JDM Honda Odyssey Features Gesture Control Rear Doors

Perhaps the perfect way to enter a vehicle in this pandemic-ridden world?

The idea of wave-to-open hands free tailgates have been around for a while now. First seen on more expensive luxury SUVs, this technology has trickled down to even the more inexpensive cars in the segment. The idea of a wave-to-open hands free rear door though might be a novel one, and that is exactly what is found on the latest update of the Japanese-spec Honda Odyssey. 

Fresh off the launch of the facelifted North American spec version of this popular Japanese minivan, details of the upcoming revision for the JDM market Honda Odyssey has also just been unveiled, with the biggest news from this update being those fancy gesture-controlled sliding rear doors. 

Supposedly to work much like the aforementioned power boot mechanisms, to operate these rear doors through gesture only, it seems that one will simply have to just wave their hands near a blue-lit strip near the window line of the rear doors and the doors will apparently just slide open. Allowing entry into the rear of the Odyssey without the need to touch the rear door handles, which are thankfully still present. 

Apparently, this feature will also work to close the sliding doors of the Odyssey. According to Honda, simply wave the hand in the direction to close the door near that blue-lit strip and the doors will automatically whirr shut. 

This feature does sound perfect in the era of a pandemic, as it reduces the need to touch any more surfaces than strictly necessary. The idea of waving your hands to open a car door does seem useful in times when the door handle is dirty or wet. Opening the doors just with a simple wave will also fulfil any sci-fi fantasies of both kids and dads alike, who have always dreamed of opening doors by way of the Force. 

That being said, unless this new innovative technology is unlike any other gesture-controlled feature on cars nowadays, this gimmick might prove to be more frustrating to operate than just pulling the handle and opening the door. It remains to be seen how responsive and accurate this wave-to-open mechanism will be. 

Fancy door opening mechanism aside, the facelifted Japanese-spec Honda Odyssey will debut a new sharper, angular front end design that bears resemblance to the current CR-V SUV. Angular headlights and a sculpted front bumper, in addition to the large horizontal chrome grill gives this new people mover increased road presence. On the interior front however, the updates are minor with the interior still remaining largely the same as in the pre-facelift variant. 

No official word yet from Honda on when this facelift minivan will actually be launched. However, seeing that the Malaysian Honda Odyssey is the Japan-spec unit, it is safe to say that when it is eventually launched in Japan, chances are high that it will also make its way over here too in the near future. 

The question is though would this new feature be enough to tide buyers over from the king of the luxury MPV in Malaysia that is the Toyota Alphard/Vellfire? Sadly, I would think not. 

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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