It’s a good thing Honda chose to reveal its refreshed 2021 Odyssey before the global public debut at the 2020 New York Auto Show next month, because the spring classic has just been pushed to August due to the coronavirus epidemic.
The current generation of Honda’s minivan was introduced for 2018, so it was time for a mid-cycle update.
Outside, the 2021 Odyssey gets more powerful and efficient LED headlights on all trim levels. The blackout grille topped by a chrome strip, the lower front facia and the fog light housings have all been redesigned, though you will hardly notice the difference. New gloss-black trim under the rear window, accented by a chrome strip, emulates the grille treatment. Furthermore, the top-line Touring model sports new-look 19-inch wheels and auto-dimming side mirrors.
The interior of the Odyssey becomes a bit more convenient with updated climate controls and second-row seatbacks that fold flat for easier seat removal. Designers added a touch of refinement in the form of tri-color floor mats, restyled seats with contrast stitching, as well as new piano black trim on the dash, doors and front door handles.
The Odyssey Touring is the only one to receive perforated leather for the first- and second-row seats, with contrast stitching and piping on all three rows. It also features unique dash trim and second-row seatback pockets.
On the safety front, the Honda Sensing suite of advanced driver assistance systems (now including Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow and Pedestrian Emergency Braking) is standard across the line. Moreover, the CabinWatch system adds a Rear-Seat Reminder system that’s designed to prompt drivers to check their rear seating area before exiting the vehicle so no child or pet is left behind.
Unsurprisingly, there are no changes under the hood. Powered by a 3.5-litre i-VTEC V6 engine producing 280 horsepower, the Odyssey comes exclusively with Honda's 10-speed automatic transmission. Combined with Variable Cylinder Management technology and auto start/stop, fuel economy is improved versus the previous generation.
When will we see a hybrid variant that can take on the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid? Good question. The company remains quiet and it’s a shame, especially with rumours of an upcoming Toyota Sienna Hybrid gaining traction.
The 2021 Honda Odyssey will go on sale later this year and pricing will be announced just before its arrival. Expect a slight bump from the 2020 models.