In a Nutshell The multi-award winning Honda Odyssey is back with more safety features, a new engine and transmission, more interior room and practicality.

Practical Motoring Says Styling and interior practicality updates should put the Honda Odyssey back on the shopping lists of those after a roomy seven-seater that doesn’t feel like a barge.

THE HONDA ODYSSEY HAS ALWAYS been the people mover blokes-that-care buy. In a sea of converted commercial vehicles it offers a low-slung, futuristic looking machine that’ll accommodate a family of five or more, and all of their stuff without looking like you’ve, well, given up.

Here in Australia, the Honda Odyssey has won just about every motoring award going around, from winning Wheels Car of the Year (1995) to a string of Australia’s Best Car category gongs (the Hyundai iMove) is now that award’s favourite. More than 29,000 have found driveways to call home (1.59 million globally).

Since its global launch in 1994 until recently, the Honda Odyssey has been, as far as ride and handling in the people mover category is concerned, a benchmark. These days, however, the Odyssey is on-par with its competitors rather than being a standout.

Honda Odyssey VTi-L rear

Honda is hoping to retake the lead with its new Odyssey. But on looks alone it might struggle, the redesigned front-end is more upright than ever before. Indeed, it now looks more like a traditional (read: standing-tall) people mover than funky looking machine it once was.

That said, it’s now more practical than ever. There’s a new engine, a new CVT, the third-row of seats fold flat into the floor (you can choose from either seven or eight seats), and power sliding doors to name just a few standout features.

The fifth-generation Honday Odyssey is available in two trims: VTi which offers eight seats; and VTi-L which has seven seats.

Under the bonnet

The 2014 Honday Odyssey offers a re-engineered 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine – there’s only one engine available across the range. It produces 129kW of power (at 6200rpm) and 225Nm of torque (at 4000rpm). Fuel consumption ranges from 7.6L/100km for the VTi (1768kg) to 7.8L/100km for the heavier VTi-L (1819kg)

There’s only one transmission available for the new Odyssey and that is a redesigned CVT which, Honda says, offers a wider ratio spread than the CVT in the outgoing model and, thanks to its G-design Shift offers faster, more throttle sensitive shifts.

The Odyssey features Honda’s Idle Stop system which, like a conventional stop-start system kills the engine when you’re stopped at, say, a set of traffic lights. However, if the engine is cold, or the heating and cooling are operating within certain parameters, the Idle Stop function won’t activate to ensure occupant’s comfort. If the engine is stopped, it’ll restart the moment the brake pedal is released or the steering wheel is moved.

Honda VTi-L driving

One complaint with a lot of stop-start systems is that, here in Australia, the cabin can heat up quite quickly when the engine cuts out. The Honda Odyssey features a cold-storage evaporator which essentially banks cold air from the air-conditioning which can be piped into the cabin during Idle Stop activation – Honda says this techno-marvel can improve fuel efficiency by 10%.

Inside the Cabin

Honda says, and stay with us, it based the concept for the interior on a “modern hotel suite”. Hmmm.

By using high-strength steel in the body, the Honda Odyssey offers similar interior space to that of bigger people movers. Tandem distance between the first and third-row has increased by 155mm, with knee clearance of the second- and third-rows up by 115mm and 35mm respectively, without compromising luggage space (330 litres with the seats in position).

Honda’s interior designers seem to be able to eke out every mm of space and offer clever seat-folding arrangements to maximise the interior space. For maximum boot space you simply stow the third row flat into the floor while sliding forward the second row and then folding them up against the backs of the front row seats. Should you only need room for five, you can stow the third row and then slide the second row seats aft to create limousine-rivaling legroom.

Honda VTi-L interior with reclining seats

Move up to the VTi-L and each of the seats can be reclined individually and, with the third row stowed flat into the floor can be moved aft by 740mm to create a spacious interior. Access to the back seats is via powered sliding doors offering an opening height of 1230mm and a width of 750mm. The VTi has only one power sliding door, the VTi-L has two. They can be operated either by pulling lightly on the door handle, or pressing a button on the keyfob. Sensors in the forward and trailing edge of the door ensure any obstructions are detected and no damage is caused to either occupants or the door.

