Minivans aren’t the most popular vehicles out there – since they’re often associated with baby diapers and early parenthood. However, it’s hard to deny the fact that they’re useful, and the 2014 Honda Odyssey is one of the most useful minivans on the market. So, if you have a newborn or a small family and you happen to live in the suburbs, then you should definitely take this car for a spin.
Right off the bat: this car isn’t the prettiest thing around – because minivans are unattractive in general. However, it does have its moments every here and there, featuring a typical Honda front and a finely sculpted profile, which allows this minivan to stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately, its backside is rather unremarkable, but who looks at that anyway?
Looking Inside the 2014 Honda Odyssey
Inside, the space is actually well-refined and roomy. Every single row, including the third one, can easily fit midsize to large adults without causing them much discomfort. There’s also quite a bit of room in the trunk that features a cavity in the floor to allow for more room. If that’s not enough, then you can fold third-row seats flat and remove second-row seats entirely. You can also use a media drawer with damped motion, a cooler compartment and a garbage-bag ring if you need more room for smaller items.
The design is ordinary at best, with the last year’s changes still being present – which were not particularly revolutionary in the first place. The biggest attraction of the interior is the amount of features and infotainment options it comes with. Some of the standout features include a 16.2-inch wide-screen system and 15-GB hard-drive, which can store the contents of up to 175 CDs – according to Honda. The navigation system that’s available in some of the models features clear and intuitive display along with very easy-to-use controls, which are better than in some other Honda models, such as the new Honda Civic.
On the powertrain side of things, the 2014 Odyssey is surprisingly strong, being able to perform almost on the same level as a sporty car as opposed to a cumbersome wagon or an SUV. It comes with a 3.5-litre V-6 engine that can produce 248 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. It’s fitted with a six-speed automatic transmission, which is available as a standard across all models. As a result, the Odyssey performs more like the Accord sedan rather than the Pilot SUV – which is an awesome achievement for a minivan.
When it comes to safety features, the Odyssey doesn’t disappoint either, carrying the honour of being one of the safest cars on the market. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has named its Top Safety Pick+, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has awarded the Odyssey with its highest ratings for years now. Some of the most notable safety features include a blind-spot warning system, Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning, along with a plethora of standard features such as airbags, seatbelts and so forth.
Minivans are definitely not for everyone, so if you do in fact need one, then there’s no better choice than the 2014 Honda Odyssey. It delivers in all the areas that matter, and for a price that’s just under $30,000, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not at least considering it.
Now let’s examine some of its aspects individually.
The 2014 Honda Odyssey is an eight-seat minivan that comes in five trims: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring and Touring Elite. Though minivans are not traditionally considered to be “pretty,” Honda has gone above and beyond to make sure this one looks as good as it can.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the car borrows most of its cues from the Honda sedans rather than SUVs or other minivans. It features a more arched roofline and a slope that looks sort of like a lightning bolt and runs along the back passenger window. The sheetmetal underneath this slope widens a bit and features a line that’s engraved into it, making the car look more aerodynamic. The front-door windows extend beyond the side mirrors, adding more visibility and making the minivan look more stylish.
At the end of the day, the new Honda Odyssey doesn’t look extraordinary, but it does what it can with what it was given. So, as far as minivans go, it’s very pretty.
Power and Performance
The 2014 Honda Odyssey did not have to excel in this area, and yet that’s exactly what it’s done. This minivan has enough power to accelerate quickly, travel up mountain roads and change lanes efficiently, while carrying a large load of passengers.
It comes with a 3.5-litre V-6 engine that can generate 248 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque, with a six-speed automatic transmission attached as a standard. It’s not the quickest car, but it can accelerate to the 100-kilometre mark in about nine seconds. And thanks to excellent chassis design, this minivan can turn tight corners with real proficiency.
That said, the Odyssey could do a little better when it comes to fuel economy since its EPA ratings aren’t too good. The minivan has earned 12.4 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 8.4 litres per 100 kilometres on the highway. Despite being subpar overall, these numbers are comparable to what’s offered by the competition, which includes the Toyota Sienna and Dodge Grand Caravan.
Interiors and Special Features
On the inside, the 2014 Honda Odyssey is as plain as white bread, featuring the most obvious and uninspiring designs you can think of. For instance, its instrument panel stands upright and has that same compact and swoopy look you’ve seen before. Admittedly, the control layout is ridiculously simple with all the knobs and buttons sitting in the most noticeable areas imaginable, which is always good.
In terms of space, the 2014 Odyssey is roomy enough in all three rows. The front seats are appropriately comfortable and wide with a nice view. That said, they could benefit from more back and lateral support. The second- and third-row seats can comfortably fit four adults, but they were clearly designed for kids. As such, we wouldn’t recommend packing this car with adults for longer trips. Finally, the trunk space is rather small, but it does come with a cavity in its floor to add more space. You can also fold third-row seats flat and remove second-row seats entirely to create more room. Of course, that would allow you to have only one passenger, who would have to sit with you at the front.
As for the special features – that’s where this minivan truly shines. So, if you’re looking to keep your kids entertained, there are few cars that are better at it than this one. The standard features include 2 GB of audio storage, Bluetooth, USB audio connectivity, an eight-inch TFT information display, air conditioning, power windows, locks and mirrors and an audio system with a subwoofer.
Mid-trim models add heated mirrors, tri-zone climate control, sunshades for the second row, power sunroof, cooling box, utility tray, 15 GB of hard-drive space and a 16.2-inch wide-screen system.
The Touring Elite trim – the highest one – features a 650-watt sound system with hard-disk storage, theatre surround sound, the super-wide-screen system and the HondaLink system, which lets you use your smartphone to access Aha internet-based entertainment.
If you’re a safety-concerned individual, then there’s no better vehicle to calm your nerves than the 2014 Honda Odyssey. After all, it’s one of the safest cars around. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has given it a Top Safety Pick+ award, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has consistently given the minivan its highest scores throughout the years.
Some of its safety features include stability control, driver and passenger front side airbags, full-length side curtains, anti-lock brakes and six child-seat tether locations along with five LATCH locations. The latter allows you to fit in up to five car seats. Other features involve a blind-spot monitor, forward collision and lane departure warnings as well as a Lanewatch sideview camera and a rearview camera.