2018 Honda Odyssey Preview
- Completely redesigned minivan
- New 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine
- New 9-speed and 10-speed automatic transmissions
- Improved steering, braking and suspension
- Quieter interior with upgraded materials
- Stain-hiding carpets and seat belts; available stain-resistant leather
- Magic Slide second-row seats with impressive versatility
- Claimed to offer more cargo space behind third-row seat than any competitor
- Stronger vehicle structure, new safety systems
- Impressive roster of infotainment choices, including Wi-Fi enabled programming
- Debut of CabinCommand, CabinWatch, CabinTalk features
- Built in Alabama
- On sale in the spring of 2017
Minivans are not sexy. They’re practical. They’re functional. Oftentimes, they are bought to serve a specific life stage, brutalized by parents and their children over the course of many years. There is, however, a stark beauty in such purpose and utility, a single-minded brilliance that shines brightly despite the layers of crumbs and dirt and fast-food wrappers that frequently decorate them.
And among minivans, the redesigned 2018 Honda Odyssey, shown for the first time at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, appears to be one of the best of the breed.
Take one 2017 Odyssey, sharpen the styling, clean up the flanks, modernize the design themes with heavy influence from the Honda Civic, and you’ve basically got the redesigned 2018 Odyssey.
As is plainly evident, the new Odyssey retains its “lightning bolt” beltline, and now the sliding door tracks are integrated along the bottoms of the rear windows for a tidy silhouette. Kinked character lines add visual interest and flow to the minivan’s flanks, and better tie the Odyssey’s profile to front and rear design elements.
Honda says the new 2018 Odyssey features improved interior materials, including soft-touch dashboard surfaces. Black carpeting and black seat belts are better able to conceal the inevitable stains that come with minivan ownership, and even the tray covering the front center console storage bin eliminates its grooves, which tend to trap the detritus of daily life.
Honda also tackles a significant flaw of the Odyssey that dates back decades: interior noise, especially on the highway. With this new design, Honda claims the 2018 Odyssey to be the quietest vehicle in the minivan segment thanks to triple door seals, acoustic front and side glass, added sound deadening material, and Active Sound Control.
Magic Slide second-row seats slide forward, backward, and, with the middle section removed, toward the center of the van. Depending upon the use case, this design helps to better protect children from side-impact collisions, places infants closer to parents, improves legroom for adult passengers, or maximizes access to the third-row seat.
Honda did not discuss cargo volumes, other than to assert that the new Odyssey has the most spacious cargo area behind its third-row seat of any minivan currently on the market.
Speaking for all of the parents in the audience, I am happy to report that the 2018 Honda Odyssey now offers stain-resistant leather upholstery and door trim panels. That’s worth a smile, isn’t it?
Additionally, depending on the trim level, the 2018 Odyssey is available with LED headlights with automatic high-beam activation, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking assist sensors, and heated side mirrors. Triple-zone climate control keeps everyone comfortable, while heated and ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel assist in the effort.
Finally, a hands-free power rear tailgate literally makes it easier to pack armloads of stuff.
Under the Hood:
With this redesign, the Odyssey moves to the same platform currently used by the Acura MDX, Honda Pilot, and Honda Ridgeline. As a result, torsional rigidity is up 44 percent, and the Odyssey weighs as much as 96 pounds less than before.
A 3.5-liter V6 engine with direct fuel injection and variable cylinder deactivation is the only power plant available. It makes 280 horsepower, up 32 hp from the previous Odyssey.
A 9-speed automatic transmission is standard in several versions of the new Odyssey, while upper trim levels employ a 10-speed automatic transmission. Buttons and switches that are mounted to the dashboard control the transmission. These transmissions, in combination with active grille shutters, achieve best-in-class fuel economy numbers according to Honda.
Additional engineering improvements include a Snow driving mode for the traction control system, Agile Handling Assist technology (brake torque vectoring), more responsive steering, larger brakes with better bite, and revised suspension tuning to improve the minivan’s ride and handling.
The move to a new vehicle architecture means the 2018 Odyssey’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) structure should do an even better job of dispersing crash energy in a collision. New driver and front passenger knee air bags also assist in reducing injuries.
Choose any 2018 Odyssey other than the standard trim level, and the van comes with the Honda Sensing suite of safety systems. Since Honda expects 95 percent of Odyssey buyers to choose EX trim at a minimum, the company explains that most versions of the vehicle will have this equipment.
Honda Sensing includes an adaptive cruise control system with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, as well as a lane departure and lane keeping assist system with Road Departure Mitigation technology. Paired with Honda Sensing, Honda also replaces its LaneWatch camera system with a blind spot warning system that works for both sides of the van and supplies a rear cross-traffic alert function.
On the technology front, Honda has much more than its HondaVac onboard vacuum cleaner to discuss.
All 2018 Odyssey models except for the base LX trim level are equipped with a next-generation infotainment system using a Honda operating system that can be updated via Wi-Fi or a USB port to keep it current. It includes an 8-inch touchscreen display, satellite radio, HD Radio, Pandora internet radio access and, what’s this? A volume knob? Yes!
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone projection technology is sure to please frazzled parents, as might wireless device charging and multi-zone audio capability. A 4G LTE Wi-Fi internet hot spot is also available at extra cost.
A rear seat entertainment system is optional, equipping the Odyssey with a 10.2-inch overhead display screen. Wireless headphones and HDMI game system jacks are included, and thanks to the onboard Wi-Fi the system offers streaming video capability. Owners can also use smartphone data plans or home Wi-Fi service to stream content.
CabinControl is a new smartphone app that allows you to control the Odyssey’s climate, navigation, and entertainment systems right from your device. It also enables a Social Play List function that allows all occupants to upload music selections to create a virtual jukebox of road-trip songs.
Parents can better communicate with and monitor their children via CabinWatch and CabinTalk technologies. CabinWatch gives Mom and Dad a camera view of what’s happening in both rear rows of seats, day or night, showing the video on the infotainment display screen. CabinTalk allows the driver to communicate with rear passengers through the second- and third-row speakers or through the entertainment system’s headphones.