NAIAS 2017: 2018 Honda Odyssey is a Nanny Cam With Wheels

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
naias 2017 2018 honda odyssey is a nanny cam with wheels

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]

Join the conversation
2 of 64 comments
  • C. Alan C. Alan on Jan 10, 2017

    As a father of 6, I am glad they have not abandon the 8 seat configuration. This was the prime reason we picked up a 2012 a few years ago. However, we have now out grown it, and my wife's ride is now a 2016 Transit 350 wagon.

  • Ponchoman49 Ponchoman49 on Jan 11, 2017

    Just don't get the popularity of these. Not only is the refresh ugly but the interior looks like it was designed by iRobot and the dash looks like a tacky childish mess. Ditto the overdone Nike swoosh on the sides and all the weird angles and triangles. I wonder if Honda finally sees fit to put a timing chain in this engine and also wonder if the lower trims 9 speed is going to be that same mess as used by Chrysler and Acura. Compared to other Honda models this also has more problems like the rear suspension and some with the power doors not working right, to complaints of wind noise, jumpy transmission and throttle response and still other complaints regarding the navigation and infotainment system. And the biggest complaint I keep hearing. Having to remove the seats and not being able To store them in the floor aka Chrysler style. The seat issue alone would keep me away since we are always moving and transporting things around and I sure wouldn't want to be struggling with seats no matter how magic they are supposed to be.

  • Ravenuer The Long Island Expressway.
  • Kwik_Shift A nice stretch of fairly remote road that would be great for test driving a car's potential, rally style, is Flinton Road off of Highway 41 in Ontario. Twists/turns/dips/rises. Just hope a deer doesn't jump out at you. Also Highway 60 through Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. Great scenery with lots of hills.
  • Saeed Hello, I need a series of other accessories from Lincoln. Do you have front window, front and rear lights, etc. from the 1972 and 1976 models
  • Probert Wow - so many digital renders - Ford, Stellantis. - whose next!!! They're really bringing it on....
  • Zerocred So many great drives:Dalton Hwy from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle.Alaska Marine Highway from Bellingham WA to Skagway AK. it was a multi-day ferry ride so I didn’t actually drive it, but I did take my truck.Icefields Parkway from Jasper AB to Lake Louise AB, CA.I-70 and Hwy 50 from Denver to Sacramento.Hwy 395 on the east side of the Sierras.