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Owner Review

2006 Honda Odyssey Review

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If there ever was an honest used car ad for my Honda Odyssey, I'd imagine it would sound something like this:


One owner , travelled a whopping 260,000 kilometers. Higher praise could not be bestowed upon any other car.

With its svelte body profile, low stance, chrome highlights, dual sporty exhausts and seductive blue headlamps, the love affair with the Odyssey begins as soon as you set eyes on it. The interior is equally striking, with a variety of quality materials that form sweeping lines, and a digital instrument cluster that's easy to read and futuristic.

It's powered by Honda's recycled 2.4 litre i-VTEC engine, albeit with individual tuning. All you need to know is that it's smooth, happy to rev and, like every VTEC ever made, bulletproof. Just don't attempt to climb any steep hills with a full load of passengers, as this makes the engine go from somewhat sprightly, to a hippo in a triathlon . Otherwise it's a perky engine, and the claimed 9.4l/100km fuel use is easily achievable. The standard 5-speed transmission is brilliant, smooth and always seems one step ahead, yet humbly allows you to manually take control for those brief moments you think you know better.

Look, this isn't a sport car, but you'd be forgiven to think it handles like one. Its double-wishbone suspension makes it arguably the nicest people mover to drive, with steering that is well weighted and direct with good feedback. It also doesn't lean in the bends anywhere near as much as expected for a car of its size. Also, you will be pleasantly surprised that such a large car could have such a tight turning circle!

You will never get tired of hearing compliments from adults and teenagers alike who love the ‘cool' and spacious interior. In fact, to my friends the Odyssey is somewhat a legend, appreciated for its comfort, dual 12V power sockets and all-important auxiliary input. There are more than twenty-eight pockets and compartments to store valuables and your precious junk, and no less than 8 cup holders. It's versatile too; with all the seats folded you can fit a flat-packed single-sized bed as well as a thick mattress flat on the floor, with room to spare. Slumber party anyone?

If it's quality and reliability you're after, look no further. In true Japanese fashion everything starts, slides, sounds, clicks, closes and operates exactly the same way it did almost 9 years ago. Servicing has been trouble-free and I haven't noticed any excessive wear and tear from brakes, wheels, alignments or consumables.

But it's not perfect, in fact far from it. The low positioned tow bar and front skirts that commonly scrape on driveways, will have you cringing with every departure. The faux leather inserts on the front arm rests have torn off, the third row windows are fixed and do not roll down, and the 6-stacker CD player is not mp3 compatible. The only safety feature for the middle occupant of the second row is a lap-only seat-belt, which is odd considering the precious cargo you will be transporting. The second and third row vents do not seem at all connected to the climate-control system; more like fans than anything else. Also, a child restraint anchor point that stretches beyond the third row seats is a silly oversight. Finally, the A pillar is quite thick and requires you take a cautious approach at roundabouts and intersections.

Despite its shortcomings, the engineers seem to have worked overtime to make the Odyssey just that little bit more special, and that passion shines throughout the car. The way ‘Odyssey' is inscribed into the front headlights as well as on the chrome plates in the door frame. The fact that the Odyssey shouldn't have looked, accommodated, driven or felt as good as it did. To make a people mover seem sleek and even desirable, they managed to pull off a seemingly impossible feat. It was a quality product then, and still is now!"

If there ever was an honest used car ad for my Honda Odyssey, I guess it would probably sound like that. But then again, no ad is ever that honest; and to be perfectly honest, I'd never want to sell it.