2019 Honda Odyssey Review

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Chris Teague Chris Teague Contributing Writer
December 3, 2018

The 2019 Honda Odyssey knows families well enough to be invited over for Monday game night. It's spacious and versatile and one of our picks in the class.

The 2019 Honda Odyssey minivan does family duty like Sunday chores. It's spacious and full of tech, with sliding doors that parents need—but perhaps won't admit.

Starting at just over $31,000, the 2019 Odyssey is a repeat of the successful 2018 model. That’s a good thing, because Honda packed more standard tech and safety features into the new Odyssey than some rivals.

We rated the 2019 Honda Odyssey a 7.3 out of 10, noting its excellent options, refined driving dynamics, and class-leading power. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

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The Odyssey’s spec sheet reads like a wish list pulled straight from a parenting blog. Available in six trim levels, the Odyssey EX presents a compelling value with standard Honda Sensing safety equipment, optional leather, and optional navigation. CabinWatch and CabinTalk, our favorite features from 2018, make a welcome return in the Touring and Elite trims as well.

The Odyssey is still powered by Honda’s excellent 3.5-liter V-6, paired to a smooth-shifting 9- or 10-speed automatic transmission. All Odyssey minivans are EPA-rated at 19 mpg city, 28 highway, 22 combined, which is near the tops in its class.

Honda’s Magic Slide second-row seats are available in EX models and above, which offer four different seating configurations including the ability to remove seats that aren’t in use to increase cargo space. Optional heated/cooled seats, heated steering wheel, hands-free tailgate, and an 11-speaker sound system round out the luxury and convenience features in the Odyssey.

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2019 Honda Odyssey

Styling

The 2019 Honda Odyssey is a stylish choice but falls just short of beating the Chrysler Pacifica’s smooth lines.

The Odyssey was completely redesigned for the 2018 model year with welcome styling and technology enhancements. These updates brought the minivan much closer to its main competitor, the Chrysler Pacifica, in the looks department—not quite besting its rival.

We rate the Odyssey 6 for styling, adding a point for exterior presence. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Odyssey shares a platform with the Honda Pilot and Ridgeline, so it’s no surprise the three share some styling cues front to back. Grille, headlight, and LED running light shapes and placement are very similar among the three and give the Odyssey a sharper overall look and feel. All models receive active grille shutters to improve aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. LED headlights and fog lights are available in the range-topping Touring trim.

Honda has nearly hidden the sliding door track, tucking it right into the black trim area under the rear-side windows. This change, new in 2018, worked wonders on the Odyssey’s profile and smoothed out the lines of the vehicle overall. Out back, the Odyssey’s chrome theme from the grille continues, where all models sport LED taillights.

Inside, space is plentiful, with enough room for full-size adults in all three rows. Up front, the cockpit is dominated by a center console spacious enough to fit large bags (looking at you, diaper bag), and more than generously sized cupholders and storage trays.

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2019 Honda Odyssey

Performance

The Honda Odyssey is one of the best-riding and strongest accelerating minivans on the market today.

Minivans aren’t typically built for speed or handling, but the 2019 Odyssey has enough of both to be more than just a boring people-hauler. We’ve rated the 2019 Honda Odyssey 6 out of 10 for its strong acceleration and tidy road manners. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The new platform, introduced in 2018, is lighter and stiffer. The result is a vehicle that, while sharing a platform with an SUV and a truck, rides with stability, confidence, and smoothness. The Odyssey receives a rear stabilizer bar that helps keep things tidy across uneven and curvy road surfaces. The driving feel is much more akin to a solid crossover than a big, lumbering minivan. Some drivers may find more road feel than expected, as the Odyssey is more connected to the road than others.

Honda went to great lengths to improve interior comfort when redesigning the Odyssey last year, and that continues to shine through in 2019. Sound-deadening carpet, acoustic foam, thicker front glass, and active sound deadening all work in concert to make the inside of the Odyssey comfortable. Higher trims receive thicker glass all around for an even quieter ride.

Honda has refined its V-6 through the years, and the 3.5-liter powerplant in the Odyssey is proof. It’s no sports car, but the Odyssey has 280 horsepower on tap to move a full load of people and their “stuff” without breaking a sweat. The name of the game here is smooth acceleration.

New last year were a duo of transmissions, a 9- and 10-speed auto, both of which were designed to deliver better fuel economy and smoother acceleration. We haven’t yet had an opportunity to test the Odyssey with a 9-speed auto but found the 10-speed transmission to be delightfully smooth-shifting and well-matched to the V-6 powerplant.

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2019 Honda Odyssey

Comfort & Quality

Configured properly, the Honda Odyssey is an oasis for families and a truly comfortable ride.

The 2019 Honda Odyssey is large enough to haul an entire family, with accessories, and is comfortable enough to keep everyone happy on a long drive. The technology, seating, and drive-quality improvements that were first unveiled in 2018 make the new Odyssey a true all-rounder and make the family-hauling experience much more convenient. With that in mind, we’ve rated the 2019 Odyssey a 10 for quality. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The interior of the Odyssey is set up to provide space and utility without feeling too purpose-built. With the exception of the cavernous center console, storage is provided in clever and thoughtful places that don’t intrude into the overall comfortable feel of the cabin. Honda placed more soft-touch materials all around, which adds a premium feel to the Odyssey’s interior.

