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2006 Odyssey

Overall rating:  Product Rating: 4.0

Reviewed by 34 users

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2006 Honda Odyssey: Is This the Perfect Minivan?


by Bryan_Carey:      Jun 26, 2006 - Updated Nov 16, 2006


Product Rating: 5.0 Recommended: Yes 

Pros: Lots of luxuries; Excellent safety ratings and features; Very roomy
Cons: Steering wheel not easy to adjust; Only partial stow away seating
The Bottom Line: This is an excellent minivan- the best minivan I have sampled so far.


When you have a need to haul six or more passengers from place to place, only a few types of vehicles can perform the task. There are a few larger SUV’s that include a third row of seats to accommodate more passengers but most other cars and trucks can handle a maximum of only six individuals. The exception to this is minivans and one of the finest minivans on the market is the 2006 Honda Odyssey, a quality vehicle from Honda.

Features/Options:

The 2006 Honda Odyssey comes in four different trim levels. They are (in order of price, from lowest to highest) LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring. These different trim levels include some options that are standard overall like 5- speed automatic transmission, power disc brakes, Am/FM stereo with CD player, power windows, cruise control, dual sliding doors (next to the second row of seats), 244 horsepower, 3.5 liter, 24 valve, V6 engine, etc., etc.

Moving up from one trim level to the next adds more bells and whistles and other slight changes/improvements to justify the higher price. For example, the top three trim levels offer power sliding doors in the second row. The EX- L and Touring trim levels include a power moon roof and heated seats. The top two trim levels also offer a DVD rear entertainment center and satellite linked navigation system. The top of the line Touring model offers luxuries like XM Satellite radio, two- position memory for the driver’s seat, three climate control zones, a 115- volt power outlet and more.

Statistics/Measurements:

Looking at the statistical measurements of the 2006 Honda Odyssey, one finds that this minivan as a weight of approx. 4,400 to 4,650 pounds. The van measures 201 inches in length, 77.1 inches in width, and 68.8 to 70 inches (the LX is 68.8 inches; EX, EX-L, and Touring models are 70 inches) in height.

The amount of leg, shoulder, and hip room in this vehicle is pretty good and is consistent from one trim level to the next. The measurements, in inches, for leg room are 40.8, 40, and 41.1 (front seats, middle seats, rear seats); for shoulder room, 63.5, 63.1, 61.2 (front, middle, and rear); and for hip room, 57, 64.4, 48.5 (front, middle, rear). The only difference in these key comfort measurements is with the amount of headroom. In the LX and EX trim levels, there are 40.9, 40, and 38.4 inches of space (front, middle, rear). In the EX-L and Touring trim levels, these amounts are 39.2, 39.6, and 38.4.

The total passenger volume in LX and EX is 171.4 cubic feet. In the EX-L and Touring models, this volume is 168.3. And the seating capacity in the LX and Touring is seven; in the EX and EX-L, the capacity is eight passengers due to the bench seat arrangements in both the second and third rows.

Pricing:

Like most vehicles, the prices differ greatly from one trim level to the next. At the LX level, the base MSRP is $25,345. Moving up to the EX trim level the base MSRP jumps increases to $28,395. The EX-L has a base cost of $30,795 and the Touring carries a base MSRP of 36,595.

Final Thoughts:

Honda’s 2006 Odyssey is the best minivan I have test driven thus far. With my burgeoning family, I have been looking closely at minivans as a practical alternative to the sports car and SUV that we currently own. My SUV has enough room for up to five passengers but a minivan offers some definite advantages when you have young children and infants, like the large side doors and the ability for the front seat passenger to walk back to the rear seats to tend to the little ones. I never imagined I would one day be considering a minivan as a possible vehicle to own. But times have changed and this type of vehicle is very practical at my present life stage.

I took a look at all four trim levels of the 2006 Honda Odyssey but I spent most of my time examining the EX-L trim level with DVD entertainment system. My first impressions of this vehicle’s exterior were generally positive. The appearance of this minivan falls somewhere between conservative and stylish. It doesn’t have a flashy look, but it doesn’t have the plain, unexciting appearance common with many large sedans. It looks like a family vehicle should, with a slightly aggressive (but not too much) looking headlight arrangement and center air intake in the front with the Honda “H” logo. With the color options, the situation is the same. There aren’t many colors to choose from the colors available are mostly conservative in nature. But this is what you expect with a minivan and I found the colors adequate; my personal preference leaning toward either burgundy or black.

What impressed me most with this vehicle is the interior and it is here where I spent most of my time. The dealer talked about all the different features available and I tried to absorb as much as I could but it almost got to the point where it was overwhelming. Some of the added features are typical of most minivans, like a DVD player, removable rear seats, under- the- floor storage, etc. But then there were extras that were different from what I have experienced thus far with minivans. For instance, in the front there is a “conversation mirror”- a small mirror that is aimed downward toward the rear seats so that the front seat passengers can see the faces of the people in the rear seats. This is nice because it means you don’t need to continuously flip the rear- view mirror up and down to check on your kids and to view the road. You have two mirrors to accomplish these tasks. Another example of unusual luxury is the under- the- floor storage between the second and front row of seats. Many other minivans offer storage like this, but the 2006 Honda Odyssey includes (of all things) a lazy Susan in this storage space. Now, you can store your CD’s, DVD’s, and other things and spin the lazy Susan around to improve organization and make removal of items more comfortable.

