Honda updated its Odyssey minivan for the 2008 model year. The Odyssey comes in LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring trims. The top level trim includes features such as a navigation system and rear seat DVD.
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Most of the Odyssey's exterior restyling went into the headlights, hood, and grille. These incorporate a modern look not shared with the rest of the car.
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All trim levels of the Odyssey get a 3.5-liter V-6, but the EX-L and Touring add refinements to save gas. Specifically, cylinder deactivation can disable 2 to 3 cylinders when the car is under low load.
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The sides of the Odyssey don't look particularly modern, and the shape is classic minivan. Side doors are power-operated, either from a button on the dash or the key fob. The tailgate is power-operated as well.
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The middle row gets these cushy-looking captain's chairs. They aren't quite as comfortable as a big, overstuffed lounge chair, but we did feel they gave the middle row a business class feel.
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The suspension doesn't let the Odyssey float over road imperfections, but it does a good job of damping the jolts.
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With the third row folded down into the well, you get an impressive amount of space in back of the Odyssey. With the seats up, the car can carry seven people.
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The interior doesn't seem particularly updated, although it does feature new cabin gadgets. The car gets Bluetooth cell phone integration for the first time, and a rear view camera.
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With the Bluetooth and voice command systems, the steering wheel gets saddled with two rows of voice buttons on the left side of the wheel. We like how the audio and cruise control buttons are set into the spokes.
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The audio controls and display, below the climate controls, duplicate functions accessible on the LCD. This duplication shows a lack of integration.
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The map does odd things to street names seen at angles, but the building outlines are a useful navigation aid.
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Honda includes Zagat-rated restaurants in the Odyssey's navigation system, making it possible to find restaurants based on quality.
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A six disc changer sits behind the LCD, which folds down. The changer plays MP3 and WMA CDs.
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The system lets you browse folders on an MP3 CD.
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XM satellite radio is included on the Touring version of the Odyssey.
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We weren't that impressed with the audio system, as it tries to fill the large cabin from only seven speakers, including a subwoofer. Its amp is reasonably powerful.
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The new Bluetooth cell phone feature lets you import your phone's contact list.
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Standard in the Touring model, an LCD is mounted to the roof for rear seat DVD entertainment.
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The DVD player is located near floor level in front of the car, a bad temptation for driver's to reach down and change movies while driving.
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