2021 Honda Odyssey evaluation: Carry children and cargo, no crossover required

The Odyssey is one trendy minivan.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

Crossover-SUVs is perhaps sizzling sizzling sizzling, however do not low cost the minivan. What as soon as was a nerdy mode of household transportation is now a trendy solution to haul children and kit. Working example, the refreshed 2021 Honda Odyssey.

LikeLots of ordinary featuresPeppy V6 energy

Do not LikeNo all-wheel driveNo hybrid powertrain

In case you’re severely available in the market for a minivan, I do not think about driving dynamics are your fundamental concern. As an alternative, you are doubtless extra within the tremendous comfortable entrance seats, or the three-across second row with a detachable center part. With out that center seat in place, the outboard chairs can slide backward and forward. This makes moving into the third row even simpler, and means mother and father can separate their bratty children if they begin combating. The third row has room for 3 children or two average-sized adults.

No matter the place your children are seated, you possibly can keep watch over them with the out there CabinWatch characteristic, which shows a video feed of the rear compartment on the entrance infotainment display screen. It even has night time imaginative and prescient so you possibly can see your children in the dead of night, and now works with the rear seat reminder to not solely let you know should you left a child within the automobile by accident, however present you which ones one. What a world. Moreover, the CabinTalk tech makes use of a microphone to challenge the driving force’s voice by way of the rear headphones and audio system.

Admittedly, I did not have any motive to make use of the kid-monitoring options. However I did get to check out the vacuum cleaner. It really works as marketed.

Infotainment tech in my totally loaded Elite tester is managed on an 8-inch touchscreen with customary Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, however the base mannequin will get a 5-inch unit with out smartphone integration. Nonetheless, even the bigger Show Audio software program is not my favourite, since there appears to be one further step for each perform. Not nice.

In again, the Odyssey Elite has a 10.2-inch dropdown display screen with two wi-fi headphone units. Second-row kiddos get one HDMI port and two 2.5-amp USB-A shops. The third row has two headphone jacks (sorry, no wi-fi models for these unfavorites), in addition to one 2.5-amp USB-A port and a 12-volt, 800-watt outlet. Up entrance, mother and pop are flush with charging choices, too, together with a few USB-A ports, a 12-volt outlet and extra.

The Odyssey’s cabin is good, however the Show Audio infotainment tech is getting previous.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

As for cargo-hauling — children at all times include cargo, proper? — the area behind the third row has as much as 38.6 cubic ft of area. I dig the low, wide-load space that permits the third row seats to fold flat, and as soon as they’re stowed, cargo space will increase to 91 cubic ft. Nonetheless, if I wish to unleash the Odyssey’s true hauling potential, I’ve to take the second row seats out, which is not any simple job. Every seat weighs about 70 kilos and simply has me craving for the Stow-N-Go seats discovered within the Chrysler Pacifica. Positive, the Odyssey has extra space as soon as the chairs are eliminated, however I will take a barely smaller space for easy-peasy stowing.

When it comes time to really drive, the Odyssey does not disappoint. The three.5-liter V6 and loads of zip for merging onto the freeway. The engine is paired with a 10-speed computerized transmission that routes energy to the entrance wheels. All-wheel drive shouldn’t be out there, which stinks as a result of the Pacifica and Toyota Sienna now supply this characteristic. There may be, nonetheless, a snow mode that recalibrates the traction management parameters to deal with the slick stuff.

Good because the Odyssey’s V6 is, different minivans supply electrified choices. 

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The Odyssey returns an EPA-estimated 19 miles per gallon within the metropolis, 28 mpg on the freeway and 22 mpg mixed. Throughout every week of testing I truly beat the EPA, averaging 24.6 mpg mixed. Nonetheless, households who’re on the lookout for even higher gasoline economic system ought to take a look at the hybrid powertrains within the Pacifica and Sienna. The Sienna will get as much as 36 mpg mixed whereas the plug-in hybrid Chrysler Pacifica has 32 miles of all-electric vary and will get 82 MPGe.

The Odyssey behaves higher than you’d count on on curvy roads, however it actually excels at on a regular basis driving. The journey high quality is superb, it by no means feels harsh or jarring and the cabin is quiet all of the whereas. New for this yr is an electrical brake booster, which improves brake really feel and affords a shorter pedal stroke.

All of right this moment’s fashionable driver-assistance options are right here, and most are customary. Blind-spot monitoring doesn’t grace the entry-level LX trim, however different driving aids are customary. It is good to see that adaptive cruise management now has low-speed following, as a result of in earlier years, it could disengage beneath 22 mph, making it ineffective in stop-and-go site visitors. Additionally new for this yr are traffic-sign recognition, which works prefer it ought to, and pedestrian emergency braking, which I happily have not skilled. The lane-keeping help principally works properly, however it may be a little bit iffy at occasions. A superb reminder to maintain your fingers on the wheel.

The Odyssey stays a stable minivan providing.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

Whereas the 2021 Honda Odyssey begins at $32,910 together with $1,120 for vacation spot, my high Elite tester comes out to $49,335. The candy spot within the lineup is the EX-L for $39,580. The EX-L is well-equipped with heated entrance seats, 4 USB-A ports and three 12-volt shops, the 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and tri-zone computerized local weather management. I lose ventilated entrance seats, CabinWatch and CabinTalk, in addition to the rear-seat leisure system, wi-fi charging, a Wi-Fi hotspot and the vacuum cleaner, however I am undecided these options are well worth the $10,000 upcharge for the Elite.

The refreshed 2021 Honda Odyssey is a wonderful alternative for many who have to haul children and kit, however do not wish to get into the three-row SUV market. The Pacifica and Sienna do supply electrified choices and all-wheel-drive functionality, making them severely fierce rivals, however the Odyssey at the least has loads of family-friendly options and a peppy V6 in addition.

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