I never thought I would be into a Minivan until I drove the 2021 Honda Odyssey for a week. The refresh on the exterior design along with the interior layout and the comfortable driving experience were the highlights for me. The CabinWatch® camera and Redesigned 2nd-row MagicSlide™ were cool features any Minivan driver would love. There was even a built-in vacuum cleaner which to me signals that Honda has thought of everything in the design of the Odyssey.
The 2021 Odyssey has a new grille design and a reshaped front bumper which gives it a sportier look. There are some new wheel designs and LED fog lights as well. When you combine all the enhancements and new designs it makes it more appealing but frankly, it’s the interior space and family friendly features that make this one of the most popular minivans in the U.S.
The first thing I noticed was how nice the interior is on the Elite version I tested. It is ideal for road trips and long hauls. There is room for seven or eight passengers with plenty of space and comfort. The higher trims have some new refinements such as piano black trim across the wing-shaped dash and door panels, as well as perforated leather seats with contrast stitching.
The Redesigned 2nd-row MagicSlide™ is clever and makes it super easy for people to get in the 3rd row. It’s one of those things that you wonder why no one ever thought of it before but it’s a game changer and definitely gives Honda a continued edge over competition in the Minivan market.
Another game changer is the intercom system and the CabinWatch® camera. I took quite a few different people for rides and everyone loved this feature. It really allows a parent to drive and to safely see what’s happening with the kids. The intercom system should help Moms save their voices as they don’t have to yell to be heard.
Except for the base LX trim, all Odysseys get an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system called Display Audio. You can customize the menu layout and smartphone connectivity not only via Bluetooth, but also via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. Standard on both the Touring and Elite is a rear-seat entertainment system with built-in streaming apps.
Engine / Powertrain
TThe 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 and 10-speed automatic transmission powering the front wheels delivers a driving experience way better than I had imagined.The acceleration is smooth without sacrificing handling which I appreciated. The EPA rated the 2021 Odyssey at 19 mpg city, 28 highway, 22 combined which was realized during my test drive. You get adequate power and good gas mileage with a very comfortable ride in what many say is the best in class Minivan.
One of the biggest concerns with Minivan customers is safety and crash ratings. The 2021 Honda Odyssey answer is Honda Sensing® Standard. The Odyssey excels in this category as well with a 5-star overall NHTSA safety rating and 2020 IIHS Top Safety Pick+.
The Honda Sensing suite of active safety features is standard on all trims and includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active lane control, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and a rear-seat reminder. The Odyssey has good outward visibility from the front, but as with many vehicles in this class it has some blind spots. Blind-spot monitors and rear cross-traffic alert are standard equipment starting with the EX trim.
The 2021 Honda Odyssey has been the retail #1 minivan in the U.S. for 10 years straight. MSRP starts at $31,790 (LX) but definitely worth spending the extra money for the Elite or Touring trim. This is a luxury minivan that has some great ingenuity and features along with a solid drive performance. At the end of the day if you are buying a minivan this should be considered.
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