2011 Honda Odyssey: Body

 

Summary

The 2011 Honda Odyssey's body provides far more than just dramatic and attractive styling. Its strong unit-body structure is key to its high fuel economy and targeted safety ratings. It even contributes to a smooth, quiet ride.

Body Highlights

  • Sporty, upscale and distinctive design
  • Highly efficient, highly rigid and lightweight unit-body construction with Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure
  • Aerodynamic Cd improves by 5.5 percent
  • Improved power sliding door operation and larger opening
  • Quieter cabin with reduced NVH

Exterior Styling and Design

The styling conveys that the Odyssey is a dynamic and luxurious vehicle first, and a minivan second. With its windswept A-pillars, rakish D-pillars and dramatic lightning-bolt belt line detail, the Odyssey is unmistakable for any other vehicle on the road. It also redefines minivan styling while opening up the minivan ranks to customers who might not have previously considered one.

 

Designers focused on making the Odyssey more visually spontaneous, progressive and athletic. The look begins with a lower and more dynamic design, with the A-pillars pulled forward and laid back to cheat the wind and improve interior noise levels. A commanding belt line dives down toward the front of the vehicle to convey motion and help make the Odyssey instantly recognizable at a glance - even from 100 yards away.

 

Up front is a characteristically modern Honda grille, with three horizontal bars, a large Honda emblem and chrome accents, flanked by aerodynamically shaped headlights. The front fenders feature strongly flared arches filled by 17-inch wheels on LX, EX and EX-L models (18-inch on Touring), a 1-inch increase respectively for each model compared to the 2010 model year. The larger proportions of the fender and wheel designs help make the Odyssey appear visually low in overall height and surprisingly car-like. The door handles for the front doors and sliding doors form a singular design element and on Odyssey EX and above models are highlighted by chrome accents for an upscale, precision-crafted look.

 

A black finish for the B- and C-pillars and the side mirrors emphasizes the body's silhouette by disguising those design elements to the side glass. The flowing roofline then intersects rakish D-pillar (rear pillar) to continue the dynamic appearance. In back, the rear body quarter panels feature crisp style lines and flared fender arches that give the Odyssey a decisive and muscular look, helping it stand apart from other minivans. The large, red brake lights with clear backup lenses create a contrasting visual statement for a sophisticated appearance.

Aerodynamic Enhancements

The Odyssey was carefully tuned to achieve high levels of aerodynamic efficiency in some obvious and not-so-obvious parts of the vehicle. Overall, the new Odyssey has a 5.5 percent reduction in the coefficient of aerodynamic drag (Cd) compared to the previous model, which directly contributes to greater fuel economy, reduced emissions and a quieter cabin at cruising speeds.

A low air opening pulls cooling air from the lower portion of the front fascia while carefully crafted strakes sweep the airflow around the front tires and underneath the powertrain for maximum efficiency. The inner front fender wells are sculpted rearward to improve engine room air flow. The tailgate spoiler smoothes air over the rear of the vehicle to reduce turbulence behind the vehicle. The Odyssey Touring benefits from a more aerodynamic mirror shape and exclusive lower rocker panels that are shaped to push airflow around the rear tires to reduce drag.

Body Construction

The Odyssey's extensively redesigned platform becomes more lightweight and rigid for 2011, allowing for the vehicle's high levels of safety, increased fuel economy, refined handling and a comfortable ride. The 2011 Odyssey contains 59 percent high-strength steel content by weight (between 340 MPa and 1500 MPa), the most of any Honda vehicle to date. The extensive use of high-strength steel contributes to lower vehicle curb weight.

The Odyssey's body is reinforced by a series of hoops formed by the underfloor cross members, the A, B, C and D pillars, and the cross members in the ceiling. The four ring shell encircles the passenger compartment and is designed to remain intact in the event of a serious side impact or rollover. It works in conjunction with the Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure at the front of the vehicle and deformable architecture at the sides and rear. (See the Safety section for more information on the ACE body structure.) In back, a rigid tailgate opening also contributes to overall structural rigidity, interior quietness, ride quality and durability.

