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|The redesigned model exudes serious class and refinement, more so in fact than the Grand Caravan and Toyota Sienna. (Photo: Luc Gagné/Auto123.com)|
Young, fashion-minded consumers hate the Spartan looks of the Dodge Caravan in which their parents used to take them to school and baseball practice. Ironically, growing up in such functional and practical rolling boxes has helped them appreciate the many benefits of versatility. Consequently, a lot of drivers under 40 have turned to sport utility vehicles… even though "utility" is sometimes an overstatement due to smaller cabins and a bunch of cargo limitations.
Honda is precisely targeting that crowd with the all-new 2011 Odyssey. While just as convenient as its predecessor, the redesigned model exudes serious class and refinement, more so in fact than the Grand Caravan and Toyota Sienna. At first glance, you might not even picture it as a minivan!
It IS one, of course, as the manufacturer will gladly admit. Exterior dimensions are basically unchanged; the Odyssey is now 2.0 cm longer, 5.3 cm wider and 1.1 cm lower (wheelbase is identical). As for interior room, Honda reports a meager 34-litre loss.
So, how come it looks so new? Credit goes to Romanian designer Catalin Matei and his team at Honda R&D Americas. This "100-meter design" (in the words of Matei) will help the Odyssey get recognized from afar, even in a parking lot full of minivans. And it works!
The new silhouette features a slightly more swooping windshield, with the base closer to the front grille. Wheel arches and wider tracks accommodate larger 17-inch tires on LX, EX, EX-RES and EX-L models as well as 18-inch tires on the top-of-the-line Odyssey Touring.
|The redesigned 2011 Honda Odyssey sports a more sculpted look. (Photo: Luc Gagné/Auto123.com)|