SUVs have supplanted minivans in the USA, and today, there are only four minivans left on the local market that fight it out for the remainder of the shrinking market share. The top seller by a significant margin is the Chrysler Pacifica, which is a superb minivan and stands apart along with the Toyota Sienna in offering buyers AWD and hybridized powertrain options. In contrast, the other two players - the Honda Odyssey we review here and the Kia Carnival - come with traditional naturally aspirated six-cylinder engines and FWD only. Kia has tried to distinguish the Carnival with faux-SUV styling, while the Odyssey, with its traditional minivan looks and dumpy profile, has no such aspirations. Still, it sells well on the strength of its sharp driving dynamics and reputation for reliability. It comes with a 280-horsepower V6 engine only, but even the base EX is very well-equipped. If you have lots of people and stuff to move - and you don't need AWD - the Odyssey is a compelling and fun-to-drive choice.
No changes are made to the 2024 Odyssey. All the trim levels in the range stay the same in terms of their standard features and specifications. The starting price of the 2024 Honda Odyssey creeps up by a few hundred dollars to just under $38k.
This year, the base price of a new Honda Odyssey EX creeps up from $37,490 to $37,840. The other trims see similarly small increases. The EX-L will now cost you $40,910, followed by the Sport at $41,860, the Touring at $45,100, and the Elite at $49,970. These prices are all MSRP and exclude Honda's $1,375 destination fee.
The EX is well enough equipped for most people, and even this base version comes with virtually all the driver assists, but the EX-L is only $3k more expensive and adds all the desirable features that we miss on the EX, such as leather upholstery, a moonroof, a power liftgate, a power passenger seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a HomeLink transceiver. It's another $4k stretch to the Touring, but you won't miss its embedded navigation as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included, though you might lament not having access to its rear-seat entertainment system for the kids. Buying two tablets is way cheaper, though.
The interior breaks no new ground and is starting to age, but it’s well-built and easy to use, with all the expected technology on hand.
The interior of the Odyssey won't set your pulse racing, but it's excellent in its class, especially in terms of all the minivan-typical interior space it has. It's not premium, but the dashboard is solidly made from quality materials, it's quiet and rattle-free on the move, and most of the equipment is easy to use. You won't feel too short-changed in the base EX, because it shares nice features such as its steering-wheel design, seven-inch digital gauge cluster, and (smallish) touchscreen with all the other trims. The cloth on the seats looks hardy, but the leather on the other trims adds significantly to the cabin's ambiance.
Getting inside is easy as pie through tall front doors and wide-opening electric sliding rear doors, so access to the third row is no chore with the middle row tumbled forward. High-mounted chairs and a tall profile mean no stooping, and you simply slide in and across. The driver will quickly find a comfortable driving position but will not be impressed with the numerous blind spots that are common in the body style. The pillars are wide, and the mirrors are obstructive, while over-the-shoulder visibility isn't great. You only have the backup camera to rely on, as no surround-view camera is available at all, and only the top two trims get parking sensors. These are irritations in a people mover.
The Odyssey is an eight-seater. There's abundant space in the first two rows, and though the third row is tighter, it will still accommodate adults. Legroom in the last row is very similar to the Sienna's, with both beating the Carnival and Pacifica, despite the Odyssey having the shortest wheelbase in this class. The Magic Slide second-row seats are a major selling point thanks to their configurability and ability to slide longitudinally and laterally. Normally a 40/20/40 three-seat arrangement, the seats are all separate, and the middle one can be slid forward, for example, if the parents in the front seats want a small child closer to them. This center seat can be removed altogether and left at home, leaving you with two captain's chairs. One can be moved over to the middle to create a wide passage to the third row, or you can move them closer together into the vacant space the center position frees up. They can fold flat or be removed completely, but it's quite a chore, as they weigh 68 pounds each. Unlike the Pacifica's compact Stow N Go seats, they don't fold into the floor, but that also means they are far more comfortable than the Pacifica's.
Trunk space behind the third row is a handy 32.8 cu-ft, on par with the Sienna and Pacifica but short of the Carnival's cavernous trunk. However, a maximum of 38.6 cu-ft is available if the third-row passengers are made to sit bolt upright. The third row folds into a hollow in the floor to open up 89.2-92.3 cu-ft, depending on the fore/aft position of the second row. This figure is for the EX, with the other trims offering a slightly lower 86.6-91 cu-ft, presumably because of their lower ceiling heights due to their sunroof. With the second row removed, the Odyssey EX's maximum trunk volume comes to 144.9-158 cu-ft, depending on the positions of the front seats. The other trims offer 140.7-155.8 cu-ft.
