What's under the hood of the 2013 Honda Odyssey probably doesn't matter much to most minivan shoppers; but even if you're in that category you can rest assured that it has what it takes to accelerate strongly, pass quickly, change lanes confidently, and even take on steep mountain roads with a full load. In short, the Odyssey performs more like a car--even a somewhat sporty one--than an SUV.
Honda's 3.5-liter i-VTEC V-6 makes 247 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque in all Odyssey models, but while most of the lineup gets a five-speed automatic transmission, top-of-the-line Touring and Touring Elite models get a six-speed automatic.
Acceleration feels fast for this kind of vehicle, but objectively it isn't all that quick--about 8.8 seconds to 60 mph. That's a bit faster than the Toyota Sienna V-6.While either of the transmissions deliver decisive, quick, smooth shifts when you're accelerating rapidly, we've noticed in both cases that shifts can be balky when things aren't as urgent--when you're getting gently back on the gas out of a corner, or accelerating lightly, for instance. And with an 'L' mode and an O/D-off button on the gearshift selector, there's no straightforward way to simply control shifts when you're on a mountain road.
The Odyssey handles much more like a V-6 Accord, even though its looks align more closely with a Pilot. Thanks to some expert chassis engineering, this minivan corners with poise and control but not much harshness as a tradeoff; that's because of well-tuned, isolated front and rear subframes that help avoid the queasy secondary motions that plague many big, family-friendly vehicles.Although the Odyssey isn't tuned for performance driving, its variable-displacement power-steering system has great weighting and even a little road feedback, and it's far better than the electric power steering systems that Honda has installed in its smaller CR-V or Civic.