2021 Honda Odyssey

2021 Honda Odyssey Review: Make Minivans Great Again

by Gerhard Horn

The rise of the crossover and SUV in the USA has dramatically impacted sedan and hatchback sales, but we often forget that minivans are also suffering. Dodge's Grand Caravan was a dominant force in the nineties, but now it's nothing more than a poor imitation of its former self; this left the door wide open for the Honda Odyssey and Chrysler's Pacifica. But are these minivans still relevant?

We like an honest car, a car that knows what it is and doesn't pretend to be anything more than that, like the Odyssey. Honda has kept on top of competitors by implementing a series of updates, with the manufacturer recently providing some substantial upgrades to the minivan. The first round was in July 2020 for the 2021 model year, followed by the introduction of the 2022 model year in January 2021. The mechanics remain the same, however, and the 3.5-liter V6 under the hood still puts out 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, but a few changes to the spec sheet have been made. Honda obviously wants to keep dominating this segment, arming the Odyssey with everything it needs to go up against its main rivals, the Chrysler Pacifica and Toyota Sienna.

2022 Honda Odyssey Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Honda Odyssey?

Honda made two model upgrades within six months. On the 2022 Honda Odyssey, a new Radiant Red Metallic II color is available, and the well-known in-car HondaVac accessory has been discontinued. The 2021 upgrade was more substantial, as the Odyssey received new exterior styling elements. On the inside, the practicality has been enhanced with second-row seats that fold nearly flat, making them easier to remove.

The Odyssey EX trim and above get new tri-color floor mats, and EX-L and above gain power lumbar support for the front passengers. Interior trim updates include new contrast stitching on the seats and piano black trim on the dash. There's also a new Rear Seat Reminder system fitted as standard across the range. Finally, Honda now includes adaptive cruise control and forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic braking as standard across the range. The Honda Sensing safety suite has been updated with low-speed follow, pedestrian emergency braking, and traffic sign recognition.

Pros and Cons

  • Lots of interior space
  • User-friendly infotainment
  • Ample V6 power
  • Impressive cargo capacity
  • Impressive standard safety features
  • Not all seats get device chargers
  • Seats are still tricky to remove

Best Deals on Odyssey

2021 Honda Odyssey Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
LX
3.5L V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$31,790
EX
3.5L V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$35,190
EX-L
3.5L V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$38,460
Touring
3.5L V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$42,500
Elite
3.5L V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$47,820

Odyssey Minivan Exterior

In our opinion, the Dodge Grand Caravan became irrelevant because its maker just gave up. There's only so much you can do with a box, right? Honda disproves this outlook, as the Odyssey is at least interesting to look at. The 2021 round of upgrades included a restyled grille and front bumper, a new layout for the headlights, and new black trim under the rear window.

The front end with the new blackout grille and chrome strip is slightly more aggressive, and the side profile is handsome. Base models get 18-inch wheels, while top-end models get 19-inch alloys that fill the arches rather nicely. LED headlights and LED daytime running lights are included across the range, with LED fog lights equipped from the EX. Power sliding doors are made standard from the EX upward while a one-touch power moonroof and a power tailgate features from the EX-L trim upwards.

2021 Honda Odyssey Forward View Honda
2021 Honda Odyssey Rear View Honda
2021 Honda Odyssey Front Angle View Honda
See All 2021 Honda Odyssey Exterior Photos

Dimensions

As a minivan we expect the Honda Odyssey to offer dimensions conducive to ferrying a large family around. Its wheelbase is 118.1 inches long, just two inches shy of the largest family SUVs sold in the US. According to Honda, the overall length is 205.2 inches. There's a minimal overhang at the front but a copious amount at the rear where you want it. The base LX model is 68.3 inches tall, while the rest of the range measures 69.6 inches. All models are 78.5 inches wide. The LX trim is the lightest in the group, weighing in at 4,398 pounds, while the top-spec Elite is the heftiest, tipping the scales at 4,603 lbs.

