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2018 Honda Odyssey: First Drive Review – Video

If you’re looking for information on a newer Honda Odyssey, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Honda Odyssey Review

Minivans have come a long way. Early versions were odd looking at best and some brands never could really figure out the formula. Eventually, the bad ones went away. As it stands, Ford, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Dodge and Buick no longer sell minivans. Other automakers that previously sold minivans are not even in business anymore: Mercury, Oldsmobile, Plymouth and Saturn all had minivans; obviously those are gone too.

Today, we’re left with a handful of really good and often attractive vans Like the Chrysler Pacifica and Kia Sedona and that’s exactly where the re-fashioned 2018 Honda Odyssey comes in.

This new Odyssey is all the things we’ve loved about the old van with plenty of clever new features.

On the Road

Thankfully, the Odyssey is still the best handling minivan. If an engaging driving experience is important, get the Odyssey. The ride is also remarkably quiet — even on the highway, there’s very little road or engine noise. This really helps keep conversation levels down which, ultimately, means less stress on a road trip.

Both the Sedona and Pacifica feel softer and more comfortable in a straight line but it’s the Odyssey that handles best. See the 2018 Honda Odyssey models for sale near you

Techy Inside

The interior of the new Odyssey is modern looking and nicely laid out. It’s a good combination of functional and premium. Still, we think the Chrysler Pacifica is has a more luxurious feel inside even though the Honda offers more tech features.

Cabin watch is a feature worth mentioning — it’s a roof mounted interior camera that allows you to keep tabs on the kids — especially helpful if you have a baby; it even works in the dark.

The rear seat entertainment system is pretty good — it uses apps like iHeartRadio and Spotify and a "how much longer" feature similar to that of the Chrysler Pacifica. It uses one 10.2-in. screen mounted on the roof and it plays Blueray discs and has an HDMI input. The Chrysler’s two screen setup seems more like what you’d expect from a $45,000 van, but we suspect Honda couldn’t make that work with their Magic Seat layout.

This new Odyssey is the most tech-heavy family car we’ve seen so of course Wi-Fi is available — you can even control some in-car functions via smartphone. Up to seven passengers can add to a master playlist via smartphone and there’s wireless charging for Android phones. In addition to Cabin Watch, there’s Cabin Talk which allows you to interrupt the rear seat entertainment system — it pauses the movie and your voice comes through the wireless headphones.

We like the second-row seats that "magically" slide and tilt making access to the third row super easy — even a kid can slide the second-row seats back and forth without help from mom or dad. It’s especially useful for families with kids who still require a safety seat. Move little Avery up closer so you can give her a juice pouch or take away that just-became-a-choking-hazard biter biscuit. You don’t have to undo rear or forward-facing safety seats to move them side to side or front to back.

Another family friendly feature is the hands-free rear door. Wave your foot under the rear bumper (with the key on you or in the car) and the rear hatch-style door opens without you having to touch anything.

Safety

The Odyssey has virtually every safety feature you can think of including collision mitigation braking system, lane keeping assist, lane departure prevention and adaptive cruise control, as well as Honda’s next-generation ACE body structure.

That body structure includes crumple zones that will absorb energy in the event of an accident and its backed up by a more solid safety cage to protect passengers.

Acceleration is adequate thanks to a 3.5 liter V6 that makes 280 hp. It’s connected to a 9-speed automatic transmission — there’s a 10-speed automatic in the upper trim levels. It doesn’t feel super quick but is much like other minivans.

The 10-speed is the version we drove and our early impression is that it might be a good alternative to CVTs — shifts are smooth and gearing is just right. Fuel economy is estimated at a combined 22 mpg for all versions of the new Odyssey.

How Much?

As for the price — let’s just admit that ALL minivans are expensive. Base price for the 2018 Odyssey about $31,000. An EX with Leather is $38,000 and the top of the line Odyssey Elite is little over $47,000.

Finally, if you’re concerned about American workers and domestic jobs and you want to put your patriotic money where your mouth is — you should know that the 2018 Honda Odyssey is built in the US — specifically, Lincoln, Alabama. Find a Honda Odyssey for sale

To gain access to this information, Autotrader attended an event sponsored by the vehicle’s manufacturer.

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