Thursday, November 18, 2004

Honda enters 2005 with a new benchmark minivan that it is referring to as a Premium Adventure vehicle. It grows not only in status, but in stature as well. The first-generation Odyssey, based on the Accord platform, was introduced in 1995, and was a four-door, four-cylinder minivan. It was Honda’s first light truck. Odyssey’s second-generation vehicle bowed in 1999 as a new global light truck featuring a V-6 engine and third-row seating.

The latest iteration of the Honda Odyssey is based closely upon a high-tech concept vehicle with the premise of a first-class lounge.

It is 1 inch wider and provides 2 inches of interior space along with 2 inches more rear-seat legroom. There will be three major trim levels with varying degrees of refinement.

First, there is the base LX, followed by the EX which comes several ways: EX with leather; EX with leather (L) and a rear entertainment system; and EX with leather, rear entertainment and navigation systems. Next up is the Touring model with leather and the Touring model with leather in addition to the entertainment and nav systems. All are powered by a 3.5-liter i-VTEC SOHC 24-valve V-6 engine that mates to a five-speed automatic transmission. Horsepower is 255 and the torque rating is 250 foot-pounds. Base pricing will range from $24,995 for the LX to $38,295 for the fully outfitted Odyssey Touring version.

Seating capacity for as many as eight passengers has been added to EX and EX-L by way of an exclusive Stowable 2nd Row Plus One Seat, while cargo versatility is enhanced on all models with the addition of a One Motion 60/40 Split Third Row Magic Seat that stows flat, or folds forward to reveal a large storage bin for containing groceries or whatever.

The Odyssey is the first North American Honda product that fully implements Honda’s Safety for Everyone commitment by including the ACE body structure, side-curtain air bags with rollover protection for occupants of all three seating rows, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Anti-Lock Braking (ABS) and more.

The new Honda Odyssey is more evolutionary in terms of styling development — it still looks like a Honda minivan, but is more refined and sophisticated in its presence. Safety offerings are first rate. The shifter for the automatic transmission is mounted on the instrument panel, freeing up floor space.

The test 2005 Honda Odyssey was an EX model with leather, finished outside in Silver Pearl metallic and inside in charcoal gray.

The base price was $30,295, with the final sticker totaling $30,810.

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