January 20, 2017
Widely considered to be the top-of-the-line option in the minivan market, the Honda Odyssey takes the standard minivan and elevates it to impressive levels. Thoughtful, adaptable, and filled with impressive extras, the Odyssey not only offers reliability but luxury as well.
The Odyssey looks like most minivans, with sliding doors and a rounded body style that has come to be the hallmark of the industry over the past decade or so. But the Odyssey is far from ordinary. Taking a look inside the Odyssey demonstrates this quite well. The design of the interior focuses on adaptability and ease of use, especially the design of the seating. The second row offers both a captain’s chair option and a bench seat option, simply based on its unique design. In its standard mode, the bench seat fits three, but in wide mode, the bench splits and turns into three separate seats with an inch or so between them. You get the best of both worlds with this option and a little bit more breathing room.
One of the most impressive parts of the Odyssey’s design is the thoughtfulness that Honda has put into the entertainment package. The minivan is a family vehicle, built for travel with multiple people. To that end, they’ve included an impressive audio system with a touch screen display on all but the base model, as well as an integrated DVD entertainment system for the 2nd and 3rd row on four of the higher-level trims. Integrated DVD systems aren’t groundbreaking, but split-screen ultra-wide screens are. Imagine being able to make everyone happy by splitting a 16-inch screen into two, with one faction of your family watching the integrated DVD and the other watching something entirely different. Ask any person who has traveled with small passengers if this is a brilliant move, and you’ll hear a resounding yes! This option, available on the Touring models only, demonstrates innovation and thoughtfulness and is at the heart of what makes the Odyssey special.
These types of special features are present throughout the Honda Odyssey, things that rank high on the ideal wish list of anyone who has ever driven a minivan. Number one? A built-in vacuum system. The HondaVAC, available on the SE and Touring Elite models, fits snugly in the wall of the cargo area of the van and, with a long hose and removable waste bin allows drivers to clean up spills and messes quickly before they become stains. Another option? The Cool Box, an easy-to-operate storage section that cools drinks for passengers. These features, combined with options like integrated sunshades, a 3rd row 115-volt plug, heated states, a power tailgate, and collision warning, earns the Odyssey that top-of-the-line distinction.
Beyond the bells and whistles, though, the heart of a minivan’s appeal is its combination of interior space with safety. Honda takes safety seriously, evident in everything from the engineering to the tricked-out options on the Touring Elite trim level. The ACE body structure, which diffuses the energy of frontal crashes to minimize the impact on both the Honda and the other vehicle involved, offers one level of protection, but Honda layers that protection with both passive and active safety options. Every Odyssey comes with an impressive package of safety features, including front, side, and 3rd-row curtain airbags, a rearview camera, brake and stability assist, and Lane Watch, as well as additional options like lane departure and collision warning as well as blind-spot information systems. The safety packages, while not as sexy or as crowd-pleasing as the special features, make the Odyssey the smart choice on the minivan market.
Switches from a connected bench seat to three separate seats, with an adaptable center seat that can become a cupholder/armrest
Available only on the Touring Elite trim; screen can be split between integrated DVD and an external gaming system or portable DVD player to provide multiple entertainment options
Available on the SE and Touring Elite models; integrated vacuum system with removable waste bin allows for easy clean-up while on the road
Available on all but the base trim level; touchscreen audio controls minimize distraction and offer a streamlined interior design
The Odyssey is one of the more expensive minivan models on the market, but Honda makes the price tag well worth your while. A stellar reputation, impressive design, thoughtful and fun features, and the peace of mind that comes from a comprehensive approach to safety sets the Honda Odyssey apart.