- 2021 Honda Odyssey Elite (MSRP $48,995)
- The Honda Odyssey continues as the retail No. 1 minivan in America, a position it has held for 10 consecutive years
- Pro: Beautifully comfortable and quiet
- Con: Controls can be a bit confusing, but mostly because there are so many of them
The Honda Odyssey is nearing legendary status. Despite the unfair and disrespected position of minivans in the automotive world, the Honda Odyssey has reigned supreme over the minivan world for 10 years running. During my 10-day 2021 Honda Odyssey review, we covered over 2,600 miles from uptown Manhattan down south to Birmingham, AL. After driving all this way, it’s easy to see why the 2021 Honda Odyssey remains one of the best minivan models on the market.
Even though the refreshed 2021 Honda Odyssey Elite is dripping with new safety tech, automatic this and that, senors, screens, and a new look, it is thankfully still the same minivan that has proven to be America’s favorite year after year. The 2021 Honda Odyssey’s massive and comfortable driving position and passenger seat, two middle captain’s chairs, and a massive third-row seat seem to remain the minivan magic sauce.
The 2021 Honda Odyssey has a fresh redesign
We love the Honda Odyssey, even if it isn’t technically the class leader for its segment. The 2021 Honda Odyssey is a few years into its fifth generation and just got an exterior redesign. The redesign is a fresh and futuristic look that even the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica can’t compete with.
As with any good minivan, the 2021 Honda Odyssey is big. The exterior doesn’t hide the size, but it does well at making the family bus look sleek and modern. Although the Odyssey is large, it isn’t a cumbersome beast that takes an abundance of spatial awareness to drive safely. It handles its curb weight of 4,603 lbs gracefully enough, but the size is never fully forgotten.
Does the 2021 Honda Odyssey have a nice interior?
Our 2021 Honda Odyssey review unit is the top-trim Elite. It has so many bells and whistles that getting acquainted with the interior felt more like touring a home than a car cabin. The interior is not only cavernous but cleverly designed to make the most of all of its space.
The driver’s position is very comfortable and offers a strong seating position giving great visibility all the way around. As a 6’5 220-lb man, I can say with certainty that the driver’s seat accommodates a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The rear seats are also huge and comfortable. Busting a 16-hour drive is still a bit of a slog, but the Honda kept me comfy and happy for the first 10, no problem.
This minivan has more tech than I knew what to do with
Feature content is impressive on all models, and clever innovations like the integrated vacuum, Cabin Watch camera system, and Cabin Talk intercom make the spacious Odyssey feel purpose-built for family duty. There are endless buttons and compartments for what feels like any need that could arise on the road. Even though Consumer Reports disagrees on some points, they agreed on the incredible fit and finish from their 2021 Honda Odyssey review.
EX trims and above include an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and satellite radio support. Top-spec models offer a 10.2-inch rear entertainment system equipped with Blu-Ray capability.
Most Odysseys utilize a seven-speaker audio system with a subwoofer, but my high-end Elite trim for the 2021 Honda Odyssey review includes an 11-speaker premium setup which sounds really great. From your summer road trip playlists to movies on the rear entertainment system, the audio is bold, balanced, and crisp, adding to the luxury feeling of the Odyssey.
The Honda Odyssey isn’t a race car and isn’t trying to be one
Handling isn’t the Odyssey’s strongest attribute, but no one is really asking for it to be. The Honda Odyssey was made to shuttle the fam to and fro while keeping parents comfortable and kids safe and occupied. The current car market trends seem to want everything to do a little bit of everything. The truth is, your crossover SUV doesn’t need a “sporty” model, knobby tires, and bulletproof glass. However, some have compared the Honda Odyssey to a Lamborghini.
While we are on the subject, the 2021 Honda Odyssey is powered by a 280-hp V6 across all trims. This V6 is paired with a slick 10-speed automatic transmission. Even though most of my time in the Odyssey was spent on the highway, the gear shifts were rarely ever felt or considered.
That being said, the 280 hp runs out of steam a bit earlier than you might think. Again, the Greek tale of adventure for which the minivan is named is an apt comparison to Odyssey’s power; it’s a long, slow burn but not without plenty of enjoyment and distracting moments of wonder and comfort. In fact, this mobile living room manages to pull down an average of 28 mpg on the highway, according to Honda. I managed to average 30.5 mpg driving from NYC to Alabama with a light foot and an open road.
The Honda Odyssey is one of the best minivans because it knows what it is. It is slow, big, and a tad cumbersome in the corners because it’s a minivan. If you want something “cool” or fast, buy something else. If you want something safe, reliable, large enough to carry the family, and you don’t have a fragile ego, minivans were made for you. And, the Honda Odyssey is a strong choice despite its somewhat chunky performance specs.
Is the Honda Odyssey safe?
The Honda Odyssey is a very safe minivan. In the IIHS safety tests, the Odyssey performed flawlessly in all six crashworthiness tests. The 2021 Odyssey also has the best possible “Superior” rating for its now-standard front crash prevention system and the highest available score for child seat anchor ease of use. For a minivan, this is the equivalent of a sub-3-second 0-60mph sprint for sports cars.
As of this model year, every 2021 Honda Odyssey trim level includes the Honda Sensing collection. Honda Sensing is a set of active safety features that include lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection.
Is the 2021 Honda Odyssey the best minivan?
That all depends on taste and needs. The Odyssey is a lot like the Ford F-150; it doesn’t have to objectively be the best to be the most popular minivan in the game.
The Honda has so much going for it. It is huge, comfortable, well-designed, reliable, and decent looking. However, it’s not without its cons. It can be a bit of beefcake around town. This doesn’t mean it’s hard to drive (it’s not), but you may find yourself needing to consider its length and heft often while navigating the Chuck E Cheese parking lot. The safety features are great, but the lane keep assist can get a little annoying after a while. Lastly, there are no hybrid or AWD drive options which would only strengthen the model.
Of course, the pros vastly outweigh the cons, and the cons are mostly nit-picky nothings that mostly represent a need to not only gush about the Honda minivan. With an MSRP of $48,995, the 2021 Honda Odyssey Elite makes buying many crossovers, and even some SUVs seem a bit silly, considering the number of features and comfort you get for the money.
Does the Odyssey cost a lot to own?
The 2021 Honda Odyssey isn’t an expensive vehicle to buy, but like every car, it does require some investment to keep it running well and staying safe. Edmunds has broken down the cost of ownership as a little more than $1,000 a year. Although there are loads of tech and electronics, which raises the likely hood of problems, in general; it’s still a Honda.
Unlike many luxury European cars, repair costs will come in far lower than anything else with this amount of luxury and tech features.
We gave the 2021 Honda Odyssey a score 8.3/10
There is little that can compare to a proper minivan. The space and comfort in the 2021 Honda Odyssey are hard to beat for the money. The fully-loaded Odyssey is pushing up against luxury brands for half of the money and twice the reliability. We gave the 2021 Honda Odyssey a score of 8.3/10 overall.
Fear not the judgemental eyes of the car world. Minivans aren’t lame. These are vehicles for confident, smart, and industrious individuals who know a good value when they see one. The 2021 Honda Odyssey is one of the best minivans in the game, making it one of the smartest purchases if you need what it graciously offers to those of us bold enough to accept.
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