2018 Honda Odyssey Test Drive: Fifth Generation Raises Minivan Bar [Review]

2018 Honda Odyssey
2018 Honda Odyssey. [photo: Honda]

For a few years now, the big-three in minivans, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, and Chrysler Town & Country, were on auto-pilot. Then Chrysler launched the Pacifica for 2017 and catapulted the bar to a new standard. A year later, it’s Honda’s turn with the Odyssey. The Odyssey has been the best selling minivan in America for the past seven years and thanks to this 2018 model-year update appears to be in no danger of relinquishing its title, with equally, if not more attractive styling and even more features.


The Odyssey enters its fifth generation with six distinctive levels of trim: a base LX, the EX, an EX-L, the EX-L NAV & RES, the upscale Touring, and the flagship Elite. The base model seats 7 passengers, while all other trim levels seat up to eight passengers with reconfigurable seating variations.

Base pricing will range from $29,990 to $46,670 adding a $940 Destination and Handling fee. The base cost of our test Elite edition Odyssey, which Honda was generous enough to fly us to the Big Island of Hawaii to drive, was $46,670. With the final total coming to $47,610.

[photo: Honda]


Power for the entire new Odyssey lineup is provided by a front transversely mounted 3.5-liter (3471cc) , SOHC, 24-valve i-VTEC Direct Fuel Injection engine with VCM, a Drive-by-Wire Throttle System, and an ECO Assist System. The engine produces 280 hp at 6,000 rpm (a plus of 32 hp over last year’s V6). Torque tops out at 262 lb-ft. at 4,700 rpm. A 9-speed automatic transmission gears power to the front wheels in LX through EX-L Nav-RES models, while Touring and Elite models are equipped with a 10-speed automatic shift-by-wire transmission with paddle shifters.

Piloting the new Odyssey is like driving a luxury sedan with sporty attributes. The Odyssey’s primary purpose is not auto crossing, but it is stable and planted enough should you be so inclined. It is responsive in acceleration, shifts smoothly up and down through its ten gears, reacts to steering input without hesitation (enough to alarm passengers when not forewarned), and the ride quality is just right, neither too firm or too soft. Top speed on Hawaii is 55 mph, but there are places where that may safely be exceeded as long as officer friendly isn’t within radar range.

Honda’s new Odyssey still seats eight. A side-sliding 2nd-row chair makes for easier 3rd row access. [photo: Honda]


The major goal of the Honda Odyssey team in its development was to create a vehicle that would keep all members of the family happy, from children to adults in terms of both styling and functionality, with new features and technology.

Entering the spacious cabin, one finds several new features: Magic Slide 2nd row seats the move fore and aft and slide from side to side for ease of entry to the third row, even with child seats in place. The Odyssey packs Honda’s full suite of Sensing technologies. Infotainment works through a new display audio touchscreen interface with customizable placement of icons. The Nav system is a Garmin designed satellite unit, and the advanced rear entertainment system provides wireless streaming and a Blu-Ray player. There’s 4G LTE with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a wireless charging pad on the console (iPhones require an adapter). Almost forgot, there’s a vacuum cleaner on board as well.

The driver’s seat features a 12-way power control. Honda even made it quieter, using acoustic spray foam and thicker side door glass so you can hear exactly what Johnny did to Gracie in the 3rd row that prompted her to start wailing. Depending upon trim level, the new Odyssey comes with a power tailgate with a programmable lift height, leather seating surfaces and a leather-wrapped steering wheel on upper trim levels, a power moonroof and a two-setting memory driver’s seat.

But wait! There’s more…. Cabin watch uses rear facing cameras to allow the driver to keep his or her eyes on the rear two rows via the touchscreen. Cabin Talk allows the driver to interrupt rear seat programming, or simply to talk. And there’s a “How much Further?” function, a program that allows kids to keep track of trip progress on their own without bugging Mom and Dad.

We could go on and on, but you get the drift, the 2018 Honda Odyssey is a dream family transportation pod that geared to keep every family member satisfied and entertained on adventure length sojourns.

[photo: Honda]
TFLCAR’s TAKE:The 2018 Honda Odyssey minivan in Elite trim delivers the complete package for enjoyable family travel, and if there’s something that the Elite Odyssey doesn’t have, it’s a good bet that you really don’t need it. Okay, there’s no toilet, but there’s room for a Porta-Potty if you don’t want to stop for bio-breaks. In the final evaluation, this latest iteration Honda Odyssey is a clear winner in every respect, and is justifiably entitled to wear the title as “King of the Minivans.”

SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Honda Odyssey Elite

  • Base Price: $46,670.
  • Price as Tested: $47,610
  • Engine Type and Size: 3.5-liter (3471cc) , SOHC, 24-valve i-VTEC Direct Fuel Injection with VCM, Drive-by-Wire Throttle System, ECO Assist System
  • Horsepower (bhp): 280 @ 6,000 rpm
  • Torque (ft-lbs.): 262 @ 4,700 rpm
  • Transmission: 9-speed – LX-EX-L Nav-RES/ 10-speed automatic- Touring & Elite – Shift-by-wire and Paddle Shifters
  • Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / FWD
  • Suspension: Front – MacPherson strut with 26 mm solid stabilizer bar
  • Rear – Compact Trailng Arm with 20 mmx3.2” or 3.5” tubular stabilizer bar
  • Brakes: Power-assisted Four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS, EBD, BA and TPMS
  • Tires: Bridgestone Turanza 235/55 R19 101H mounted on alloy wheels
  • Wheelbase: 118.1 inches
  • Length Overall: 16’11”
  • Width: 6’2.5″
  • Height: 5’8.3″
  • Curb Weight: 4,354 to 4,593 lbs.
  • Turning Circle: 39.64 ft.
  • Fuel Capacity: 19.5 gallons
  • EPA Mileage Estimates: 19 mpg city / 28 mpg highway / 22 combined