For 2014, Honda is refreshing the Odyssey with some mild exterior tweaks, new safety systems, a new center stack design for the infotainment options and offers the world’s first built-in shop vacuum on top-spec Touring Elite trim. Many of the other cool benefits are limited to the Touring Elite spec as well, but the core package of responsive performance, extreme durability and family friendliness continues unchanged for 2014.
The Honda Odyssey is one of the top two minivans in the sales charts, often jostling for position in this declining market segment with the Toyota Sienna . Both the Honda and Toyota vans are actually pretty pricey in their top configurations, leaving the value segment to the Dodge and Chrysler vans, whose combined sales dwarf the Honda and Toyota.
For people who’ve accepted that they need a van, there’s little loyalty at play and these family audiences are happy to jump ship when a better entry comes along. So far, no one has topped the Honda Odyssey since 1999 in terms of total feature count or buyer satisfaction. One could even say that the Honda is the most premium player in the segment, following the discontinuation of the Mercedes-Benz R-class .
The exterior tweaks are not going to cause a rush on showrooms, but are enough to subtly refine the Odyssey’s style in the face of the more-flamboyant Toyota Sienna design. The new 2014 models arrive in July at Honda dealers nationwide.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Honda Odyssey, including the new HondaVac and HondaHair system on the top Odyssey Touring Elite models.
If there were an award for most-unnoticeable-facelift, the 2014 gets it. A new twin-bar grille design, deeper hood creases, new fog lights and a darker tint to the headlights round out the changes up front. In back, a new LED light-bar design has been built into the lamp graphics.
Overall, this Honda is not nearly as handsome as previous generations. The desire to have some new styling element, plus complaints from kids riding in the third row, prompted a new window-line that now juts downward right behind the sliding door. The whole design was somewhat tilted forward, replacing the previous Odyssey’s strong horizontal creases (that looked expensive and well-resolved) with a mess of jutting angles and surfaces.
Bottom line, the 2011 model had to look different from before, and it did. Do you know why parents have those silly stick-figure families on the back of their cars? Part of the reason is that kids get in the wrong cars all the time by mistake at school pick-up time. A line of silver or tan Honda Odysseys that looked the same for 10 years meant lots of kiddie confusion and mommy distress.
The new model solved some of these problems by introducing the window kink to set the Odyssey apart in the school line, but opened a real can of worms with its crass new style.
The other key change for this generation is to the previously mentioned taillights, which are now LED to match the light bar within the full-width reflector connecting the taillights.
The changes to the interior of the 2014 Odyssey are similarly unnoticeable without looking at the old and new pics back to back. For 2014, the Odyssey’s top trim now has a new climate and stereo-focused touchscreen lower in the dash where all the mess of radio and climate buttons used to be. This is a smart addition that cleans up the appearance of the dashboard’s control areas, for which Honda has been widely criticized.
The rest of the interior is its usually spacious and durable self… until reaching the trunk. A partnership between Honda and Shop-Vac means there’s now a built-in vacuum cleaner called HondaVac right in the side of the cargo area. If there was ever a wish-list for minivan buyers, this might be it. The vacuum is not intended for use while the vehicle is on the highway, but one wonders.
The vacuum also comes with a grooming kit attachment for dogs called HondaHair. It’s the “suck ‘n cut” style that was popular for Saturday Night Live jokes in the 1990s. Basically the vacuum motor spins the internal blades, creating enough force to gently trim a pet’s fur… in theory. In practice, however, the dog will never want to be anywhere near the Odyssey again.
The other key updates for the interior are newly-integrated safety systems via Front Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning. These radar-based safety assistants don’t go as far as some systems with automatic city braking or automatic-follow cruise control.
At the $40,000-plus price bracket of the Touring Elite, these are some glaring missing features. The rest of the options packages are pretty stingy with equipment levels, particularly the poor LX model that strips out even seat-back pockets from the equipment list. The other main difference in the base LX trim is that the center console is not removable. In the EX trim and above, this comes with a built-in trash bin and is removable for easier cleaning.
