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The 2021 Honda Odyssey is the Minivan Leader for Families on Everyman Driver

With a styling theme that dates back a decade, the 2021 Honda Odyssey has a familiar look that has been tweaked for the new model year. The grille and front bumper are new, every trim level gets standard LED headlights with automatic high-beam operation, and a new gloss black spear with a chrome insert stretching the width of the taillights. New wheel designs also debut for the top three trim levels. Essentially, these minor modifications serve to modernize the Odyssey by reducing brightwork. The starting MSRP is $31,790.

What’s new:

  • Mild styling update
  • Lightly refreshed interior
  • Honda Sensing suite of driving aids now standard
  • Part of the fifth Odyssey generation introduced for 2018

Pros & Cons

  • Configurable second-row seats are very useful
  • Packed with modern safety and tech features
  • Strong V6 engine and stable handling make it enjoyable to drive
  • Mediocre fuel economy
  • No power-folding third-row seats
  • Overly vigilant forward collision warning system is frustrating

Equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 engine and a ten-speed automatic transmission powering the front wheels, the 2021 Honda Odyssey’s drivetrain is identical to last year’s model. The engine makes 280 horsepower, and the transmission includes Normal, Sport, Econ, and Snow driving modes as well as a set of paddle shifters that few people will use.

Supplying smooth, effortless power, this V6 and automatic transmission are a terrific combination. The engine includes variable cylinder management, a fuel-saving technology that allows it to operate on fewer cylinders under certain driving conditions, thereby conserving fuel. The EPA says the 2021 Odyssey should get 22 mpg in combined driving, and we averaged 21.8 mpg on our testing loop.

All-wheel drive (AWD) is unavailable. With both Chrysler and Toyota offering AWD in their 2021 model-year minivans, this puts the front-wheel-drive (FWD) Odyssey at a disadvantage in parts of the country where snow and ice are a regular occurrence.

Storage space is excellent, as is expected of a minivan. However, the Elite’s standard wireless smartphone charger does take up some room on the center console’s top tray. Even the front doors have shelves to make extra space for various items.

Starting with EX trim, the Odyssey is equipped with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that equips the minivan with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, HD Radio, text-messaging support, basic HondaLink connectivity, and a Cabin Control smartphone app that gives everyone aboard in a say in the road-trip music and climate control selections.Honda improves the Odyssey’s already impressive safety for 2021.

The automaker’s collection of advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS), called Honda Sensing, is now standard with base LX trim. Furthermore, Honda Sensing expands its capabilities thanks to a new radar unit and, now that LED headlights with automatic high-beam assist are standard, the Odyssey should once again earn a Top Safety Pick recommendation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Compared to other vehicles that can’t match a 2021 Odyssey in terms of passenger comfort or outright cargo space, ranging from Honda’s own Pilot to full-size SUVs like the Chevy Suburban, this minivan is a bargain in terms of utility and practicality. Plus, it gets better gas mileage than the majority of similar-sized SUVs. Compared to other minivans, the Odyssey is less compelling in terms of value.

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