While nobody is selling as many minivans as they used to, a significant number of them still move off dealership lots every year, and while some models come and go, barely making a blip on the sales radar, some keep rolling. Year in and year out, perennial best-sellers like the Odyssey, the Toyota Sienna and the Dodge Caravan, continue to entice buyers for one reason or another. Actually, it’s likely a large list of reasons that wins over minivan buyers, because they still make a lot of sense to a lot of people.
Is the Odyssey the best looking van on the market? That’s a matter of opinion, but it’s certainly in the top two for me. The Kia Sedona is a looker and the all-new (and hilariously overpriced) Chrysler Pacifica is easy on the eyes too. Our loaded-up Touring trim Odyssey looked great, and the deep, gleaming Obsidian Blue Pearl colour got plenty of compliments.
Honda says the Odyssey has a (I’ll quote them here) “ready-or-not-here-we-come athletic stance”. I’d say that’s a bit rich, but for a minivan, it looks sleek – more so in person than in pictures. That’s partially because it rides quite low.
The lightning-bolt styling is now familiar, but is still likely the most subjective aspect of the otherwise tame design. The grille is flanked by a set of automatic HID headlights, and out back there is an attractive LED tail light signature. The Touring trim gets 18-inch rims with 235/60-sized tires.
Getting into the Odyssey is no problem with the proximity key system. Once you’re in, you’ll notice a somewhat busy dash – but that’s forgivable considering how much this vehicle can do. The materials are a mixed bag – there are some soft-touch plastics on the face of the dash and door panels, but the cabin is mostly hard plastics with a variety of textures and colours.
The comfortable heated leather seats are highly adjustable (including the armrests) and the driver’s side has a two-position memory which remembers the power mirror settings too.
Honda’s somewhat confusing two-screen system – there’s an upper one, which is display only, and then there is a lower touchscreen which works in concert with some of the hard buttons and knobs to control the system’s phone, navigation and front and rear audio functions. Speaking of audio, the Touring trim’s 12-speaker, 650 watt system will keep everyone’s ears happy – as long as you can all agree on what you’re listening to.
Parking lot battle – Comparison Test: Honda Odyssey vs Kia Sedona vs Toyota Sienna
The centre stack is home to a tri-zone automatic climate control system (more about the third zone later), some USB and 12V charging ports and yes, there’s a sunroof overhead.
Touring trim buyers get a decent amount of driver assistance technology – a multi-angle rear-view camera with front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and a forward collision warning system.