Monday, June 17, 2024

2023 Honda Odyssey Review

Published:

Pros: ‘Magic’ middle row great for parents with small kids; plush ride; Honda reliability reputation
Cons: No cheaper base model; dreary to drive even for a minivan; no hybrid or AWD

The 2023 Honda Odyssey isn’t so much an automobile as it is the ultimate piece of parenting gear. From novel features like its “Magic” sliding second-row seats and available onboard vacuum to common-but-indispensable traits like remotely openingdoors and gargantuan cargo space, it’s far more akin to a BOB Rambler, Britax Boulevard or MamaRoo – cleverly engineered items specifically designed to make parents’ lives easier. While being oriented toward kids and parents might seem obvious for a minivan, none are so unabashedly centered on that goal than the Odyssey.

While competitors attempt to hide their van-ness, the Odyssey lets its van flag fly. There was no attempt to add sporty or SUV-like flourishes outside, while inside, the dash has all the visual appeal of an ATM. The driving experience is similarly indifferent, characterized by loose steering and a pillowy ride (unlike earlier Accord-like Odysseys). It’s all about the kids here, and they don’t care if you’re getting feedback through the wheel or your eyes are treated to an interesting-looking dash.

They also probably don’t care about fuel economy, but that’s one of the few objective areas where the Odyssey trails its competitors. While its V6 engine is perfectly fine relative similarly powered vans, the Chrysler Pacifica offers an exceptional plug-in hybrid model while the Toyota Sienna is only offered as a hybrid that gets an estimated 36 mpg combined. The Odyssey gets 22 mpg, and while it’s more powerful, we’re guessing sacrificing some acceleration in favor of an estimated $1,000 per year on gas will be a trade worth making.

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