MILD CHANGES BRINGS US REASSURANCE: 2020 HONDA ODYSSEY
When minivans first came to light back in the 1900’s they were the family icon of versatility that could be made affordable to the average household… then along came the pesky crossover. Now, minivans are seen more as a premium with their vast range of accommodations, child friendly gadgets and generous stowing capabilities, it’s no wonder why their sales continue to strive.
With the Odyssey about to turn three years old in its current generation form, Honda tidied up some of the little quirks and opted to equip it with a few modern advancements. If you’re trying hard to pin point the changes, it’s alight, we did too. The biggest, noticeable change comes from the front where the grille, bumper and headlight have all been replaced with a brawnier attendance – it’s a cleaner design that removed all of its old busyness that looked like a botched nose job. At the back, the old chrome strip that tied the taillights together gets replaced with a more appealing glass-black one and there are some newer, more handsome wheels on certain models, including our top trim Elite model.
Under the hood, most of everything is the same – why change what works and works well. The only slight modification made will be seen in lower trim grades and will come with Honda’s latest 10-speed automatic verses the old-ish 9-speed. Therefore, performance hasn’t really been hindered as its as quick as an ostrich chasing down its afternoon snack and shuffles through its gears decently without wrestling up too many feathers. That power stems from something we don’t get much more of these days, a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6 with a good chunk of 280-horsepower and 0-60-mph in about 6.5-seconds. Who said schools zones were burnout free?
Most buyers won’t notice the second biggest change that lingers behind the technology belt of a computer whiz. Modifications to Honda’s Safety Sense system has been re-calibrated to provide a more confident feel in its capabilities. This system has smoothed out some of the rough, abrasive stopping and handles the daily driving of stop-and-go more easily rather than shutting off entirely below 20-mph. This system also incorporates automatic forward braking assist, lane departure warning with lane-keeping assist, pedestrian detection with emergency braking and fully-adaptive cruise control. This safety system is also now standard on every trim level including the entry Odyssey LX.
Inside, most of the family mantra has remained the same with a comfortable family setting for seven… or eight should one chose one of the bench seating option. Noticeably however, EX trim grades and above get a pleasantly display of multi-colored carpeting that looks like as if we just stepped into a plush corporate office space. Nearly every seat has some sort of USB connection or charger available. And the cabin watch system now implements a safety precaution that automatically engages rear seat camera system whenever the rear seat reminder alert is activated… so this way you can predetermine the in-laws mood before leaving them in the car.
While there may be some new blood entering the market as a completed redesigned Kia Sedona is coming soon, a whole new Toyota Sienna just hit sales floor and a heavily revamped Chrysler Pacifica is now on the road, the Honda Odyssey reassures our faith in the minivan segment being one of the quicker suiters with nicely tuned road mannerisms, a quiet cabin and loads of gadgets.