The updated 2014 Honda Odyssey minivan may not have everything including the kitchen sink – but tick the right option boxes, and it will come equipped with a central vacuum system.
Yes, you read that right: An integrated vacuum, which Honda brands with the oh-so-imaginative "HondaVac" moniker, is now available on select 2014 Odyssey models. Although Ford dabbled with adding household appliances to a minivan by packing a washer/dryer and integrated vacuum system into a Windstar concept back in 2000, Honda appears to be the first OEM to actually roll the latter into production. Developed in partnership with Shop-Vac, the vacuum canister is tucked into the driver's side cargo area wall as are a variety of nozzle attachments. Like most other Shop-Vac wet/dry vacs, the HondaVac boasts both a replacable filter and canister bag. The built-in vac doesn't need to be plugged in or recharged, and can run for eight minutes off accessory power. Fire up the engine – which remains a 3.5-liter V-6 – and the HondaVac can run without interruption.
Honda notes the HondaVac feature is only available on the high-end 2014 Odyssey Touring Elite model. Buy a cheaper 2014 Odyssey, and you may wind up lamenting how it sucks that your van doesn't (literally) suck -- or you'll just suck it up and go buy a compact Dustbuster to stow in a under-floor storage cubby or something.
A neat idea, but if this highlight suggests that the 2014 Odyssey update is relatively minor – well, you're on the money. The present Odyssey is only about three years young, so other revisions are modest and largely cosmetic. Up front, the 2014 Odyssey wears a new aluminum hood and fenders, along with a slightly more aggressive twin-bar grille insert and a revised lower front fascia. The signature lightning-bolt kink in the rear quarter windows remains intact, but rear tail lamps gain LED accent bars, inspired by the 2013 Accord sedan. Inside, 2014 Odyssey models gain new interior trim finishes, and Honda's latest HondaLink infotainment suite is now available.
Will a built-in vacuum shake the minivan segment to its core? Not likely, but will it lure customers into considering the top-tier 2014 Odyssey? Honda hopes so. Will it push parents to keep their Odysseys tidy even after their brood spills sticky sports drink in the third row and drop Froot Loops into every conceivable interior nook and cranny? We sure hope so. Pricing for the 2014 Odyssey is unavailable at this point in time, but look for detailed information to emerge before this summer, when the revised Honda vac – er, sorry; Honda van – arrives at dealers nationwide.