2011 Honda Odyssey Preview

Highlights

2011 Honda Odyssey Photo Gallery
  • All-new redesign
  • Platform architecture shared with Honda Pilot and Ridgeline
  • Larger, wider and lower than its predecessor
  • 7- or 8-passenger cabin
  • Standard 248-horsepower, 3.5-liter 6-cylinder engine
  • Standard 5-speed automatic transmission
  • Available 6-speed automatic transmission
  • Front-wheel drive
  • 15 separate cupholders on most models
  • LATCH child-seat anchors in five seating positions
  • Available HID headlamps
  • Available split-screen entertainment system
  • Available "cool box" to keep items cool while driving
  • Available "Ultrawide Rear Entertainment System" (RES) with 16.2-inch screen
  • Designed, engineered and assembled in the United States

Introduction

The first-generation Honda Odyssey, essentially a tall 4-cylinder Honda Accord with four swinging hinged doors, debuted in 1995. It was followed in 1999 by the second-generation model-a more substantial model built on the company's global light-truck platform. It was now fitted with a powerful 6-cylinder engine and introduced the automaker's unique third-row "magic seat."

The third-generation Odyssey arrived in 2005. Growing in size once again, the minivan introduced Honda's "Variable Cylinder Management" (to improve fuel economy), 3-row side air bag curtains, stability control, and it was offered for the first time with a navigation system.

Now, for the 2011 model year, Honda has introduced its all-new fourth-generation Odyssey minivan. Larger and wider than its predecessors, the completely-redesigned 8-passenger minivan features unique styling on the outside (with a striking "lightning-bolt" beltline) and a more user-friendly interior. Conceptualized, designed, engineered, and manufactured in the United States, the automaker is calling it the "American Odyssey."

Model Lineup

2011 Honda Odyssey Photo GalleryHonda is offering seven different trim levels for its 2011 Odyssey minivan: LX, EX, EX-L, EX-L RES (rear entertainment), EX-L NAV (navigation), Touring, and Touring Elite. All models share the same 3.5-liter V-6 engine. The LX through EX-L NAV models are fitted with a 5-speed automatic transmission, while the two Touring models receive a new 6-speed automatic transmission (it is the automaker's first application of a 6-speed automatic in a Honda-branded vehicle).

All 2011 Honda Odyssey minivans are equipped with an extensive list of amenities and accessories. What follows is a general trim level overview:
  • The Odyssey LX is considered the entry-level model. It has a 7-passenger cabin, cloth upholstery, manual climate controls, manual sliding doors, and 17-inch steel wheels.
  • The Odyssey EX models are significantly upgraded. While they are still fitted with premium cloth upholstery, they share 8-passenger cabins, tri-zone automatic climate control, a power sliding door, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, and 17-inch alloy wheels.
  • The Odyssey EX-L models add leather upholstery, a power moonroof, power tailgate, and Bluetooth phone connectivity.
  • The Odyssey EX-L RES is fitted with the standard-width rear entertainment system while the EX-L NAV model adds satellite-based navigation.
  • The Odyssey Touring and Touring Elite models receive the 6-speed automatic transmission and 18-inch alloy wheels.
  • The range-topping Odyssey Touring Elite is fitted with the premium 5.1 surround sound audio and the "Ultrawide Rear Entertainment System" (RES) with its 16.2-inch wide screen.

Powertrain

2011 Honda Odyssey Photo GalleryThe 2011 Honda Odyssey is powered by a 3.5-liter 6-cylinder engine. While it is essentially the same engine found in last year's model, Honda engineers enhanced the engine for greater power and fuel efficiency. The aluminum engine block has been specially polished to reduce friction, and very lightweight oil is used to reduce the amount of drag on internal engine mechanicals, Honda says. In addition, there is a 2-stage intake manifold that helps the engine take in cold air. According to Honda, the engine is rated at 248 horsepower and 250 lb.-ft. of torque (those are improvements of 4 horsepower and 5 lb.-ft. compared to last year's engine).

To save fuel, Honda has fitted all Odyssey vans with its "Variable Cylinder Management" (VCM) system. The technology starts the engine with all six cylinders running, but then selectively shuts down individual cylinders based on the power requirements and driving conditions. Under hard acceleration, six cylinders are used. However, under normal or light cruising, the engine will save fuel by shutting down some of the cylinders and running on four, or even three, cylinders.

The standard transmission is a 5-speed automatic. The Touring and Touring Elite models are fitted with a standard 6-speed automatic transmission. To increase efficiency and improve acceleration, the gearing on the 6-speed transmission is lower in first through fifth gear, and taller in sixth. All Odyssey models are front-wheel drive-there is no all-wheel-drive offering.

Honda says the 2011 Odyssey minivan will accelerate to 60 mph in about 8.5 seconds. According to EPA fuel-economy testing, models with the 5-speed transmission (LX, EX and EX-L) earn 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway (21 combined). The Touring/Touring Elite models, with the 6-speed automatic, earn 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway (22 combined). All models are fitted with a standard 21-gallon fuel tank.

Safety

2011 Honda Odyssey Photo GalleryAll seating positions within the cabin of the 2011 Honda Odyssey are fitted with 3-point safety belts (the front driver and passenger seat belts have pre-tensioning devices, as well). There are dual-stage, multiple threshold front air bags, front-seat side air bags, and side curtain air bags (with rollover sensors) running down the length of each side of the cabin. The Odyssey is equipped with five child-seat "Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children" (LATCH) positions (there are four in the entry-level Odyssey LX). There is also a "pedestrian injury mitigation design" on the front of the Odyssey, to reduce injury to those outside the vehicle in the event of a collision.

Stability control, traction control, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, electronic brake distribution, and brake assist are standard. There is also a standard tire-pressure-monitoring system, as required by federal law.

As of this writing, the 2011 Honda Odyssey has not been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). However, according to Honda's own internal testing, the company says its Odyssey minivan is targeted to achieve the highest 5-Star/"Top Safety Pick" scores.

Technology

Children and adults alike will be entertained by the Touring Elite model's standard "Ultrawide Rear Entertainment System" (RES) with its 16.2-inch wide screen. While the standard DVD system (on the EX-L RES trim level) features a traditional 9-inch fold-down LCD display, the Ultrawide RES is essentially double that (two screens in one). The fold-down ceiling-mounted monitor is able to show movies in their natural ultra-wide format, or be split in half (left and a right) so that two shows may be viewed simultaneously (from two separate inputs). The video system also includes an external High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) input for quality video input, and a 115-volt power outlet to supply electricity for external devices.

To enhance the video experience, the Touring Elite model is equipped with a 12-speaker, 650-watt, premium 5.1 surround sound audio system-essentially creating a movie theater atmosphere within the cabin. Passengers may also choose to listen to the audio portion of their programming with one of several wireless headsets. If the screen is in "dual" mode, the headsets are configured to choose audio from the left or right side of the screen with a simple flip of a switch.