2014 Honda Odyssey Review

Subtle updates make the best people carrier a little better

By Shahzad Sheikh

2014 Honda Odyssey

In my original review of the Odyssey just over two years ago when it first came out I wrote the following:

2014 Honda Odyssey

“I’ve generally come to despise the MPV or People Carrier. In terms of automotive passion, I believe they denote death. You buy one of this dressed up vans because you’re spent, you’re done. You’ve sprouted some sprogs, shackled your ankles, putrefied your passion, and resigned yourself to a remit of being dad-the-bus-driver. ‘Where to kids..?’”

2014 Honda Odyssey

And quite frankly, that still rings true today. You can read that review here, and Imthishan’s subsequent test here in which he actually claimed it was as good as Lamborghini Aventador – no really!

2014 Honda Odyssey

Reading back my own review, everything I said then is still totally valid today. This is the ultimate domesticated school bus for large families. It’s a full eight-seater with proper luggage space, and lots of very clever touches like a split-screen/wide-screen rear TV, a bin liner, removable centre console, removable seats and… well, the list goes on.

2014 Honda Odyssey

So what’s actually new on this mild facelift for 2014?

2014 Honda Odyssey

Well you’d be hard-pressed to tell, but the grille is different, the bonnet is new, and there are darker finishes for the headlight surrounds. The lower front spoiler is new with round fog lamps and LEDs, plus LEDs on the rear taillights and solid red light bar. There are changes are inside too, where it gets features first seen on the new Honda Accord.

2014 Honda Odyssey

So for example, there are now two screens inside, the main monitor up top and a lower one that features touch-controls for the infotainment system. Like the Accord a camera embedded in the passenger side wing mirror which comes on automatically each time you hit the right on the indicator stalk to let you see what’s there should you be changing lane, or a cyclist is trying to get up your inside whilst you’re turning. Very handy.

2014 Honda Odyssey

Keyless entry and a stop-start button have been added along with blind spot indicator, the six-speed auto is now standard across all grades and new colours include Dark Cherry Pearl and this Obsidian Blue Pearl. There’s also the option of having an in-built vacuum cleaner installed in the boot, which might be worth getting, especially for messy families – which is generally all families, let’s be honest.

2014 Honda Odyssey

And that’s the main thing about the Odyssey. Sure it’s easy to drive and serves up decent performance from its 3.5-litre V6 – which keeps things highly economical by shutting down two or even three of its cylinders to reduce consumption when you don’t need the get-go. Even the tyres are low-rolling resistance.

2014 Honda Odyssey

But this car is all about comfort, convenience and useful little family-friendly features and thoughtful touches. So the ride of course is excellent – just don’t try to chuck this car around, it’s not sporty in the least.

2014 Honda Odyssey

Then there’s things like the multi-zone aircon with individual controls, the many storage bins, the removable central cubby box and fridge, the connectivity – right down to audio/video and even HDMI for the 16.2-inch wide rear TV screen (which doesn’t obstruct the drivers rear view when down), the power sliding doors and tailgate (all from the key fob or buttons) on the top trim, the reconfigurable interior (you can slide the middle row of seats or remove them altogether) that goes from full bus mode to capacious van, the monitoring mirror that lets Mum and Dad keep an eye on the kids and of course, a personal favourite, the rear bin-liner holder!

2014 Honda Odyssey

If you’ve got a large family, this car is simply a no-brainer. And whilst it’s a bit costly, you’ll want to go for the top-spec variant to get all the toys that really put this MPV head and shoulders above all, including the rear entertainment system, the sat-nav, the 650-watt 12-speaker sound system with 16Gb hard drive and leather upholstery. I can’t see the option of the hoover in the brochure, but if I were you, I’d demand they install it!

2014 Honda Odyssey

So if you really want an MPV, this is quite simply you’re best option on the market – but that’s in a market that isn’t big on People Carriers. And as such my conclusion remains that considering it’s quite useful to have four-wheel drive in this region, for slightly less money, with the same capacity, and almost as many features, I’d have the Honda Pilot instead.

2014 Honda Odyssey

Specs
2014 Honda Odyssey
Price:
LX Grade AED 126,000 ($34k)
EX-L Grades AED 141,000 ($38k)
Touring Grade AED 170,000 ($46k)
Engine: 3.5-litre V6, 250bhp @ 5700rpm, 250lb ft @ 4800rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic, front wheel drive
Fuel Economy: 10.7L/100km
Performance: 0-100kph 7.5 seconds, Top speed 190kph
Weight: 2085kg

Got a family? Which would you choose? Pilot or Odyssey? Tell us below

 

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