But will it beat-out crossovers for customers’ attention?

Honda has pulled the covers off its new 2018 Odyssey minivan. This is the latest iteration of Honda’s popular people-mover now comes with a more powerful engine, a sleek new exterior, an updated dash with new technology, and an innovative seating system in the second row. Called the Magic Slide system, it offers the flexibility of removing the center seat and sliding the outboard seats side to side. The Odyssey also comes packed with Honda’s new CabinWatch and CabinTalk systems. It’s clear the 2018 Odyssey is a big improvement over the outgoing model, but will it be enough to edge out Chrysler’s still-fresh Pacifica?

While the configurable second-row seating is cool, it doesn’t seem as convenient as the Pacifica’s Stow N’ Go seats that fold flat into the floor. The 2018 Odyssey’s biggest draw is the new CabinWatch system. It uses cameras to monitor second and third row passengers, with Mom and Dad keeping an eye on the closed circuit video via the 8.0-inch infotainment screen up front. The cameras are said to work both day and night.

In addition, CabinTalk gives Mom and Dad the ability to speak to rear passengers through their headphones should they be watching the available rear-seat entertainment system. It also works through the rear speakers, much like the Toyota’s Easy Speak.

For those who love being connected to the Internet of Things, the 2018 Odyssey now offers CabinControl – an app-based system that allows smartphone users to remotely control various in-cabin features, such as the rear entertainment system, the rear cabin HVAC system, and forwarding navigation destinations from a phone to the Odyssey’s navigation system.

The Odyssey’s rear entertainment system now offers “How Much Farther?,” an app that lets rear passengers keep track of the navigation route with a countdown to arrival – much like the Pacific’s “Are We There Yet?” system.

Other cool stuff includes Social Play List, which is part of CabinControl. Its said to act like a virtual jukebox, letting up to eight people upload their music choices to the audio system via their smartphone. 4G LTE Wi-Fi is present and several USB ports are scattered around for charging.

Of course, the 2018 Honda Odyssey is more than just cool apps and electronic gadgetry. Keep reading for more information on the chassis and drivetrain.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Rest of the Story

The 2018 Honda Odyssey is powered by Honda’s current 3.5-liter i-VTEC V-6. This is same V-6 powering the Ridgeline, and gets the same 280 horsepower. That’s a 32-horsepower improvement over the outgoing 3.5-liter V-6. Mated to the engine in lower trim levels is a nine-speed automatic. Upper trims, however, get a new 10-speed automatic. This marks the first time a 10-speed has been used in the minivan segment. Power is sent only to the front wheels.

The Odyssey rides on a new body and chassis. Advanced materials like ultra-high-strength steel, aluminum, and magnesium help reduce weight while adding rigidity. The result is a 96-pound drop in curb weight with a 44-percent increase on torsional body rigidity.

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2018 Honda Odyssey Will Bring Some Serious Competition To Pacifica High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Honda Odyssey Will Bring Some Serious Competition To Pacifica High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Honda Odyssey Will Bring Some Serious Competition To Pacifica High Resolution Exterior
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The Odyssey rides on a new body and chassis. Advanced materials like ultra-high-strength steel, aluminum, and magnesium help reduce weight while adding rigidity.

The Odyssey is also built in North America with many U.S.-manufactured parts. The engine, for example, is built at Honda’s Lincoln, Alabama plant – the same facility that builds the Ridgeline pickup.

Pricing has not been announced, but Honda should make that announcement closer to the 2018 Odyssey’s on-sale date in the spring of 2017.

Why It Matters

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The minivan segment is far more competitive than many like to give it credit for. Just look at the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, the Kia Sedona, and now the 2018 Honda Odyssey. These do-it-all family haulers are the epitome of practicality and offer unmatched utility that no crossover can begin to touch. It’s the stigma surround “mommy-mobile” minivans that keeps the segment held back, with most “cool parents” opting for a crossover or SUV rather than the more practical choice. That’s not to say crossovers and SUVs don’t have their place, but modern minivans are far from the doggishly awful box on wheels that dominated the 1980s and 1990s.

