LOS ANGELES, California — If Starfleet had a minivan, it would probably look a lot like the 2018 Honda Odyssey Elite. It’s big, wide, and looks like a cross between the original “Star Trek” series Galileo shuttle and the current “Star Trek Discovery” shuttlecraft except it has four wheels, dual power sliding doors, and no warp drive.
Instead, a 3.5-liter V-6 that offers 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque powers the latest Odyssey. The trusty engine is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. And there are paddle shifters on the steering wheel if you want to pretend you are Lewis Hamilton on a mall run.
The suspension is top notch and feels super smooth even on the roughest of roads. Its luxurious ride is comparable to that that of the Genesis G90 sedan except with less bounce. Overall it performs as one would expect a 4,593-pound people mover to react on the road—it gets the job done comfortably, easily, and it can even tow up to 3,500 pounds while doing it.
Elite models come equipped with the Honda Sensing Package that includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation, forward collision warning, and collision mitigation braking.
I found the forward collision warnings to be a bit overzealous with “BRAKE!” warnings frequently lighting up the dash in busy city traffic. That said, the collision mitigation braking function kicked in before I had time to react as I merged at an intersection where a cab suddenly stopped directly in front of the van. Go Honda tech wizards!
Inside the roomy ride, there are at least 15 cupholders and plenty of nooks, crannies, and small bins for all of your stuff. There are also lots of nice small touches like hooks and handles to hang your gear, plus power outlets, USB ports, and headset plug ins for the Blu-Ray DVD player to keep those brats quiet.
The push button shifter on the center stack is nabbed from the NSX sports car parts bin and looks pretty silly here. It takes a while to get used to and seems to blend in with all controls that surround the 8.0-inch touchscreen. The navigation system graphics are actually quite good and easy to read. Not quite Audi virtual cockpit levels of greatness, but getting there.
Seating space is generous and there’s a deep storage bin behind the third row for cargo. And those same seats can fold away into that space and allows for easier loading and unloading of your precious cargo. But you will have to remove the second row seats if you want to haul anything significant.
During my long weekend with the Odyssey I managed to haul the following without any issues: Two 48 x 78 x 24 inch 5-shelf steel shelves (boxed), two cubic feet of mulch, two cubic feet of garden soil, and a small fence on a single trip from the hardware store.
The massive minivan also swallowed a 72.5-inch sofa on a separate run, a 7-foot tall bookshelf on another, and an antique drafting table on yet another run. Not that I needed them but the Odyssey Elite surprisingly doesn’t come with roof rails, just a small sunroof.
The Odyssey has been around since 1994 and shows no signs of slowing down. It’s a solid and practical 21st century ride that can boldly go where no minivan has gone before.
|2018 Honda Odyssey Elite Specifications|
|ENGINE||3.5L SOHC 24-valve V-6/280 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 262 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 8-passenger, front-engine, FWD van|
|EPA MILEAGE||19/28 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||203.2 x 78.5 x 69.6 in|
|0-60 MPH||7.5 sec (est)|
|TOP SPEED||130 mph (est)|