Further reinforcement against side impacts is provided by the A, B, C and D pillars. These pillars feature internal plates and gussets that greatly strengthen them against buckling. To better protect the Odyssey against rear impact, the main-frame members extend all the way to the rear of the body and are tied together with cross-members under the floor.

Floating Front and Rear Subframes

A welded-steel subframe secured to the unit body's longitudinal rails supports the engine, transaxle, steering gear box and front suspension. The front subframe assembly's closed-box construction has been optimized for maximum stiffness with minimal weight penalties and uses four tuned rubber mounts to isolate the subframe from the main body structure. A stiffener located under each subframe-attachment fastener helps stabilize the assembly, thereby sharpening handling and braking performance. The subframe houses two Active Control Engine Mount System (ACM) units that counteract the inherent vibration created by the Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM®) system, plus one urethane transmission mount. (See the Powertrain section for more details on ACM). The mounts are strategically positioned to counteract noise and vibration while reducing the transfer of engine noise and vibration to the passenger compartment.

Road noise, vibration and harshness are dramatically reduced through the use of a floating rear subframe that carries the lower-rear suspension links. The subframe is isolated from the body by specially tuned bushings, and has an optimized closed box structure for rigidity and a direct reduction of NVH in the passenger cabin.

Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) Reduction

The 2011 Odyssey utilizes a wide variety of technology, construction and advanced materials to reduce road noise. As a result, the 2011 Odyssey is noticeably quieter at cruising speeds compared to the 2010 model, with improvements to body rigidity and body seals. The Odyssey has floating front and rear subframes, advanced sound-absorbing material, an Active Noise Cancellation™ system, and an ACM system for the engine.

New for 2011, improvements to the connection efficiency at key body component intersections in the front and rear of the vehicle help to improve rigidity. One such improvement are newly developed "butterfly braces" within the frame structure at the rear subframe mounting points. Each brace allows for more efficient support of the subframe mount point, which improves subframe attachment point rigidity by 59 percent. Improved rigidity allows for softer bushings to be used where the rear suspension connects to the body and subframes. Softer bushings transmit less road noise from the suspension into the cabin. As a result, the rear subframe bushings are 38 percent softer, and the damper upper bushing is 73 percent softer compared to the 2010 Odyssey.

The insulation materials and construction for the 2011 Odyssey build on the foundation of the previous model. The carpet and dashboard insulators continue to use lightweight materials, with upgrades that reflect the latest construction techniques and improved coverage. Likewise, the melt sheet package has been optimized using the latest laser vibrometer techniques to calculate the most-effective density and thickness for each part. Additionally, the amount of air that can escape from a fully closed cabin when pressurized (a test often referred to as "body leak") has been improved by 30 percent. The premise is that if air cannot escape, then sound cannot get into the cabin. All of these improvements result in a noticeably quieter cabin at highway speeds compared to the previous model.

Active Control Engine Mount System

(Please see the Powertrain section.)

Visibility and Glass

Excellent outward visibility is a hallmark of Honda design and a key feature for the 2011 Honda Odyssey. The Odyssey provides excellent sight lines for the driver including a commanding eye point level and a short forward invisible length. Forward invisible length is the distance a driver needs to look to see the ground in front of the vehicle. All Odyssey models come equipped with UV-resistant privacy glass with dark tinting on the windows in the second and third rows. The Odyssey's glass filters UV light that results in less interior fade over time, lower cabin temperatures on hot days and more efficient interior cooling.

Acoustic Windshield Glass (Odyssey Touring)

Special acoustic windshield glass is used on the Odyssey Touring to help reduce wind noise. Tuned specifically to attenuate wind-noise frequencies, the windshield uses two layers of 2 mm safety glass with an in-between layer of a transparent elastic acoustic membrane for a total thickness of 4.5 mm. The windshield, like all the glass in the vehicle, is UV-resistant.

Front Driver's and Passenger's Doors Construction

The Odyssey's front doors use triple-stage stopper construction for ease of ingress/egress in tight parking situations. The doors use a special construction that provides a solid feel and sound when closing. The doors feature side impact-protection beams.

