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Video reviews2018 Honda Odyssey Review
2018 Honda Odyssey Review
JOSH SADLIER: We're here with the all new 2018 fifth-generation Honda Odyssey. Thing is, we already liked the previous Odyssey. It was one of our favorite minivans. So the question we're trying to answer today is, is this new fifth-generation version all it's stacked up to be?A couple things about the new Odyssey. You'll notice that it's really not much of a minivan anymore. So when the Odyssey came out in 1995-- that was the first generation-- it was about 187 inches long. This guy is about 202 inches long. It's a 15-inch difference. So clearly, minivans aren't so mini anymore. You buy this thing, you're basically driving the bus.Up front, there's just a few changes here and there, a little more bright work, a little more chrome, headlights are different. But it's more of a reskin than a redesign, you might say.Walking around to the side, however, you start to see a few notable differences. For one thing, there's what BMW used to call flame surfacing down the side panels. This used to be all smooth. Now you have this line here that creates a carved out effect. Kind of looks cool. It adds a little visual interest.Back here, there used to be a line, a groove, where the door would slide out. They've done away with that. It's a cleaner look now. And then final thing I would point out is that there's this floating glass effect. It used to be metal all the way down.So at least in terms of the exterior of the vehicle, there's a lot of overlap with the fourth generation. As we move to the interior of the vehicle, you'll start to see where the fifth generation really stands out.One more thing while we're out here, so there's a new feature for the Odyssey's power liftgate. It's a hands-free access feature. So with the key fob in my pocket, if I approach the vehicle, wave my foot under the bumper, the liftgate will open automatically if my arms are full, or whatever the case may be. So let's try it out. Voila.And you can see that the liftgate has not opened as wide as you might expect. That's another new feature for the power liftgate. It's a height adjustable feature. So if you have something in your garage that would impact the door if it opened all the way, you could lower the height of it so that that won't happen when you open liftgate.That feature is available on the EX-L and above. It's actually standard on the EX-L and above. However, the hands-free access feature is only on the Touring and Elite. So keep that in mind if you want both features on the same vehicle.Out here on the road in the 2018 Honda Odyssey, we're dealing with an all new transmission for Honda. It's a 10-speed automatic of Honda's own design. And that comes standard in the Elite trim level, which is what I'm driving right now.Under the hood, there's still a 3.5 liter V6, same as the previous Odyssey. But this engine is a little bit different and has direct fuel injection, for example. The previous engine did not. That ends up giving you 32 additional horsepower.So this new engine makes an even 280 horsepower, whereas the previous Odyssey had 248 horsepower. Doesn't sound like that much of a difference. We tested both vehicles at our test track.Turns out that the 2018 Odyssey goes zero to 60 about half a second faster. It's a seven and a half second car versus eight seconds or so for the outgoing Odyssey. So not a huge difference, but a difference that you might feel, especially if you're a more aggressive driver.In terms of fuel economy, surprisingly, hasn't really changed. The 2018 Odyssey gets 19 MPG city, 28 on the highway. And the outgoing Odyssey got 19 city and 27 highway.So despite the 10-speed transmission, which replaces the 6-speed in the previous Odyssey, and despite the direct fuel injection on the engine, which tends to give you a little better fuel economy, in terms of EPA ratings at least, it really hasn't moved the needle. If you're looking for a fuel economy bump relative to what the Honda Odyssey was doing previously, you might be in for a bit of a disappointment. One more point about transmissions, not every Odyssey comes with that 10-speed automatic. In fact, most Odysseys sold are probably going to be equipped with a 9-speed automatic, which is made by ZF. It's not made by Honda. It's a third-part supplier.Something to keep in mind, the 9-speed is a transmission we've experienced in multiple models over the past year or two. Mixed results, a mixed bag in terms of shift quality, may be degrading over time. We've had our issues with it. We've written about it. If you check forums online, I think you'll find similar feedback from owners, at least with the early applications of that transmission.Now could be that more recently, ZF is working out the kinks with its auto maker partners. It's something to keep an eye on. Things might get better over time.But it is certainly worth noting that if you go with one of the lower trim levels, including the EX, which we've been recommending, and it's one of our favorites, a value-packed option for the 2018 Odyssey, you're going to have that 9-speed transmission. So something to add to your research agenda as you're deciding which Odyssey to buy.One thing you'll read about in the literature from Honda is that the structure is more rigid this time around. It's a stiffer Odyssey than ever. I have no reason to doubt that, but it's not something that I would have guessed based on the driving experience.It's fine, but you can still feel it quivering a little bit over rippled pavement. You get the sense that it's a big vehicle. It goes back a number of feet. The newfound rigidity has not done away with the sense that you're still driving a limousine here. It's a big thing.And the other thing I would point out is that although Honda's taken measures to reduce road noise in the Odyssey, including adding some noise-canceling properties to the glass, some acoustic glass on the side in this Elite trim level, still some notable road noise comes through. And that's a Honda trait through time that's been a stubborn one.Otherwise, the Odyssey drives very well. We've considered it to be probably the best driving minivan you can buy for many years now. For 2018, they did change the suspension a bit. Got a new rear suspension set up, aimed at making it handle even better.To be honest, it already handled quite well. And I think that people generally aren't buying minivans for the handling experience. But if you get into this car and start driving around, you're going to notice that it feels more responsive than most vans, especially something of this size. The steering is light, but it's