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Saturday, August 28, 2010

2011 Honda Odyssey - A Glimpse Into the Near Future

The 2011 Honda Odyssey is the best minivan for you if you want the all-new, distinctively styled version of America’s most popular people mover. The 2011 Honda Odyssey is fully redesigned with a fresh look inside and out. It’s wider and lower than the 2005-2010 generation-Odyssey and has a zigzag body line that sets it apart from other minivans. Improved fuel economy and a second-row bench that accommodates three child safety seats are also part of the 2011 Odyssey redesign.

Styling:
The 2011 Honda Odyssey gets an all-new body that tries mightily to inject some spice into the minivan formula. Like every good minivan ought to be, the 2011 Odyssey is still essentially a big box on wheels. But Honda has created a new shell designed to appeal to people who recognize the utility advantages of a minivan but reject the minivan image. Honda calls these people “hesitaters” and hopes the 2011 Odyssey’s sleek new look makes minivan ownership palatable to them. The windshield pillars are raked rearward to form an aero nose, the wheel arches flair to create a wide stance, and the rear roofline tapers in violation of minivan convention. Honda designers say minivans look most generic when viewed from the side. To set the 2011 Odyssey apart, they kink the line that separates its lower body from the glass “greenhouse.” Occurring just behind the sliding side doors, the kink creates what its designers call a “lightning bolt beltline.” More than just a visual flourish, they say the kink also enlarges the rear side glass and improves outward visibility for passengers in Odyssey’s third-row seat. Honda also says there’s more room inside for third-row passengers, despite the tapered roofline. The 2011 Odyssey’s overall exterior dimensions change little: it gains about an inch in overall length and 1.4 inches in overall width, and loses 1.6 inches of height. Wheelbase remains at 118.1 inches. Wheelbase is the distance between the front and rear axles and key to how much room a vehicle can devote to passenger space. Odyssey’s wheelbase is actually a bit shorter than that of its key competitors, the Sienna, and the Dodge Grand Caravan and its corporate cousin, the Chrysler Town & Country. Full details on trim levels were not released in time for this review, but Honda confirms the 2011 Odyssey lineup will again begin with a base LX model. Returning higher up the line will be the 2011 Honda Odyssey Touring, with the 2011 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite designated the new flagship model.
Mechanical:
The 2011 Honda Odyssey will continue with a one engine choice and front-wheel drive. Final specifications were not released in time for this review but the 2011 Odyssey will use the same basic 3.5-liter V-6 that serves well in the outgoing Odyssey and in other Hondas, such as the Pilot SUV. Horsepower will again be around 250 and torque around 245 pound-feet. (Think of torque as the force that you feel when you accelerate and horsepower as the energy that sustains your momentum). However, all versions of the 2011 Odyssey will have Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) technology. This saves gas by automatically switching to three or four cylinders in low-demand situations. Previously, only the top to Odyssey models, the EX-L and Touring, got VMC, leaving the entry-level LX version and midline EX model without the fuel-saving feature. The 2011 Odyssey’s sole transmission is likely to be a six-speed automatic, which would replace a less-efficient five-speed automatic. This fourth-generation Odyssey will remain front-wheel drive, leaving the Sienna as the only minivan to offer all-wheel drive. Honda points buyers looking for all-wheel drive and three-row seating to the Pilot SUV.
Features:
The 2011 Honda Odyssey will offer a host of features new to this minivan, including a 16.2-inch-wide rear video screen, a storage drawer for iPods and cell phones, and a refrigerated dashboard bin. Those were among the 2011 Odyssey details released at the time of this review. Honda confirms the 2011 Odyssey LX will have two second-row bucket seats for seven-passenger capacity. All other 2011 Odyssey models will again seat up to eight, a capacity matched among minivans only by the Sienna. On eight-passenger 2011 Odyssey models, the middle section of the second row is a narrowed jump seat that doubles as a fold-down armrest. The second row’s outboard sections can be adjusted laterally in a “wide-mode” setup that allows this row to accommodate three full-size child safety seats. The outgoing Odyssey’s second-row seat accommodated up to two child seats. On the 2011 Odyssey, the second-row’s middle section can slide forward for better access to your kid from the front row.
The 2011 Odyssey does not adopt an in-the-floor stowage system for its second-row seats. In-floor second-row stowage is a high point of the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan. Nor does the 2011 Odyssey copy the Dodge and Chrysler arrangement in which second-row seats swivel to face the third-row seats and form a table-and-chairs arrangement. The 2011 Odyssey’s third-row seat is wider than the outgoing model’s and has more shoulder and leg room. It also gains a fold-down center armrest. The third row in some 2011 Odyssey models has an array of MP3 interfaces and power outlets intended, Honda says, to create an isolated connectivity zone for adolescents. Honda’s third-generation Odyssey (1999-2004) pioneered the space-efficient setup in which a minivan’s third-row seat folds fully into the rear floor. All rivals now have it, and the 2011 Odyssey simplifies the folding process via a single-strap pull system. Rear-cargo-bay sidewall storage bins are new, too. Depending on trim level, the 2011 Odyssey features as many as 15 cupholders, some newly adjustable to accommodate everything from skinny Red Bull cans to fat Big Gulp cups.
The 2011 Odyssey again offers rear-seat DVD entertainment but is newly available with a ceiling-mounted 16.2-inch widescreen that can display side-by-side images from two separate video sources. A proliferation of dashboard controls was a flaw of the outgoing Odyssey and Honda says the 2011 model’s dashboard has been reorganized and simplified. It says operation of the available voice-activated navigation system is more intuitive, too. Bluetooth cell-phone mating is again available, and USB connectivity for iPods and other digital media finally makes its Odyssey debut. Honda has not said whether the 2011 Odyssey will offer on-board Internet Wi-Fi. The 2011 Odyssey’s revamped dashboard does gain a pull-out “media shelf” for iPods, cell phones, and the like; power outlets are located nearby. Also newly available is “cool box” that folds from the base of dashboard and is powered by Odyssey’s electrically system; it can hold four 20-ounce beverages. To contain your empties, the 2011 Odyssey introduces a “trash ring.” This plastic hoop flips up from the rear of the front center console and forms a frame for a standard plastic shopping bag.
Federal fuel economy ratings for 2011 models were not released in time for this review, but Honda says the 2011 Odyssey will rate 19/28 mpg (city/highway). For comparison, the 2010 Honda Odyssey models equipped with VCM were rated at 17/25 mpg, and the LX model, which lacked VCM, was rated at 16/23.
The 2011 Odyssey’s notable improvement over the 2010 Odyssey’s fuel-economy ratings demonstrates the value of Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management. It also could be evidence of several additional fuel-saving measures Honda will apply to the 2011 Odyssey, including an advance to an automatic transmission with six speeds instead of five.

Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan: Combined, these corporate cousins outsell the Odyssey, but the Odyssey is America’s best-selling single minivan nameplate. Town & Country and Grand Caravan are due a major revamp for model-year 2011, gaining revised styling and Chrysler’s promising new Pentastar V-6; it’ll be rated around 280 horsepower. The strength of these minivans will remain a wide spread of price points and features such as the hide-away second-row buckets and table-and-chairs seating. The Chrysler and Dodge minivans haven’t been quite as rewarding to drive as the Odyssey, but have been class leaders in infotainment technology, including on-board Wi-Fi and satellite TV.

Toyota Sienna: All-new for 2011 and again Odyssey’s main competition for upmarket import shoppers -- and for high customer-satisfaction scores, too. The 2011 Sienna features sculpted new styling and a more athletic stance, plus the addition of a fuel-saving four-cylinder engine to compliment the returning V-6. Both engines use a six-speed automatic transmission, and Sienna returns as the only minivan available with all-wheel drive. Luxury La-Z-Boy-style second-row buckets and rear entertainment screens that create a 16.4-inch-wide display are among other highlights.

Ford Flex: If you like the utility of a minivan but find yourself among the “hesitaters,” consider this blend of station wagon, minivan, and SUV. The unusual-looking Flex crossover doesn’t have sliding side doors, but it seats seven on three rows, offers front- or all-wheel-drive, and has a relatively low center of gravity that benefits handling. Ford’s 355-horsepower EcoBoost V-6 option gives it real get-up-and go, too. Base price range is around $29,000-$35,000.

The All New 2011 Honda Odyssey is scheduled to arrive at Bob Boyte Honda in Fall 2011. Call now to schedule an exclusive viewing and honored guest drive of this "Futuristic" automobile. Ask for Ryan or Milton @877-722-6983 or visit us on the web @ bobboytehonda.com.

If you are in need of a new or preowned autombile now, call us immediately for Model Year-end Closeout specials and / or special interest rates for qualified buyers.

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