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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
V6 complements the van's likable road manners
VCM improves fuel economy
sharp, accurate steering
The 2009 LX and EX models come standard with a 3.5-liter VTEC V-6 engine that delivers 244 horsepower and 16/23-mpg fuel economy. The EX-L and the Touring are fitted with a 3.5-liter engine that utilizes cylinder deactivation technology. This technology shuts down half of the cylinders at cruising speeds for added fuel efficiency. This engine is rated at 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway. This more efficient engine produces 241 horsepower, or 3 hp less than the base engine, but you'll never notice the difference—except at the fuel pump. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard with both engines.
"Engines in the LX and EX make 244 horsepower and 240 pounds-feet of torque; EX-L and Touring engines are good for 241 hp and 242 pounds-feet of torque," reports Cars.com. The 3.5-liter V-6 that moves the Honda Odyssey provides very respectable acceleration, especially in a class that isn't known for performance. Edmunds says the "V-6 complements the van's likable road manners, providing satisfying acceleration in virtually all situations." ConsumerGuide is also impressed by the Honda Odyssey’s performance, calling the acceleration "ample around town and when merging onto highways, even with a full complement of passengers."
The transmission is generally without major fault, although ConsumerGuide points out the gearbox "doesn't always downshift promptly in passing situations." Cars.com notes, "Honda's 3.5-liter V-6 teams with a five-speed automatic transmission." The more advanced engine improves fuel economy, and Autoblog corroborates the claim: "VCM improves fuel economy of the 3.5L from 16/23 to 17/25, which isn't a huge jump, but may be appreciated by parent-run chauffeur services."
Edmunds calls the Honda Odyssey "the most car-like minivan on the market today, thanks to its tight turning radius, responsive steering and athletic tuning." ConsumerGuide likes the Odyssey's "sharp, accurate steering," but cautions potential buyers about the Honda's ride over rough roads, "where sharp bumps and highway expansion joints sometimes jab through—especially to rear-seat riders." Editors from TheCarConnection.com continue to be impressed with how well the Odyssey drives, and its good handling does not come at the expense of a smooth ride.
Edmunds finds the Odyssey "easy to pilot," but warns that "its bulk can be a hindrance if you're never taking extra passengers or gear along." As for braking, ConsumerGuide notes, "stopping control is good even with a full passenger load."
Improved fuel economy and carlike handling are two strengths of the 2009 Honda Odyssey.