Crossover & Midsize

Is the Honda Odyssey the Best Family Vehicle Ever Made?

The Honda Odyssey is far and beyond one of the most fantastic family vehicles on the road today. But there are additional strong competitors in the segment, as well. Kelley Blue Book has given this family toting machine a long list of awards over the years. In fact, the 2020 Honda Odyessy took the title for this year’s Best Minivan of the Year Award. According to KBB, the Honda Odyssey is “arguably the best family car ever made.” Is it true?

The Honda Odyssey

The 2020 Honda Odyssey earned a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and starts around $32,000 for the LX, according to KBB. But they recommend going with at least the EX trim because it has an incredible suite of fully modern advanced driving assistance technology. The KBB team has bestowed multiple KBB Best Buy awards and 5-Year Cost to Own awards to the Honda Odyssey minivan, so it’s reasonable to say that no matter what trim level you choose, your money is going to go a long way.

2018 Honda Odyssey is on display at the 109th Annual Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place
The Honda Odyssey | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

The folks at KBB tested a 2018 Elite trim Odyssey and it’s safe to say everyone fell totally in love with this ultimate family vehicle. The Odyssey even converted some to team minivan. They loved the responsive 380 horsepower V6 engine paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The paddle shifters actually came in handy on drives through mountainous terrain.

“I have to admit I was not a fan of minivans until I spent a week in the Honda Odyssey. After logging over 1,600 miles behind the wheel and reveling in the comfort, spaciousness and abundance of technological conveniences afforded by the Odyssey, my road trip to Idaho was made easy and stress free.”

Frankie Rogers | Kelley Blue Book

J.D. Power and U.S. News and World Report

The KBB team isn’t the only group of experts that name this coddling passenger carrier the best. Both J.D. Power and U.S. News and World Report have given the 2020 Honda Odyssey awards as well. U.S. News ranked it #1 among all minivans and bestowed upon it the Best Minivan for Families award.

burgundy 2020 Honda Odyssey driving along a shoreside roadway
2020 Honda Odyssey | Honda

“Minivans don’t get much better than the modern, roomy Odyssey.”

Courtney Jones | U.S. News and World Report

J.D. Power named the Honda Odyssey the 2019 J.D. Power Performance Award winner. Just one more testament to the all-around greatness of this family car. In fact, it actually might be the best family car ever made––bold statement though it is.

2021: a future Odyssey

The 2021 Honda Odyssey will receive some minor but welcome updates, making it just a little bit better. We see a fresh and more aggressive exterior––if minivans can look aggressive, that is. Additionally, the Elite trim is more luxurious with new piping details.

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But the best upgrade for the 2021 Honda Odyssey is that the full suite of advanced driver assistance features will now come standard on every trim level, even the base LX models. This definitely helps the Odyssey where it needs the most aid. It’s one of the more expensive vans for families, so a loaded base model gives the 2021 Honda minivan a more competitive value.

Is the Honda Odyssey the best minivan?

While many of the professionals name it number one and the Odyssey has won countless prestigious awards, it’s not the best for everyone. The Chrysler Pacifica beat out the Odyssey on Car and Driver‘s list of the best minivans of 2020. And for MotorTrend, though the Odyssey is given its due amount of praise it still comes in at number three. Both the Kia Sedona and the Toyota Sienna please the team at MotorTrend more than the Honda Odyssey.

a silver Honda Odyssey parked on a picturesque seashore
2019 Honda Odyssey

RELATED: Why Didn’t the 2021 Honda Odyssey get any Real Mechanical Upgrades?

So, it’s safe to say that while the Odyssey is a great choice and has rightfully earned its various awards, there’s some steep minivan competition out there. Its lack of options such as AWD or hybrid technology holds the Honda Odyssey back. Also––though packed full of value––its price is steep. Whether or not the Honda Odyssey is the best family vehicle ever made remains arguable. But that this Honda minivan is a great vehicle for families is a solid fact.