  • Length 205.2 in
  • Wheelbase 118.1 in
  • Height 68.3 in
  • Max Width 78.5 in
  • Front Width 67.3 in
  • Rear Width 67.2 in
  • Curb Weight 4,398.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

Honda's color palette for the Odyssey is quite dull, which makes sense - while this particular minivan has some nice design features, you hardly need a stunning, extroverted color to emphasize it. The base LX is available in only four hues, of which Lunar Silver Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic, and Obsidian Blue Pearl are no-cost options. Platinum White Pearl costs $395. From the EX trim and upward, Crystal Black Pearl, Pacific Pewter, and the all-new Raidan Red Metallic II are added, with a surcharge of $395. Discontinued colors include Forest Mist and Deep Scarlet Pearl.

  • Pacific Pewter Metallic
  • Deep Scarlet Pearl, Build Out: 10/31/2020
  • Platinum White Pearl
  • Radiant Red Metallic II
  • Forest Mist Metallic
  • Modern Steel Metallic
  • Lunar Silver Metallic
  • Obsidian Blue Pearl
  • Crystal Black Pearl

Odyssey Performance

A 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V6 engine is the only engine option available to the Odyssey. The power is diverted to the front wheels. Both the Chrysler Pacifica and Toyota Sienna offer all-wheel-drive as an option, however. This is only really a problem in cold-weather states, as a minivan will unlikely be driven in a fashion that requires additional grip.

The engine is mated to a ten-speed automatic, which does a decent job despite the sheer size and weight of the car. Independent tests have shown that the Odyssey can sprint from 0-60 mph in around seven seconds. Not that it matters, but it's par for the course in the minivan segment.

All models come with a towing capacity of 3,500 lbs, which is not quite enough for a large camper, but ample pulling power for a small boat or trailer. An AWD system would have been great for this specific application.

2021 Honda Odyssey Front View Driving Honda
2021 Honda Odyssey Rear View Driving Honda
2021 Honda Odyssey Engine Honda

Engine and Transmission

The first chink in the Odyssey's armor is the lack of engine options. Honda's 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V6 engine is a peach, however, delivering 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. It never feels as if this minivan lacks power, but we'd expect nothing less from a manufacturer with a long history of building some of the best non-turbo engines in the business. It has sufficient capacity for city and highway driving, even with eight people on board. The ten-speed gearbox is also spot on. Its widespread ratios allow the gearbox to get the most out of the engine, regardless of the scenario. At higher speeds, it settles down nicely and is relatively efficient.

One of our gripes is the lack of a hybrid powertrain. Both the Pacifica and Sienna have hybrid options in their respective ranges now. Hybrids are exceptionally well suited to inner-city driving and, considering that minivans spend most of their time doing just that, it makes complete sense to pursue this. Honda has more hybrid experience than most, so why not apply it to the one car in its line-up that will mostly be used in the suburbs?

  • Engine
    3.5L V6 Gas
  • Transmission
    10-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The steering is surprisingly sharp, and it gives the driver loads of feedback. Perfect for a heavy minivan that will spend most of its time in packed suburbs and parking lots. The brakes are also powerful, and it never feels as if the forward momentum of this big people-mover will cause them to fade. It's not an exciting thing to drive, but that's hardly the point. In a minivan, you want a comfortable, compliant, and predictable suspension setup. The Odyssey does feel more car-like than most of its rivals, but there are certain situations where it struggles to hide its size. Go through a corner at high speed, and you'll soon remember that you have another 13 feet of minivan behind you.

The 19-inch alloys spoil the otherwise well-balanced ride quality a bit, and it's a pity the Touring, and Elite models can't be ordered with smaller 18-inch wheels. We'd gladly sacrifice the sportier alloys for improved bump-absorbing abilities.

Odyssey Gas Mileage

The EPA-estimated gas mileage for the Honda Odyssey is 19/28/22 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. This isn't too bad compared to another naturally-aspirated FWD rival, like the Kia Sedona (18/24/21 mpg) or the gas-fed Pacifica in AWD guise, which fares worse at 17/25/20 mp.

