By on March 7, 2017

2018 Honda Odyssey - Image: American Honda

Got $43,695?

Honda spoke excitedly about the inclusion of an all-new, Honda-designed 10-speed automatic in the 2018 Honda Odyssey lineup when the van debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit two months ago. Along with a higher-powered 3.5-liter V6 and a standard 10-speed automatic from the Pilot, Honda made clear that the 10-speed would be reserved for “upper grades.”

Now we know precisely how high up the Odyssey food chain you must climb to obtain the minivan world’s first-ever 10-speed.

And it’s quite high.

American Honda began building the new 10-speed at Honda Precision Parts of Georgia just yesterday. In Georgia.

The dawn of 10-speed production at the Tallapoosa plant occurred thanks to Honda’s $100 million investment in the facility. Honda is also pouring $49 million into the automaker’s transmission plant in Russells Point, Ohio. Combined, the two factories assemble nearly 1.4 million transmissions annually.

The 10-speed will eventually find its way, Honda says, “to additional light-truck and car models in the future.” But the early application in the upper reaches of one model line is a typical Honda strategy. Just think back seven years to the arrival of the fourth-generation Honda Odyssey, when the current van’s six-speed automatic — no paragon of shift quality, as this 2015 Odyssey EX owner can attest — was reserved for the Touring and Touring Elite trims. Even in 2017, year two for the third-generation Honda Pilot, a six-speed automatic is standard across the affordable sections of the lineup while the nine-speed is fitted to the Pilot Touring and Elite variants.

Likewise, American Honda spokesperson Davis Adams confirmed to TTAC that, “Initial application [of the Odyssey’s 10-speed automatic] is to Touring and Elite models.”

Based on the outgoing Odyssey’s model structure, the $43,695 Touring is 43-percent more expensive than the basic Odyssey LX, which, to be fair, will now feature a presumably more economical nine-speed automatic for MY2018. That’s a $12,905 leap at the moment, bypassing the EX, SE, EX-L, EX-L RES, and EX-L Navi. The Touring Elite is priced at $46,265.

Honda promised “top-in-class” fuel economy for the 2018 Odyssey, surely excluding the Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid from the “class.” There are no EPA ratings available, so we don’t yet know whether the 9- and 10-speed Odysseys will achieve class-leading fuel consumption figures. The Odyssey already ranks among the class leaders, and Honda says the new Odyssey will be lighter and more aerodynamic.

Conventional Chrysler Pacificas are rated at 19 miles per gallon city, 28 on the highway, just ahead of the 19/27 Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, the latter of which now features an eight-speed automatic. The Nissan Quest, which is not readily available to consumers, is rated at 20 mpg city and 27 highway.

U.S. sales of minivans have been in decline since August, seven consecutive months. So far this year, minivan volume is down 21 percent, in part because of a predictable 18-percent drop in Odyssey volume as Honda prepares to transition.

But minivan volume at every other competing brand — Chrysler, Dodge, Kia, Mazda, Nissan, and Toyota — is also lower this year than last.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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35 Comments on “Want A 10-Speed Automatic In Your Next Minivan? Prepare To Spend At Least $44,000 For A 2018 Honda Odyssey...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I have a ten speed sitting on my porch, but it only has two wheels.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Cue the Spın̈al Tap jokes…

    I wonder if Honda would have ever tried to build this like their old Hondamatics? What I mean by that is I assume it is a bewildering array of conventional planetary gearsets and clutch packs rather than an automaticized manual transmission like the old Hondamatics (mainshaft/layshaft and dog clutches).

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Honda is full of lunatics

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Doesn’t say Buy ME! like the HondaVAC.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I doubt anyone will spend 43% more just so they can get a 10-speed transmission. But they’ll gladly spend 43% more for the *other* bling that accompanies the Touring and Elite trims.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Stop the insanity…

    • 0 avatar
      Dawnrazor

      The “Ratio War” of the 2010s is much more ridiculous than the “Horsepower War” of the 60s.

      At what point does it make more sense to just say “screw it” and toss in a CVT?

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Haha, a $44k minivan… such insanity. I’ll keep my cheapo LX Ody thanks.

