DETROIT -- The 2018 Honda Odyssey minivan that broke cover at the Detroit auto show last week has a laundry list of new features: seats that slide every which way, apps for each member of the family to control their experience and a 10-speed transmission.
But all-wheel drive didn't make that list.
Some expected it to. The Odyssey rides on the same Honda light-truck platform that underpins the Ridgeline pickup and Pilot and Acura MDX crossovers, models that offer awd as an option.
Within the Odyssey's own segment, Toyota's current Sienna -- the top-selling minivan in 2015 and 2016 -- sells about 15 percent of its models with optional awd, according to Toyota.
But none of this made it worth it to Honda.
"We looked at it, and one of the things we know is in order to put in all-wheel drive, we're going to have to raise the vehicle and we're going to compromise the interior," John Mendel, executive vice president of Honda, told Automotive News. "We really don't want to do that."
Instead, Honda wanted to focus on its flexible setup inside the Odyssey, which enables myriad configurations of the middle row of seats and provides a key marketing tool to counter the Stow 'n Go foldaway seat setup in Chrysler's Pacifica. Honda needed all the interior space it could get.
If this meant giving up a few buyers who wanted both a van and awd, it was a risk Honda was willing to take.
"For that customer we have the Pilot," Mendel said.
What the 2018 Odyssey does offer on the powertrain side is an all-new Honda-built 10-speed automatic transmission. It will be available on higher-end trim lines, while the nine-speed ZF gearbox Honda and Acura use throughout their lineups will be available on lower trims of the Odyssey.
The 2018 Odyssey goes on sale this spring.