So we got a 2011 Honda Odyssey

So we got a 2011 Honda Odyssey

If you didn’t know, Honda has had a minivan in their GCC line-up for years now. It is called the American-built Odyssey, and up until this point, it simply existed rather than do anything fruitful. Honda quietly managed to sell a handful every year to families who wanted something more upscale than the hotel-shuttle Toyota Previa, but it remained rarer than a Ferrari on UAE roads. But now, there is a new model for 2011, and Honda is actually going heavy on the promotion for this one. We took a look at what exactly it is they are so proud of, by taking a trip to Al Ain Zoo over the weekend.

Vehicles like the Honda Odyssey were built with only one primary purpose, and that is to efficiently haul upto eight people in reasonable comfort. Luggage space, entertainment systems and the like are just bonuses. Ours was the top-spec Touring model.

The Odyssey is undoubtedly a large vehicle, shaped for space efficiency.

Honda is taking some flak for that “lightning bolt” along the side windows, but we think it is a very unique touch that uplifts an otherwise bland design.

Once on the road, we noticed right away that the Odyssey is nothing like the passing Previas. The Odyssey actually rides much lower than the tall Toyota, almost like a car, so it feels a lot like an Accord station-wagon from behind the wheel.

The dashboard is cluttered with buttons, but the dial-controlled navigation system proved to be excellent, leading us straight to the zoo with timely voice guidance. The cabin is largely hard plastic, with padded armrests as well as partial soft-touch areas on the upper doors and part of the passenger-facing dash. It’s not premium, but it is more than what Honda Pilot buyers get.

The front has power-adjustable seats with individual armrests and even a walkthrough floor area, if you want to switch sides.

The rear has a bench with individual armrests as well. The individual seats can slide front and back. They can also slide a little outwards to fit three baby seats in a row as well as flip forward fully for better access to the third row, none of which we’ve figured out how to do those properly yet. A look at the instruction manual is in order as we’ve already pushed, pulled and bit on every conveniently-labelled lever we could find. The windows get pull-up sun blinds and the windows even go down.

The third row, when you can get to it, has decent space for two average-sized adults, even on long journeys, but squeezing three grown-ups there would be torture. However, last-row passengers still enjoy padded armrests and pull-up window blinds!

Rear passengers get a roof-mounted ultra-widescreen DVD screen to play two sources at once, such as one DVD movie and one PS3 game. It comes with wireless headsets and a remote.

There is a ton of space in the boot, as the hole into which the third-row seat folds in can still be used for luggage when the third row is up. Fold down the third row, and the flat-floored cargo room is enormous.

There is no shortage of storage spaces, with large tubs and pockets to fit just about everything.

There is no shortage of bottle and cup-holders either. There are apparently 15 in there.

The 2011 Honda Odyssey is the ideal road-trip vehicle for a large family if you can get over the stigma of driving a minivan. That tailgate and those sliding doors are all power-operated and can be controlled with the remote key fob. We also got some surprising results in fuel economy, acceleration and even handling. Such available features are a sign that this is much more than just a people-carrier for fleets. More in the full review.

What do you think?



  1. Wow! I don’t usually like minivans but one has to give Honda credit for the efforts put in to make a minivan more desirable.

  2. Nice, but very expensive. Don’t Honda know that there are Yukons with V8 out there that car rip the face of this car, for the same price, and sometimes less if you get a Tahoe. Man tha Tahoe fully equipped, LTZ model, costs QR 157K. Come on Honda, think about us buyers, not only you, money maker!

    • Comment can be justifiable, but why? Yukon, Tahoe. First off, the Odyssey is a van and not a SUV. And as you mentioned you get a bigger motor V8 with the Tahoe. Which takes more gas and less fule effeciency. Honda Odyssey 19 City and 28 HWY. Tahoe 19 City / 21 Hightway.

      Yukon TLZ 4WD will also run you at around $55,000 if compaired to the like equipment that is available in the 2011 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite priced at $44,000 MSRP.

      Grant it, you can alway find rebates that will lower the cost of your Tahoe from MSRP. But then you will have to take a look at the entire cost of ownership.

      Take in consideration the following. Depreciation, Insurance, State Fees, Fuel, Maintenance.

      5 Year Total on Odyssey = $47,970
      5 Year Total on Tahoe = $56,510

      Not to mention the safetly, utilitarian use of the VAN vs. the SUV.