One honest look at the Honda Odyssey, or any other current minivan might sway customers from buying a compromised crossover. These vehicles really are worth the look.

Press Release

Honda today took the wraps off a sleek, sophisticated and innovative new 2018 Odyssey minivan, launching at dealerships nationwide this spring. Already the most popular minivan with individual American car buyers for seven years running, the next-generation Odyssey brings a host of new features and technologies for 2018, including a uniquely versatile new Magic Slide™ second-row seat; new CabinWatch and CabinTalk technologies; new Display Audio touchscreen with Honda-developed OS; 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity; new Rear Entertainment System with streaming video; and Honda Sensing™ safety and driver-assistive technologies, now offered standard on EX and above trims.

"This new Odyssey raises the stakes for family-friendly packaging, performance and technology in the minivan segment," said John Mendel, Executive Vice President of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "In all aspects of its design, the new Odyssey is made to keep every member of the family happy, no matter the seating position, no matter the destination."

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Sophisticated and Family-Friendly Design

The Odyssey’s sophisticated and modern new styling adopts Honda’s signature flying wing front grille flanked by available LED front headlights. The bold and sporty front fascia also conceals a new Active Shutter Grille for improved fuel efficiency when cruising. The Odyssey’s signature lightning bolt beltline now provides an even more elegant design element with the sliding door tracks hidden in the lower portion of the rear quarter windows. At the rear there are LED taillights and an available new hands-free power tailgate with foot activation.

Inside, the new Odyssey features high-grade materials including a soft-touch instrument panel. The driver’s meter features a new 7-inch, full-color TFT display, and in the center of the dash there is an available 8-inch high-resolution Display Audio touchscreen interface (EX and above). In upper grades, stain-resistant leather first- and second-row seating surfaces and door trim and black carpeting and black seatbelts are designed to conceal stains, while a new grooveless tambour lid on the spacious and versatile center console resists the accumulation of crumbs and debris.

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In-vehicle Connectivity

In-vehicle connectivity is taken to a whole new "family connectivity" concept. Old-fashioned family connectivity – sometimes called a conversation – is made easier than ever with the quietest cabin in the class, and is augmented with a multitude of new connected-vehicle features and technologies, including:

New Display Audio – featuring a new Honda-developed operating system, more intuitive menus and customizable app tiles, this 8-inch high-resolution (720P) touchscreen interface serves as the nerve center for a multitude of new audio and telematics options, including Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ compatibility, and adds a physical volume knob for improved usability.
System updates – users can download available updates to the Display Audio operating system and rear entertainment system at their convenience via 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, or USB.
CabinWatch – using a camera, CabinWatch lets the driver and front passenger keep tabs on passengers both day and night via the 8-inch Display Audio screen.
CabinTalk – enables the driver to talk to second - and third-row passengers though the second-and third-row speakers and rear entertainment system headphones.
Connected Rear Entertainment System – second- and third-row passengers can enjoy streaming video on the ceiling-mounted, 10.2-inch WSVGA Rear Entertainment System, including PBS Kids, iHeart Radio, Spotify and more, through the available in-vehicle 4G LTE Wi-Fi, public Wi-Fi or user’s cellphone data plan. A new "How Much Farther?" app lets passengers track the family’s trip progress.
CabinControl – using a downloadable app, users can use a smart phone to control the rear entertainment system, rear cabin heat and air conditioning, and send destinations to the embedded Honda navigation system.
Social Play List – part of CabinControl, Social Playlist operates like a virtual jukebox, allowing up to eight family members to upload their music choices to the audio system via their smartphones.

Cabin quietness is enabled by new features and technologies including triple door seals, available acoustic front and side glass, and increased use of sound deadening materials under the floor, in the engine compartment and under the fenders, along with standard Active Sound Control technology.

