While connectivity and audio features have been bolstered for 2012, deciding on a Honda Odyssey model can be somewhat frustrating as some of the most desirable features, such as a blind-spot system, auto-leveling HID headlamps, and a hard-drive-based music system, remain the exclusive domain of top Odyssey Touring and Touring Elite models. It's more than a little disappointing that those getting an LX or EX have to do without Bluetooth hands-free calling altogether, unless they go for a typically-inferior aftermarket system.The base LX includes air conditioning with front and rear controls, cruise control, an eight-way power driver's seat, power windows, locks, and mirrors, and a 229-watt sound system with subwoofer.
For 2012, the EX adds Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, plus an intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID) and 8-inch TFT screen, in addition to 2 gigabytes of audio storage, and a USB audio port, plus alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, HomeLink, the removable front center console, a tri-zone climate control system, and second-row sunshades.
EX-L models get leather upholstery and trim plus heated front seats, an eight-inch screen display, rearview camera, power moonroof, cooling box, Bluetooth, an added utility tray, and many more extras. Touring Elite models, at the very top of the lineup, add a blind-spot system a 650-watt sound system with hard-disk storage, the ultra-wide-screen system, theater surround sound, HID headlamps, and a blind-spot information system.
The navigation system in the Odyssey is a step ahead of those on some other Honda models--now featuring a built-in Zagat guide, a huge points-of-interest database, high-contrast VGA display, and free FM-based traffic information. Plus you can load a personal picture to use as wallpaper with the system.
Honda has also opted to do away with the ubiquitous 6-CD changer entirely, replacing it with 2 GB of flash storage in EX and EX-L models and 15 GB of hard-drive space in navigation-equipped models. Honda says that this holds the contents of 18 or 175 CDs, respectively. Another standout is the new 16.2-inch wide-screen system provides entertainment and can even split the screen in half for two separate inputs. According to Honda, it's the first OEM system—from any brand, luxury included—to offer an HDMI input.