- So roomy
- Standard safety features
- Standard adaptive cruise control
- Comfy in every row
- Excellent road tripper
- Base vans skimp on tech
- Classic minivan style
- Expensive Touring and Elite trims
- Limited powertrain options
The 2021 Honda Odyssey is loaded with standard safety features but lacks the powertrain options of other minivans.
If smart is sexy then the 2021 Honda Odyssey is a centerfold. The refreshed minivan is big on space and interior comforts, even as the competition has shifted ahead with more innovative powertrain options.
Still, the Odyssey excels at what it was meant to do well: haul families and their gear in space, comfort, and safety. It earns a 6.8 on our overall scale, thanks to a perfect score for comfort. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Like last year, the 2021 Odyssey starts at about $32,000 in base LX trim, then climbs the ladder in features and cost in EX, EX-L, Touring, and top Elite trim, which comes in at just under $50,000. Safety equipment such as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control are now standard across the lineup, but the LX still only gets a 5.0-inch display screen.
The same 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 and a 10-speed automatic with front-wheel drive powers every Odyssey regardless of trim. It’s reasonably efficient with an EPA-rated 22 mpg combined, and the ride is reassuringly calm, quiet, and predictable.
Inside, the Odyssey seats up to eight, with enough room for adults to ride in the wayback. Stow the third row in the floor and there’s more cargo volume than most SUVs with all the seats folded down.
Safety is as big a priority as space in the 2021 Odyssey, with the NHTSA and IIHS bestowing top crash-test ratings on the minivan.
With standard safety features across the lineup for the first time, the LX could be the bargain pick, but we prefer the next step up in the EX. It comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, remote start, blind-spot monitors, power sliding rear doors, three-zone climate control, sliding second-row seats, and heated power-adjustable front seats for less than $36,000.
2021 Honda Odyssey
The 2021 Odyssey doesn’t look that much different than the Pilot or other crossover SUVs.
Better known for form following function—at a distance—minivans suffer from a silly stigma of domestic dullness. Get over it. Aside from the rear end, the 2021 Odyssey has a similar style to the Honda Pilot SUV and Honda Ridgeline pickup truck, partly because they all share some of the same mechanical underpinnings.
Updated for 2021, the Odyssey earns a point above average for its sharp front end to get a 6 out of 10.
The grille is stretched wider and the chrome bar moves from the center to the top, where it connects new LED headlights. The lower front fascia and fog lights also get buffed up. The sculpted side doors and hidden sliding door track remain. A new design on 19-inch alloy wheels graces the higher trims.
Inside, this ideal road-tripper is all about space and storage. The higher trims wear new refinements such as piano black trim across the wing-shaped dash and door panels, as well as perforated leather seats with contrast stitching.
2021 Honda Odyssey
The 2021 Odyssey maintains a soft ride appreciated by minivan passengers.
There are no powertrain changes for the 2021 Odyssey, and that’s fine by us. The 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 and 10-speed automatic transmission powering the front wheels gets the job done just fine, even when fully laden and heading over the mountains and through the woods.
It earns a 6 for performance for its quiet cabin and predictable ride.
The familiar engine and relatively new transmission combine for a smooth ride, even when flicking through its 10 gears. There’s enough boost for most passing moves, and there’s even a bit of grunt off the line to beat other minivans to the queue for school pickup.
The Odyssey steers well in that it stays centered without much effort, and there isn’t much resistance when turning. It’s almost as light as steering a boat. It can list like a boat, too, if those cloverleaf ramps are taken too aggressively. But for shuttling around town and cruising on road trips, there are few vehicles that do it better, all things considered.
2021 Honda Odyssey
Comfort & Quality
The 2021 Odyssey rides like a living room on wheels.
With room for seven or eight passengers, the 2021 Honda Odyssey offers the kind of spacious comfort only a minivan can provide. And the Odyssey is one of the comfiest, which is why it gets a perfect 10 on our scale.
The score specifically awards comfy front- and second-row seats, but also the interior versatility, quality materials, and capacious cargo room.
The power-adjustable front seats on all trim levels are well-padded and comfy, and on the EX-L and above they come shod in leather in the first and outer second row seats. That row is comfy too, especially with the armrests on all but the base trim. In back, the third row could fit adults with plenty of head room and 38 inches of leg room, which is more than most sedans.
With all three rows in place, there is 33 cubic feet of cargo space. That rear seat splits 60/40 and can be stowed into the floor with an easy pull of the strap for either side, as long as you collapse the head rests first. That balloons cargo volume to 88.6 cubic feet, which is more than many three-row SUVs with both rows of seats down, including the Honda Pilot (83.9 cubic feet).
