Honda unveiled the production 2018 Odyssey today at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show, revealing a thoroughly redesigned but wholly familiar family hauling box. New features include second row seats that slide side-to-side, as well as an interior camera to monitor mischievous rear-seat occupants.
Mechanical innovations include an optional, all-new 10-speed automatic transmission built at Honda’s Georgia transmission plant, and an upgraded 3.5 liter V6 that now produces 280 horsepower.
The cabin is where it’s at in a minivan, however, and Honda has piled on plenty of new features to satisfy drivers and passengers alike. The new Magic Slide second row seat will slide side to side to allow for multiple seating and rear-seat access configurations, as well as the usual fore and aft adjustment. Removing the center seat allows the outboard captains chairs to slide together for easier third row access, or the chairs can remain apart to minimize sibling conflicts.
When the kids are getting rowdy, parents up front can easily be distracted by the need for discipline — dad’s threat of, “I’ll turn this car around right now” is familiar to anyone who’s taken a long road trip.
To ease the burden, the Odyssey offers Cabin Watch — a night vision-enhanced camera, mounted on the ceiling, that allows front seat occupants to monitor the rear rows for horseplay, or to check the status of a sleeping baby. When that doesn’t work, the driver can easily speak rearward with Cabin Talk, which broadcasts either through the vehicle speakers or through the rear-seat entertainment system’s wireless headphones.
Because everything these days must have an app, Honda has one that allows passengers to control the rear-seat entertainment system, heating and cooling. The screens for the system are larger than previous models at 10.2 inches (diagonally), and can now stream video via an integrated 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, public Wi-Fi, or tethered through an existing cellphone data plan.
In recent years, the excellent Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance and safety systems have been expensive add-ons, keeping these features out of reach of some shoppers. Now, on trims EX and above — which Honda states makes up approximately 95 percent of all Odysseys — the minivan will have Lane Keeping Assist, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Road Departure Mitigation systems as standard equipment.
Sadly, the styling doesn’t reflect the spy drawings we spotted last month — the “lightning bolt” profile to the rear quarter window remains, echoed in a pair of body-side slashes. The tracks for the sliding side doors are now integrated into the bottom of that quarter window, rather than separate.
The 2018 Honda Odyssey will be in showrooms in fall 2017. Pricing will be announced later.
[Images: © 2017 Chris Tonn/The Truth About Cars; Honda]