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Sadly this is probably another poorly designed transmission from Honda. The Pilot and Ridgeline can’t even complete a long term test without the 9 speed transmission overheating or being replaced. This new 10 speed only gives Honda the chance of one more gear breaking.

    https://www.google.com/amp/www.motortrend.com/cars/honda/pilot/2016/2016-honda-pilot-elite-review-update-3/amp/

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      That 9-speed is the awful unit from ZF.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Honda sourced the transverse 9-speed from ZF—they didn’t build it themselves—and it has similar issues from other companies (like FCA and J/LR). They seem to be working out the kinks, but it looks like the transmission’s intrinsic nature is to constantly hunt for gears, which is a big disadvantage IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      @VW4motion: this. Came here to say it; thank you for beating me to it.

      1998: new 4 speed auto for the V6 Accord and Odyssey; JUNK. PURE junk.

      2002: new 5 speed auto for the V6 Accord and Odyssey: JUNK again.

      It wasn’t until 2005 at the earliest that Honda sorted out the 5 speed transmission.

      And now Honda wants the public to spend that much money to be the guinea pig for yet ANOTHER “all new” Honda automatic transmission that, if history is any guide, is again PURE JUNK?

      At this point, even Chrysler and BMW are looking at Honda and going, “damn, man….” Chrysler for the transmission troubles, and BMW for the creation of a pure three-year-lease-only vehicle to keep the money machine churning.

      When will people learn? How long will the public allow the fiction of “Honda has a reputation for quality, just look at their stuff from the 90s!” to continue?

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I keep hearing Honda does make good tranny’s but I have had about 8 honda cars and Suv’s and not an issue, but a 10 speed in a mini van, no I take that back a 10 speed in anything????????????????

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    “Want A 10-Speed Automatic” –No
    “In Your Next Minivan?” –No
    “Prepare To Spend At Least $44,000”–GTFO. Seriously.

    Six speeds is enough. Eight feels busy when accelerating although the ZF box seems to be smooth and unobtrusive about it. Ten? Wouldn’t that be like watching a tractor trailer shift three times before even reaching the end of the intersection?

    errm-shift-errm-shift-errm-shift-errm-shift-errm-shift-errm-shift-errm-shift-errm Great, we hit 40mph.

    • 0 avatar
      VW4motion

      Honestly, $44k is a lot of money for a fwd minivan especially a Honda product. And even with all the current 9 speed transmission issues in the Pilot and Ridgeline this minivan will sell like crazy. I don’t understand the craze for the Honda Odyssey. I currently work with two employees that have sold there Odyssey’s for Toyota Sienna’s. One only had 86,000 miles and it cost them close to $5000 keeping it running last year. Engine mounts, spark plug issues, slide door and transmission issues plagued the van. Before the Odyssey they owned an older Sienna with 190,000 miles on her. Actually didn’t have any mechanical issues with the Sienna. It was just looking old and they bought the Honda. That was a mistake. So they went back too a used 2015 Sienna with 23k miles.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        It’s not that much money. We’re getting to the point where larger unibody family vehicles can top out in the high $40K, low $50K range. The Explorer Sport I saw in the showroom stickered at $52K. And I bet the dealership gets every penny of that, too. Of course, with the Explorer Sport, you get the benefit of the performance-oriented 3.5-liter EcoBoost.

        But, yeah, $44K isn’t that much to ask in this day and age for a loaded minivan, especially a Honda.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          You’re right- it’s really not *that* much money. $43,695 in 2017 is a bit over $27,000 in 1995 dollars (source: CPI calculator). Anybody remember what kind of vehicle you could buy for a $27k in the mid 1990s? ’96 Town and Country MSRP was about $25k. The same money could buy an entry-level Volvo or BMW… while a new Corvette was high 30s to low 40s.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Completely agree. My mother’s 2010 Routan stickered for $44K. Mid-40s is simply what a loaded minivan costs.

          The most loaded version of any vehicle is rarely good value.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          “It’s not that much money.”

          That depends on the household income of the family buying a $44k minivan rather than the cost of other luxed out minivans, no?

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            @jkross22- yes, but I guess that means, for example, that a 20 year old used Ford Escort with 300,000 miles on the clock is “not that cheap” either?

      • 0 avatar
        Stevo

        To each their own: my 2002 Odyssey is purring past 130K miles. I did have to replace the passenger slider roller for $800 this year but that is the first major repair in 15 years. Maybe because it is always garaged and I try to drive it pretty gently. If my kids were younger I would be a potential customer for the new one, but I am trying to age out of the need. My oldest is now learning to drive in it.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “like watching a tractor trailer shift three times before even reaching the end of the intersection”

      Primo!

