All-New 2018 Honda Odyssey Offers Quieter Cabin, 10-Speed Transmission



Families on the go will be excited to learn about the 2018 Honda Odyssey, which was just revealed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit today.

As anticipated, this brand-new minivan is loaded with clever features and amenities. But despite the additional technology, this three-row hauler is still up to 95 pounds lighter than its predecessor, with 44 percent greater torsional rigidity.

Dimensionally, the new fifth-generation Odyssey is about an inch (30 millimeters) narrower than the outgoing model but it’s also almost half an inch (roughly 10 millimeters) longer. It shares the same underlying architecture as the Pilot crossover.

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Exterior styling is more conservative than expected, with clean, flat surfaces and a familiar Honda grille. Inside, things are a little more interesting. There’s a host of soft materials and premium leather in higher-trim models.

As in years past, a 3.5-liter gasoline V6 motivates the new Odyssey but output has swelled to an impressive – and class-competitive – 280 horses. It can be matched to one of two different automatic transmissions. A nine-speed will serve in lower-trim models, but upper-crust variants will feature a brand-new, Honda-developed 10-ratio unit.

When asked why they’re offering two different gearboxes, a company spokesman explained that this is because production of the 10-speed will ramp up gradually. Curiously, for customers that need a minivan but still enjoy the thrill of driving, this transmission will also offer paddle shifters.

SEE ALSO: 2017 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

With its new drivetrain, lighter body and aerodynamic-enhancing active grille shutters, Honda executives expect the Odyssey to deliver best-in-class fuel economy, ditto for refinement. It should be the quietest and smoothest minivan on the market as well when it goes on sale next spring.

Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of the Honda Division said, “We’ve put a lot of work into that [NVH].” According to him, the new Pilot is the quietest Honda ever and the 2018 Odyssey is even more serene than that.

On the amenities front, there’s lots to talk about. One of this family hauler’s neatest parlor tricks is its Magic Slide second-row seats, which tumble and fold like teenage gymnasts. Aside from all of this, they also move along on lateral tracks so when the middle section is removed they can be pushed toward the center of the vehicle to provide easier access to the third row.


When asked why they didn’t opt to include something like Chrysler’s ingenious Stow ‘n Go system, where the second-row seats fold completely into the floor with the pull of a strap, Conrad said they focused on “comfort and convenience for the family,” providing cushier accommodations for passengers, which is what minivans are overwhelmingly used to carry, rather than sacrificing comfort for greater cargo-hauling versatility.

Appeasing today’s technophiles is a new Display Audio touchscreen infotainment system running a Honda-developed OS. It’s splashed across an eight-inch high-definition (720P) screen mounted on the dashboard. In addition to this, customers can also get 4G LTE service for on-the-go connectivity.

CabinTalk and CabinWatch are two new features found in the 2018 Odyssey. The former consists of a microphone and speaker system that allows the driver to more easily converse with rear-seat riders, the latter allows them to keep an eye on passengers, something that’s ideal when transporting infants or young children in car seats.

Safety is as important as ever, and Honda’s latest minivan won’t disappoint. It’s expected to ace the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s rigorous testing and drive off with a five-star score from NCAP.

2018 Honda Odyssey

Helping achieve these impressive ratings is plenty of sound engineering, but electronics also play a role. Honda Sensing, the firm’s suite of advanced driver-assistance technology will be offered on EX and higher trims, which are expected to account for 95 percent of sales. It includes features like collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, road-departure prevention and more.

You can look for the all-new 2018 Honda Odyssey at dealerships in the spring. Not surprisingly, pricing, and fuel-economy information should be released closer to its on-sale date, but stay tuned to for the latest news about this important family vehicle.

Discuss this story on our Honda Forum

  • Jamisonjon

    I swear I prayed hard to the van gods to delete the “zig-zag” look of the Honda Odyssey. I guess not hard enough.

  • Adorable Deplorable

    Looks like Chrysler can exhale now: not sure that this knocks them off their perch (esp. once FCA introduces incentives, more esp. incentives for its PHEV). At least Honda finally hid the door rail.

    Great big Mazda5? Or are those lines more characteristic of, say the Dodge Charger?

  • Jamisonjon

    Ha, good calls there. Amusingly, I was anticipating this new Ody as a possible eventual replacement for our trusty 2004 Mazda MPV. Looks like our next van will probably be a Sienna. Or I’ll just throw AWD and a turbo on the van we have…

  • Adorable Deplorable

    I hear ya, brother! We have two 2004 MPVs in the stable and have been nigh-on despondent: *nothing* comes close (though I *would* like some upgrades). Wanted so much to love the CX-9 but… And normally would *never* go a Chrysler product, but the new top-trim PHEV (with $10k in fed/state incentives) looks pretty darn good. Wish it had been introduced a year ago so I could have some reliability stats. I figure at least *one* of my MPVs (270k miles, combined, of trouble-free and sporty driving) can go another year…

    Offspring reject the Toyonda brothers… Hope it doesn’t come down to Sedona. (As for AWD: a “nice to have” IMO, though I fear it can make one over-confident in snow; swapped out our crashed AWD Audi for the second MPV and a set of snows: not turning back.)

