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Car Review: 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite

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Honda didn’t hold back when redesigning the 2014 Odyssey, which would have been a safe play, but instead swung for the fences in design and function. We had the opportunity to test the striking 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite while taking a long road trip with six adult-sized passengers (including the driver) to find out what this people mover had to offer. Honda reinforced and expanded upon the vehicle’s already great features, including the exceptional value for money that already defines the Odyssey for its target buyer, which is Gen X and Gen Y families.

EXTERIOR

Refined and youthful, sporty and advanced, the Odyssey’s refreshed styling adds new premium elements for 2014. The 2014 Odyssey features sleeker, more sophisticated exterior styling with a new, more deeply sculpted aluminum hood, new aluminum front fenders, a new bolder twin-bar grille and a revised lower front fascia with integrated chrome-trimmed fog lights. New two-tone mirror housings, darker-finish projector-beam headlight housings, LED taillight bars and new badging add to the 2014 Odyssey’s premium look. Other notable exterior highlights include new black-trimmed headlights, new available fog lights and black-surround grille for an upscale appearance. New body-color matched side mirrors and additional bright chrome trim add to the premium appearance. New rear styling and LED taillights with clear lenses and eye-catching perimeter “light pipes” add to the polished look.

Weight savings come from the use of aluminum for the hood, front fenders and front suspension lower control arms. The 2014 Odyssey EX, EX-L, Touring and Touring Elite models have a wiper-linked headlight system that automatically turns on the headlights when the front wipers are activated. In addition, new standard one-touch turn signals improve convenience for the driver when making routine lane changes. With this system, one flick of the turn-signal lever provides three blinks of the turn signals – ideal for changing lanes. Pressing the lever past the “click point” provides continuous blinking. A new keyless entry system with push button start on EX, EX-L, Touring and Touring Elite allows the driver to approach the vehicle, open the door and start the engine, all without touching a key. The system only requires the driver have possession of the key fob. The system also simplifies opening the sliding side doors and tailgate; locking all doors when leaving the vehicle requires only touching the lock button on any door handle. We were also impressed with the Odyssey’s power moon roof with tilt feature, 18-inch x 7-inch alloy wheels, blind spot information system, front and rear parking sensors, dual power sliding doors, power tailgate, expanded view drivers mirror and heated power door mirrors with turn indicators. Together, the 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite has a look all to her own and really doesn’t reveal how much space is inside this modern machine because of the sleek skin and aerodynamic design.

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INTERIOR

There is that “wow’ factor when you first enter the 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite with the enormous amount of cabin space, including the untouchable storage area behind the third-row seating. Inside the 2014 Odyssey, new finishes brighten the cabin and an all-new center stack showcases a host of new features. Additional standard technology on the Odyssey Touring Elite brings new levels of ease and connectivity to owners, including keyless Smart Entry with Push Button Start, HD Radio, an SMS text messaging function and HondaLink featuring Aha Mobile interface. HondaLink, which debuted on the 2013 Honda Accord, enables Odyssey owners to connect quickly and easily to a wealth of cloud-based content. The free HondaLink smartphone app uses the owner’s favorite online content to create live, personalized radio stations, allowing drivers to put away their phones and hear updates and news feeds, as well as check out restaurant reviews.

Standard on the 2014 Odyssey Touring Elite, the all-new HondaVAC was developed in conjunction with industry-leader Shop-Vac, and is composed of a powerful vacuum, replaceable filter and canister bag, with nozzle accessories neatly integrated into a dedicated space on the driver’s side bulkhead of the rear cargo area. HondaVAC makes quick cleanups a snap no matter the location, offering powerful cleaning suction and an integrated hose and cleaning attachments that reach into every corner of the Odyssey’s cabin. The HondaVAC system’s powerful electric motor never needs an outlet or recharging, can operate continuously when the engine is running, and will continue to operate for up to eight minutes when the vehicle is turned off for additional family duties.

