First Look: Honda totally revamps the 2018 Odyssey, creating the best minivan it has ever built

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First Look: Honda totally revamps the 2018 Odyssey, creating the best minivan it has ever built

There is no better way to transport a family than a minivan, unless, of course, you’ve got something heavy to tow or you live in a region where all-wheel drive and raised ground clearance are necessities. And among minivans, for quite some time now, there has been no better choice than a Honda Odyssey.

Chrysler might dispute this, and given just how good the 2017 Pacifica is, such disagreement carries legitimate merit. Even now, following Honda’s reveal of the redesigned 2018 Odyssey, the Pacifica remains compelling, especially in plug-in electric hybrid format.

You might have trouble spotting the new 2018 Odyssey at a glance, given that it uses similar design themes to the one that’s been around most of this decade. (Honda)

Nevertheless, the new 2018 Honda Odyssey is poised to lead its segment in terms of sales to actual retail customers like you and me. Honda’s reputation for reliability, coupled with brand loyalty, would alone keep showrooms stocked with Odyssey buyers.

Add the long list of improvements that will accompany the next-generation Odyssey when it goes on sale in the spring of 2017, and you can bet Honda won’t have any trouble moving this angular chunk of metal to people who refuse to be defined by the “active lifestyle” muckety-muck used to describe buyers of crossover SUVs.

Evolutionary design changes clean the Odyssey up

Integrating the sliding door tracks into the beltline trim beneath the rear windows gives the new 2018 Honda Odyssey a cleaner appearance. (Honda)

Sporting evolutionary instead of revolutionary styling, the new Odyssey is instantly familiar, requiring no more than a glance to identify it as Honda’s minivan. It employs styling cues that first debuted back in 2010 when the polarizing 2011 Odyssey design went on sale, cleaned up, sharpened and modernized.

While the Oddy’s looks appear decidedly less odd, it is important to remember that familiarity breeds indifference. There’s something funky going on with the van’s profile, bordering on Mazda 5 weirdness depending on the light and angle.

The good news is that the sliding side door tracks are now integrated with the van’s “lightning bolt” beltline, and the Odyssey no longer appears to be two different vehicles that met a Sawzall and then a surgeon – in that order.

Second-row seats can be positioned just about way you want them

Equipped with 8-passenger seating, the 2018 Honda Odyssey offers a multi-configurable second-row seating area. (Honda)

Inside, Honda installs more soft-touch materials than before, and equips the Odyssey with black carpets and seat belts that better hide stains. And minivans collect stains. New stain-resistant leather is also available, and the HondaVac vacuum cleaner returns for an encore.

Eight-passenger seating is standard, and new Magic Slide second-row seats allow for different configurations. For example, you can slide the seats forward to position a rear-facing child safety seat closer to Mom and Dad. You can slide them back to maximize legroom. You can remove the center seating position and slide the resulting captain’s chairs together, putting kids into a safer position farther from the sliding doors. You can move just one seat toward the middle, creating a large walk-through to the third-row seat.

Up front, a large center storage console separates the driver and passenger. Covering the storage bin, a smooth tamboured cover is designed to resist collection of crumbs, dirt and detritus.

Honda has also taken steps to quiet the Odyssey’s interior. Historically, this minivan has suffered from significant wind and road noise, making long trips tiring. With this redesign, Honda adds triple door seals, sound deadening materials, acoustic windshield and side window glass, and Active Sound Control. The result, according to the automaker, is the quietest interior in the minivan segment.

Honda also claims that due to a revised rear suspension design, the 2018 Odyssey provides the largest amount of space behind its third-row seat. However, official cargo volume measurements were not available when the minivan debuted at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show.

New technology helps this Honda to better avoid collisions

Safety-related enhancements help the 2018 Odyssey to better avoid collisions, and to protect occupants when a crash occurs. (Honda)

Honda constructs the 2018 Odyssey around a next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) architecture that is designed to do a better job of dispersing crash energy away from the occupant compartment in the event of a collision. Of course, avoiding a collision in the first place is always preferable, and with the redesigned Odyssey, Honda takes a big leap forward over the previous version of its minivan.

Every 2018 Odyssey except for the base LX trim level will include Honda Sensing, a suite of driver assistance and collision avoidance systems. They include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, and a lane departure prevention system called Road Departure Mitigation.

