After six weeks of endearing service, the Honda Odyssey is leaving the wheels long-term garage this week. As those of you who have been following the reports over the last 5 weeks would know, the latest iteration of the people mover has managed to alter our perception of MPVs altogether.

Despite its massive proportions, the Odyssey is as easily manoeuvrable as a mid-size saloon or a crossover SUV. It is more of a proper eight-seater than most of the eight-seater SUVs on the market today, and thanks to the flexibility offered by the seating arrangement, it’s also more practical than many full-size utility vehicles. The sliding rear doors, which can be opened from outside by pressing buttons on the key fob, the dashboard or inside the B-pillar, add to its overallversatility.

The 2018 Odyssey is also packed with the latest technology features, including Forward Collision Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking, Pedestrian Detection System, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Information System, Lane Keeping Assist System and Road Departure Mitigation System among others. Over the past few weeks, we had occasion to test every one of these driver aids and we can happily report that they all work perfectly well. Those that we haven’t tested, and wish nobody ever has to, include the claims of improved occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal collisions and the set of  dual stage front, side and knee airbags. Nevertheless knowing that these are part of the features is reassuring.

 

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Then there are extremely useful convenience features like the mobile phone charging pad, the “How much further?” app, and the Cabin Watch and Cabin Talk features that parents travelling with young kids will greatly appreciate. The 280bhp, 355Nm 3.5-litre V6 also impressed us, never feeling underpowered or strained and working well in sync with the 10-speed automatic transmission. Of course there are a handful of minor niggles, but they aren’t life-changing ones.

Overall, the Odyssey makes a strong case for itself as a credible alternative to full-size SUVs, especially for those buyers who do not intend to take their rides deep into the wilderness or over rocky off-road terrain. And at just over Dh170,000 for the fully specced model, it’s a lot of car for your money.