There are some big changes coming for the minivan segment, with the arrival of the all-new Toyota Sienna, the refreshed Chrysler Pacifica and the more SUV-like Kia Sedona. To not be left out of the crowd, Honda has also given the Odyssey a refresh to help keep it at the top of the segment.
The 2021 Honda Odyssey doesn’t get as big of a facelift as the new Pacifica, but its face has been restyled with a new grille that has a cleaner and more upscale look than before. There are also new LED headlights and the front bumper has been updated to look a bit sportier. New 19-inch wheels have been added to the upper trim levels and at the rear there’s a new black trim. And that’s it.
Inside the Odyssey’s interior hasn’t changed much, but it Honda did refine several areas. The second row seats still don’t fold completely away like in the Pacifica, but they are are now easier to remove and just like before they can slide fore and aft or side to side. Third row bag hooks have been added and there’s a new illuminated USB port in the third row. Touring and Elite trim levels now have piano-black accents on the door and dashboard. The Elite trim level also gets perforated leather seats with piping and a new dash trim.
There are some small tech upgrades as well for the 2021 Odyssey, which includes a standard rear-seat reminder system that makes sure you don’t forget a child or pet that are in the rear seat. The CabinWatch system which lets you keep an eye on your passengers in the rear seats, can now be used simultaneously with the CabinTalk system that lets you talk to them via the Odyssey’s speakers.
The Honda Sensing safety suite is standard on all trim levels and its also been improved for 2021. The big news is that the Odyssey now has automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. The adaptive cruise control also now has a low-speed follow functionality which lets the system operate in stop-and-go traffic, which means that it can fully stop the vehicle. This is something that we’ve wanted since the current generation Odyssey debuted, since the old system shut off at around 20 mph. The updated adaptive cruise control does work well, but at times we did feel that the applied the brakes a bit too abruptly.
Under the hood the Odyssey is still powered by a 3.5-liter V6 with a healthy 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, that’s mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The Odyssey is rated at 19 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined.
Honda didn’t need to make any big changes to the Odyssey’s powertrain, since the Odyssey is easily one of the sportiest minivans you can buy. The V6 packs a nice punch and gets the Odyssey up to speed with ease. The V6 even has a nice soundtrack when you push it hard. The only big mechanical change is an updated electric brake booster, which reduces the pedal stroke by 20 percent for a more confident feel.
On the road, the Odyssey’s suspension does a good job of quieting the road’s imperfections, but without being too soft. You’ll probably be surprised at how agile the Odyssey feels given how big it actually is. When the road gets a bit twisty, the Odyssey is up for the challenge and hugs the road compared to some other more clumsy rivals.
The 2021 Honda Odyssey is available in five trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring and Elite. The Odyssey LX starts at $32,910, while our top of the line Elite is priced at $48,940.
The Honda Odyssey has been the best-selling “retail” minivan in America for the last 10 years and Honda also says that it owns more than 40% of the segment. Given the fact that the Odyssey has already found so much love from families, there’s no reason that the updated 2021 Odyssey won’t continue that tradition. It’s more refined, not boring to drive and versatile – everything you need for the family.