Competes with: Chrysler Pacifica, Kia Sedona, Toyota Sienna, image-conscious parents
Looks like: A Honda Odyssey
Powertrain: 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6; 10-speed automatic transmission; front-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Later in 2020
The Honda Odyssey will join the Chrysler Pacifica in getting a refresh for the 2021 model year, as the two updated minivans — along with the Toyota Sienna and Kia Sedona — soldier bravely on against the scourge of the three-row SUV. The Odyssey gets some lightly refreshed styling, standard advanced safety features and a first-of-its-kind (according to Honda, anyway) rear-seat reminder system.
For 2021, Honda gave the Odyssey a slightly updated face that brings it more in line with the brand’s current style direction, removing the chrome strip from the middle of the grille and placing a new strip above it. New LED headlights and revised lower front bodywork and foglights round out the changes up front, while in back, the trim around the rear windows is now gloss black and there’s a chrome strip above that, echoing the new-look grille. The range-topping Elite trim also gets newly designed 19-inch wheels and auto-dimming side mirrors.
The changes inside are small but more notable, including what Honda says are updated climate controls. Honda also says the second-row seatbacks now fold flat, making the seats allegedly easier to remove, and EX-L and higher trims get redesigned seats with front passenger power lumbar adjustments and new contrast stitching. EX models and higher now have illuminated USB ports to make locating an open port easier. Elite models will have leather upholstery for the first and second rows.
Engine and Transmission
One area Honda didn’t make any changes was to the powertrain: All versions of the Odyssey will still be powered by its longstanding 3.5-liter V-6, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. And while the updated Pacifica offers all-wheel drive, as does the Sienna, the Odyssey remains front-wheel-drive only.
The Honda Sensing suite of safety technology is now standard on all trim levels (it was previously only available on EX and higher models). Honda Sensing now includes adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow (other automakers call this “traffic jam assist” or similar) and pedestrian detection. The other safety advancement is a rear-seat reminder system that, on Touring and Elite models, uses the in-car CabinWatch camera to display an image of the rear seats, saving you the trouble of having to turn and look in the rear seats to see if you left anything (or anyone).
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The 2021 Odyssey will make its full debut at the 2020 New York International Auto Show, where Honda says it will have additional information about the upcoming minivan. Pricing should be available closer to the Odyssey’s on-sale date sometime later in 2020.
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