    I, likely like you, would have *killed* for an updated, modernized, MazdaspeedPV… Wish the thing got a *lil* better mpg and had heated seats; those are pretty much my only ‘plaints. Looking at the pic you posted: MPVs *still* look pretty au courant, no?

  • Jamisonjon

    Brother indeed! I honestly think it’s still the best looking van out there. I’ve been a minivan man since I was a kid… grew up in an 84 Caravan, eventually bought my own 88. After that, my wife and I had a hand-me-down 95 Nissan Quest. Then we eventually bought our 04 MPV back in April of 2012 for $5500 when we had 1 small kid and a 2nd on the way. Figured “oh why the hell not, if it lasts us 2-3 years, good enough.” Well here we are approaching 5 years later, we’ve put 107k miles on it (at 233k now) and it still runs like the day we bought it.

    There just isn’t anything on the road any more with the same basic formula… simple/clean design, relatively compact size (the first part of minivan is “mini”, right?) with adequate space and power for a family of 4-6. If I wanted to drive something the size of a Chevy Tahoe, I’d get a Tahoe, not a Odyssey/Sienna/etc. They’re too damn big for my taste.

    Now if I sucked it up and went for a “crossover SUV”, there is a size and package for everyone! Yeah but I like power sliding doors. A lot. Like a lot a lot. Damn I get a laugh every time I see someone loading or unloading a small kid out of a Traverse/Explorer/Pilot in a tight parking lot. And I sure wouldn’t let my 4 or 6 year old operate one of those huge doors.

    In the end, towing capacity will call us into something of the SUV variety eventually. We have a small-ish pop-up camper that we tow behind the MPV with relative ease. She’s not excited about long hauls with ~2200 lbs of trailer hooked up, but she cruises at 70 without issue. We eventually want a bigger camper, so we’ll probably get a used ~2005 4Runner with a V8. I’ll probably keep the MPV around as a backup, it just runs too good to part with it. Plus I’ve added my own upgrades… heated front seats, trans cooler, trans temp gauge, HD hitch, rear airbag suspension, 2-DIN JVC radio plus headrest monitors, remote start… she’s pretty much perfect as-is.

    My other car is a 2004 Mazda 6 wagon with a manual trans. To say that we like cars that no longer exist is a bit of an understatement. My dream is to put a full Speed6 drivetrain under the wagon. I know it can be done, just might need to get that 4Runner first so I have something else to drive to work. Then after that, some AWD for the van and a turbo 😉

  • Rickers


  • Felix DJ

    10 speeds seems alike a LOT

  • smartacus

    that’s a pretty good picture. it looks better without the hump.


    quietest? I hope it’s quieter than the wind tunnel Accord I have.. That b-pillar noise on the highway is ludicrous…

  • earl

    The side profile of all these latest Odysseys are the ugliest on the road….
    I cringe every time I see one…

  • Adorable Deplorable

    The old Oddy just looked… broken. Literally. Like someone had welded together three different vehicles. The current version looks like you took the old one and put it in the oven to melt a little, but the sides got bumped while it was later being removed from the heat. Rilly rilly fugly.

  • Jamisonjon

    Figured it out. When the last Odyssey designer commited ritual seppuku, the next designer got his idea. Damn I wish this wasn’t reality.

  • Jamisonjon

    I actually made this when the last one came out to describe my horror to a friend who didn’t get what I was saying:

  • pbug56

    We bought our 2002 Ody EXL Navi site unseen due to the supposed high reliability of the Ody – not knowing that the previous generation would have a class action lawsuit regarding the, IMHO, designed to self destruct trannie. Our gen Ody seems to have had the trannie designed to go an average 90k miles before self destructing from a valve that starves it of enough fluid flow causing overheating and clutch grinding. That plus hiding the filter so no one would ever change it, and never fixing the well known defect. Honda wanted, and still wants, to make trannies waste as little fuel mileage as possible, apparently by sacrificing durability. We got fooled into buying a rebuilt Honda trannie, not knowing it not only had the same defect, but was shoddily rebuilt. And when I said to our dealer that we’d been advised to add a good external cooler and filter, he told is it would void the warranty on the rebuilt. We’d no idea that Jasper and other firms properly rebuilt the same trannies with the defects fixed.

    A lot of people dislike the horrible styling of later model Ody’s. Fine, it is ugly. But more importantly, Honda is a firm I will never trust again, nor their cars. Nor their dealers or mechanics.