The Honda Odyssey offers a package that only its fellow minivans can offer. If you are a Honda fan, and on the fence about getting either a minivan or a three-row crossover, the Odyssey should top your shopping list.
Don’t get us wrong, we love crossovers. However, they really don’t do the same things that an Odyssey can. Sure, you can stuff the kids in the way-back row of a crossover. Yes, they also have pretty good cargo with the rear seats in use. However, a minivan just seems to do all of these things better.
2021 Honda Odyssey – What Is It?
The Odyssey is a minivan that can be configured for either seven or eight seats. Our Elite trim came equipped with two captain’s chairs in the second row and a three-across bench in the back. Space in every row is suitable for adults. We put a six-foot two-inch young man in the farthest seat and he had plenty of leg and head room.
Cargo in the Odyssey is simply kooky. With the rear seats folded, the van has enormous space, even with the second row in place. When all three rows seats are in place, there remains a huge trunk area still large enough for a LOT of cargo. Space is the biggest advantage of this vehicle.
2021 Honda Odyssey – What Does It Cost?
The 2021 Odyssey comes in the usual Honda array of trims. A bare-bones van starts around $33K. Our top-trim Elite with special silver paint (who pays extra for silver?) had a price as tested – including the destination fee – of $49,335. Honda includes no maintenance in that price (Toyota’s Sienna includes 2 years). Honda also has the shortest warranty in America. It ends at 60K miles, while the Kia Sedona has a 100K warranty period.
2021 Honda Odyssey – Safety
The Honda Odyssey has long been known as one of America’s safest vehicles. In its most recent study, HDLI and IIHS found that the Odyssey was among the vehicles with the lowest real-world driver death rate. The Odyssey also earns the IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus designation. There is simply no higher level of safety available.
2021 Honda Odyssey – Infotainment & Features
We loved the Honda touch-screen infotainment system. Android Auto and Apple Car Play are both available, but you will need to attach a wire. That is a bit if a disappointment with so many 2021 models now offering wireless systems. The Elite model offered a wireless phone charging tray, which is really not needed if you are plugging in for Android Auto anyway.
Our Elite also had a rear seat Blue Ray DVD system This seems like a waste of money to us in a world where every child of a family that spends $50K on its car has their own devices to look at. There is a vacuum in the rear area, but no spare tire.
2021 Honda Odyssey – What Powers it?
The Odyssey is powered by the Honda V6 we all know and love. 280 HP from the V6 is more than enough in all situations, including passing (trust us). It is smooth and powerful and the geared transmission has paddle shifters, which we actually used in the mountains to hold gears for power. We observed 26 MPG in rural mountain driving with six passengers. The EPA rating is 22 MPG Combined.
2021 Honda Odyssey – The Ride
The Odyssey rides like a large car in many ways. Better in others. You feel like the road is yours. The driving position is perfect and visibility is very good. We detected no blind spots, and could see out of the rear glass even with six occupants in place. Modern crossovers have an equally-enjoyable ride, but the Odyssey feels a bit different. More like a giant Accord than a Pilot.
2021 Honda Odyssey – Our Conclusion
Some buyers debate whether to purchase a van or a three-row crossover. For us, the decision tree is simple. If you need AWD, the Odyssey is off the list. If you will actually be using the third row daily, the Odyssey is more practical than a three-row crossover. Family shoppers who plan to carry more than four occupants on a regular basis would be wise to try an Odyssey. The real world benefits are apparent even on a short test drive.
John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. Following his engineering program, John also completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin
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