2020 Honda Odyssey

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
August 15, 2019

Buying tip

The 2020 Odyssey EX remains the best combination of safety and comfort features for the price.

The 2020 Honda Odyssey has nearly everything we like in a family vehicle, minus the ground-up Cheetos in the back.

Cool after kids is possible. The 2020 Honda Odyssey is more about convenience, and less about capitulation.

This year, the van is standard with a 10-speed automatic in all trims and celebrates its 25th anniversary with some special badges and wheels, if you like. 

The basic formula hasn’t changed over two and a half decades. The Odyssey still holds big families and their cargo, and shuttles around with ease. 

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We give it a 6.7 on our overall scale, which is boosted by the van’s comfort. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Like last year, the 2020 Odyssey travels far across the affordability spectrum. The base Odyssey LX costs less than $32,000, but skips automatic emergency braking and a touchscreen. Moving up the line to EX, EX-L, and EX-L with Navigation and RES (rear entertainment system) adds more to the bottom line, but also packs in features that families are looking for. Odyssey Touring and Elite vans double-down as swank corporate shuttles. 

Every van is equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 280 horsepower and a 10-speed automatic that powers the front wheels only and returns 22 mpg combined on the EPA’s calculators. The ride is sublime.

So is the space. Inside, the Odyssey seats up to eight, with room for adults in the third row, with more than 32 cubic feet of room with all three rows in place. 

Tumble down the third row and that room expands to more space than many SUVs: 88.6 cubic feet. Nearly every surface is soft and touchable, but also durable.  

If the van unexpectedly hits something hard (aka another car) federal and independent testers agree that it’s safe. Not every van gets automatic emergency braking, which is an oversight in our books, but EX and higher trims get that life-saving feature, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and automatic high beams. 

Predictably, our pick is the Odyssey EX that bundles those active safety features with an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, remote start, active lane control, power sliding rear doors, three-zone climate control, sliding second-row seats, heated front seats, and 18-inch wheels for less than $36,000.

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2020 Honda Odyssey

Styling

Don’t worry, the 2020 Odyssey’s looks don’t mean you have to completely abandon “cool” in a van.

Minivans are hardly paragons for style, but the Odyssey changed that. 

A few years in, we still have good feelings for the Honda van’s look, which was updated in 2018. We give a 6 with one point above average for its exterior. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Choose your (family) fighter: The Odyssey shares many styling cues with the Pilot crossover and Ridgeline pickup because they share similar platforms. 

The Odyssey made waves several years ago with a hidden sliding door track and a “lightning” kickdown toward the rear of the body that broke up vans’ longtime slab-sidedness. Both appear in the 2020 version, although the kickdown is tamer, and all Odysseys wear sculpted doors that break up the acreage of sheet metal. 

Inside, form follows function, but there are a few styling features. Odyssey Elite vans bathe the interior in ambient blue LED lights at night, and the dashboard coalesces toward the middle touchscreen with a wing-shaped dash. 

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2020 Honda Odyssey

Performance

A standard 10-speed automatic is this year’s news, and every Odyssey is a breeze to drive.

Honda’s addition by subtraction (and addition) is worth considering in the 2020 Odyssey. 

This year, the van gets just a single 10-speed automatic transmission across the board. Last year’s 9-speed transmission is left off the sheet, and the Odyssey is better for it. 

We give the van a 6 for performance, with one point above average for a calm ride. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The sole engine that powers the Odyssey is a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 280 horsepower and drives the front wheels only. Even though it’s an engine that Honda’s used for a long time, the Odyssey is just as efficient as its competitors and the power delivery is sorted and smooth. (The Ridgeline pickup uses the same engine, too.)

In prior years, the 10-speed automatic was reserved for top trims, but it’s trickled down into the mainstream lineup. That’s good. The 10-speed fires up smooth shifts without interference and loses the low-speed jostle that the 9-speed once had. 

Although minivans are hardly performance vehicles, the Odyssey shuttles around without straining and its harsher qualities are quelled by a thicker windshield and front windows. In 2018, Honda added more sound deadening throughout the cabin for an even quieter ride. 

The Odyssey steers well and tracks down the road without much effort. The wheel is light by new-car standards, but it’s mostly what minivan drivers need after long days shuttling around town and running errands. 

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2020 Honda Odyssey

Comfort & Quality

The 2020 Odyssey is comfortable like a living room, but easier to clean.

With room for up to eight people and their cargo, the Odyssey was always going to be 10 on our scale. Minivans usually are, they’re expert-level family vehicles. 

If you’re into details, here’s how we come to the numbers: the front seats are all-day comfortable, and the second row is adult-ready, too. The Odyssey is a makeshift pickup with the second and third rows folded, but even full of rumps the van hauls plenty of cargo thanks to generous interior cubbies. It excels at hauling people and it’s finished with quality materials that also feel durable. It’s perfect, as far as comfortable vehicles go. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Most Odyssey vans will have the automaker’s configurable seating option, which Honda calls Magic Slide. The seats can be moved closer or further apart, depending on need, which opens up the cargo area for long items such as flat-pack furniture or building materials. By removing the 70-pound seats in the second row, Odyssey owners can unlock up to 144.9 cubic feet of cargo room. With just the third row folded, the Odyssey swallows 88.6 cubic feet, and with all three rows in place it still holds about 33 cubes of cargo. 

