Honda doesn’t win any points for creativity with its 2006 Odyssey minivan. It’s a nearly exact replica of last year’s model.
That’s forgivable, though. The 2005 was one of the best minivans on the market and there’s not reason to change what’s working.
The Odyssey remains the most stylish minivan on the market and continues to impress drivers with its remarkable performance and handling.
The Odyssey comes in three different trim packages.
The bare bones LE includes a few useful options like power locks and power windows, but it lacks many of the features we expect in a vehicle. There’s no CD player, the doors and seats are completely manual and the zone control for the air conditioning is limited. Those who plan to drive an Odyssey on a regular basis will probably want to look at one of the stronger trim packages.
The EX and Touring packages aren’t attractive merely as a source for luxury options like heated leather seats, steering wheel stereo controls, moonroofs and extra cup holders. There are more fundamental issues at play, including an improved version of the Odyssey’s VTEC engine and a stiffer suspension (on the Touring model).
Style and Appearance
This is one area in which the Odyssey makes a strong statement. While other minivans continue to look like uninspired boxes, Honda is bridging the gap between the sports sedan and the minivan.
The Odyssey is sleeker than the other vehicles in its class. It’s still a minivan and no one is going to mistake it for a new sports car, but its lines have more in common with those well-engineered autos than they do with the boxy old vans that appear to be the inspiration for other minivans.
The Odyssey uses Honda’s VTEC engine. It’s a 3.5-liter V6 that gets 25 miles per gallon on the highway. It also provides an impressive 255 horsepower, which gives it good punch and enough power to handle virtually any driving situation. The EX and Touring packages use an upgraded version of the engine, the iVTEC, which gets slightly better gas mileage.
Honda‘s V6 is linked to a sturdy five-speed automatic transmission. The combination works well, combining muscle with efficiency.
Driving the 2006 Odyssey Handicap Van
Anyone who isn’t convinced that the Odyssey is redefining minivan performance should test drive the minivan and one of its competitors back-to-back. The difference between the Honda and any other minivan is substantial.
The superior design of the Odyssey provides for excellent handling. It’s responsive and capable under any circumstances and rarely gives even a slight hint of body roll or instability. Other minivans glide down the road. The Odyssey hugs the road.
Those who drive in town more than they do on the highway will appreciate the precision control and the class-leading tight turning radius.
Put simply, driving the Odyssey wheelchair vans are fun. You always feel in control and never encounter conditions that seem beyond the minivan’s capabilities.
The only downside to this great handler is the fact that it’s a little noisier than the Sienna and some of its other competitors. The Odyssey doesn’t shut out all of the road noise and you may notice a few slight rattles under some driving conditions.
Safety and Reliability Of Honda Wheelchair Vans
Previous year’s Odyssey minivans experienced a number of recalls that made some buyers nervous. Honda has since ironed out the wrinkles for this third generation of Odysseys. The only recall this time around has been due to misprinted phone number in the owner’s manual!
The Odyssey comes with a full assortment of airbags and antilock brakes. It passed all crash and rollover tests easily, receiving consistently high marks.
The 2006 Odyssey is a near clone of the 2005 version, which has proven itself to be an extremely reliable minivan. New survey data and research indicate that this year’s offering will perform just as well.
The 2005 Honda Odyssey Wheelchair Van
There’s more than enough interior space to accommodate a wheelchair or mobility scooter. You can drop the floor by a full eleven inches. The Odyssey can support a powered foldout ramp, as well. In fact, the Odyssey is capable of supporting all popular disability modifications.
One of the leading conversion companies, VMI has entered into an ongoing agreement with Honda. There are now over 150 Honda dealerships that are authorized to sell and service VMI-converted Odysseys.
The Bottom Line
The 2005 Odyssey handicap van was a great vehicle and Honda clearly recognized that. In the spirit of “not messing with a good thing,” the 2006 clone provides a superior driving experience.
The Odyssey will make a great vehicle option for a family or for anyone who regularly transports several passengers. Its combination of power, stability, reliability, handling and space also make it an ideal choice for those in need of a top-notch wheelchair van.