Automatic Locking and Unlocking

The automatic door locking/unlocking system is customizable by driver preference. Automatic locking can be linked to vehicle speed reaching 10 miles per hour (15 km/h), or the gear shift lever shifting from park, or it can be deactivated entirely. The factory default for locking is linked to vehicle speed.

Automatic unlocking, configurable to the driver's door or all doors, can be linked to the ignition switch being turned to the off position, or the gear shift lever being positioned in the park position, or it can be turned off entirely. The factory default for unlocking is linked to the gear shift lever and unlock activation for the driver's door only.

Dual Sliding Doors with Power Windows and Integrated Sunshades

The Odyssey LX is equipped with manual sliding doors. The Odyssey EX, EX-L and Touring models are equipped with dual power sliding doors and include integrated sunshades as standard equipment. For 2011, reshaped door openings allow for improved access to the third row than the previous generation by 1.3 inches in the bottom half of the door and 2.3 inches in the top half. Power sliding side doors can add convenience, for example, while carrying bulky objects when approaching or departing the vehicle.

New operation logic and controls for 2011 allows the power sliding doors to be opened in a greater variety of situations. With the ignition on, the doors can be opened using the inner handle, outer handle, dash switch or B-pillar switch (new) while in Park. The power sliding doors can also open when the gear selector is in any position (new feature) and the brake pedal or parking brake is applied and the vehicle is stopped. Previously, the gear selector had to be in Park for the doors to operate with the ignition on, or in Neutral with the brake pedal (or parking brake) applied and the vehicle stopped.

New for 2011, when using the remote entry button to open the power sliding doors (one button for each side), each door will automatically unlock itself and unlock the front door on that side of the vehicle. The new functionality eliminates the need to press the unlock button twice on the remote entry key fob prior to pressing one of the power sliding doors' open/close buttons (in situations where the doors are initially locked). If desired, a lockout switch on the instrument panel can disable the door's power operation all together, reverting to traditional manual operation.

Significant safety features have been built into the Odyssey's power door system. If the door should encounter any resistance while closing, it will immediately reverse direction. A direct detection system uses sensors built into the rubber seal on the leading edge of the door that detects when an object is in the path of the door. The sensors use four closely spaced wires inside the doors' rubber seals that can touch if contact is made to the outer edge of the seal. When the wires touch, that sends a signal to the doors operating system to reverse direction. The system is extremely sensitive and relatively gentle (reduced load for pinch detection). The doors will not completely retract to the fully open position if the rear windows are down. This is a safety feature to prevent a person's head or other body part (sticking out of the window) from getting pinched between the front of the sliding door and the door frame during power operation.

The Odyssey is equipped with power windows in the second-row dual sliding doors. New for 2011, the windows roll farther down, leaving just 3.4 inches of window exposed (previously 5.9 inches). The second-row window switches use the recessed push-down/pull-up design that further helps to reduce the risk of the window pinching an occupant. As a safety feature, the dual sliding doors on all models each have a side impact-protection beams.

Integrated sunshades are standard on EX and above models. The retractable shades are integrated into the lower portion of the windowsills and can be easily pulled up and secured via hooks at the top edge of the window sash. The shades cover the vast majority of the glass and do not interfere with power-window operation. New for 2011, retractable shades are also included in the third-row side windows on the Odyssey Touring.

Power Tailgate

Odyssey EX-L and Touring models feature a power tailgate that can be conveniently controlled from four sources: the remote entry, the exterior handle (for manual opening), a switch mounted on the underside of the tailgate (for closing), and from a switch on the instrument panel. The tailgate can be manually closed at any time during open or close operation. As a safety feature, the tailgate has an auto-detection system (similar to the power sliding door direct-detection system) that will reverse direction in the event that something prevents it from closing or opening. For 2011, new logic in the keyless remote allows for the tailgate to be opened without pressing the unlock button first (if vehicle is already locked).

Projector-Beam Headlights

The Odyssey headlight design uses aggressive-looking dual projector-beam-style halogen lights that resemble the design of the headlamps shown on the Odyssey Concept at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show. The light assemblies feature a clear outer lens that wraps around the vehicle's front corners, and the running lights and amber turn signals are housed inside. The round inboard lamps are for high-beam illumination and the round outboard lamps are for normal driving. The halogen high-beams serve double duty as the Daytime Running Lights (DRL) by operating at a lower voltage. All models provide an auto-off feature. Odyssey EX and above models provide both an auto-off and auto-on feature that turns the headlights on automatically. Odyssey Touring models provide a user-configurable option for auto-off of the headlights, set through the Multi Information Display.

