By Cars.com EditorsSeptember 24, 2013
About the video
If you’re a practical parent too busy to be overly image conscious, the Odyssey is the minivan vanguard, according to Cars.com reviewer David Thomas.
(upbeat music) Hi, I'm Dave Thomas with Cars.com, and this is the best-selling minivan in the country, the Honda Odyssey, and this is a 2014 version that just came out, and Honda's actually made some changes.
It makes you wonder, "If it's not broken, why fix it?" So what's changed to what we called the best family car last year? Well, there's some revised styling up front and in back, but there's not an automotive designer on earth that's gonna fool anyone into thinking they're not driving a minivan. A 6-speed transmission is now standard on all models, which improves mileage by 1 MPG in the city, highway, and combined. There's also a new dash layout, and for EX trims and above, you get this new touchscreen console here, which controls all your audio. Base models get some love too, with improved fabric on the seats, a power passenger seat, and stuff like Pandora and Bluetooth, standard. But the one feature everyone is talking about is the HondaVAC. Yup, this minivan has a vacuum installed in the rear cargo area. Honda actually teamed up with Shop-Vac for it. Now, it works pretty well, the hose reaches all the way to the front. Let's see it in action. It's pretty simple to use, you simply hit a power button here, wait for the suction to build up a little, and it can pretty much pick up anything you throw at it. (vacuum buzzing) It's pretty impressive. But what else is impressive, is the price, it only comes on this top of the line Touring Elite with the price around $45,000. That's a lot of money to get a vacuum, but maybe if you keep your car nice and clean, it'll help with the resale value. So what hasn't changed for 2014? Well, it's still the best minivan on the market. Back in 2011, we tested it against the rest of the field, and it won easily, and the competition hasn't been updated much either. The V6 has plenty of power, whether you're drag racing that Toyota Sienna next to you at the stoplight or passing on the highway. Obviously, cornering is not this minivan's or any minivan's forte, but the Odyssey has a great turning circle, so it makes parking lots a lot less treacherous. But if you're considering a minivan, the seating is probably the most important thing to you. The Odyssey has seats in the second row that slide forward and back, which is pretty cool. But the best part is, these outboard seats actually expand outward, give them couple more inches, so your kids and those child seats are a little further apart from each other. The third row also has two tether anchors, so it is expanding third row. You can fit three child safety seats across here, and two more in the third row for a total of five. Then when you have all those kids safely tucked away in their seats, you got to keep them quiet, so check out this wide screen TV. This 16.2 inch wide screen can show one movie across the whole screen, or splits in two to show a DVD on one side and something from your auxiliary input on the other, but it's only available on this Touring Elite model. If you've got an EX-L or regular Touring, you can get a smaller version, but aren't your kids worth it? When you do move up to this bad boy, the stereo wires goes from 265 to 650 watts. Speakers go from 7 to 12, and this has 5.1 surround sound, that means my little pony will blow your kids away. (My Little Pony plays on the TV) And after you've got them all out of the car, you can listen to something a little more pleasing and soothing, like heavy metal. (upbeat heavy metal music) This Touring Elite model may seem crazy expensive, but all minivans are more expensive than your typical family car these days, even in base form. Now, you could save a little bit of money with the Toyota Sienna or Nissan Quest, but Chrysler's Town & Country is pretty much the same price as the Odyssey in most trim levels. They're all good minivans, but none of them top the Odyssey, especially this top version of it. (car engine revving)