But take one glance at the Toyota Sienna's EPA figures, and a hybrid powertrain starts making sense. It may not be a thrilling engine, but the 2.5-liter hybrid can do 36/36/36 mpg. The plug-in hybrid Pacifica is a lot more expensive, but it represents a considerable saving, too. It still uses a 3.6-liter V6 for longer journeys, but it is capable of 82 MPGe with a fully charged battery. And, the 32 miles of all-electric range means you can do the school run during the week without using a drop of fuel.

The Odyssey has a large 19.5-gallon fuel tank, giving it 429 miles of range between refills.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    19.5 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 19/28 mpg
* 2021 Honda Odyssey LX Automatic

Odyssey Interior

The Odyssey's cabin is beautifully executed, even though there's no real sense of occasion. The digital instrument cluster looks cool, and the ambient lighting around the center console is a nice touch. Honda's primary focus is space and durability, however. Whether a model comes with cloth or leather, it feels like it will last a lifetime. Interior plastics are high-quality, and the car is bolted together properly. For a vehicle with so many seats, the potential for rattles is relatively high. The fact that we couldn't hear a single rattle is proof of Honda's high standards.

2021 Honda Odyssey Central Console Honda
2021 Honda Odyssey Start/Stop Button Honda
2021 Honda Odyssey Infotainment Offering Honda
See All 2021 Honda Odyssey Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The base LX model is a seven-seater, while the rest of the range comes with eight seats as standard. An eight-seater Honda Odyssey is obviously the must-have configuration if you're going to be traveling with larger groups. Heated front seats are standard from the EX. Headroom and legroom are plentiful throughout, and even adults will be comfortable in the third row. Headroom is 40.7/39.5/38.3 inches in the front/middle/rear for LX and EX trims. This drops slightly to 38.7/39.2/38.3 inches for the upper trims due to the fitment of a moonroof. Legroom is rated at 40.9/40.9/38.1 inches for all models.

Minivans are usually hard to see out of, and the Odyssey with its massive rear overhang is no exception. Thankfully, a rearview camera and blind-spot assist are standard to help with visibility. Ingress and egress are straightforward, thanks to large front doors and sliding rear doors which are powered on upper trims. Sliding the second row forward is also effortless, making it easy to access the third row.

  • Seating capacity
    7-seater
  • Front Leg Room 40.9 in
  • Front Head Room 40.7 in
  • Rear Leg Room 40.9 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.5 in

Interior Colors and Materials

When functionality is the main priority, design takes a rear seat. At least Honda didn't sacrifice quality. The LX and EX both come with cloth seats available in Beige, Mocha, or Gray, depending on the exterior color selection. Leather is standard from EX-L and Touring in Beige, Mocha, Black, or Gray, once again specific to exterior paint. The top-spec Elite comes with model-specific perforated leather in the same color scheme/exterior paint combinations.

While interior color options are limited, the main touchpoints are covered in soft-touch material. That's quite an achievement considering how much surface has to be covered in a minivan.

Odyssey Trunk and Cargo Space

A family carrier needs to have cargo space in spades; what good is transporting eight people if they can't take their luggage with them? The Odyssey offers 32.8 cubic feet behind the third row. That's not enough for all eight large suitcases, but eight carry-on bags for sure. With the third row folded flat, the cargo capacity grows to between 86.6 cubes and 89.2, depending on trim level - and that's still with enough room to seat five occupants. Behind the first row, you get between 140.7 and 144.9 cubes.

Storage space on the inside is impressive as well. There are enough cupholders, and the space between the front seats is enormous. The center stack has loads of space for knick-knacks too.

