Cars Tech

2018 Honda Odyssey: Minivans Are Still The Best Family Car; Does Honda Still Make The Best Minivan?

2018 Honda Odyssey Driving

American Honda

The 2018 Honda Odyssey offers a range of segment-first features

The minivan stigma continues to dog this segment of the new car market. Sales are off 18 percent so far this year, though they were up last year by 8 percent. That was likely do to a redesign of the Chrysler Pacifica, but it’s safe to say these family movers have settled in around 500,000 annual units. Within that number Honda claims to have the best-selling minivan…with the caveat you measure sales by individual retail buyers and don’t include corporate/fleet activity. Regardless of caveats there’s no denying the Honda Odyssey’s impressive history. It’s been an innovative minivan player for almost 20 years, and the redesigned 2018 Honda Odyssey continues the tradition with a slew of segment-first features.

2018 Honda Odyssey Rear

American Honda

The 2018 Honda Odyssey sits on an all-new, high-strength platform

Before hitting the new interior design and high-tech toys let’s confirm the structure on which this latest Odyssey is built. Using Honda’s “Global Light Truck” platform as a starting point (the same platform underpins the Honda Pilot), the 2018 Odyssey features the latest “Advanced Compatibility Engineering” (ACE) body structure. That may sound like a new cell phone operating system, but the ACE design combines advanced materials, like high-strength steel, hot-stamped steel and super-strong adhesives, to direct energy away from the passenger compartment in a crash. Given the Odyssey’s likely occupant demographic, a 44 percent increase in torsional rigidity compared to last year’s model was probably a good design enhancement by Honda’s engineering team.

2018 Honda Odyssey Interior

American Honda

The whisper-quiet interior reflects Honda’s efforts to quell outside noise

Covering this new structure is an all-new body that’s slightly (0.3 inches) longer and slightly (0.7 inches) narrower with a slightly lower (0.1 inches) roof. While those exterior dimensions are nearly-identical, the 2018 Honda Odyssey features more air cheating tech than the previous version. Underbody panels and an active shutter system in the front grille help the Odyssey slice atmosphere efficiently, and more quietly, a trait noted during our two days of driving the minivan on the Big Island of Hawaii. On EX-L and above trims there’s acoustic laminated windshield glass to further muffle outside noise pollution, and our top-of-line Odyssey Elite test car was indeed one of the quietest minivans we’ve ever driven.

2018 Honda Odyssey Profile

American Honda

Updated headlights and new bodylines give the Odyssey increased visual appeal

Better still, the 2018 Honda Odyssey looks as sleek as it is. The reworked body includes reshaped headlights, LED daytime running lights (on EX and above), LED headlights and fog lights (on Touring and Elite trims) and more pronounced body lines on the hood, doors and side panels. The most dramatic appearance upgrade comes from the relocated sliding door rails, which now disappear under the rear side glass, giving the new Odyssey a much cleaner profile. New, larger 18-inch standard and 19-inch optional wheels complete the package and make the 2018 Odyssey a certified looker in the minivan segment.