By on August 13, 2019

Image: Honda

Ten speeds, that is. While the 2019 Odyssey only offered a 10-speed automatic in the lofty Touring and Elite trims, for 2020 the tranny becomes standard across the range. What’s the occasion? Well, a quarter century of life, for one, but the continued decline of the once-hot minivan segment can’t be discounted.

For buyers eager to unload an extra $1,500 on their 2020 Odyssey, Honda has a birthday package ready to go for all trims. Minivan ownership is already a special experience, but Honda wants owners to rub it in everyone’s face.

The 25th Anniversary Package, as you’d expect, carries copious badging and chrome accents spanning the roof sacks to side sills and everywhere in between. It’s up to you to decide whether the added glitz is worthy of the additional cash outlay. As previously mentioned, regardless of whether you opt for the package, the old nine-speed automatic is now a thing of the past. Auto stop-start comes standard, as well.

Getting 19-inch wheels on all four corners pushes the package’s price tag up to $2,800. Otherwise, you’re looking at an after-destination starting price of $31,785 for a base Odyssey LX.

Beneath the hood lurks the same 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 as before, though the addition of a 10-speed does not translate into a boosted MPG number. The 10-speed carries the same EPA fuel economy rating as the tranny it replaces: 19 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined.

While there isn’t all that much new about the 2020 Odyssey, Honda took the opportunity to boast of its past achievements in the minivan realm, which once hosted a healthy population. Since the Odyssey’s 1995 debut, Ford, General Motors, and Hyundai have all called it quits in the segment, leaving just Honda, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, and Kia to serve families with a need for plentiful seating and a flat cargo floor.

Through the end of July, Odyssey sales fell 6.5 percent in 2019. The model’s best sales year to date was the heady, optimistic year of 2006.

[Image: Honda]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

38 Comments on “In Honor of Its 25th Birthday, Honda Cranks the Odyssey up to ’10’...”


  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    My old Odyssey is so much better looking than the new ones, it would be a tough trade to make. Plus the old one refuses to die.

    • 0 avatar
      Cactuar

      Same here. I like the simplicity of our 2006 Odyssey. With 176k km and the timing belt/water pump changed and the ATF serviced the van should last us many more years.

      The one issue I have with the Odyssey though is how the AC lines are exposed under the van. We had to get our AC lines fixed twice in 5 years. Honda should have protected them. Other than that it’s bulletproof.

      • 0 avatar
        Sloomis

        Our 2005 has 180k+ miles on it and we just returned from a 3000 mile roadtrip in it. That on top of a 2000 mile roadtrip in June. Zero issues despite its age and mileage thanks to proper maintenance (I change the ATF a bit more frequently than recommended for good measure).

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      That window line is just deeply unfortunate.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      In the old days, they would have kept the original, and added a 2-3 letter version with racing stripes, body cladding, and some extra chrome trim, at a “slight additional charge”.

  • avatar
    lstanley

    Ooof, that’s one unfortunate crease on those doors.

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      This design has always puzzled me. We have the gentle rising upper crease to form the beltline, then, halfway across the sliding door, it takes a steep dive….which makes the whole rear end appear to be drooping. It is a design at war with itself.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Istanley

      Agreed. I never understood it. I think it is hideous. I would really have a hard time spending 50 grand on something so ugly, even though it is a very practical and reliable vehicle. Toyota didn’t try as hard and their van looks a lot better.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        I know it’s silly to get too caught up on aesthetics of a utilitarian boxy family hauler, but I was legitimately repulsed by the older ’11-’17 Odyssey inside and out when we were van shopping, the Siennas are a bit better (pre-maw), but have some very nasty interior bits right on the dash if you go for a pre-2015 refresh car. Sedona has that bunkered up rear end treatment with tiny windows out back. I won’t lie I found the T&C that we bought to be genuinely good looking in contrast to the other options.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      I bet the NVH engineers love that crease.
      Makes those door skins stiffer than Jeff Epstein.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Trying to make a big deal about this 25th anniversary is absolutely silly, and reveals a serious lack of creative mojo over at the Honda marketing shop.

