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Spotted: a Honda Odyssey

March 1, 2024

The spotted specimen

Our colleague Bart spotted this Honda Odyssey on the A27. The car is from 2006 and has been in the Netherlands since 2018. Other than that, the RDW has little special to say about this spot, but the Honda is of course a special appearance in Dutch traffic. What exactly is a Honda Odyssey for something?

The Honda Odyssey at a glance

The first Honda Odyssey appeared in 1994. After Honda entered the compact MPV segment early on with the Civic Shuttle, the Odyssey marked Honda’s entrance into the large MPV segment. The car was delivered virtually worldwide, albeit sometimes under a different name. Here in the Netherlands, for example, the car was called Honda Shuttle.

Here in Europe, the Shuttle sold reasonably well, but the Odyssey did especially well in America and Japan. To achieve even better sales, the model line was split. Europe was abandoned. America received a Honda USA-developed Shuttle, a typical American minivan. For Asian markets, Honda developed a (relatively) slightly more compact Odyssey, with typical Asian styling.

It proved to be a success indeed: both the American and Asian Odyssey model lines are still running. Although generation changes did not always occur at the same time, both versions are currently on their fifth model generation.

Third-generation Honda Shuttle (Asia)

The Honda Shuttle that Bart encountered is one of the Asian third generation. That one came on the market in 2003. The second Asian Odyssey was still very similar to the first, but for the third generation Honda opted for a slightly different interpretation of the concept. The new Honda Odyssey was no longer a traditional MPV, but more like a cross between an MPV and a station wagon. Add to that a front end with very “flat” headlights and a rear end with triangular taillights and a quirky whole is created.

This Asian Honda Odyssey shared its technology with the (European) Honda Accord, but was only available with its 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with 118 kW (160 hp). As standard, the car had front-wheel drive and a CVT automatic transmission. Alternatively, you could opt for a five-speed automatic combined with all-wheel drive. Other combinations were also possible for certain (export) versions. There was also the Absolute, which combined the “regular” automatic with both front and all-wheel drive. Also, with this version, the engine delivered higher power, of 140 kW (190 hp).

In 2006, the Asian Honda Odyssey underwent a subtle facelift, best identified by the partially illuminated strip optically connecting the taillights. A new model generation already appeared in 2008.

The Honda Odyssey in the Netherlands

To our surprise, according to official registration records, there are still 66 examples of this generation Odyssey on Dutch plates. An important note, however, is that the RDW data do not immediately tell whether it is the Japanese or American Odyssey. We can imagine that a large proportion of these 66 Odysseys are American specimens from the same period.

Over all the years, there are even 140 Honda Odysseys on Dutch license plates. Copies from roughly the period 2006 through 2011 are the most popular in this regard, though. That overlaps almost exactly with the production period of the third generation of the American Odyssey, so again, we expect the majority to be American origin.