The 2021 Honda Odyssey minivan has a restyled front end, including the grille, front bumper and LED headlights. (Manufacturer photo)

The 2021 Honda Odyssey minivan has a restyled front end, including the grille, front bumper and LED headlights. (Manufacturer photo)

Functional, practical Honda Odyssey is a favorite among buyers

There’s plenty of room inside this minivan for people, pets and whatnot, and it’s even good in snow.

Minivans are unbeatable for their functionality and practicality as passenger vehicles, offering lots of room for people, pets and cargo, with good fuel economy and pricing within reach.

Counting retail sales alone and excluding fleet sales, the Honda Odyssey has been the top-selling minivan in the United States for the past 10 years.

The 2021 model has an appearance update for the front end including a new grille, bumper, and LED headlights. In back, there’s a new horizontal glossy black accent piece with a center chrome strip.

Inside the new Odyssey, the highly variable sliding second-row seat system is modified. Outboard seats now fold nearly flat, so they’re easier to remove.

The Honda Sensing group of driver assistance and collision avoidance technology is now standard equipment on every Odyssey model. Three significant components have been added to Honda Sensing for 2021: adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and traffic sign recognition. They join the preexisting forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and road departure mitigation.

Odyssey’s trim level lineup stays the same for 2021: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, and Elite.

The LX model ($32,910 including a $1,120 destination charge) has seven-passenger seating and comes with a respectable list of standard items including rear seat reminder, a feature new for 2021 on all Odyssey models to warn the driver against leaving the vehicle with a child or pet in the back seats. It can be integrated with Honda’s CabinWatch child viewing camera system.

Heated and ventilated front seats, navigation, and an 11-speaker premium audio system are standard features of the Odyssey Elite interior, shown here. (Manufacturer photo)

Heated and ventilated front seats, navigation, and an 11-speaker premium audio system are standard features of the Odyssey Elite interior, shown here. (Manufacturer photo)

Spend an extra $3,400 for the next-level EX and you acquire eight-passenger seating and some pretty tasty features beyond the basics, such as heated front seats with 12-way power for the driver, Honda’s Magic Slide second-row seats that slide sideways as well as forward and back, power sliding side doors (a must-have, IMO), three-zone climate control, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, SiriusXM satellite radio, and blind spot monitoring. LED fog lights are newly standard on the EX for 2021.

My Odyssey tester was the $48,940 Elite model, a rolling extravaganza with everything on the EX plus navigation, premium 11-speaker audio, rear seat entertainment system, sunroof, mobile hotspot, wireless phone charger, second- and third-row sunshades, power tailgate with hands-free function, built-in vacuum cleaner, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, rain sensing wipers and I could go on and on but I’ve already gone on too long.

The Odyssey engine is a wonderful 3.5-liter V6 producing 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Its mate is a 10-speed automatic transmission and they are a perfect couple. Fuel economy ratings are 19 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined. Regular fuel is recommended.

All-wheel drive isn’t commonly found in minivans, and is not available among the Odyssey models. But Odyssey’s front-engine, front-wheel drive configuration provides a good head start for driving in snow. I had the Odyssey Elite during our recent big snowstorm, and with the minivan’s standard all-season tires and Snow driving mode, it was as right as rain.

All 2021 Honda Odyssey models have a 280-horsepower V6 engine and a 10-speed automatic transmission. (Manufacturer photo)

All 2021 Honda Odyssey models have a 280-horsepower V6 engine and a 10-speed automatic transmission. (Manufacturer photo)

2021 HONDA ODYSSEY ELITE

Base price, including destination charge: $48,940

Price as driven: $49,335

Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.

Talk to us

More in Life

Carole G. Barton, teacher and author of 'The Friendship Adventure'  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Marysville woman’s new book fulfills a promise to her mother

“The Friendship Adventure” teaches children about working together and problem-solving.

Take-home activity kits help a local Girl Scout troop stay engaged over Zoom. (Jennifer Bardsley)
Where are the cookies? Girl Scouts different during pandemic

The girls aren’t camping, horseback riding or hiking because of COVID-19. But they’re still Scouting.

Dr. Paul on finding resilience during hard times like these

No matter how strong we are, anyone can be knocked down. Here’s how to cope so you can get back up.

Milan’s main square and cathedral.
Rick Steves on appreciating Italy’s most underrated city, Milan

A highlight? Leonardo’s “The Last Supper” mural at Milan’s Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie.

I paid twice for my airline ticket — can I get one refunded?

After a mix-up with her cruise line, Ruby Tyson pays for her airline tickets twice. Is there any way to get one of them refunded?

See 81 original paintings by Jack Dorsey in the "No. 81" exhibit through May at Sunnyshore Studio on Camano Island.
Camano Island studio celebrates a patriarch of the arts

“No. 81” features 81 of Jack Dorsey’s paintings on his 81st birthday. You can see 28 of them at Sunnyshore Studio.

The vocal supergroup Säje will perform at the DeMiero Jazz Festival, which is March 4-6 this year.
DeMiero Jazz Festival packed with headlining performers

Edmonds’ 45th annual event will feature 17 virtual performances, plus jazz workshops for local students.

Owners Kim and Larry Harris at Bayernmoor Cellars on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020 in Stanwood, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
World-class wine, from grapes grown right here

Bayernmoor Cellars makes award-winning pinot noir from grapes grown at its vineyard northeast of Stanwood.

(Getty Images)
You voted: The best cocktails in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people still have their favorites.

Most Read