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2016 Honda Odyssey: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader September 2015

The 2016 Honda Odyssey has come a long way from the 5-door hatchback that first hit the market in 1995. Instead of sliding doors like a regular minivan, that first Odyssey's doors were front-hinged -- like those of a sedan or SUV. It wasn't until the 1999 introduction of the second-generation model that the Odyssey changed to the traditional minivan sliding doors.

Honda launched the current, fourth-generation Odyssey in 2010 with updated features and a new look. Away went the simple appearance with the flat window line, replaced instead by a more modern family hauler with a unique kink in the windows. It was -- and still is -- something of a risky design for the normally staid minivan segment.

The 2016 Odyssey is available in LX, EX, SE, EX-L, Touring and Touring Elite versions. LX models are the most basic, while Touring Elite trims are veritable luxury vans for shoppers who want the nicest minivan money can buy. The SE trim is new for the 2016 model year.

What's New for 2016?

The Odyssey is completely unchanged for 2016, save for a new SE trim level with satellite radio, a rear-seat entertainment system and an in-car vacuum cleaner.

What We Like

Massive, highly usable interior; seating for up to eight; quick acceleration; exceptional driving comfort

What We Don't

Lower-than-expected fuel economy; polarizing body design

How Much?

$30,100-$45,500

Fuel Economy

The Odyssey is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 248 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque. All Odyssey models use a 6-speed automatic transmission, which returns 19 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

Standard Features and Options

The ever-expanding Odyssey lineup now includes six trim levels: LX, EX, SE, EX-L, Touring and Touring Elite.

The base-level Odyssey LX ($30,100) includes basics such as cruise control, power accessories (windows, locks and mirrors), air conditioning, Bluetooth and a USB player for music. A rearview camera is also standard.

Shoppers who step up to the Odyssey EX ($33,300) get several more luxury and convenience features. They include dual power sliding doors, automatic headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, tri-zone automatic climate control, and second-row sunshades.

Above the EX is the new-for-2016 SE ($34,400), which adds a rear-seat DVD player, an in-car vacuum cleaner and satellite radio.

Next up is the EX-L ($36,800), which adds a power sunroof, a power lift gate, leather upholstery, heated front seats and a chilled storage box. Honda also offers the EX-L with options including a rear-seat DVD player and a navigation system.

Next up is the Odyssey Touring ($43,100). That trim adds 18-in alloy wheels, driver memory for seats and mirrors, fog lights and front and rear parking sensors. It also includes standard navigation and rear-seat entertainment.

Topping the Odyssey range is the Odyssey Touring Elite ($45,600). It's a highly upscale minivan, offering automatic xenon headlights, a widescreen rear video monitor, a blind spot monitoring system and Honda's in-car vacuum cleaner.

Safety

The 2016 Honda Odyssey features dual-stage, multiple-threshold front, side-curtain and dual-chamber front and side airbags with Honda's passenger-side occupant-position detection system. A vehicle-stability assist system, active front-seat head restraints and pedestrian injury mitigation are all standard. So is Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure. It helps the Odyssey better absorb collision energy, especially in a front-end crash. That structure is now in its second generation in the Odyssey.

The Honda Odyssey received a 5-star overall crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It earned a 5-star frontal crash-test rating, a 5-star side crash-test rating and a 4-star rollover rating. In crash tests conducted by the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Odyssey earned the group's highest Top Safety Pick+ rating after acing each of the firm's safety tests.

Behind the Wheel

Many people promise themselves they'll never buy a minivan. But for millions of Americans, family life necessitates owning one. Should they climb behind the wheel of the Odyssey, they'll be pleasantly surprised by its excellent driving characteristics.

Most impressive is the power output from the 3.5-liter V6. When a driver puts his or her foot to the floor in the Odyssey, it doesn't rocket forward in a jerk of power. Instead, it builds like a force of nature beneath the driver, sending the vehicle smoothly forward across the landscape. Power delivery is linear, intense and quite satisfying.

During hard off-the-line acceleration, the Odyssey does suffer from some front-wheel slippage. But that is to be expected from a 248-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine wedged into the front end of a big family vehicle.

Unfortunately, the fuel mileage we observed wasn't as good as advertised. We suspect it will take a soft-footed, Zen-like driver to get close to the Environmental Protection Agency's fuel economy estimates.

The Odyssey's interior and features are much like those of nearly every other minivan on the market. The most notable difference between the Odyssey and its competitors is its interior build quality. The seats, dash, storage compartments and trim in the Odyssey are all surprisingly well-constructed. Every surface in the Odyssey looks and feels sturdy.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Chrysler Town & Country -- The Town & Country and its Dodge Grand Caravan mechanical twin offer some of the best bargains in the minivan realm. But their old designs and low-rent interiors are no match for the more modern Odyssey.

2015 Nissan Quest -- Offering an excellent engine, impressive power and a wide range of features, the Quest is an excellent Odyssey rival that's far too often overlooked.

2015 Toyota Sienna -- The Toyota Sienna is the Odyssey's closest competitor. Available with a wide range of comfort and convenience features that rivals the Odyssey's list of equipment, the Sienna also boasts optional all-wheel drive for those who need extra traction in harsh weather conditions.

Autotrader's Advice

We think even the base 2016 Honda Odyssey is a fantastic choice at just over $30,000. But budget allowing, we'd definitely upgrade to the new Odyssey SE, which adds rear entertainment, satellite radio and the useful HondaVAC vacuum cleaner -- all for a small premium over an EX model.

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Used 2016 Honda Odyssey EX-L
Used 2016 Honda Odyssey
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Used 2016 Honda Odyssey EX-L
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Used 2016 Honda Odyssey
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Honda Odyssey: New Car Review - Autotrader