Honda’s mild-mannered Odyssey minivan gets an update for the 2021 model year, complete with new technology and all the modern creature comforts. Whether your odyssey is a cross-country road trip or a quick jaunt to the grocery store, the latest Odyssey has packed in new safety- and comfort-focused features for 2021. Priced modestly in comparison to competitors like the Kia Sedona and Chrysler Pacifica, the Odyssey has a lot to offer as a family hauler.
Related: 2021 Honda Odyssey Review: Don’t Fear the Road Trip
Reviewer Jennifer Geiger took her family on a 2,000-plus-mile road trip in the Odyssey and came back with a top-to-bottom review; for that, click the related link above. But if you’re short on time, here are the pros and cons of the 2021 Honda Odyssey:
1. Stellar Safety
The 2021 Odyssey is a 2020 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick Plus. IIHS’ highest safety honor goes to vehicles that achieve a score of good (on a scale of good, acceptable, marginal or poor) in six crashworthiness tests as well as meet headlight and automatic emergency braking system qualifications. Read more about its top crash-test scores here.
Additionally, it’s well equipped with safety features. The Honda Sensing safety suite of equipment includes standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition, among other features. A newly standard feature is the rear-seat reminder, which alerts the driver to check the backseats before exiting.
2. Sufficient Power
The only powertrain offered in this minivan is a 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Even weighed down by occupants and cargo, however, there’s plenty of power to give this van some get up and go.
3. Controlled Ride
Honda has for the most part managed to overcome the usual clunkiness of a minivan to produce a smooth ride. Body motion is controlled on bumpy roads, and it doesn’t lean too much into the corners.
4. Eyes in the Back of Your Head
CabinWatch is an available feature you can use through the multimedia screen up front. It displays what’s going on in the rear seats — giving you the actual eyes in the back of your head you’ve always warned your kids about.
5. All the Comforts of Home
The Odyssey has a lot of space to stash your stuff, with plenty of pockets, cubbies and slots for everything you need to bring with you. The stashed snacks inevitably give way to messes, but Honda thought of that, too: There’s an available built-in vacuum in the cargo area, and the hose is long enough to reach all the way up to the front row.
6. Screens Galore
The multimedia screen up front is powered by Honda’s Display Audio system, is standard on all but the base model, and has wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. In the second and third rows, passengers get a ceiling-mounted screen that plays DVDs and Blu-ray discs, or downloaded content via an HDMI cable. And when a movie won’t alleviate boredom, the Odyssey has an abundance of USB ports to keep phones and tablets charged.
7. A Bit of Interior “Magic”
Take the middle seat out of the second row to use the Magic Slide feature, which allows the two outside seats to slide side to side or back and forward for easy access to the third row. The third row has 60/40-split, folding seats to create a flat cargo area. Reviewer Geiger said the spring-loaded system is one of the easiest she’s used.
More From Cars.com:
- Honda Goes Big on Odyssey Safety Features for 2021, Small on Price Increase
- ‘2021: A Safe Odyssey’: Honda Minivan Is Among the Stars of Safety Ratings
- How Do Car Seats Fit in a 2021 Honda Odyssey?
- Research the Honda Odyssey
1. No Big Cargo
If you’re trying to carry big cargo, you’ll probably have to remove the second-row seats completely as they only fold down and don’t stow under the floor. The seats are large and heavy, making them difficult to store when they aren’t in your van.
2. Eco Mode
The Odyssey doesn’t come with the same fuel economy options as its competitors — such as the 2021 Toyota Sienna, which is hybrid-only, or the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica, which has a plug-in hybrid version. To get better fuel economy than the EPA-rated 19/28/22 mpg city/highway/combined, you can engage Eco mode, but this really slows down accelerator response.
While the CabinWatch feature lets you monitor what’s going on in the backseat, CabinTalk gives you the option to intervene by projecting your voice through speakers to the back rows. However, the sound is like an echoey PA system, which your backseat passengers might find a little creepy.
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