Accompanying these Honda Sensing systems, all but the base Odyssey LX are also equipped with a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert. Depending on the trim level, Odyssey buyers can also obtain automatic high-beam headlights, rain-sensing wipers, and front and rear parking assist sensors.

CabinControl, CabinTalk, and CabinWatch, oh my!

CabinTalk – it’s not a dating app for women who like men with beards, flannel shirts and long rifles. (Honda)

Some families prefer conversation, “I Spy” games, and to talk about the passing landscape during a road trip, while others would rather plug-in and tune out. Honda accommodates both approaches, and makes it much easier for parents to communicate with movie-watching youngsters and to referee squabbles.

Starting at the beginning, all versions of the minivan except for the Odyssey LX are equipped with a new Display Audio infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen. It has a volume knob, it runs on Honda-developed software, and it supports system updates via Wi-Fi or the USB port whenever necessary. Additional highlights include upgraded satellite radio, HD Radio, access to Pandora music streaming, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi internet connection, and wireless device charging capability.

The infotainment system provides a new suite of applications, including a CabinControl app that allows Odyssey occupants to control the infotainment system, the climate system, and the navigation system from their smartphones. This app also supports a Social Play List, a virtual jukebox of sorts that allows each person aboard the Odyssey to submit favorite songs to a compiled group play list.

The rear seat entertainment system installs a 10.2-inch display screen on the ceiling of the minivan. It features headphones, HDMI video gaming jacks, and can stream video via the onboard Wi-Fi connection or a smartphone data plan. An app called “How Much Farther” keeps kids apprised of the remaining distance in the journey, though anyone with a child realizes that this is not going to cut down on repeated questions of: “Are we there yet?”

Even when your adorable offspring have their headphones on and are singing “How Far I’ll Go” at the tops of their little lungs, you’ll be able to get their attention in a calm, cool and collected manner. Thank you, CabinTalk technology, which feeds a parent’s voice to rear passengers via the rear speakers and, yes, the headphones.

CabinWatch is also new, sounding like the name of a really crappy TV show in which the stars get bundled up in flannel shirts and L.L. Bean boots rather than dressed down into lifeguarding suits. In reality, this is a camera system that gives Mom and Dad a video view of what’s going on in the second- and third-row seats. The image is displayed on the infotainment screen, providing evidence that yes, your children do lie to you. All of the time.

More power, better fuel economy, improved driving dynamics

Nobody buys a minivan because they want to have fun behind the steering wheel. Honda improves the 2018 Odyssey in this regard, anyway. (Honda)

With this redesign, the 2018 Odyssey moves to the same platform that underpins the Acura MDX, Honda Pilot, and Honda Ridgeline. Weight drops up to 96 pounds, depending on the trim level, and the minivan boasts a 44 percent improvement in torsional rigidity.

Not that minivans are supposed to be enjoyable to drive, but this change certainly helps in that regard. So does the new Agile Handling Assist technology, a more responsive electric steering system, more powerful brakes, and a revised rear suspension design that Honda says improves the Odyssey’s ride and handling.

A new direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6 engine summons 280 horsepower, a 32-pony increase over the previous Odyssey. Cylinder deactivation technology, active grille shutters, and new transmissions help the minivan to achieve what Honda claims will be best-in-class fuel economy ratings.

A 9-speed automatic transmission powers the Odyssey’s front wheels, and in upper trim levels, Honda introduces a new 10-speed automatic transmission. Both are shifted using a collection of buttons and switches located on the dashboard.

Honda ups its minivan game, but the Chrysler Pacifica remains a formidable foe

The redesigned 2018 Honda Odyssey is better than ever, but it still might not topple the Chrysler Pacifica from the top of Minivan Mountain. (Honda)

Undoubtedly, the 2018 Odyssey is best minivan Honda has ever built. But, is it the best minivan? A test drive and family shuttling will help to determine that, but given just how good a package the Pacifica is, especially in plug-in hybrid format, Honda might still have some work cut out for it.

