By Steve & Tamami Laser
Vans of all shapes and sizes remain incredibly popular in Japan. Honda offers a wide variety of choices from the Kei-car class N-BOX and its variants to the larger Freed, and even larger StepWGN. The Odyssey, a name familiar to Americans, gets refreshed this month and also gains new hybrid models.
While they share a name, the fifth-generation Japanese-market Odyssey is quite different from its American cousin. In addition to its smaller size that handles Japanese roads with ease, it’s powered by a 2.4-liter DOHC i-VTEC 4-cylinder gas engine with direct fuel injection teamed with a Continuously Variable Transmission. (U.S. models ride on a larger platform and use V6 engines.)
Honda says the new hybrid “realizes both excellent fuel economy and high-quality driving in the Odyssey and Odyssey Absolute which have been well-received for their spacious cabin, stately styling and exhilarating yet stable driving experience.”
The Hybrid and Hybrid Absolute are the first Honda premium minivans equipped with the Honda-developed powertrain dubbed Sport Hybrid i-MMD (intelligent Multi-Mode Drive) that teams an electric motor with a 2.0L i-VTEC gas engine. Honda claims class-topping* fuel economy of 26.0 km/L (JC08 mode)†.
Honda says it developed a new electric motor that features an innovative winding method and structure making it approximately 23 percent smaller and lighter than its previous motors while delivering high torque and output.
The traction motor, with maximum 315 Nm (232 lb.-ft.) is said to offer torque comparable to a 3.0L V6. The gas engine is rated at 107 kW (143 hp) @ 6,200 rpm and 175 Nm (129 lb.-ft.) @ 4,000 rpm, while the traction motor has 135 kW (180 hp) @ 5,000-6,000 rpm, and 315 Nm (232 lb.-ft.) @ 0-2,000 rpm.
By placing the lithium-ion battery underneath the floor of the first-row seats, Odyssey retains a large cabin with flexible seating for up to eight passengers plus abundant room for cargo. The second-row lounge-style captain’s chairs (below) allow passengers to ride in first-class comfort in the Hybrid Absolute seven-passenger models.
As for the gasoline-powered version, Honda says each model was made more attractive to customers through the enhancement of comfort features such as a larger armrest for the driver’s seat and a fully automatic air-conditioning unit that adopts Plasmacluster technology.
Prices in Japan range from ¥2,760,000 (about $23,500) for the Odyssey G gas model to ¥4,056,400 (about $34,500) for the Odyssey Hybrid Absolute with Honda Sensing™ and Advanced Package. All-wheel drive is optional on gas models.
* Honda internal research (as of Feb. 2016), 7/8-seater, category of engines size 1.8 L or above, minivan models with vehicle height more than 1,600 mm
† HYBRID / HYBRID Advanced package / Hybrid EX package [except Hybrid EX package (7-seater), and Hybrid Advanced package equipped with rear-entertainment system (7-seater)] was tested by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in Japan.
Prices are for reference only and do not include insurance, taxes (except consumption tax), registration or other fees.
Features, specifications, prices, and availability for Japanese-market models is subject to change without notice by the automaker.
News source and photos courtesy Honda Motor Co. Ltd.
Story © 2016 CarNichiWa.com