By on December 19, 2016

2018 Honda Odyssey Teaser Scribble

Honda released a teaser of its awe-inspiring and boldly redesigned Odyssey today — a vehicle that will make its official appearance at this year’s North American International Auto Show. I know that I really shouldn’t weigh in until after the Detroit debut, but this has to be one of the most impressive imaginings of an automobile I’ve seen in my lifetime. The overall impact of the model’s new design language must be acknowledged.

The fifth-generation Odyssey has been completely redone, gaining a new powertrain, updated technology, advanced driver’s features, and this uncommonly sophisticated styling.

In addition to the teaser sketch (shown above), Honda also released four “teaser scribbles” from children of its Ohio-based Odyssey Development Team. While not quite as accurate or photo-realistic as the official teaser sketch (above, still), they may provide us with additional insight. These are, after all, images created from the memories of children who have actually seen the new Odyssey in numerous stages of its evolution.

“We wanted to have a bit of fun by sharing some of the drawings from children of the Odyssey team members, since they were inspirational in shaping the family-friendly direction of the all-new Odyssey,” said Chad Harrison, chief engineer at Honda R&D America and the development leader of the new Odyssey.

Unfortunately for Chad, I’m not here for fun and enlisted Timothy Cain — TTAC’s resident minivan aficionado, Honda Odyssey owner, and parent — to weigh in on some of the children’s drawings. My theory is that, as a father, Tim might somehow possess the ability to infer additional information from the younger’s drawings that I might miss as a man devoid of a child’s love.

2018 Honda Odyssey Teaser Scribble

Updated with an expansive greenhouse, this rendering could indicate that the next Odyssey may see a reduction in proportions. It appears to have kept the traditional minivan shape, but proportions roughly even to a roadside construction barrel. Considering Mr. Cain’s assessment, however, this might indicate that the miniature scale may just be to save weight.

“With blacked-out trim and a hint of British Racing Green as evidence, it’s clear that some kids have motorsports in their blood,” he said. “Soichiro would be proud, particularly if we improve the aero at the front and de-emphasize the off-road-ready breakover angle.”

2018 Honda Odyssey Teaser Scribble

Reminiscent of Volkswagen’s 1996 Golf Harlequin, this incarnation of Honda’s Odyssey shows why it has remained the most popular minivan with under-35 buyers since 2010. The classic teardrop shape, dog dish hubcaps, and four-row seating may not appear on the production model, however. This version also seems to be over fifteen feet tall and is therefore impractical for most garages and carports.
2018 Honda Odyssey Teaser Sketch

“The major styling change, if a teaser is anything to go by, is the removal of the sliding door tracks, or rather the disappearance of the tracks into the windowline. On that front, Honda appears to have come to terms with the times,” said Cain.

Actually, it looks as if the child that did this drawing neglected the doors entirely — a reoccurring theme among the teaser scribbles.

Tim also noted the continued evolution of the Odyssey’s wedge-shaped design while expressing concerns that the driving line above the rear wheel arch might cause the van to “appear droopy.” However, he asserted that “the 26-inch wheels look great, and I’m sure it’ll be easy to find affordable winter tires for them.”

Unrealistic as they may be, Cain’s dig about the oversized tires seemed a little harsh. I’m sure the little boy or girl that made this illustration put forth their very best effort and should be credited for their rudimentary capturing of the Honda’s much-anticipated floating D-pillar. Personally, I thought this one was adorable in a Hot Wheels sort of way.

2018 Honda Odyssey Teaser Scribble

This ovoid jellybean bodywork is endearing and, just as before, doesn’t provide a clear point of ingress or egress. The short wheelbase and body-over-frame design would not lend itself to stability. While charming in its naiveté, this sort of design would actually be incredibly dangerous to drive.

Which leads us back to the official teaser (pictured at the top of the page) and, again, Honda has outdone itself. From the center-mounted doorhandles to the aggressively sagging rear roof, this style is absolutely fearless. Honda may have to round off and lower the nose for pedestrian safety, but it shouldn’t do much to harm the overall experience of seeing what will unquestionably be the most memorable vehicle in recent memory.

Even though American car buyers have purchased almost 2.5 million Honda minivans since 1994, Odyssey sales today aren’t quite what they were just a decade ago. The pivotal role that this ravishing new styling is destined to play in history will assuredly turn that tide — perhaps even returning the minivan to its former glory.

Bravo, Honda.

The all-new 2018 Honda Odyssey minivan will make its global debut at the 2017 North American International Auto Show on January 9th.

[Images: Honda]

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39 Comments on “Honda’s Radically Redesigned Odyssey Will Take Your Breath Away...”

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge


    Obviously the Ohio School Board has dropped art class from schools. All of these pieces of “art” are terrible (especially the 4th one).

    • 0 avatar

      Eh, if drawn by infants, its quite impressive. Otherwise, I guess there is a joke here and maybe I’m just not getting it.

      • 0 avatar

        The joke is “hey, minivans are only for parents of little kids”. Minivans are versatile multipurpose vehicles that are also great for road trips with your adult friends, carrying large items home from Home Depot, and innumerable other tasks, but like most of their competition Honda only want to sell these to one-dimensional parent figures, probably to avoid infriging upon profitable luxury-crossover sales. And then they’ll wonder why minivan sales aren’t what they used to be….

