12 Best Family Cars: 2018 Honda Odyssey
The Honda Odyssey is one of this year’s very best family vehicles. Of course, we said the same thing last year. And the year before. And the year before that. We’ve been saying the same thing every year since 2008, in fact, when this annual list began.
But this isn’t the same Odyssey we were talking about 12 months ago. Honda’s venerable minivan has been completely redesigned for 2018, and in our first review we weren’t hesitant to call it the best family car in the world. A couple months later we named it our Minivan Best Buy of 2018. And now, here we are again.
Features and flexibility
Utility is the name of the game in the world of minivans. Every minivan offers plenty of room for family, friends and all their stuff, and they all make loading and unloading easy. That’s the cost of entry in the segment.
But the Odyssey does most of it better, as Honda has gone above and beyond in both details and features. For instance, the Odyssey’s new Magic Slide second row features outboard seats that move not just up and back, but also side to side. Two friends can sit shoulder to shoulder without either of them having to sit on the hump, or two siblings can slide the seats outward to sit safely away from each other. Or slide the seats to one side and all the way forward for extra-wide access to the third row. Other rear seating highlights include a roomy, three-person third row and LATCH accommodations for up to five child safety seats.
But the list of cool new features on the 2018 Honda Odyssey is truly too long to expand on here. There’s a brand new infotainment system with the ease and responsiveness of your smartphone. Built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi. In-cabin camera and driver’s voice amplification. Wireless phone charging. And the HondaVac returns. If you want to know more about any of these cool new features, check out our 2018 Honda Odyssey First Review.
Comfort and drivability
Here’s how we described it in our first review of the new Odyssey: “The 2018 Honda Odyssey is smooth off the line and glides through gears. On city streets and in parking lots it changes direction with the ease and willingness of a smaller vehicle, and stops in the same manner. On the highway it is quiet, comfortable and confidently controlled. It’s the best-driving minivan we’ve ever driven.”
The 2018 Honda Odyssey doesn’t just drive more like a car than any other minivan, it drives like a very well-sorted car. Whether the net result is a more satisfying driving experience or simply a less burdensome one, the Odyssey is a standout from behind the wheel.
Technology plays a key part in the Odyssey’s superior driving experience, too. About 95 percent of Odysseys on the lot -- all but the base-level Odyssey LX -- come equipped with the Honda Sensing suite of driver assist and safety technologies. Adaptive cruise control watches the vehicle ahead and adjusts speed accordingly, while lane keeping assist helps with the constant little corrections required to steer a car straight down the highway. Collision mitigation braking and road departure mitigation are also part of the mix.
Additional assistants include blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors and a multi-angle rearview camera that makes it easy to see down the parking-lot aisle you’re backing into.
And it’s not just better to drive -- the Odyssey is good for passengers, too. In combination with a controlled ride and quiet cabin, the Odyssey features comfortable seating in all three rows.
Reputation and resale value
If there’s one thing that remains mostly unchanged on the new Honda Odyssey it’s the brand’s established reputation for delivering reliability and resale value. If you plan to sell it in a few years, the Odyssey will put more money back in your pocket than most other minivans. If you plan to keep it until your youngest leaves the nest, it’s hard to bet against the Odyssey’s track record for delivering years of satisfying ownership.
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