The Odyssey has long been part of Honda Malaysia’s range, in fact, from the time the company began operations over 12 years ago. Although it has not sold in any big numbers like the other models, it has nevertheless been available for those who want a large Japanese MPV and who want it from Honda.

While the first Odyssey was a global model, from the second generation onwards (introduced in 1999), the MPV had two different versions – one for the USA and another for all other markets. Because Honda built the Odyssey in America and there was a sufficiently large volume, it was possible for a market-specific version to be offered which differed from the global one.

Meanwhile, the global model proceeded through the usual model cycles (all of which were offered by Honda Malaysia) to the fifth generation which was launched in 2013. As the Competition Commission does not allow transparency by allowing car companies to reveal the sales numbers of each model, we can’t say how well each generation has sold. But since Honda Malaysia continues to offer the model, it must sell in enough numbers to justify its continued inclusion in the line-up and the expense of providing the mandatory aftersales support as well.

The Odyssey is still in the fifth generation so the one launched this evening in Malaysia is essentially a mid-term facelift. However, apart from the cosmetic updates, this mid-cycle model has a big upgrade in safety with the inclusion of Honda SENSING. Already available with one variant of the Accord and the top variant of the CR-V, the inclusion of this package of safety systems in the Odyssey is a continuation of Honda Malaysia’s strategy to offer more advanced technology to Malaysian customers.

The Honda SENSING package in the 2018 Odyssey features Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), and Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS). [Click here to read more about Honda SENSING]

In addition to Honda SENSING, the new Odyssey is expected to elevate the safety benchmark in Malaysia’s MPV segment with its unrivalled premium safety features. These include Multi-view Camera System, Smart Parking Assist System, Blind Spot Information and Cross Traffic Monitoring – all safety features exclusively found only in the Odyssey.

While safety enhancements would always be welcome, they would be especially welcome by those who have MPVs which can carry more people. Needless to say, there are also multiple airbags on the front and sides of the cabin and the usual Active Safety systems like ABS, Vehicle Stability Control and so on.

Only one variant is offered this year – the EXV with a 2.4-litre DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine with a CVT. This is a familiar engine and used in other models too. It produces 175 ps/225 Nm and though the displacement is large, the Earth Dreams technologies help it to use fuel efficiently.

Positioned as a premium MPV, the Odyssey has all the requisite interior equipment and fittings, with Premium Captain Cradle Seats + Ottoman on the second row as well as bigger headrests for extra comfort during long journeys. Leather upholstery is standard with the luxurious ambience enhanced with refined black wood panels.

As with all MPVs, the seating layout can be changed as required and the cabin can be configured as a very spacious 4-seater with the second row moved further back. Alternatively, if something really big has to be transported, the third row can be folded into the floor and the second row moved right up against the back of the front seats.

Priced at RM254,800 (without insurance), the new Odyssey will be available in 3 colours – Platinum White Pearl and Premium Twinkle Black Pearl as well as Super Platinum Metallic. As mentioned earlier, the Odyssey doesn’t sell in big numbers in Malaysia and Honda Malaysia expects to sell just 130 units this year, with the other 108,870 units it aims to sell to come from the more popular models. Deliveries of the new Odyssey will begin from March if you book now.

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[Chips Yap]

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