Besides the glovebox, the front cabin gets large door bins, three smaller storage receptacles in each of the front doors, and lots of storage space in the center console. There is an uncovered storage bin at the front of the console, two cupholders and a phone pad (which becomes the wireless charging pad in the Elite) behind them, a big storage box under a sliding cover behind them, and two cupholders for the second-row passengers at the back of the center console. A storage drawer slides out in a forward direction from underneath the front cupholders. The backrest of the center seat of the second row provides three cupholders and more storage when it's folded down. There is also a bottle holder for the middle row in each of the sliding rear doors. The third row gets two cupholders on each side in the side moldings. Only the top two trims get upper front seatback pockets, but all trims except the EX get lower second-row seatback pockets.
|Honda Odyssey||Chrysler Pacifica||Kia Carnival|
|7/8 Seater||7/8 Seater||7/8 Seater|
|38.7-40.7 in. front|
39.2-39.5 in. 2nd row
38.3 in. 3rd row
|38.4-40.1 in. front|
38-39.6 in. 2nd row
38.7 in. 3rd row
|40.9 in. front |
39.5 in. 2nd row
38.6 in. 3rd row
|40.9 in. front|
40.9 in. 2nd row
38.1 in. 3rd row
|41.1 in. front|
39 in. 2nd row
36.5 in. 3rd row
|41.1 in. front |
40.5 in. 2nd row
35.6 in. 3rd row
|32.8-158 ft³||32.3-140.5 ft³||40.2-145.1 ft³|
The base EX gets cloth upholstery in an unusual chocolate-brown color called Mocha. All the other trims get leather upholstery for the front and outboard second-row seats, leatherette on the remaining seats, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel, in addition to more interior colors. In the EX-L, Touring, and Elite, gray is added as a second color choice, while the Sport gets a black interior. The leather in the Elite is perforated because the seats are ventilated. The Sport gets sporty red ambient and instrumentation lighting, while it's blue in the Elite.
Since the demise of the old LX base trim last year, every Odyssey is now very well-equipped. The EX might have cloth upholstery, but both front seats are heated and electrically adjustable, while features such as tri-zone climate control, dual electrically operated rear sliding doors, rear privacy glass, second-row sunshades, and a manually tilting/telescoping steering column are all standard. As you move up the tree, leather upholstery for the front and outboard second-row seats, more comprehensive electric front-seat adjustment, a HomeLink transceiver, ambient interior lighting, third-row sunshades, ventilated front seats, an in-car PA system, a heated steering wheel, and more are added.
All trims come with the same seven-inch digital gauge cluster and eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, with the setup in the EX boasting Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth calling and audio streaming, an auxiliary input jack, HondaLink, SiriusXM, HD Radio, two USB ports, and an MP3-capable audio system with seven speakers. The EX-L and Sport gain two second-row USB ports. The Touring additionally gets an HDMI interface, navigation, HondaLink subscription services, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and the CabinTalk PA system that works through the two passenger headsets of the standard-fit rear-seat entertainment system with its ceiling-mounted 10.2-inch screen, Blu-Ray player, and built-in streaming apps. The Elite gets an upgraded 550-W audio system with 11 speakers and multi-zone audio, in addition to a wireless charging pad and the CabinTalk system's ability to speak to passengers through the audio system's speakers as well, not only through the headphones.
|Heated power front seats|
|Ventilated front seats|
|Power moonroof and liftgate|
|11-speaker audio system|
The V6 is smooth and powerful but not particularly economical. There is no hybrid option available, even though Honda has plenty of hybrid expertise.
Performance is good for a minivan, and with 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque from its naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 engine, the Honda Odyssey's 0-60 sprint should take around seven seconds. Much of this is down to the good matching of the smooth six-cylinder engine to the slick-shifting ten-speed automatic transmission, which hardly ever puts a foot wrong and shuffles smoothly through the myriad of ratios to keep the engine in the sweet spot of its torque curve. Top speed is of academic importance in a minivan, but the Odyssey is limited to around 110 mph, for what it's worth. Just like all the other minivans in this class, front-wheel drive is the default drivetrain configuration, but the Odyssey doesn't offer all-wheel drive or hybridized powertrains as its Sienna and Pacifica rivals do. Trailering specs are on par with the competition; the Odyssey is rated to tow 3,500 lbs, just like the Sienna and Carnival, with the Pacifica's towing capacity just 100 lbs more. With a minimum ground clearance of less than five inches and no AWD or high-riding version, the Odyssey is strictly meant for well-kept, paved roads.
