Style isn't the first consideration of minivan buyers—it ranks down there with easy to find roll cage mounting points—but at least the 2017 Honda Odyssey doesn't penalize buyers.
The Odyssey's overall shape has been with us for a while, but at least it's relatively handsome. We expect that it'll be replaced after this year with a new van, so the best we can do is a 6 for style here, adding one above average for a minivan that's attempting to have some presence. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
That so-called "lightning bolt" can be a little polarizing, but it's also functional. It affords better visibility for rear passengers and it speaks of how the entire design balances one-box practicality with a good sense of style.
Small bits of brightwork and a more arched roofline found their way to this generation of the Odyssey, and in addition to that distinctive beltline crease, there are small windows ahead of the side mirrors, which make the Odyssey look a little futuristic while adding a smidge of visibility for front occupants looking out.
In back, the look is more flared and sculpted than typical for a minivan, giving this model an aerodynamic edge and a bit more visual excitement. It's slightly wider than typical, too, which translates to a more planted look (and more interior space).
Inside, the Odyssey is more function, less form. The instrument panel is familiar and upright, with a simple approach to its layout than other Honda or Acura vehicles. It eschews the touchscreen-mania for more knobs and controls for easier use, which we appreciate. Although the placement of the infotainment controls near the shifter could take some getting used to.
Lightning bolt-style window line and all, at least the Honda Odyssey is trying.
Performance isn't the 2017 Honda Odyssey's bag, but most buyers won't be disappointed in day-to-day driving.
All Odysseys are the same under the hoods and sheet metal, a 248-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 is teamed to a 6-speed automatic and front-wheel drive.
We wish there were more flexibility in the 6-speed automatic, but we like the overall car-like handling. After the numbers have been crunched, we arrived at a 5 out of 10 for performance. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
While other Honda vehicles such as the Pilot and Acura MDX and TLX get a 9-speed, the Odyssey stands firm with six forward gears. It delivers decisive, quick, smooth shifts while accelerating hard, but can be a little balky while cruising and lightly accelerating. And with only an lower-gear mode and an O/D-off button on the gearshift selector, there's no straightforward way to simply control shifts when you're on a mountain road.
The Odyssey gets more of its road manners from the Accord than it does from the Pilot. We've found that the minivan corners with poise and control but not much harshness as a trade-off; that's because of well-tuned, isolated front and rear subframes that help avoid the queasy secondary motions that plague many big, family-hauling vehicles.
We've also found that the variable power rack-and-pinion setup for the Odyssey's steering has a good, natural weight to it with even a hint of feedback. It's among our favorites across the Honda lineup.
You won't be wowed, but you will get there in the Honda Odyssey.
Minivan owners already know what the world seems to be forgetting: Vans are rolling living rooms and the only way to take long, family road trips.
The 2017 Honda Odyssey is built on versatility, comfort, and flexibility for interior space. All three rows—which can seat up to eight adults—can slide fore and aft, and the rear two rows can get out of the way for hauling versatility.
We say the Odyssey is comfortable for up to eight, with good seats all the way around, plus there's enough open room for just about any home-improvement store run. That adds up to a 9 out of 10 on our scale for comfort, but we don't stop there. It gets the last, hard-to-earn 10th point because: minivan. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
We'll stop short of saying the Odyssey's front seats are the best in class, but they're not bad either. They're relatively wide and all-day comfortable, but we would have liked a little more back and lateral support for long trips.
Second-row passengers get the same amount of leg room as front-row passengers (40.9 inches) and the seats can actually slide outward, changing the width depending on whether there are two adults, three passengers, or a combination of child seats. There are now five sets of LATCH connectors for child seats, which the IIHS rates as "Acceptable" in terms of ease of use.
The third row is mildly comfortable for average-sized adults on short trips. The seat feels rather low and the cushioning is definitely a step below what you get in the other rows, but in some trims it gets an armrest, and the folding mechanism is very well-designed, with a spring mechanism making it easy to do for either half with a single arm, in one fluid motion with only the firm pull of a strap.
By the numbers, there's 118.1 inches between the wheels (which is the same size as the Nissan Quest, but 3 inches shorter than the Chrysler Pacifica) and 202.9 inches bumper to bumper. Behind the third row there is 38.4 cubic feet of cargo room or 93.1 cubic feet with the seats folded. Max out on capability and fold the second row, and there's 93.1 cubes which is enough space and a continuous cargo floor good for two 10-foot-long, 2-by-4 studs, or 4-by-8 sheets of plywood.
For smaller items, there's a media drawer with damped motion, a cooler compartment that can hold several cans or bottles, and a trash-bag ring—one of those simple things you'll wonder how you've managed without. Interior materials and trims aren't in the luxury realm, but they're not bad for also being Wet Wipe-friendly.
Overall, the Odyssey's cabin is a surprisingly quiet, refined space. Some high-tech wizardry helps serve that impression; active noise cancellation and active engine mounts both work to quell vibrations from the engine's fuel-saving cylinder deactivation, while the former also temps to quash excess road noise.
The Odyssey shines in comfort, capability, versatility, and flexibility. Why don't more people drive minivans?
The 2017 Honda Odyssey keeps pace with other safety-focused vans, but is starting to lack advanced features found on competitors.
The IIHS called the van a Top Safety Pick in 2016, which should carry over for 2017. Federal testers gave it a solid five-star overall ranking (out of five) including a four-star result in the calculated rollover score.
