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2021 Honda Odyssey Review

The 2021 Honda Odyssey is the newest version of an award-winning minivan. It has often received accolades for things like best family vehicle and best resale values. The 2021 Odyssey retains those qualities and then goes further.

This model year brings more standard safety equipment to the entry-level LX trim, LED headlights for every model and a new rear-seat reminder feature is standard. In the top Elite trim, this reminder can work together with the CabinWatch camera. So stressed parents (is there any other kind?) need not worry about leaving a child behind.

Parents, the Odyssey could be the vehicle of whatever dreams you might still have during those brief bouts of sleep. The base LX version seats seven, but every other trim can accommodate eight. Their second seating row has something called Magic Slide, where it will move from side to side as well as forward and back. It makes for easy access to the third row. For some, this may be preferable to the Toyota Sienna and the Kia Sedona’s captain’s chairs, or the Chrysler Pacifica’s Stow ’N Go seats that fold into the floor.

The 2021 Odyssey also has plenty of other positive traits (including the incredibly useful HondaVac vacuum cleaner), which we’ll go into below. Anyone interested in digging even deeper should check out our long-term test of the 2018 model. All minivan buyers should test drive an Odyssey.

What’s New for 2021?

The 2021 Odyssey expands its standard HondaSensing array of advanced safety features to the lowest trim level. A styling revision front and back brings LED headlights to the whole range, and the climate system’s controls have been updated.

The second row’s seats can now be folded flat, making them less cumbersome for removal and storage. A rear-seat reminder feature becomes available. And the top Elite trim has its alloy wheels redesigned, while gaining self-dimming side mirrors and perforated leather upholstery for the first and second rows. See the 2021 Honda Odyssey models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Numerous family-friendly features
  • Supremely comfortable ride
  • Ingeniously adjustable second-row seats
  • Standard safety technology
  • Standard 10-speed automatic transmission

What We Don’t

  • Second-row seats don’t have much travel or fold into the floor
  • Not exactly engaging to drive
  • Fewer USB ports than rivals
  • No option for all-wheel drive
  • No hybrid option

How Much?

$32,000 to $48,000 est. (plus destination fee)

Fuel Economy

Just one drivetrain propels the 2021 Odyssey. There’s a 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. This goes through a 10-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels.

Every trim has paddle shifters mounted beneath the steering wheel, an engine stop/start feature when idling (well-executed) and an automatic cylinder deactivation function that shuts down three of the six cylinders when conditions allow.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption at 19 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in combined driving. (2020 figures)

Standard Features & Options

The 2021 Honda Odyssey minivan comes in LX, EX, EX-L, EX-L Navi/RES, Touring and Elite trim levels.

LX (est. $32,000, plus destination charge) has 18-in wheels, LED headlights, rear privacy glass, automatic climate control, push-button start, power-adjustable front seats (8-way driver, 4-way passenger), cloth upholstery, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, a convex “conversation mirror” for keeping an eye on rear passengers, two USB ports (both in the front) and a 7-speaker sound system with a 5-in color display, auxiliary audio jack and Bluetooth.

EX (est. $36,000) brings power-sliding doors, proximity entry, tri-zone automatic climate control, second-row sunshades, heated front seats, 4-way powered lumbar support for the driver’s seat, CabinControl remote-control app, and an 8-in touchscreen that includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite/HD radio and customizable feature settings.

EX-L (est. $40,000) adds a sunroof, powered lift gate, acoustic windshield, first- and second-row leather upholstery, third-row vinyl upholstery, driver’s-seat memory functions, leather-wrapped steering wheel, self-dimming rearview mirror, and two additional USB ports in the second row.

EX-L Navi/RES (est. $43,000) includes a navigation system and a rear-seat entertainment system that employs a 10.2-in ceiling-mounted screen, Blu-Ray player, HDMI input, built-in streaming apps and the CabinTalk in-car communication system that pipes the voices of those up front into the back (including through the RES wireless headphones).

Touring (est. $47,000) adds hands-free lift gate operation, front/rear parking sensors, HondaVac integrated vacuum cleaner, third-row sunshades, Wi-Fi, and CabinWatch rear-row camera system.

Elite (est. $49,000) gains 19-in alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers, power-folding/self-dimming side mirrors, acoustic front/rear door glass, heated steering wheel, heated/ventilated front seats, perforated leather for the first and second seating rows, wireless charging, and an 11-speaker/550-watt audio system.

Safety

Every 2021 Odyssey comes with anti-lock brakes, stability control, front-side airbags and 3-row side-curtain airbags, plus the Honda Sensing driver assistance tech array that includes forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and steering assist, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high beams.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the Odyssey its maximum 5-star scores for overall, front and side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) makes the Odyssey a Top Safety Pick after earning top scores in all crash tests, plus crash prevention technology and LATCH ease of use.

Behind the Wheel

The Odyssey focuses on providing a supremely quiet, comfortable and isolating ride. Steering, in particular, is light in effort and feedback. This is not a complaint, the minivan world has other priorities.

Regarding the interior, the general design is functional, with spaces for cups and handheld devices, infotainment touchscreen is easy to use, and the overall quality of materials is at the high end of mainstream.

Cargo space with all three seating rows in place measures 32.8 cubic feet. Fold the third row flat and remove the second row, and this space expands to a maximum of 158 cubic feet.

Other Cars to Consider

2021 Chrysler Pacifica — We also had a long-term Pacifica and loved it. It has its own set of clever features, plus a plug-in hybrid version. This 2021 model now offers all-wheel drive.

2021 Kia Sedona — The Sedona is completely revamped for 2021, but still offers a tempting price/equipment proposition. Given Kia’s rapid rise up the ranks of vehicle manufacturers, the new Sedona should definitely be a contender.

2021 Toyota Sienna — The Sienna remains competitive. Its sliding second-row seats, strong engine, and sharp-handling SE trim level are standouts. As is the option of all-wheel drive.

Used Honda Odyssey — Assuming that no one needs to make thiner minivan a status symbol, a used Odyssey could be a good way of acquiring all the extra equipment found in the higher trim levels without going crazy. And owners might not feel so bad when someone draws on a door panel with crayon. We recommend a model from the 2014 face-lift or newer. Check out Honda’s certified pre-owned (CPO) program.

Questions You May Ask

Will the 2021 Honda Odyssey offer all-wheel drive?

Up until this new model year, the only minivan with all-wheel drive on its options list was the Toyota Sienna. The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica becomes the other alternative. Which is a convoluted way of saying no, the 2021 Odyssey does not make all-wheel drive available.

Where is the 2021 Honda Odyssey minivan made?

The 2021 Odyssey is made exclusively in Lincoln, Alabama. This same plant builds the Pilot, Passport and Ridgeline.

Does the 2021 Honda Odyssey get good fuel economy?

The Odyssey’s fuel requirements are decent rather than remarkable, despite a cylinder deactivation feature. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates consumption at 19 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined (2020 figures).

How much can the 2021 Honda Odyssey tow?

The Odyssey has a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.

Autotrader’s Advice

Skip the base LX. If a low price is that important, it’s probably smarter to get a used Odyssey. And while clever items like the HondaVac and CabinWatch are appealing, they’re only available in the two most expensive trims. An EX has the features most families will require and desire, while remaining relatively affordable. Find a Honda Odyssey for sale

Where You Can Buy

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