2012 HONDA ODYSSEY EX-L W/NAV
Used Truck - 2012 Honda Odyssey EX-L w/Nav in Plainfield, NJ
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2012 Honda Odyssey ReviewThis car review is specific to this model, not the actual vehicle for sale.
Best handling and most efficient of the big vans.
The Honda Odyssey is about function and making family life easier. It can carry a family of eight, or half a high-school soccer team, with all their coolers, balls, tents, shoes, whatever. It can tow a small trailer with a motorcycle or watercraft. It can carry 4x8 plywood flat on the floor, with 10-foot-long boards can be stacked on them, extending between the front seats when the convenient removable console is taken out. Best of all, it's loaded with conveniences designed to simplify life.
The Honda Odyssey was thoroughly redesigned and re-engineered for the 2011 model year, marking a new generation of one of America's favorite multi-purpose vehicles. For 2012, the only change, besides a new color, is that the 2012 Honda Odyssey EX gets some of the fancy electronic equipment previously reserved for the Odyssey EX-L.
Though still called a minivan, there is nothing mini about the modern minivan. The Honda Odyssey, Nissan Quest, Toyota Sienna, and Chrysler Town & Country are big passenger vehicles. If you need a true mini-van, you might consider a Mazda5. For many uses, and especially for carrying people, a Honda Odyssey or one of its competitors makes more sense than a full-size sport-utility or crossover. A minivan handles better, is roomier, and is more fuel-efficient than an SUV does.
The Odyssey is less expensive than a luxury SUV, gets better fuel economy, and has more cargo room, with greater flexibility in how the space is configured. Unless you need four-wheel drive or you tow a big car or boat, the Odyssey should work. Odyssey's third-row seats set a new standard in legroom, with as much space as the front seats in a Cadillac Escalade or even the Odyssey itself.
The Honda V6 engine leads the class in fuel economy and delivers 248 horsepower. A 5-speed automatic transmission is standard, but Touring models get a 6-speed automatic that delivers better acceleration and better fuel mileage. Honda is a leader in engine development and the Odyssey's V6 is smooth.
Comfort and poise are excellent, even with six large people on board. Six airbags including three-row side curtains are standard. The Odyssey leads its class in safety ratings, with 5 Stars from NHTSA and Top Safety Pick from IIHS. Honda boasts that it's the only eight-passenger minivan to ace both tests.
Odyssey's main competition is the Toyota Sienna, which offers more choices with a four-cylinder engine, a sport model and all-wheel drive available but not eight seats. The re-engineered Chrysler Town & Country is an eight-seat rival.
All 2012 Honda Odyssey models use a 248-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine, automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. The only mechanical differences among them are wheels, tires and the number of transmission speeds.
Odyssey LX ($28,225) seats seven on cloth upholstery and uses a 5-speed automatic transmission. It includes front and rear manual air conditioning, eight-way power driver's seat, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, adjustable second-row seats, 60/40-split fold-in-floor third row seats, 229-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 five-speaker stereo system auto-off projector headlights, cruise control, reading lights for all rows, trip computer and 10 beverage holders.
Odyssey EX ($31,475) has eight seats and adds power sliding side doors, three-zone automatic climate control, driver power lumbar, second-row sunshades and multi-function seats, alloy wheels, removable front center console with two more cupholders, 2GB CD library and seven speakers with subwoofer, USB port, Homelink, Bluetooth, HandsFreeLink, intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID) with 8-inch touch-screen, conversation mirror, security system, heated mirrors, wheel-mounted audio controls, auto on/off headlights, compass and outside temperature display.
Odyssey EX-L ($34,875) upgrades to leather upholstery and steering wheel-wrap, power moonroof, tailgate and four-way passenger seat, heated front seats, XM radio, front cool box, and auto-dimming mirror. Options: Navigation with voice recognition, FM traffic info, multi-view rear camera and 15GB disk drive; and rear entertainment with 9-inch screen, wireless headphones/jacks and a 115-VAC outlet.
Odyssey Touring ($41,180) gets 6-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch wheels, and mild aerodynamic changes like side sills and mirrors with signal repeaters. Touring also adds to EX-L driver-memory system linked to reverse-tilt mirrors, an acoustic windshield, standard navigation and rear entertainment, third-row sunshades, third-row center armrest, multi-information display, corner and backup sensor indicators, fog lamps and ambient footwell lighting. Odyssey Touring Elite ($43,675) is a Touring model with blind-spot warning system, HID headlamps, and a dual-input 16.2-inch widescreen rear entertainment system linked to a 650-watt, 12-speaker 5.1 surround sound system.
