2011 Honda Odyssey Review: Car Reviews

4 Jun 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2011 Honda Odyssey Review: Car Reviews

Honda wants you to love the Odyssey for its body, but its best feature has to be its brains


1. Fuel economy is up and easily leads the segment with 18/27-mpg (city/hwy) for most models and 19/28-mpg for top-trim Touring models.

2. A new Wide Mode seating arrangement allows the outside sections of the 2nd row bench to slide out to make room for three child seats side-by-side or two child seats next to each other with access to the third row.

3. A new Touring Elite trim includes the Ultra-Wide Rear Entertainment System with a 16.2-inch display and 12-speaker 650-watt surround sound system.

4. Pricing starts at $27,800 and tops out at $43,250 with the volume EXL model priced from $34,450.

While “all-new” and sporting a somewhat unconventional design, there’s a lot about the 2011 Odyssey that’s familiar. Most importantly, the engine and chassis are carryovers, hinting that while Honda is optimistic about growth in the minivan segment, they aren’t betting on it.

Instead, Honda decided to focus much of its engineering talent on improving and perfecting the functionality of the Odyssey rather than reengineer it; and that’s smart thinking as there’s no reason to knock either the chassis or the engine. Quite the contrary.


Thanks to modifications to the engine, use of Variable Cylinder Management (VCM), a lighter overall curb weight and a sleek aerodynamic body, Honda wears the fuel economy crown in the segment. The new rating is an impressive 18-mpg city and 27-mpg highway, which bests the Toyota Sienna’s 18/24-mpg rating for the V6 and is even better than the 4-cylinder Sienna’s 19/24-mpg rating. And Honda even offers a six-speed automatic transmission on top trim Touring models which then get 19/28-mpg – family sedan numbers.

It’s also nice to know that with the improved fuel economy, performance hasn’t been sacrificed. Miniscule increases in engine power put the new totals at 248-hp and 250 ft-lbs of torque and when combined with a reduced curb weight of 103 lbs. the Odyssey delivers best-in-class acceleration. Sure you might not be lining up at a stoplight with the Odyssey, but this improvement will come in handy when you’ve got a full load.

As for the chassis, changes were made to improve stiffness, although the bigger adjustment is that Honda widened the suspension components to grow the Odyssey. In total, the new van is roughly 2-inches wider, while also being almost an inch longer and roughly half an inch lower. As a result, it appears smaller and sportier.

It also looks stranger than in the past thanks to the lightning bolt design along the side of the car and the pronounced track for the sliding door. While less than pleasing to the eye, it does allow for a much larger third-row window, meaning those in the final row don’t have to feel relegated to a dark cavern.


That third-row area is also more likely to be used than ever, boasting 1.5-inches more legroom than even the first row. Plus there’s six more inches back there than in the Sienna. Even with the second row all the way back, an adult male can sit comfortably with an inch or two of clearance.

And if that’s not enough comfort for you, the 3rd row seats even recline.

The van’s added width also makes for some big functionality improvements with a total of three more inches in the second row. Thanks to this, Honda’s engineers designed a new innovative “Wide-Mode” seat arrangement for the minivan segment that allows the outboard second row bench parts to slide out. As a result, adults can now sit comfortably shoulder-to-shoulder, while a wider middle portion makes that seat more comfortable.

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