The minivan segment just heated up a little further today as Honda took the wraps off the 2018 Odyssey. Designed and engineered in America, this new Odyssey is packed with technology in an effort to win over every member of the average American family.
Honda has most certainly taken an evolutionary path with the design of the new Odyssey. The overall design theme is very similar to that of today’s Odyssey, including the now iconic lightening bolt belt-line. Instead Honda has essentially evolved the Odyssey design to bring it more in line with other recent Honda products, which is very apparent with the front clip that looks similar to the new CR-V and Ridgeline.
Inside is a similar story as the interior still looks, well, like an Odyssey interior. That’s probably not a bad thing in this case as the Odyssey interior is generally well received for being purposeful and functional, which are the attributes that rank high in this segment.
Where the new Odyssey is really attempting to stand out from the new, very good competition (cough…Chrysler Pacifica) is in technology. Honda has added a host of tech features to the new Odyssey, starting with an innovative seat feature called Magic Slide.
Magic Slide is a feature on the second row seats that gives owners the flexibility to basically configure the second row however they wish. The middle seat can be removed and the other two can slide front and back or side to side to relocation just about anywhere. For example, if the two kids delegated to the second row are fighting, simply pull the seats apart in an attempt to seize the war.
There’s also a bunch of other new features to combat the children. The Odyssey now features an in-car PA system so that parents can talk to those in the third row with ease and interrupt the rear-seat entertainment if kids have the Bluetooth headphones on. There’s also a new camera mounted on the headliner allowing parents to watch their kids in the second and third row via the touchscreen in the dash. Along with an on-board vacuum (offered on the current Odyssey), the new one is basically a rolling home.
Hopefully a new rear-seat streaming system and 4G LTE WiFi will be enough to keep the children monitoring to a minimum. Kids can even follow along on road trip progress via a kid-friendly version of the navigation system, similar to that on the Chrysler Pacifica.
Another added gadget is the ability for passengers to control aspects of the car, such as climate control, via an app on their smartphone. The same system allows all passengers in the Odyssey to collectively form a “social playlist” of music from their phone. So basically, the Odyssey is a jukebox as well.
Honda Sensing, the company’s suite of active safety features, will be standard on Odyssey EX and up, which equates to 95-percent of sales.
In addition to all the new tech, Honda has added additional NVH reduction to the Odyssey, such as more insulation, to quiet down the cabin further.
The new Odyssey will continue to be powered by Honda’s 3.5-liter V-6 with 280 horsepower, a 32 horsepower increase from today’s Odyssey. Lower trim levels will feature a 9-speed automatic while higher end trims will feature Honda’s own 10-speed automatic. Fuel economy figures have not been released, but Honda is saying they expect “top-in-class” ratings from the EPA.
Production of the new Odyssey will begin later this year at the company’s Lincoln, Alabama assembly plant.