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Should Honda Bring JDM Odyssey to United States?


http://www.worldcarfans.com/9081021.004/mini16/all-new-2009-jdm-honda-odyssey-revealed

WCF: http://www.worldcarfans.com/9081021.004/mini16/all-new-2009-jdm-honda-odyssey-revealed

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Our very own loquacious commenter Ed (you know who you are) suggests that Honda should develop a smaller van for the U.S. market, as Mazda has enjoyed a big sales increase of its small Mazda5 van even in the midst of a down market.

To that we say...good point, Ed. And indeed, Honda does have a smaller van--the recently introduced JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) Odyssey. Introduced October 17 in Japan, the vehicle does not share architecture with the American Honda Odyssey.

The JDM Odyssey "features a low-floor/center-of-gravity design that enables a low profile roofline and handling dynamics beyond typical minivans," reports site World Car Fans, but retains a spacious cabin. Seating inside is uniquely stepped from first to third row in order to allow a clear view out for all passengers (think movie theater staggered seating). A Honda 2.4-liter DOHC i-VTEC yields approximately 170 or 203 horsepower depending upon the model and provides economical operation through a drive-by-wire continuously variable transmission operating through a torque converter.

The American minivan has turned into more of a Maxi-Van these days, with bloated curb weights straining under DVD screens, nav systems, subwoofers, dozens of cup holders, removable picnic tables, and other excesses necessities. A loaded Honda Odyssey tips the scales 4,600 pounds, and even with its very intelligent cylinder de-activation only manages 25 mpg on the highway. The standard model, without the trick cylinder deactivation, manages 23 mpg while cruising.

The Mazda5, on the other hand, gets 28 mpg highway with a manual transmission (27 mpg automatic) and tips the scales at a comparatively svelte 3,417 pounds. More telling is the city mileage: 22 mpg manual, 21 mpg automatic versus the Odyssey's 16 mpg without cylinder de-activation, 17 mpg with.

The Mazda5 may not be the answer for a large family, and it probably won't tow much, and its 2.3-liter four might well be out-dragged by the Odyssey's stout V-6. But as Ed points out, they're selling like hotcakes suddenly as Americans are switching to smaller vehicles with greater efficiency.

So, what do you say, Honda? Perhaps you could sell two vans: the Honda Odyssey and the Honda Modesty. The market is ripe, and the van is already being sold in Japan.--Colin Mathews

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http://www.worldcarfans.com/9081021.004/mini16/all-new-2009-jdm-honda-odyssey-revealed

WDF: http://www.worldcarfans.com/9081021.004/mini16/all-new-2009-jdm-honda-odyssey-revealed

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Comments (4)
  1. The Odyssey and Mazda5 are two different vehicles. The Odyssey is not a 'mini MPV' like the Mazda5 is, but is a full size people mover, but with a much lower roofline and traditional, rather than sliding, doors. Don't be deceived by it's looks. The JDM Odyssey is sold here in Australia and it competes with the 'big boys' in terms of price, rather than at the smaller (compact) end of the market. It is the successor to the original 1st generation 1995 Odyssey. As a result, it costs nearly $40,000 Australian dollars (over US$26,000), about the same price as an Accord V6 or top-of-the-line CR-V. Would Americans pay this much for an underpowered 4-cylinder vehicle? I cannot imagine the 2.4L engine coping terribly well with 7 passengers plus luggage. The fact that it's built in Japan means it would likely be at least this price even in the US market. There is no way Honda could get this vehicle under $20,000 like the Mazda5. Strangely enough, the Mazda5 is not sold here, but it's predecessor was (called the Premacy), as well as the V6 MPV, and both vehicles were flops.
     
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  2. One thing I've found disappointing about the recent explosion in wagon-like vehicles is that they're all sticking close to the traditional SUV format, with relatively inefficient use of interior space, tall seating positions, and rather large, heavy, truck-like wheels and tires. Actual sporty, capacious vehicles are still rare, especially since the Legacy and Mazda6 wagons were discontinued. The Mazda5 is nice, reasonably tossable for something that can swallow a couple of bicycles, but I'd like to see what other companies can bring to the table. I like to throw my cars around on twisty roads, and I don't need ground clearance with my cargo capacity. Bring this puppy over, I say (with a real manual transmission, of course), and I very well might find myself in a Honda showroom. Until then, they appear to be cleverly avoiding offering a vehicle that satisfies my requirements.
     
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  3. Thanks for the credit, Colin. I have no idea what gas prices will be the next 5 years. I know right now they are plummeting, and look forward to pay less than $2.00 for 89-octane midgrade my 7-series manual recommends (esp. after the $0.20 5% discount I get with my AAA Visa card)
    If I knew that prices will go back to $4 again soon, I'd say that Honda and other automakers should flood the US market with all kinds of smaller and fuel efficient vehicles. Esp. if they got them already available. If you design a new vehicle from scratch, you probably can't bring it to market until 2-4 years pass, and gas prices will be a big assumption (and question mark) in your planning.
    That aside, I think the Toyota Venza is a very affordable tall station wagon (not really a crossover) that was absent from the Camry lineup for more than a decade. It is affordable and gets very good mileage even in AWD, but many can use the even more fuel efficient FWD. If i was in the market for such a vehicle, I'd choose the Venza (and with the more than adequate 2.7lt 4 and not the 3.5 v6) over the Rav4, Highlander, and even the CRV and the Ford Escape etc.
     
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  4. oops.. I should have said 0.10 (5% of $2.00) discount.
    BTW, I fully agree with Matt's points.
    I also found David's points interesting, and as to his comment about underpowered cars, I find most, if not all, cars sold in the US either adequately powered or grossly overpowered. Back in the 80s they had HALF or one third of the power they have now from similar sized engines.
    And unless $2.00 and $1.50 gas stay there for several years, MPG will be the new 0-60 for the consumer.
    The Toyota Venza with the 3.5 V6 gets 6.5" 0-60. Give me a break. This is a better time than 80s FERRARIS and PORSCHES, not to mention BMWs and M-Bs.
    Who in the world needs a boring station wagon that is so quick? A total waste of power and gasoline. I would not mind if it did it in 10", if i drove many miles a year and it got 40 MPG or more..
     
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