So many bells and whistles you almost would want to run through a checklist before driving…

The 2014 Honda Odyssey is ready to take you on your next big, messy adventure with the kids… and it can help you clean up, too.

The van features the world’s first in-car vacuum system called the HondaVac. It comes complete with a replaceable filter, canister bag, nozzle accessories, and a hose capable of reaching the front seats.

I feel a family email coming on. My sister-in-law Cristina has an Odyssey van and has been transporting a full size shop vac and leaf blower around for years. My two nieces make quite a mess, unlike my tidy offspring. Just kidding.

But before we get into an interior clean-up, let’s cast an eye over the vehicle’s exterior looks.

It has a stylish hood that sweeps down towards the grille. The headlights are angled up and back giving the profile a sculpted look. Honda refers to the overall design as a lightning bolt. Not only does it provide an exclusive appearance, but also adds increased visibility for third row passengers.

Very nice interior, everything laid out nicely. So many bells and whistles you almost would want to run through a checklist before driving. Eight-passenger seating with a total passenger volume of 4,887 litres, whatever, that means. And all those passengers get thirsty so Honda put in 15 cup holders. The third row is a one-motion 60/40 split ‘Magic’ seat that can accommodate three passengers and still leave 1,087 litres of cargo volume – that’s room for a lot of slushies for later in the journey. The second row is a 3 mode seating with fold down center console. Driver and front passenger seats are captain’s chairs that are very comfortable. My tester included a leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, channel selector, cruise control, and hands-free telephone button.

The instrument panel is easier to read, thanks to a little tweaks by the engineers. Satellite-linked Navigation screen with trilingual voice recognition, 3D map and FM traffic is also available that uses GPS technology and a 60GB hard drive based operating system that provides the driver with turn-by-turn voice guidance to their chosen destination. The screen also is used for the back-up camera that offers three different views, normal view, wide angle, and top down.

Both side sliding doors open automatically via the key fob or a switch on the dash. A 270-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with MP3/Windows Media audio playback and seven speakers including a subwoofer is standard, with a 650-watt and 12-speaker version also available.

The i-MID or intelligent Multi information Display has the ability to display your incoming text messages while in park and read them out too you while driving. I had one driving home late one night and it said “your dinner is in the garbage, have a nice day” must have been a glitch. The available rear entertainment system features a huge 16.2-inch screen that includes two wireless headsets with personal surround sound.

Safety is paramount with mini-van owners; the Odyssey earned a 2013 IIHS top safety pick and is the only minivan with a 5-star safety rating from the NHTSA. It comes standard with vehicle stability assist, side curtain airbags, and active front seat head restraints that are designed to help reduce neck injury in the event of a rear collision. There are also five lower anchors and tethers for children. 4-wheel anti-lock brakes and tire pressure monitoring system is standard. There’s also an available land departure warning system. It utilizes onboard cameras to determine if you’re drifting too far out of your lane without using your turn signal.

The engine is a 3.5 litre, 24 valve, SOHC, i-VTEC V6 that produces 248 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque. The engines variable cylinder management system allows the engine to run on three, four or six cylinders depending on the requirements. All models receive a 6-speed automatic transmission. The combination makes the drive that much more comfortable and enjoyable.

Contact: ian [dot] harwood [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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