Safety features on every Odyssey include frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, three-row curtain airbags, tire pressure monitors, electronic stability control, ABS, EBD, and brake assist.
The Honda Odyssey got longer and wider in its 2011 revision, resulting in good aerodynamics. It's still plus or minus a couple inches of its competitors in every measure. The grille and headlamps appear to be a cross between the Honda Insight and Civic, and Toyota Sienna. Odyssey's looks are somewhat daring, but boxy minivan architecture, function and mission all conspire to limit styling. Touring models have aero rocker panels and mirrors, and larger wheels.
One distinctive visual feature is the drop at the bottom of the window line, behind the sliding doors. They call it the lightning-bolt look, a bit of an exaggeration, but it does break up the monotony and improves the view from the third row.
The front and rear door handles are paired in a mild recess, almost reminiscent of a Rolls-Royce with rear-hinged rear doors. The power sliding doors can be opened without having to shift to Park first, sometimes useful but not a good idea to do so, especially with kids.
The roofline looks something like a tent pulled taut over a stake, similar to that of the Acura MDX, or even the Mercedes R-Class. Taillights use clear lens signals with amber bulbs for visual pop, without the expense of LED lamps. A spoiler atop the hatch is standard, and the power tailgate (EX-L and above) has pinch protection. Roof rails are a dealer accessory.
The Odyssey LX seats seven, and all other models seat eight. We found it roomier and more comfortable than any SUV including a long-wheelbase Cadillac Escalade. Only a Sprinter van offers more interior space, until you get to buses and motor homes.
With all three rows of seats up, the cargo area is 38.5 cubic feet, just 7 less than the biggest SUV. With the third-row folded it grows to 93 cubic feet, and with the second row down there's a breathtaking 148.5 cubic feet. A 4x8-foot sheet of plywood will go flat on the floor, and 10-foot-long 2x4s will even fit, between the front seats when the center console is removed. The floors are lower than they are on SUVs, so loading is easy. The Lazy Susan-like cargo area under the floor carries a spacesaver spare tire.
High-quality cloth upholstery is used in the LX and EX, leather in the other three models, with carpeting and soft-touch panels above the muddy foot zone. The LX doesn't feel cheap like a commercial vehicle, while the Touring model is as luxurious as the nicest Accord. The Odyssey is full of useful bins and good ideas. If you've never owned a van, the Odyssey makes you wonder how you managed without one.
The dashboard, center stack and controls are conventional, and the styling is conservative. The Toyota's swooshy woodgrain interior is fancier (and it has dual gloveboxes), but the controls aren't as simple or logical as they are in the Odyssey, and that's a big thing.
The major gauges are easy to see through the steering wheel, which can be tilted and telescoped. Four small displays at top center are shaded by a hood, and we could see them even wearing polarized sunglasses. Center vents frame the climate controls, including a sync button to match all the zones, while audio and navigation controls are lower. Operation of all controls is reasonably intuitive, and if you don't like buttons there's voice command.
The rear climate controls are overhead, where only a kid could spill a milkshake on them.
A power driver's seat is standard. Adjustable pedals are unavailable. Tall drivers might find their right leg resting sharply against the center tunnel.
The Odyssey chassis uses active noise cancellation and active engine mounts to minimize vibration. A laminated windshield reduces wind noise, in the Touring. In the middle row, any noise comes from the sliding door, and in the third row it comes from the rear tires. We found it is easy to carry on a normal conversation at freeway speeds.
The view out the windshield from the rear seats is very good, with tidy pillars and front headrests. Of course, if the passengers are watching a movie using the available entertainment system, the drop-down screens take away visibility both directions, but that's how it goes, it's worth it. Having six passengers in back will be more of an issue, because the center shoulder belts anchor in the roof on opposite sides. Upper models have parking sensors, multi-view rear camera and blind-spot warning, but in the rearview mirror, the driver can see through the right rear anyhow, unlike some SUVs with thick pillars.
There's a whopping 40.9 inches of legroom in the second row. The seats can be moved apart so that three child seats will fit, or you can have two child seats and still be able to move the third section for back-row access. The middle section slides forward for an easier reach for front-row occupants, or creates a large center armrest, and all can be removed for cargo. One lever will fold, tilt, slide or remove the seats. We love it all.
Third-row seats set a new standard in legroom, with as much space as the front seats in a Cadillac Escalade: 42.4 spectacular inches. It's three-wide for kids and two for adults, with good headrests. Like the second seat, the split-folding wayback seat can be folded into the floor with one tug.
