The Honda Odyssey began its life way back in 1995 when Honda leaped into the minivan realm with its Accord-powered family hauler. The Odyssey hit its second generation in 1999 when Honda completely redesigned the body, replaced the swinging rear doors with more minivan-like sliding doors, and installed a class-leading, 3.5-liter V-6. The 2005 model year marked the debut of the third-gen Honda people carrier, as the automaker redesigned the van yet again and retuned its V-6 to produce 244 ponies. In 2011, Honda redesigned the Odyssey once again, ushering in the fourth generation, giving it a fuel-economy boost, smoothing out the body and adding in a few extra optional goodies, like an available chill box and rear-entertainment system. As we head into 2015, little has changed with the fourth-generation Odyssey.

I recently spent a week lumbering around in the range-topping Touring Elite trim of this massive minivan, and I found some good things and some not-so-good things about it. Being a sports car guy, testing the Odyssey required me to forget all the things I love about cars and focus on whether this big Honda was a great appliance for those who have more than 2.5 children or not?

Click past the jump to read my full review on the 2015 Odyssey Touring Elite to find out.

  • 2015 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite - Driven
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Transmission:
    Six-Speed Auto
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    248 @ 5700
  • MPG(Cty):
    19
  • MPG(Hwy):
    28
  • Torque @ RPM:
    250 @ 4800
  • Displacement:
    3.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    8.2 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    115 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    44450
  • car segment:
  • body style:

TopSpeed Garage

Exterior

2015 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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Surprisingly, the side-profile view is my favorite angle for the Odyssey. It's roofline swoops ever so slightly, and the side windows feature a similar, albeit more dramatic, swoop.

It’s a minivan guys; how much more can I really say? A lot, to be honest. The days of rolling cubes making up the minivan segment are over, as are the days of over-styled minivans (read: Toyota Previa).

The 2015 Odyssey has some stylish cues, but it refrains from going overboard. Up front it hosts the Honda family fascia that includes a headlight design that is mighty similar to what you’ll find on the Civic or Accord. The grille features two chrome bars that have a slight upward swing at each end, and it is outlined in a gloss-black surround for a nice contrast. The lower grille also features some chrome bars, plus there is chrome surrounding the small, blink-and-you’ll-miss-`em fog lights.

Surprisingly, the side-profile view is my favorite angle for the Odyssey. It’s roofline swoops ever so slightly, and the side windows feature a similar, albeit more dramatic, swoop. The B- and C-pillars are painted gloss-black, giving the tinted side glass almost a one-piece appearance that adds to the dramatic swoop. Adding a touch of sportiness to this Brady Bunch hauler are scallops on the bottom of the doors. Sure, it’s a small touch, but one that I can appreciate.

2015 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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Around back is where the Odyssey is best described as "meh, it's a minivan."

Rolling stock comes in the form of 18-inch alloy wheels shod in 235/60R18 tires. The wheels are a good match for a van, as they are slightly sporty, but not too overdone. Additionally, the polished aluminum wheel with polished black inserts match the Modern Steel and gloss-black exterior well.

Around back is where the Odyssey is best described as "meh, it’s a minivan." It’s got a set of taillights, a bumper, a tailgate and a wiper. That’s about it...

Technology-wise, the Odyssey is excellent in the Touring Elite trim. It features power-opening and closing rear doors and liftgate. What’s more, I could also open these doors using buttons on the keyfob, so I could open three of the Odyssey’s five doors without ever touching the van. Also included are auto-leveling HID headlights with auto on/off, front and rear parking sensors, and smart entry, which unlocks the doors once I grab the front door handle with the keyfob in my pocket.

Ultimately, the Odyssey’s exterior really hits all the basics you need from a van. First, it is stylish enough to avoid embarrassing run-ins with buddies. Second, the power doors are a godsend when your hands are full. Third, the HID lights make you forget that you even have high-beam headlights.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase (in) 118.1
Length (in) 202.9
Height (in) 68.4
Width (in) 79.2
Track (in) front / rear 68.1 / 68.2
Curb Weight (lbs) 4,613
Weight Distribution (%, front/rear) 57 / 43
Towing Capacity (lbs) 3,500

Interior

2015 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite - Driven Interior
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2015 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite - Driven Interior
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2015 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite - Driven Interior
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You can lift the armrest upward slightly so you can rest your arm at a comfortable driving angle, and the armrest locks in that position automatically.

The cabin is where the Odyssey Touring Elite stands out from the crowd, and truly lives up to its trim level’s name. The front seats are big and comfy, and every button and knob is easy to find and reach. The armrests on both of the front seats are angle adjustable, which is a pain at first, but once you understand them, they are a blessing. You can lift the armrest upward slightly so you can rest your arm at a comfortable driving angle, and the armrest locks in that position automatically. The only problem is that if you need to readjust it, you have to pull the armrest all the way up, then all the way down before readjusting it. Tedious, sure, but the added comfort is an awesome thing.