The Best Cars, Trucks, SUVs, and More for 2016: Editors’ Choice Awards 2016 Honda Odyssey

Source : Car and Driver 2016 Editor’s Choice – February 22, 2016

2016 Honda Odyssey

The Odyssey has charmed our staff for years with its unrivaled road manners, smooth powertrain, and accommodating interior. With room for up to eight passengers to sit comfortably, the Odyssey is also fuel-efficient, thanks to the cylinder-deactivation feature on its 248-hp 3.5-liter V-6. Perhaps most exciting is the built-in vacuum in the cargo area. Featured on certain models, it’s so obvious in its usefulness you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Cheerios everywhere, beware!

2016 Honda Odyssey

Instrumented Test

2016 Honda Odyssey

Still the cr�me de la cr�me of minivans.

As much as we wished this review of Honda’s refreshed-for-2014 Odyssey minivan focused solely on the rig’s awesome built-in HondaVac vacuum cleaner, it wouldn’t have been very useful to those of you actually interested in how well this minivan, you know, does minivan things. (We did, however, cover the vacuum in a separate, slightly informal test.) Given that none of the 2014 Odyssey’s changes are mechanical in nature, consider this test a refresher on all things Odyssey.

Lightning Bolt, Lightning Bolt!

The current-generation Odyssey first opened its dual sliding side doors to the world four years ago, and our long-term test of a 2011 model was our last full report on the van. For 2014, buyers can choose from—count ’em—seven trim levels: base LX, EX, spicier EX-L (basically the EX plus leather), EX-L with RES (EX-L with a rear-seat entertainment system), EX-L with Navi (leather-lined EX with navigation), Touring (bundles the EX-L’s rear-seat entertainment system and navi), and the focus of this test, the range-topping Touring Elite.

All Odysseys now have headlights with darkened trim, LED-lit taillights, and updated wheel designs, plus the latest front fascia, hood, and grille. While not drastically changed in appearance, the van still looks quite sharp for a big box, and it retains its low and wide front end and snazzy “lightning bolt” side window-line zigzag.

2016 Honda Odyssey

The dashboard is reconfigured with easier-to-read gauges and now accommodates a second, low-mounted central display—devoted only to audio and phone functions—on EX models and up. We find the new dual-screen setup a bit ridiculous and unnecessary; you can, for example, have audio information displayed on both screens at the same time. The lower screen is operated by touch, whereas the upper unit is manipulated via hard buttons confusingly located below the lower display. That the two screens’ resolution and graphics aren’t matched is almost a secondary complaint.

A carry-over 3.5-liter, SOHC V-6 powers the front wheels of every Odyssey, sending its 248 horsepower through a six-speed automatic. The six-cog unit was previously available only on upper trims, leaving lesser versions with a five-speed and lower fuel-economy figures, but now all examples have the better EPA-bestowed ratings of 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway. Our loaded Touring Elite managed a decent 22 mpg over more than 1300 miles of driving.

People (and Seat) Hauling

Rejoice, parents afraid of giving up any semblance of driving pleasure by switching to a minivan: The Odyssey remains among the very best minivans to drive. Our recorded test numbers paint a rather mediocre dynamic picture—0.75 g around the skidpad, a long 197-foot stop from 70 mph—but seat-of-the-pants impressions convey a buttoned-down and willing performer. Unfortunately, Honda hasn’t sped up the van’s slow steering, which makes for lots of arm-flailing during parking-lot maneuvers. It feels out of step with the lively and capable chassis, although to be fair, hair-trigger turn-in is between a lift kit and deployable pontoons on the wish lists of most minivan shoppers.

The transmission is another carry-over item we wish Honda had tweaked. It upshifts as early as possible, which is understandable in a world rife with tightening efficiency regulations, but it also stumbles over itself finding the right gear when you call for a downshift. The eons it takes to select a cog—usually not the one wanted or needed—means many passing opportunities will go missed. The automatic even manages to flub upshifts, at times introducing a lumpy, ill-timed short shift while the driver is still accelerating. Luckily, the smooth V-6 mitigates the transmission’s sins and yanks the 4618-pound Odyssey to 60 mph in an impressive 7.5 seconds.

2016 Honda Odyssey

To go along with its sporty chassis, the Odyssey continues to hold plenty of mainstream appeal thanks to its smooth and comfortable ride. The third-row seats smoothly fold into the floor to create a flat cargo hold, although we noted that removing the second-row chairs is cumbersome, taking us upward of 10 minutes and requiring a second person. Because they don’t fold into the floor, the Odyssey’s second row must be removed entirely and in three heavy pieces. With every seat in place, there’s plenty of room for up to eight pieces of human cargo.

