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Tokyo show: Honda unveils MkIII Odyssey

Roomier, sportier people mover banishes V6 brawn for brainier four-pot power

24 Oct 2003

HONDA has released an all-new Odyssey that promises improved space efficiency and driving dynamics at the bi-annual Tokyo motor show.

Due here in the middle of next year, the Japanese-built people mover now moves into its third generation.

It also shies away from the current tall-car trend. At 1550mm in height, the 2004 Odyssey is 80mm lower than today’s model.

However headroom in the three-row/seven-seater Honda has actually increased, thanks to a new platform that is appreciably lower than today’s car.

Honda claims the resulting drop in the Odyssey’s centre of gravity significantly improves stability, handling, braking and ride qualities.

Two 2.4-litre engines are slated for Australian consumption, which will mean the end of the 110kW 2.3-litre motor as well as the 154kW 3.0-litre V6.

The base model will feature a 118kW double-overhead cam unit, while a 147kW i-VTEC version will power a high-performance version. The former, probably based on the 2.4 CR-V unit, is expected to produce around 220Nm of torque.

A segment first will be a seven-speed CVT transmission alternative to the standard five-speed manual gearbox, replacing the conventional automatics found in today’s Odyssey.

Aussie-bound Odysseys might also feature traction and vehicle stability devices, automatic speed-sensitive cruise control, a power-operated tailgate, headlights that can illuminate around corners and satellite navigation/rear camera combination.

Lavish Japanese models also boast fly-by-wire braking, Xenon headlights, all-wheel drive and a Mercedes-like "pre-safe" accident avoidance system, which warns the driver, applies the brakes and tightens seatbelts is a crash is imminent.

Honda says it has designed the new Odyssey to be a crash safety leader in the protection of both its own occupants as well as the other vehicles.

All models will be equipped with front and side curtain airbags, and meet stricter 2005 emission output regulations.

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