If gadgets and details make the minivan, the Odyssey does not disappoint. Besides that removable center console, you can get a six-pack coolbox under the dash, grocery hooks, 15 beverage holders, four coat hooks, a trash bag holder for passengers, and bins, cubbies and reading lights throughout. Indeed, the Odyssey is a great vehicle for six adults out on the town.
On Odysseys with leather, for $1600 you can get the rear-seat entertainment system with a 16-inch widescreen that shows side-by-side images or one panorama, using 650 watts driving 12 speakers in 5.1 surround sound. So in the unlikely event anyone asks, 'Are we there yet?' you won't hear them.
It's easy to see why the Honda Odyssey is called a benchmark by reviewers. When it comes to road manners, it's the most refined of its kind. When it grew in 2011, it also got tighter.
The 3.5-liter V6 is smooth, quiet, and efficient. It has active cylinder management that runs on 3, 4 or 6 cylinders as needed, improving fuel efficiency.
Honda Odyssey is rated 18/27 City/Highway miles per gallon by the Environmental Protection Agency. That's better than the Toyota Sienna and Nissan Quest, each EPA-rated at 19/24 mpg. The Sienna V6 has a bit more power than the Odyssey does, but it isn't as refined or as economical when cruising on the highway.
The Odyssey is about equal in power to the 4.0-liter V6 in the Chrysler Town & Country, but gets better fuel mileage, even with its 5-speed automatic versus the Chrysler's 6-speed automatic. Town & Country gets an EPA-estimated 17/25 mpg. With an EPA-rated 21/28 mpg, the Mazda 5 is more fuel-efficient than the big Odyssey around town, but the Odyssey nearly matches the much smaller Mazda 5 on the Highway fuel economy rating. Kia Sedona is rated 18/25 mpg. Regular gasoline is recommended for the Honda Odyssey and the other minivans.
Odyssey Touring models come with an excellent 6-speed automatic transmission. The Touring models weighs an additional 200 pounds, but thanks to its 6-speed it accelerates better and climbs hills more smoothly than do the LX and EX models. The 6-speed transmission and its aero kit helps raise the EPA fuel economy rating of the Honda Odyssey Touring to 19/28 mpg City/Highway. The transmission lacks a sport mode, but we don't think it's needed.
Vans generally handle better than people expect. They are often more stable than SUVs because they're lower. Among minivans, the Odyssey is one of the best handling. The steering is light on center, and weights up nicely with cornering effort. It's direct without being quick, gives good feel for the front tires, and pulls a U-turn in 36.7 feet, way tight for a long-wheelbase minivan. The brakes also have good feel, unfazed by our downhill charges. No van is tuned for sports-car handling, but that didn't stop us from trying sports car roads and parking-lot autocross courses. That tells you something about how it would behave in an emergency maneuver.
We found the Odyssey corners like a heavy, front-wheel-drive sedan: stable, predictable and secure. The electronic stability control is not invasive; on the one occasion we managed to reach the limit it gently and quietly put things back on the ideal course.
The Odyssey rides like a big sedan, too, admirably soaking up bumps. The Toyota Sienna is stiffer but compared to the Odyssey feels rubbery, leaving the driver slightly less connected and passengers rolling more. Among the minivans, the Honda is the driver's car.
The Odyssey doesn't offer all-wheel drive, so it's not a van for places with lots of snow. The Toyota Sienna is available with AWD.
The Honda Odyssey seats eight, has a vast cargo capacity, passenger legroom, and is chock full of storage places and good ideas for convenience. Its crash ratings are the best for any minivan. The Honda V6 is smooth and efficient, with excellent fuel economy. The 5-speed automatic works well, but the 6-speed offers better performance and fuel economy. The handling and ride are sweet. The Odyssey can be equipped for full-tilt style and fun, with a rear-seat entertainment system.
G.R. Whale and Sam Moses contributed to this NewCarTestDrive.com report.
Honda Odyssey LX ($28,225); EX ($31.475); EX-L ($34,875); EX-L rear entertainment ($36,475); EX-L navi ($36,875); Touring ($41,180); Touring Elite ($43,675).
Options As Tested
Honda Odyssey Touring Elite ($43,675).Fresh styling inside and out.
The Honda Pilot is a sturdy, reliable SUV with ample space, convenient features and the ability to handle whatever weather Mother Nature might have in store.
New for the 2012 Honda Pilot is a refreshed exterior including an updated front fascia, grille and headlights. Inside, the 2012 Pilot gets a redesigned center stack and instrument cluster, updated navigation system and better interior materials. Added sound proofing makes for better noise insulation, and several features that were previously options now come standard on the 2012 Pilot.
