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Toyota Kluger vs Honda Odyssey

Toyota Kluger GX FWD and Honda Odyssey go head to head in this comparative review

Different segments take distinctive approaches to moving family plus friends. Joshua Dowling sets a seven-seat SUV against an eight-seat people-mover.

value

Toyota Kluger GX FWD

from $40,990

The Kluger GX in front-wheel-drive form is $40,990 (an increase of $1000) now that seven seats are standard. Metallic paint adds $550 — that’s among the dearest in the business. But fixed price servicing is cheap ($170 per visit every six months or 10,000km in the first three years) but costs rise sharply after that.

Honda Odyssey VTI

from $38,990

The Odyssey has risen by a whopping $3890 to $38,990. No extra charge for metallic paint because all five colours come with sparkles. Fixed price servicing is $243-$279 per visit every six months or 10,000km (about $500 dearer than the Kluger in the first three years). Honda keeps the capped pricing for two years after the warranty expires, so it’s cheaper in the long run.

safety

Toyota Kluger GX FWD

Seven airbags (including full-length curtain airbags to third row), rear-view camera, rear parking sensors — and a probable five-star safety rating. But this (and other SUVs and big cars) should have front parking sensors (40 per cent of driveway deaths and injuries occur when the vehicle is moving forward).

Honda Odyssey VTI

Six airbags (including full-length curtain airbags to third row) and rear-view camera are standard. Five-star crash rating likely. However, rear camera display is not as clear or bright as Toyota’s (among others) and it lacks rear parking sensors (standard on the Toyota). Would benefit from front parking sensors.

design

Toyota Kluger GX FWD

It feels huge inside but, as this comparison highlights, it's not as roomy as its external dimensions suggest. Despite being longer, wider and taller than the Honda, the Kluger has less luggage space than its rival when the seats are in position (195L) or when they're stowed (1171L). Third-row seats are for kids only.

Honda Odyssey VTI

Here's where people-movers have a clear edge and why they don't look as cool as SUVs. With all eight seats in position the van-shaped Odyssey has 330L of luggage space; with the seats stowed it has 1330L. Third row can comfortably seat two adults or three kids.

technology

Toyota Kluger GX FWD

The 3.5-litre V6 (no diesel or hybrid available) is more frugal than other petrol SUVs of this size — but much thirstier than the diesel SUVs. The six-speed auto helps highway economy but the almost two-tonne weight blunts it in the city. The 10.2L/100km claimed average is a tease. Expect 15.0L.

Honda Odyssey VTI

And here's where a 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with stop-start technology and less mass to lug (1776kg) come into play. The average consumption claim of 7.6L/100km is also ambitious but 12.0L or less is achievable in commuter driving.

driving

Toyota Kluger GX FWD

The cabin is quiet, the suspension copes well with bumps and the V6 is a powerhouse. But it could be argued it has too much grunt to go solely through the front wheels, especially in the wet. AWD eliminates this but adds $4000. Steering is heavy and inconsistent.

Honda Odyssey VTI

It might look like a van but it drives like a car. It's quiet, refined and supple over bumps. Four-cylinder engine lacks Toyota's V6 grunt but still has ample power. Turning circle is tight (10.8m v 11.8m) and steering feels precise and perfectly weighted. Towing capacity is 1000kg, half the Kluger's.

Verdict

Toyota Kluger GX FWD

Honda Odyssey VTI

The Odyssey may not be the prettiest thing but it's by far the most practical way to move a big family efficiently and cost-effectively.


JOBS FOR THE FACELIFT

Honda Odyssey: Add a digital speed display, fit front and rear parking sensors, give all four windows "auto-up" function, add auto open and close to the driver's side sliding door.

Toyota Kluger: Add a digital speed display, fix the steering, deliver better fuel economy and cheaper five-year servicing costs.