The Honda Odyssey has always been a safe and comfortable minivan. For 2012 Honda gave its people mover a refresh with sharp new styling and a more fuel-efficient powertrain, but how does it stack up against the competition?
While the front and rear of the Odyssey remain conservative, the side profile is now aggressive. A controversial lightning bolt beltline is both unique, and helps with visibility for both the driver and the passengers. Inside the Odyssey features a nice swoopy dashboard with lots of interior space.
The front seats are supportive and road-trip-worthy, and there are plenty of storage cubbies. While the second-row seats don't fold flat, they are removable, though they are very heavy. The third row is called the "Magic Seat," and it does fold flat with a simple tug of a strap. Unfortunately the third row is not offered with a power-folding option. All Odysseys have power sliding side doors and rear liftgate.
Our Touring Elite model had the available 16.2-inch-wide, high-definition DVD entertainment system. The system also includes an HDMI input so you can watch HD videos off a PlayStation or other device. Other features we like include the unique cool box feature, which can keep the kids' juice boxes cool. With 15 cup holders on all but the base LX trim, you'll have plenty of juice boxes.
The Odyssey is one of the safest minivans, earning five stars in every crash test category from the NHTSA, and top ratings in every category from the IIHS. It also features six child seat tether locations, and five LATCH locations. We are disappointed that the Bluetooth hands-free system and rearview camera are not available on the base trim, as we consider these safety items.
All Odysseys have a 3.5-liter V-6 under the hood rated at 247 horsepower. Power is sent to the front wheels; all-wheel drive is not available. The Touring trim models receive a six-speed automatic while the LX and EX models make do with a five-speed automatic. With the six-speed the Odyssey is rated at 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The LX and EX models both lose 1 mpg on both sides of the equation, due to their less efficient transmissions.The bottom line? The 2012 Honda Odyssey is one of the priciest and safest minivans on the market, and one we rate at the top of the class.
Want more? Watch our video road test, and read TheCarConnection's full 2012 Odyssey review here.