Also notable is a slight improvement in fuel economy for the 2012 Honda Pilot. Aerodynamic and powertrain adjustments to the 2012 Pilot eek out an extra 1 mile per gallon in the city and 2 mpg in both freeway and combined driving.
The Honda Pilot seats eight, and it can easily handle four adults and four children. It offers cupholders and storage cubbies galore for front, middle and rear-seat passengers. When hauling cargo, the Pilot has enough space to carry a 4x8-foot sheet of building material flat inside.
Pilot is available with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The all-wheel drive version offers a 4,500-pound towing capacity and the ability to handle inclement weather, but the car-like crossover construction of the Pilot makes it better suited to on-road activities than slogging though mud or tackling rocky terrain.
Compared to others in its class, the 2012 Honda Pilot is a decent midsize crossover sport-utility. It keeps pace in terms of storage space and fuel economy, but offers humdrum performance, most notably in its somewhat sluggish acceleration and unimpressive stopping distances. Those who prefer a sportier, more responsive crossover should consider the Mazda CX-9. Other alternatives include the Ford Explorer and Dodge Durango. If you don't need towing capacity, the Ford Flex offers similar space with much more panache.
The 2012 Honda Pilot comes in four trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring. Each is offered with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (4WD). Every trim level comes with the same powertrain: A 3.5-liter, 24-valve, single overhead cam V6 engine that makes 250 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque, paired to a 5-speed automatic transmission. All other mechanical and safety components and systems are identical across the range.
Pilot LX ($28,470) comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, a trailer hitch, keyless entry, rear privacy glass, automatic headlights, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, front and rear air-conditioning, 60/40-split second- and third-row seats and a seven-speaker audio system with CD/MP3 player and auxiliary jack.
Pilot EX ($31,320) bumps the wheels up to 18-inch alloys and adds painted body molding, foglights, heated exterior mirrors on AWD versions, an eight-way power driver seat, tri-zone automatic climate control, steering-wheel audio controls, Bluetooth connectivity and a 2GB hard drive for digital music storage.
Pilot EX-L ($34,570) includes everything on the EX model plus power liftgate, rearview camera, sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power passenger seat, comprehensive vehicle information display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, satellite radio and an iPod/USB connector. Optional features include a voice-activated navigation system with 15GB hard drive for digital music and multi-angle rearview camera, as well as a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with wireless headsets.
Pilot Touring ($39,220) includes all features found on the EX-L plus parking sensors, roof rails, driver memory functions and an upgraded, 10-speaker sound system.
Safety equipment on all Pilots includes front and front side airbags, three-row side-curtain airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist (electronic stability control), four child-seat LATCH positions, active front head rests, and eight adjustable headrests and shoulder belts.
The design of the Honda Pilot is strictly utilitarian. Although the updated fascia, grille and headlights give the 2012 Pilot a more contemporary look, it's clear that this boxy crossover was strictly meant to be functional. Base LX models get black plastic side body moldings and door handles, while EX models and above get these in body color. Foglights and roof rails on upper trim levels add more functionality as well as a sportier look.
Panel crimps around the wheel openings aid the rugged look without adding width or bolt-on parts that might promote rust. The rear wiper parks off the hatch glass, allowing it to open separately. The hatch has a hefty pull handle with touch-point releases and is powered on the Touring model, and the bumper has a good cover so sloppy loading won't mar the paint.
All Pilots come with a Class III tow hitch and coolers required for towing; only a wiring pigtail will be needed from the dealer. The top tow rating is a respectable 4500 pounds on 4WD and a modest 2000 pounds on front-drive models.
Better-looking textures and materials flank the inside of the 2012 Honda Pilot compared to its predecessor. The revised instrument cluster is attractive and easy to read, with a clear background and silver-toned rings. Although the new center stack is less busy than the previous model, it still contains a mind-numbing 45 buttons, including those for climate control, audio, 4WD and navigation. The large, iDrive-like button for the navigation and entertainment system is placed near the bottom, which takes some getting used to. Still, it's more user-friendly than the last version.
Storage abounds in the 2012 Honda Pilot. A large, deep center console holds plenty of gear, but its cavernous dimensions can gobble up small items and make them tough to find. A three-compartment storage shelf with rubber lining above the glove box gives passengers a slip-proof space for phones and keys.
Leather upholstery on the Touring model is adequate, but not luxe. Front seats offer good support and the built-in heaters get toasty quickly. Front head- and legroom is ample, and the power seats and tilt/telescoping steering wheel has a far enough range of adjustment for drivers of practically any height.
