Honda didn't invent the minivan (Chrysler did); but the Japanese-brand company has come close to perfecting the body style, now in its fourth generation. We can see evidence of those efforts in statistics, as the Odyssey has been the most popular minivan in the U.S. for half a dozen years. Simply put, Honda’s Odyssey continues to earn sales and accolades as one of the best large-capacity, family-and-friends people/luggage movers on the market. Rivals include the Toyota Sienna, Kia Sedona, and new-for-2017 Chrysler Pacifica (which replaced the departed Town & Country).
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2017 Honda Odyssey Overview
What's New for 2017
Honda expanded availability of an acoustic windshield to SE and EX-L trim levels. Otherwise, the 2017 Odyssey is a carryover with no significant changes. This is the last year for the current Odyssey – a redesigned model is debuting at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show.
Choosing Your Honda Odyssey
The Odyssey may still proudly wear the “minivan” description, but not much is “mini” about this still-popular model. The driver and up to seven passengers can expect plenty of personal space. Cargo capacity in back, with all three rows occupied, is a decent 38.4 cubic feet. Fold the two rear rows flat, and available volume balloons up to 148.5 cubic feet.
All Odysseys feature sliding doors on both sides. Power comes from a 3.5-liter V6 that sends 248 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. The EPA estimates fuel economy for each version at 19-mpg city and 27-mpg highway (22 mpg combined).
Six carefully graduated trim levels constitute the Odyssey lineup:
With half a dozen versions available, making a choice isn’t so easy. Given how typical minivan journeys include the need to keep passengers entertained on long hauls, then clean up after them upon arrival, the SE comes across as a sensible best pick for the money.
2017 Honda Odyssey Review
Often considered the class leader in the minivan segment, Honda’s eight-passenger Odyssey is in its final season. Honda unveiled its redesigned 2018 model at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show, in January 2017. But for model year 2017, the current Odyssey is sticking around, adding sound-insulating windshields, while more models can get such options as an in-car vacuum and back-seat entertainment.
Pricing and Equipment
Starting at $30,790 (destination charge included) for the base LX model, the Odyssey contains a 3.5-liter V6 that develops 248 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque, driving a six-speed automatic transmission. Five additional trim levels are available: EX, SE, EX-L, Touring, and Touring Elite. All Odysseys have front-wheel drive. Stepping up to an EX raises the outlay to $33,940, while the SE (which includes rear entertainment and the HondaVac in-car vacuum) adds another $950.
Odyssey EX comes with:
- Rearview camera
- Honda's LaneWatch blind-spot monitoring camera
- Tri-zone automatic climate control
- Power sliding rear doors
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- Power front seats
- Eight-inch display screen
- Seven-speaker, 270-watt stereo
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Handling and roadholding are respectable, helped by natural-feeling power steering. Road manners are reminiscent of Honda’s sedans, notably the Accord. That's high praise for a minivan.
- Carlike handling and excellent visibility help make long treks a pleasure.
- Fuel economy isn’t exactly thrifty, but comparable to competitors – EPA-estimated at 19/27 miles per gallon city/highway, or 22 mpg combined.
- The six-speed automatic transmission is a bit balky and indecisive when cruising at relatively steady speeds, or accelerating mildly. When pushing harder on the gas pedal, the transmission behaves more confidently, shifting smoothly and promptly.
- Few are likely to brag about the Odyssey’s straight-line speed, but it’s just about right for a family-oriented minivan.
- Practical, common-sense convenience features are invariably oriented toward families – as they should be. Available items include a cooler compartment, vacuum cleaner, rear-seat entertainment, and a hanger for a trash bag.
- Every occupant can expect a good seating accommodation, with plentiful cabin space.
- Rather than focus on difficult-to-use touchscreens, Honda retained large knobs and other easy-to-operate controls, placing functionality at the forefront.
- As many as eight adults can fit into an Odyssey, helped by second-row seats that can slide outward.
- Front seats aren’t quite as supportive as they might be, though they’re wide enough to be especially comfortable for long drives. Otherwise, it’s hard to find fault with the Odyssey’s cabin.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
Though it’s been around for several years, Honda’s LaneWatch, which uses a sideview camera to show that a vehicle is approaching from the rear, is still an appealing surprise. All Odysseys except the base LX get the system, which shows the scene in the passenger-side mirror when the right-hand turn signal is activated.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
Honda’s list of available active-safety features hasn’t quite kept pace with the competition. Such systems as forward-collision warning and lane-departure alert are offered largely in upper trim levels. Greater safety technology is likely to be a selling point for the redesigned 2018 Odyssey.
The Bottom Line
Honda invariably puts comfort and versatility ahead of performance and styling. As is often the case, option packages can add considerably to the total price. Some minivan-minded shoppers might prefer to wait to check out the technology updates for the reworked 2018 Odyssey, which goes on sale in spring of 2017.
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