But the low stance and road-biased demeanor pay dividends when the wheels start rolling, and it quickly becomes evident that the Odyssey is the sharpest handler in this class. We'd have forgiven it if it weren't because few people are likely to throw around their minivans, but it's a pleasant surprise to find that the car's responses are sharp and crisp, even though the light and responsive steering lacks feedback. There isn't much of a tradeoff for the driving dynamics, with a nicely absorbent ride on all manner of surfaces. Though firmer, even the upper trims on their 19-inch wheels ride more than comfortably enough for a family car. The powertrain is well-tuned and doesn't irritate with laggy responses or any unwanted noises or vibrations.
The gas mileage of the other V6 minivans is virtually the same as the Honda Odyssey's mpg figures. The EPA's city/highway/combined estimates are 19/28/22 mpg, with the same combined 22 mpg also applying to the Kia Carnival and FWD V6 Pacifica. They don't get close to the FWD hybrid Sienna's 36 mpg, and none except for the Pacifica offers a PHEV with an all-electric range of 32 miles.
ith its 19.5-gallon fuel capacity, the Odyssey can achieve a range of around 429 miles on a tank of gas.
|3.5L V6 Gas |
Safety levels are right at the top of the class, with exemplary crash scores and many driver assists, but the lack of a surround-view camera is a notable omission.
In the NHTSA's safety review of the 2024 Honda Odyssey, it scored top marks, achieving the full five stars overall and for most of the individual evaluations. It put in a class-leading performance at the IIHS in 2023 (2024 test scores are still pending), but it was good enough to earn a Top Safety Pick+ award for 2023, thanks to the agency's highest scores for most categories except headlights. It has to be mentioned that the car received a Poor score for the agency's updated moderate-overlap frontal impact.
The Odyssey comes with eight airbags and the usual ABS, stability control, a multi-angle backup camera with dynamic guidelines, and tire-pressure monitoring. In addition to these, most of the Honda Sensing driver-assistance features are standard on all trims. These are front-collision alert with emergency braking, road-departure alert and mitigation, lane-departure alert and lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, traffic-sign recognition, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, automatic LED headlights with auto high beams, and driver-alertness monitoring. Only the top two trims get parking sensors front and rear, and only the Elite gets rain-sensing wipers. All trims but the EX are equipped with side mirrors with automatic reverse tilt-down and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
|Front-collision alert with braking|
|Road- and lane-departure mitigation|
|Adaptive cruise control|
|Blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert|
|Parking sensors front and rear|
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
In terms of JD Power's Quality & Reliability evaluation, the Honda Odyssey scored an average 78 out of 100 for the 2024 model year. Average it may be, but it's bettered only by the Kia Carnival in this class, which scores 80. Both the Sienna and Pacifica fare worse. In terms of recalls, the news is good. The 2022 model might have been recalled four times for issues such as leaking tires, detaching mirrors, blank backup-camera displays, and seats that won't lock in place, but the 2023 model was down to one recall (the backup-camera issue again), and the 2024 model is so far recall-free, so matters are improving.
The 2024 Honda Odyssey's warranty is average. The limited warranty covers the car for three years/36,000 miles, and the powertrain warranty for five years/60,000 miles. An added bonus is the two years/24,000 miles worth of complimentary maintenance.
Honda has applied all manner of scallops and creases to the car's sides to break up the vast areas of slab-sided metal, with the glasshouse dipping just behind the rear doors and the D-pillar sloping down, but it can all be a bit much to some eyes. Nothing can disguise that this is a big vehicle, and it certainly doesn't come across as stylishly as the SUV-lookalike Carnival. Only the two base trims get black side sills, a black fin-type roof antenna, and 18-inch alloy wheels, while the rest get 19s and body-color treatment for the mentioned items. The Sport's exterior trim and wheels are blacked out. Rear privacy glass, LED headlights and foglights, a rear LED light bar, and power-sliding rear doors are common to all trims. A power moonroof and power tailgate are standard on all trims except the EX, but only on the Elite is the tailgate's operation hands-free.
None of the minivans in this class are perfect. They all require you to compromise. The Sienna is the only one to offer you a regular hybrid, but overall luggage space is severely limited by the non-removable center row. The Pacifica offers a PHEV, and those Stow N Go seats are incredibly convenient, but that makes them rather uncomfortable for humans to sit on. Both of these also offer AWD. The Carnival and Odyssey offer none of these features, so you're stuck with a single powertrain option. At least the Carnival looks like an SUV… The Odyssey, then, isn't the prettiest around and doesn't offer much variation, but it does ride and handle very well and is the most fun to pilot in this class, while a few surprise-and-delight features, such as those configurable center seats, do count for something. Is that enough to get your vote? It depends on where your priorities lie, but it certainly deserves a place on your shortlist.
The most popular competitors of 2024 Honda Odyssey: