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Odyssey Refined: Honda Cleans Up Styling, Adds Vacuum Option PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Maynard   
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 23:31

Photo Credit Creative Syndicate
The 2014 Honda Odyssey has had a mild redesign and updates to the powertrain, interior and safety features.

2014 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite

• Body style: 8-passenger, front-wheel drive minivan

• Engine: 248-horsepower, SOHC 3.5-liter V-6 with variable cylinder management; 250 foot-pounds torque at 4,800 rpm

• Transmission: 6-speed automatic

• Fuel economy: 19/28 mpg city/highway; 87 octane

• Fuel tank: 21 gallons

• Cargo space: 38.4 cubic feet, behind 3rd row

• Front head/leg/shoulder room: 38.3*/40.9/64.4 inches * w/moonroof

• 2nd row head/leg/shoulder room: 39.4/40.9/63.5 inches

• 3rd row head/leg/shoulder room: 38/42.2/60.9 inches

• Length/wheelbase: 202.9/118.1 inches

• Height/width: 68.4/79.2 inches

• Curb weight: 4,613 pounds

• Turning circle: 36.7 feet

• Tow capacity: 3,500 pounds

• Safety features include: Six air bags (including three rows of side curtains), stability and traction controls, 4-wheel disc brakes, brake assist, forward collision warning, lane departure warning

• Base price: $45,820, including $830 freight charge

A tidy minivan may be next to godliness, but it's also next to impossible. Several people who saw I was driving a new Honda Odyssey minivan asked if it had the vacuum.That proves the advertising has been effective, but is the HondaVac? Minivans are forgivably forsaken.

They get driven hard and put away dirty. It's almost easier to trade-in the trashed minivan and just get a shiny new one and move on. The opportunity for parents to use the HondaVac may provide a bit of quiet alone time. Kids and dogs flee at that sound.

And a new chore/punishment can be added to the list: "HondaVac the minivan! And, no you may not watch a DVD on the ultrawide screen while vacuuming." Minivans have become the green vegetables in the automotive food group. We should use more of them, but so many just don't like them. But for those who need sevento eight-seat capacity, these big wagons are pinnacles of function and features.

A truckbased SUV just doesn't come close for easy passenger in and out or big cargo space for gear and luggage. Alas, a well-done minivan will hold everything, but an ego. For those comfortable with the image, the pleasures are plentiful.

And the Honda Odyssey Touring Elite is as accommodating as its name implies.

Sold in six trim levels in front-wheel drive with one powertrain, Odyssey starting prices range from $29,655 to $45,280 for the Touring Elite, today's test vehicle, which includes the vacuum.

$45,000 buys a banquet of luxury features amid exterior and interior designs that dress up fairly well. New for 2014 are a mild exterior redesign and updates to the powertrain, interior and safety features.

New standard features include a six-speed automatic transmission, Bluetooth phone connection and four-way power passenger seat. New options include blindspot warning, forward-collision warning and lane-departure warning.

All models use a 248-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management, which returns fuel economy ratings of 19 mpg city, 28 highway on 87 octane. On the road, the Odyssey feels robust and controlled, but steering at low speeds seems heavier than it needs to be and lighter than expected at higher speeds.

The turning circle -- 36.7 feet -- is almost dainty for a 17-foot-long vehicle with a 118.1-inch wheelbase. Brake discs are larger by an inch, now at 12.6-inches front and 13.1 rear. Sightlines at the extended windshield pillars can be complex.

The open cargo area will carry a sheet of plywood and a few 10-foot two-by-fours. The 70/30 split third row folds flat into the floor or can be flipped forward in two sections, which yields a deep well for corralling grocery bags.

The vacuum, made by Shop- Vac, is hard-wired into the 12-volt system and is more powerful than a plug-in, but still not as thorough as a home or carwash vacuum. It is built into the driver's side wall of the cargo area and integrates two attachments, including a short crevice tool.

It will run for two minutes with the engine off and the vehicle set in the accessory position or constantly with the engine running. But the bin's debris-collecting capacity is small. And the stretchy hose will reach only to the second row and rear cargo area.

Give Honda credit for offering some innovative features. It was the CR-V that came out with the cargo floor that could be removed and used as a card table. And the inside panel of the tailgate had a gallon-size cutout to stash washer fluid.

Alas, those were good ideas on paper that weren't wildly popular and are now gone. The HondaVac is a marketing novelty that will be used a few times. Honda says it's much better than the competitive hand-held rechargeable vacs on the market. It's just so much simpler to visit the full-service carwash once a month and get a more thorough de-grunging inside and out.

Mark Maynard is online at mark.maynard@utsandiego. com. Find photo galleries and more news at MaynardsGarage


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