It’s no secret that seven-seater SUVs have become a popular choice among Filipino families. In fact, in our Industry Insight for Q3 2018, midsize SUVs are among the most-inquired vehicle segments, next to subcompact cars and MPVs. And it’s pretty understandable why. Authoritative demeanor, go-anywhere capabilities, and of course, the ability to seat seven people – these are the main selling points of these huge cars.
However, are midsize SUVs really the best choice if you want a family vehicle? After taking the Honda Odyssey for a family getaway during the holidays, I reckon, people are missing out on the things that minivans can offer. It’s made to be a perfect family car, and here are the reasons why.
Just the same as midsize SUVs, the Honda Odyssey can accommodate up to seven people, including the driver. However, these seven people would be seated comfortably inside the Odyssey with ample leg-, head-, and wiggle-room even at the last row, as opposed to SUVs where the last row is better off for kids and small adults.
Even better, Honda’s minivan offers a deep cargo area – enough to fit a standard-sized child stroller, medium-sized luggage, one huge duffel bag, a knapsack, and a little room for more small bags.
With immense interior space comes cozier amenities for all passengers. The Odyssey offers sedan-like comfort with its McPherson strut (front) and torsion beam (rear) setup. As a matter of fact, it has a similar suspension setup with the Honda City. And oh, there are two captain cradle seats with multiple adjustments and ottoman found in the second row. It can’t get any more comfortable than that.
To prove a point, I filled the Odyssey with adult passengers (and one infant in a child seat) and traveled for two hours to Talisay, Batangas. I didn’t hear any gripes from the passengers at all after the long trip. Actually, everyone was sleeping soundly throughout the whole trip, including my two-month-old son.
Easy ingress and egress
The Odyssey doesn’t fancy itself as a people-hauling off-roader, so its ground clearance is the same as what the Honda City has at 150mm. This means both ingress and egress are pretty easy for every passenger without the need for step boards. Those who are seated at the back can also pass through in between the captain seats, which is a relatively easier task than stumbling down the second row.
Again, to prove a point, my wife’s 80-year-old lola was with us during our holiday getaway, and she didn’t have a hard time getting in and out of the Odyssey. And evidently, she loved the captain seats, too.
Besides, do you really need that extra ground clearance in a family car? And who in the right mind goes off-roading with seven people onboard?
As the Odyssey is built for the family, it’s blessed with features that promote the comfort and safety of everyone inside the car. Individual air conditioning vents are found on the ceiling, while a foldable screen is available at the back for onboard entertainment. Video can be sourced either through the DVD player in the infotainment system up front or via the HDMI ports found inside the cabin.
Aside from that, the Odyssey’s doors automatically open by pulling the door handles once. The driver can also open the rear sliding doors himself through the buttons found near the steering wheel. And since we Pinoys love fastfood drive-thrus during long drives, it wouldn’t be a problem at all as there’s a lot of cubbyholes and cupholders found inside the cabin.
Great fuel economy
The Odyssey is powered by a 2.4L gasoline engine, which could be a turn-off for those who love diesel. However, itsfuel efficiency is on the same ground as with most midsize SUVs, clocking in 14.1 km/L on the highway and 7.1 km/L within the city.
On our holiday trip, the 247 km traveled warranted an average fuel consumption of 8.9 km/L. Take note that the whole trip was 30% city, 30% provincial, and 40% highway drives. This can be further improved using the ECON button but I chose not to use it so the car could pull the laden weight better.
It’s a cinch to drive
Despite its size, the Odyssey is easy to maneuver with its nose-down body and wide driving visibility. It’s as agile as a sedan, and tight spaces aren’t a problem at all as it features an around-view monitor that lets you see every corner of the vehicle. The gasoline engine responds quickly to driver inputs as well, and yes, Honda’s Earth Dreams CVT has proven that it’s one of the best CVTs out there today.
You might think that this car is better off chauffeur-driven, but if you’re the designated driver like I was in our holiday getaway, you’ll appreciate the comfort that the car provides for the person behind the steering wheel.
Value for money
With a price tag that’s just a bit north of what range-topping SUVs have, the Honda Odyssey gives more than what the former has to offer. The P2,498,000 price tag for the top-of-the-line EX-V Navi variant might be steep for a lot of car buyers, but really, wouldn’t you want the best vehicle for your family?