Test Drive: 2012 Honda Odyssey Touring car test drives reviews honda
2012 Honda Odyssey Touring. Click image to enlarge

Test Drive: 2011 Honda Odyssey
Used Vehicle Review: Honda Odyssey, 2005-2010

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Review and photos by Greg Wilson

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2012 Honda Odyssey

“Mini-van” is not a very good term to describe vehicles like the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna and Nissan Quest. It was an accurate description of the first garage-able, front-wheel-drive mini-vans, the 1984 Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager, but they were much smaller and lighter that today’s mini-vans. For example, a 2012 Honda Odyssey is 684 mm (27 in.) longer and 246 mm (9.7 in.) wider than a 1984 Dodge Caravan.

A better term for today’s mini-vans might be “Big-and-versatile-luxury-vehicles-with-seven-seats-and-flexible-seating-and-cargo-arrangements”- but for the sake of brevity and familiarity, we’ll stick with mini-vans.

Test Drive: 2012 Honda Odyssey Touring car test drives reviews honda
Test Drive: 2012 Honda Odyssey Touring car test drives reviews honda
Test Drive: 2012 Honda Odyssey Touring car test drives reviews honda
Test Drive: 2012 Honda Odyssey Touring car test drives reviews honda
2012 Honda Odyssey Touring. Click image to enlarge

Today’s test vehicle is the most expensive and the best-equipped Honda mini-van you can buy, the 2012 Honda Odyssey Touring, priced at $48,420. It’s at the top of the Odyssey ladder that begins with the LX ($29,990), EX ($33,990), EX-Res ($35,590), EX-L Res ($40,990), and finally the Touring ($48,420).

If it wasn’t for the “soccer-mum” image that mini-vans have, the Odyssey Touring may well be considered an alternative to a full-size luxury SUV or luxury sedan: it’s got stuff that many luxury vehicles don’t offer – like a rear DVD system with a 16.2-inch wide split screen, wireless headphones and remote control; rear climate controls, cool box for drinks, HDMI, audio-visual, and 115-volt outlets, power sliding rear doors, power rear hatch, second row seats that slide together, and of course, split third row seats that fold into the floor.

And then there are all the standard luxury features in the Touring model: three rows of seats with front seat heaters, leather upholstery on the front and outboard second row seats (vinyl on the others), centre touch-screen and voice-activated navigation system, voice-activated 650-watt audio system with 11 speakers and a subwoofer, wireless Bluetooth audio and 15-GB hard-drive, hands-free Bluetooth cell phone system, three-zone climate control, removeable second row centre seat that slides forward for access to children in child seats, second row bucket seats that slide together, sliding sunshades on second and third row side windows, rear-view camera, rear parking sensors, blind-spot warning system, HID headlights, power moonroof, and a total of 15 cupholders!

As extensive as this list is though, there are some things the Odyssey Touring doesn’t have, such as available all-wheel drive (like the Sienna), fold-into-the-floor second-row seats and power folding third row seat (offered in Town & Country), front parking sensors, rear sunroof, rear heated seats, and sophisticated safety systems like radar cruise control and automatic braking. Still, for an all-in price of $50,000 (plus tax), the Odyssey Touring is less than what you’d pay for a mid-size or full-size luxury SUV or sedan and fulfills most requirements of the well-to-do, multi-child family.

Equipped with a standard 248-hp 3.5-litre V6 engine that includes cylinder deactivation when cruising to save gas, the Odyssey Touring is the only Odyssey to offer a six-speed automatic transmission – all the other trims have a five-speed automatic. The six-speed transmission improves fuel economy by about 0.8 L/100 km in the city and 0.1 L/100 km on the highway, according to Natural Resources Canada. Official fuel consumption figures for the Odyssey Touring are 10.9/7.1 city/hwy.




About Greg Wilson

Greg Wilson is a Vancouver-based automotive journalist and contributor to Autos.ca. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).