2014 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite Review
The ultimate road trip vehicle.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: October 20th, 2013
Minivans have gotten a bad rap. In an era in which bigger is supposed to be better and utility is the big buzz word, minivans have been deemed "not cool." Meanwhile people gladly slap down way too much money for oversized trucks and ill-conceived crossovers that offer less cargo space, smaller seating capacity, fewer safety features, and much worse gas mileage.
But minivans are boring, there's no escaping that fact. They're big generic boxes of steel that came to symbolize everything bad about the suburbs. Honda, realizing this, has struggled mightily to give the new Odyssey some cool cred. What they came up with is anything but cool, but what managed to create, whether they knew it or not, was the ultimate partymobile.
On the Road
There's no getting around the fact that minivans are just no fun to drive, but the new Odyssey is at least easy to drive. The iVTEC V6 makes sufficient power to confidently travel over road and interstate without falling behind the flow of traffic, and that's really the best you're ever going to get out of a minivan. And let's face it, it's all you really need if you're doing the kind of traveling that requires sufficient seating for eight people.
Honda did a nice job making the Odyssey look spiffier on the outside. It's got a lower stance than previous models, and rather than try to hide the track for the sliding side doors, Honda has made it a point of style. Of course, we use the word "style" in the most relative of senses, but there are sharper lines and more curved surfaces on the new Odyssey that do in fact give this minivan a lightly less boxy appearance. Still, once the stick-figure-family decal is applied to the rear window there'll be no mistaking this rolling studio apartment for anything other than what it is.
Step inside the Odyssey and you'll understand why this is a vehicle that is being wasted on taking a bunch of sevensomethings to their soccer tournaments. For every seat there are two drink holders and you're never far from an outlet for any of your electronic devices. There are several USB ports, one input for RCA video connections, and even an HDMI port if you want to take your BluRay player or PlayStation on the road with you -- there's even a 115-volt standard household outlet, which truly makes the Odyssey a literal mobile home.
The big addition to the new Odyssey is the HondaVac, the built-in vacuum cleaner that is capable of cleaning up all things crumbled, tracked in, or tossed aside. It's a brilliant addition - perfect for parents of small children or anyone choosing to make this vehicle their home. The HondaVac reaches all corners of the Odyssey with ease, and even comes with attachments.
The Touring Elite comes with an ultra-wide flip-out video screen that can either display one video in a ridiculously wide-screen ratio, or two videos side-by-side. The wireless headphones can be set to tune into either one of the two videos being displayed on the screen, allowing for multi-screen functionality from a single screen.
The third-row seats are so simple to stow and replace that even a person with only one free hand can operate them. Honda's designers clearly thought of everything with this Odyssey, and it's hard to imagine a better minivan.
You'll never look cool or feel cool driving a Honda Odyssey, but if you are in a position to frequently need to carry multiple passengers long distances, whether those passengers are children or adults, the Odyssey is the best thing this side of a stretch limo. It's an all-frills vehicle with no pretensions of luxury, although it's plenty comfortable. It serves every purpose your SUV or crossover wishes it could serve (short of hauling things best hauled by a pickup or going off road -- two things most truck owners rarely do) and it does it getting nearly 30 mpg on the highway and topping out at a reasonable $44,000.
Specs,Features & Prices
Engine: 24-valve i-VTEC V6
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Power Output: 248 hp / 250 lb-ft
Seating Capacity: 8
Fuel Economy: 18 city / 28 highway
Price: $44,450 (as tested)
Cargo Volume: 148.5 cu. Ft. (behind first row)
Features: Honda DVD Ultrawide Rear Entertainment System with HDMIÂ®Technology and High-Resolution WVGA Screen, HondaVac, One-Motion 60/40 Split 3rd-Row Magic SeatÂ®, Premium Audio System with 12 Speakers, Including Subwoofer and 5.1 Surround Sound Theater Mode, Heated side mirrors.
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2014 Honda Odyssey, click here: 2014 Honda Odyssey.