By KBB.com Editors
Minivan may not be the sexiest word in the automotive lexicon, but when life dictates a need for something functional, fuel efficient and family friendly, the 2011 Honda Odyssey is tough to beat. Its "lightning-bolt" beltline design ensures that you won't lose it in a Disneyland parking lot, and available features – like a widescreen rear-seat entertainment system with a 12-speaker, 650-watt 5.1 surround sound system – guarantee that you'll have street cred with your kids' carpool buddies. Plus, when you find yourself kid-free for the night, comfortable seating for up to eight adults makes it the perfect party bus.You'll Like This Car If...
Looking for a comfortable, flexible and feature-laden family hauler backed by a reputation for quality and stellar resale value? The Honda Odyssey fits the bill.You May Not Like This Car If...
The family-friendly Odyssey isn't exactly the most wallet-friendly minivan. With all the bells and whistles, a fully-loaded Touring Elite will cost you nearly $44,000, which is more than any other two-wheel drive minivan out there.What's Significant About This Car?
The all-new, fourth-generation 2011 Honda Odyssey sports a bolder look and more of the people-pleasing features that have made the Odyssey a long-time family favorite.Driving It Driving Impressions
For a minivan, you won't find a more well-rounded ride than the 2011 Honda Odyssey. With decent power under hood, a choice of two smooth-shifting transmissions, solid steering and confident braking, there's not much to complain about when it comes to driving this people mover. In fact, Honda felt so confident about the Odyssey's abilities on the road that they provided the opportunity to drive it on a small handling course. Our verdict? Although you won't forget that you're behind the wheel of a large and heavy vehicle, the Odyssey handles admirably well when and where it needs to, which is more than we can say for some other seven- and eight-passenger vehicles out there. If you're hesitant about welcoming a minivan into your family, rest assured, the Honda Odyssey is a solid choice.Favorite Features
60/40 Split Third-row Magic Seat
Improved for 2011, the "Magic Seat" system in the Odyssey allows you to effortlessly and quickly fold the third-row seats into the floor with the simple pull of a strap. While other minivans offer a power-folding third row, Honda's manual system is faster and more satisfying in a do-it-yourself kind of way.
Ultrawide Rear Entertainment System with 5.1 Surround-sound and HDMI port
As if a widescreen with dual-screen capabilities and an HDMI port for gaming consoles wasn't cool enough, when paired with the surround-sound system, the back of the Odyssey becomes a home theatre system on wheels.
The 2011 Honda Odyssey fully makes use of every available square inch of space inside. From the "wide-mode" second-row seats that can slide outward by 1.5 inches to allow for three car seats to sit side-by-side, to the substantial 42.4-inch third-row legroom, it's easy to comfortably fit seven or eight passengers (adults, even) in this people mover. Center second-row seats – when equipped – move forward by 5.5 inches, allowing you to move whomever is in that seat closer to the front. For 2011, the Odyssey also offers a 16.2-inch widescreen rear entertainment system. Although the 2011 Toyota Sienna offers a slightly wider screen at 16.4 inches, the Odyssey adds into the mix a 12-speaker, 650-watt, 5.1 surround sound system with HDMI port, allowing you to turn the back of the van into a mobile living room.Exterior
The 2011 Honda Odyssey is lower, wider, and more angular in appearance than any generation before it, and the "lightning-bolt" beltline that zig-zags just beneath the rear window on either side of the vehicle gives this minivan enough visual panache to stand out in a crowd. A good portion of the Odyssey's sleeker, more sculpted look is thanks to improvements in the vehicle's aerodynamics, which directly contribute to better fuel economy and a quieter ride. This new generation also rolls on slightly larger wheels: 17-inchers fill the wheel wells on LX, EX, and EX-L models, while the Touring and Touring Elite trims get 18-inch wheels.Notable Standard Equipment
Choose the base Honda Odyssey LX and you'll get a five-speed automatic transmission, seating for seven passengers, 17-inch wheels, cloth seats, "wide-mode" adjustable second-row seats, one-motion 60/40 split third-row folding seat and a 12-volt power outlet. To keep you and your loved ones safe, every 2011 Odyssey comes equipped with three-row side-curtain and multiple-threshold front airbags, active front-seat head restraints, electronic brake distribution with brake assist, five Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) positions and electronic stability and traction controls.Notable Optional Equipment
As with all Honda products, most additional features are tied to trim level. Moving up from the base LX to the EX trim nets you seating for eight passengers, power sliding rear doors, rear sunshades, tri-zone automatic climate control, a removable front center console (large enough to store a purse) and an additional 12-volt power outlet. The EX-L gets leather seating, a USB port, Bluetooth phone connectivity, rearview camera, automatic rear-dimming mirror, front-seat drink coolbox and satellite radio. The Touring trim includes a six-speed automatic transmission, integrated side-mirror turn signals, parking sensors, navigation and a rear-seat entertainment system, while the range-topping Touring Elite adds a blind spot warning system, a rear-view camera and a widescreen rear seat entertainment system with an HDMI port and 650-watt, 12-speaker 5.1 surround sound system. If a navigation or rear-seat entertainment system is on your list of must-haves, keep in mind that you'll have step up to the EX-L trim or beyond.Under the Hood
The 2011 Honda Odyssey offers only one engine: a 248-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 with Variable Cylinder Management, which shuts off cylinders depending on driving conditions for maximum fuel efficiency. LX, EX and EX-L trims pair the engine with a five-speed automatic transmission, while Touring trims get a six-speed automatic. Both transmissions can be shifted into a lower gear (third on the five-speed and fourth on the six-speed) on the fly, but they cannot be shifted sequentially into any other gear, unlike the Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Town & Country. The six-speed-equipped Touring trim also offers slightly better fuel economy, although Honda says this bump has more to do with improved vehicle aerodynamics than it does with the extra gear.
248 horsepower @ 5700 rpm
250 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
EPA City/Highway Fuel Economy: 18/27 (LX, EX and EX-L), 19/28 (Touring and Touring Elite)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the 2011 Honda Odyssey LX starts around $28,500, which is about $1,000 more than the outgoing 2010 Odyssey. Move up to the EX, and pricing is closer to $32,000, while the top-of-the-line Touring Elite trim stickers in near $44,000. That's about $500 more than a similarly equipped 2011 Toyota Sienna Limited FWD, $4,000 more than the Chrysler Town & Country Limited, and nearly $10,000 more than a Kia Sedona EX (which includes far fewer goodies, though). As for residuals, the Honda Odyssey has been a strong performer in the past, and we expect this newest generation to follow suit, remaining a leader in the minivan segment.