2021 Honda Odyssey Front Seats Honda
2021 Honda Odyssey Rear Passenger Seats Honda
2021 Honda Odyssey Trunk Space Honda

Odyssey Infotainment and Features

Features

The new Honda Odyssey is well-equipped, though the base model is missing a few features we think should be standard. All models get climate control, push-button start, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, and Honda Sensing. Only the LX model does without blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic assist. From EX upward, you get tri-zone climate control, a power tailgate, a 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and heated front seats. High-end models add other luxuries like ambient lighting, navigation, a power tailgate, an automatic dimming rearview mirror, seatback pockets, heating and ventilation for the front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Infotainment

The base model's infotainment system is a letdown. It's an outdated five-inch touchscreen interface with Bluetooth connectivity and a single USB port - there's no smartphone integration, and it's mated to a seven-speaker sound system. The EX and above are equipped with an eight-inch high-resolution touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM, and HD Radio. The seven-speaker system is standard on the EX-L and Touring, while the Elite model gets an 11-speaker premium sound system. The Touring also adds an in-car PA system, an advanced rear-seat entertainment setup, and Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities. The top-spec comes with a wireless phone charger and multi-zone audio.

2022 Odyssey Problems and Reliability

It's a bit of a letdown to see the J.D. Power review of the Odyssey yielding only 77 out of a possible 100 points. Part of this may be down to the Odyssey's poor recall rate. The 2019 model has been recalled 13 times for problems ranging from faulty sliding doors to loose battery terminals. For the 2021 and 2020 model years, there are a variety of recalls, too, from a fuel tank that may overfill, power sliding doors that could open while moving, and a distorted rearview camera image, to software issues and potential short circuits in the accessory power outlet harness.

All Odysseys are sold with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

Odyssey Safety

The NHTSA's review of the Honda Odyssey resulted in a five-star rating overall for 2022. It scored five stars in every category except rollover, where it received four stars. Although not yet rated for 2022, the IIHS gave the 2021 Odyssey a review and awarded it with a Top Safety Pick + title. This is the highest rating a car can receive from the authority.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Key Safety Features

Honda Sensing is now standard across the range. The only anomaly is the LX model, which comes with all the available driver assistance features, except for blind-spot assist or rear cross-traffic alert. Lane keeps assist, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, auto high-beams, and rear seat reminder are standard across the range. Other standard advanced features include collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning.

On the traditional side of things, Honda includes tire pressure monitoring, eight airbags, ABS, traction and stability control, and a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2022 Honda Odyssey a good Minivan?

The minivan segment is small yet highly competitive. To keep an edge over competitors, these cars constantly have to be updated. Our last review complained about the lack of standard driver assistance features on base models, and now this problem has been rectified. Overall, the Odyssey is an excellent vehicle. The quality is good, and the interior is a well-thought-out space. It also offers a car-like driving experience that competitors struggle to match. Its pricing is more than reasonable, and prospective customers can't ignore the fantastic safety ratings, especially since this is a family car.

The only real criticism we can level against the Odyssey is the lack of alternative engine options. We're big fans of the V6, and it is relatively frugal, but we can also see why a mild-hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrain would be more suited to this kind of car. Still, there's a very good reason the Odyssey remains a class leader in the eyes of the collective motoring media. It's an honest, good-quality minivan that does its job exceptionally well.

🚘What's the Price of the 2022 Honda Odyssey Minivan?

The Odyssey range starts at an exceedingly reasonable $32,090. The EX trim goes on sale for $35,490, while the EX-L retails for $38,760. The high-end Touring retails for $42,800, while the top-spec Elite has an MSRP of $47,820. These prices exclude Honda's destination charge of $1,175.

2021 Honda Odyssey Models

There are five models in the Honda Odyssey range: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, and Elite. Only one engine option is available across the trim levels, and it sends the power to the front wheels via a ten-speed automatic transmission. Specs for the 3.5-liter V6 are 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque.

All models now come as standard with Honda Sensing, including lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, auto high-beams, rear seat reminder, collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning. The LX model does not have blind-spot assist or rear cross-traffic alert.

The entry-level LX model is impressive safety-wise, but that's about it. The five-inch LCD touchscreen infotainment system is poor. Standard features include climate control, push-button start, and power adjustment for the front seats. It is equipped to seat seven.

