Let's face it: Minivans are still the gold standard for family hauling, or anybody else who needs to haul eight passengers and their stuff. With that in mind, the Honda Odyssey is the gold standard of minivans, offering roomy and comfortable accommodations, innovative features and class-leading fuel economy at virtually every price point.
You'll Like The 2015 Honda Odyssey If...
The Honda Odyssey is a clear choice for a family looking for a practical, comfortable, fuel-efficient, feature-packed 8-passenger hauler. It's easily better at those tasks than a full-sized SUV, and there's nothing like those sliding doors when you're in a tight parking lot.
You May Not Like The 2015 Honda Odyssey If...
Prices for the 2015 Honda Odyssey start just below $30,000 and balloon to more than $45,000 if you go for a fully loaded Touring Elite with the built-in vacuum. The Dodge Grand Caravan is more value-oriented, and if you want an all-wheel-drive minivan, the Toyota Sienna is your only option.
After several updates last year, the 2015 Honda Odyssey rolls along virtually unchanged.
The 2015 Honda Odyssey uses every part of its generous interior space. The 3rd- row "Magic Seat" splits 60/40, folding into the floor with one pull, while the 2nd-row seats can slide outward 1.5 inches, permitting three child safety seats to be placed side by side. If you need small-item storage, there are bins aplenty, and we lost track of how many cup and bottle holders there are. The driver's seat and driving position are comfortable and commanding, and the controls are understandable and within easy reach. We particularly like the new Accord-based touch-screen center stack, introduced last year.
Despite being a motorized cargo box, the 2015 Honda Odyssey somehow manages to look hunkered down, thanks to its relatively low roofline and wide stance. The angular lines also emphasize the van's length, while the "lightning-bolt" window line breaks things up, and gives 3rd-row passengers a better view out. Is it attractive? Well, that's subjective, but suffice it to say our staff is mixed, with some liking the unique styling, and others pining for more conventional lines. However, even naysayers admit that the exterior styling isn't a deal-killer.
Considering its primary mission is to haul passengers and cargo in safety and comfort, the 2015 Honda Odyssey is surprisingly satisfying to drive. The 248-horsepower V6 isn't the most powerful, but it has no problem moving this big van along without fuss, and paired with the standard 6-speed automatic it gets a class-leading 28 mpg on the highway. Around town and on the highway, the Odyssey's suspension soaks up road imperfections to ensure a comfortable ride, yet it manages to provide reassuringly competent handling on winding mountain roads, and very good braking. It's also loaded with clever gadgets that aid driving. We're particularly fond of Honda's LaneWatch, which uses a camera mounted in the passenger's outside mirror to provide a clear view of that side of the van whenever the right turn signal is activated.
The 2015 Honda Odyssey LX has a reasonable-sounding Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just under $30,000 when you include the $830 destination charge. However, we recommend stepping up to the $33,000 Odyssey EX, which gives you eight seats, power sliding doors and a lot of other standard equipment. From there, prices creep up through the EX-L and Touring models to the Odyssey Touring Elite, which costs more than $45,000. That's way higher than the segment's value leader, the Dodge Grand Caravan and its roughly $21,000 starting price. It's also higher than competitors like the Toyota Sienna and Nissan Quest, but slightly lower than that of the Chrysler Town & Country. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid for their Odyssey, and rest easy knowing that your minivan's resale value will be rivaled only by the Toyota Sienna.
The base model 2015 Honda Odyssey LX offers up power front seats, a 7-speaker AM/FM/CD audio with an 8-inch color interface screen, Bluetooth connectivity and a rearview camera. However, a much more popular choice is the EX model, the next step up. That offers 8-passenger seating, 3-zone automatic climate control, power sliding doors, push-button start and Honda's LaneWatch camera system. Higher trim levels add to that with leather seating, blind-spot monitoring, and in Touring Elite models the HondaVAC, a built-in vacuum, which operates continuously with the engine running or up to eight minutes with it off.
Like most Honda vehicles, traditional option packages are nonexistent with the Odyssey, and are instead grouped into different trim levels. Want an EX with leather seats? You'll get the EX-L. Do you want the available HondaVAC? You're in the Touring Elite then. There are a handful of individual options though, most notably backup sensors, remote engine-start, a trailer hitch, and a variety of roof attachments for cargo boxes and sports gear. There's also a tent that attaches to the rear that enables in-car camping. Top-line Touring trims can make an even bigger statement by rolling on 18-inch black alloy wheels.
The 2015 Honda Odyssey may just have the most flexible interior layout of any vehicle you can buy. Not only can it seat up to eight passengers, the second row cleverly reconfigures to fit three child booster seats at the same time.
THEATER-LIKE REAR-SEAT ENTERTAINMENT WITH 5.1 SURROUND SOUND AND HDMI PORT
Just because you're on a road trip doesn't mean you can't have a first-class home-theater experience. Use the HDMI port for gaming consoles, or just put aside the wireless headphones and enjoy the Dolby 5.1 surround-sound system that turns the Odyssey into a symphony hall on wheels.
Under the Hood
From LX to Touring Elite, there's only one engine available for the 2015 Honda Odyssey: a 3.5-liter V6 with 248 horsepower. A 6-speed automatic transmission routes that power to the front wheels; all-wheel drive isn't available. The engine is plenty powerful, and the Odyssey is actually on the quick side, but more important to minivan buyers is fuel economy. Here, the Odyssey handily beats its competition with a highway fuel-economy rating of 28 mpg. Helping the Odyssey attain that figure is its Variable Cylinder Management, which shuts off cylinders depending upon driving conditions for maximum fuel efficiency.
248 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
250 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28 mpg
The idea that purchasing a minivan like the 2015 Honda Odyssey is a strictly logical, left-brain purchase is as outdated as the idea of strict brain-function lateralization itself. Obviously, the Odyssey has its functional side. The sliding doors make it easy to get in and out, even in tight parking lots, there's plenty of room for eight passengers, and cargo space is unparalleled. But the Honda Odyssey also has a fuel-efficient and powerful V6 engine, surprisingly good handling, and enough creature comforts to let you think you're behind the wheel of a luxury car, and not the quintessential family hauler. The Odyssey also boasts excellent crash-test scores and an enviable reliability record. It's enough to win over almost any minivan skeptic.