DETROIT -- In a hotly contested minivan segment in which an onboard vacuum cleaner no longer qualifies as cutting-edge, Honda’s redesigned 2018 Odyssey takes family-friendly features into the digital era.
The fifth-generation Odyssey unveiled Monday at the Detroit auto show and due in dealerships this spring promises 21st-century connectivity through in-car apps and cameras, streaming video and 4G Wi-Fi, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. There are hardware improvements too, including more flexible seating, an available 10-speed automatic transmission and stain-resistant leather seats.
The ground-up redesign is aimed at pushing Honda to the top of the minivan sales charts above Toyota’s segment-leading Sienna, which is older than even the outgoing Odyssey. Honda will also have to contend with Chrysler’s Pacifica, the Town & Country replacement that has drawn raves for its family-focused technology touches, easier-to-fold seats and smooth ride.
U.S. sales of Honda’s outgoing Odyssey ended 2016 down 5.4 percent from a year earlier, with 120,846 sold. The Sienna's 2016 U.S. sales slid 7.1 percent to 127,791.
“This new Odyssey raises the stakes for family-friendly packaging, performance and technology in the minivan segment,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co. “In all aspects of its design, the new Odyssey is made to keep every member of the family happy, no matter the seating position, no matter the destination.”