Why didn’t the 2021 Honda Odyssey Get Any Real Mechanical Upgrades?

The Honda Odyssey has been the best-selling minivan for the past ten years and for the 2021 model year, it’s getting refreshed. It will have a new face, new tech, and new styling updates, but everything under the hood will remain the same. Let’s take a closer and find out why.

A new face

The Honda Odyssey has always been at the top of the list in the minivan segment in our eyes and this mid-cycle refresh doesn’t taint our vision one bit. The most obvious change to the new Odyssey is the revised front end; complete with new LED headlights, a restyled grille, and lower fascia, along with more chrome and gloss black trim. A new wheel design on the top-trim Touring model is to be expected as well.

2021 Honda Odyssey Facelift


Honda updated the Odyssey’s interior, but mainly on the upper trim levels. For the EX trim level and above, we can expect tri-color floor mats and illuminated USB ports, while EX-L and above models will get restyled seats with contrast stitching, power lumbar support for the front passenger, and more piano black trim. The highest Elite trim will have perforated leather seats with contrasting stitching and piping in all three rows. While we would never expect a minivan to go more upscale, we shouldn’t be surprised that Honda always leaves room for improvement.

2021 Honda Odyssey will have new interior materials and tech

Safety and Tech

As with most of the other models in Honda’s lineup, the 2021 Odyssey will now come standard with the Honda Sensing suite of driver-assist features on the EX trim and above. These features include Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, and Pedestrian Emergency Braking. The main safety highlight for this year’s update is the Rear Seat Reminder System, which reminds drivers to check the rear seats for any leftover children or pets.

For the Touring and Elite trim levels, the Rear Seat Reminder System is paired with the Cabin Watch, in which it will display a camera view of the rear seat area on the Display Audio system upfront in order to give the driver a visual indication.


The 2021 Honda Odyssey will come with the same tried-and-true 3.5-liter V6 under the hood that produces 280 horsepower and is teamed up with a 10-speed automatic transmission. This is the same drivetrain that the Odyssey has been using the last few years, since its last major update.

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it

Hondas are known for their reliability and Honda, as a brand, is also known to be reliable when it comes to making product planning decisions. While other manufacturers might tweak a lot more during a mid-cycle refresh, Honda tends to stay the course and rely on what has always worked. The powertrain mechanics have worked out well for the Odyssey over the past decade, and it’s not like the V6 is underpowered by any means, so why change it?

Of course, things could only get interesting if Honda added a hybrid motor into the mix, or perhaps a turbocharger in the future. After all, they put in the HondaVac, which consumers seem to like.