Honda Odyssey updated with list of new features

A fresh look and more features for Honda’s spacious people mover.

Honda has wasted no time returning serve on arch-rival Kia’s recent launch of its all-new new Carnival people mover, announcing a raft of 2021 updates for its Odyssey that it hopes will blunt the Korean car maker’s assault. 

The updated Odyssey presents with fresh styling, a host of new convenience and technology features, and the addition of Honda Sensing safety technology as standard equipment on the two available model grades.

Honda Sensing includes such features as forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist system, collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control system and road departure mitigation system. 

Other key improvements to the 2021 Odyssey include an automatic power tailgate with kick sensor and gesture control power sliding doors on the high-series grade, as well as leather seat trim, second-row “captain’s” chairs and an eight-inch Advanced Display Audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard across the range. 

The power tailgate with kick sensor is a first for Odyssey, opening and closing with a kick of your foot under the rear bumper. The system features expanded detection conditions, meaning low kicks, sidekicks, and punt kicks reportedly all work equally well. 

Likewise, the new gesture control sliding rear doors do away with the typical pull and drag action of such doors, instead using sensors that enable you to open and close them with a simple wave of the hand. 

Honda Odyssey.

Both the power sliding doors and the tailgate also feature a reservation lock function that means you can select lock and walk away without waiting for the door to close before you lock it. 

The MY21 Odyssey has also adopted the new “Model Grade” naming convention Honda introduced recently on CR-V, meaning the range is now described as the Odyssey Vi L7 and Vi LX7, replacing the VTi and VTi-L grades respectively. 

As the name suggests, both models are seven-seaters and both feature second-row “captain’s” chairs with adjustable armrests, plus recline and long-slide functionality and improved positioning of child restraint anchor points. 

The Odyssey retains its ultra-low floor height, providing easy ingress/egress for both older and younger family members. 

Other Odyssey hallmarks are a relatively small turning circle, passenger-car-like handling and a comfortable interior offering excellent space and flexibility.

There are no changes to the powertrain with the Odyssey continuing to be powered by an efficient 129kW/225Nm 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine driving through a continuously variable transmission with paddle-shift manual control. Both models are front-wheel drive only. 

Honda Odyssey.

Stylistically, the new model can be recognised by its sleek new headlights and daytime running lights plus front and rear sequential indicators. 

There’s also a new bonnet, a larger and more pronounced front grille, plus and new front bumper which combines to create a new-look front fascia. 

Inside, there’s a new leather-wrapped steering wheel with improved button placement plus a larger and more refined 7.0-inch colour display screen ahead of the driver, offering additional functionality. 

Other new interior features for 2021 include ambient lighting which illuminates the second row footwell for easier passenger entry and exit, an extra accessories storage space with USB ports and a driver’s side retractable cup holder to ensure the driver can be suitably caffeinated, without taking their eyes off the road.

Travelling inside the new Odyssey should be quieter, too, thanks to noise-suppressing acoustic front and rear sliding door glass, thicker rear window glass and a special Honda-proprietary resonator technology in the alloy wheels which suppress tyre cavity noise resonance. 

Speaking of wheels, new 10-spoke, two-tone design 17-inch alloys add a further point of differentiation as does a new rear bumper with chrome reflector surrounds. There are also four new premium paint colours available. 

Honda Odyssey.

Pricing for both rebranded models has gone up by several thousand dollars over the equivalent predecessor, with the Vi L7 priced at $44,250 (previously ($39,140) and the Vi LX7 at $51,150 (previously ($48,740).

By way of comparison, Kia’s new Carnival range offers a broader eight-model range featuring both V6 petrol and four-cylinder turbo diesel power trains with pricing starting at $46,880 for the base petrol auto, rising to $66,680 for the top-spec Platinum diesel model.  

Even with its keener pricing the revised Odyssey probably can’t hope to head the Carnival’s sales lead with the latter’s 3650 sales in 2020 more than three times that of the Honda which finished the year second in the category on 1091 sales. 

Nevertheless, Honda expects the Odyssey to maintain its lead in people mover private market sales, claiming it has “been the undisputed leader in the people mover private market for nine consecutive years”.

Private market sales are generally regarded as being more profitable than fleet sales.