The new Honda Odyssey is designed for families and definitely with parents in mind. Odyssey engineers must have asked families what they wanted because the eight-passenger minivan has been thought out extremely well. Honda has answered the award-winning Chrysler Pacifica by upping its game with the Odyssey, and loading it with features moms and dads will thank them for
This week, we drove the top-of-the-line, 2018 Honda Odyssey Elite.
Honda Odyssey has been completely redesigned for 2018 with a new 3.5-liter V6 engine, a quieter cabin, and loads of family-friendly features. New features include a sliding rear seat with a removable middle section and removable outboard seats that slide sideways as well as forward or back. Remove the middle seat, and it’s like having captain’s chairs.
There’s a new 4G LTE WiFi hotspot that can drive the rear entertainment system. There is a wireless charging pad for smartphones, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Moms especially will love the new optional feature that allows parents to watch their kids on the big screen on the dash, zooming in with infrared vision. There’s no hiding in the back, hitting your brother or sister, undetected.
The 2018 Honda Odyssey Elite ($46,670) comes standard with leather upholstery, auto-dimming rearview mirror, garage door opener, sunroof, and power liftgate. It features navigation with voice recognition, a Blu-Ray rear entertainment system with wireless headphones, 115-volt power outlet, and Honda’s CabinTalk system that allows the driver to talk to all passengers through the speakers or headphones.
Odyssey Elite gets the new 10-speed automatic transmission, stop/start technology, the aforementioned CabinWatch feature that points a camera at any seat, an in-vehicle vacuum cleaner, third-row sunshades, a hands-free power tailgate, LED headlights, LED fog lights, and front and rear parking sensors.
The Elite trim upgrade goes further with an 11-speaker audio system, wireless phone charging, a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, ambient lighting, gloss black interior trim, rain-sensing wipers, power-folding exterior mirrors, and 19-inch wheels. Total MSRP including destination: $47,610.
You’ll want to spend lots of time in this cabin. The Odyssey comes with softer materials, new stain-resistant leather, a big functional center console with two main storage areas, one of them deep and the other wide and flat. The best news is the CabinWatch feature on the screen showing a running video feed of the rear seats, so parents can literally watch everything going on in the second and third rows. It’s even infrared, and you can zoom in, so kids watch out!
CabinWatch works with CabinTalk, which plays the driver’s voice over the sound system and directly into the headphones. Kids won’t be able to get away with anything! Family trips just got much more enjoyable for mom and dad.
The new Odyssey also gets a re-engineered Magic Slide seating system with removable second row seats. The middle seat can be removed to create captain’s chairs, and an easier path to the third row. The two outside seats slide up, back, left or right; and they can be pushed together to create one large seat.
If you need a large cargo area, the rear seats can be removed completely, although they do weigh 70 lbs. each if you want to get them out. With the seats removed, it offers up a massive 144.9 cubic feet of cargo space. Behind the second row, with the third row folded flat, there’s 86.6 cubic feet. Behind the third row there’s 32.8 cubic feet of space; the third row can fit an average adult. Families can custom-configure the minivan for each trip, project or adventure.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
Odyssey’s 3.5-liter V6 engine has been completely redesigned for 2018. It produces 280 horsepower and comes mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters. It also comes with an idle stop feature to save gas. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19/28 city/highway and 22 combined mpg.
All you need for power will be at your disposal with the new Odyssey. The 3.5-liter V6 has enough power for all driving situations and the 10-speed automatic shifts smoothly and responsively, and uses all 10 gears seamlessly. The Odyssey handles like a minivan but it still gives the driver a feeling of control and confidence. What we didn’t like was the lane departure warning – it would flash the “Steering Needed” sign on the dash when we were driving around mountain corners at highway speeds.
Visibility from the driver’s seat is good with the big greenhouse windows. The sun shades in all rear windows keep the sun out for a more comfortable ride for rear passengers too. Overall, the Odyssey offers a smooth ride and the cabin is more quiet than the outgoing model. It’s a place you and the kids won’t mind spending lots of time, especially if you have a long upcoming trip planned.
The all-new 2018 Honda Odyssey is an eight-passenger minivan with class-leading power, space, technology, comfort, handling, and fuel efficiency. With its standard 60/40 folding third row and many safety features, it leads the minivan class for families.
Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy