2016 Honda Odyssey

Starting MSRP: $29,295 - $44,750

Estimated MPG: 19 city / 28 hwy

2016 Honda Odyssey Review

With comfortable seating for up to eight passengers and a V6 engine that balances performance and efficiency, the 2016 Honda Odyssey offers incredible utility while retaining a high level of drivability.

By Chris Brewer
Last Updated 07/25/2016

While few will declare an undying affection for the minivan, it is difficult to debate the remarkable amount of real-world utility and performance that they offer, especially for the price. Powered by a powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine and a silky-smooth six-speed automatic transmission, the 2016 Honda Odyssey provides roomy seating for up to eight passengers, ample cargo space and driving characteristics that are more sedan-like than you would expect. Add in the ability to tow 3,500 pounds and achieve above average fuel economy and you have a combination that is pretty hard to beat.

The front-wheel-drive 2016 Honda Odyssey is available in LX, EX, SE (new for 2016), EX-L, Touring and Touring Elite trims.

Exterior

Exterior
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The function over form exterior of the 2016 Odyssey works diligently to disguise the primary purpose of Honda's best-selling people-and-stuff mover. The nose blends into the windshield and finally the roofline in a smooth aerodynamic angular line that is quite pleasing. Aluminum alloy rims give off a flavor of luxury and performance.

The lower part of the doors are adorned with an aggressively pitched inset that provides the Odyssey with a touch of sport sedan styling. Right up until you hit the end of the rear passenger doors everything is quite close to perfection, at least for a minivan.

Unfortunately, Honda's "lightning bolt" third-row passenger window takes the function over form principle a little to the extreme. The nicely contoured angles are broken as the bottom line of the windows takes an unexpected turn south and then gradually finds its way back north again as it exists the rear of the car. That elegant line that runs along the top of the doors abruptly transforms into a strangely wide and deep void that houses the tracks in which the sliding rear doors run along. The rear window offers third-row passengers with an incredibly open feeling missing from the majority of the Odyssey's competitors. I wholeheartedly applaud this, but it is an acquired taste.

Of course, visual aesthetics are subjective and I can see how even different paint colors would temper my own opinion of the Odyssey's styling choices. Personally, I think a darker color helps to stabilize the lines of the minivan, bringing a more unified look to the exterior.

Interior

Interior
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The theme of function following form carries over into the 2016 Odyssey's spacious interior. Equal parts driving machine and studio apartment, the airy feeling of Honda's minivan provides the driver and all seven passengers with enough space to spread out and get comfortable.

Middle seat occupants in the second and third row get the short end of the stick. However, compared with the majority of eight passenger vehicles on the market, the Odyssey's roomy interior affords even the sandwiched middle-seaters with enough room for non-fatiguing trips across town.

The center gauge cluster is positioned well and is easy to read, providing pertinent information and a little extra, even in the lower trim levels. The center of the dash features not one, but two display screens. The lower screen is touch operated and controls audio and telephone functions. The top screen displays GPS information if equipped and the rear- and sideview cameras. While other reviews find the system superfluous, I found the second screen helpful when the passenger was using the lower panel to change radio stations and I needed to take a right turn. Rather than the Honda LaneWatch system taking over the primary screen and rendering the audio functions temporarily useless, the two worked in concert.

Unlike the dual infotainment screen setup that arguably provides too much access to the driver and passengers, the heating and air-conditioning controls are set higher up on the dashboard making the furthest controls just out of reach for the driver or passenger. I am 5-feet-10-inches tall and when the driver's seat was adjusted comfortably I had to lean forward to reach the knobs on the passenger side of the center stack. This is certainly a minor inconvenience, but considering the thoughtful design of the rest of the dashboard, it seems odd that the knobs are located so far from the front-seat travelers.

Cargo space is excellent, even with all of the seats occupied. Minivans, with their low rear cargo area floors, provide some of the biggest interior cargo areas of any vehicle at any cost. Luggage disappears, strollers are swallowed up and bags of mulch can be stacked six high without too much trouble.

Once you've unloaded the mulch, Honda's nifty built-in vacuum system (HondaVac) helps take care of the evidence. When I first took delivery of the Odyssey, I wrote off HondaVac as a cute novelty. But after a few days of pulling the hose from the rear cargo area storage compartment and tidying up the carpets and upholstery, I am a believer. The suction is strong and the level of usefulness makes it one of the best additions to any family vehicle ever.