Both front seats are power adjustable — the driver gets 10-way adjustment and the passenger gets four-way — and finding a good driving position is fairly simple. I would have liked to have a power tilt and telescoping wheel too, but the manual wheel is fine.

According to my build sheet, this van supposedly has a 650-watt, 12-speaker audio system, but it is kind of flat. Maybe it is the fact that spreading 12 speakers throughout a cavern of a cabin kills the effect, but it is sounds subpar. Despite the lack of noise, the audio system is otherwise useful, as it has Bluetooth connectivity, Pandora radio, SMS text messaging (my phone didn’t work with it), and loads of other goodies. One thing I did not like was the SiriusXM interface, as the touchscreen did not respond quickly enough and having to continuously press the screen to change stations is super frustrating. I am sure there is some way to change a setting in the stereo to use the knob for direct tuning to stations, but I couldn’t figure it out.

The navi system was super-accurate, but not without its fair share of flaws. The voice recognition was expectedly terrible — I have yet to have a good experience with this in any Honda product — and the inability to use any hands-on inputs while driving is very aggravating. It’s doubly annoying with a voice recognition system that is slow to respond and only permits you to go through three pages of POIs while driving. I would ask my wife to input the necessary information, but there is no passenger-control mode meaning even she is locked out. I repeatedly had to do breathing exercises to avoid a temper tantrum. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but it was annoying.

A small but neat feature is the wide-angle mirror that is built into the sunglasses holder that gives you a full view of the back seats.

2015 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite - Driven Interior
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The rear seats are plenty roomy for kiddos and teens, plus there is plenty of cargo room with all the seats upright.

The back is the place to be in the Odyssey Touring Elite. Back here you get a 13-inch, ultrawide screen with a DVD player, a set of wireless headphones and a remote control. What’s more, the ultrawide screen splits into two screens, so your kiddos can watch two different shows at the same time, given you connect a DVD player into the RCA ports or HDMI port in the third row. There is also a 110-volt outlet back there for powering your gadgets. My only gripe about these secondary A/V inputs is that the RCA ports and power outlet are on one side of the van and the HDMI input is on the other side, meaning if you choose to use an HDMI cable, you’ll have to stretch it or the power cord across the third-row seat. The other issue is that the 110-volt power outlet is only good for up to 150 watts, so no dice for those who want to run an Xbox through the entertainment system — the Xbox 360 requires 203 watts.

The rear seats are plenty roomy for kiddos and teens, plus there is plenty of cargo room with all the seats upright. The third-row of seats features Honda’s Magic stowage that allows you to fold the seat into a small cubby with just one hand. Unfortunately, the second-row seats have the old-school unlatch-and-lift removal process. And let me tell you that these seats are heavy.

Overall, the Odyssey’s cabin was awesome, save for a few flaws in the navigation system and the lackluster audio system.

Interior Dimensions

Headroom (in, front/middle/rear) 38.3 / 39.4 / 38.0
Headroom Wide-Mode (in, front/middle/rear) 38.3 / 38.8 / 38.0
Legroom (in, front/middle/rear) 40.9 / 40.9 / 42.4
Shoulder Room (in, front/middle/rear) 64.4 / 63.5 / 60.9
Hiproom (in, front/middle/rear) 58.2 / 66.1 / 48.4
Cargo Volume (cu ft, behind 3rd-row) 38.4
Cargo Volume (cu ft, behind 2nd-row) 93.1
Cargo Volume (cu ft, behind 1st-row) 148.5
Passenger Volume (cu ft) 170.1
Seating Capacity 8

Drivetrain

2015 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite - Driven Drivetrain
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In the Odyssey, this engine churns 248 horsepower at 5,700 revs and 250 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm.

The Odyssey’s drivetrain is likely the most boring part of the whole vehicle. It uses the same 3.5-liter V-6 that seems to be in every Honda product that’s larger than the Civic. In the Odyssey, this engine churns 248 horsepower at 5,700 revs and 250 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. The i-VTEC engine mates to a six-speed auto transmission that features Grade Logic Control, which is a small button on the side of the gear shifter that makes the engine rev out more and deactivates overdrive. Though I didn’t test its towing abilities, Honda claims the Odyssey can tow a respectable 3,500 pounds.

I swore I wouldn’t do so, but I decided to test out the Odyssey’s 0-to-60-mph sprint time. I was pleasantly surprised that it consistently hit highway speeds in the eight-second range.

Fuel economy is just okay for a van, as it gets 19 mpg city, 22 mpg combined and 28 mpg highway. In my weeklong test, I ended up averaging just over 22 mpg.

Drivetrain Specifications

Engine Type V6
Displacement (cc) 3471
Horsepower @ rpm (SAE net) 248 @ 5700
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm, SAE net) 250 @ 4800
Redline (rpm) 6300
Valve Train 24-Valve SOHC i-VTEC
Transmission 6-Speed Automatic
Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined) 19 / 28 / 22

Driving Impressions

2015 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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The ride is decent and it does a respectable job at absorbing bumps.

