‘Macho’ Van: The 2021 Honda Odyssey Gets Manlier?

Minivans aren’t generally known for their rugged or aggressive styling. Arriving in 1984 with the Dodge Caravan, the minivan quickly developed an uncool “soccer mom” reputation, according to USA Today. The 2021 Honda Odyssey has inched in a more macho direction though. Here’s a look at the “manlier” 2021 Honda Odyssey.

The new look of the 2021 Honda Odyssey

Car and Driver says the 2021 Honda Odyssey has an updated exterior for 2021 that looks more macho; however, it also says the minivan has a bit of a “dowdy shape.” The Odyssey now has new headlamps and an updated front grille. Minor changes have also been made to the rear liftgate. A hands-free power liftgate is available to make loading cargo easier. The exterior design is able to hide the track for the sliding minivan doors, according to Honda. The key fob is able to open those doors from up to 50 feet away.

What it’s like to drive

The 2021 Odyssey has a “silky-smooth” V6 engine that produces 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. That’s paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Car and Driver describes the powertrain as “fleet-footed, efficient, and polished.” It’s not a sports car, but the Odyssey is easy to drive and has a comfortable ride. It doesn’t offer all-wheel drive though, something available on the Chrysler Pacifica and Toyota Sienna.

The EPA rated the 2021 Honda Odyssey for 19 MPG in the city, 28 MPG on the highway, and 22 MPG combined. In Car and Driver’s tests, the Odyssey did even better, getting 30 MPG.

The 2021 Honda Odyssey’s practical interior

The design of the 2021 Odyssey’s spacious interior is what makes this minivan great for families. There’s plenty of room for passengers in the second and third rows, and Car and Driver found the second-row seats to be much more comfortable than those in the Chrysler Pacifica. The Odyssey also has the quietest minivan cabin.

Car and Driver calls the space “super practical,” and the seating can easily be reconfigured. Magic Slide seats are standard on all except the base trim and allow for multiple configurations of the second-row seats as they can be moved forward or backward. When the second-row seats are removed, though, the Magic Slide mechanism is a bit of an obstacle in the floor for cargo. The second-row seats are a bit tricky and heavy to remove, but the third-row seats can be stowed into the floor.

The Odyssey has other helpful features too. A built-in vacuum is available to help keep the cabin clean. Sunshades on the windows are available to protect second- and third-row passengers from the sun. There’s plenty of room for cargo with the minivan’s low floor level and boxy shape; however, the Odyssey does have slightly less cargo space than the Sienna.

What you get in the technology and safety department

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Car and Driver says the 2021 Honda Odyssey has “thoughtful tech features.” For drivers who need to monitor what’s going on in the second- and third-row seats, there is an in-cabin camera system called CabinWatch. CabinTalk lets the driver talk to the passengers through their headphones or the rear speakers.

The 2021 Odyssey comes with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system on all trims except the base LX trim, which has a 7-inch version. The system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the menu can be customized. The top two trims, the Touring and the Elite, also come standard with a 10.2-inch rear-seat entertainment system to entertain passengers. The system includes built-in streaming apps.

For 2021, even the base LX trim now comes with standard advanced safety features, as part of the Honda Sensing suite. That includes adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist.

The 2021 Honda Odyssey has a lot of convenience and comfort to offer families. Those concerned about the minivan image will be happy with the slightly more macho exterior style of the Odyssey too.