Seating can be set up in several configurations, thanks to Magic Slide in the Odyssey. Middle-row seats can be moved closer or farther apart to accommodate rear seat access more easily or separate fighting children. Removing the 70-pound seats makes the Odyssey the roomiest minivan with up to 144.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the first row. The Odyssey offers a healthy 32.8 cubic feet behind the third row and an SUV-like 86.6 cubic feet of space behind the second-row seats.

Middle-row seats are thicker and more comfortable because of the change to Magic Slide and can be folded up and down with the pull of a strap. The bad news? The seats don’t fold flat into the floor. Easy access to the rear seating row, as well as plenty of leg and head room, make the Odyssey more than adult-friendly in the third row.

Technology

The Odyssey’s dash is centered around an 8.0-inch high resolution touchscreen for infotainment in most models (base LX versions make do with a 5.0-inch non-touch display). The 8.0-inch touchscreen boasts Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, while top Touring and Elite trims can add wi-fi connectivity with a separate subscription.

The standout features in the Odyssey’s cabin walk a fine line between great parenting tools and creepy big-brother’s eye in the sky. CabinWatch and CabinTalk are two features designed to help the driver both see and communicate with (read: yell at) kids and other passengers in the rear seat. CabinWatch uses an infrared camera to display a feed of the rear seats to a monitor in the instrument panel, and CabinTalk will pause any streaming audio or other media being played through headphones inside the van to broadcast the driver’s voice.

The upgraded 10.2-inch optional rear seat entertainment screen remains, with internet-based apps such as PBS Kids, iHeart Radio, Spotify, and others.

Other available comfort and convenience features include a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, wireless device charging, and an in-van vacuum.

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2019 Honda Odyssey

Safety

The 2019 Odyssey packs a host of great standard and optional safety features.

Official crash-test ratings for the 2019 Honda Odyssey aren't yet complete. Considering its similarities with last year's version, we can confidently fill in the gaps. We give it an 8. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Federal testers gave this year's Odyssey a five-star overall score, including four stars in the calculated rollover resistance test.

The IIHS is nearly as complimentary. The van was rated as a Top Safety Pick and earned top "Good" scores in all tests and a "Superior" rating for its automatic emergency braking. Top trims, Touring and Elite, get headlights rated as "Acceptable" by the IIHS.

Standard safety equipment consists of the usual government-mandated features, plus three-row curtain side airbags with rollover sensors, driver and front passenger knee airbags, and a rearview camera. However, that is just the base model. All of the rest of the models add forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings and active lane control, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alerts. Honda says 95 percent of buyers will get those features.

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10

2019 Honda Odyssey

Features

The Odyssey is a worthy family-hauler in any trim, but the truly interesting goodies are offered in EX models and above.

The 2019 Odyssey is available in 6 trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L, EX-L with Navigation and RES (rear entertainment system), Elite, and Touring. Even the base LX model receives a wealth of standard features, though we’d opt for the EX model with better value and overall options package.

We’ve rated the 2019 Odyssey a 10 for features with its superb standard offerings, thoughtful and innovative tech, and family-friendly details packed into every corner. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Base Odyssey LX models feature a multi-angle rearview camera, 5.0-inch LCD screen, Bluetooth connectivity, 60/40-split “Magic Slide” third-row seating, USB audio, knee airbags for front passengers and driver, and a snow mode called Intelligent Traction Management.

EX models add Magic Slide to the second row seats, LED daytime running lights, Honda Sensing safety features, tri-zone automatic climate control, power 12-way drivers seat, auto-locking doors with proximity sensors and blind spot monitoring. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and an upgraded 160-watt audio system round out the package.

The range-topping Elite trim gets an 11-speaker audio system, wireless phone charging, heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, ambient lighting, rain-sensing wipers, power-folding exterior mirrors, and 19-inch wheels.

Our pick in the Odyssey is the EX trim. This is where value and price begin to meet. At just over $35,000 with destination, the EX brings a host of improved tech, safety features, and a far more customizable seating arrangement.

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2019 Honda Odyssey

Fuel Economy

At 22 mpg combined, the 2019 Honda Odyssey is among the most fuel-efficient vans sold without a plug.

The 2019 Honda Odyssey is EPA rated at 19 mpg city, 28 highway, 22 combined with both the 9- and 10-speed automatic transmissions. That earns a 4 on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Large vehicles with V-6 engines are not the most fuel-efficient on the road, but Honda offers some helpful technology to keep it relatively frugal. The 3.5-liter engine driving the Odyssey features standard cylinder deactivation that shuts down three cylinders under light load to improve mileage and models equipped with the 10-speed auto feature start/stop tech that shuts the engine off at longer stops.

Many other family haulers manage roughly 22 mpg, too. The Chrysler Pacifica is rated at 22 mpg (the hybrid version rates higher, though), the Honda Pilot rates 22 mpg in most configurations, and the Toyota Sienna is rated at 22 mpg without all-wheel drive.

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September 25, 2018
2019 Honda Odyssey EX-L w/Navi/RES Automatic

sometimes hard to find answers to questions about features

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we had bought a chrysler pacifica but were not happy with it so traded it in for a honda odyssey (i owned one for 14 years before). the gas mileage we get is much higher than it was advertised as. handles... + More »
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June 30, 2018
2019 Honda Odyssey EX Automatic

I replaced my 2016 Odyssey with this one - that is how much I think of the Honda Odyssey

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Great minivan. Best quality out there. Own a 2006 CRV also.
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$30,090
MSRP based on LX Automatic
 
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7.3
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 6
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 10
Safety 8
Features 10
Fuel Economy 4
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