Honda Odyssey Hybrid

Honda Odyssey Hybrid Review: “Has excellent fuel consumption & ride quality, a family’s ideal minivan” by Naoki Aoyama

A long-awaited hybrid model has been added to the lineup of the Honda Odyssey.

As for its hybrid system, its two-motor sport hybrid iMMD, which was first adopted by the Accord, has been downsized and has higher power output. During the debut of the Odyssey, I remember the developer said, “We gave up on making a hybrid version of it because its price would be 500,000 yen more expensive.” However, it seems that the downsizing and costing down made it possible.

Its mode fuel consumption is surprisingly high with 26km/L. It is said that the investment may return, given a distance of 50,000km, by 300 to 350,000 yen per five years.

Its 2L engine outputs 145ps & 17.8kg-m. Its motor produces 184ps & 32.1kg-m. Simply put, it exceeded the 143ps & 16.8kg-m/ 169ps & 31.3kg-m of the Accord when it comes to engine and motor power (both the standard and the Absolute grades).

Surprisingly, the exterior parts of the Odyssey HV’s standard and Absolute grades are almost the same. The standard grade also has the popular aero system. However, its interior parts are different from the gasoline version. The Honda Sensing will be mounted as a standard equipment in the Absolute grade, so one must take note when comparing the prices. It has about 100,000 to 200,000 yen difference (thus, about 90% would purchase the Absolute grade with the hybrid version).

It has very little difference from the gasoline version. It has basically similar suspension system, emblem, and meters; but it has only a 10cm-higher floor height at the center of the first row seats. It also has a Li-ion battery stored under the floor. At the same time, the front end of the floor on the second row was also elevated, so one may use the former as a footstool where you can rest your feet for convenience.

Moreover, the Li-ion battery’s cooling device (one part of the IPU) was also mounted under the front seat. It has been designed to lessen its air intake sound.

When I rode on the Odyssey once again, it was very convenient to embark and disembark from the backseat with its low floor and huge sliding doors. Particularly, its premium cradle seats on the second row were uniquely stuffed with 30mm urethane cushions inside the seat cover, and there were also 170-degree reclining seats, making it top among its class. Furthermore, it provides a very pleasant ride quality (as if you’re lying down to rest) like in luxury saloons, with overwhelming extravagance.

If those premium grade seats were set at the rearmost end, my driving position with my height of 171cm would surprisingly provide 780mm free leg space, and it has more space with the depth of the driver’s floor area, which is 920mm, and its width of 1,320mm. It has a separate available space, which isn’t the same as in a limousine.

When it comes to the standard running style of the Odyssey hybrid equipped with 16inch tires, the Absolute and the standard grades have the same power and torque specs (disregarding the gasoline version). Therefore, its power performance is quite the same.

I started driving in EV mode, and its difference with the gasoline version was that it excellently generated powerful motor torque and a smooth and silent performance.

As for its ride quality, it has a lighter and pleasant ride quality compared to the Absolute grade equipped with 17-inch tires, and it starts and stops smoothly. It didn’t have any shocks and pressure when I ran different road levels at low and medium speed driving.

And as I drove at a high speed, the center part of the power steering became tighter, and I was able to drive it straight. I certainly was able to make a high speed touring.

Even so, the engine, which has been changed from 2.4L to 2L, has become quieter, and from the few engine load from the motor add-on, it remarkably increases the level of quietness overall, especially when touring at high speed. However, saying that I’m a bit bothered that it has a refreshing sound and road noise from the low-rotating tires compared to the Absolute is quite a selfish thing to say. If that noise would be eliminated, it will stand out.

As for the standard grade, which almost has the same interior as the gasoline version-based G-grade, you can choose between ivory and black fabric seats (only black is available for the Absolute grade). Black is more impressive than the white one, as it is easier to sit on its fiber material and a down blouson cloth; the latter does not look too nice as it would seem rather flashy. I’d like to recommend the ivory colored seats, even though it easily gets dirty, considering we’d let our dogs ride the car.

Incidentally, the black seats of the Absolute has an excellent design with its smooth seat skin; a dog’s fur wouldn’t stick as it disembarks from the car.

Both the gasoline and hybrid versions of the Odyssey are perfect for your dogs embarking the car. The dog can ride from either the package that has sliding doors with low floor distance (the floor is around 300mm high, while the Absolute grade’s is at 290mm), or the luggage area (when you keep away the third row seats, the floor height of the standard grade is 525mm, while the Absolute has 515mm floor height). The dog can then relax either at the back seat, the floor under the back seat, or at the wider luggage area. Thus, you can freely let them ride for certain. The second and third row seats have air conditioning vents, so the family and the dogs can enjoy driving comfortably and pleasantly throughout the seasons. Ultimately, I’d like to consider the idea of having the Honda Sensing advanced safety equipment better equipped to this model.

â–  5 Star Rating
Packaging: ★★★★★
Interior / Comfort: ★★★★★
Power Source: ★★★★★
Footwork: ★★★★★
Quietness: ★★★
Recommendation: ★★★★★
Pet-friendliness: ★★★★★

Naoki Aoyama | Motor Journalist/ Dog Life Journalist

He became a freelance motor journalist after working as an editor for an automotive magazine. He started as a writer specializing on automotive magazines, and then of general news magazines and websites. He also worked on publication related to pet (dog) and overseas travel, pet and drive-related television program, as well as events. He is currently expanding his career as a dog life producer. He is a Japan Car of the Year Selection Committee member.

(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)