You won't feel short-changed by the Pilot's second-row, 60/40 folding adjustable seats. Passengers get big cupholders back here, too, as well as storage pockets in the doors. Third row seating, which also splits 60/40, is easy to access and offers adequate space for its class, but only children or small adults would be truly comfortable. The seat cushions for the second and third rows are too low for tall passengers, however, forcing those with longer legs into a squatting, knees-up position. The larger Chevy Traverse and Ford Flex are much more comfortable in this regard.
Third-row passengers get extendable headrests, which significantly reduce driver visibility out the back window but can be stowed in the back cushions when not being used.
With all seats in place, the Honda Pilot offers 18 cubic-feet of space, enough for about six standard-sized bags of groceries side-by-side. With the second- and third-row seats stowed, storage space maxes out at a respectable 87 cubic feet. Large and bulky items fit with relative ease thanks to the Pilot's boxy shape. The cargo area has as assortment of tie-down points and bag hooks, and the cargo floor, equipped with a net, can be flipped up and latched against the third-row seatback to create a basket/shelf capable of holding 22 pounds. There is also more storage below the cargo floor.
The cloth upholstery on LX and EX we found to be comfortable in temperature extremes. The cloth is a subdued design with just enough pattern to hide stains that become part and parcel of any eight-seat vehicle. Just like the priciest Pilot, door armrests have soft cushioned elbow pads and there's no cheap feel in frequently felt surfaces.
The Honda Pilot's practical image falls short when it comes to performance. There's not much oomph off the line, which we assume is in part to aid fuel economy numbers. Although rated at 17 mpg City and 24 mpg Highway by the federal government, our numbers according to the Pilot's on-board computer were far lower. After a week of driving a combination of city and highway roads in Southern California, our fuel economy was a disappointing 12.6 mpg, and 12.2 mpg while in stop-and-go Los Angeles traffic.
The Pilot drives as big as it looks, and we don't mean that in a good way. It's cumbersome around corners and in tight spaces, especially noticeable in L.A.'s crowded parking lots. Ride quality is compliant and comfortable, and the Pilot floats over bumps and chewed-up city roads with ease. Pilot's suspension is tuned softer than that of the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave yet it leans less in corners than the Toyota Highlander. The Acadia may enjoy a slight advantage in steering feel.
The 3.5-liter V6 takes on a characteristic Honda growl when you push it and you'll need to be towing or accelerating uphill on an on-ramp to require such grunt. For the most part the engine is in the background, never silenced, never rough and never annoying. It uses Honda's Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) to switch off two or three of its six cylinders to save fuel; the ECO light on the dash shows when you are getting best economy and does not necessarily mean the Pilot is running on only three or four cylinders.
The Pilot shifter offers an OD Off switch which locks out the top two gears, so if you want fourth to control speed on long hill descents or winding roads you're out of luck. The Toyota Highlander and Mazda CX-9 perform better in these respects.
Braking performance felt adequate to us, although some industry tests indicate the 2012 Honda Pilot requires much more stopping distance than others in its class. Electronic braking aids, including brake assist, come standard.
The Honda Pilot is a reliable midsize crossover with available all-wheel drive and ample space for cargo and people. For 2012, Pilot gets revised styling inside and out, and it's quieter.
NewCarTestDrive.com correspondent Laura Burstein reported from Los Angeles; with Greg Whale reporting from Riverside, California.
Honda Pilot 2WD: LX ($28,470); EX ($31,320); EX-L ($31,314) EX-L w/Rear Entertainment ($32,759); EX-L w/ Navigation ($36,570); Touring ($39,220); 4WD: LX ($30,070); EX ($32,920), EX-L ($36,170); EX-L w/Rear Entertainment ($37,770); EX-L w/Navigation ($38,170); Touring ($40,820).
Options As Tested
Honda Pilot Touring 4WD with Navigation/Rear Entertainment ($40,820).The Honda Odyssey is considered by many to be the gold standard in minivans. It's refined design with creative storage solutions, and spirited driving dynamics make it stand-out year after year. The Odyssey is available in five trims: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring and Touring Elite. All trims use a 248-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine that features Honda's variable cylinder management system (VCM), which allows the V6 engine to switch among three, four, and six cylinders to increase fuel efficiency. The interior features a third-row Magic Seat that folds into the floor. Maximum seating capacity for the Odyssey is eight passengers. Safety features such as side-impact and curtain airbags, four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system are standard on all models. Luxury features such as leather trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, navigation and entertainment system are all available. Redesigned last year, the 2012 Odyssey continues with updates to the standard equipment. The EX trim is now standard with Bluetooth, USB audio interface, 8" TFT screen, and 2GB CD-Library.