Another thing I noticed immediately about this vehicle is that it offers an abundance of cup holders. A total of 15 (!) cup holders exist in the LX, EX, and EX-L models and this number increases to 17 (like you need any more?) with the Touring model. Basically, this means that, even with a packed van, each passenger can utilize about two cup holders. Again, this almost seems like too much but since I’m the type who likes to take a swig on a bottle of iced tea or soft drink as I travel, I can fully appreciate this added luxury.

Looking at the rest of the interior, I was very impressed by what I saw. In the front, there are two glove compartments for added convenience. There is a six disc CD changer located right on the dash, standard in all models. There is individual climate control for the front and rear passengers so that everyone can enjoy the comfort level that he/she prefers. There are also two power outlets and a gear shift that is located on the dash. At first, I thought this location for the gear shift was unusual and I wasn’t so sure I would like it. But it quickly won me over when I took the minivan for a spin. What is nice about it is that it is smaller and therefore takes up less space than the traditional gear shift located on the floor or on the steering column.

Taking the 2006 Honda Odyssey on a test drive impressed me even more. First, I liked the power and acceleration. With 244 horsepower, this vehicle has no problem gaining momentum, even on inclines. And the steering is just right. The MacPherson strut front suspension and a snug turning radius make this vehicle smooth as silk when making sharp turns or attempting to park in a tight space. And there is almost no engine noise at all. In fact, when I first climbed into the driver’s seat, I didn’t even realize that the salesman had already started the engine. In many ways, the drive reminds me of a much smaller car, both in its quietness of operation and in its easy handling.

One other interesting feature of the 2006 Honda Odyssey is its Variable Cylinder Management System. What this system does is switch back and forth between six cylinders and three cylinders based on acceleration and power needs. Let’s say you are on a smooth, flat road and you are coasting along or perhaps pressing the accelerator ever- so- slightly to maintain a constant speed. When this happens, the Honda Odyssey automatically switches down to three cylinders. The reason for this feature?- it saves gasoline. The way you know the switch has occurred is by looking at the dash. Near the upper left side of the speedometer, you will see the letters “ECO” light up, indicating that your vehicle is operating on three cylinders and is extending its fuel economy. As soon as you accelerate, the ECO light goes off and the vehicle powers on all six cylinders once more. This may not seem like a big deal, but the fuel economy rating is improved because of it. The 2006 Honda Odyssey has fuel efficiency ratings of 20/28, making it equal to or better than many cars that are much lighter in weight.

Safety features are abundant on the 2006 Honda Odyssey. Not only does it contain front side and passenger side airbags, it also protects the rear seat passengers from harm with its three row side curtain airbags. There is also a Vehicle Stability Assist and Rollover Sensor that helps prevent rollovers from occurring. With the solid handling and the engineering of this minivan, the chances from a rollover are very slim, but it’s nice to know that these extra safety features are in place, for added peace of mind. And let’s not forget the “run flat” tires. If one of the four tires goes flat, you need not worry because this vehicle can still be driven for up to 150 miles at an average speed of 55 mph, even on a flat tire.

Is there anything bad that can be said about this vehicle? Well, the critic in me always tries to find something wrong but with the Honda Odyssey, I can only find a couple of small faults. One is the steering wheel adjustment. It can be moved around to suit your individual preference, but it isn’t the easiest to operate. The knob to control this is located underneath the steering wheel and it’s a little too manual for a deluxe vehicle like the Honda Odyssey. I was surprised when I pulled on it and had to exert some effort to get it to move. Granted, this wasn’t anything terrible but when you have so many luxuries on one vehicle it makes you wonder why Honda didn’t make this feature simpler. Another complaint is the fact that there is no stow- away seating like you get with the Chrysler Town & Country. With Honda Odyssey, the third row of seats stows away but the middle row has to be lifted out manually and stored someplace else.

The 2006 Honda Odyssey has received all sorts of recognition. Motor Week chose the 2006 Honda Odyssey as the “Best Minivan” for the 2006 year and Car & Driver Magazine ranked it among the “Five Best Trucks” for 2006. Intellichoice picked the 2006 Honda Odyssey as the “Best Overall Value of the Year” and “Best Minivan of the Year”. And the EPA ranked the 2006 Honda Odyssey as the most fuel efficient minivan. These, and other words of praise, have followed this vehicle since it was first released last year.

Overall, the 2006 Honda Odyssey is a winner among minivans and it is easily the best minivan I have tested and driven thus far. Only a few flaws exist and these are generally minor enough that they shouldn’t deter anyone from making a purchase. Honda isn’t offering any incentives or special offers right now but it isn’t likely to hurt sales in any way. When a company manufactures a vehicle this good, people will purchase it regardless of incentives. Great features, excellent safety, high resale value, and countless other reasons make the 2006 Honda Odyssey one of the year’s best vehicles. It may not be the perfect minivan, but it comes very close.



Be Sure to Click the Links Below to Read Reviews of Other Minivans:

2006 Dodge Grand Caravan
2006 Dodge Caravan
2006 Chrysler Town & Country

Product Rating: 5.0
Recommended: Yes 

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