2021 Honda Odyssey First Look: More Practical Interior, More Stuff

From a global pandemic tossing the economies into recession to car manufacturers focussing hard to kill off nice engines for a greener future, 2020 has been full of surprises for all of us. In the midst of all this, the manufacturers in the American car market have realized that they have a segment called ‘minivans’ which caters to a niche, and they’ve decided to keep it to make the soccer moms smile. For Honda, this duty has been assigned to the Odyssey minivan which just got its mid-cycle update and will be on sale by the end of 2020. The Honda Odyssey 2021 has long been a top choice among those who carry their family around, a lot. It is comfortable, has a lot of the latest tech on offer, and a juicy V6 to keep the matters interesting. The minivan segment puts the Odyssey against the Chrysler Pacifica, the Kia Sedona, and the Toyota Sienna.

What’s new this year?

The Odyssey wears a slightly macho look with the new headlamps and a revised front grille, along with some subtle tweaks done to the tailgate. The interiors get a slight overhaul in terms of the overall materials used and the stitching is done. Other tweaks include piano black trim, new floor mats, and revised climate controls. The best news here is that the base trim – LX- now gets all the same standard driver-assistance features as the rest of the trims which include automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control.

Does the engine excite your kids?

How does a 3.5L naturally aspirated V6 sound to you? If that excites you, your kids will love it! A straight piped Odyssey will sound great, just letting you know. All the suck-squeeze-bang-blow of the engine produces nearly 280 horses and 262 lb-ft of torque. All the power is sent to the front wheels (typical Honda) through a 10-speed automatic gearbox which also includes paddle shifters! The straight piping now makes sense, after all.

Driving the Odyssey will make you realize that the engine remains smooth, as it was before, and gives out linear power. Driving on the highway isn’t an issue, and the powerplant can easily keep up with highway speeds. The driving dynamics are bent towards the comfort of its occupants, and the suspension is very well-tuned to soak up any rough patches on the roads. The cabin is very quiet, and there’s barely any noise from the outside, except for tire noise which is at a very manageable level. The gearbox shifts very smoothly and overtaking will not pose a problem on the motorways. If you’re not satisfied with the shifting, you can always take control of the gearbox using the paddle shifters.

This smooth V6 power plant turns out to be efficient as well with an EPA estimate of 19 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway, for a combined of 22 miles per gallon. The numbers are good and coupled with a smooth and comfortable ride, make the Odyssey the perfect vehicle for a long family trip.

What all flavors do you get the Odyssey in?

You get 5 trims with the Odyssey: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, and Elite. Each of the trims come endowed well with many creature comforts making living with the Odyssey easy. The list below shows what all the Odyssey’s trim levels have to offer:

Key FeaturesLED headlightsAdds to/Replaces with LXAdds to/Replaces with EXAdds to/Replaces with EX-LAdds to/Replaces with Touring
Push-button ignitionHeated mirrorsRear cross-traffic alertThird-row sunshadesAutomatic wipers
18-inch alloy wheelsKeyless entrySound-reducing windshield19-inch wheelsSound-reducing front and rear window glass
Power-adjustable front seatsTri-zone automatic climate controlPower liftgateIntegrated navigation systemHeated steering wheel
5-inch central display screen8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android AutoDriver-seat memory settingsRear-seat entertainmentWireless charging pad
Seven-speaker audio systemHeated front seatsSecond-row USB charging portsCabinWatchIntegrated vacuum cleaner
Rear-seat reminderLumbar adjustment for the driver seatSunroofAmbient interior lightingAuto-dimming side mirrors
Adaptive cruise controlPower-sliding rear doorsAuto-dimming rearview mirrorThird-row USB charging portHands-free tailgate
Lane departure mitigationBlind-spot monitorLeather-wrapped steering wheelOnboard Wi-Fi hotspotVentilated front seats
Forward collision mitigationDynamic guidelines for the rearview cameraLumbar adjustment for the front passenger seatCabin intercom systemPremium 11-speaker audio system

The Honda Odyssey is filled up to the brim with creature comforts and other features. what more can you ask for? The features cater to all the needs and wants of a family person who needs to haul his/her family over long distances. One con is that the Elite can get quite pricey with all the features added to it.

How’s the safety on the Odyssey like?

Talking of the safety on the Odyssey, there’s a lot on offer. All the trims now get adaptive cruise control and automated braking with pedestrian detection as standard, starting 2021. Honda has included its exclusive suite of driver assistance and safety tech, known as the Honda Sensing, in the Odyssey to make the drive enjoyable and a lot safer than before!

What Honda Sensing offers is:

  • Collision Mitigation Braking System (CBMS)
  • Road Departure Mitigation System (RDM)
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
  • Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS)
  • Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR)
  • Honda LaneWatch
  • Blind Spot Information System
  • Cross Traffic Monitor
  • Auto High-Beam Headlights

Well needless to say, if you want all of the above features you’ll need to upgrade to higher trims. Talking of how the Odyssey fares in the crash tests, the folks over at the NHTSA and IIHS are mighty impressed by how the 2020 Odyssey performed, earning all the top accolades. Since the changes in the 2021 model year are mostly cosmetic, we expect the 2021 Odyssey to carry the baton forward.

So, will the 2021 Honda Odyssey be a wise choice?

To answer this, consider the fact that there aren’t really a lot of minivans to add to the competition and out of the competition, there is none that is as comfortable and tech-laden as the Odyssey. With the changes in the 2021 model year, making things macho, the Odyssey gets a lot of safety features available in the base trim as well giving the whole package a lot of value than before. The engine is smooth, the interiors are comfortable and can carry your whole family, the ride is serene and quiet, and the whole minivan is one of those which will keep you safe even if the worst happens. Well, if I were you, I’d buy the 2021 Odyssey as soon as it rolled out!