Northwest NEWS

April 3, 2000

Features

Honda Odyssey EX

Test Drive: 2000 Honda Odyssey EX

   The Honda Odyssey EX 2000 is getting a positive stir with awards and sales in the mini-van marketplace, and it only takes one drive around the block to see why.

   This vehicle has thoughtful amenities that start with the Honda Navigation System, which easily helps you find your way; dual power side sliding doors that work with remote keyless entry; enough cupholders for the driver and all passengers; individual air vents and lighting controls; lots of handles for easy entry and exit; and a large well in the back that holds groceries and other items in place.

   The design is classy, the color is uniform; and the van is driver and passenger friendly, with a low step-in, driver 8-way power adjustable seat; and good visibility.

   The ride is smooth and solid. The V-6 engine has 229 ft.-lbs. of torque at 4,300rpm and has the power to tow 2,000 lbs., or up to 3,500 lbs with a towing option. The 4-speed transmission shifts seamlessly. Equipped with ABS and Honda's TCS (Traction Control System), there is help for road stability in rainy and snowy weather.

   The Odyssey is a roomy vehicle with a cabin that allows seven people to sit easily, and still has lots of cargo space. A collapsible tray located between the driver and passenger seat provides enough space to move between the front and middle seats.

   There is ample head room for all heights and the front and middle seats are adjustable. The head rests are also adjustable. The rear bench seat can be folded down into the well to create a flat floor wide enough to carry 4'x8' sheets of building material.

   The Honda Navigation System uses GPS (Global Positioning System) data from satellites, together with the Odyssey's inertial guidance system--gyroscope and vehicle speed sensors--to accurately pinpoint the location and velocity of the car. The DVD-based system takes this information and generates the appropriate map and route to the driver's destination, within major cities in the 48 states it covers. It also contains addresses of restaurants, gas stations, and ATMs. Updates are available each year.

   I used the system to find an unfamiliar location in Bellevue. I entered in the address by pressing the keyboard on the six-inch-wide touchscreen. The system is located in the dashboard just to the right of the driver. A colorful map quickly came onto the screen that showed me the roads to take and provided a voice option to help me with the turns and other directions.

   As I travelled down the route, an arrow moved along on the screen, pinpointing exactly where I was at all times. The screen would show the names of all the roads I traveled along. A toggle switch allowed me to move the map in any direction to get a broader view. When I took a wrong turn, the system recalculated the route and then instructed me on how I could get to my destination in a different way. It was very nice for wrong turns and easy-to-get-lost-in places like Bellevue residential neighborhoods.

   I had the feeling that the computer was just as happy as I was when I arrived; it beeped for the destination reached.

   Safety from any angle impact is enhanced with Honda's 4-ring shell design, which includes two rings that completely encircle each row of seats.

2000 Honda Odyssesy EX