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Refined replacement for Odyssey

Honda aims to reclaim its fair share of the people-mover segment with its revamped Odyssey

2 Dec 1999

HONDA'S Odyssey people-mover will make way in late March for a sleeker, more refined replacement.

Unlike the current model, which is available only with a 2.3- litre, four-cylinder engine, the newcomer will be offered with the choice of four-cylinder or V6 power.

Honda says the new Odyssey's lower centre of gravity and widened stance improves the car's stability and aerodynamic efficiency.

The improvements are likely to come at a cost. Honda Australia spokesman Mr Ron Hammerton says the strength of the Japanese yen will make it hard for the current pricing to be retained.

Therefore, the 2.3-litre Odyssey may rise in price from $42,500 to about $45,000 while the V6 may cost around $55,000 - more or less in line with the Chrysler Voyager LE.

The Odyssey has been averaging around 100 sales a month this year but its tally has dropped in recent months following the launch of the all-new Kia Carnival and revamped Mazda MPV.

The launch of the new Odyssey should help Honda regain the ground it loses while the current model is phased out.

At the revamped people-mover's heart lies either a 2.3-litre, four-cylinder engine or a 3.0-litre V6. Both powerplants are claimed to be capable of meeting the strict Japanese fuel economy standards slated for 2010.

The 2.3-litre unit is based on the current Odyssey's engine while the V6 is derived from the powerplant offered in the Accord and Legend.

The four-cylinder unit is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission but the V6 Odyssey comes with a five-speed automatic that enables Tiptronic-style sequential shifts by nudging the gear lever.

Among the upgrades found inside is the elimination of the wand- like column shift in favour of a console-mounted gear selector.

Additional space is created for third-row passengers by relocating the spare tyre under the floor. Incidentally, the third row of seats can be folded flat into the floor without having to remove the headrests.

Passive safety levels have been improved by making extensive reinforcements to the Odyssey's body.

The reinforcements have resulted in greater rigidity and torsional stiffness, which should also bring some improvements in the vehicle's ride and handling characteristics.

Honda claims the new Odyssey can withstand full frontal impacts of up to 55km/h and offset impacts of up to 64km/h.

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