2018 Honda Odyssey makes family time more enjoyable

Great American road trip made easy

Summer is nearing its end, but I hope you had a great summer. Hopefully, like me, you were able to get out of town and take the family on a vacation. The great family road trip is pure Americana. But those road trips can also be stressful and annoying. For the 2018 model year, there just may be the ultimate family road trip vehicle.

I was lent the 2018 Honda Odyssey to take my family on a road trip from Ohio to Destin, Florida (pre-hutricane). Suitcases packed, we piled into the minivan excited for our adventure, but not looking forward to the 700-plus mile road trip and nearly 12 hours behind the wheel. Thankfully, my teenage daughter and her best friend had plenty of space in the second row to keep them comfortable and sprawled out for endless naps. No rest for mom and dad, who had to navigate through state after state, including the endless stop-and-go of brake-happy Alabama.

For 2018, the Odyssey is completely redesigned, although admittedly, the previous generation felt relevant and current. The minivan segment is waning in sales, for reasons I only somewhat understand. Because if it’s only based on amenities, usefulness and drivability, then the Odyssey should be a top-seller. And for 2018, it only gets better. The new-look Odyssey isn’t starkly different, but the subtle changes are excellent. The track of the sliding rear doors is well hidden and help give the Odyssey a handsome profile.

There’s a much-improved powertrain and engine. The 3.5-liter V6 engine has ample power at 280 horsepower. In case you’re wondering, that’s 32 more than last year’s van. There are two modern automatic transmissions including a nine-speed as well as an optional 10-speed, which is available on the top trims, like my tester. This transmission is efficient and flawless.

The overall drive performance of the Odyssey is what you expect from a minivan. It’s smooth and controlled. It’s the most powerful minivan Honda has offered and also the most fuel-efficient. The Odyssey was up for the rigors of our family road trip and left none of us disappointed.

Despite all these accolades, the Odyssey’s best selling point is the interior. As consumers flock to cramped seven-passenger SUVs, the Odyssey excels at offering a vast amount of interior space. Although we were only four passengers, the Odyssey had all the room we could want as well as plenty of creature comforts. There was in-vehicle Wifi, a 10.2-inch touchscreen, a drop-down DVD screen for rear passengers to enjoy that comes with wireless headphones, and even a streaming service that works with smart phones. Road trips are breeze when loaded with this advanced entertainment system.

Parents can interrupt the programming with a feature called CabinTalk that allows them to talk with the distracted rear passengers and send a message through the wireless headphones. Additionally, there’s an infrared camera that shows what’s going on in the back seat, beamed right onto the infotainment screen. This kind of technology, along with a built-in vacuum, shows that Honda truly understands what families want and need.

Thanks to sliding rear seats that move forward and backward and side to side, there’s versatile storage capabilities. This new Odyssey has more cargo room than the previous generation. With the second-row seats removed and the third row folded flat, there’s 158 cubic feet of cargo room. Fold only the third row flat and there’s still 75.8 cubic feet of space. For our family beach vacation, we folded the third row flat and used all that storage room for luggage, beach supplies and even a cooler.

There are six trim options for the Odyssey including LX, EX, EX-L, Touring and Elite. Our road warrior was the top-of-the-line Elite trim which had cooled seats – wonderful for hot Florida sun – an 11-speaker sound system and Honda’s sensor-based safety package. The LX has a base price right around $30,000, making it competitively priced. However, my tester had an MSRP of $47,610.

Some of the options are much needed and worth it, especially if you’re taking a lot of road trips with your family. The Odyssey sees improved fuel economy this year with a more fuel-efficient engine and new aerodynamic styling. As such, it has an EPA rating of 18 mpg/city and 28 mpg/highway. Our nearly 1,400-mile trip of mostly highway driving saw us average just over 24 mpg and three total stops to fuel up.

You cannot beat the practicality of a minivan. Honda does the minivan as good as anyone on the market. The new 2018 Honda Odyssey makes road trips less stressful and all around more enjoyable.


2018 HONDA ODYSSEY ELITE

  • Price/As-tested price………………………………………… $47,610/$47,610
  • Mileage…………………………………… 18 mpg/city; 28 mpg/hwy
  • Engine……………………………………… 3.5-liter V6
  • Horsepower…………………………… 280 hp/262 lbs.-ft.
  • Transmission…………………………… 10-speed automatic
  • Drive wheels……………. Front-wheel drive
  • Final assembly point……………. Lincoln, Alabama

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