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New Magic Slide™ seats

A major innovation to family-friendly cabin seating flexibility is the Odyssey’s new Magic Slide™ second-row seat, easily reconfigurable for optimal passenger comfort, people- and cargo-hauling flexibility, and easy access to third-row seating – even when one or two rear-facing child seats are placed in the second row. Use modes include:

Easy Access mode – with the center seat removed, the outboard seats slide laterally through five selectable positions, allowing for easy access to the third row even with one or two rear-facing child seats installed in the second row. And with the center-most seat slid forward, a child is put within easy reach of the front seat occupants.
Super mode – like Easy Access mode but with the driver’s side seat set to walk-in position (slid full forward with the seatback tilted) for maximum access to the third row.
Wide mode – with the center seat removed and two outboard seats in their outer most positions, providing a wide center walkthrough to the third row (and no more "Dad, he’s touching me again!").
Buddy mode – with the center seat removed and two outboard seats abutting one another in the center of the vehicle, putting two people in close proximity and within easier reach of the front seat occupants.

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Safety for the Family

All 2018 Odysseys in EX and above trims, expected to comprise about 95 percent of all Odyssey sales, will feature the Honda Sensing™ suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies as standard equipment, including Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS™), Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). Combined with the Odyssey’s next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure and advanced airbags, including new driver and front passenger knee airbags, the Odyssey targets the highest available safety ratings – an NCAP 5-star Overall Vehicle Score and an IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating.

Additional Features and Technologies

Additional new standard and available features include LED headlights, heated and ventilated front seats, heated side mirrors and steering wheel, auto high-beam headlights, rain-sensing wipers, blind spot information (on all models with Honda Sensing), front and rear parking sensors, Rear Cross Traffic Monitor, Electric Parking Brake with Brake Hold, three-zone automatic climate control, wireless device charging, multi-zone audio, Sirius 2.0, Pandora compatibility, HD Radio™, and HondaVac® in-vehicle vacuum.

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Advanced new powertrains, body and chassis

The 2018 Honda Odyssey will be powered by a 3.5-liter, direct-injected i-VTEC™ V-6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM™). Peak engine output is 280 SAE net horsepower (+32 HP) and benefits from the advanced capabilities of its two available new transmissions – a 9-speed automatic and, for upper grades an all-new, Honda-developed 10-speed automatic, the first of its kind in a minivan, providing more confident and refined performance.

These advanced new powertrains, together with a more rigid and lightweight body, new chassis technology, and Odyssey’s sleek and aerodynamic new design are expected to result in class-leading performance and top-in-class EPA fuel economy ratings. Honda’s Intelligent Traction Management system adds normal and snow modes and combines with Agile Handling Assist and a more powerful braking system for improved all-weather traction and control.

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Advanced new body and chassis

An all-new body and chassis design underpins the new Odyssey’s incredibly quiet cabin and class-leading steering precision, handling prowess and ride comfort. The Odyssey body utilizes advanced materials, including ultra-high-strength steel, aluminum and magnesium to simultaneously minimize weight and improve body rigidity. Vehicle weight is down by up to 96 pounds, depending on trim, and torsional body rigidity is up 44 percent from the outgoing model.

New chassis features include a highly-responsive new Dual-Pinion Electric Power Steering (EPS) with .44 fewer turns lock-to-lock for increased response and easy maneuverability; and a compact new trailing arm rear suspension with stabilizer bar that not only enables improved handling and ride comfort, but also provides for the most spacious rear cargo area in the class.

Design, Development and Manufacturing

The all-new 2018 Honda Odyssey was designed and developed by Honda R&D in North America. The Odyssey and its 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 engine will be manufactured exclusively at the company’s Lincoln, Alabama plant using domestic and globally sourced parts. The new 10-speed transmission will be produced at the company’s transmission plant in Tallapoosa, Georgia. The 2018 Odyssey is the second generation Odyssey to be designed and developed in North America and the fourth generation to be manufactured exclusively in North America.

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