Facts and stats on Honda’s latest minivan


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What is it: Honda’s totally redesigned and rethought minivan with oodles of new tech features, the Odyssey takes the fight to the now-established Chrysler Pacifica.

Key Competitors: Toyota Sienna, Chrysler Pacifica, Kia Sedona

Base Price: $47,610 As-Tested Price: $47,610

Highlights: There’s still no better way to move people and their stuff than a minivan, and Honda’s latest top of the line Odyssey Elite adds family-friendly features like CabinWatch, a camera that lets the driver see second-row passengers, the HondaVac built-in vacuum and, for the driver, a stout 280-hp V6 coupled to a slick-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission.

Our Opinions: To be fair, Honda was probably caught flat-footed by Chrysler’s home-run Pacifica minivan last year; the 2018 Odyssey was finalized at that point, amounting to what Honda figured was a competitive suite of incremental enhancements to its class-leading people mover.

Things like CabinWatch and CabinTalk, allowing the driver to see and speak to passengers via a camera/microphone, respectively, are cute ideas, but in real-world use with a couple of tweens they amounted to little more than a novelty, quickly forgotten — buyers with rear-facing infant seats will likely find it more useful, at least for a couple years. More useful are the improvements to Honda’s navigation/phone/radio interface, which operates via an intuitive and very responsive touch screen high on the center stack. All the controls are easy to find and operate, save for Honda/Acura’s strange pushbutton shifter design. No complaints about the 10-speed (!) automatic transmission to which it’s connected, though: Combined with the stout V6, the Odyssey Elite delivers power whenever it’s needed and still returned 26 mpg in mostly highway driving with four people, luggage and bikes aboard.

Against a similarly equipped Pacifica, though, Honda’s monochromatic interior design, frumpy styling and absence of disappearing second-row seats are glaring; Honda’s argument against stowable second-row seats is one of comfort vs. convenience, but neither I nor my kids found the Pacifica’s seating an issue even after hours in the vehicle; furthermore, when I owned a minivan myself, I used it as a pickup truck as often as I did a people mover. Hondas research may show its customers have different priorities, but interior convertability is key for buyers like me.

Furthermore, where’s the three-panel moonroof? The dual touchscreen rear-seat entertainment system? The brushed-metal accents and contrast seat piping? Adding insult, the Odyssey Elite is significantly more expensive than the better-equipped Chrysler.

It’s a good effort that should satisfy Honda loyalists, but it’s not enough to regain the “best minivan” crown in my book.

Andrew Stoy

Andrew Stoy

– Digital editor Andrew Stoy has spent the past 20 years wrenching on and writing about cars. He’s worked everywhere from dealer service bays to the headquarters of the world’s largest automakers.

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On Sale: Now

Base Price: $47,610

As Tested Price: $47,610

Drivetrain: 3.5-liter SOHC V6, FWD, ten-speed automatic

Output: 280 hp @ 6,000 rpm; 262 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm

Curb Weight: 4,593 lb

Fuel Economy: 19/28/22(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)

Pros: Nice upgrades to the competent Odyssey package

Cons: Chrysler Pacifica is a better minivan for less money

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