We spent many hours driving and entering and exiting the 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite, and there is no doubt that the seating configuration was very smartly developed. The dual power sliding doors make it very easy to get in and out of the second and third row seating. The leather trimmed seating was very upscale and comfortable even after long hours behind the wheel. We had a total of six people in the Odyssey, so we removed the middle child seat and created even more space and didn’t effect our seating arrangement in any manner. What was also a pleasant surprise was the amount of leg room and shoulder room in the third row seats. We had two good size adults riding in that third row, and they were very comfortable with no complaints after logging consecutive hours back there. It was also a plus to drive the Touring Elite which is loaded with options like multi-view rear camera, ultra-wide 16.2-inch DVD rear entertainment system with HDMI and wireless headsets, hard disk drive (HDD), HD Radio, XM Satellite radio, 12-speaker, 650 watt stereo with audio touch screen display, Bluetooth audio, USB audio interface, Pandora internet radio interface, SMS text messaging functionality, tri zone automatic climate control, 10-way pored river seat, heated front seats, one motion 60/40 split folding third row magic seat, multi-function second row center seat (which removes easily), second- and third-row sunshades which were a blessing on our road trip, 115 volt power outlet, 12 volt power outlets and exterior temperature display.

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PERFORMANCE

The 2014 Odyssey Touring Elite features a 3.5-liter, 24-valve V-6 engine producing 248 hp at 5,700 rpm and 250 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm. Honda’s i-VTEC enhances power delivery while Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) helps maximize fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. The powertrain is smooth as silk and delivers a steady 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg in highway driving. Safety and performance features such as four-wheel disc brakes, front MacPherson’s strut suspension, rear double wishbone suspension, variable assist rack and pinion steering, anti-lock braking system (ABS), vehicle stability assist, brake assist and electronic brake distribution elevated the driving experience.

Our 2014 Odyssey Touring Elite again was loaded with luggage and six adult-sized passengers and we never felt the need for more power whether in heavy highway conditions or city driving in stop and go traffic. Further enhancing occupant safety, the 2014 Odyssey receives the next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure. The reinforced frontal structure improves frontal crash energy management through a wider range of offset and oblique collision modes which is nice to know with so many people you care about riding in the Odyssey at one time. The blind spot alert system located just inside the side mirrors truly made us better drivers when navigating the highways of our travels as technologies like that will make driving safer!

Handling was crisp and at times you find yourself wondering how a minivan could handle so many passengers and luggage with such ease!

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OVERVIEW

As good as the 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite may look, this multi-purpose vehicle delivers on many more fronts than just good looks. We were first impressed with the seating configuration and the vast amount of space that we thought we pushed to the limit with the first leg of our road trip down south. But after our crew hit the outlet malls and gift shops, we really tested the spacing in the 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite, and lo and behold, we found room for everything. When you drive long hours in a car or van, you need to keep hydrated, and the front box cooler was a gem that kept our water and sports drink ice cold, which also saved precious space that a cooler would have taken. The HondaVAC is a unique option that really comes in handy for families or outdoors folks and fits nicely into a rear side compartment. Integrated in the rear cargo area of the vehicle, the HondaVAC includes an extendable hose that can reach every corner of the vehicle. Two separate head attachments expand versatility, while a removable debris canister and replaceable filter bag makes maintaining the vacuum easy. To protect the vehicle battery’s state of charge, the HondaVAC runs up to eight minutes with the ignition turned to the Accessory setting, or continuously if the engine is running.

There aren’t a many options out there for six passengers to take a long road trip and fit everything “inside” your vehicle, but the 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite was up for the challenge. What is also notable is that the loaded Touring Elite came in with a sticker price of $45,280, which makes this luxury van a smart choice for those wanting more from their transportation. If one was to travel with just one passenger, there is no telling how much cargo could fit into the Odyssey, and maybe that will be our next test for the sleek and sophisticated 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite.

  

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