, conversation mirror, second-row sunshades, 17 cupholders, roof rails, and alloy wheels. Optional on the EX is a rear-seat DVD system, and when so equipped it is priced as a separate model ($31,505).
Odyssey EX-L ($33,405) adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, a four-way power adjustable front passenger seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, power moonroof, XM satellite radio, auto-dimming rearview mirror, Honda's active noise reduction, and the i-VTEC engine with Variable Cylinder Management. The EX-L is available with the DVD rear-seat entertainment system ($35,005), and the navigation system with rearview camera and Bluetooth can be added to that ($37,205).
Odyssey Touring ($40,755) is what Honda's Acura luxury division would sell if it sold a minivan. It has a slightly stiffer suspension for improved handling and rides on P235/60R17 tires. Also standard are a 360-watt audio system with six-disc CD changer and seven speakers (including a subwoofer), the navigation system (including rearview camera and Bluetooth), front and rear park assist, power tailgate, memory for the driver's seat and mirrors, power-adjustable pedals, outside mirror tilt-down backup aid, trip computer, compass, fog lights, and the DVD rear-seat entertainment system.
Safety equipment that comes standard on all models includes dual-stage front airbags, front side-impact airbags, curtain-style head-protection airbags for all three rows of seats that also deploy in case of a rollover, active front head restraints, a tire-pressure monitor, antilock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake force distribution, traction control, and electronic stability control.