    Why take on the added complexity of the 10-speed with no improvement in fuel efficiency?

    Honda’s got nuthin new here.

    • 0 avatar
      ravenuer

      I don’t think there’s really all that much improvement over say, a 5 speed.
      I have a 2010 RAV4 V6 w/5sp and a 2017 Lexus RX350 V6 w/8sp. Both SUVs, pretty much the same engine but the RAV is smoother shifting and both get very similar mpg.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The RX weighs a good 700 pounds more than the RAV. If they get the same fuel economy that makes a pretty compelling case for the 8-speed.

      • 0 avatar
        indi500fan

        I talked to some old GM powertrain friends.
        They said you can model “some” incremental perf and fuel econ improvement beyond 6 speeds but it’s really difficult to show in the real world.
        More for marketing than anything else.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      Honda and other manufacturers have typically released “anniversary” special trims over the years. They are often nothing more than trim, special badges and re-configured standard features.

      The 10-speed unit may have 1 more forward gear but I believe it is smaller and less complex overall. The benefits of the 10 speed aren’t in mileage or sprint times as much as they are in overall refinement and response at all speeds.

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        I think “Anniversary Editions” work for aspirational or special interest products–Mustangs, Corvettes, Harley’s etc.? For a mommy van…now so much.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      The old 9 speed was that utter piece of dog-clutch nonsense designed by ZF that has ruined myriad Acuras, Darts, 200s, current unibody transverse engine Jeeps and Evoques. My, how short people’s memories are! Honda probably eventually tuned it better than most, but that thing was never any good. I’ve driven four vehicles with that thing and they were all nasty. The one in the first Acura V6 TLX’s was sad in the extreme.

      The 10 speed is the unit Honda designed to replace the useless ZF, and first featured in the new Accord 2.0t. About time they installed ed it in the cheaper (but not really inexpensive) Odysseys and Pilots.

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        Thanks for the details here. I put 1000 miles on a 9-speed equipped rental Jeep Compass last summer, and became acutely angry on account of that horrible transmission. You have provided some meaningful illumination here…I take back my comments about that….Thanks!

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    I like my 2016 odyssey. It gives me a flat load floor when I take the seats out unlike the current one that leaves a track rail system behind for the sliding seats. I’m also not a fan of push button transmissions.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “Getting 19-inch wheels on all four corners”

    Hello Pilot Sport A/S+.
    And muffler delete.
    And semi-metallic pads.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Asking the experienced…

      Which is less “drone inducing” muffler delete or resonator delete?

      Asking for a friend.

    • 0 avatar
      theflyersfan

      Having those sizes wheels and tires looks great on the showroom floor, but just wait until that first tire change and being slid a $1500-2000 tire bill. Normally that’ll hit right around the time that Child #1 needs braces or Child #2 starts private school. And then it’s off to Bob’s Discount Tire Bin for the cheapest “tires” that fell off of the boat from China. And now your $50,000 van is riding around on shoddy tires that won’t hold up under minivan loads. And that’s what people don’t think about with purchases like this.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I have a better idea….

    Stick the NSX drivetrain in the Odyssey.

    Since NSX isn’t selling the way Honda wants, why not help defray development costs with a higher volume vehicle?

    Detune it a bit to keep NSX ‘special’, market it as the Odyssey NSX, and market it to the Scottsdale/Santa Monica/NYC/North Dallas moms who would love something more unique than their neighbor’s Cayenne Turbo. Honda would be in a market of 1.

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    On the U.S. version of the TV show Top Gear, Rutledge Wood drives a Honda Odyssey with a 6 speed manual and a turbo.

    https://www.mecum.com/lots/CA0816-244243/2014-honda-odyssey/

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Funky styling and a less than perfect track record in the quality department has to be a drag on the Odyssey.

    Toyota is very proud of the Sienna from a pricing standpoint, but if I was buying a minivan and track record of reliability was a key point, my choice would be Toyota, Toyota, or Toyota. If I was on a budget I would go with the Grand Caravan because the platform is old, it has to be sorted out at this point.

