The 2008 Honda Odyssey hits the road with two engines. Under the hood, the LX and EX come standard with the 3.5-liter VTEC V-6 engine that delivers 244 horsepower and 16/23 mpg fuel economy.
The EX-L and the Touring are fitted with a new-for-2008 version of the 3.5-liter engine that utilizes cylinder deactivation technology, which shuts down half of the cylinders at cruising speeds for added fuel efficiency. This engine is rated at 17/25 mpg. This more efficient engine produces 241 hp, or 3 hp less than the base engine, but you'll never notice the difference--except at the fuel pump. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard with both engines.
Providing details, Cars.com reports, "Engines in the LX and EX make 244 horsepower and 240 pounds-feet of torque; EX-L and Touring engines are good for 241 hp and 242 pounds-feet of torque." The 3.5-liter V-6 that moves the Honda Odyssey provides very respectable acceleration, especially in a class that isn't especially well known for performance. Edmunds agrees, enjoying how the "V6 complements the van's likable road manners, providing satisfying acceleration in virtually all situations." ConsumerGuide is also impressed by the Honda Odyssey 2008's performance, calling the acceleration "ample around town and when merging onto highways, even with a full complement of passengers."
Cars.com notes, "Honda's 3.5-liter V-6 teams with a five-speed automatic transmission." The transmission is generally without major fault, although ConsumerGuide points out the gearbox "doesn't always downshift promptly in passing situations." Fuel economy is improved with the more advanced engine, and Autoblog finds an increase with the system: "VCM improves fuel economy of the 3.5L from 16/23 to 17/25, which isn't a huge jump, but may be appreciated by parent-run chauffeur services."
Editors from TheCarConnection.com continue to be impressed with how well the Odyssey drives, and its good handling does not come at the expense of a smooth ride.
Edmunds calls the Honda Odyssey "the most carlike minivan on the market today, thanks to its tight turning radius, responsive steering and athletic tuning." ConsumerGuide likes the Odyssey's "sharp, accurate steering," but cautions potential buyers about the Honda's ride over rough roads, "where sharp bumps and highway expansion joints sometimes jab through -- especially to rear-seat riders." Edmunds finds the Odyssey "easy to pilot," but warns that "its bulk can be a hindrance if you're never taking extra passengers or gear along." As for braking, ConsumerGuide notes "stopping control is good even with a full passenger load."