Honda have upped their game a little with improvements to most of their range in recent times.
However, the Honda Odyssey is still lagging behind.
The dashboard tech and the drive are biggest drawback however, the defining features being the two reclining seats in the middle row.
Despite the perceived deficit, the VTi-L is still a seven-seater, arranged in a 2-2-3 formation with one position missing from the middle row to allow for more luxurious comfort.
This bumps the price tag up to $47,590 which is quite a bit more than the stock standard eight-seat Honda Odyssey VTi at $37,990.
It’s a bit of mixed bag this one; you get some goodies but some vital things are missing.
Not much has changed in this department – blocky in the back, slopey in the front.
The Odyssey is a lower rider than its competitors which means the step is a lot lower than other people mover and especially SUVs, making easier to alight and ascend.
Which was custom built for my 2 year old who didn’t struggle to climb aboard of his own accord.
This of course is even more effortless with a powered sliding door on either side controlled from the cockpit or via the key.
Strange as it may be, there is no powered tailgate include in this grade of model.
The cabin and the seats are the real icing on the cake for the Odyssey VTi-L.
I mean how often do you see two reclining seats in a car?
The two big armchair style seats come with two armrests, a foldable leg rest, ISOFIX, an integrated cup holder, sideways articulation, great sliding range forward and back and recline completely horizontal.
Perfect for the big boss or a VIP.
Even in regular use, the centre area of the cabin has a lot of space and is a great storage option ahead of the limited boot space when the last row of seats are up.
Speaking of which, you don’t have to compromise on comfort with good leg height, well-padded seats in smooth soft leather and not so square as third row seats in SUVs. Three may be a bit crowded but 2 passengers is definitely comfortable.
When not in use, they fold up and swing back to tuck into the floor for more storage space.
Shopping bags can find a home on the floor of the main compartment and in between the driver and passenger in the absence of a floor console.
This means no designated place to keep stuff and you find belongings rolling away out of reach.
Although in front of this there is a storage platform with cup holder in the centre console which, at the push of a button, raises the level for reasons unknown.
The multimedia touchscreen is dated as are the touch sensitive A/C controls but at least you get separate controls for the rear. The large door blinds on the sliding doors are a boon.
- Reclining seats
- Heated, powered, leather seats
- Paddle shifters
- Dual climate control
- Foot operated parking brake
- Rear door blinds
Along with the outdated dashboard, the drive performance is probably the area is the most inadequate
The naturally aspirated 2.4L engine is lacklustre and with a CVT gearbox pickup is lethargic and can’t keep with the likes of say, an equivalent Kia Carnival.
This mean it’s made to work harder and translates into higher fuel consumption at around 11.0L/100km.
Though the ride itself is the acceptable Honda standard of being planted and safe on the road and in combination with the plush seats, occupants won’t be left complaining.
- Forward Collision Warning
- Collision Mitigation Braking System
- Lane Departure Warning
- Lane Keep Assist System
- Road Departure Mitigation System
- Adaptive Cruise Control
- Reclining seats
- Comfort features
- Storage versatility
- Seats in general
- Rear door blinds
Not So Good Bits
- Pickup and drive itself
- Lacklustre acceleration
- Not good fuel economy
- No powered tailgate
- Odd design elements
I’m in two minds about the upper spec Odyssey.
It has some great attributes like space, ease of access, automatic doors, armrests, rear door blinds and of course the leather, reclining, armchair mid-row seats.
Though I’m not sure how much use they’d get in their full capacity as you aren’t allowed to lie back whist moving and you’re unlikely to sleep there or catch a flick as there is no DVD player.
But the people mover is let down by an underdone drivetrain and dated dashboard and interior.
Still, in a segment that is low on choice, the Honda Odyssey VTi-L offers up some characteristics that certain buyers may be looking for.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Honda Odyssey VTi-L
- Engine: 2.4L four-cylinder petrol producing 129kW/225Nm
- Transmission: CVT
- Warranty: 5 years/ unlimited km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $47,590