Driving a minivan is not what I would define as fun. It can go three ways: acceptable, unacceptable or utterly terrible. For the 2015 Honda Odyssey, I will say it is acceptable and excels at all the things it should. The ride is decent and it does a respectable job at absorbing bumps. Body roll is obvious, but not disturbing and handling is predictable.

One thing that it really excels at is turning in tight quarters. Cut the wheel all the way in one direction, and you can easily make a U-turn on a two-lane street without your tires going off the pavement. You are also positioned high in the driver seat, so visibility is great, and the addition of the Blind Spot Information System in my tester made changing lanes simple. Also making life easier is the multi-angle rearview camera.

The engine has enough pep to move this large van, but occasionally I did wish for a little more power. Noise is about average for a van; you can hear the road and the engine, but it is not overbearing. There was, however, an odd humming noise at about 50 mph. I am not too sure if it was an issue with the van I had or if it is something all Odysseys do. I am thinking it is the former, but I needed to mention it regardless.

All of its flaws are quickly forgiven once I open the hatch and sliding door with a simple push of a button, and quiet my impatient son with his favorite DVD in the back. And I haven’t even mentioned the HondaVac yet; the built-in vacuum cleaner that makes cleaning up crushed donuts and Oreos a breeze — I know from first-hand experience, it is a great feature. I once thought this was a ridiculous addition, but I am now a believer.

Pricing

2015 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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This is where my eyes start watering and I start adding up the cost of each and every one of the awesome features that this van comes with. The price for the 2015 Odyssey Elite is a whopping $44,450 before delivery. I’ll give you a second to think about all the fun cars you can buy for that scratch. The 2015 BMW 428i xDrive, the BMW 335i, the BMW M235i, the Mercedes C300 4MATIC, the CLA250, the Audi S3, the Audi TT, and more all come to mind. So, if you are considering this van, then it is truly to fit a need and it will serve that need well.

Competition

Nissan Quest

2011 Nissan Quest High Resolution Exterior
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The Nissan quest is a key competitor for the Odyssey, and its Platinum trim is the one that aligns best with the Touring Elite trim from Honda. In this guise, the Quest comes standard with a 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 260 horses, an Xtronic CVT with D-Step logic, an Around View Monitor, blind-spot warning, Nissan Hard Drive Navigation with an eight-inch touchscreen monitor, second- and third-row climate control, a 120-volt AC outlet, leather seating, flat-folding third-row seats, sun-shades for the second and third rows, 11-inch rear entertainment system with gaming inputs, HID headlights, and power sliding doors and hatch. It has literally almost every feature the Odyssey has. Fuel economy is similar to the Odyssey at 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined.

In terms of looks, the Odyssey is the clear winner, as the Quest almost has the old rolling-brick look. But some may prefer that look to the Odyssey’s. Price-wise, Nissan has yet to release pricing for its Platinum trim, which replaces the 2014 model’s LE trim, but the outgoing trim ran $42,870 and I expect only a minor price hike.

Chrysler Town & Country

2014 Chrysler Town & Country High Resolution Exterior
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The Chrysler Town & Country, one of the models that really launched the minivan craze, continues on in 2015 as another key competitor for the Odyssey. The T&C’s best rival for the Odyssey is the Limited Platinum trim, which starts at $39,490. For this fee, you get power sliding doors and rear liftgate, power second- and third-row windows, tri-zone climate control, premium Nappa leather seating, a universal garage door opener, ParkView backup camera, a 115-volt power outlet, auto headlights, fog lights, a heated steering wheel, a Uconnect 430N CD/DVD/MP3/HDD/Nav system with nine speakers and 506 watts, a Blu-Ray/DVD player with second- and third-row nine-inch displays, wireless headphones, HDMI input, second- and third-row Stow `n Go seating, tailgate seats, and 17-inch aluminum wheels.

Under its hood, the Town & Country comes standard with the 3.6-liter, Pentastar V-6 that pumps out 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The engine mates to a six-speed auto transmission, and this combo delivers 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined. The T&C does lack in interior room when compared to the Odyssey, as its second and third rows have only 36.5 and 32.7 inches of legroom, respectively.

Conclusion

2015 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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The Odyssey is a superb family hauler, and it has all of the features needed to keep mom and dad comfy while keeping the kiddos entertained. Likely the most underrated feature is the HondaVac system, as it is great to not have to lug a Shop Vac out to the van when the kids drop stuff on the floor. The only issue is that most of these vacuums have a short lifespan and I would hate to see how much the replacement vacuum costs from the dealer. The other issue I have is that its competitors are a good bit cheaper and have the same or more features. However, the Odyssey crushes the better-equipped Town & Country in roominess. The choice is yours; would you rather have more features at a lower price or a few less features and more room at a higher price?

  • Leave it
    • * Lackluster sound system
    • * Very expensive
    • * I would prefer two separate entertainment screens instead of one split
What do you think?
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