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Family-Friendly Versatility: 2018 Honda Odyssey Elite Review

Like it or not, the minivan is still the best way to haul a family of kids. While minivans have about the same cool factor as dad shoes, you’re just not going to find another vehicle with as much family-friendly versatility. The 2018 Honda Odyssey Elite shows that such vehicles can be luxurious and high-tech without skimping on the roominess that minivans so popular in the first place.

Now in its fifth generation, the Honda Odyssey has seen a lot of rivals come and go over the years (including the segment-creating Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan), but this minivan still has strong competition from the Chrysler Pacifica, Toyota Sienna and Kia Sedona; not to mention the hoards of minivan-like three-row crossovers on the market.

2018 Honda Odyssey

2018 Honda Odyssey Exterior

From a styling standpoint, the 2018 Honda Odyssey isn’t all that different from its predecessor, but it does feature more modern Honda cues such as the Civic-like front end and Accord-like taillights. Deeper body creases eliminate the van’s slab-sided look, while one of the most effective styling improvements made to the new Odyssey was a reduction in exterior chrome around the upper portion of the side windows; this and the pinched D-pillar add a sporty, wrap-around look. As hard as it is to refer to a minivan as “sporty looking,” the 2018 Honda Odyssey does its best in this regard especially when equipped with the Elite’s two-tone, five-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels and this tester’s Deep Scarlet.

2018 Honda Odyssey

2018 Honda Odyssey Interior

When you’re designing a vehicle as long and boxy as a modern minivan, it’s not surprising how much space there is for people and cargo. What the 2018 Honda Odyssey Elite shows, though, is how much luxury and innovation Honda can pack into such an unassuming vehicle. The best new features is Honda’s CabinWatch, which is a rear-facing camera to keep an eye on rear occupants. Not only is this camera able to zoom and focus on the trouble maker of the group, it also has night vision to make sure the eye in the sky never misses a thing. There’s also CabinTalk to make it easier to communicate with rear passengers, the Magic Slide second-row seats and a rear-seat entertainment system with streaming capability of built-in apps like PBS Kids, Spotify and iHeartRadio. All of these features are standard on the 2018 Honda Odyssey Elite, and will help ensure that boring family road trips are a thing of the past.

In addition to its high-tech features, the Elite also comes with a lot of luxury content including leather seats, heated and cooled front seats, an 11-speaker premium audio system, wireless smartphone charger, charging ports for all three rows, hands-free power liftgate and rain-sensing windshield wipers. The luxury is to appease adults, but the cabin is still built with kids in mind as Honda gave the Odyssey stain-resistant leather on the first and second rows and door trim as well as black carpeting and seat belts to help conceal stains.

The 2018 Honda Odyssey is available with seating for up to eight people, and unlike the minivans from a few generations ago, sitting in the third row isn’t a punishment. No matter which row you have to sit in, there is plenty of headroom and legroom, and the easy to move second row seats provides rear occupants with optimal comfort. Perhaps the only downside is that of this cabin is that to take advantage of the maximum cargo room (up to 155.7 cubic feet on the Elite trim level), you must remove the second-row seats; they do not fold into the floor like the third row does.

2018 Honda Odyssey

2018 Honda Odyssey Powertrain

All 2018 Honda Odyssey models are powered by the same 3.5-liter direct-injected V-6 producing 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, but the Elite trim level gets an exclusive 10-speed automatic, an extra gear from the nine-speed automatic. This transmission doesn’t add any extra efficiency – all 2018 Odyssey’s have EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway** – but it does add a little more refinement and less cabin noise at higher speeds.

While the 2018 Honda Odyssey can’t boast class-exclusive powertrain features such as the Pacifica’s plug-in hybrid or the Sienna’s available all-wheel drive, the platform’s revised rear suspension give it an impressively smooth ride over any road conditions. Minivan buyers aren’t going to be worried about 0-60 times or cornering abilities, but the 2018 Honda Odyssey holds its own on acceleration and handling when it comes to freeway entrance and exit ramps. If needed, the 2018 Odyssey has the ability to two up to 3,500 pounds when properly equipped.

2018 Honda Odyssey

2018 Honda Odyssey Safety

The 2018 Honda Odyssey has a five-star crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The new Odyssey adds even more safety than its predecessor with driver and front passenger knee airbags, while most trim levels (EX and above) come standard with the Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety features. These include Lane Keeping Assist System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Road Departure Mitigation System and blind spot information. The Elite is also equipped with LED headlights, electric parking brake and front and rear park sensors.

2018 Honda Odyssey

2018 Honda Odyssey Overall
As the automotive world continues to be bombarded by three-row crossovers and SUVs, the minivan soldiers on as the best option for kid-toting families, and the all-new 2018 Honda Odyssey is a prime example of how far these vehicles have come in the last 30 years.

The new Odyssey is priced competitively at $29,990* for the base LX trim, but the top-of-the-line Elite trim packs in all of the Odyssey’s available features with starting price of $46,770*. As you see it, this 2018 Honda Odyssey had an as-tested price of $47,765, which is a reasonable price for this fully loaded family hauler.

Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Honda dealership and test drive the 2018 Honda Odyssey today!

*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2018 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

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