On all but the base LX trim, which seats seven, the second row in the Odyssey comes with Magic Slide seats that move laterally for easier ingress and egress when the middle seat is removed. Removing the other second row seats has historically been a load, but Honda says the seats in the 2021 Odyssey are easier to remove. We’ll report back after we test that claim. It can’t be as easy as the Chrysler Pacifica’s, which fold into the floor. With all seats folded or removed, there is a truck-like 144.9 cubic feet of cargo room.
2021 Honda Odyssey
The 2021 Odyssey is safe in a crash, and made safer by tech that avoids crashes.
This year, the 2021 Odyssey is equipped with standard safety features across the board. Automatic emergency braking along with top crash-test ratings earn the 2021 Honda Odyssey an 8 out of 10 on our scale.
The 2021 model is largely the same underneath as last year’s minivan, which means we expect its crash-test scores to carry over. The NHTSA gave the minivan a five-star overall rating, while the IIHS awarded certain trim levels a Top Safety Pick.
New for 2021, the Honda Sensing suite of active safety features that is standard on all trims includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active lane control, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and a rear-seat reminder.
The Odyssey provides good outward visibility from the front, but the long, wide body has significant blind spots on the sides and rear. Blind-spot monitors and rear cross-traffic alert address that as standard equipment starting with the EX trim.
2021 Honda Odyssey
The 2021 Odyssey has clever features that could benefit from a larger touchscreen interface.
The 2021 Honda Odyssey is made for road tripping in comfort and with convenience, except for the base LX and its tiny 5.0-inch display screen. If not for that, the otherwise solid base features and overall value earn it a 7 out of 10 on our scale.
The 2021 Odyssey is offered in LX, EX, EX-L, Elite, and Touring levels, at a price that starts reasonably and tops out near $50,000. We’ll complain more about that when official pricing is announced for 2021.
The 2021 Odyssey LX is not nearly as basic as a Chrysler Voyager. In addition to the standard safety features and nifty third-row seating mentioned above, the base model comes with a power driver’s seat, keyless ignition, two USB charging ports, Bluetooth connectivity, and 18-inch wheels. The 5.0-inch display screen is a disappointment.
The EX hits our sweet spot of value by adding room for one more passenger to seat eight. The second row “Magic Slide” seats can slide laterally to reconfigure the seating area, which is especially helpful on road trips so you can either have an aisle or make the cooler accessible to anyone, provided you go through the less cumbersome process of removing a seat.
In addition to the standard content on LX, the EX trim includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, remote start, heated front seats, power sliding rear doors, three-zone climate control, and blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert.
The Odyssey EX-L adds leather-trimmed seats, moonroof, power tailgate, an in-car PA system, dual rear USB ports, and an available rear entertainment system with a 10.2-inch high-resolution screen. We'd skip it, unless everyone's been grounded from their iPads already.
The Touring trim includes that entertainment system and throws in a bunch of other thoughtful family goodies, like a built-in vacuum, an in-car camera to watch the second and third rows, wi-fi hotspot capability, and LED headlights and fog lights.
The top Elite trim adds heated and cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, power-folding side mirrors, 19-inch alloy wheels, a wireless phone charger, and a boosted audio system with 11 speakers.
Honda Odyssey infotainment
Skipping the LX for an 8.0-inch touchscreen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility makes for a good move. We prefer CarPlay for navigation and voice commands, and would rather leave the touchscreen and its narrow buttons for the passenger and let the driver use the steering wheel controls.
There are a lot of deeper features through the Odyssey’s infotainment screen. The PA system on EX-L and above trims uses the Bluetooth mic to project the sound of inviolable authority from the driver’s seat without anyone needing to raise their voice. It also makes for a good prank for unsuspecting littles.
Odyssey’s CabinWatch on top trims lets you see a 180-degree view of the rear-seat passengers through a ceiling mounted camera that projects onto the 8.0-inch touchscreen. You can also zoom in on low light, or switch to infrared at night, and the fish-bowl view lets you check in on the littlest of passengers in rear-facing car seats.
The only downside with the fancier features is you have to back out of any connected smartphones and use the native infotainment screen and its small buttons.
2021 Honda Odyssey
The 2021 Odyssey has above average fuel economy.
With a 10-speed automatic and front-wheel drive only, the 2021 Odyssey is a tad more efficient than its all-wheel-drive counterparts, but is otherwise par for the course.
The EPA rated the 2020 Odyssey at 19 mpg city, 28 highway, 22 combined, which was a 4 on our scale. We expect the same for the 2021 model.
The 22 mpg combined rating is the same as the Chrysler Pacifica in front-wheel drive, but the Pacifica plug-in hybrid is far better. The Odyssey is 1 mpg combined better than the Kia Sedona and Toyota Sienna.