Honda Odyssey Review: LT3

$31,820 $37,840 Dealer
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I can't help it. This crazy car puts a smile on my dial.

For those that reach that stage in life - when the need a for a seven-seat people mover can no longer be ignored - your options are limited and it can seem like a death sentence.

Luckily it doesn't have to be that way. There are options that are quirky, interesting, stylish and comfortable. One such option is the Honda Odyssey.

The top-of-the-line VTi-L joined the CarAdvice garage as a long-termer and though technically assigned to Trent Nikolic, I've been sneaking off with the Honda when I can.

Priced at $47,620 plus on-roads, it's well kitted out with more than what the average large family would need. That being said, it would also be a smart choice for action adventure lovers or those that spend a lot of time travelling.

It's look is markedly different from the previous model and it's divided the office. While some think it's too flashy, I'm a fan. When seven seats is your only option, the choices are large SUV's or people movers.

To my way of thinking, why be understated and resigned to a 'boring' style of car when you can still enjoy something a little different. The Odyssey is rivalled only by the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso in the people mover funky stakes.

Loads of chrome finishes, low side-skirts and sharper angles give the Odyssey a distinct character. Be warned though, it is low at the front and sides - easily scuffed on driveways and kerbs.

It's also a big beast of a car. At 4840mm wide, 1800mm long and 1695mm high there are places people call home that are smaller than this. What you get though, feels like a loungeroom on wheels.

Honda is ingenious when it comes to functionality and cargo space versatility and the Odyssey certainly showcases that. The middle-row has two seats, both with armrests, footrests and the ability to recline flat.

The range of movement offers the opportunity to separate the seats - they move left and right - as well as slide so far back that the kids won't be able to kick Mum or Dad in the back of the seat. As Trent and I demonstrated in the video above, the seating flexibility is remarkable.

The third-row does't disappoint either. Never have I come across such a simple to use mechanism to deploy the three-seats. Pull the lever and push down and they pop up into place.

The Odyssey was part of our people mover comparison and we had a great time messing around with the seats, had there been time for a nap, the Odyssey would have served us all well! The driver and front passenger seats also fully recline.

Space abounds and I was able to put my handbag and gym bag in between the driver and passenger seats. There's no centre console bin which was initially annoying. That feeling of 'something's missing' was quickly forgotten thanks to generous arm-rests and the numerous storage nooks.

The biggest issue was the infotainment system. The large 7-inch touch screen is nice, but to use sat-nav it's a pain. An iPhone 5 or above is needed, and an app is required. As a result there are cables hanging out, it looks messy, and you can end up using your own data unless you plan ahead and save your route into the system before hitting the road.

Don't expect the Odyssey to be a shining example of superior ride and comfort. It is what it is - a big, bulky people mover. If you had five kids in the car, you'd be stupid to flog it around corners and expect to overtake trucks on hills. Road noise is particularly prevalent in the back (thanks to its cavernous, echoing space), and potholes are jarring.

This is offset to some extent by the comfortable leather seats, sunroof and tri-zone climate control. Power doors are also a nice touch, adding that bit of extra convenience.

Having thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Odyssey, it's clear it's a car well suited to select groups of people. Yes, it's niche but damn near perfect if you have a large family, like to cruise around looking for surfing spots or enjoy sleeping in your car at music festivals.