2023 Honda Odyssey Review: The ultimate baby gadget (for better and worse)

Advantages: ‘Magic’ middle row is great for parents and children; ride plush; Honda’s reputation for reliability

Cons: No base model is cheaper; dreary driving even for a minivan; no hybrid or AWD

The 2023 Honda Odyssey isn’t so much a car as it is the ultimate parenting tool. From novel features such as the “Magic” second-row seats and the available onboard vacuum to common-but-indispensable features such as remote door opening and a large cargo space, it is more like a BOB Rambler, Britax Boulevard or MamaRoo – the engineered stuff smart specially designed to make life easier for parents. While being oriented toward kids and parents may seem obvious for a minivan, none is less focused on that goal than the Odyssey.

While competitors try to hide their van-ness, Odyssey leaves its van flag. There is no attempt to add any sporty or SUV-like flourishes on the outside, while inside, the dash has all the visual appeal of an ATM. The driving experience is similarly indifferent, characterized by a loose steering wheel and a pillowy ride (unlike previous Accord Odysseys). It’s all about the kids here, and they don’t care if you get feedback from the wheels or your eyes are treated to a fun dash.

It also doesn’t seem to care about fuel economy, but that’s one of the few areas of purpose where the Odyssey trails its competitors. While the V6 engine is perfect for similar 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 would be a trade worth making.

Interior & Technology | passenger & cargo space | Performance & Fuel Economy

How is it driving | Price & Cut Level | Crash Rating & Safety Features

What’s new for 2023?

The base LX is being discontinued, making the EX the new base trim and the base price of the 2023 Odyssey will be higher. A new Sports Odyssey also debuts. This is basically taking the EX-L trim and adding a black grille, wheels and exterior trim, plus contrasting red stitching to the interior’s black leather. The interior ambient light is also red. The 2023 Odyssey is the first Honda to offer Honda Service Pass, which provides scheduled maintenance for two years or 24,000 miles.

How is the interior technology with the Odyssey car?

If you’ve recently test driven a Kia Carnival, Chrysler Pacifica or Toyota Sienna, the Odyssey’s cabin might seem a bit dull. Material quality is acceptable, and there’s no faulting Honda’s ability to put things together, but aesthetics are pure functionality. All its competitors have made strides towards cabins that feel less van-like when behind the wheel – Odyssey leans hard on its vandom.

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For that purpose, though, it’s remarkably functional. There is a wall gutter between the front seats that allows you to carry your purse. There are hidden drawers that can be detached to prevent things from sliding around, plus another bin under the console’s roller doors and a wireless charging pad on the upper trim level. There are very functional holders for cups and bottles on the console and doors, while you’ll find special places to store your devices on the doors and seats. The top trim level even comes with a built-in vacuum.

The touchscreen infotainment system found on all but the base trims is easy to see and reach, and generally straightforward to use. We like the crisp graphics, intuitive menus and configurable tiles that allow you to place the functions you want. We have experienced some freezes when using the standard Apple CarPlay, however, especially when also trying to use our car’s native navigation system (which is also a disappointingly sparse affair). We also generally like the interfaces of the Carnival and Pacifica, plus Sienna’s available widescreen system.

There are novel and surprisingly useful features available at the top trim level. There is a vacuum in the car (which is now also offered by Toyota and Chrysler). There’s also CabinWatch, which uses a wide-angle lens above the second row to let you see what’s in each seat, including the rear-facing child seats (the Pacifica offers the same). It is paired with a CabinTalk system that allows you to bring your voice through the rear speakers and/or headphones of the rear seat entertainment system (the Sienna offers something similar to this). The threat of “don’t make me stop this car!” will never miss it again.

How big is the Odyssey?

On the outside, the Odyssey is effectively the same size as the Pacifica and Sienna (though it weighs less). Their interior is also so great that the difference is basically moot point. That includes the amount of space behind the third-row seats, which we found to be larger than expected in the Odyssey. You can fit back there from the cargo area of ​​the most compact and midsize crossovers (and exponentially more than you can behind the third row of large crossovers).