There’s good and bad news for the Odyssey’s second row. It doesn’t fold completely flat into the floor, like the Chrysler Pacifica, but the seats are thicker than others with enough comfort for adults on days-long road trips. (Ask us how we know.)

We wouldn’t complain much if we had to ride in the third row either. The third row is easily accessible thanks to that movable second row, and there’s about 38 inches of leg room in the wayback, which is comparable to many mid-size sedans. 

Honda uses mostly high-quality materials throughout the Odyssey’s cabin that are soft to touch and durable for toddlers—probably. 

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2020 Honda Odyssey

Safety

Most families will agree that the 2020 Odyssey is a safe place to be in a crash.

The 2020 Odyssey’s safety score is a head-scratcher. 

Federal testers gave the van a five-star overall score for crashworthiness. Independent testers from the IIHS largely agree and named the Honda a Top Safety Pick last year, but an oversight on base vans keeps it from scoring higher on our scale. It’s a 7 for that scorecard alone. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Despite high praise from crash-testers, Honda withholds automatic emergency braking from entry-level vans, which doesn’t make sense. Families need that life-saving feature, even those on a budget. 

On Odyssey EX and higher vans, automatic emergency braking is part of the base price and is better for it. Most vans will offer a suite of standard active safety gear that includes active lane control, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and blind-spot monitors. Honda estimates that about 95 percent of van buyers will opt for the Odyssey EX and higher, so why not make it standard across the board? 

The Top Safety Pick award applies to Odyssey Touring and Elite models that are equipped with headlights that the IIHS rated as “Acceptable” in its latest round of testing. =

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2020 Honda Odyssey

Features

The 2020 Odyssey wants for little, and top trims are more lavish than many living rooms.

Most versions of the 2020 Honda Odyssey have the features families need to distract each other long enough for a road trip. 

Aside from a standard touchscreen on many versions, rear-seat entertainment, USB charge ports, and flexible seating make hours in the rolling living room, well, livable. 

Starting from an average score, the 2020 Odyssey gets points above average for good base features and good value. It misses a point for a small screen on base versions that we don’t recommend. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Like last year, the 2020 Odyssey is offered in LX, EX, EX-L, EX-L with Navigation and RES (rear entertainment system), Elite, and Touring levels. 

The 2020 Odyssey LX costs $31,785, including destination and top Odyssey Elite vans cost more than $48,000. Luckily for families, one step above base is a solid value, with more features families may need. 

Odyssey LX models are fairly spartan but have the basics. The 2020 Odyssey LX includes a 5.0-inch screen for infotainment, Bluetooth connectivity, two USB charge ports, 18-inch wheels, and a sliding third row. 

We’d skip ahead to the EX, which adds an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, adaptive cruise control, remote start, seating for eight, active lane control, power sliding rear doors, three-zone climate control, sliding second-row seats, heated front seats, and blind-spot monitors. EX-L and EX-L with Navigation and RES versions add leather seats; leather, navigation and a rear-seat entertainment system, respectively. 

The top Odyssey Elite vans are rolling suites. In addition to all of the above, Elites add an in-car vacuum, heated and cooled front seats, premium audio, a wireless phone charger, wi-fi hotspot, and 19-inch wheels. It’s hard to imagine a more comfortable way to drive to Disneyland. 

Honda Odyssey infotainment

Most Odyssey vans will leave the factory with an 8.0-inch touchscreen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility.

Odyssey EX-L vans with navigation and rear-seat entertainment also offer a in-car PA that uses the van’s Bluetooth microphone to broadcast the driver’s voice into the third row via the speakers. It’s a helpful system that reduces the need to shout toward the backseat that if one more Cheerio gets thrown that we’re more than happy to turn this van around. 

Odyssey Touring and Elite vans are equipped with an in-car camera to monitor the food-fight suspects, too. It’s a handy feature that displays a 180-degree view of the cabin, and can zoom, or in low light, can switch to infrared. For most parents with small children, the camera can show whether children in rear-facing car seats are sleeping, which is nice. 

The rear-seat entertainment system is helpful, but perhaps already outdated in a world full of iPads. Like those iPads, the rear-seat 10.2-inch screen is internet connected and can stream PBS Kids and Spotify. 

The only downside for owners will be navigating to those in-car cameras and talk-back systems from smartphone software. The functions are only accessible from the Odyssey’s native infotainment screen, which requires drivers—or better still, front-seat passengers—to back out of the map or music apps to use the features. 

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2020 Honda Odyssey

Fuel Economy

The 2020 Odyssey’s mileage is competitive with other family haulers.

A newly standard 10-speed automatic helps the 2020 Odyssey stay competitive among vans, but it was never far from the mark. 

The EPA rates all Odysseys at 19 mpg city, 28 highway, 22 combined. It’s a 4 on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Among vans, that’s par. The Honda’s 22 mpg combined rating keeps pace with the Chrysler Pacifica at 22 mpg but not its hybrid counterpart, which rates at 27 mpg combined after its electrons are exhausted. The Toyota Sienna manages 22 mpg combined without all-wheel drive, too. 

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6.7
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 6
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 10
Safety 7
Features 7
Fuel Economy 4
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2020 Honda Odyssey Pricing Insights

  • 2020 Odyssey is in showrooms
  • Small unadvertised incentive remains (2019)
  • Finance: From 1.9% APR for 36 mo.
  • Lease: From $349/mo. for 36 mo. (2019)
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