I drove my family around in the new Honda Odyssey and discovered why it’s the greatest minivan ever made

Well, that was a marathon. So, what’s the 2018 Odyssey like to drive?

Well, that was a marathon. So, what's the 2018 Odyssey like to drive?

Matthew DeBord/BI

Frankly, I don’t think it drives as well as earlier generations, but it still drives better than the competition. The 0-60 is a shocking 6.6 seconds, but to be expected from the Odyssey’s tasty 3.5-liter, 280-horsepower V6, one of the greatest engines available on any vehicle. If you want merging and passing power, the Odyssey delivers, as it always has.

The minivan is large and weighs over 4,000 pounds, but it’s easy to maneuver, with responsive steering and good brakes. As with most vehicles in this price range, a host of safety features are on deck: adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, emergency braking. You are surrounded by the air bags and the Odyssey typically receives high marks for crashworthiness, although our tester model year hadn’t yet been rated by the government.

In my experience as an Odyssey owner, reliability is good and it doesn’t cost that much to maintain this minivan. Longevity is also notable. I’ve seen ancient examples still performing admirable family duty, and although you might bang a minivan up and render the seating areas sort of disgusting, the vehicle always cleans up well.

The versatility is unbeatable and always has been, and Honda has done great job of updating and upgrading a venerable platform. The latest generation is completely current as far as modern infotainment and connectivity go.

Obviously, there are minivan people and there are SUV people. For the SUV people, Honda has the excellent Pilot, a three-row ute that avoids the minivan stigma.

But for those who don’t care and simply want a multipurpose hauler that won’t fail, is sort of fun to drive, and can carry tons and tons of stuff on vacation, to sports practices, and is relatively economical to operate as a daily vehicle, the Odyssey is tough to beat. It even comes with an extra dash of exterior style for the 2018 edition.

It’s difficult to know where Honda goes next with its wonderful minivan. Perhaps a snazzier infotainment system is in order, but that’s about all I can think if to complain about. Otherwise, if you’re looking for the finest minivan ever built by human hands, look no further than the 2018 Odyssey.

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