The 2016 Odyssey that I reviewed was the SE (or Special Edition) model. Essentially a base Odyssey with a rear 9-inch DVD entertainment system, a zippy vacuum and XM Radio, the SE trim aims to be the best family-focused Odyssey for the dollar. The lower trim level also featured an inordinate amount of hard-touch plastics and quirky electronics for the doors. They worked, but not as intuitively as I would have liked. Higher trim levels are awash in soft-touch surfaces and nice extras like leather seats and a power liftgate.

Performance

Performance
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Powered by Honda's graceful 3.5-liter V6 engine, the Odyssey sends 248 horsepower and 250 pound-feet torque to the front wheels by way of a six-speed automatic transmission. The V6 provides plenty of punch for the approximately 4,500 pound minivan. Full throttle sends the Odyssey from 0 to 60 mph in 7 1/2 seconds. While that may not win too many drag races, the acceleration is enough to catapult the Honda along like a hungry charging bear.

The steering is accurate and handling is very carlike for a large vehicle. Jumping in after driving a two-seat sports car required far less thought than I expected.

You certainly know that you are driving a big vehicle, but you soon forget that the Odyssey is a member of the often-maligned minivan family. Even highway passing is relatively easy, something that some smaller sportier crossovers have a hard time accomplishing.

Fuel economy is excellent thanks to a system that allows the V6 engine to run on three cylinders during highway cruising and light load conditions. The resultant fuel economy is 19 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. Considering the incredible amount of utility that the Odyssey offers, its EPA numbers represent excellent value.

Technology

Technology
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The base Odyssey LX features power windows and programmable door locks. A seven-speaker audio system featuring USB and Bluetooth connectivity allow for audio streaming and hands-free telephone calls. An 8-inch multi-information video screen comes standard, as does a rearview camera.

The EX model features an audio touch screen and a slightly more powerful audio system. Tri-Zone automatic climate control, Honda LaneWatch and HomeLink remote systems are included. Push-button start is standard on all but the LX model.

The new for 2016 SE model, which I spent a week with, adds the more-than-a-gimmick HondaVac built-in vacuum system, satellite radio and a rear DVD entertainment center with wireless headphones. Navigation is optional on the Odyssey SE. Both the vacuum and entertainment system are exclusive to the SE and top Touring Elite models.

EX-L models add a group of technology-based safety features and standard navigation.

The top-trim Touring Elite model includes a 650-Watt audio system with 12 speakers, a subwoofer and surround sound. Blind spot monitors replace the Honda LaneWatch system and the HondaVac is included. An enhanced wide-screen DVD entertainment system keeps rear-seat passengers occupied in the Odyssey Touring Elite.

Safety

Safety
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Filled with standard and optional technology based safety features, the 2016 Honda Odyssey earns a top overall score of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The 2016 Odyssey starts life with an advanced compatibility engineering (ACE) body structure and adds front, side, and side curtain air bags. Automatic tensioning seatbelts are up front and rear seats are equipped with car seat anchors and tethers for the children.

Standard active safety features include stability control, anti-lock brakes, a tire pressure monitoring system, daytime running lights and a rearview camera with guidelines.

Higher trim levels include Honda LaneWatch or blind spot monitoring, as well as forward collision warning and lane departure warning.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
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The nicely equipped Honda Odyssey LX starts at $29,275 plus an $880 destination charge. The entry-level pricing is on par with many of the Odyssey's key competitors, including the Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Town & Country. Less expensive competitors like Kia's attractive Sedona offer comparable standard features and are worth investigating if savings is a key factor.

The top-tier Touring Elite model begins at $44,750 plus destination. Honda' luxury brand Acura does not have currently have a minivan in the lineup, but if it did that model would probably look, feel and drive a lot like the Odyssey Touring Elite.

My review vehicle was a new for 2016 Special Edition SE model that started life as an EX model and received a nice bundle of family features. Loaded with value, the SE model offers significant savings for buyers looking for an Odyssey that does all the important stuff at a great price. Once loaded with the $2000 SE package that includes the HondaVac, a 9-inch DVD system, satellite radio and a 115-volt power outlet, the price is actually reduced $1,050.00 for a final suggested retail of on $33,375 plus destination.

Overall

Overall
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There is a good reason that approximately half of the vehicles at my kid's carpool lane are late model Honda Odysseys. The value, performance, fuel-efficiency and utility of Honda's benchmark minivan are legendary. While there are less expensive minivans on the market, few have achieved the reputation that Honda's seven or eight-seater has earned for reliability and longevity.

The 2016 Honda Odyssey offers carlike handling characteristics, with nearly twice the passenger capacity and almost 10 times the maximum cargo space of a comparably priced midsize sedan. 

While it may not roll with the swagger of a full-size SUV or boast the raw performance of a high-horsepower sport sedan, the 2016 Odyssey beats them both when it comes down to bottom line costs and real-world convenience.