Think minivans are fading away thanks to a proliferation of crossovers? Think again. More than a half-million of these versatile family haulers roll off dealer lots each year. The Honda Odyssey is all new for 2018 and arrives sporting a more stylish exterior in the hope of wooing buyers—and fending off the handsome and incredibly versatile Chrysler Pacifica. The cabin is roomy, quiet, and comfortable for the whole family, even those relegated to the third row. A plethora of inventive options such as an onboard vacuum, a video baby monitor, and an in-cabin PA system accompany the expected infotainment and rear-seat-entertainment features. Honda is now offering its suite of active safety technologies—including automated emergency braking and adaptive cruise control—as standard equipment on all but the base LX trim level. It all adds up to a compelling alternative to the ubiquitous crossover for moving family, friends, and cargo.
What’s New for 2018?
Honda has completely redesigned and re-engineered the Odyssey for 2018. A revised V-6 engine, new nine- and 10-speed automatic transmissions, more expressive styling, and a much needed all-new infotainment system round out the Odyssey’s improvements versus last year’s model.
Trims and Options We’d Choose
The two top trims of the Odyssey—Touring and Elite—carry high prices of $45,450 and $47,610, respectively, and come fully equipped without the need for checking multiple option boxes. The midrange EX-L is the one we’d choose, however, and at a starting price of $38,300, it represents the best bang for the buck. As with the luxury-laden upper trims, the EX-L has plenty of standard high-tech and luxury features such as:
• Honda Sensing active safety suite (lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, automated emergency braking, forward-collision warning, and adaptive cruise control)
• 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
• Leather-trimmed seats with heat and power adjustments for the driver and front-seat passenger
The compromises made by choosing this midrange model instead of a Touring or Elite trim are few. The choice mostly means giving up features such as the built-in vacuum cleaner and the in-cabin PA system.