High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Projector-Beam Headlights

The 2011 Odyssey Touring Elite model includes Xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) low beam headlights with halogen high beams as standard equipment. The advantages of HID headlamps include greater lighting power, daylight-color light balance and reduced power consumption. In addition, the cut lines of HID headlights are extremely precise, providing maximum nighttime visibility without distracting other drivers. An auto-leveling feature keeps the headlights level regardless of how the vehicle is loaded with passengers and/or cargo.

Daytime Running Lamps (DRL)

All 2011 Odyssey models feature Daytime Running Lights (DRL), which automatically turn on when the ignition is on and the parking brake is off.

Taillights

The taillights feature a reflective inner-cube design as the background for the four lights and a reflector. The lenses are solid red for brake and running lights, and clear for the turn signals that have amber illumination. A large, rectangular back-up-light reflector provides extra illumination when backing up.

Fog Lights

Trapezoid-shaped fog lights that form-fit to openings within the front bumper are standard on Touring models and accessories on all other trim levels. 

Side Mirrors

The Odyssey's power side mirrors are aerodynamically optimized to prevent wind noise and minimize turbulence. The side mirrors can be folded in for greater convenience in tight parking situations. When the driver puts the transmission in reverse on the Odyssey Touring model, the driver or passenger-side mirror can tilt down (depending on left/right/off mirror switch position) to reveal curbs and ground-level obstacles. The Odyssey Touring model includes mirror-position memory linked to the driver's seating profile (activated with the key fob or the controls near the driver's door release).

Odyssey EX and above models include heated side mirrors as standard equipment. Odyssey Touring models add side mirror-integrated turn signal indicators. All Odyssey side mirrors are black to blend in with the dark accents around the glass, which helps to accent the design of the profile. The Odyssey EX and above side mirrors have black painted housings, and the Odyssey Touring side mirror housing along with the supporting base structure is painted black..

One-Touch Power Moonroof with Tilt Feature

To tilt or slide the moonroof, the driver or front passenger needs only to fully press the ceiling-mounted switch once (instead of pressing and holding it for several seconds). The moonroof fully opens or closes automatically. However, if the operator wishes to only partially open or close the moonroof (such as to achieve partial ventilation), a lighter touch yields fully manual control. The moonroof can also tilt to provide ventilation. An auto-reverse feature is built in, helping to ensure that the moonroof will not forcefully close if someone's hand or arm is positioned in the path of the moonroof. If an obstruction is detected, the moonroof mechanism will reopen the moonroof.

Park Aid (Odyssey Touring)

Included in the Odyssey Touring models, the front and rear parking sensors help the driver detect objects close to the vehicle when parking. The driver can choose to turn off the rear sensors, which is advisable when towing.

Blind Spot Information System (Odyssey Touring Elite)

The Odyssey Touring Elite model is equipped with a blind spot information system (BSI) designed to detect vehicles in specified alert zones adjacent to the vehicle, particularly in harder to see areas commonly known as "blind spots" just behind the driver. When BSI detects a vehicle in an alert zone, a BSI alert indicator comes on near the corresponding side mirror. While the system is on, BSI is active whenever the shift lever is in the D position. When the vehicle is moving forward at a speed above 6 mph (10 km/h), the BSI alert indicator comes on under either of the following conditions: 1) A vehicle overtaking you is detected, entering the alert zone at a speed that differs from your vehicle's speed by no more than 31 mph (50 km/h). 2) You pass a vehicle at a speed that differs from that vehicle's speed by at least 6 mph (10 km/h). The indicator comes on approximately 2 seconds after the vehicle is first detected entering the alert zone. The system will not alert you to all vehicles in blind spot zones (such as vehicles you have just passed which you should already be aware of) unless it remains detected in the alert zone for approximately two or more seconds. The indicators will also blink when the turn signal is applied.

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