2014 Honda Odyssey Review

March 31, 2014
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If you want a modern-looking vehicle that is just right for your growing family, then the 2014 Honday Odyssey makes for a good pick. This fourth generation Odyssey boasts some neat functions and places high on the safety scale, which makes it a worthy choice for a minivan.

NEW FOR 2014 ODYSSEY

  • Minor exterior enhancements: re-sculpted aluminum hood, new aluminum fenders and grille, upgraded lower fascia with chrome-ringed fog lights.
  • Forward collision and lane departure warnings
  • “HondaVac” vacuum cleaner for top of the line model Touring Elite

UNDER THE HOOD

The new Odyssey shares the same engine as its 2011-2013 cousins, a 3.5-liter V6 that boast s 248-horsepower and Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) technology. The VCM helps the engine conserve energy by permitting it to run on fewer cylinders during certain low-load driving conditions.

The 6-speed automatic transmission, which was previously available only for the Touring and Touring elite versions, is now standard to the entire 2014 Odyssey line. Thus, fuel economy ratings have improved to 19 mpg and 28 mpg for city and highway driving, respectively.

ON THE ROAD

Not everyone is a big fan of minivans. However, their use makes sense, especially for drivers with growing families, and this is where the new Odyssey makes its mark.

Climbing behind the wheel of the new Odyssey proves to be a pleasant experience due to its excellent driving qualities. To begin with, despite its impressive power output, it does not jerk forward when putting a foot on the floor. Instead, it runs smoothly forward with a satisfying power delivery. One noticeable problem, however, is that during hard acceleration, the Odyssey has the tendency for front-wheel slippage. Yet, this can somewhat be expected for a vehicle whose engine is wedged into the front end.

In terms of safety, the 2014 Odyssey surely excels in this department. Its body structure, which boasts the next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE), allows it to pass the new IIHS moderate and small overlap frontal crash tests, which look at how a vehicle handles the impact if it collides with an object like a tree or utility pole. These also challenge the safety of a car’s compartment, safety belt and airbag designs. The 2014 Odyssey performed well in the side-impact and roof-strength tests and also gained top ratings for the design of its seats and head restraint, which allow for better whiplash protection in the event of rear impacts.

INSIDE THE 2014 ODYSSEY

As with most minivans, the interior of the 2014 Odyssey is spacious. It second-row area can fit three seats side by side. The seat’s center section can slide forward by up to slightly more than five inches to accommodate a young child. Should you require more interior space to hold more cargo, you will have to physically remove the vehicle’s second-row seat. The third-row seat, on the other hand, can be neatly folded into the floor.

What makes the 2014 Odyssey’s interior more superior than its competitors is the quality of its interior build. The seats, dash, compartments and trim are well done and feel sturdy. Except for the LX trim level, all models have touch panel audio controls, making for a clean-looking dash with easy smartphone app integration. All buttons are also clearly labeled, allowing for easier identification of functions.

KEY FEATURES

The Odyssey line up has five trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring and Touring Elite.

The basic LX model has cruise control, air conditioning, power accessories, Bluetooth and USB player as well as rearview camera. All of these are standard to the other models as well.

For more convenience features, you may have to step up with the EX, which has dual power sliding doors, 17-inch alloy wheels, climate control, second row sunshades and automatic headlights. The third-tier, which is the EX-L have additional specs  like power sunroof, lift gate, heated front seats, chilled storage box and leather upholstery. An optional rear-seat DVD player and navigation system can also be added to this model. Both EX models get a LaneWatch technology for monitoring the driver’s right-blind spot. However, the EX-L model takes the safety level a notch higher as it is outfitted with new Lane Departure Warning and Forward collision systems.

The two top level models, the Touring and Touring Elite have the basic features as well as the ones found in the EX levels. However, they do come with other convenience and luxury additions like driver memory for seats and mirrors, fog lights, front and rear parking sensors, navigation system, rear-seat video entertainment system that has wide HD screen (for Touring Elite) and integrated vacuum cleaner (standard for Touring Elite, optional for Touring).

Photo credit: automobiles.honda.com

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