This week we were spotted cruising around the Lower Mainland in what many affectionately call a “mom van”, given how much it does and how it makes your life easier, it wears this moniker well. Your mom can do it all, while ensuring you are safe, and having fun. Just like what the Honda Odyssey does for you on the road. However, in my review, I have deemed it more a “party van”, given how it fits into our particular lifestyle.
Just because we don’t have kids, it doesn’t mean that we can’t get excited to get behind the wheel of a mini van, especially knowing how practical this one would be. The redesigned and reengineered Odyssey 2018 is filled with some really cool features, that you won’t find in any other regular coupe or sedan. A redesign complete with new exterior styling, a revised V6 engine, a new 10 speed automatic transmission (for the elite and touring model), and an all new infotainment system.
Admittedly it isn’t the sexiest thing on the road, but Honda has done what it could to carve this into the menacing, sporty, and futuristic minivan that it is. A crystal black pearl paint job with chrome accents and 2 tone 19 inch aluminum wheels; all to match the black leather interior with silver trims. Most noticeable is the van’s shorter front to offset the elongated back. Although looking at from front to back, my biggest concern was parallel parking it. Thankfully there is always reverse assist.
Which brings me to the interior, and all that it has – everything. So for the sake of fluidity, let’s work our way front to back. The first thing I noticed was the centre console. We likened it to the chest plate of a transformer. Especially with the symmetry and the LED blue highlighting.
The first thing my partner noticed stepping in, is the modern instrument cluster. He stated that it looked like it belonged on the dash of an expensive race car. At the centre you’ll find the new infotainment system, with an easy to navigate system. It is not unlike a tablet, but with some more child-focused features. Like the baby monitor that Honda calls its “cabinwatch” video and intercom system. “Cabintalk” lets you communicate with the rear passenger via the speaker or headphones (the van comes with a wireless pair). It allows you to survey all that happens within the back seats, without you having to physically look back. Ideal for the family on the go, and when a fight erupts while you are driving, and you shouldn’t/can’t take your eyes off the road to deal with it. Or in my “party” scenario, when you are driving and don’t want to miss any of the happening ons in the backseat or the conversation therein. This way those in the front are not left out.
A minivan’s primary function is hauling people and things, and in this, the Odyssey doesn’t disappoint. The front seats are fully adjustable with the option to heat and cool. Its third row is amongst the roomiest in its class. And all the three offer plush cushions and seats that recline. Plus enough cup holders to service them all. A total of 15 cup holders to the would be 8 passengers. Plenty of room to store drinks and have them within arm’s reach when enjoying the entertainment the Odyssey provides. Like the 550watt audio system and the 10.2inch high resolution screen that folds down from the room.
There is even shop vac vacuum built in, to clean up after those you invite into your “party van”. Its hose extends all the way to the front cabin. A cabin that was quiet at low and highway speeds. A smooth ride where you can only hear the engine when the accelerator pedal is to the floor.
Speaking of engine, it is a 280hp 3.5l V6 with a new 10speed automatic transmission. And is surprisingly quick off the line. The new transmission shifts quickly and precisely, it propels you 0-100kmh in 6.6sec. And according to my partner, this falls into the “hot hatch territory”, making it very quick for a minivan. It is actually almost a second faster than most of his rivals. The Odyssey handles fairly well, it changes direction crisply, and the steering wheel gives you a light bite, resulting it competent cornering.
But it doesn’t end there. There are additional features like earphone jacks and USB ports on every arm rest, eliminating the need to share. Digital climate control for the rear, built in garage door opener, heated steering wheel and mirrors, lane departure, and sun shade screens on every window that pull up and clip into place for the covering necessary on road trips. The doors and trunk open and close with a push of a button. And the head rests at the very rear even slides down to support for those who are shorter or have smaller bodies. There is even a funnel that comes with the van, in cause you need to jerry can in your oil.
Then there are the easy stowing seats for extra trunk room. The seat in the middle of the second row is especially handy. One, it comes with built-in catches to easily strap in any baby car seat. Two, you can push the back down to become a spacious arm rest with more cup holders, and even a snack compartment. Three, you can just pull it out completely and have more room with single person chairs. Or four, push the individual chairs together to have a love seat giving you more room between you and the door, and less between you and your seat mate.
In short the Honda Odyssey is everything you need as the modern parent. Or as I have been pitching, the Honda Odyssey is the ultimate party bus, road trip vehicle, or moving van. Thank you for the opportunity to try a vehicle we might not otherwise get a chance to.