The Honda Odyssey is available in six trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring and Elite. All are powered by a 280-horsepower, 3.5L V6 engine, which is mated to a 9 or 10-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel economy is rated at 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.
Honda endeavored to make the Odyssey's body very rigid, which helps make it one of the most refined-riding and precise-handling vans on the market. The ACE body structure with improved frontal area is intended to make the Odyssey one of the safest minivans available.
Inside, Honda has worked to make the Odyssey as comfortable as possible for all occupants. The Odyssey can carry up to eight smaller-size occupants, or six larger adults in comfort. With a "3-mode" design, the second row can be folded forward for cargo, stretched wide for adult-size seating space, or made narrower for easy access to the third row -- when carrying a full load of kids to the soccer game, for instance. The third row carries on with Honda's "Magic Seat" arrangement, which folds easily with a single hand strap into the cargo floor when not in use. Coupled with second-row seats that are also completely removable, this allows for a very impressive cargo capacity. The Odyssey's extensive use of sound insulation and active noise cancellation system -- standard on all Odysseys -- means a quiet ride.
Cargo capacity and storage must have ranked high on the Odyssey's design priorities. With the Odyssey's third-row seat folded down and the second-row seats removed, Honda says that a 4x8-foot sheet of plywood will fit inside the Odyssey. With the front console removed 10-foot 2x4 studs will fit. There are more than enough cup holders (6) for all, and the back of the center console includes a ring for easily mounting a trash bag. Altogether, the Odyssey provides 38.4 cubic feet of storage behind the third row and 93.1 cubic feet behind the second row.
There's quite a price and equipment range from base LX models up to the Touring and Touring Elite, but even the LX models come quite well-equipped and include air conditioning, cruise control, one-touch turn signals, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, power front seats, SMS text messaging functionality and a 5-speaker sound system with auxiliary input. The EX adds a 3-zone climate-control system, heated side mirrors, alloy wheels, a garage-door opener, LaneWatch blind spot display, push-button start, and 2GB of audio storage, while the Touring and Elite features an ingenious vacuum cleaner system called HondaVAC, with a hose long enough to reach every corner of the Odyssey. The EX-L models get leather upholstery, heated front seats, Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning. All models but the LX come with power sliding doors. Touring Elite adds HondaVAC as well as HD radio and 5.1 Surround audio.
Safety features such as stability control, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, front side airbags, side-curtain bags for all three rows and active front-seat headrests are all among the standard features.
A DVD rear entertainment system with 10-inch ultra-wide display is standard on the Touring and Elite. It offers an HDMI input and the capability to display two different programs -- a video game and a movie, for example -- simultaneously. In the EX-L model and above, there's an intelligent multi-information display that allows access to a range of vehicle settings. A navigation system with voice recognition is also on the options list for the Odyssey EX-L and standard on Touring and Touring Elite; it's driven by a 60GB hard-drive system and includes traffic information, a highway guide and point-of-interest information for gas stations, restaurants and other attractions.
Crossover-SUVs might be hot hot hot, but don't discount the minivan. What once was a nerdy mode of family transportation is now a stylish way to haul kids and gear. Case in point, the refreshed 2021 Honda Odyssey.
If you're seriously in the market for a minivan, I don't imagine driving dynamics are your main concern. Instead, you're likely more interested in the super comfy front seats, or the three-across second row with a removable middle section. Without that middle seat in place, the outboard chairs can slide from side to side. This makes getting into the third row even easier, and means parents can separate their bratty kids if they start fighting. The third row has room for three kids or two average-sized adults.
Regardless of where your kids are seated, you can keep an eye on them with the available CabinWatch feature, which displays a video feed of the rear compartment on the front infotainment screen. It even has night vision so you can see your kids in the dark, and now works with the rear seat reminder to not only tell you if you left a kid in the car accidentally, but show you which one. What a world. Additionally, the CabinTalk tech uses a microphone to project the driver's voice through the rear headphones and speakers.
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