Thursday, February 22, 2024
Reviews 2021 Honda Odyssey Touring Review: Still The Driver’s Minivan

2021 Honda Odyssey Touring Review: Still The Driver’s Minivan

The 2021 Honda Odyssey is refined, ultra-functional, and always good to live with

  • The base price for the 2021 Honda Odyssey in Canada is $42,805 in Canada, $32,090 in the US.

  • The 2022 Honda Odyssey is already available for sale and for one reason.

  • The Odyssey is still a go-to minivan for all the right reasons.

The Honda Odyssey is one of the continent’s favorite minivans. It’s also one of the last remaining of its kind in 2021. With only four of them left on the market (if we bundle the Chryslers into one), the pickings for both the manufacturers and buyers are slim. Selecting the Odyssey however is never a cause for concern.

2021 Honda Odyssey Touring | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

I’ve described Honda as being cursed by excellence and forward-thinking. The list of vehicles they’ve developed and failed to sell at volume is considerable. The vehicles themselves now, for the most part, have become sought-after and revered as pre-owned purchases. In the Odyssey’s case, even going as far back as the mid-90s version, it’s always been a hit.

Drives like a Honda

One factor that’s always separated the Odyssey from the others is the way it drives. Sometimes, adults have to adult,s and buying a minivan is the best way to handle family life. If you’re trading in a 3-year old Accord that you bought because you liked the drive, there’s no better minivan to replace it than the Odyssey.

2021 Honda Odyssey Touring | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Unlike the Accord, the Honda Odyssey has always driven “like a Honda.” In fact, it might be the only Honda vehicle in the last two decades to not have strayed away from being a true Honda. And today, I can safely say, right now, that the Odyssey is the more satisfying minivan to drive, more so than the Toyota Sienna or Chrysler Pacifica.

Wonderful V6 and chassis

This is due to numerous factors. The heart of the van is Honda’s deliciously smooth and responsive 3.5-litre V6 (that has more in common with Acura’s supercar than you think…). With 280 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque, it’s among the more powerful, and spritely. The standard 10-speed automatic transmission is perfectly adapted to V6, allowing it to bellow under hard throttle inputs, or seamlessly getting the van to drive like pouring honey in your tea. It’s also reasonable on fuel requiring about 11L/100km.

2021 Honda Odyssey Touring | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Another factor is the Odyssey’s platform and chassis tune. Essentially, as I described above, this minivan drives like a Honda meaning that it feels nimble, responsive, almost agile, and steering is light. The fully-independent suspension, with a multi-link setup in the rear, delivers equal parts refinement and surefooted handling.

Honda design

The current-generation Honda Odyssey dates back to the 2018 model year. In 2020, it received a facelift which includes, in part, a revised front end. It retains its unique character lines that contrast the rear-dropping beltline. The tested Touring trim includes specific 19-inch wheels which, other than the “Touring” badge, is the only way to distinguish it from the other trims. Overall, it’s a good-looking minivan.

2021 Honda Odyssey Touring | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The cabin is designed around familiar Honda cues. Ergonomics are straightforward with the exception of the still un-intuitive shifter-control buttons. The standard 8-inch touchscreen display, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, poses no problems. As always with a Honda vehicle, assembly quality is beyond reproach and materials seem durable.

Storage and seating

All seating positions are comfortable and with plenty of wiggle room. The third row will accommodate three children with ease or, in a pinch, two normal-sized adults. The second row, with its included Magic Slide seats, can also seat three easily. The central position can fold into an armrest or be removed to create captain-style seats. The “Magic Slide” aspect refers to the ability to slide both seats and creating a smaller second-row bench. The tracks for this setup limit the middle row’s fore-and-aft travel. Even in its rearward most position, clearance between my kids’ feet and the front seatbacks is not as great as it could be.

2021 Honda Odyssey Touring | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

What is great though is the amount of available storage. There are bins everywhere and of many useful sizes. Also, Honda’s Advanced Rear Entertainment System with a central 10.2-inch screen is standard on all trims except for the EX-L Navi. And finally, the reason why the 2022 Odyssey is already on sale? Supply shortages of the HondaVAC in-car vacuum system, which was included in all 2021 model year vehicles, won’t be available for 2022.

An Odyssey for your family?

Absolutely. Its faults are limited to being offered as a front-wheel-drive-only vehicle and that there’s at least one option that’s more efficient. On the latter point, the Toyota Sienna is unbeatable.

Far from being affordable family vehicles they once were, minivans still have much to offer. The 2021 (and 2022) Honda Odyssey is competitively priced given its level of features and pricing structure. This is especially true with the tested Touring which, at $54,005, is more than $2,000 less expensive than the near-equivalent Pacifica and Sienna.

The Honda Odyssey is still a great minivan.

2021 Honda Odyssey Touring | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2021 Honda Odyssey Touring | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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