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Overview (Final Score: A-)
Thewas first introduced in 1995 and has since been plying American roads as one of the most popular minivans. The market has cooled and changed a lot since the Odyssey first came to being, but the minivan soldiers are a popular choice for families looking for plenty of comfort and interior real estate, and who have no hangups about potential social stigmas.
The 2018 Honda Odyssey brings in the fifth generation of Homer’s namesake minivan, redesigned to add some performance, more second-row adjustability and some nifty in-cabin technology for keeping your eyes on the road while monitoring the little ones in the back seats.
The 2018 Odyssey minivan seats up to eight, has double-sliding doors and comes in six trim levels starting with the LX and moving up through the EX, EX-L, EX-L with Navi and RES, Touring and Elite. Trim level denotes package options and seating arrangements.
What We Love About the 2018 Honda Odyssey:
- Excellent drive quality for the size
- Near-perfect family friendly interior
- Good value for the purchase price
What We Don’t Love About the 2018 Honda Odyssey:
- Reliability still an unknown in this new-gen van
- A little boring to look at
- Heavy competition in the segment may hurt the Odyssey’s appeal
Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (10/10)
The interior of the 2018 Honda Odyssey is extremely well done. Which it should be, as the entire point of minivan is to have a comfortable, many-seated interior with tons of room. So we’d expect nothing less than a “10” for a minivan like the Odyssey.
The driving position and front passenger’s comfort levels are excellent, and layouts for controls and storage are logical and well thought out. We like the vast adjustment ranges for the front seating and the smart way that the center console allows storage of items with easy versatility. In the second row, the seating is adjustable and easy to get to thanks to those sliding doors that make a minivan the most accessible vehicle on the market.
In the third row, seating is more comfortable than might be expected by people used to crossovers with their limited third-row accommodations. Getting to the third row is easy, even if the optional second-row bench is used in the Odyssey. This is thanks to the forward-sliding seat and tilting seats in a split-bench setup. With the captain’s chairs in the second row, access to the third is even easier with the side-sliding function and space between the seats for access.
Cargo space in the 2018 Odyssey is very good and on par or better than other minivans in the segment. Like most, the third row up means a large tub is available in the rear. Optional covers and other items can be used to close that off so that items can be stacked on top, raising the usefulness (and available floor space) in the Odyssey’s trunk.
We should make a note on trim levels here. There are no stand-alone options for the Odyssey, so interior accouterments depend entirely on the trim level chosen. The LX is the only trim level that doesn’t have a second-row bench. A rearview camera and automatic climate control are standard equipment, as are powered front seats.
The EX and EX-L models add power sliding rear doors, keyless ignition with remote start, heated front seats, a cabin-view mirror, and more adjustment and sliding options for the second row. The EX-L with Navigation and Rear Entertainment add just what its name implies. The Touring and Elite models for the Odyssey add driver aids like parking sensors and convenience items like an in-vehicle vacuum cleaner and hands-free liftgate. It also adds a nifty rear cabin monitoring system.
The Honda Odyssey’s cabin monitor allows the driver or front passenger to press a button on the screen to activate a camera mounted just behind the front row, giving a fisheye view of the entire cabin behind. This displays on the infotainment screen up front and has the option to broadcast speaking throughout the cabin via the Bluetooth inputs up front. These work with plugged-in or wirelessly-connected headphones, so if rear passengers are listening to music or watching the entertainment system’s screens, they can be spoken to through the mics.
Incidentally, this also means that the obvious parent joke of saying “This is your captain speaking” becomes almost a requirement. That never gets old. At least, not for us parents.
The Odyssey is surprisingly spry for its size. Powered by a well-tuned 3.5-liter V6 that outputs 280 horsepower through a nine-speed automatic transmission, the front-wheel drive 2018 Odyssey does well in everyday driving situations. An optional 10-speed automatic is available. While it doesn’t change fuel economy, it does improve some shifting patterns at lower speeds in what’s already a smooth ride.
The 2018 Honda Odyssey drives well, though somewhat limited driver visibility to the sides can be a concern. Getting around town or out onto the freeway is no hassle for the Odyssey, which speeds up when asked and maneuvers nicely when needed. We liked the feel of the Honda’s acceleration and movement on the road.
On the highway, the 2018 Odyssey is surprisingly quiet, especially in the upper packages with their ballistic windscreens for added sound dampening. The Odyssey’s suspension does a good job of absorbing the road without making the vehicle feel dead to the touch.
Pricing and Value (9/10)
Pricing in the minivan segment is generally the same across the board. Some options may be a bit cheaper than the Odyssey and the à la carte accessories available for some competitors may be a good draw. Yet the 2018 Odyssey pits well against the competition in terms of what you get for the money spent.
The base model Odyssey is a bit more expensive than other base model, but it likely comes with more accouterments than will be found elsewhere. The top-most Honda Odyssey is equally spendy compared to most others, but offers a lot in return.
For most buyers, we think the middle-tier EX or EX-L class is the best option, with a good mix of amenities and a solid price point. The Odyssey sits near the top of its sales class for a reason and we believe that few buyers will lament their choice.
Total Score and Competitive Comparison (73/80, 91%)
Long predicted to be slowly dying off, the minivan segment has made a sort of comeback in recent years as companies have revamped their offerings and proven that minivans still have some appeal to a large number of buyers. Finding solid rivals to the 2018 Honda Odyssey is not, therefore, a difficult task.
Chief among the competition is the, which debuted a few years ago and set new standards for the minivan segment. Replacing the and Chrysler Town & Country, the Pacifica showed that minivans don’t have to be completely boring. The Odyssey is a good contender now, though its exterior looks may not match up.
Theis the low price leader in the minivan market and also does well against the Odyssey’s lower trims. At the middle tier and above, though, the Honda outpaces the Kia easily. Meanwhile, the ranks among the most expensive minivans on the market, but is generally the most luxurious offerings as well.
For the money spent, it’s hard to argue with the all-new 2018 Honda Odyssey’s value and excellence. We like its chops, with a solid offering for every budget, and a good amount of pep and interior comfort. It’s worth shopping around for minivans today, but if your final choice is the 2018 Odyssey, there won’t be any regrets.
Read the FULL REVIEW Now to get expert tips on the 2018 Honda Odyssey’s safety, reliability, fuel economy, exterior, technology and more.