As I mentioned in my first drive review a couple of months ago, a family hauler cannot get more utilitarian than the 2018 Honda Odyssey. With its cavernous and nicely appointed cabin, and lots of storage spaces all around, it’s one of the most practical and versatile people mover on the market today. But, unlike MPVs of yore, there’s much more to the new Honda than just utility.
The 2018 Odyssey is filled to the brim with modern technology features, making it as safe and convenient as any family saloon or SUV out there. Like every other Honda, the Odyssey also benefits from the ACE (Advanced Compatibility Engineering) body structure, which apparently improves occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal collisions. Made up of 59 per cent high strength steel, the new model is lighter than the previous one by 34kg. Honda claims these changes have contributed in enhancing structural stiffness and rigidity by 44 per cent. Add to the robust architecture dual stage airbags up front, three-row side curtain airbags, and knee airbags for driver and front passengers, you can rest assured that your precious ‘cargo’ remains safe in any unfortunate eventuality.
These safety credentials are complemented further by features such as Forward Collision Warning scans the road ahead to warn drivers of a potential collision, Collision Mitigation Braking that intervenes to bring the car to a stop if a collision seems unavoidable. Over the last week, I noticed these systems work perfectly not just with vehicles on your path, but pedestrians as well. In fact, it’s got a separate Pedestrian Detection System as well which works at low speeds. Then there are the now pretty much standard driver aids such as Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Information System, Lane Keeping Assist System and Road Departure Mitigation System that uses a windscreen-mounted camera to detect whether the car is veering out of its lane and voluntarily takes corrective action, while giving tactile feedback via the steering wheel. This system also worked flawlessly on every well-marked road, proactively, sometimes even aggressively nudging the Odyssey back into its lane.
While there are many convenience features too that are packed into the MPV, the one I found most useful is the wireless charging platform. Positioned conveniently in the centre console, the charging pad is long and wide enough to accommodate even the biggest of phablets you can buy today. Charging is quick and the pad is made of an anti-slip material that makes sure your phone stays in one place. If you have a smartphone that’s wireless-charging compatible, all you need to do is place it face up on the pad, and quick charging begins. This is one feature every car, irrespective of segment, should have, so that you needn’t worry about cables and adapters anymore.
One gripe I had with the Odyssey this week was is audio system. Honda says it’s a premium sound system with 11 speakers. But strangely, our tester plays music only on the front speakers. The sound settings in the Menu has options to choose the zones you want, but funnily enough, it doesn’t allow me to choose Full Vehicle or Rear Only options. I tried switching the car off and back on many times to see if resetting the system will change things, but to no avail. I will check with Honda if there’s some way around this, and let you know in the coming weeks. Apart from this rather irritating niggle, it’s been a pleasant experience overall, so far.