Words and photos by: Jimmy Mak
Now on the 5th generation, the Odyssey has come a long way but through the process, it’s more evolution than revolution.
The front end has been given the traditional Honda update with the highest trim getting these distinctive LED headlamps and large chrome grille.
Out back there’s a set of crab claws taillamps to complete the 2018 Honda look. If Honda has made one improvement on the styling is the chrome strip found the van’s beltline. It Spans from the A-pillar all the way to the rear glass it divides the rather large rectangles that make up the vehicle. Along with that Honda has managed to incorporate the sliding door’s track into the rear glass and with that, there’s now a lack of a cut line to interrupt the clean body lines.
Where it matters the most is inside. The Odyssey has been improved for 2018. With a big 8″ touchscreen with Apple CarPlay as well as Android Auto the unit is snappy and works like a charm. The only thing that’s a bit odd is the location of the shifter. Smack in the centre of the console it’s not placed similarly to other vehicles. There’s a centre symmetry that flows across the dash which does make it pleasant to look at. Not to mention the waterfall LEDs that illuminate the bottom half of the dash.
The infotainment system as mentioned is all new and it has support for all the latest gadgets. Using a similar system to your smartphone, the icons can be dragged from one page to the next allowing for easy access to the top used apps. Something interesting is Honda’s Cabinwatch system, it uses a camera mounted above the 2nd row to see exactly what’s happening in the 2nd and 3rd row of the Van. Best yet the camera has infrared technology so it’s able to see in the dark. Paired with Cabin talk which uses the front microphones to amplify the volume to the rear passengers it’s a nice gadget to have when speaking to all 8 people that’s aboard.
Being the top of the line model, Honda has added all sorts of tech as well as comfort items. These front buckets are nice and soft perfect for those get-a-ways. Even better is it won’t matter when you go as these seats are heated as well as ventilated to regular your temperature as needed.
For the middle seats, Honda has made them wider and easier to use. With the centre seat removed the outboard seats can slide together or apart to either get children talking or stop them from fighting. That middle seat, however, cannot be stowed on board. So it will take a bit of space in your garage when not used it’s not heavy by any means but it is bulky and awkward to hold.
For those who have kids, you’ll be happy to hear the middle seats can fit three child seats across and it does so with three dedicated sets of lower child seat anchors(LATCH). Bringing a total up to 5 including two in the 3rd row.
Access to the third row is easy thanks to sliding 2nd-row seats which goes fore and up allowing for even adults to sit in the back.
While Honda has included a rear seat entertainment system which would be this 10″ mounted on the roof with both HDMI as well as Blu-Ray player it seems a bit lacking as other vans have dedicated screens for the 2nd row. As well for the rear, there are only 2 USB ports mounted in the centre of the front console. For today’s kids that maybe just a few less than needed but I guess that’s how they’ll learn to share.
Behind the 3rd row like most minivan’s, there’s a sunken area for all your groceries and cargo. The 3rd row does fold neatly in the floor by using the pull tabs on the back of the seats. When lifting the 3rd row back into position may be a bit harder as the seats are quite heavy.
While the 3rd row isn’t as easy as pushing a button. The 2nd row is worse. Unlike Chrysler’s Excellent Sto-n-go seating, these don’t fold into the floor. Taking these out demands a bit of effort and work as altogether it’s quite bulky and heavy to move around.
Behind the wheel, the Odyssey drives like a bigger and taller Accord. With a powerful V6 under the hood, it even has very has a very audible Vtec crossover. With 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, it’s able to haul everyone and their cargo with ease. The ride of the Odyssey seems quite tight, with less than noticeable body movements in turns thanks to stiffer springs and body control. Thanks to this, it makes driving quite enjoyable in this rather large 41024lb vehicle.
While it’s a big v6 under the hood the Odyssey is able to run on Regular fuel and return some impressive numbers. In the city, it’s able to manage about 12.5L/100km and on the highway, thanks to the 10-speed transmission is able to get as low as 8.5L/100km. While the top trim Touring gets the 10-speed, the rest of the line up gets a 9-speed auto which uses a bit more fuel in the city thus more combined.
Make no mistake the Odyssey is still an excellent vehicle to take your kids to and from school and even other activities. It seems that Honda still has a bit of catching up to do when it comes to overall engineering as the package remains largely unchanged. Although the Odyssey has been hitting sales targets with small increments changes it’s hard to ignore other manufacturers and their hard work to beat the once great Odyssey. But in the sea of 7-8 passenger vehicles, this minivan is more practical than any 3-row SUV on the market and that itself makes a strong case for choosing the Odyssey.
Thank you to Honda Canada for providing the vehicle.