The Low Down
Yeah, we know what you’re thinking. “I’m not one of THOSE moms! I hate soccer, I don’t need a minivan!” Well, okay, you don’t need a minivan… but what if we told you that there was one leading the ranks (whether you have two kids, four kids, you’re in a band, or you’ve got lots of friends), where you could all pile in comfortably without breaking the bank – including to fill up the tank? Maybe you wouldn’t need a minivan, you would want one.
There’s lots of 3 row SUV’s on the market, but for many of them, the back row is a tight squeeze so you can already forget luggage unless you want one of those hideous plastic boxes to mount on top of the car. So let’s not go there – we don’t want to cramp your style. The 2016 Honda Odyssey has loads of cabin space, while maintaining PLENTY of legroom for second row, and even third row passengers – and no, they don’t have to be miniature to fit comfortably. If you opt for EX models and above, the second row has tons of tetris-type options that lets you spread the seats apart and make more shoulder room, or you can slide them around to open more space for those in the way back. Did we mention that even with all three rows you still have tons of space in the back for whatever you need to shove in the trunk?
This minivan doesn’t just have some space to offer to its name. The Odyssey, even from the base model, comes with a large assortment of seating arrangements and some pretty cool features, like the flip-up trash bag holder built into the center console (that’s removable), the cooling compartment for your drinks, the built-in vacuum (on SE / Touring Elite models) which is IDEAL for parents, and more that we explore in our Technology section.
The 2016 Odyssey comes in SIX trim levels:
LX: as the base model, the 7 seating LX model has loads behind its sliding doors – 17” steel wheels, rear privacy glass, rear spoiler, manual 2 zone AC, active noise cancellation, 8 way power driver seat, 4 way power front passenger seat, 60/40 split folding third row seat, full power accessories, cruise control, 8” infotainment display, bluetooth phone/audio, rearview camera, 7 speaker audio system with CD player, Pandora compatibility, AUX/USB.
EX: the 8 passenger model has everything the LX does, but upgrades to 17” alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, power sliding side doors, keyless ignition/entry, tri-zone automatic climate control, two way power lumbar adjustment for the driver, multi-adjustable second row seat, removable front center console, second row sunshades, conversation mirror. The EX also features Honda’s “LaneWatch” blind spot camera system and additional 7” touchscreen with HondaLink smartphone app integration.
SE: the SE includes everything from the LX and EX and adds a 115 volt household style power outlet, integrated vacuum cleaner, satellite radio and rear seat entertainment system.
EX-L: this model swaps out the features of the SE (except the satellite radio) with a power liftgate, forward-collision and lane-departure warning system, sunroof, chilled storage box, leather seating in front 2 rows, and heated front seats.
*Options for this model include: voice-operated nav system with upgraded rea rview camera, or the rear-seat entertainment system with 115 volt power outlet. You can either have one or the other, you can’t order them both on the EX-L.
Touring: from the Touring model you get 18” alloy wheels, foglights, front/rear parking sensors, driver memory settings, 115 volt power outlet, retractable third row sunshades, fold down armrest for third row passengers, navigation system and rear seat entertainment system.
Touring Elite: the top of the range Elite model tacks on xenon headlights, regular blind-spot warning system instead of the blind spot camera, the vacuum, upgraded rear-seat entertainment system with widescreen video monitor and HDMI input, and a premium 12 speaker surround sound audio system with HD radio. DANG.
On top of it all, the Odyssey drives like a dream. You wouldn’t expect it, but it handles well, letting you feel like you’ve got more agility than what you plan on hopping behind the wheel. While you’re merging onto the freeway you feel confident in your accelerating, not like you’re lugging around a huge van, and you can overtake cars without feeling like you’re the slowest one on the road or speeding by in a getaway train. It feels like a smaller car than it actually is, in other words. Plus, you’ll enjoy the active noise-cancelling technology as much as we did – keeping wind and road noise to an all-time low, which is definitely not standard for most minivans.
With its 3.5 liter V6 engine, you get a fast start and strong fuel economy. It’s a 6 speed automatic transmission car, with an EPA fuel estimate of 22 mpg combined. If you wanted to carry something seriously heavy behind you, feel free – easily, up to 3,500lbs of heaviness can be towed.
Every model is equipped with the following: 8” infotainment display, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, rearview camera, 7 speaker audio system with CD player, Pandora compatibility, AUX jack and USB port.
Upgrading to the EX also features Honda’s “LaneWatch” blind spot camera system and additional 7” touchscreen with HondaLink smartphone app integration, which includes the smartphone Aha radio features.
The SE model and up will add the 115 volt household style power outlet, integrated vacuum cleaner, satellite radio, rear seat entertainment system.
The Touring Elite model is the ultimate choice, upgrading the rear seat entertainment system with a widescreen video monitor that can play two different sources – DVD and a video game, for example, simultaneously – and HDMI input, and boosts the 7 speaker sound system to a 12 speaker, plus HD radio.
All of the Odyssey models come standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front seat side impact airbags, side curtain airbags that cover all 3 rows, and front seat active head restraints.
Also standard on all models is a rearview camera. The EX-L has an upgraded multi-angle rearview camera available, while it then becomes standard on the Touring and Touring Elite models.
Odyssey EX and up come with built in LaneWatch by Honda, which is a blind spot camera system – except for the Touring Elite model, which replaces it with a blind spot monitor. Standard on the Ex-L and Touring models is also the forward collision and lane departure warning systems, although it doesn’t have the auto-braking system that many other similar systems have put into place.
Overall, the Odyssey gained 5 of 5 stars for crash protection including frontal-impact safety and side-impact safety all around.
Starting from $29,400
Why this Car?
So you finally have to make the move and get a bigger car but have been fearing the worst – your image is on the line here, and you swore you would never be the mom with the minivan! FEAR NOT – go test drive the Odyssey and see for yourself! It drives like a dream, it’s more agile than you’d think, and you can swap around the seats as many times as you want in one week depending on how many birthday playdates and beach trips you have. And then you can vacuum up the mess hassle free, because, it’s built in.