Honda Manufacturing of Alabama earned worldwide attention in January with the unveiling of its completely redesigned 2018 Odyssey minivan, while its Ridgeline pickup snagged 2017 North American Truck of the Year honors. It all happened at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The Ridgeline honor was conveyed by the 60 or so journalists who test-drive vehicles for various auto publications. Honda’s midsize pickup collected 364 points in the auto show voting to come out on top over the Ford F-series Super Duty and Nissan Titan.
Honda took the Ridgeline off the grid for a few seasons to give it a complete makeover, creating a brand new truck, seemingly, for people who don’t normally like trucks. It features unibody construction, meaning it handles like an SUV and gets good gas mileage. It offers tons of specialized cargo compartments and has a library-quiet passenger cabin.
But in many ways the Odyssey is the star of Honda’s $2.2 billion auto facility in Lincoln, where about 4, 500 workers also assemble the Pilot SUV, Ridgeline, Acura MDX SUV and the engines that power all four models. The Odyssey was the first Honda brand to roll off the line in Talladega County, Alabama.
The body of the new Odyssey is low and wide, using advanced aerodynamics to make it even more safe and efficient. It’s powered with a 3.5-liter direct-injected V6 engine and consumers can opt for the first-ever Honda 10-speed transmission, which boosts performance and promotes fuel conservation.
The Odyssey’s family-oriented interior has a unique overhead camera that gives front-seaters the ability to see what’s happening in the back rows. The seats themselves slide both back and forth and side to side, increasing storage options. An in-car PA system called CabinTalk lets mom and dad be heard over the onboard entertainment and a “How Much Farther?” app means you may never again have to answer the most annoying trip-related question from youngsters.
To keep all those apps and entertainment systems moving along, Odyssey boasts in-car 4G LTE wifi.
Text by Dave Helms