Honda’s New Odyssey: 15 Cupholders and a Trash-Bag Ring

2011 Honda Odyssey

We’ve been reading a host of comments about how ugly the new Odyssey is, with its “lightning bolt” beltline. One commenter said (scroll down and look for “blackdog”), “looks like they welded sections from three different vans together.” And the car is, honestly, just a mishmash of bad design.

However, others have made the point that minivan drivers are far less influenced by style than utility, and that is surely true. And this is a minivan with everything that traveling American families could want: HDMI connection for video, seating that configures to your every need (see below), a ring to hold your trash bag, a “cool box” to hold a six-pack of whatever, a media tray to hold cell phones, etc., and, best of all, an “Ultra-Wide Rear Entertainment System (RES) with split-screen capability.” I forgot—yes, it does have 15 cupholders.

Everything you need to forget you’re driving.

The engine offered, for now, will be Honda’s 3.5-liter V6 iVTEC, which promises 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. All-wheel drive may be coming. The 2011 Odyssey will be in U.S. showrooms this fall.

2011 Honda OdysseyThe car is bigger inside and out than previous versions, and Honda says three adults will fit comfortably in the back row. Look at the photo; they gotta be kidding.

The new Odyssey will go head to head with the 2011 Toyota Sienna, and of course there are other competitors in the field, like Chrysler’s Town & Country, yet to appear. But the Odyssey is the best-selling minivan in the country (one in five are Hondas).

If you are a bit disappointed with this latest Honda offering, we suggest you look at some of the driving reports (here and here) on the new CR-Z, which are at best lukewarm. We still see no reason to alter our earlier judgment on the company that seems to have lost its way.

Which minivan would you prefer—the new Odyssey or the Sienna?


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  1. So the new Odyssey has got the goods but shame about the looks. I agree most minivan buyers don’t care about styling, they don’t care about boring styling. When styling is more radical like the Nissan Quest, their sales are less spectacular. I think it will sell ok being a decent Honda, but like all my friends that disqualify Acura based on looks these new Hondas are heading down the same path.

  2. I have always hated minivans and refuse to own one. But I will admit that this one has some awesome features, and some really innovative things. I just wish that they could put all these features into some full-size SUVs instead of saving all the cool stuff for the ugly spaceship-looking vans…

  3. As far as minivans go, I like the new Odyssey. It has everything a parent could want and looks strong. The lighting bolt beltine will really help 3rd row passengers see outside… It does look a little awkward toward the rear, but I think van buyers will look past that. I mean, people bought the Nissan Quest, so…

  4. I agree with blackdog – that new Odyssey looks like a quickly done mashup of at least two separate vans, none of which would look good on its own. I don’t like the ads for the new Sienna and wonder who had the idea to make a “sport” trim, but I’d take one of those over the new Odyssey in a second, if I needed a minivan. Bummer about the CR-Z, too – I hoped that would be a worthy follow-up to the CRX. Oh well….

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