Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
Trust me when I say I didn’t mind the title of “minivan dad” over the holidays when we journeyed from Silver Spring, MD to Atco, NJ to spend the festive occasion with family and close friends back home. It’s a yearly tradition that convenes over 30 family members so you know the gift giving was a bit generous. Thankfully our testing of the 2018 Honda Odyssey Elite came at an opportune time for ultimate road trip convenience and comfort. Specifically, we needed special transport to secure four occupants and the 40+ gifts wrapped for family, friends, and a group of kids in need. No problem in the storage department!
Although my wife and I have grown out of the minivan stage since our daughters are now 14 and 11-years-old we still enjoy the fundamental benefits of these vehicles and continue to recommend them to parents with younger children. But don’t be mistaken, the girls were very comfortable and relaxed in their seating positions while all those presents were strategically placed in the rear along with our luggage. The third row has the ability to tumble into the floor so when it is upright added stowage is created for transporting your items of choice. A built-in vacuum is also kept in the rear for messy commutes. We also like the fact that the entire second row glass rolls down like standard windows in cars or SUVs. More importantly there are charge points, both USB and 115 volt, and storage compartments everywhere on this van. For example, the front doors are designed with three unique layers for placement of various items from phones to wallets. In addition, the Odyssey features front cabin wireless charging and a secret sliding drawer from the bottom of the center stack for those special goodies you want to keep hidden from the kids.
Visually, the 2018 Honda Odyssey is sleek and stylish with beautiful 19” alloy wheels, LED headlights, LED fog lights, LED taillights, rear privacy glass, a hands-free access power tailgate, dual power sliding doors with sunshades on the inside windows, and a power, tilting moonroof. It definitely looks and feels like something special while offering minivan owners a bit more swag than the minivans of old; especially inside the “tech enhanced” and leather wrapped cabin. MSRP goes for $46,670 for the Odyssey Elite minus the $940 destination charge.
Keep in mind it is brick cold on the East Coast so I was thoroughly elated at some of the intuitiveness of the Odyssey to keep the crew warm and cozy. Remote engine start was a gem in addition to heated seats, heated steering wheel, heated mirrors, and snow mode. Furthermore, the energy from the 3.5-liter VTEC V6 with 280-horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque was far more than enough while the new paddle shifting 10-speed automatic transmission kept the van’s power transfers silky smooth. A 9-speed automatic transmission is also available. Whether we were coasting on suburban roads or hauling on the freeway acceleration from either gear was always on point. Even when weighed down the Odyssey never felt strained.
Adaptive Cruise Control, three row side airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist, Apple CarPlay, HondaLink Smartphone Integration, a protruding 8” capacitive touch infotainment center with customizable app shortcuts, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, a mobile hotspot, and Lane Keeping Assist System to name a few augmented the safety measures and entertainment capabilities for the 3-day excursion. Expect 28-highway and 19-city mpg from your Japanese built powertrain. However, the flip down Blu-Ray DVD rear entertainment system is antiquated and received no love from any of our passengers.
Safety assurance is most definitely a significant trait for Honda vehicles. Along with some of the aforementioned technologies Honda Sensing Package also instills your minivan with Collision Mitigation Braking System, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and Road Departure Mitigation. It’s almost as if the Odyssey has a mind of its own to keep you and the family from harm’s way. That’s just the beginning. Honda also blesses you with Walk Away Auto Lock, Smart Entry System with Security, rain sensing wipers, Blind Spot Information Center, interior cameras to watch your baby in the second or third row (CabinWatch), front and rear parking sensors, a Multi-View Rear Camera, Vehicle Stability Assist, and much more.
The 2018 Honda Odyssey Elite stays true to its name offering owners leading safety advancements, an abundance of compartment configurability, elevated performance, and up-to-date entertainment features. This minivan is evolutionary, intelligent, and slick. Trust me again, you won’t drive away disappointed.