- Nimble handling
- Strong acceleration
- Refined powertrain
- Instrument panel feels cluttered
- Some options are standard in rival models
- Second-row design doesn't make it easy
If you don't mind the anonymous styling of the 2010 Honda Odyssey, you're bound to be delighted with the well-designed interior and engaging driving experience.
In order to bring you a conclusive, well-rounded review of the 2010 Honda Odyssey, TheCarConnection.com's team of experienced editors have driven several variations of this best-selling minivan and bring you their take here, along with a Full Review that includes opposing viewpoints to help you make the best family vehicle choice.
The current version of Honda's minivan, the Odyssey, was introduced back in 2005 and aside from a mid-cycle freshening for 2008 hasn't seen many changes along the way. That's just fine, as when it was introduced the Odyssey was well ahead of most of its rivals, in terms of the driving experience. It still is, although several other models now have even better seating arrangements.
In terms of styling, the 2010 Odyssey sure doesn't strike any new ground, inside or out. But minivan buyers purchase these vehicles purely for practicality, so they probably won't mind the anonymity. At the front and rear, the Odyssey has a toned-down, more subdued version of the beveled, excessively chunky, chromed look that Honda has been phasing in for the rest of its larger vehicles in recent years.
Depending on whether you choose the budget-minded LX or EX models or spring for one of the top EX-L or Limited trims, you'll get a slightly different engine. A 244-horsepower, 3.5-liter VTEC V-6 comes with the LX and EX; it feels strong in this van, works well with the five-speed automatic, and brings fuel economy ratings of 23 mpg highway. A different version of the 3.5-liter, with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM), shuts down half of its cylinders when coasting or low-speed cruising to raise highway fuel economy to 25 mpg. The VCM engine achieves 3 hp less, but you won't notice the difference. In either case, city fuel economy is just 16 or 17 mpg, which isn't particularly impressive from a company known for efficient powertrains.
The 2010 Honda Odyssey remains one of the best-steering, best-handling minivans, and it's arguably more engaging from the driver's seat than many crossovers that might look more exciting from the outside. A well-tuned four-wheel independent suspension underpins the Odyssey and manages to soak up bumps without turning too soft when the road curves.
The interior design of the 2010 Odyssey is simple and clean, with the exception of the center stack, where instrument-panel controls are a bit scattered compared to other vehicles. Seats are one area of weakness for the Odyssey; the heavy second-row perches are tough to remove, and compared to Chrysler's Stow 'n Go system, they're a generation behind. But as with nearly all minivans today, there's a third-row seat that folds into a deep recess at the back, allowing a flat cargo floor. In any trim, the Odyssey has a high-quality interior with good fit and finish.
The Odyssey does exceptionally well in safety tests; it's an IIHS Top Safety pick. Electronic stability control, side airbags, and side-curtain bags are all on the standard features list.
As in prior years, the 2010 Honda Odyssey is offered in a seven-passenger LX model and eight-passenger EX, EX-L, and Touring trims. The LX comes reasonably well-equipped, but the top trims include a lot more standard equipment—particularly if you have luxury or tech features in mind. The 2009 Honda Odyssey Touring has a plush interior, trimmed in leather and fitted with a navigation system and rear-seat DVD entertainment system. Stepping up to the EX-L or Touring allows a power tailgate and Bluetooth hands-free link.
Although the Odyssey doesn't offer many over-the-top luxury features like heated rear seats or adaptive cruise control, there are plenty of entertainment options that should make the cabin a little more peaceful. For those who need to keep those in the backseat engaged, there's a DVD entertainment system with wireless surround-sound headphones; also available is a voice-activated navigation system that incorporates both a rearview video camera and XM Satellite Radio.