The Honda line-up in this country I find somewhat
confusing. Not only does Honda have small cars such as the City, but
they also sell the Jazz, which to me would take away market-share from
the sedan, but then I suppose Mr. Honda would undoubtedly have done
Then there are three Hondas that all appear to be
in the same market, the Stream, the Odyssey and the Elysion. These are
all large van-style people movers, from my point of view, and they
have similar sized engines, ranging from 2 litres to 2.4. They range
in price here from 1.2 million baht (Stream) to 2.5 million (Odyssey)
through to 3.2 million for the Elysion. So they are offering people
movers to cover all tastes (and pockets) it seems.
Weinthal, our man Down-under has been evaluating the top of the line
Odyssey and feels that this latest incarnation of the Odyssey is sure
to breed copycats. Here are the Words from Weinthal.
“Occasionally a vehicle comes along which
virtually creates a new class of car – ground-breakers like the
original Range Rover, Mini, VW Golf GTi, Toyota’s RAV-4 and Tarago
and, arguably, even the Mazda RX8. When such cars are successful,
others are sure to follow.
that be so, then we can expect more along the lines of the latest
Honda Odyssey. Superficially it will be classified as a people mover.
For sure it is a seven seater of roughly medium sedan length, just
like Tarago, the class dominating Kia Carnival and, indeed, the
“But it is in fact very different in that it
rides much lower than conventional people movers; a design distinction
we will return to later. At times I saw it as a bootless stretch limo,
maybe a seven seat hatchback or even a stylish ground-hugging station
wagon. Whatever, this is one very appealing way of carrying seven
people in real comfort, with genuine car-like ride, handling, hush and
comfort levels. But please ignore the nonsense about it being
sporting. It is no more, nor less sporting, than say a Camry.
“The Odyssey was widely admired as a smart car
with far more aesthetic appeal than the utilitarian form of most
people movers. It is powered by an advanced 2.4 litre, 4-cylinder,
118kW engine. This drives the front wheels through a 5-speed auto
transmission which has a fascia-mounted shifter and prompt response
selectronic manual over-ride function.
“The well equipped base Odyssey costs AUD 38,790.
There is also an AUD 45,290 Odyssey Luxury. Both constitute excellent
value but, for once, we would be tempted to pay the extra for the
Luxury model which we reviewed.
“Both have front and rear air con with two sets
of controls and individual vents to all three rows of seats, front and
front side air bags and anti-lock ABS brakes with electronic brake
distribution and brake assist, power windows front and back and heated
mirrors. They have remote locking, an engine immobiliser, fold-down
centre console table, and flat folding second and third row seats
allowing a multitude of seating or load carrying options.
“As well as its sleek external styling, Odyssey
features a futuristic cockpit dash design with blue on black
instrument backlighting and red needles as well as titanium and
woodgrain look finishes. The supplementary audio and cruise control
buttons are steering wheel-mounted. Odyssey has eight cup holders,
adjustable centre front armrests, driver and passenger vanity mirrors,
a sunglasses holder and expandable map pockets in the passenger doors.
“Odyssey Luxury adds an 8-way power adjustable
driver’s seat, two-stage heated front seats, sunroof, leather seats
and door trims, six-CD stacker, auto headlights and 16 inch alloy
wheels. It has curtain airbags covering all three rows of seating,
power retraction for the third row of seats, a leather-bound steering
wheel with woodgrain-look trim, illuminated vanity mirrors and lidded
2nd row passenger door pockets. “That is an appealing and
comprehensive equipment list for any vehicle, much less a car-like
seven-seater costing well under AUD 50,000, so will it be to
everybody’s taste? Some will miss the high driving position of most
people movers and four-wheel-drives which gives a better view over
traffic. Most people would also prefer a conventional handbrake to the
American-style foot-operated parking brake, even though this is also
favoured by Mercedes and Lexus among others.
“The upside of the Odyssey’s low centre of
gravity is superior handling and ride. It also contributes, along with
the ski-slope nose and other not-so-evident aerodynamic features, to
the outstanding fuel economy of around 9.2 litres per 100km which we
achieved. At this rate one might expect an easy 700 km between refills
of the 65 litre fuel tank.
“The versatility of the seating is a major bonus
when mixing passenger and load carrying needs. This Odyssey may be
only a minor ground-breaker but it is sure to attract its share of
copycats. It represents a socially acceptable alternative to
expensive-to-run and poorer handing and riding seven-seat
four-wheel-drives and conventional people movers.
“Were we impressed? Too right we were.”
(Thank you John. As is often the case, there are
differences between similar models in different countries. The Odyssey
on sale here has a 4 speed auto and 2.2 litres, and through taxes and
duties costs much more than the 1.5 million equivalent in the baht to
the Aussie dollar. Dr. Iain.)
We also learned that Michael Schumacher can pass
other drivers on the track, and not just in the pits. He scythed his
way through the pack with a total domination that was very obvious.
Young Button was very easily put in his place, so the presumed and
long awaited “battle” was very short-lived.
The on-track battles enlivened this race, and I
believe should make the FIA sit up and take notice. By making the cars
run to the end on one thankful of petrol would give us more on-track
action. Blind Freddie can see this. Why can’t the powers that be?