Super Van: The 2018 Honda Odyssey Is a Luxurious Surprise

Honda’s newest minivan has everything your family needs in a vehicle, and then some

Super Van: The 2018 Honda Odyssey Is a Luxurious Surprise

Rating

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A solid improvement on what was already an exceptional vehicle.

Type

8-passenger minivan

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Engine
3.5-litre V6
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Fuel economy
9-speed: 12.6 L/100 km city, 8.4 L/100 km hwy, 10.7 L/100 km comb, 10-speed: 12.2 L/100 km city, 8.5 L/100 km hwy, 10.6 L/100 km comb
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Power
280 hp, 262 lbs.-ft.
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Drivetrain
Front-wheel drive
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Transmission
Touring: 10-speed; lower trims: 9-speed

Competition

Toyota Sienna, Chrysler Pacifica, Kia Sedona

Best For

Carrying everyone in comfort

The new Honda Odyssey is probably the most luxurious, most comfortable, even most advanced vehicle that Honda makes, and that includes its premium Acura lineup.

It’s loaded with everything Honda could think to put in a vehicle: clever seating, so the seats in the second row slide in and away from the door, making third-row access simpler; clever technology, including a night-vision camera for watching sleeping children in the rear; and clever performance, with the new, more powerful V6 engine from the Pilot SUV. All that is matched with a fuel-efficient 10-speed transmission in the top-end Touring edition; cheaper trims get the 9-speed from last year.

This is the fifth generation of the Honda minivan, and its designers see it as more than just family transportation. It’s a place to keep everyone content, be they parents, teenagers, pre-teens or babies. It’s also a safe place—its body 44 per cent stiffer than before, using high-tech materials that include ultra-high-strength steel, aluminum and magnesium. Despite its extra strength, though, the body is 26 kilograms lighter.

Road-Trip Tested: The Perfect Family Minivan for all Passengers

On a recent drive around Prince Edward Island, the new Odyssey proved itself exceptionally quiet, thanks to active noise cancelling through the sound system, thicker acoustic glass in the windshield and other sound-muffling materials. This is little benefit when the noise is all happening inside the van, so Honda added a few elements for frazzled parents. The smooth drive helps children sleep, while the “are we there yet?” mapping feature on the drop-down screens at the back helps answer everyone’s age-old question.

Super Van: The 2018 Honda Odyssey Is a Luxurious Surprise 

The Odyssey is slightly longer and wider this time around, but while it’s taller by 3 centimetres, the step into the cabin is lower by 3.5 centimetres. This is helpful for children and seniors alike. The larger dimensions mean there’s more cargo room in the very back, behind the third row of seats. The much-vaunted vacuum cleaner now comes standard in all but the most basic edition.

The Odyssey Has Features to Get Excited About

There are six trim levels, ranging in price from $34,890 to $50,290, and the Honda Sensing package of driver-assistance features is standard in all of them. That includes the most important stuff: lane-departure assistance to help keep the van from wandering, automatic braking to help prevent a collision, adaptive cruise control and even automatic dipping of the headlights.

Super Van: The 2018 Honda Odyssey Is a Luxurious Surprise 

The safety features are what really count, of course. It’s much more important than an improved sound system, or a speaker system in the rear to amplify the driver’s voice for back-seat passengers, though they’re available too. It’s to Honda’s credit that they don't expect buyers to pay extra for safety. The fact that all this is available in a comfortable, powerful and spacious minivan is a bonus that many families will truly appreciate.

 In the market for a minivan? Here’s a roundup of last year’s reigning models, despite the SUV craze.

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