Pricing and Equipment
All 2016 Honda Odysseys are powered by a 3.5-liter V6. Gear changes are provided courtesy of a silky-smooth six-speed automatic transmission.
Pricing for the minivan’s six trim levels is as follows:
- The base LX includes an 8-inch touchscreen and Bluetooth hands-free communication. Pricing starts at $29,275.
- The EX includes 17-inch alloy wheels and Honda’s nifty LaneWatch blind spot camera system. EX models start at $32,425.
- The SE or Special Edition includes family-friendly features like the HondaVac built-in vacuum and a DVD rear entertainment system with wireless headphones. Pricing begins at $33,375.
- EX-L includes driver-friendly active safety features like forward collision warning and lane departure warning. Pricing starts at $35,925.
- The Touring features 18-inch alloy wheels, a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat with memory, and a one-motion 60/40 split third-row magic seat. Touring models start at $42,180.
- The top-tier Touring Elite appears to borrow a few parts from the Acura bin, including an ultra-wide rear entertainment system, blind spot information system, the HondaVac built-in vacuum and a great-sounding 650-watt 12-speaker premium audio system.
Prices do not include an $880 destination charge.
Powered by Honda’s 3.5-liter V6, the Odyssey produces 248 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque, all sent to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.
- The engine and transmission provide ample power to scoot the approximately 4,500-pound minivan around. Zero to sixty miles per hour zips by in seven and a half seconds.
- The Odyssey’s steering is precise and confidence-inspiring. Honda’s minivan is quite large, but overall handling is more along the lines of a sedan than large truck.
- Thanks to the gearing and excellent powerband, highway passing is uneventful, besting the experience offered by many of the latest sporty crossovers.
By using a sophisticated engine management system the V6 engine runs on three cylinders during periods of highway cruising and light load conditions. Rated at 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, the Odyssey's fuel economy numbers are more in line with an economical midsize sedan than a vehicle that can comfortably carry eight people and luggage for a weekend trip to the mountains.
Other than being a minivan, there really isn’t much to complain about performance-wise. Providing a nice blend of comfort, convenience and efficiency, the Honda Odyssey just gets it right.
- The Odyssey’s cabin exhibits a comfortable open and airy feeling. The generous greenhouse lets plenty of light in and provides excellent visibility. The fit and finish of Honda's minivan is excellent.
- The nicely positioned center gauge cluster is easy to read.
- The center of the dash features two display screens. The lower touchscreen controls audio and telephone functions. When equipped, the top screen displays GPS information and video feeds from the rear and side view cameras.
- Rear cargo space is generous, even with all of the comfortable seats occupied.
Worth noting is Honda’s built-in vacuum system. What I initially considered a novelty item turned out to be a handy tool in keeping the Odyssey ship-shape. The vacuum works really well, pulling dirt and sand up almost instantly.
- The space provided for middle-seat occupants in the second and third rows is only adequate for small children and tiny adults. There's plenty of legroom for everyone, but the seats themselves are a compromise, only offering a fraction of the room provided by the window seats.
- Heating and air conditioning controls are positioned high up on the dashboard. The location places some of the controls just out of reach of both the driver and passenger. Leaning forward remedies the problem, but in a vehicle that is so thoughtfully designed, the small inconvenience seems out of place.
- There is a disproportionate amount of hard-touch plastic surfaces in lower trim levels.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
The highway gas mileage in the Odyssey completely belies the size and utility of the vehicle. In a segment where 25 mpg highway is considered great, 28 mpg is downright worthy of a celebration.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
I’m not crazy about the lightning bolt styling of the Odyssey’s side windows. I understand the concept of cutting the opening a little lower and giving third-row occupants better visibility, but the line just doesn’t make sense to my eye. This is subjective, of course, and certainly not a deal-breaker.
The Bottom Line
Honda’s popular minivan may not be the least expensive vehicle in the segment, but it is arguably the best. The performance is stellar, the cabin is huge and comfortable, and the fuel economy shames many small sedans that struggle to fit five adults and a couple of carry-on bags.
Honda’s reputation for building reliable vehicles doesn’t hurt anything either. If a new minivan is on the horizon, do yourself a favor and schedule an appointment at the Honda dealer. Even if the Odyssey doesn’t turn out to be the vehicle for you, it sets excellent shopping benchmarks in the segment to use for comparison.