    One other thing – the ad campaigns for the Odyssey and feature/benefits shown in those ads have been a horror.

    Hey, we have a vacuum cleaner!

    https://www.ispot.tv/ad/7bDS/honda-odyssey-talking-dirt-manual

    Honda Odyssey – it will emasculate you:

    https://www.ispot.tv/ad/7QKH/honda-odyssey-exl-more-family

    This one is better – but they take a long time to get to the punch line:

    https://www.ispot.tv/ad/dgyv/honda-odyssey-keep-the-peace

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “Grand Caravan because the platform is old, it has to be sorted out at this point.”

      Kind of sort of, there are some known low quality parts that Chrysler sees no interest in upgrading, but on the whole yes you can get a 5th gen chrysler van to 200k with only a smattering of fairly cheap repairs (parts are cheap).

      • 0 avatar
        indi500fan

        Agree, and since old Chrysler minivans appear to be the official family car of Hispanics, all the repair shops in the ‘hood are totally on point with fixing them for cheap.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “old Chrysler minivans appear to be the official family car of Hispanics”

          In my area and region it is Chebby pickup trucks of any and all kinds, vintage and configuration.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      Limited budget would literally be the only reason I would consider buying a new Grand Caravan. it is so painfully outdated.

      Are any of the tech or features on the GC less than 10 years old?

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        It’s awesome bang for the buck. And I’d be buying ex-fleet to take advantage of massive early depreciation. When I was shopping, it was fairly easy to find and negotiate a 1 year old Caravan GT with heated leather seats and steering wheel, power everything, DVD, etc down to $17k. Nothing else can even remotely touch that for the money. I’m a Toyota guy but could not stomach $24-25k for a 3 year old Sienna XLE with 40k miles, scooped up our immaculately kept 2016 Town&Country Touring L with the aforementioned options, a privately owned car with the remainder of factory bumper to bumper warranty intact (34k miles) for $18k.

    • 0 avatar
      3800FAN

      In 2015 when van shopping I thought the same thing. SIENNA! Or Grand caravan/tc (no pacifica then) but both fell short for 2 reasons. 1 the 2nd row was 2 seats (GC) or no latch in the middl3 seat of the 2nd row (sienna). Having 3 small kids who couldnt buckle themselves up made the Odyssey a winner here cuz all 3 seats of the 2nd row have latch. No crawling into the 3rd row to buckle a kid up.
      Then the driving… The seinna drove like a bus and the Mopar like a mini bus. The Odyssey drove almost like a normal sedan.

      So those 2 reasons made me go odyssey despite it costing more and having a lesser reliability record than the sienna.

      Oh kia sorento i didnt look at cuz the 2nd row seats cant be removed.

      So aftet almost 4 years rh3 odyssey has 37k miles and zero problems so far. I plan to keep it for as long as itll last.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I’d like to see an Odyssey with an upsized version of the Accord Hybrid powertrain, probably with a detuned J35 as the gas engine. Unfortunately Honda wants you to go upscale and get a superfluous conventional automatic transmission (i.e. MDX Sport Hybrid) if you want a hybrid people-mover.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    I didn’t leave the minivan segment; the minivan segment left me.

    Honda, you’re doing it wrong.

    (Honda lost the plot when they implemented the original ‘lightning bolt’ side styling.)

  • avatar
    V16

    From the A pillar back, one of the most tortured designs in the auto world.
    Honda needs to let their interior designers work on the exterior.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • nrd515: The list of things that look “unfortunate” is almost endless with the Odyssey at this point. I...
  • Dave M.: Dogs or dealers? I deal with a number of dealers here in Houston. I’d say more than half play the...
  • Dave M.: Life’s too short not to have a sunroof.
  • Garak: Where I live, people drive in average 17000km per year. If we divide that with 270 days, we get a daily...
  • nrd515: my ’93 Grand Cherokee, and several others about the same time had the “death wobble” and it...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States