The MPV or minivan class is the most unloved segment in the automobile world, but it’s been hugely popular in the US and certain other markets among family car buyers. But now with SUVs becoming more common and more affordable, purveyors of these people movers have come to realise that space and practicality alone will not sell their products anymore. That’s why Honda is making more noise about the technology features in its new Odyssey than the rest of it.
The Japanese carmaker says it is introducing a new “family connectivity” concept, which brings together a host of features such as 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, or USB connectivity, Cabin Watch, which uses a camera to let the driver and front passenger keep tabs on the rear passengers, presumably kids, both day and night via the 8.0in display, as well as Cabin Talk, which lets the driver talk to second- and third-row passengers through speakers and rear entertainment system headphones. The second- and third-row passengers will also get to watch streaming video on the ceiling-mounted, 10.2in Rear Entertainment System.
Honda says the cabin is also quieter than before thanks to triple door seals, acoustic front and side glass, and additional sound deadening under the floor, in the engine compartment and under the fenders. “This new Odyssey raises the stakes for family-friendly packaging, performance and technology in the minivan segment,” says John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co. “In all aspects of its design, the new Odyssey is made to keep every member of the family happy, no matter the seating position, no matter the destination.”
Another new feature in the Odyssey is the Magic Slide second-row seat, which is configurable in several different ways for better flexibility. It also comes equipped with the Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety and driver-assist technologies, including Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Keeping Assist, Road Departure Mitigation, and Adaptive Cruise Control.
Not much has changed in the way the Odyssey looks, but the 3.5-litre V6 now comes with two transmission options; a nine-speed automatic for the lower trims and a 10-speed automatic for the higher variants.