Tom Crosby: 2015 Honda Odyssey continues award winning design

Tom Crosby

The Honda Odyssey 2015 minivan comes with a touch of style on the outside due to tastefully placed zagged chrome surrounding the windows and fog lights beneath chrome bars on the grill and air dam. But its consistent automotive industry awards come from the versatile and functional interior, perfect for mom hauling kids and friends weekdays and dad loading fix-up cargo weekends with rear seats dropped into a rear well.

Odyssey and Toyota’s Sienna vie annually for minivan awards and both are considered the cream-of-the-minivan crop for families, resale value and best buy.

For 2015, Odyssey won Best Buy from Kelly Blue Book’s KBB.com, best minivan for families from U.S. News and World Report and top minivan residual value from ALG, which rates automotive resale values. Odyssey was revamped in 2014 and won numerous awards that year also. Our test drive was the top-of-the-line Odyssey Touring Elite with no options because standard features included normally desired adds-on, like a 16.2-inch rear entertainment screen with wireless headsets, safety driving features, high-tech voice/manual interfaces, leather seats and moon roof.

Odyssey’s unique features include a removable center console with trash bag container, a cooling box for beverages, a slide-forward middle second row seat to access toddler’s car seat and the iconic vacuum cleaner with 10-foot hose to reach every corner of the car. There are 10 cupholders, numerous knick-knack spaces and a conversation mirror to view any back-seat antics. With passengers or the radio on, the ride is surprisingly quiet. It features MacPherson front strut and rear double-wishbone suspension, excellent on-road visibility with large side mirrors, and responsive and precise handling to create driver confidence. There is some lean in tight turns but highway manners are solid with a peppy acceleration and Odyssey has earned top overall safety ratings in government and insurance crash tests.

Fuel economy is excellent for a vehicle weighing more than 2 tons. Headlights illuminate when wipers swish, the engine can be started remotely, audio utilizes 12 speakers with 650 watts and HondaLink allows music apps, voice recognition for navigation, SMS texting, email and other in-car technology – some of which can distract. Graphics are clear on a dashboard 8-inch screen and a lower 7-inch screen. They work together to display choices and information and an EV outlet for charging a cell phone but no designed place to rest the phone. Towing capacity is a respectable 3,500 pounds and the turning radius at 36.7 feet is better than some SUVs and crossovers.

LIKES: Looks, versatility, space, ride, peppiness, safety
BOTTOM LINE: Family friendly Odyssey continues award-winning ways

Base price w/destination fee $45,430
Vehicle weight 4,613 lbs.
Wheelbase 118.1 inches
Length 202.9 inches
Width 79.2 inches
Engine 3.5 liter, SOHC, V6, variable valve timing
Horsepower 248 hp at 5,700 rpm
Torque 250 lbs.-ft. at 4,800 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
EPA Rating 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway
Range 21-gallon tank, regular fuel
Performance 0-60 in just under 8 seconds

Tom Crosby is a former journalist and communications director for AAA Carolinas. He has been reviewing cars since 1996, and has been active in traffic safety issues for more than 30 years.