New Car Review

2017 Honda Odyssey: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader March 2017

It's always impressive when a car can remain a class leader despite being in its final year before a complete redesign. Such is the case with the 2017 Honda Odyssey, a minivan that is certainly graying around the temples but still manages to shine in the areas most important to families everywhere. It's big, versatile, dependable and available with all sorts of features to make the kids happy and your life easier. In short, it's an excellent choice.

Having said that, the Odyssey is at the end of its lifecycle, and Honda is releasing a new generation next year that will boast a higher-quality, even more versatile interior, as well as better technology and more feature content. That should help close some of the gaps that have opened up between the Odyssey and competitors that have more recently been redesigned or at least significantly overhauled: the Chrysler Pacifica, the Kia Sedona and the Toyota Sienna. Each of these better the Odyssey in certain ways and given how relatively few minivan options there are, you'd be well served to try each.

What's New for 2017?

Apart from a quieter windshield on the SE and EX-L trims, the Odyssey is unchanged in its last model year before a complete redesign.

What We Like

Massive and highly flexible interior; seating for up to eight; exceptional driving comfort; strong reliability reputation

What We Don't

Some cheap interior materials; convoluted tech interface; second-row seat removal is cumbersome

How Much?

$29,900-$45,300

Fuel Economy

The Odyssey is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 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 27 mpg on the highway. This matches its top minivan rivals.

Standard Features and Options

The 2017 Honda Odyssey is available in six trim levels: LX, EX, SE, EX-L, Touring and Touring Elite.

The base-level Odyssey LX ($29,900) includes 17-inch steel wheels, rear privacy glass, a backup camera, rear air conditioning, an 8-way power driver seat, a 4-way power passenger seat, the fold-flat 60/40-split third-row seat, Bluetooth, one USB port and a 7-speaker sound system. The LX seats only seven people.

The Odyssey EX ($33,000) seats eight people courtesy of its multi-adjustable middle row and adds 17-in alloy wheels, automatic headlights, power-sliding side doors, passive entry and keyless start, tri-zone automatic climate control, second-row sunshades, a "conversation" mirror for keeping an eye on the kids, Honda's LaneWatch blind spot camera and a 7-in touchscreen.

The SE ($34,000) adds a few popular, family-friendly features from the upper trim levels to the EX content, including a rear DVD entertainment system, an in-car vacuum cleaner, a house-style power outlet and satellite radio.

Next up is the EX-L ($36,500), which adds to the EX content a sunroof, a power lift gate, forward collision warning, lane-departure warning, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a chilled storage box and satellite radio. To the EX-L can be added a navigation system or the rear DVD entertainment system, but annoyingly, not both.

Next up is the Odyssey Touring ($42,800), which adds 18-in alloy wheels, fog lights, parking sensors, driver memory settings, third-row sunshades as well as both the navigation and rear entertainment systems.

Topping the Odyssey range is the Odyssey Touring Elite ($45,300). It's a highly upscale minivan, offering automatic xenon headlights, a blind spot monitoring system (replaces LaneWatch), a widescreen rear video monitor, the in-car vacuum cleaner and a 12-speaker sound system.

Safety

The 2017 Honda Odyssey comes with the usual array of anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, front airbags, front-side airbags, full-length side-curtain airbags and a rearview camera. All but the LX and Touring Elite come with Honda's LaneWatch blind spot camera, while the Touring Elite includes a blind spot monitoring system. Forward collision warning and lane-departure alert are included on the top three trim levels, but there's no automatic braking or steering feature incorporated into them.

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.

The Odyssey's interior, unfortunately, is starting to feel its age. The design is visually unappealing, and plastics quality trails that of competitors from Chrysler, Kia and Toyota. The odd dual-screen tech interface found on most trim levels is also confusing. On the upside, we've seen the all-new 2018 Odyssey interior, and it's a vast improvement, so it might be worth the wait. If that's not possible, at least the Odyssey continues be remarkably versatile. The second-row seat can fit three people across, or you can remove its center section to create captain's chairs that can laterally slide as well. The third row not only folds flat into the floor but can also tilt backward to provide a comfy tailgating bench.

Inevitably, some rivals' passenger quarters are more comfortable (Toyota Sienna) or more transformable into a cargo carrier (Chrysler Pacifica), but the Odyssey's day-to-day flexibility can't be matched.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Chrysler Pacifica -- The new Pacifica is one monumental leap forward for Chrysler's minivan. Vastly more refined, better to drive, more luxuriously finished and amply equipped, the Pacifica is a serious competitor to the Odyssey.

2017 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.

2017 Kia Sedona -- Give the Sedona a look. It may not have the Odyssey's name recognition, but it offers similar interior versatility and more features for the money. It also boasts an arguably more attractive cabin design and a more SUV-like front-cabin layout.

Autotrader's Advice

We would strongly suggest opting for the Odyssey SE. For $3,000 more than the most basic LX, you get the EX trim's multitude of indispensable extras, along with three of the most appealing niceties you can otherwise only get on the uppermost trims: the rear entertainment system, a household-style plug and that famous vacuum cleaner. This is definitely the sweet spot in the Odyssey lineup.

Find a Honda Odyssey for sale

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.
2017 Honda Odyssey: New Car Review - Autotrader