Although it’s been three weeks since the Odyssey joined us as a long-termer, none of us got to take it for a long cruise. Our time with it was mostly confined to dawdling commutes to and from work. But an eleventh-hour idea to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Ras Al Khaimah presented an opportunity to stretch the Odyssey’s legs. I hadn’t made any particular plans for the year-end celebrations, but when a cousin mentioned the northern emirate’s bid at a new Guinness World Record in fireworks display, we scrambled to get a last-minute hotel deal and set out in the Honda. With the cousin and his family also in tow, we set out to Ras Al Khaimah, giving me a good opportunity to put the MPV’s long-distance credentials to the test.
The Odyssey is a proper eight-seater, but it lets you remove the centre seat of the second row to add more space and flexibility within the cabin. With the centre bucket taken out, it allows three seating modes for the second row. These are Wide mode that leaves a walk-through space in between the second row seats, Super mode that provides easy access to the third row and Buddy mode that brings both the centre row seats together in the middle. However, our group being comprised of four adults and four kids, I left the centre seat intact in what Honda calls the Full mode. Even in Full mode, it is surprisingly easy for kids to get in and out of the third row. The two side seats in the second row fold and slide easily to leave ample space for third-row ingress and egress. The sliding rear doors, which can be opened from outside by pressing a button on the key fob, also adds to the versatility of the vehicle. These doors can also be opened and closed using buttons on the dashboard or inside the B-pillar. The doors do have sensors to prevent arms or legs from getting trapped in between, but they only activate upon physical contact. This might lead to a scare initially, but rest assured it will stop and slide back if it touches a limb. We tested it many times, bravely risking Kinan’s arms and legs!
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The trip also gave me the chance to test its practicality. With all the three rows up and occupied, the Odyssey still has ample space for a considerable amount of luggage. Also impressive is the MPV’s ride quality. The ride is as smooth and poised as that of a high-end luxury SUV. Seating is supportive and comfortable enough to provide hours of fatigue-free travel. However, one gripe I had about the front seating arrangement was the lack of a full central armrest. The Odyssey has two slender, height-adjustable armrests fixed to the inner side of either front seat. During the long drive, I found it too close to the body for my comfort as I generally prefer resting my elbow a bit away from me while driving.
But overall, the Odyssey proved the ideal vehicle for our trip, and added to the overall getaway experience.