That's good enough for a 7 out of 10 on our safety scale. It's worth noting that advanced safety features are reserved for higher-level trims and don't include automatic emergency braking. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
EX-L trims and above include lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems. To get blind-spot monitors as well, you'll have to buy the most expensive model, the Odyssey Touring Elite.
Not only is the Odyssey safe in an accident, but also both its handling and visibility are excellent, which can both aid in accident avoidance.
All Odyssey models offer standard Bluetooth as well as a rearview camera, while the LaneWatch sideview camera—which shows a camera view along the right side of the car when the right turn signal is activated—comes on all but the base LX model. The entire lineup now includes five LATCH locations (the official clips). What that means is that you can fit up to five child seats in some cases—or up to four seats of any kind.
The Odyssey keeps pace with others in crash safety, but is starting to lack some advanced features found on others.
|Overall Frontal Barrier Crash Rating:||(5/5)|
|Overall Side Crash Rating:||(5/5)|
|Overall Side Barrier Rating:||Not Rated|
|NHTSA Roll-over Resistance Rating:||(4/5)|
|Side Impact Test||Good|
|Roof Strength Test||Good|
|Rear Crash Protection/Head Restraint||Not Tested|
|IIHS Small Overlap Front Test Results||Good|
|IIHS Moderate Overlap Front Test Results||Good|
The 2017 Honda Odyssey is offered in a wide range of trims that improve slightly on each other, with a few key options reserved for pricier trims. Starting with the LX, the Odyssey steps up to EX, SE, EX-L, Touring and Touring Elite Trims. EX-L trims are broken out into models that offer navigation or rear-seat entertainment packages.
Base LX models aren't slouches in brute-force value at just over $30,000 to start. Each model comes standard with air conditions; power windows, locks, and mirrors; seating for at least seven; a rearview camera; Bluetooth connectivity; power adjustable front seats; steering wheel-mounted audio controls; USB connectivity; split-folding third row; and an 8.0-inch display for audio.
That's good base equipment, especially the sharp infotainment screen, and there are a few features that families will appreciate, although some competitors now offer similar features. In all, the Odyssey earns an 8 out of 10 on our scale for features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
New for 2017, Honda has added a sound-insulating windshield to more models, and has made available forward collision warning, in-car vacuums, and rear entertainment systems in more models. Like other Honda vehicles, few features are available as a la carte items outside of trim levels.
Honda's EX model adds Honda LaneWatch that notifies drivers when they're drifting out of a lane, power sliding rear doors, tri-zone automatic climate controls, keyless ignition, Honda's HomeLink remote system, rear window sun shades, seating for eight, an upgraded stereo with streaming internet radio and a touchscreen.
Odyssey SE models add the acoustic windshield, in-car vacuum system, rear-seat entertainment, a household-type power plug, and XM radio. At nearly $35,000, these models are compelling values for families who need a comprehensive list of features to pacify entertain children on long road trips, but don't necessarily need leather and other creature comforts found on top-level trims.
EX-L models add a suite of advanced safety features such as forward collision warning and lane-departure warning, leather upholstery and leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power moonroof, heated front seats, and a power tailgate. Packages on the EX-L model can add rear-seat entertainment or navigation for $1,600 or $2,000 respectively. Interestingly, EX-L models skip the integrated vacuum.
Touring trims go for the full boat: 18-inch wheels, 10-way power adjustable front seats, body-colored exterior trims, and interior lighting. Touring Elite vans are for families who need everything including the vacuum, rear-seat entertainment, premium audio, HD radio, and blind-spot monitors. Those models run well over $43,000 to start.
The HondaVAC system, that's available only on the Touring Elite, was co-developed with Shop-Vac. This powerful integrated vacuum cleaner is located on the left side of the cargo compartment, with accessories and nozzles included. It's hard-wired to the vehicle's electrical system, so it never needs to be charged or plugged in.
The navigation system available in EX-L models and up has an especially clear, intuitive display, and we like the controls better than the systems in some of Honda's other models; it has a built-in Zagat guide, a huge point-of-interest database, a high-contrast VGA display, and free FM-based traffic information.
Most vans are equipped with the family features you need; top-level vans are equipped with the features you want. Choose carefully.
It may have given up the crown last year, but the 2017 Honda Odyssey manages to be among the leaders in fuel efficiency among minivans.
The EPA rates the Odyssey this year at 19 mpg, 27 highway, 22 combined. We'll give that a 6 out of 10 on our fuel-efficiency scale and note that a new Odyssey is on its way—likely with a few more forward gears. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The Honda Odyssey is mono spec, meaning unlike the Toyota Sienna (all-wheel drive) or Chrysler Pacifica (plug-in hybrid), there's just one set of numbers looking back at you on the window sticker.
The Odyssey's 22 mpg combined is the same as the front-drive Sienna and Nissan Quest, and slightly higher than the Kia Sedona's mark. Only the hybrid Chrysler Pacifica is significantly higher at 32 mpg combined, but the regular version is rated at the same 22 mpg.
If all-wheel drive is a must and you're not impressed with the Sienna, it's worth noting that the spacious Honda Pilot gets 22 mpg combined with all-wheel drive and a 9-speed automatic, although we've had a tough time meeting that number in real-world driving.
The Odyssey is on par with many other minivans, and can be better than many SUV substitutes.