Honda Odyssey VTi-L steering wheel

The Honda Odyssey features Honda’s clever Display Audio which can mirror a compatible Apple iPhone (Apple iPads cannot be connected to the system). Users can swipe in a similar way to an Apple iPhone: scrolling through screens and pinching to zoom in or out.

Once the user downloads the Honda app launcher, the Display Audio system can connect to a smartphone through an HDMI cable and access a select number of applications that are safe to use while driving, such as apps that allow audio streaming from your music playlists.
The sat-nav system in the Odyssey is now powered by the user’s smartphone rather than by hardware in the car. Users, Honda says, can also plot their journey from home, save it to their phone and then connect to the car and then used through the Display Audio system.

What kit do you get?

The Honda Odyssey VTi is well equipped, getting things like Halogen headlights, Honda’s Display Audio system, one powered sliding door, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, manual adjust driver and front passenger seats, cloth trim, 10 drink holders, soft-close glovebox, and more.

Move up to the Odyssey VTi-L and you get all of the same, plus leather seats, LED headlights, dual powered sliding doors, powered adjust for the driver (8-way) and front passenger (4-way) seats, auto-dimming rear vision mirror, rain-sensing wipers, tri-zone climate control, sunroof, and more.


The 2014 Honda Odyssey is yet to be submitted for ANCAP crash testing, but Honda anticipates a five-star rating. The 2014 Honda Odyssey has a raft of passive and active safety features, including six airbags, multi-view camera for a 360-degree view around the vehicle (VTi-L only), blind spot monitor (VTi-L only), and a cross traffic monitor (VTi-L only) for when the vehicle is in reverse. Standard safety features include, engine immobiliser, alarm, five child seat anchor points, tyre deflation warning, ABS (anti-lock braking system), traction and stability control systems.


The 204 Honda Odyssey VTi lists for $38,990 (+ORC) while the top-spec VTi-L lists from $47,620 (+ORC). Honda offers capped price servicing on the Odyssey and servicing intervals are every 10,000km or six months, whichever comes first.


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    1. Hi Many, Apologies but we pre-empted a five-star rating for the Odyssey. Honda hasn’t yet submitted the Odyssey for testing but it anticipates a five-star ANCAP crash safety rating. Thanks Isaac (Editor)

  1. I don’t think that you’re right about the child seat anchor points. The two models are different.
    The VTi-L has the bonus that the anchor point for the two “captains chairs” are in the back of the chair (anchor for the top tether strap.)
    There is no equivalent anchor point in the back of the second row seating in the VTi model, or if there is neither I nor the salesman at my local Honda dealer have found it yet. The tether straps have to go to anchor points above and behind the third row seats in the roof. That means that a) you only get three child restraints, not 5 as many claim, and b) the seating is no better than that found in a large sedan.
    Note that the seating in the Japanese and US models is much more rational, from what I have seen on the ‘net.

    You would be doing the world a favour if you could take a photo of the interior of each car with the maximum number of car seats installed, particularly if that car is supposed to be “family oriented.”


    1. Hi Peter, apologies if I’ve caused any confusion. Honda’s press material states five anchor points, although I think that might refer to five ISOFIX locations. However, if you don’t also have five top tether anchor points then those ISOFIX locations become academic. I’m confirming this with Honda and will provide the photos you’re after once I’ve had my turn behind the wheel and fitted it with child seats. I’ll contact you directly when I hear back from Honda. Regards, Isaac (editor).

    2. Hi Peter, according to Honda the Odyssey offers different top tether points depending on the model, so, the VTi has them in the roof in the second row and in the back of the seat in the third row (behind the seat itself), while the VTi-L has them in the back of the seats in both the second and third rows (behind the seat itself). Hope that helps. Cheers Isaac (Editor)

  2. we just bought a 2015 VTI and were surprised to find that we only have 3 anchor points all the way at the back of the roof. the spots where the anchor points seem to be in the back of the second row of seats are actually empty. this was quite disappointing as the third row of seats are not good to use with the child seat straps running all the way back

      1. thank you, i look forward to it. however, I already bought it. we are happy with it but still need to figure out whether there is a more practical way of placing 3 child seats on the 2nd row. would love it if you commented on that as well in your review

          1. that seems to be the VTI-L model. we purchased the base VTI which has 3 second row seats and it does have plastic lids on the back of the seats, same position as where the one you are testing has the anchor points but ours are empty
            thank you, it would be great if you could ask honda for us

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