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If You Love to Drive, the Honda Odyssey Is the Minivan for You

We’ve seen many great minivans die following the popularity of large SUVs, but some of them have managed to stick around. Even better, models like the Kia Carnival continue to receive extensive redesigns to keep things fresh. The Honda Odyssey has only had a few changes since its redesign in 2018, but it still holds up.

The trusty Odyssey made the top three in MotorTrend’s ranked list of 2021 minivans. It doesn’t have AWD or fold-away seats like the Chrysler Pacifica, MotorTrend’s favorite model. Still, the Honda Odyssey has plenty of other things going for it.

Features “unexpected for a minivan”

MotorTrend indicates that the Honda Odyssey is the best choice if you want the most engaging drive. Its powertrain isn’t particularly unique among its rivals, a 3.5-liter V6 capable of 280 hp, plus a 10-speed automatic transmission. Lack of AWD makes it a little less capable compared to rivals like the Pacifica and Toyota Sienna.

Fuel economy also doesn’t set it apart from many rivals in the segment, with 28 mpg combined city/highway. However, the Odyssey managed to surpass its EPA estimate by 2 mpg in real-world driving.

The steering wheel comes with shifter paddles, usually only found on sportier vehicles. MotorTrend reports that the Honda Odyssey drives like “it’s meant to haul a little ass instead of the kids.” When new, the staff’s 2018 test vehicle outperformed the Chrysler Pacifica in terms of speed. It can reach 0-60 mph in 6.7 seconds, a figure that never decreased after 40,000 miles.

The suspension is also fine-tuned for maximum comfort, which is especially important for drivers with many kids in tow. It exhibits only slight body lean while rounding corners, plus it has light and accurate steering. The Odyssey’s driving position also proved to be comfortable enough for riders of all sizes.

MotorTrend only reported a few downsides to the Odyssey’s youthful driving manners. The narrow Bridgestone tires get less traction and the brake pedal is mushier compared to those found in rival minivans. The top trims come with upgraded 19-inch wheels, but these might have a negative impact on the suspension.

The Honda Odyssey has a roomy interior

RELATED: Is the 2021 Honda Odyssey Safer Than the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica?

The Honda Odyssey can seat up to eight riders, with comfortable seats that provide adequate long-term support. The Odyssey also has some of the most impressive cargo totals in the segment. There are 38 cubic feet of space behind the third row, 92 cubic feet behind the second, and 158 cubic feet total.

However, accessing the Odyssey’s full hauling potential can be a bit of a challenge. The third row folds flat, but the second row has to manually be removed. The captain chairs are also too bulky for most drivers to remove without assistance. Even after being removed, the seats leave behind a bumpy floor that isn’t ideal for loading up lots of gear.

Fortunately, the middle seat is lighter, and each second-row seat folds for easier removal. MotorTrend also appreciated the included HondaVac, but this feature has been discontinued for the 2022 model.

Technology inside the Honda Odyssey

Almost every available safety feature is included on the Odyssey’s base trim. That includes forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and road sign recognition. Many parents also spring for the optional CabinWatch, which gives drivers a camera view of the two back rows. The family-friendly feature called CabinTalk is an intercom that amplifies the driver’s voice over the radio, keeping backseat riders in check.

The infotainment system is also decently equipped, but MotorTrend reported that it’s a hassle to operate. The interface is fine, but the screen is known to go blank and cause other technical malfunctions. Honda definitely needs to refine the Odyssey’s interior elements, but at least its handling is top-notch.