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Actually, the difference between the vans comes down to the functionality of the second row seats. They all use different concepts, which cater to the needs and preferences of different owners. Odyssey is different with its “Magic Slide” second row seats. We went into depth in this Odyssey Driveway Test, and its excellent ability to accommodate a baby car seat, but in short, it is a good idea and suitable for parents of young children (although the unique configuration of eight passengers of the Carnival comes. close). Bigger kids will likely appreciate the far-sliding captain’s chairs in the seven-passenger Carnival and Sienna that provide more space (the Odyssey’s limited fore-and-aft arrangement also results in a smaller gap between seats and pillars for third-row access). If you prioritize cargo versatility, your best bet is to fold down the non-hybrid Stow ‘N Go Pacifica seats.

What is Odyssey fuel economy and performance specifications?

Every Odyssey has the same powertrain and drivetrain: a 3.5-liter V6 good for 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque paired with a 10-speed automatic and front-wheel drive. Unlike the Sienna and Pacifica, Honda doesn’t offer a hybrid or all-wheel drive option. The engine shuts down a bank of cylinders to save fuel, and automatically stops and starts when the van stops. Still, the fuel economy pales in comparison to that of the hybrid at 19 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. The EPA says you’ll spend $1,000 more on gas per year compared to the Sienna and possibly more compared to the Pacifica Hybrid.

How to drive the Odyssey?

The Odyssey’s steering wheel is surprisingly loose in the center for a Honda and lacks precision. It requires more attention and correction when driving on winding country roads than we’d like (the lane-keeping assist system rears its head a lot), and doesn’t give much confidence, let alone engagement. Odysseys were once described as driving like big Accords. It’s not a new problem, and we prefer to drive all of its competition.

Now, with that big old caveat noted, the 2023 Odyssey remains comfortable and quiet. Your passengers will be perfectly snug, happy and undisturbed by whatever is playing on their device. Wide visibility and a short front end make parking easy, as does a loose steering wheel. There is also no shortage of power. Its 280 hp is more than enough to spin rubber from a stop with heavy feet, and get out of the way yourself (and anyone else) pulling out onto the road with limited visibility or merging with highway traffic. It actually sounds just macho enough to make you feel good about flooring your family hauler from time to time. Its standard 10-speed automatic transmission helps keep the revs under control for quiet driving. There are even standard paddle shifters you can feel free to ignore unless you are traversing steep hills or towing something behind you.

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What other Honda Odyssey reviews can I read?

Honda Odyssey Baby Car Seat Driveway Test

We take a deep dive into the Magic Slide second row seat and see how a baby car seat works with the Odyssey.

Honda Odyssey Luggage Test: How much fits behind the third row?

Did we know that all our luggage would fit behind the third row? Oh yes. Are we still surprised by how much space is left? Also yes.

2021 Honda Odyssey First Drive Review

There are significant changes to the current generation Odyssey for 2021. Here are the details of them and our first impressions of why they make a difference.

How much does Odyssey 2023 cost?

Since the Odyssey no longer offers the base LX trim level, the entry level 2023 Odyssey is the EX and comes in at a reasonable $38,635 with a destination charge of $1,295. That makes it the priciest minivan to get into, especially compared to the Kia Carnival. Things start to even out from there, but we will say that the Odyssey’s rather useful interior makes the $50,765 Elite trim seem like a bad value in the face of high lux range-topping rival trim levels. As such, the lower trim level Odysseys are more competitive.

All prices below include a destination charge of $1,295.

EX: $38,635
EX-L: $41,705
Sports: $42,505
Tour: $44,450
Elite: $50,765

What are the Odyssey’s safety ratings and driver assistance features?

Every Odyssey comes standard with forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane departure warning and lane assist, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, and adaptive cruise control (including lane center steering and stop-and-go ability).

The Odyssey received five out of five stars from NHTSA for overall, frontal and side crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also gave it the best rating of Top Safety Pick + for the highest mark in every possible category but one: headlights, where it got an “Acceptable” grade. Even the LATCH anchors are given the best-possible rating of Good + for their ease of use – something we can definitely confirm.

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