The Honda Odyssey RB1

The Honda Odyssey, arguably the best people mover from the 2000s. When I came back from Japan to NZ, I needed a new daily car as the Silvia was in for a whole heap of repairs before being road legal. I wanted either a 4th generation Subaru Legacy wagon or the RB1 Odyssey. I went with the latter because it just seemed like the better overall car, and I was not wrong!

Here we have a 2008 Honda Odyssey RB1 – Absolute! RB1 being the 2WD version, and Absolute being well, the absolute best version. 

2008 was the last year that this generation was produced in, which meant all of the issues should be sorted and it should, key word here, be the best one out of the six years of production. This is also the facelift version with a built in navigation system. In BLACK of course. I tried finding one in the dark purple, but pickings were slim.

One of the reasons I went with the Odyssey over the Legacy is because it is bigger, I wanted to still be able to sleep in my car, but comfortably. The Odyssey can have the whole rear fold flat, as you’ll see in later photos. 

The facelift has a different front grille, and also upgraded rear lights with a chrome strip along the boot.

And those beautiful front lights. It’s a sleek looking van, which I actually call a wagon because of the low roof line. 

It has tinted glass from factory in the five rear windows, and I’ve recently had the front two windows tinted to 35% to make the transition to the front not so noticeable.

The Absolute version of the car is much better than the standard version. Front lip, side skirts, and rear end caps finish off the outside nicely. I’ve also always wanted a car with monsoons on the windows so I can crack the window a tiny bit in rainy weather!

And a delicious VTEC engine. 

The K24A i-VTEC which is also found in the Accord. Red line is a whopping 7100 rpm! Matched with the 5-speed automatic transmission and not the CVT transmission found in the standard version.

That’s a higher redline than my Silvia and 350z. Insanity!

Even the wheels/tyres on this car from the factory are eye candy. 18×7 inch wheels with 225/45 tyres wrapped around them at all four corners.

Seven spokes with a slight concave look to them. If you look closely, you’ll see some decent sized brakes behind the wheels.

5-stud, with disc brakes front and rear. So when you’re high on VTEC you can safely slow down to meet your other Honda friends.

Also, did I mention chrome? Beautiful chrome front garnish.

Another shiny rear one.

Door handles.

And Absolute badges on the rear and the sides, so everyone knows you have the top spec model with ALL the luxury goodness.

The front has sexy Odyssey eyes that often get thrown onto an S13 Silvia. 

A set of fog lights sit below the main ones, helping you see in foggy Auckland weather.

And useful powered, foldable, mirrors inclusive of an indicator, clearing up the fenders of any ugly and unnecessary lights.

The Odyssey sits very slow compared to other vans, nearly pushing it into the same category as a station wagon. It sits at a good height from factory, but would look even sharper with a set of lowering springs in my opinion.

The rear has the upgraded facelift taillights, and 

Dual exit exhausts, it’s pretty much a sports car right?!

My Silvia has the window wiper option included, but some smart person has removed it. Having a rear wiper is super convenient when your rear window is covered in gunk.

The exterior, especially the black, is stealth. It works so nice. But wait until you see how practical the interior is.

Spaceship front seats. Half leather half fabric so you don’t get a sticky back in Summer. With a centre console that’s foldawayable and includes not one, but two drink holders!

 It has front and side airbags. GPS, entertainment unit and so much more. The armrests are a personal favourite of mine though.

The steering wheel has entertainment unit controls & cruise control. I have never had a car with cruise control, it is AMAZING. Automatic with cruise control makes long trips so much easier. On the bottom left there are a few more buttons relating to the in-car phone system.

I found on Trademe that the Absolute came with or without the GPS, and if you had the without version, you also had none of the extra GPS buttons (the ones in Japanese) in your car. There is tiptronic, where you can hold it in gear up to 7.2k RPMS! Easy to use A/C controls, and then a WHOLE bunch of entertainment options. 

You have the normal AM/FM stations, CD because there is a classic CD player. Remember this is technology from 2008. SC which stands for sound container. This is a system that records the CDs you play through the CD player to be accessible without the CD. I have about 70 CDs or so sitting in the SC that I can play on shuffle. TV and DVD functions as well. However in typical fashion the TV doesn’t get signal and the DVDs visual is faulty.

Lower down you can find the CD player, as well as a few other goodies. The HDD holds all the recorded CDs that I can play at any time. And then you have an option to insert a PC card. 

To the right of the driver there are more buttons to look at. All four window switches. Door & windows locks. Mirror controls. Vehicle stability assist and front windshield defroster. 

The pedals are also stylish, following the chrome theme. With a foot ‘hand’ brake, which is a lot of fun to put on and off. This car would be a beast if it came in manual. 

All four doors have this sort of race-finished flag brushed metal Odyssey panel as well.

Moving to the back seats. Three seats in the back. With the middle turning into a leather armrest / drink holder. The seats are just as comfortable as the front two. 

The rear doors have a nice feature where the compartment folds out slightly so it’s that little bit easier to access.

Your own lights and A/C controls. So if people in the front are cold, and people in the back are warm, everybody can be happy and set the A/C to whatever they like.

On the front centre console, there is another 12V port for charging phones and what not, plus a connection for RCA. I plugged in a PS2 into here to see if it would work. It does, but the screen is faulty and skips constantly. You can also use this connection as a AUX to play music from your phone!

As well as the five seats towards the front of the car, there are also two in the rear. Seven in total! 

The rear seats are nothing short of luxury. Arm rests on both sides with places to store your goodies. Plus A/C coming from the roof.

The left compartment opens up to reveal another cup holder and space for various items.

Even with all seats in the usable position, there is still plenty of space in the rear with a spare tyre hiding under that mat.

And some extra space on the left for any loose tools or random items you might have rolling around in the rear. 

Amazing right? Why wouldn’t you go out and buy one of these machines? It’s got everything for a perfect daily driver. But wait there’s more!

They fold?

If you follow this little diagram, you can turn your seven seater people mover into a flat sleeping spaceship.

First the rear two seats fold down flat.

Then fold back over the spare tyre creating a bigger rear boot. This is how I usually have the car. Heaps of room in the boot and still five seats are usable. But when I want to sleep in here, the rest go too.

Coming around to the rear doors, the seats are pulled from the rear to this position.

Then the seats fold all the way down, making a flat surface.

Lastly the back of the seat hinges at the bottom to create a bridge between the seats and the boot. 

Rinse and repeat.

And look at that! A massive flat space. It measures 2m longs and 1.4m at the widest point. I can fit a queen single here and comfortably sleep two people. This is the biggest reason why I bought this fabulous Honda. It’s a second home, literally. I have had to create a raised platform that goes under the mattress to make the bed level, without it it lens down too much at the rear.

That’s it! The engine, exterior, and interior all laid out in front of you. I have had it for about half a year now, done nearly 10,000kms in it and have loved every moment. It has given me no problems at all. If you want a wagon, this is the car for you. Get amongst it.

I won’t leave it here though, I had a free weekend a while back and fit a set of VS-KFs on it too see how well chrome wheels would look.

And I have to say, with the black car, tinted windows, and chrome pieces here and there it looks insane. All it would need is a little bit of slamming and we would be good to enter StanceNation.


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Photos: Shaun Constable | Words: Shaun Constable

Ambition Works 2012 – 2021

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