Just Call It the Acura TLV—Or Would That Be VDX?

At $45,280, the Touring Elite isn’t cheap, but it could convincingly wear an Acura badge. Leather, navigation, tri-zone automatic climate control, second- and third-row sunshades, a sunroof, power-sliding side doors, a power-opening tailgate, a rearview camera, HID headlights, a 10-way power driver’s seat, a 650-watt 12-speaker audio system, the awesome vacuum, and a rear-seat entertainment system with a 16.2-inch display and wireless headphones are all included. Onboard safety gear includes lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, and front and rear parking sensors.

If you can do without some frills or safety features and seating for only seven, the basic LX brings the same essential goodness for $29,655. (To see what comes on other Odysseys, read our breakdown of the 2014 lineup’s pricing.) Regardless of which model is chosen, the Odyssey performs its duties far more effectively than would almost any three-row crossover, and it’s more stylish than direct competitors like the Dodge Grand Caravan or the Nissan Quest. If you need a family box, we’d say look no further than this Honda.

Vehicle Comparison: The 2011 Honda Odyssey vs. the 2011 Toyota Sienna

Classic minivan duel shows Odyssey coming out on top.

Talk about a grudge match. The Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna minivans are both all-new for 2011, upping the ante in a battle for supremacy that has been going on for years. Both are superb family vehicles with cavernous interiors and oodles of flexibility, but only one introduces innovations that are impossible to ignore, as well as efficiency that’s difficult to surpass. That van is the 2011 Honda Odyssey.

Both vans offer a lot of style, but the 2011 Honda Odyssey (MSRP starting at US $27,800) has a unique look that delivers more than just style points. The van’s “lightning bolt” window line is not only a unique identifier, the dip in the glass lets more light into the third-row seats, lending a feeling of airiness to an area that can feel claustrophobic in other minivans. The second benefit is that the tracks and motors for the power sliding doors are mounted lower in the bodywork, which results in increased shoulder room for the third-row passengers.

Honda offers a 3.5-liter V6 making 248 hp and 250 lb/ft of torque across the board in the 2011 Odyssey. With the exception of the Odyssey Touring Elite, all trims get a five-speed automatic transmission. (The Elite gets a six-speed.) Toyota offers both a 187-hp 2.7-liter four-cylinder and a 265-hp 3.5-liter V6 in the 2011 Sienna. Both are paired with a six-speed automatic.

Although the Toyota Sienna’s V6 may look better on paper, the Honda engine comes out a winner because it’s essentially its equal in terms of horsepower and actually offers more torque than the Sienna’s V6. It’s more fuel-efficient than either the four- or six-cylinder in the Toyota. Odysseys with the five-speed automatic are rated at 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway. The Odyssey Touring Elite, with its six-speed, fares even better: 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway. In contrast, the two Sienna engines are rated at up to 24 mpg highway.

Inside, the 2011 Odyssey boasts a list of specs and features that are sure to win over any family. Cargo storage? You’ll find 38.4 cubic feet of space behind the breathtakingly simple One-Motion 60/40-split third-row Magic Seat®. When stowed (the Magic Seat folds flat into the floor almost effortlessly), cargo volume expands to 93.1 cubic feet. When you need to do some serious hauling, removing the second-row seats opens up 148.5 cubic feet of space – enough for, well, a whole lot of stuff.

The innovation continues in the second row of the bestselling Odyssey where Honda offers a new three-mode seat. Families with small children will be especially interested, as Honda had them specifically in mind when they designed it. The three-mode seat is standard in Odyssey EX and higher trim levels, and consists of a pair of captains’ chairs, plus a removable center seat that can slide forward independently of the other two. All three positions have LATCH anchors (five sets total, more than any other minivan on the road today), and this is where the three-mode seat’s flexibility becomes apparent.

