2021 Honda Odyssey refreshed with sleeker styling, new features

James Riswick
·4 min read

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The 2021 Honda Odyssey gets an abundance of small additions and changes that amount to a significant upgrade for the new model year.

Most noticeable is the restyled grille and front fascia along with revised lighting that includes LED headlights standard on even the base LX trim level. It's a cleaner and more streamlined appearance, as the bulky, shield-like chrome of the original look has been replaced by a clean chrome strip with a widened three-slat grille below. The lower fascia's LED foglights (standard on all but LX) are now in a smaller pod connected by a continuous strip of black trim and lower air dam. It's sharp, and the rare mid-cycle refresh looks like it should've been there from the beginning.

The rear is harder to differentiate, largely consisting of taillights that are entirely red now, and the thick chrome trim piece has been replaced by a thinner strip of chrome ensconced by piano black. Again, it's sleeker.

2021 Odyssey left; 2020 Odyssey right

The interior looks exactly the same, meaning awfully sensible and pretty ugly. The upper Touring and Elite models get piano black trim, while contrast stitching is added to the top two trim levels, but beyond that, the Odyssey's interior upgrades cater to improving functionality.

The outboard second-row seats of every trim level now fold flatter, making it easier to stow things on top of them or remove them completely. The seats' "Magic Slide" capability remains intact, allowing them to move laterally in addition to fore and aft (plus remove the middle section altogether). There are also grocery bag hooks mounted to the backs of the third-row seats as well as an updated center console with a cord management system. The EX-L and higher get extra storage pockets mounted to the front seat backs.  

Not surprisingly, though, the top Touring and Elite see more advancements. They get a USB charging port in the third row, bringing the grand total to six (there are two standard and five on EX-L), and an extra pair of front parking sensors to further prevent oopsies.

Every Odyssey now comes standard with a rear seat reminder system, which sounds a chime and warns the driver to check the back seat every time the car is turned off. This includes a message in the instrument panel. This system is then augmented in the Elite and Touring by utilizing an existing cabin feature: the CabinWatch system that uses a wide-angle camera in the roof and the central touchscreen to show the kids sitting in the back. Basically, the CabinWatch image now comes on automatically in addition to the standard rear seat reminder when you turn off the car.

Those aren't the only safety upgrades. A more advanced radar system allows the forward collision warning system to detect pedestrians and the adaptive cruise control to work in low-speed, stop-and-go conditions. This works in concert with a new electronic brake booster that supposedly enhances pedal feel as well. That's seemingly the only mechanical upgrade for 2021 that might alter the driving experience.

As such, the only engine continues to be a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, while returning an EPA-estimated 22 mpg combined. A 10-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard. Recall that the all-new 2021 Toyota Sienna will be available as a hybrid only, producing 243 hp and returning a Toyota-estimated 33 mpg combined. It's also available with all-wheel drive.

The 2021 Honda Odyssey goes on sale Aug. 3 with a starting price of $32,910, including the $1,120 destination charge. Prices for the trim levels are below.

LX = $32,910
EX = $35,190
EX-L = $39,580
Touring = $43,620
Elite = $48,940

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