  • avatar
    wagonsonly

    OK, I’ll bite…with what is Mazda competing in the minivan market? Are there still unsold Mazda5s on dealer lots? (And if there are, are we surprised that there are fewer this month than there were last month?)

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      Indeed there are. This one is 20 minutes from me. Went there last Memorial Day weekend to check out a C-Max and the sales guy asked if I had any interest in it. Brand new for the low price of 20K.

      http://www.primemazda.com/inventory/new-vehicles/models=Mazda_Mazda5

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    We bought an ’11 Odyssey Touring Elite back in December 2011 as a leftover. The 6 speed was a nice to have back then vs the 5 speed that was offered in the EX-L, but it wasn’t as important to us as, say, the xenon headlights, even though we planned to put a ton of miles on the van. 6 years and 116k later it’s still alive…Which is more than could be said for previous new Honda transmissions, though there has been a TSB on the transmission that didn’t apply to us due to excessive mileage.

    I don’t think the sticker is outrageous on an inflation adjusted basis from what we paid back then. You get a lot less for your money in a similarly equipped MDX. If the previous gen Odyssey is any guide, this transmission will be standard across the Ody lineup in 2 or 3 years.

  • avatar

    When I was seven my parents bought a brand new 1993 Toyota Previa LE All-Trac, about as loaded as you could get. It stickered at $27,000 which was buko bucks back then, or $45,400 now. And I’d be willing to bet the new Odyssey is safer, rides nicer, is better built and more comfortable than the Previa. Although I tried destroying that thing as a teenager…it won.

    • 0 avatar
      la834

      The Previa was the the minivan equivalent of an exotic sports car. Mid-engine! Supercharged! RWD or AWD! And pretty rad styling inside and out. There was even a 5-speed manual version, athough I don’t think you could get it in LE trim or with at east one of the aforementioned attributes.

      • 0 avatar

        Unfortunately 1993 was the last year of the pre-supercharged engines which meant that 2.4 liter four banger producing a meager 138 horsepower was tasked with hauling around just under TWO TONS. I timed it with a stopwatch once…0-60 took 14 seconds. Despite this, being a ’93 model meant no passenger airbag which equaled one gargantuan glovebox. You could probably lose a child in that thing. Ours had the center captain’s chairs rather than the bench and they swiveled to face the rear which was so cool. The only bummer was the dual sunroofs weren’t available with the AWD. Why? Who knows.

        The styling was pretty ahead of its time and honestly, I think it looks better now than it did when it was new.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Honda has done this for at least the last few generations of Oddy. Want the six speed auto circa 2011? EX-L or higher trim. Then by 2015 they all had the six speed.

    I’m not a fan of the way our ’14 Odyssey EX-L shifts period and Tim Cain had very similar opinions in his write-up of his van. I’m sure much of it is due to longevity problems with earlier transmissions. Also, Honda does not give you manual control of the gears, only the D4 button or L on the selector.

    We just drove a ’17 Sienna SE and “dull” Toyota gives you the ability to control the gears manually. I’m not sure if all the trims have manual control, but I don’t see Toyota making that specific of a change for even the “sporty SE”. But even left to it’s own, the 8 speed in the Toyota shifted better than the 6spd Odyssey.

    Around 22k, the Honda maintenance minder indicated it was time for a fluid change. The shift quality had been suffering and after they changed the fluid, it was vastly improved. I just don’t have a good feeling about Honda V6/automatics and it’s one reason we leased instead of buying.

    Sure, cue the folks that have 300k on their original transmission and then the other side that didn’t make it out of the dealer lot before it let go. The truth is in the middle, somewhere.

    As for the price, it is what it is. 44k for a minivan is absurd but not for any of our given lusted after cars which are less capable? Or a full-size truck, CUV or SUV, which is only middle trim at those prices? Vehicle prices haven’t gotten that much more expensive, adjusted for inflation and standard equipment, we just don’t make any more money than we did 20 years ago.

  • avatar
    lot9

    I do not know what Honda is smoking. Lots of money just for a van.

    Also, lots of multi-speed tranny on the market, already. GM and Ford and other makers have been 9-10 speeds them for some time.

    If it is anything like those in the recent accords, FORGET IT.

    I see this a more HYPE than anything….just a marketing tool.


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