Popularity has waned for all-star people haulers
Roseville, CA- One of the survivors of minivans is the Honda Odyssey, the king of minivans for more than a decade. The Odyssey remains on top for a reason – it has plenty of passenger and cargo room, a powerful V6 engine, lots of convenient storage, and the sticker price (base models go for approximately $32,000) is way less than the typical large SUV.
Despite its overall capability, like all minivans, sales have also continued to diminish for the Odyssey. It debuted in 1995 and its popularity continued for more than two decades. The Odyssey exceeded sales of 100,000 or more for 19 straight years, with a high of 177,919 in 2006. Yet sales dipped to 99,113 in 2019 and one year later declined by roughly 13,000 – 83,409.
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There has been no panic yet from the Japanese automaker. The 2021 Honda Odyssey arrived with a mild styling update, most notably a refreshed interior and more standard safety features. It’s likely to remain on top this year, staying ahead of competitors like the Chrysler Pacifica (offered in regular gas and plug-in hybrid trims), Kia Sedona, Toyota Sienna, and the Chrysler Voyager.
Minivans owe a large part of their remaining allegiance to their interior ingenuity. Over the years they have added features like automatic sliding side doors, folded flat seats, pop-up rear hatchback lids, tables, convenient storage areas, and much more, making them more kid friendly than any vehicle on the road.
One of the Odyssey’s best qualities is the seating. The front seats provide solid head and leg room, and are comfy enough for long drives. The most talked about seating is the highly adaptable second row. It’s three separate seats that can also function as a single bench. The “magic slide” allows the seats to slide side to side and forward and back into various positions. Note that the second-row seats are heavy and hard to remove. Captain Chair are an option.
The third-row legroom is ideal for three kids and two adults can be fairly comfortable as well. The third row can be lifted and lowered manually with ease, creating a huge 155.8 cubic foot storage area. With the seat upright, there’s still 32.8 cubic feet that includes a deep well that’s ideal for grocery bags.
AT A GLANCE – 2021 HONDA ODYSSEY
- Performance: 3.5-liter, V6, 280 horsepower
- Mileage estimate range: 19-28 mpg
- Price: $31,900 to $47,800
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/60,000 miles; corrosion 5 year/unlimited; roadside assistance: 3 years/36,000 miles
Cool features include a hidden vacuum cleaner in the cargo area and an intercom system that allows the driver to speak to passengers without raising their voice. It’s aided by a helpful interior camera system for keeping an eye on the kids. The Odyssey also has flip-up trash bag holder, a cooling compartment for beverages, and numerous bins for storage and multiple cup holders.
Engine & performance
There’s only one engine with the Odyssey, an efficient 3.5-liter, V6 that generates 280 horsepower, 262 pound-feet of torque, and is paired with a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission. The Odyssey is sneaky fast, going 0-60 mph in 6.7 seconds.
Due to the precise steering, it’s easy to drive around town and is no problem maneuvering into parking spaces, thanks to a helpful driver’s view of the front end. The Odyssey also provides a quiet ride; not that anyone really notices due to the constant chirping of kids.
Even though sales may continue to slide, the 2021 Honda Odyssey will remain what it has always been – a top-notch minivan. It delivers considerable value for people looking for the ultimate family-friendly hauler.