HONDA must be relieved that Ford does not want to offer Australians the world’s greatest people-mover in the form of the Europe-only S-Max, because even though its latest Odyssey is massively improved in key areas such as safety and refinement, the Japanese seven-seater has lost some of the popular old model’s style, pizzazz and personality, as well as the sequential gear shifter, leaving mums, dads and child guardians out there with little to stir their driving emotions.
It isn’t a bargain any more, either.
Still, the A-pillars are one-third skinner ...
Model release date: April 2009
HONDA placed the cat among the people-mover pigeons with the third-generation Odyssey, sporting a sleek new body, radically different dashboard and pricing that was around $7000 less than its highly-regarded predecessor.
Unsurprisingly, sales boomed, and Honda had another hit on its hands.
This was despite two glaring safety omissions – the lack of a middle-row centre lap/sash seatbelt and ESC stability control.
Performance from the tried-and-tested 118kW/218Nm 2.4-litre single-cam 16-valve i-VTEC four-cylinder petrol engine, mated solely to a five-speed automatic with sequential shift – was lively, while the Odyssey Luxury’s long list of standard features helped the Honda snare a few luxury SUV buyers as well.
A minor facelift arrived from the middle of 2006, but there were no major mechanical upgrades.
Sadly, this Japan-built Odyssey was never available with its predecessors’ sweet and powerful V6 engine.