First, a child seat can be mounted in the center, and the seat’s sliding feature means it can be moved closer to the parents in front for easy tending to the child. In other vehicles, installing three child seats across the second row can be tricky, given how wide they can be. Not so in the Odyssey. One of the 2011 innovations is a Wide Mode feature; the two outside second-row seats can be moved outboard by an additional one and a half inches apiece. Doing so creates a second row that is wide enough to take three child seats across with ease. Even if you’re not transporting kids, the three-mode second row shows off its utility. The center seat can be removed completely, or flipped down to create a substantial center armrest with cupholders. Odyssey offers more front-, second- and third-row legroom and more overall passenger volume as well.

The 2011 Sienna offers comfortable second-row seating – either a traditional bench in lower trim levels, or a pair of captains’ chairs in upper trims. Neither setup boasts the level of innovation on display in the Honda, however. Toyota’s leather-clad captains’ chairs in its high-end models have a recline feature, complete with footrests that extend out to support the passenger’s legs. Impressive-looking, to be sure, but kids in child or booster seats are completely unable to take advantage of it, and professional reviewers have been quick to point out that even average-sized adults will find that the recliners come up short on comfort, as they’re best suited to people with shorter legs. The Toyota seats do slide fore and aft, but so do the Odyssey’s and, as noted earlier, the Odyssey’s slide outboard as well. The Honda’s seating configurations are simply more flexible.

Another new feature introduced in the 2011 Odyssey is the Honda Ultrawide Rear Entertainment System in the Touring Elite model. This, combined with the Elite’s 650-watt, 12-speaker, 5.1-channel surround-sound audio system, effectively transforms the rear seats into a home theater away from home. A 16.2-inch screen flips down from the roof, and, thanks to supplemental inputs, can show up to two video sources side-by-side (one source is the van’s DVD player), or display a single source on the widescreen. The system’s auxiliary inputs include an HDMI jack, so that a high-definition source can be used while underway such as a Blu-ray disc player or gaming system. A pair of wireless headphones is included, and the third row has jacks for traditional wired headphones as well. The 2011 Toyota Sienna also has an available widescreen entertainment system, but there’s no high-def connectivity, a shortcoming when you consider how many devices now natively support HDMI.

At the bottom of the ergonomically rearranged instrument panel in every new Honda Odyssey is another feature that will be greatly appreciated by every passenger: aA cool box that’s tied in directly to the A/C system, so that cool air is pumped in regardless of the climate control settings that are heating or cooling the cabin. The cool box can hold up to four 20-ounce bottles or six 12-ounce cans. Load up some cold drinks, hit the power button and the cool box will help keep them cold. This is also great for keeping that impulse-buy candy bar you grabbed at the gas station from getting all melted and messy. The Toyota Sienna offers a well-organized instrument panel, but there’s no cooled compartment like the Odyssey offers, and parents know how important it can be to have a chilled drink on standby during a long road trip.

The Odyssey’s list of standard or available features goes on forever. It includes a Song By Voice feature in nav-equipped Odysseys that lets you pull up songs from your iPod or the available Hard Disk Drive simply by uttering their names. Oh, and that available Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System can suggest scenic routes and tap into the Zagat Survey restaurant guide to give you additional details on the eateries in the points-of-interest database.

Naturally, features like Bluetooth hands-free telephone, XM Satellite Radio and a comprehensive set of active and passive safety features are also on tap. In Odysseys equipped with the removable front center console, there’s a deep storage bin and even a flip-up trash bag ring that lets you quickly attach a bag to collect all the juice boxes, food wrappers and other garbage that can accumulate.

Both the Odyssey and Sienna provide safety for occupants, however, only Odyssey offers Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, which enhances passenger protection in the event of an accident.

The short of it is that while the 2011 Toyota Sienna boasts a number of improvements over its predecessor, it simply doesn’t match the number of innovative new features Honda engineers worked into the 2011 Odyssey. At the end of this minivan battle royale, the Odyssey scores a knockout. It is, once again, the best minivan in the business

Please note that there may be some model variations between the US models and the Canadian models

Article Information

  • Date Posted: April 17, 2011

Honda’s Receive 2013 Top Safety Pick Award


Top Safety Pick recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in moderate overlap frontal, side, rollover and rear crashes. Honda Accord, Fit, Civic, CR-V, Crosstour, Odyssey, Ridgeline and Pilot all received the 2013 Top Safety Pick Award!

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Article Information

  • Date Posted: January 15, 2013