    • VR – most of the things you mentioned w.r.t rebate, state fees, etc…not applicable here in UAE

    • Exaclty Anil, we are not in Europe or the US.

      In the Middle East, if you are someone who is ready to pay this much for a van, you won’t think of fuel efficiency, as fuel efficiency is the only thing considerable from what you said.

      Also, fuel efficiency depends on your driving. The Tahoe and the Yukon will actully use a number of cylinders depending on your input to the engine. The system will not allow all the 8 cylinders to operate unless you want to, by rivving so much, or by driving fast above 100km/hr. I am not sure about he range of speed at which how many cylinders are gonna operate, but this is how it works.

      Yes the Tahoe and the Yukon are not vans, but they are FULL SIZE SUVs. But what is better, for less money, a car that can take the same number of passengers, and take them ofr-road with a V8 that car rip the face of this Honda off, or a van, that is very slow, and can never go off-road.

      You can also get awesome accessories for you Tahoe and Yukon to make it look like the Denali. Its very customizable. And today, who wanna drive a van? Isn’t it cooler to be in a Yukon?

      You get the same luxury with the Tahoe and the Yukon. You also can get a longer Yukon, the Yukon XL, if you want more space, and still cheaper than the Honda.

    • I agree with Abdullah. In the UAE, you really need an SUV to get around (sandy areas, safety, road respect).
      Also, the Honda’s ground clearance isn’t so great; if you take it to a sandy area its gona get some nasty scratches from stones and stuff.

    • VR seems from Honda PR Team !

  3. Ok the riddle of window shape at the rear is solved, when you slide the door of second seat, it nicely fits over the third window without spoiling the view, but is it worth to spoil the design, you will stand like that (last pic) may be for couple of minutes or during rest.

    Apart from that car looks cool. But as Abdullah said, Tahoe is too good for the price you pay, even third row is comfortable… Price has to go down.

  4. I’m sure this car is more fuel economical and more comfortable then a Tahoe with a big V8. And anyway what use is a big V8 and a heavy 4WD to families who just want to travel from point A to B on the road in comfort…??

  5. Is it Faisal, you can then by a Toyata van that carries labor, upgrade suspension and interior for 10k, it has manual gearbox, smaller engine, can be maintained in grocery shop and carry 15 persons. Its just all not about v8’s.

  6. What part of comfort didn’t you get?

  7. Author

    Just to clear up doubts since the top model is expensive, a base model would still make a good efficient 8-seater family vehicle, as it still comes with a CD/MP3 stereo, common power accessories, alloy wheels, V6 engine, etc. The base would cost exactly the same as a loaded Accord 2.4L sedan. It drinks about 35% less fuel than a Tahoe and is more spacious.

    • I’ve owned a Chrysler voyager and one of the best part about it was easy access. As it rides almost like a car, getting older people in and out was a breeze especially since those rear sliding doors were huge. Not the same deal with my Prado…

  8. this one can clearly take a lot..

  9. Where are the zoo pics? And the wide screen is just totally cool !!

  10. Good car.. One of the best and most interesting mini-vans ever made.. Really stands out as its the last of its kind in our maket.. Heck mini-vans are actually almost extinct..

  11. This seems to be lot taller than what you get in China, there its the same height as a Accord (almost).

  12. It comes with PS3 ? or you meant PSP ?

  13. does not seem to make any sense if PS3 can connect to it, this mean you can park your car in grage and play inside only ? ? or you mean that this car has IP address and connets to PS3 over internet ? as wifi has very weak range
    I need more details if you can dig out from manual

    I think it has to be PSP because its portalble and PSP in turn can connect to PS3 if required.

  14. ahan but how does PS3 get charging ?
    the car has 220 volt socket ?

    • Author

      Good question. I didn’t look for one, but the U.S. one has a 115V socket in the back. I assume the GCC one has a 220V one, or you’ll have to use a converter, or maybe a PS3 can be set to 115V like most PCs.

  15. yaa thats cool i like its technology but it is too expensive ant it has not resale value but previa have its resale value but i like HONDA ODDSSEY because it has its personality but previa dont ok thats i want to say

  16. yaa i will agree with humza butt because toyota have low and cheap price of spare parts thats all
    i requst to honda manager that give us some low price things thanks

  17. faisal from ksa……….gud car but yukon taho landcruiser batter then odyssey………….

  18. looks like a nice family car

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