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Wednesday, May 25, 2022
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All In The Family

7 min read
You cannot fault an MPV for providing great practicality. Here are three recent models that go beyond people-moving capability.

HONDA ODYSSEY

After two decades serving families around the world, the Honda Odyssey got an upgrade last year. Bolder than ever, the latest version offers visual enhancements not to be scoffed at.

No more does it look like a perfunctory vehicle to ferry the kids in. The 2021 Odyssey boasts a muscular front grille with LED sequential turn indicators for that added touch of style and sophistication. Naturally, there is every expectation that Honda still pays attention to driver and passenger’s needs. The one-touch dual power sliding doors is a dream to use, and the electrically retractable door mirrors and Smart Parking Assist System (in EXV model) help with parking in tight spaces.

The latest Odyssey comes in two versions: the eight-seater Odyssey EX, and the seven-seater Odyssey EXV. Both come with new, ultra-low platform to make getting in and out a breeze.This being a Honda, the car is sufficiently powered by the efficient 2.4-litre DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine. Honda’s Eco Assist system further helps you conserve petrol by providing feedback that guides you to use less fuel. But on the occasion that you want a bit of fun behind the wheel, the paddle shifters would help you get that extra acceleration.

If you’re a family-centric person, you can rest assured that safety features come standard. Honda Sensing provides a suite of driver assistance elements that include Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which maintains a constant speed by automatically speeding up or slowing down to keep a safe distance from the car in front — without needing you to step on the accelerator. Collision Mitigation Braking system detects a potential collision and alerts you. And Lane Keeping Assist System lets you know when you’re veering off the lane you’re in.

The Honda Odyssey comes in four brilliant colours: Premium Twinkle Black (pearl), Obsidian Blue (pearl), Super Platinum (metallic) and Platinum White (pearl).

PRICE  From $201,999 (WITH COE)

ENGINE  2,356CC DOHC I-VTEC, WATER-COOLED, IN-LINE 4-CYLINDER

TRANSMISSION  CVT

POWER  175PS @ 6,200RPM

TORQUE  225NM @ 4,000RPM

0–100KM/H  11.4 SECONDS

DISTRIBUTOR  KAH MOTOR (Tel: 6840 6888)

HYUNDAI STARIA

If you’re looking for a car that provides all the usefulness and functionality of an MPV, but still offers that something extra in terms of style and uniqueness, look no further than the all-new Hyundai STARIA.

The Korean carmaker has obviously thought long and hard when coming up with this car and the story behind it. “Inside-out approach”, “inspired by the halo that illuminates Earth’s horizon during sunrise when viewed from space” — these are just some descriptions Hyundai has come up with to help us visualise what the STARIA is all about.

At the end of the day, the new MPV is all about great use of interior space, and providing passengers with the utmost in comfort and practicality. Sure, the STARIA does look like something out of an episode of Star Trek, as its silhouette is indeed futuristic and spaceship-like. The long, horizontal daytime running light and headlamps positioned low at the front provide an unconventional façade. This design reflects the Korean hanok architecture, where the view of the outside is seen as an extension of the vehicle interior.

The seven-seat STARIA is equipped with electronically controlled Premium Relaxation Seats in the second row. They also slide to maximise cargo space. The one-touch relaxation mode automatically adjusts the seat to a position that purportedly “disperses the passenger’s weight and improves overall body balance”. Whether the seats do precisely that is up to you to decide, but there is no denying that the 10-colour ambient mood lighting in the cockpit, console, doors and cargo — together with the sound system — certainly adds a luxe factor to the interior atmosphere.Given what it has to offer for passengers, the STARIA is not a small car by any means. With its wheelbase of 3,273mm (5,253mm overall length) and 1,997mm width, this car has some stature. The overall height of 1,990mm makes for convenient entry and exit, and is high enough for young kids to stand upright and move around with ease.

With Hyundai’s petrol engines getting more efficient, you can expect a powerful and smooth ride through the gasoline-powered SmartStream 3.5-litre MPI V6 engine with eight-speed automatic transmission. The car isn’t stingy when it comes to safety features either. Hyundai SmartSense for the STARIA includes six airbags, three-point seat belts, Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning, and Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist. Another useful safety feature is the Rear Occupant Alert, which detects and warns the driver that a passenger is still in the back seat after the driver has exited the vehicle.

PRICE  $231,999

ENGINE  3,470CC LAMBDA III SMARTSTREAM G3.5 DOHC 6-CYLINDER

TRANSMISSION  8-SPEED AUTOMATIC

POWER  272HP @ 6,400RPM

TORQUE  331NM @ 5,000RPM

0–100KM/H  8.9 SECONDS

DISTRIBUTOR  HYUNDAI SINGAPORE (Tel: 6475 8888)

Volkswagen Touran

The VW Touran is ideal for those who want something practical for the family, but don’t want to haul a full-size MPV around town. This model from VW shares much of the features with its larger brother, the Sharan, all packed into a compact size that suits a small family just fine.

For those who like something snazzier, VW offers the Touran R-Line. This offshoot offers dynamic cornering lights for better illumination around corners, as well as enhanced design elements, such as the R-Line body kit, 18-inch alloy wheels, and a radiator grille with the R-Line logo.

Stylistic features aside, the Touran is all about functionality and practicality built around VW’s trusted, high-performing, turbocharged, four-cylinder TSI petrol engine. The package of features included in the seven-seater Touran are all designed to make driving your family around as seamlessly and hassle-free as possible.

Foldable tables behind every passenger seat — with cup-holder, no less! — allows your kids play on their tablet computers or do their homework while you’re driving them around. In the R-Line, the seats in the second row have child boosters built into it. The seat base may be lifted, and a special child’s headrest clicked into place so that you won’t need to use a child seat. Easy Open tailgate further lets you open the boot with a kicking motion under the rear bumper — so convenient when you have your hands full carrying a baby or the grocery.Inside the MPV, the Touran provides all the features to make your ride connected and comfortable. App-Connect provides access to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and Air Care Climatronic allows you to independently control three different temperature zones, with an active biogenic filter to keep allergens at bay combined with an automatic air circulation mode for improved air quality.

The Touran also doesn’t shy away from driver assistance features. Park Distance Control uses the front and rear sensors, together with the Rear View Camera, to warn you when you get too close to walls or other vehicles when negotiating a parking space. And when you’re reversing, Rear Traffic Alert warns you if there is another vehicle or obstacles in your way. Front Assist gives out an acoustic and visual warning when you drive too close to the car in front, while City Emergency Braking automatically applies the brake to avoid a collision or to reduce the impact. Side Assist detects vehicles in your blind spot and warns you with an icon in the side mirrors.

The VW Touran comes in seven exterior colours — Deep Black Pearlescent, Pure White, Atlantic Blue Metallic, Caribbean Blue Metallic, Dolphin Gray Metallic, Kings Red Metallic and Reflex Silver Metallic — all matched with Titanium Black upholstery.

PRICE  $179,900 (WITH COE)

ENGINE  1,395CC 4-CYLINDER, 16 VALVES, TURBOCHARGED TSI PETROL ENGINE

TRANSMISSION  7-SPEED DUAL CLUTCH AUTOMATIC

POWER  150PS @ 5,000–6,000RPM

TORQUE  250NM @ 1,500–3,500RPM

0–100KM/H  8.9 SECONDS

DISTRIBUTOR  VOLKSWAGEN SINGAPORE (Tel: 6474 8288)