2014 Honda Odyssey Interior Features:
- Air Conditioning (Manual, Front and Rear)
- Tri-Zone Automatic Climate Control System with Humidity Control and Air Filtration (EX and above)
- Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with Voice Recognition, FM Traffic and Multi-Angle Rearview Camera with Guidelines (Optional, EX-L and above)
- Honda DVD Rear Entertainment System (Optional, EX-L and above)
- Honda DVD Ultrawide Rear Entertainment System with HDMI Technology (Touring Elite only)
- i-MID with 8-Inch High-Resolution Screen
- Interface Dial with Scrolling and Multi-Line Display
- Rearview Camera with Guidelines
- Bluetooth HandsFreeLink
- Power Windows with Auto-Up/Down Driver’s and Front Passenger’s Window
- Programmable Power Door and Tailgate Locks
- Cruise Control
- Illuminated Steering Wheel-Mounted Controls
- Blind Spot Information System (BSI) – Touring Elite only
- Tilt and Telescopic Steering Column
- Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel (EX-L and above)
- HomeLink Remote System (EX and above)
- Front Center Floor Tray with Beverage Holders
- Removable Front Center Console with Storage and Flip-up Trash Bag Ring (EX and above)
- Center Stack Storage with Utility Tray
- Cool Box (EX-L and above)
- Ambient Console Lighting
- Ambient Footwell Lighting (Touring Elite only)
- Automatic Dimming Rearview Mirror (EX-L and above)
- Driver’s and Front Passenger’s Illuminated Vanity Mirrors
- Front Bag Hook
- Conversation Mirror with Sunglasses Holder (EX and above)
- Sunglasses Holder (LX Only)
- Map Lights (all rows)
- Instrument Panel-Mounted Shifter
- Beverage Holders (EX and above - # per row: 1st/2nd/3rd) 5/7/3
- 12-Volt Power Outlets (EX and above - # per row: 1st/3rd) 2/1
- 115-Volt Power Outlet (3rd-Row) – only EX-L and above with RES video monitor options
Drivetrain, Suspension and Brakes
The Honda Odyssey continues with the higher-torque version of the company’s 3.5-liter SOHC V-6 producing 248 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. This engine also serves in the Honda Pilot, among others. The van is exclusively front-drive with no all-wheel-drive option available.
The only mechanical difference between the Touring trims and the other models is the transmission. The Touring features a six-speed automatic versus the LX and EX model’s five-speed automatic. This slightly improves performance and efficiency, but doesn’t alter the driving characteristics.
The Odyssey is a really heavy machine at over 4,600 pounds in its top configurations, meaning economy is south of stellar. Please see below in the pricing table for economy by trim level.
2014 Honda Odyssey Mechanical Specifications:
|Trim Level||Odyssey||Odyssey Touring|
|Engine Size and Type||3.5-liter 24-valve V-6 SOHC VTEC||3.5-liter 24-valve V-6 SOHC VTEC|
|Peak power||248 horsepower||248 horsepower|
|Peak torque||250 pound-feet||250 pound-feet|
|Transmission||5-speed automatic||6-speed automatic|
|0-to-60 MPH||8.1 seconds||7.7 seconds|
|Top Speed||117 mph||117 mph|
The Odyssey is a supremely safe and calm way to travel with families. The 2013 Odyssey is a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS but official video of the crash tests from the latest model are not available.
2014 Honda Odyssey Safety Features:
- 3-Point Seat Belts at all Seating Positions
- Front 3-Point Seat Belts with Automatic Tensioning System
- Driver’s and Front Passenger’s Seat Belt Reminder
- Dual-Stage, Multiple-Threshold Front Airbags (SRS)
- Front Side Airbags with Passenger-Side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS)
- Three-Row Side Curtain Airbags with Rollover Sensor
- Driver’s and Front Passenger’s Active Head Restraints
- Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) Body Structure
- Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
- Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD)
- Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control
- Brake Assist
- Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
- Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
- Side-Impact Door Beams
- Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH): Lower Anchors (2nd-Row All, 3rd-Row Outboard), Tether Anchors (2nd-Row All, 3rd-Row All)
- Child-Proof Rear Door Locks
The most popular Odyssey model is the mid-range EX model that is priced about $32,000. Less-equipped LX models start at $29,000 and go up to $45,000 in Touring Elite specification. The Odyssey is also Edmunds’ top minivan for residual value after 5 years.
