Honda Odyssey, family-friendly for over two decades

Roseville, Calif. – Historically, there have been very few complaints regarding the Honda Odyssey, arguably the preeminent minivan for more than two decades.

This family-friendly people mover debuted in 1995 and quickly gained the trust and admiration of car shoppers who were looking for a vehicle equivalent to the station wagon, the vehicle of choice for many large families in the 1960s and ’70s.

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Now in its fifth generation, the Odyssey is more sophisticated and better than ever. The 2018 Honda Odyssey has been completely redesigned. The improvements include a more powerful V6 engine, additional convenience features, better handling, and a more versatile second row.

The second-row seating configuration is a good place to start when discussing the redesigned 2018 Odyssey. The new “magic slide” system allows the seats to move side to side and up and back, thus improving the access for third-row occupants. The seating is not only adjustable, but more comfortable as well, thanks to new soft padding and folding armrests. Regardless of where you sit, there are no issues getting in or out of the Odyssey.

At a Glance: 2018 Honda Odyssey

* Performance: 3.5-liter, V6, 280 horsepower
* Mileage estimate: 19-28 mpg
* Price estimate: $30,950 to $ 47,600
* Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain: 3 years/36,000 miles; roadside assistance: 3 years/36,000; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited

Although the second-row seats can be removed to enhance the cargo area, note that the seats are bulky and can be difficult to remove. The cargo area is perfect for storing grocery bags and expands to 92 cubic feet with the third row down. Maximum storage is 158 cubic feet with the second row removed.

Because the Odyssey is often taken for long trips, it’s worth noting that while the kids can be entertained for hours thanks to a new rear-seat entertainment system, the driver and front-seat passenger benefit from the comfortable seating. The 10.2-inch system can play videos from a Blu-ray disc player, an HDMI input or through media streaming apps like the popular PBS Kids. Up to seven people can be connected to portable Wi-Fi devices.

To keep the kiddos entertained and also informed, there’s a new onboard app – appropriately named “How much further” – that gives children access to an animated ETA display that interfaces with the navigation so they can track the trip themselves instead of constantly pestering mom and dad for the when-will-we-be-there details.

The upfront infotainment system is techie in nature and a little difficult to master. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard features and there are three USB ports (2.5A), several 12-volt power points, and a 110-volt inverter that’s located below the dashboard. There’s also a handy built-in vacuum.

The Odyssey has six trim levels, all powered by one engine – a 3.5-liter, V6 that generates 280 horsepower (an increase in 32 HP) and 262 pound-feet of torque. Depending on the trim level, the power is delivered through the front wheels by either a nine-speed or a 10-speed automatic transmission. For drivers who want more interaction, the paddle shifters are standard.

This minivan offers a smooth ride and provides good freeway passing power, handling and precise steering. One complaint is there’s no all-wheel drive option, limiting the ability to travel safely in snow country.

If a minivan is the desired vehicle and money is no issue, it’s difficult not to pick the 2018 Honda Odyssey. It’s been a terrific family-friendly vehicle for more than two decades and the latest redesign makes it even better.

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