One step up, the 8-passenger EX is a more acceptable gateway to Odyssey ownership. It adds heated front seats, power sliding doors, tri-zone climate control, and an eight-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The EX-L trim adds leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power tailgate, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror, while the next model up, the Touring, adds navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a rear-seat entertainment system that consists of dual 10.2-inch monitors with wireless headphones.

The top-spec Elite adds rain-sensing wipers, a hands-free power tailgate, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, 11-speaker sound system, and wireless charging.

See All 2021 Honda Odyssey Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Now that Honda Sensing is standard across the range, there are only a few additional packages available. Across the range, you can add an All-Season Protection Package I ($474), All-Season Protection Package II ($456), and a standard Protection Package that retails for $319. The All-Season Packages include high wall floor mats, a splash guard set, a deep cargo tray, and wheel locks. The Protection Package adds a deep cargo tray, a splash guard set, and wheel locks.

Several standalone options are available like body side molding ($236), crossbars for the roof ($204), and puddle lamp projectors for $183.

🚗What Honda Odyssey Model Should I Buy?

In this case, it's really about what model to avoid, and that's definitely the LX. We appreciate the added driver assistance features as standard, but we don't understand why blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert were left out. These are arguably the most critical features considering the size of the car. And, the lack of smartphone integration and a tiny five-inch infotainment screen is just a poor effort.

Every other model is excellent, so it depends entirely on your budget. We'd have the EX, as it has everything we'd want in a minivan, but at a reasonable price. The durable cloth seats make more sense if you have smaller kids, and it adds one additional seat over the LX's seven-seat layout. We wish the rear entertainment system were available as an option, but buying two iPads is just as easy.

2021 Honda Odyssey Comparisons

Toyota Sienna CarBuzz
Chrysler Pacifica Chrysler
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Honda Odyssey280 hp19/28 mpg$31,790
Toyota Sienna 189 hp36/36 mpg$34,460
Chrysler Pacifica 287 hp19/28 mpg$35,820

2021 Honda Odyssey vs Toyota Sienna

The Sienna used to be the minivan with the most power, but Toyota now only offers a hybrid powertrain; Honda's 280-hp Odyssey easily trounces the Sienna's 245 hp. The Odyssey is more engaging to drive, too, but it's worth remembering what these cars are all about. The Sienna isn't as spacious as the Odyssey, but it matches Honda's safety specifications with its own comprehensive suite. To our eyes, the Sienna also looks better. What sets the Sienna apart is its fuel consumption. Its 36/36/36 mpg claimed figures are excellent and miles ahead of the Honda and its old-school engine. As mentioned earlier, a hybrid powertrain is perfect in a car like this that will spend most of its time moving between destinations in the suburbs. For that reason, we prefer the Sienna.

See Toyota Sienna Review

2021 Honda Odyssey vs Chrysler Pacifica

As the Chrysler comes in two flavors, the standard gas-fed variant as well as a plug-in hybrid, there's a lot to think about when comparing these two. The Pacifica's V6 produces slightly higher outputs than the Odyseey, and as a result, very similar gas mileage figures. The plug-in hybrid Pacifica is the perfect blend of practicality and frugality, though, with leading fuel economy figures for the segment. But there is one big fly in the ointment: it costs a lot more than the Odyssey and Sienna.

Like Honda, Chrysler is constantly updating the Pacifica to keep it competitive. This is not good news for Honda because we already preferred the pre-update Chrysler. The Odyssey may have a nicer engine and gearbox combo, but the Pacifica's interior is a much better space to spend time. For 2021, Chrysler added a new class-leading 10.1-inch infotainment system and 12 USB charging ports. The driver assistance features on the Pacifica also used to be locked behind a paywall, but like Honda, Chrysler now offers all of it as standard across the range. For these reasons, it remains our favorite minivan.

See Chrysler Pacifica Review

Honda Odyssey Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2021 Honda Odyssey:

2021 Honda Odyssey Video Reviews

Check out some informative Honda Odyssey video reviews below.

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