“2018 Honda Odyssey Elite”
Fifth Generation Odyssey Raises the Bar
Kona, Hawaii – There are several players in the minivan game. The pioneer was the Chrysler/Plymouth minivan. The next biggest contender in the field is the Honda Odyssey. FCA (for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) launched the Chrysler Pacifica an all-new minivan for 2017, which seemed likely to take the lead in the minivan race with new styling and wealth of new features. The Honda Odyssey has been the best selling minivan in America for the past seven years and seems to be in no danger of relinquishing its title, with equally, if not more attractive styling and even more features with their all-new 2018 Honda Odyssey.
Honda wasn’t first to the minivan party, as the Japanese automaker has always tended to make sure that they have a better mousetrap before launching a new product. The 2018 Honda Odyssey enters its fifth generation with six distinctive levels of trim: a base LX; the EX; an EX-L, the EX-L NAV & RES; the upscale Touring; and the flagship Elite. Base pricing will range from $29,990 to $46,670 adding a $940 Destination and Handling fee.
The base model seats 7 passengers, while all other trim levels seat up to eight passengers with reconfigurable seating variations.
Power for the entire new Odyssey lineup is provided by a front transversely mounted 3.5-liter (3471cc) , SOHC, 24-valve i-VTEC® Direct Fuel Injection engine with VCM, a Drive-by-Wire Throttle System, and an ECO Assist™System.
The engine produces 280 horsepower at 6,000 rpm (a plus of 32 horsepower), while also developing 262 pound feet of torque at 4,700 rpm. A 9-speed automatic transmission gears power to the front wheels in LX through EX-L Nav-RES models, while Touring and Elite models are equipped with a 10-speed automatic shift-by-wire transmission with paddle shifters.
The major goal of the Honda Odyssey team in its development was to create a vehicle that would keep all members of the family happy, from children to adults in terms of both styling and functionality, with new features and technology.
Visually, this latest Odyssey’s exterior takes on a more aerodynamic form, beginning with Honda’s signature “flying wing” grille, flanked by available LED headlights. a sculpted front fascia and hood. In profile, the Odyssey displays a chiseled “lightning bolt” beltline, shoulder and pronounced wheel wells with a connecting, sweeping mid-body character line. Both the “B” and “C” pillars are blacked out with a blacked out lower section of the “D” pillar that showcases a floating roof effect. There is a bright trim strip that separates the glass and shoulder, that wraps around from “A” pillar to “A” pillar, with no upper trim. The hood flows into the sharply angled windshield, continuing gently over the roof. The rearward sloped tailgate displays a low, wide stance.
Entering the spacious cabin, one finds several new features: Magic Slide 2nd row seats the move fore and aft and slide from side to side for ease of entry to the third row, even with child seats in place; a full suite of Honda Sensing technologies; a new display audio touchscreen interface with customizable placement of icons; a 12-way power front driver’s seat; LED daytime running lights; auto high beam; and remote engine start; and driver and passenger’s knee airbag. There’s also an electronic parking brake and gear selector, automatic climate control, push button start and acoustic spray foam and thicker side door glass for enhanced cabin quietness.
Depending upon trim level, the new Odyssey comes with a power tailgate with a programmable lift height, leather seating surfaces and a leather-wrapped steering wheel on upper trim levels, a power moonroof and a two-setting memory driver’s seat. The Nav system is a Garmin designed satellite unit, and the advanced rear entertainment system provides wireless streaming and a Blu-Ray player. There’s 4G LTE with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a wireless charging pad on the console (iPhones require an adapter). Almost forgot, there’s a vacuum cleaner on board as well.
But wait, there’s more…. New features enhance in cabin communication throughout: Cabin watch, with rear facing cameras for monitoring occupant activity in the two rear rows; Cabin Talk, which allows the driver to interrupt rear seat programming, or simply to talk; and “How much Further”- a program that allows kids to keep track of trip progress on their own without bugging Mom and Dad. We could go on and on, but you get the drift, the 2018 Honda Odyssey is a dream family transportation pod that geared to keep every family member satisfied and entertained on adventure length sojourns.
Honda supplied automotive journalist families with a new Odyssey in Elite trim for touring the big island of Hawaii and participating in planned extracurricular excursions over a four-day period. The base cost of our test Odyssey was $46,670. With the final total coming to $47,610. The exterior was finished in Red Scarlet Pearl metallic, with the interior executed in Beige and Charcoal tones, with satin finish metallic accents.
SUMMARY: The 2018 Honda Odyssey minivan in Elite trim delivers the complete package for enjoyable family travel, and if there’s something that the Elite Odyssey doesn’t have, it’s a good bet that you really don’t need it. Okay, there’s no toilet, but there’s room for a Porta Potty if you don’t want to stop for bio-breaks.
Piloting the new Odyssey is like driving a luxury sedan with sporty attributes. The Odyssey’s primary purpose is not auto crossing, but it is stable and planted enough should you be so inclined. It is responsive in acceleration, shifts smoothly up and down through its ten gears, reacts to steering input without hesitation (enough to alarm passengers when not forewarned), and the ride quality is just right, neither too firm or too soft. Top speed on Hawaii is 55 mph, but there are places where that may safely be exceeded as long as officer friendly isn’t within radar range.
In the final evaluation, this latest iteration Honda Odyssey is a clear winner in every respect, and is justlfiably entitled to wear the title as “King of the Minivans”.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Honda Odyssey Elite
Base Price: $46,670.
Price as Tested: $47,610.
Engine Type and Size: 3.5-liter (3471cc) , SOHC, 24-valve i-VTEC® Direct Fuel Injection with VCM, Drive-by-Wire Throttle System, ECO Assist™System
Horsepower (bhp): 280 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 262 @ 4,700 rpm
Transmission: 9-speed – LX-EX-L Nav-RES/ 10-speed automatic- Touring & Elite – Shift-by-wire and Paddle Shifters.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / FWD.
Suspension: Front – MacPherson strut with 26 mm solid stabilizer bar.
Rear – Compact Trailing Arm with 20 mmx3.2” or 3.5” tubular stabilizer bar.
Brakes: Power-assisted Four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS, EBD, BA and TPMS.
Tires: Bridgestone Turanza 235/55 R19 101H mounted on 5-stylized “V”-spoke alloy wheels with polished face and painted inners.
Wheelbase: 118.1 inches
Length Overall: 203.2 inches
Width: 78.5 inches
Height: 68.3 inches
Curb Weight: 4,354 to 4,593 lbs.
Turning Circle: 39.64 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 19.5 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 19 mpg city / 28 mpg highway / 22 combined
Drag Coefficient: Not listed
0 – 60 mph: Not tested
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.