September 3, 2009
2009 Honda Odyssey EX. Click image to enlarge
Manufacturer’s web site
Inside Story is a review of interior comfort features, cabin controls, storage options, trunk space and under-hood accessibility based on a seven-day evaluation.
Review and photos by Michael Clark
2009 Honda Odyssey
Some things evolve more slowly than others. Take the freshwater sturgeon, a familiar resident of the waters near my home office. It’s quite large, unattractive, and needing little but an annual press kit to speak of its prehistoric features. Short of growing in-vehicle washer/dryer teams, minivans seem to be following a similar curve over the last three years. Still, making seating rows disappear into floorboards is a notable attribute, as are entertainment systems, back-up cameras, and proximity sensors. The issue is that minivans with every possible comfort and convenience option can start nipping at 50 large faster than you can say ‘power sliding doors.’ That’s a lot of KD nights for any growing family to swallow. This week’s test vehicle is a more affordable Honda Odyssey EX, the mid-level trim for the Odyssey line, priced at an MSRP of $37,490. (Prices shown do not include freight, taxes, regional or promotional incentives.)
The four-spoke tilt/telescoping wheel includes audio and cruise control tabs. The dash-mounted five-speed automatic shifter includes a tow/haul switch, but no manu-gate ability. Though no auto setting is specified for the headlamp switch, they will turn off automatically in the EX. When the front wipers are engaged, the rear wiper will swipe when the transmission is placed in reverse, but an intermittent detent is not included for the rear wiper.
The Odyssey’s floor-mount parking brake gets an extreme left-hand mounting location, with no snag issues. The instrument cluster uses a simple door-ajar indicator map, to the left of the fuel and engine coolant gauges – outside temperature, trip meters, and oil life can be found in the information display, below the speedometer. Power sliding doors can be controlled by the driver, just above the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) switch. The driver’s door pod houses an auto up/down pane for the driver, power exterior mirror controls, and a separate heated mirror switch, working independently of the rear defrost. The centre stack houses a six-CD audio head unit, and a tri-zone auto climate system, which can be controlled at roof level by the driver’s side second row passenger for the rear cabin. (Place your most-trusted offspring in this location.)
Two gloveboxes can live in perfect harmony, without fracturing interior aesthetics. The bottom cabinet can be locked, with the upper void providing impressive space. Oops! I dropped my camera. What a good time to notice the stowage space beneath the front passenger seat, for your purse/murse. The quad cupholder tray, between the driver and front passenger seat, can be lowered for access to the second row. (but please do so only in a stationary vehicle.) Cinch-ability arrives with the dash-mount cupholder, with C-clamp retainers. Note the large dash-mount stuff box. Below the cupholder is a tip-out drawer, a 12-volt DC powerpoint, and the auxiliary audio input. Front seatbacks are storage pocket-equipped, with the second row removable buckets sporting similar storage. The second row door panels include a bottle-specific holder, and a thin door pocket. The EX trim level includes manual second row sunshades. The aft cabin sports a total of three cupholders, as well as covered storage cubbies.