Honda as added a hybrid drivetrain option to is popular Odyssey van. However, before stampeding to the Honda dealer with visions of a fuel-saving kid-hauler, know that it is meant for the Japanese market only.
In fact, the Odyssey Hybrid is a completely different model than its US namesake. The two are both minivans, but share nothing in common but the “H” badge on their grilles. It does, however, get a whopping 61 mpg in the Japanese testing cycle.
Part of the challenge was figuring out the packaging for Honda’s i-MMD (intelligent Multi-Mode Drive) hybrid powertrain. Honda says the drivetrain uses a new “winding method and structure” and a newly developed electric motor that is 23 percent smaller than previous units. Lithium-ion batteries were placed under the floor of the first-row seats. The electric motor is mated to a 2.0-liter DOHC i-VTEC motor for a combined 181 horsepower and 232 lb-ft of torque.
Japan’s petrol-powered Odyssey minivans will continue to use Honda’s 2.4-liter direct-injection i-VTEC engine, producing 188 hp at 6,400 rpm and 175 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. The sole transmission choice is a CVT for both front- and all-wheel-drive models. There is no word on whether such a drivetrain could come to the US.