We’ve come a long way since the first minivan, which truly was mini by today’s standards. Once a staple of the seemingly forlorn American road trip, Honda looks to re-up that nostalgic journey by turning family-friendly into family-fun with its all-American, all-new Odyssey.
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2018 Honda Odyssey Overview
What's New for 2018
The Honda Odyssey has been completely redesigned for the 2018 model year.
Choosing Your Honda Odyssey
Most people will immediately notice (and focus) on the aggressive-for-a-minivan styling of the new Odyssey, but, like many things, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Everything has been revamped for 2018. An all-new body and chassis produce a quieter, more comfortable cabin. Technologies abound not only with regards to safety but also connectivity. An updated V6 engine produces more power while new transmissions offer improved fuel economy.
All Odyssey minivans use a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is 32 hp and 12 lb-ft of torque more than the 2017 V6 engine. A new nine- or ten-speed automatic transmission replaces the old six-speed auto, depending on trim level. Shift-by-wire electronic shifting and paddle shifters also are standard. The EPA estimates fuel economy to be 19 city mpg, 28 highway, and 22 combined for all trim levels, regardless of transmission.
Other innovations include what Honda calls its Magic Slide second-row seats, which can configure four different ways to allow for greater flexibility and accessibility for passengers and cargo alike. There also are CabinWatch (allows driver to monitor all rows, both day and night, via an 8-inch display), CabinTalk (allows driver to communicate to passengers using rear entertainment headphones or via rear speakers), and CabinControl (allows control of the rear entertainment system, climate, and navigation via a smartphone app), to make hauling the kiddies easier.
The 2018 Honda Odyssey is available in five trim levels:
Keeping passengers occupied has become a necessity, whether for a multi-state road trip or a traffic-filled drive to school. Another necessity, especially for families, is staying within budget. By checking all the boxes on accessories, the all-new Odyssey can cause a case of sticker shock – nearly $48,000 is a lot for any vehicle, let alone a family minivan.
The EX trim at less than $35,000 is a better option as it includes all the safety features, the Magic Slide second row, and smartphone integration for in-dash navigation. With the money saved, you can purchase a couple of tablets for rear passengers and pre-load entertainment for long drives.
2018 Honda Odyssey Review
The 2018 Honda Odyssey marks the start of the fifth generation of a minivan that's served as a family favorite for nearly two decades.
Pricing and Equipment
Prices for the Honda Odyssey begin at $30,930 for the LX model and top out at $47,610 for one decked out in Elite trim. None of the models has any options or option packages. We suspect most buyers will gravitate to the midrange EX-L with its easy-to-clean leather seats and an MSRP of $38,300 and additional standard features like:
- Honda Sensing active safety features (forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, blind spot information, front and rear parking sensors, and rear cross-traffic alert)
- Multi-angle rearview camera
- Blind spot alert
- Sliding four-mode second row seats (side to side) with a removable center seat
- Eight-inch touchscreen
- Eight-way power driver's seat
- Power tailgate (height adjustable)
- Three-zone automatic climate control
- Keyless push-button and remote engine start
- Walk away door lock
- Second row window manual sunshades
The Honda Odyssey comes with a direct injection, 3.5-liter V6 with cylinder deactivation that develops 280 horsepower. It's paired with either a nine-speed automatic (on LX, EX, and EX-L models) or ten-speed automatic (on Touring and Elite trims) transmission. With either transmission and the standard cylinder-deactivation system, the Odyssey gets an EPA-estimated 19 miles per gallon in the city, 28 on the highway, and 22 combined – best in its class numbers, other than the Pacifica plug-in hybrid.
- The Odyssey's ride and handling is the best in the segment as it's both comfortable and well-controlled.
- The3.5-liter V6 is a great performer, offering strong acceleration.
- All-wheel drive isn't available on any model.
- The nine-speed transmission doesn't shift nearly as precisely as the new ten-speed automatic, which is only offered on Touring and Elite models.
- Higher trim levels get treated leather to better repel the stains from Little Jimmy's chocolate milk.
- The Magic Seat in the center of the middle row can be removed and the outboard seats can be slid together or apart as well as fore and aft - even with a child seat attached – allowing a number of different seating arrangements.
- The Odyssey is the roomiest minivan in the segment with 38.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. When it's folded and the second row seats are removed, there's a total of 155.8 cubic feet of cargo space – a 7.3 cubic foot increase over the 2017 model.
- Second row seats (at 70 pounds each) don't stow and need to be removed manually, so advance planning is required when hauling larger items
- Features like a rear entertainment system, heated front seats, and Honda's Cabin Watch in-cabin camera system are only available on the top two trim levels.
- The infotainment system finally gets a volume knob, but additional redundant buttons would make it more user-friendly.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
Despite an additional 32 horsepower, the new Odyssey still achieves the best fuel economy of any non-hybrid minivan.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
In order to take advantage of the Odyssey's maximum cargo-hauling capacity, you're required to physically remove a pair of 70 pound seats – a situation that might cause many potential buyers to shy away.
The Bottom Line
Excellent ride and handling characteristics along with numerous new family-friendly features make the 2018 Honda Odyssey a top choice in the minivan segment. .
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