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2018 Honda Odyssey: Road Trip to Charlotte

On a recent trip to Charlotte, North Carolina, I grabbed the keys to our long-term 2018 Honda Odyssey and hit the road. I’ve enjoyed driving the Odyssey around town, but this is the first time I’ve taken it on a long road trip. With summer winding down, now was a great time to hit the open road and see how the Odyssey performs.

I have to admit, I’m usually not thrilled about driving minivans on long trips. There’s something about the Odyssey, however, that feels less like a minivan and more like an SUV. With 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, the Odyssey certainly doesn’t feel underpowered by any means. It’s easy to get up to speed when merging into traffic or when a little extra power is needed climbing steep grades.

Attention to Detail

Sometimes, it’s the little things that make the difference on long road trips. The Odyssey is really quiet out on the road. Almost too quiet. Honda added more sound-deadening under the floor and fenders to enhance the driving experience, and the Active Noise Cancellation also helps by sending "anti-noise" signals through the audio system to help combat engine and exhaust noise.

Apple CarPlay worked well and was easy to sync up with my older iPhone 5.

In the past, I’ve been frustrated with adaptive cruise control in many Honda and some Acura vehicles I’ve tested. The Odyssey’s system, however, braked smoothly when approaching a slower vehicle and didn’t seem as eager to slam on the brakes as in the past. On the other hand, it is a little slow getting back up to speed after passing slower vehicles.

The trip to Charlotte was 90 percent highway miles. I average between 28.2 and 28.5 which is in line with the EPA’s 28 miles per gallon rating.

During the trip to North Carolina, the odometer rolled over to 13,000 miles. With that in mind, I didn’t notice any squeaks or rattles inside the cabin. The leather seats are holding up well but do have some slight staining. The good news is these stains should clean up easily with a quality leather cleaner.

Things Could Be Better

There are times when the 10-speed transmission felt like it was searching for the right gear. There were also a couple times when it felt like it wasn’t shifting at all at low speeds during city driving. And unlike the Chrysler Pacifica, there is no stow-and-go feature for the Odyssey’s second-row seats. Another source of frustration is third-row seating. Lowering the seats into the floor is a manual process. Granted, it’s not difficult, but with the top-of-the-line Elite trim, you would think Honda would have one-touch convenience like the Pacifica.

The Verdict

The 2018 Honda Odyssey gets high marks in my book for overall comfort and drivability. It’s one of the best minivans I’ve driven and I can see why I see so many on the road these days. The Odyssey is proof that a minivan can be not only practical, but fun to drive as well. I hope to get a lot more drive time behind the wheel before we say goodbye to the Odyssey. Find a Honda Odyssey for sale

Check out our 2018 Honda Odyssey New Car Review

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