Note: the table below shows 2013 prices.
|Model||Transmission||MSRP||EPA City/Hwy/Combined MPG|
|Odyssey LX||5-Speed Automatic||$28,675||18/27/21|
|Odyssey EX||5-Speed Automatic||$31,825||18/27/21|
|Odyssey EX-L||5-Speed Automatic||$35,225||18/27/21|
|Odyssey EX-L w/ Rear Entertainment System||5-Speed Automatic||$36,825||18/27/21|
|Odyssey EX-L w/ Navi||5-Speed Automatic||$37,225||18/27/21|
|Odyssey Touring||6-Speed Automatic||$41,530||19/28/22|
|Odyssey EX-L Touring Elite||6-Speed Automatic||$44,025||19/28/22|
The Odyssey competes most directly with the Toyota Sienna and the Infiniti JX35 crossover. The Chrysler Town & Country is less refined but cheaper, while offering similar hauling and passenger-features. The Chrysler is not often cross-shopped with the more-premium Touring Elite Odyssey models.
The Sienna offers a very, very similar package to the Odyssey in terms of total passenger accommodation, refinement and performance. The Sienna is styled in a more-futuristic way, but this is not necessarily a benefit unless you like its style. The Sienna is cheaper than the Odyssey at every spec level, offers a better engine and available all-wheel drive that the Honda lacks.
Gallery Toyota Sienna
Crossovers, like the Infiniti JX35, are more fashionable and offer all-wheel drive, which is crucial in many markets for family cars. Their interiors are generally much more compromised, however, without the flat floor and easy entry/exit from the third rows. The mileage difference between today’s front-drive crossovers and minivans is far smaller than it used to be when comparing minivans with full-size SUVs like the Chevrolet Suburban.
Gallery Infiniti JX
The Odyssey minivan remains at the top of the class as an overall ownership proposition. Families will discover dozens of surprise and delight elements in the back seats, while the split-screen monitors will help calm the fighting children.
Overall, the comfort of Honda’s wide and supportive buckets extends all the way to the third row. This makes a huge difference in long-haul comfort versus the Chrysler seats that fold into the floor. Only the Honda’s third row can do this trick, but there are major comfort comprises in Stow ‘n Go Chrysler vans. To make the seats fit in the floor, they are thinly-padded, very thin in the seat base width, and generally very uncomfortable. Stow ’n Go is not mandatory on Chrysler vans but is a popular option.
The overall mechanical package of the Odyssey seems stuck in the past versus the more-modern engines in the Toyota Sienna . The Odyssey’s conservative interior is an asset versus the Sienna, which is – at best – bizarre inside with swirls of grey plastic everywhere. The HondaVac system is a helpful addition but not a game-changer for a segment that is under threat by seven-passenger crossovers.
If you need a minivan and are willing to accept that fact, the Honda Odyssey is among the best.
|Driving||C||Relatively Slop-Free Ride And Handling|
|Performance||B||Good Acceleration Stats For Heavy Vehicle, Uplevel 6-Speed Auto Helps Power and Efficiency|
|Look||C||Successfully Differentiates Odyssey Among The Pack|
|Value||C||Extremely Pricey At High End, Under-equipped At Low End|
|Overall||B||World’s Best Minivan Stays On Top|
- Still a market-leader in terms of cabin comfort
- Relatively taut steering and handling in a very comfort-focused market
- Decent acceleration performance considering horsepower and weight
- Style at the front and back is new, but does not look new
- Chopped-up sides of the van are distinctive but not appealing
- Many interior items from the Touring and Touring Elite trims are not even optional on the EX and LX models below
Gallery Honda Odyssey
How do you improve upon one of the most acclaimed vehicles in America? You give it something not available anywhere else. The 2014 Odyssey features a sleeker look, a full suite of hi-tech offerings, and the only in-car vacuum. That’s right, the new Odyssey will offer an all-new vacuum—HondaVAC—on the Touring Elite trim.
The new Odyssey Touring Elite will also include:
- New grille, hood and fog lights
- Revamped headlights, and refreshed taillights with LED light bars
- New side mirrors, including an Expanded View Driver’s Mirror
- New wheel designs
- High-Definition (HD) Radio®
- 7" audio touch-screen
- HondaLink featuring Aha, a new cloud-based system that provides access to different media programs, including Pandora and SMS text message function
- Programmable Remote Entry System with Smart Entry and Push Button Start
- Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
- Lane Departure Warning (LDW)