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2021 Honda Odyssey gets styling tweaks and more safety tech

The updated minivan was supposed to debut at the 2020 New York Auto Show in April, but the show has since been postponed until August due to COVID-19 concerns.

Steven Ewing Former managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
Steven Ewing
2 min read
2021 Honda Odyssey

The 2021 Odyssey's most obvious update is a slightly reworked front fascia.

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The minivan segment might not be as robust as it once was, with shoppers preferring the higher-riding stance of SUVs . But the venerable is still our top pick in this superfunctional class, and for 2021, it's getting a number of changes to make it even better.

It's not clear if Honda will push the Odyssey's debut back following the New York Auto Show's rescheduling due to coronavirus concerns (Honda didn't immediately return Roadshow's request for comment). But it is bringing fresh styling tweaks and some new technology to the party with this updated minivan. Redesigned LED headlights, a slightly reworked lower fascia and a few other nips and tucks around the outside will help differentiate the 2021 Odyssey from its predecessor, though compared with the 2020 Odyssey model in the gallery below, the overall design hasn't really changed. Inside, there are updated climate controls, second-row seatbacks that fold more easily, some perforated leather for the top-level Elite trim and other niceties.

Like other Hondas, the 2021 Odyssey will now come standard with the Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance features, including full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and pedestrian emergency braking. The 2021 Odyssey will also get a rear-seat reminder system, not unlike what we've seen on other vehicles, though on Touring and Elite trims, this tech works with the minivan's CabinWatch camera to actually show the rear-seat area on the infotainment screen. In other words, the Odyssey won't just tell you that you're about to leave one of your kids or pets inside the car, it'll show you exactly which one, too.

Mechanically, the Odyssey is the same as the previous model. There's a 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 under the hood, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. In our most recent review, we found the Odyssey enjoyable to drive and both comfy and capacious inside. These 2021 model year updates shouldn't jeopardize any of that praise.

Don't buy another crossover, get a Honda Odyssey instead

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Watch this: 2020 Honda Odyssey: Don't get another crossover, buy one of these instead

First published March 9. 

Update, March 11: Adds information about the New York Auto Show postponement.