Popular Odyssey Gets Refresh

By Derek Price

Honda likes to brag that its Odyssey has been the top-selling minivan for retail buyers over the past decade.
If you ignore the fleet sales of Dodge and Chrysler vans — a big omission, to be sure — the Odyssey is, indeed, the most popular van for families these days, commanding 40 percent of a shrinking market.
It’s easy to see why. It has a sporty driving feel, smart features in the cabin, extraordinary cargo and passenger space, and a reputation for durability that keeps its resale prices sky-high for years.
Honda didn’t mess with that proven formula for 2021, but it did make some key changes to make the Odyssey more appealing.
While I don’t know anyone who buys a van for fashion reasons, the body gets fresher and cleaner this year with a new grille, updated lighting and a black bar under the back window that seems as if it was stolen from an expensive domestic pickup truck. It looks a bit more upscale overall.
The same applies to the cabin, which is what matters a lot more to minivan shoppers.

The Honda Odyssey gets a number of upgrades for 2021, including a fresh look, improved MagicSlide seats on the second row and more features.

The upper trim levels get a new piano black material on the dash and doors that looks snazzy. And the top Elite trim — the version I tested with a price heart-stoppingly close to $50,000 — is outfitted more like a luxury sedan with perforated leather and beautifully textured metal, in addition to its family-friendly luxe content.
Its practicality meets your needs, and its feature set is a Bacchanalia for parents and grandparents.
The MagicSlide seats in the second row have been redesigned to fold flatter and be easier to remove. You can get it with a built-in vacuum cleaner, and the Honda Sensing driver-assist is both standard equipment on all trim levels and noticeably better this year. Upgrades to its sensors and software mean it can read traffic signs, crawl at low speed in city traffic and do emergency stops before hitting pedestrians.
Again, that’s on every Odyssey trim now, including the base LX.
Another useful upgrade this year is that the Odyssey’s Rear Seat Reminder and CabinWatch camera systems work in conjunction. If the van senses there may be a person or pet in the back seat, it will alert you and turn the cameras on to show you as a reminder.

Changes for the Odyssey in 2021 include the ability to see and talk to passengers in the back of the van through the optional CabinWatch cameras and CabinTalk intercom system.

Also for the first time, you can use the CabinWatch cameras and the CabinTalk intercom system at the same time, making it easy for Mom and Dad to see and talk with children in back.
“If you don’t behave, I’m going to stop this car” never felt so high-tech.
As a whole, there’s not much to complain about in the refreshed Odyssey. It has a drawback for that small sliver of buyers who need an AWD minivan, as it’s only available in front-wheel drive.
Drivers who want a softer, quieter ride may also prefer the feel of a Chrysler Pacifica or Toyota Sienna on the highway, but that’s not a knock on the Odyssey as much as it is a matter of taste.
It’s intelligently designed, comfortable, engaging to drive and incredibly spacious, all while getting good fuel economy. It’s no wonder families continue to buy it, even in the era of crossover mania.
Pricing starts at $31,790 for the LX and peaks at $47,820 for the decked-out Elite.

At A Glance

What was tested? 2021 Honda Odyssey Elite ($47,820). Options: Premium paint ($395). Price as tested (including $1,120 destination charge): $49,335
Wheelbase: 118.1 in.
Length: 205.2 in.
Width: 78.5 in.
Height: 69.6 in.
Engine: 3.5-liter V6 (280 horsepower, 262 ft.-lbs.)
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy: 19 city, 28 highway

Style: 6
Performance: 8
Price: 9
Handling: 8
Ride: 7
Comfort: 8
Quality: 10
Overall: 8

Why buy it?
The Odyssey gets a thorough refresh for 2021, including more standard safety features, upgrades to the cabin and a revised look in front and back.

Posted in Honda