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Honda Odyssey .

I imagine our Honda Odyssey VTi-L long-termer will be about as unpopular and offensive to this youthful demographic as a Wicked van at a feminist convention, but to my surprise it wins fans instantly as I round up the troops.

The first “wow”-eliciting feature is the electric sliding rear doors, which require passengers to simply tug on the handles and watch in wonder as they automatically slide open. Very cool, they decide – though they are significantly less cool in a downpour when all you want to do is quickly rip the door open, jump in and slam it shut, rather than wait for the slow electrics to leisurely grant your sopping body access.

My passengers’ jaws drop almost to the Odyssey’s super-low floor when they see the twin captain’s chairs in the second row complete with arm rests, leg rests and recline functions, and the aforementioned acres of legroom. The later discoveries of window blinds, air vents and reading lights score more points as the journey rolls on.

The high-grade Odyssey VTi-L’s 2+2+3 seating arrangement proves perfect for our trip, with all four occupants seated in leathery, business class comfort and our luggage barely covering the surface area of the boot with the third-row seats folded flat into the floor.

The touchscreen media system allows all four of us to connect our phones via Bluetooth at the same time and stream our music, though an annoying ‘safety’ feature means we can only pair devices when the car is stationary. Two USB ports in the front and two 12-volt sockets ensure the electrons and the tunes keep flowing for hours on the road.

The capacitive touch climate control panel beneath the center screen looks slick, but it demands much more of your attention than a conventional system with tactile buttons and dials, meaning more time with your eyes off the road – far from ideal at highway speeds.

Published: Monday, August 18, 2014

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