2011 Honda Odyssey Review - First Drive
Honda wants you to love the Odyssey for its body, but its best feature has to be its brains
All new for 2011 the fourth-generation Honda Odyssey is the first to be designed, engineered and built in America. More importantly, the team that’s been hard at work reengineering the class-leading family hauler is made up of men and women who have owned numerous past Odysseys, using them in daily family life, giving the team a unique perspective of exactly what is needed on this new car. And the results are impressive.
While “all-new” and sporting a somewhat unconventional design, there’s a lot about the 2011 Odyssey that’s familiar. Most importantly, the engine and chassis are carryovers, hinting that while Honda is optimistic about growth in the minivan segment, they aren’t betting on it.
Instead, Honda decided to focus much of its engineering talent on improving and perfecting the functionality of the Odyssey rather than reengineer it; and that’s smart thinking as there’s no reason to knock either the chassis or the engine. Quite the contrary.
BEST-IN-CLASS FUEL ECONOMY
Thanks to modifications to the engine, use of Variable Cylinder Management (VCM), a lighter overall curb weight and a sleek aerodynamic body, Honda wears the fuel economy crown in the segment. The new rating is an impressive 18-mpg city and 27-mpg highway, which bests the Toyota Sienna’s 18/24-mpg rating for the V6 and is even better than the 4-cylinder Sienna’s 19/24-mpg rating. And Honda even offers a six-speed automatic transmission on top trim Touring models which then get 19/28-mpg – family sedan numbers.