The recently refreshed 2014 Honda Odyssey is the latest version of what was already one of the most popular minivans money can buy. Buyers have flocked to the Honda Odyssey due to its wide range of models and price ranges, its superior handling and ride, and its excellent durability over the long haul. Minivans tends to endure more abuse than a standard family sedan during the course of ownership, and the Odyssey's ability to take its licks and remain reliable and practical are important marks in its favor.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2014 Honda Odyssey.
01. The 2014 Honda Odyssey Features Revised Styling
It's not easy to make a minivan look sporty or inviting - after all, it's a function-first vehicle intended to do a job, not win a beauty contest. The 2014 Honda Odyssey, however, makes a valiant effort by continuing the gradual visual refinement process that the Japanese automaker has spent years applying to vehicle. For the 2014 edition, this means a new treatment for the front end, including the bumper, hood, and grille. The first two items are now made out of aluminum for increased weight savings (as are the front fenders), while the grille has been blacked out to add a hint of aggression to the vehicle. LED tail lights complete the treatment that has been given to the Honda Odyssey, helping it to stay current against the competition.
02. The 2014 Honda Odyssey Gains Fresh Interior Touches
The 2014 Honda Odyssey quells criticism of the previous year model's dashboard design by introducing a touch control system for the vehicle's entertainment system. There are still a lot of buttons scattered across the center stack and dash, but on all but the base model this touch feature helps to clarify the vehicle's functionality as well as add an interface for the new HondaLink system. The system also makes it easier to link a mobile phone to the vehicle's communications or audio system, and helps to add a modern advantage to the Odyssey compared to its main competitor, the Toyota Sienna.
03. The 2014 Honda Odyssey Offers V-6 Power
The 2014 Honda Odyssey comes exclusively with a 248 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine under its hood. This unit, which also produces 250 lb-ft of torque and offers cylinder deactivation technology to improve is overall efficiency, is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission. Towing capacity for the minivan is a crossover-like 3,500 lbs, which is more than enough to haul a small utility trailer or camper. Like the Chrysler Town & Country and the Dodge Grand Caravan, the Honda Odyssey is only offered in a front-wheel drive configuration. Those seeking an all-wheel drive minivan are forced to shack up with the Toyota Sienna.
04. The 2014 Honda Odyssey Improves Across-The-Board Fuel Mileage
It used to be that if you wanted the most fuel-efficient edition of the Honda Odyssey - i.e. the one with the six-speed automatic transmission - you had to spring for one of the van's top-tier editions. This is no longer the case as the 2014 Honda Odyssey democratizes its most favorable miles per gallon rating by making the six-speed automatic standard on each and every version of the minivan. This means that the Odyssey's listed fuel mileage of 19-mpg in city driving and 28-mpg on the highway now applies to all versions of the vehicle, regardless of how much money was spent.
05. The 2014 Honda Odyssey Delivers Vast Interior Room
The 2014 Honda Odyssey has been designed to impress with its practicality, and nowhere is this more evident than when examining its passenger compartment. The Honda Odyssey can be configured to haul up to eight adults if desired, thanks to a second row bench that is also capable of hosting three child seats at the same time. If more space between occupants is required, the Odyssey also comes in a seven passenger version (standard). Hauling cargo is relatively painless in the minivan thanks to its ultra-wide interior that allows owners to stack 4 x 8 plywood in the back with the third row folded into the floor and the second row removed from the vehicle. All told, 148 cubic feet of space are available behind the Odyssey's front two positions.
06. The 2014 Honda Odyssey Offers Five Trim Levels
The 2014 Honda Odyssey starts out in the LX trim, which includes power windows and door locks, cruise control, power adjustments for the front seats, tinted windows, dual climate control, 17-inch steel wheels, and a vehicle information screen. Bluetooth connectivity, a CD player, a USB audio interface, and a rearview camera are also included free of charge. The Odyssey EX adds one more passenger spot to increase the total from seven to eight, and it additionally provides three zones of automatic climate control, sunshades for second row occupants, heated mirrors, power sliding doors, the new touchscreen HondaLink system, alloy rims, and keyless entry and ignition.
The EX-L trim includes heated leather seats, a sunroof, satellite radio, and a power tailgate, while the upscale Touring provides parking assistance, even more sunshades, a navigation system, 18-inch rims, memory seats, rear seat entertainment, and fog lights. The peak of the Honda Odyssey's trim range - the Touring Elite - offers HID headlights, widescreens for those seated in the rear rows, and an upgraded audio system.
07. The 2014 Honda Odyssey Now Provides A Built-In Vacuum
The 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite also comes with a unique feature that is not found in any other minivan. For 2014, Honda has elected to install an integrated vacuum cleaner in the Odyssey Touring Elite, a feature which is located at the rear of the vehicle's cargo area but which can reach all of the van's nooks and crannies. The system is designed to take care of the spills that are often associated with transporting children and their various snacks, or dealing with the dirt that seems to accumulate inside minivans with regularity. Developed together with Shop-Vac, a big name in heavy-duty cleaning, the vacuum comes with a canister bag and filter that can be replaced as needed. The Odyssey doesn't even need to be running for the HondaVAC (as it is being called) to function, as it is available for up to eight minutes after the ignition has been switch off.
08. The 2014 Honda Odyssey Comes With New Safety Options
The Honda Odyssey was already a very safe family ride, featuring side impact airbags up front, dual forward airbags, side impact airbags, and electronic stability control and traction control. The 2014 Honda Odyssey takes things a step further through the addition of new reinforcements throughout the vehicle's structure in order to help it perform better if involved in a collision or a roll-over. The Odyssey is also now available with a forward collision warning system in addition to a lane departure warning feature. Each of these are offered with the minivan's pricier trim levels, but lesser editions of the Honda can be had with a blind sport monitoring camera (a feature which is further enhanced on the priciest version of the Odyssey).
09. The 2014 Honda Odyssey Is Extremely Quiet Inside
The 2014 Honda Odyssey isn't just a comfortable place for a large number of people to spend some time - it's a quiet one, too. The Honda Odyssey offers active noise cancellation technology, which makes use of the minivan's stereo system to counteract certain frequencies of sound by 'canceling' them out with corresponding aural emissions. The active noise cancellation is designed to work in conjunction with the Odyssey's active engine mounts, primarily to quell vibrations introduced by the process of switching from six to four cylinders, and then back again, in the pursuit of fuel economy. It also works to take away the rumblings associated with rough pavement and other road noise.
10. The 2014 Honda Odyssey Is The Most Expensive Minivan Available
10. The 2014 Honda Odyssey Is The Most Expensive Minivan Available
OK, so we have to qualify that headline statement a little. The entry-level 2014 Honda Odyssey LX is priced at $28,825, which is more than some, but not all of its competitors. You actually have to step up to the luxury-oriented Honda Odyssey Touring Elite (MSRP $44,450) to really overpower the minivan's rivals. Even loading up the equally-premium Chrysler Town & Country minivan won't see you matching an equally-plush Touring Elite's price, so you should make sure that you really, really need those premium features before committing to the best-equipped edition of Honda's family hauler.