With its all-new fifth-generation Odyssey, it’s clear that Honda is intent on competing for tops of the minivan segment. A more powerful engine, two new transmission options, a highly versatile so-called magic slide second-row seat, and a host of other interior technologies are intended to keep the entire family happy.

2018 Honda Odyssey

Power from the Odyssey’s 3.5-liter V6 has been bumped from the previous 248 hp to an even 280 hp. The six-speed automatic transmission has been replaced by a nine-speed gearbox in lower trims and a 10-speed tranny on top-tier models, sending power to the front wheels. Unlike the Toyota Sienna, Honda still has no plans to offer all-wheel drive on the new Odyssey. Honda points to its eight-passenger Pilot SUV for those customers who desire all-weather traction.

The Odyssey’s new body is said to be lighter yet more rigid, and the electric power steering system is expected to offer better response. Honda says the new rear suspension system not only improves both handling and ride comfort but also gives the most spacious cargo area in the class. A hands-free, foot-activated power tailgate is available. 

2018 Honda Odyssey interior

Honda calls the Odyssey’s new second-row seat “magic slide” because of its reconfigurable nature. Removing the center section of the second row lets the two outboard seats slide side to side to allow easier access to the third row. Plus this movement provides flexible child seat options and versatile cargo-carrying options.

Other interior innovations include CabinTalk, which allows the driver to talk to passengers through the second- and third-row speakers or the rear headphones. Second- and third-row passengers can play video through the ceiling-mounted 10.2-inch entertainment system, and up to eight family members can upload their music choices to the audio system via an app on their smartphones.

The driver and front passenger haven’t been left out, either. There’s a new 8-inch infotainment touch screen that replaces the previous Odyssey’s complicated dual-screen system. The new system is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and thankfully has an actual volume knob. Honda is likely to have a simpler audio setup for the lower LX trim.

For 2018, all EX and higher Odysseys (which Honda says equates to about 95 percent of sales) will come standard with the Honda Sensing suite of active safety systems, including forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, road-departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control.

The 2018 Honda Odyssey is set to go on sale this spring. Pricing was not announced. 

2018 Honda Odyssey rear