Minivans: that once staple of the American household, have taken a nose dive in popularity as family buyers increasingly turn to crossover utilities for their routine cartage needs. Still, you do still see plenty of new minivans around, and many of those are Honda Odysseys. It seems that the Odyssey has forged a bond with families that crossover’s just can’t break.
The Honda Odyssey has indeed sustained its popularity in this new world of crossovers. And, Honda hopes the 2014 edition will ensure that remains the case.
If there’s one thing that minivans clearly have going for them over crossovers its room and lots of it. All seating positions in the Odyssey offer plenty of it along with good comfort for both young and old, and there’s also 148.5 cubic-ft. of space should you opt to haul less precious cargo.
As before, 3rd row seats fold easily into the floor, but for maximum space the heavy 2nd row seats must be removed…and not so easily. Here Chrysler’s Stow-N-Go 2nd row has a big advantage. Still, we spent lots of time and miles in the refreshed Odyssey, and there are some notable changes.
For one thing, the ‘14 is quieter, which is a good thing, especially on long trips. But, one not-so-good thing that we noticed is that the transmission seems to do a lot more gear hunting than we remember.
But with all of that searching comes best in class Government Fuel Economy Ratings of 19-City, 28-Highway, and 22–Combined. After a few long weekends of family duties, we averaged 23.8 miles-per-gallon of Regular. The Energy Impact Score beats most crossovers with annual CO2 emissions of 6.6–tons with 15.0-barrels of yearly oil use.
There’s not much that can be done to make a vehicle designed for maximum space great looking, and the Odyssey seems to have embraced that fully by letting its flag fly with some awkward lines and odd proportions. It’s truly function over form.
But when it comes to acceleration, there’s plenty of functionality by way of a rev happy 3.5-liter V6 with 248-horsepower and 250 lb-ft. of torque. It will get to soccer practice on time and make highway merging a breeze. 0-60 sprints of 8.0-seconds and ¼-mile times of 16.3 at 85 miles-per-hour are impressive for any big family hauler.
Handling is normally not a minivan strong point, but here as well, the Odyssey does better than the rest in the segment.
Inside the latest Odyssey is very familiar with a few more standard features on base models and a nicer looking dash. In which you’ll find Honda and Acura’s now ubiquitous 2-screen motif. Overall the system seems to work better than in the Accord, but we may just be getting used to it.
But, the biggest new “wow factor” is an onboard vacuum located in the rear cargo area. It’s a great feature if you’re a neat freak that can’t wait to clean up messes. Although it’s not a wet-dry unit, it does a great job.
Unfortunately it requires stepping up to Touring Elite level trim which is a pricey $45,280. You can buy quite a few portable Shop-Vacs for that. Base MSRP however, is a much more reasonable $29,655.
It’s easy to see why the Odyssey has retained its popularity in a world gone crossover mad. It’s still one of the most practical vehicles money can buy, with comfort and features and space that no crossover can match. Add in a great track record for reliability and that’s even more reason for crossover buyers to cross over to the 2014 Honda Odyssey.
Engine: 3.5-liter V6
Torque: 250 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 8.0 seconds
1/4 mile: 16.3 seconds @ 85 mph
EPA: 19 mpg city/ 28 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 15.0 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 6.6 tons/yr