    • 0 avatar

      If those drawings were done in our daughter’s art class that she teaches, the results would have been splendid!

  • avatar

    I like the drawing of the second van, the one with the exit sign in the picture.

    I’m tired of ever-rising belt lines and shrinking glass area. I don’t want a rolling pillbox.

    Love the large glass area of drawing #2. We’ll probably get something closer to drawing #3, though.


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I prefer the rainbow-colored one.

    The Dymaxion returns!

  • avatar

    The red headlights on the 2nd drawing do not meet regulations.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Nice. No DLO fail at least

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Maddox Critiques Children’s Art is still one of the funniest things I’ve ever read on the internet.

  • avatar

    Whatever flattened, clown-wheeled monstrosity Hondota and even Kia put out there will sell to the more affluent families because what else can they buy new?

    Obvious solution: No More Families = No More Maxivans.

    Jeez… I thought we all got the message back in the ’70s. You *don’t* want to put kids on this shrinking planet cuz they *ain’t* gonna have lives anywhere near as good as yours.

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    I like the second drawing! Let’s hope Honda goes against the trend of higher belt lines and smaller windows….this could be interesting, especially since my 2008 Odyssey is getting a bit long in the tooth!

  • avatar
    Trucky McTruckface

    And, with this post TTAC has moves one step closer to becoming the Canadian Jalopnik.

    I almost used the word “devolve,” but then I remembered the sort of sh!t Bertel used to post and decided this still an upgrade…

    • 0 avatar

      jalop is slowing down too. id be happy with 1 scrolling page of content here, and some actual stories there on jalop. between the canucks owning this and the mexicans there? whos gonna feed americas “belly”… j/k

      this is my more favorite site for a while.

  • avatar
    Thomas Kreutzer

    Image two is obviously a Toyota.

  • avatar

    The second picture looks like a Cadillac XTS. The wheelbase is too short!

  • avatar

    Curious about the new powertrain.

    I’m thinking direct injection, VCM, and that awesome 9 speed auto.

    I would like a minivan, but I don’t want to daily drive it. My wife feels the same way.

    Need to convince the wife soon to ditch the cramped noisy Forester and pick up a lightly used port injected, ancient 6 speed automatic Sienna that gets the same mileage as the Forester, but is smooth, quiet, quick, and spacious.

  • avatar
    April S

    (really) slow news day.

  • avatar

    The first two drawings both have a scallop below the rear window in otherwiae generic kids’ drawings. I think those kids saw something memorable in the prototypes. The “real” teaser has this as well, though not as pronounced as the kids’ drawings made me expect. That squiggle in the beltline looks like it will stay for another generation, joined by that weird drooping fold above the rear wheel. Now we know where the Civic hatchback design team went after they were done adding random straight lines over that car…

    • 0 avatar

      Just like styling features on a large sedan, the Odyssey will probably pull off the styling better than the Civic did. Sweeping lines usually look better on a large vehicle.

  • avatar

    the sienna and now the new pacifica look REALLY nice, as far as minivans go. the avalons and C300s of vans when in upscale trims.

    looks like honda toned down the lightning bolt rear window motif and made the rest sleeker. bravo!

  • avatar

    The true drawing would have the van parked on the side of the road, hooked to a tow truck and puddle of transmission fluid under the van.

  • avatar

    Well this is timely. I was up on Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga TN last week when two guys rolled up in a new heavily camouflaged minivan. The were polite and would not admit it but it was obviously a new Odyssey. Despite the camo it was an improvement over the current design. I always thought the current van was designed by two teams who never met or consulted. One did the front and the other the back end. Then some guy from the mail room joined to the two halves. Hope the new van looks more like previous generations and that nobody involved in the design of the new Civic was allowed to contribute.

  • avatar

    As a former vehicle designer the sketch is not meant to be a literal translation . Its a gesture meant to stir emotion and excitement. Gestural sketches like this are the genesis of just about every vehicle out there.
    Most of you will never understand this and thats ok.

    • 0 avatar

      But Jonny, are those sketches intended to be disseminated to the general public as the new styling’s primary source of advance publicity? I doubt it.

      Frankly, using it this way raises expectations that Tim correctly points out can’t be met by the practical production-ready reality of a car that’s over 3 feet high and has less than 24″ wheels. Like all those teasers of the NSX, it seems like a recipe for people greeting the actual car as a disappointment.

  • avatar

    I am curious to see the new model. We are looking to replace our 2005 model, I tried to convince the wife on a twin-turbo Flex but she is resistant to the box/wagon design. Instead, she prefers a Macan but our wallets say otherwise.

  • avatar

    “Bold” would be if they had a version of Chrysler’s stow ‘n go seats.

  • avatar

    Hmmmm so when is this year’s NA Auto show anyway???? I may just want to go based upon all the hype and hyperbole in this article. Sounds like it may rival the second coming of the messiah!! Of course recent articles on the odyssey’s transmission etc do not bode well for the new van. I think my money is still on Toyota. No timing belts, special lubricants, etc. Like Honda but toyota will be cheaper to own and maintain,

  • avatar

    Chief of Design, Honda: “How dare you say to me that we should design a good-looking car!”

    Assistant designer: “I can resign if you’d like, sir.”

  • avatar


    – from in the top 3, to now just average, and I believe down to 15 or so.

    This is remarkable, shocking and #Sad .

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