precise.I would say the 2018 Odyssey continues to be an excellent driving minivan. But if you're just looking for an excellent driving minivan, you could get an older Odyssey and save some cash. So making a decision to buy a new generation Odyssey is going to come down to a lot more than just the way it drives.Inside the Odyssey is where you really see the differences come out relative to the previous generation. Honda's really revolutionized the layout in here. You've got that single-screen layout.There's also a push-button transmission layout, which will take some getting used to, in a good way, in my opinion. I think this is kind of cool, quickly becomes second nature. You press a button to go in drive. There's this toggle switch to pull down and put it into reverse. I'm a fan of that. You've got a stitching here on the dash. You've got this imitation metal insert here. In general, the materials, the look and feel, the flow of all the panels, it looks like a modern, up-to-date vehicle in here, more in line with Honda's other recent offerings, like the Pilot, like the Civic, the CR-V. There's a family resemblance in here that the previous Odyssey just didn't have.So probably the most difficult thing about buying a 2018 Odyssey, or any Odyssey of this generation, is going to be figuring out what trim level or version of the vehicle is right for you. We do have some opinions about that.We'll start with the base LX trim level. That's the one that makes the headlines in the advertising. Honda will say, this Odyssey starts at $29,990, or whatever the case may be. Our advice is to skip the LX. Don't look back. Don't think twice. It's really a stripped-down model.In fact, I can point out a difference right here between the LX and every other Odyssey. You don't get this pretty eight-inch touch screen. You get a dumbed down, five-inch version of it. It really is what we call a price leader in the industry, the LX.I mean, you want to skip that and at least go up to the EX, which only costs $4,000 more and gives you countless additional features, power sliding doors, for example, a bunch of new safety features that you don't get on the LX, like adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, forward collision alert, stuff like that, keeping you in your lane. The EX is definitely a worthwhile upgrade. Again, really wouldn't even consider the base LX as an option for the 2018 Odyssey.In terms of what comes after the EX, then you start to get into personal preference, how many luxuries you want in your vehicle. Maybe you want these ventilated leather seats like what you'd get on the top of the line Elite. Maybe you can do without them. Another example is this new rear cabin monitoring system. It's got two features that make it up. The first one is called CabinTalk. And what it is is basically an intercom system that lets you cut in if someone's listening on the headphones back there.You got a kid with a video game or whatever. You pull it up on the touchscreen. It's called CabinTalk. You unmute yourself. It says mic is on.And I don't know if you could hear that. But it sounds like I am the pilot on a plane or something like that. It's a little weird. But you can see how it would be effective, especially in that scenario where you got kids back there with the headphones on, oblivious to whatever's happening.You don't have to yell and scream and wave your arms. You just hit this. It cuts right through. You have your conversation. Then you move on. It's pretty cool. That comes standard with any Odyssey that has the rear entertainment system specified.Then there's that second feature I mentioned. It's called CabinWatch. This, you need to step up to the Touring trim level or the top-of-the-line Elite, as this vehicle is, to get it. But check this out. It's pretty cool.So here's a fish-eye view of the rear cabin. And I can pinch and zoom, like with a smartphone, and see what's really going on back there in the second row. I can zoom and then slide to the third row.I don't know if you want to be doing this while you're driving necessarily, but certainly if you have your co-parent up front. And they could do the zooming for you. It's another neat way to stay involved with what's going on in the rear cabin.So overall, you're standing outside the Odyssey. You might think to yourself, I don't really see the big deal about this new fifth generation. Once you're sitting in the driver's seat, you see what it's all about.Here in the second row of the Odyssey, it's no great surprise that there's plenty of room even for myself. I'm 6' 1". My legs are kind of gangly. As you can see, I could use a little more support under the thigh, perhaps. My knees are pointing up a little bit. But for the most part, I mean, there's plenty of headroom, plenty of foot room underneath the driver's seat in front of me.You see the perfectly flat floor down here. In A lot of crossovers, you get that drive line hump that gets in the way, especially for the middle passenger. Doesn't get any better than this if you want to carry passengers on a regular basis.And really the big story for 2018 is not the passenger space. That's been a constant with minivans for a while. It's the Magic Slide middle seat.So what happens is, you remove this seat manually, pick it up, take it out of the vehicle. And then the seats themselves are able to slide laterally, as well as back and forth. But check this out. With this seat now slid over to the middle of the vehicle, there's an aisle here. I can just hop right in. How cool is that?All right, so I'm in the third row now. As you can see, I've got my knees in the middle here. They're not even touching the seat back in front of me, which is really remarkable for a third row seat in any vehicle. This is where minivans really shine. The Odyssey is awesome in this way.Overall, we're really impressed with the new Odyssey, especially on the inside. There's a lot of new features that the previous generation didn't offer. So if you're looking for the latest and greatest when it comes to minivans, arguably the 2018 Odyssey is where it's at.Keep in mind though that the previous generation Odyssey is quite similar underneath. So if you want to save a little money, still get that great resale value that Honda brings, certainly worth consideration.For more information on the new Odyssey, go to edmunds.com. And for more videos like this one, hit subscribe.
The Honda Odyssey doesn't get a full overhaul very often, so the completely redesigned 2018 Odyssey is big news. Ride along with Edmunds editor Josh Sadlier as he explains what's new and notable about Honda's not-so-mini minivan — and how its features stack up against the competition.