Upon receiving Honda’s 2014 Odyssey minivan for testing, I took a random survey on the number of them on local roadways versus the main competition on the market. The Odyssey outnumbered Chrysler minivans by five to one. And this despite the fact that Chrysler invented the minivan.
What makes the Odyssey so popular is its versatile interior, agile handling, quiet cabin, configurable second row seat and easy to fold third seat. And for 2014, the Odyssey received freshened looks, interiors, a more fuel efficient 6-speed automatic transmission, keyless ignition, optional forward collision and lane departure warning systems and a first, in-vehicle vacuum cleaner for cleaning up mud and grass from the kids soccer games.
Odyssey is offered in LX, EX, EX-L, Touring and Touring Elite that was tested. The differences are the amount of goodies and high-tech offerings included as standard, with the Touring Elite the top-line loaded model. As such, the latter gets as standard blind spot monitoring, forward collision and lane departure systems. And of course as the top model, it gets leather/cloth seats and a super-wide HD screen that can show two different programs at one time. For example, a DVD movie and video game simultaneously.
Odyssey’s have but one engine. A 3.5-liter, 248-hp V6 producing 250 lb/ft of torque. This is the same engine that goes into Honda’s Ridgeline pickup truck. Transferring power to the front wheels is a 6-speed automatic transmission that in concert is EPA rated at 19 city, 28-highway mpg and is tow rated for up to 3,500 pounds. So powered, the Odyssey has been 0-60 tested at 7.9 seconds which is fairly speedy for such a big heavy vehicle. The Odyssey certainly doesn’t want for power.
A freshened interior sports two LCD displays. On the dash is a 7x4-inch display for GPS nav and rearview camera while a 6.5x3.5 display for audio, Bluetooth connect and driver info, is on the vertical stack. There are other nifty details like the center console with a flip-up trash bag holder and a “cool box” beverage holder in the bottom of the vertical stack.
Front seats are nicely supportive and complimented by doors with two sets of pockets for small item storage.
Then there are the 40-20-40 second row seats that can accommodate three child seats. Fold down the center (20) section and it becomes an armrest with drink holders and a small console box.
There’s ample leg and headroom in the second row and they slide forward 5.5 inches for easy access to the third row where even small statured adults can sit for short hauls.
Behind the upright third row is a deep bin to stow a myriad of items plus about a dozen grocery bags. The third row folds into the bin for a flat load floor for 52 inches of storage depth.
The shop vac is recessed into the sidewalls of the cargo area with the vac on the bottom and attachments atop it, plus a 10-foot hose that reaches to the front seats. Its suction power, however, could be stronger.
My only major complaint with the Odyssey is the parking brake that sticks out quite a bit and would catch my pant leg when exiting the vehicle.
Other than that, the Odyssey Touring Elite drives smoothly, quietly with admirable road manners on Michelin 18-inch tires. For a big vehicle it’s relatively easy to park.
And as the top-shelf model, all desired safety and comfort features are included in the base price. The Touring Elite is loaded and as such has no extra cost options. It priced out at $44,450 and bottom-lined at $45,280 after a $830 delivery charge.
If planning a trip with the kids to Disney in Orlando this summer, this is the vehicle you need to take.