At The Wheel
2005 Honda Odyssey Touring Edition
The First-Class Family Roadmaster
By Frederick J. Staab CruiseControlRadio.Com
When Honda engineers were given the assignment of creating the all new third-generation of their now iconic Odyssey minivan, their eyes must have opened wide when they saw the feature request sheet. How could they improve on the class-leading fuel economy, make the minivan safer for both occupants and pedestrians, and add a laundry list of new technological advances?
While many of the updates, innovations and new features found their way to all of its three trim levels, the Honda we chose to drive was the new top-of-the-line Touring model. It’s the best platform for showcasing everything new.
The improvements start with Odyssey’s new Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure consisting of upper and lower frame members that dissipate energy and protect passengers in the event of a front-end crash. But the ACE scructure also has benefits for other drivers since it limits bumper and frame overrides that happen when vehicles of different ride heights are involved in collisions. Pedestrians will also like the 2005 Odyssey since it exceeds the upcoming safety requirements for decreasing their injuries.
On the outside, every bit of sheet metal is new. Dimensionally, the new Odyssey minivan remains the same length as the previous model while only gaining an inch in width.
The passenger cabin was treated to a complete redesign as well. Dashboard controls are high quality in function and fresh in presentation. The tri-zone heating and air-conditioning controls are easily operated by pushing paddle switches. Interior designers have seen fit to keep commonly used knobs and switches mounted high in the dash within easy sight and reach of the driver. Only the seat heater buttons were low in the dash. At night, the instruments glow around the edges with lunar eclipse-like lighting
The interior of our Touring-edition tester came loaded to the gills with luxury features. A seven-speaker subwoofer-equipped sound system featured an in-dash six-CD disc changer and XM satellite radio standard. A full dash-mounted multi-information display helps you keep track of your audio entertainment choices. To keep rear-seat passengers entertained, the DVD rear screen has grown to 9 inches. Since minivans commonly find themselves driven by drivers of varying heights, the Touring edition is equipped with power foot pedals, once again standard at this level of trim. Honda’s navigation system with voice recognition and rearview back-up camera round out the electronic suite.
Honda has also found a way to increase storage by using every possible nook and cranny. There are a double glove box and zippered nets on seat backs, but perhaps the most innovative use of space comes in the form of a sub-floor-mounted lazy susan. No, it’s not a great place to store you hot dog condiments or dishes, but it is perfect for items that would otherwise find themselves floating unrestrained in the passenger compartment. The circular rotating plastic bin with moveable dividers is accessed by a flap in the floor.
Second-row seating is handled by dual captain’s chair separated by a removable center console. While the seatbacks fold flat against their seat cushions, they do not disappear into the floor as they do on some of DaimlerChrysler’s vehicles. If you need a flat floor, you still have the muscle the second seats out of the Odyssey and find a place to store them. Thankfully, the third row gets what Honda calls a “One Motion Magic” seat. This 60/40 three-passenger seat disappeared easily without the need to open any owner’s manual for instruction on what lever or strap to pull. There is also a 115-Volt AC power outlet in the rear storage area.
On the road, the Touring edition felt solid and powerful. My overall impression was that this minivan had a sporty flair with excellent acceleration and good handling. The ride was a bit tauter than most of the current crop of family haulers I have driven recently.
The 3.5 i-VTEC V-6 gains 15 horsepower for an impressive total of 255. It was a welcomed surprised to find this well-equipped 4,634-pound cruiser gets 28 miles to the gallon on the highway, due in part to another new technological feature, Variable Cylinder Management (VCM.) By shutting off three of the engine’s six cylinders at highway cruising speed, Honda engineers managed to gain three more miles per gallon of fuel economy.
The Odyssey Touring edition comes equipped with one of the first offerings of Michelin’s run-flat PAX tire system that can be driven without air at 50 mph for more than 100 miles.
High-end technology, advanced safety features and excellent fuel economy add up to make the new Honda Odyssey one first-class family road master.
Online Links : www.honda.com Manufacturer Site
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