2016 Honda Odyssey Special Edition Quick Take
The 2016 Honda Odyssey represents the last year for the current-generation minivan, and true to form, Honda is capping the run with a Special Edition. The formula has been repeated in various Honda models for years: take a mid-level trim of a model -- in this case, the Odyssey EX -- add some equipment from a higher-end model, slap on a Special Edition badge and low price, and call it a day.
This year's Odyssey Special Edition includes quite a bit. There's the usual EX-levels of equipment, which means you get a backup camera, touch-screen infotainment system, tri-zone automatic climate control, a three-across second row that adjusts sideways for extra hip room, and side-view Lane Watch camera, and everything else that makes the Odyssey such an excellent people mover. To that, Honda adds a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, SiriusXM satellite radio, and the HondaVac internal vacuum system. This makes it the only Odyssey in the lineup to offer HondaVac besides the Touring Elite, and it does it for an MSRP of less than $35,000. In case it wasn't clear, that's a bargain.
There's no getting around the fact that the current Honda Odyssey's best days are behind it, especially with the new Chrysler Pacifica now on sale. But a weekend in this special edition reminded us just how good a job Honda did on the fundamentals in the first place. It's roomy, so roomy that there were no complaints from eight people on a two hour drive, even from the third row. The steering and suspension are spot on, delivering a comfortable ride, but with enough bite that the Odyssey retains its composure around corners. Yes, it'd be nice if there was a blind spot monitor, but the Lane Watch is better on the passenger side anyhow, and the Odyssey's outside view is otherwise good enough that just turning your head and looking still provides useful visual information.
OK, so it doesn't have things like adaptive cruise, around-view camera, massaging seats, leather, or any other modern luxuries. But it's a mid-level model, and we don't expect those things at that price point anyhow. But if you're looking for a new minivan on a limited budget, or just like the idea of owning one with a built-in vacuum cleaner, the 2016 Honda Odyssey Special Edition may just be your swan song.
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