2020 Honda Odyssey Review

A minivan may not be as trendy as a full-size SUV, but for families that really need to haul more than 5 people, nothing beats the comfort and carrying capacity of a minivan. The Honda Odyssey has been a staple in the minivan market since 1994, and it is currently in its 5th generation. While the Odyssey faces some strong competitions in the segment, its biggest challenges are the new flock of 3-row SUVs that have gained significant popularity in the past few years. 

Does the Odyssey offer enough practicality and features to fight off the new breed competitions?

Thanks to Honda Canada, I was loaned the 2020 Honda Odyssey Touring for one week to find out. Below is my unbiased review. 


Most people are not looking for a head-turner when choosing a minivan. That being said, the 2020 Honda Odyssey is not bad looking at all. At the front, the razor blade style grille is decorated by a wing-shaped chrome trim that surrounds the Honda logo and connects the two LED headlights. Our touring trim tester also comes with the available LED fog lights.

On the side, the Odyssey looks much modern than your typical 80s minivans. The flowy character lines, chiseled door panels, and large daylight openings give the car a futuristic vibe. The side profile is slightly rear heavy, but the floating roof design reduces the visual weight toward the back. The optional large 19” aluminum-alloy wheels keep the Odyssey looking proportional. They are smart and stylish looking with the twin 5-spoke rim design. 

From the back, the familiar claw-shaped LED tailights are brought together by a thick chrome trim. To accommodate the longer rear overhang, the bumper is raised slightly to increase the departure angle. 

I actually quite enjoy the look of the 2020 Odyssey. Honda designers do a fantastic job of making a large, utilitarian minivan looking interesting. I very much appreciate the efforts.


The interior of the Odyssey is clever and highly functional. Honda engineers put considerable thoughts into making the cabin enjoyable for the entire family. 

The deck features a wing-shaped chrome trim that mirrors the one found on the front grill. A floating infotainment screen is accompanied by climate control and electronic shift buttons in the center deck. The use of electronic shift buttons frees up considerable space in the front cabin, and allows for additional storage options. A line of LED mood light is hidden under the chrome decorative trim piece. It is a feature normally reserved for luxury vehicles.

The standard heated front seats are nicely cushioned. They provide excellent lateral and lumbar supports. I find the folding armrest a little too narrow for longer drives, but they can be folded away easily. 

The 2nd-row of the Odyssey features the Magic Slide seats. It is a rather innovative design that allows for different seating configurations for different situations. In standard seating mode, all three seats are in place. This arrangement allows for three people to sit side by side quite comfortably. In Separation mode, the center seat is removed. It allows the most amount of space between the passengers. The freed up center aisle can also be used to access the third row cabin. In Easy Access mode, one of the outboard seats slides laterally toward the center through five selectable positions. This opens up the side of the car to allow entrance to the third row cabin even when both middle seats have child seats mounted. In Buddy Mode, the two outboard seats are both pushed toward the center. It is the most intimate setting and allows both the passengers to be within easier reach of the front cabin.

The electric sliding doors are a little slow opening and closing. I am sure it is designed for maximum safety, but the delay can be annoying if you are in a hurry. Second row passengers also enjoy premium features like privacy screens, dedicated air vents, and climate controls on the ceiling. 

As I have partially explained, there are quite a few ways of entering the third-row cabin with the center seat removed. Without removing the center seat, the two outboard chairs fold and slide forward to reveal a decently sized opening to the 3rd row cabin. Compared to most of the 3-row SUVs I have test driven, the 3rd row seats of the Odyssey are significantly more comfortable with wider width and more legroom. It will still be a challenge to fit three full-size adults in the back, but two can fit quite comfortably for short to medium length drives. 3rd row passengers also enjoy dedicated air vents and privacy screens.


The infotainment system of the Odyssey is family orientated. At the front, the floating 8” center display offers good visibility and intuitive menu layout. The touchscreen response is a little slow, but bearable. Both Apple Carplay and Android Auto are standard. There is also a wireless charging pad in the center console. The available HondaLink system provides additional services like remote engine start, remote door lock/unlock, Geofence alert, and stolen vehicle locator. It also comes with an “Are we there yet” app to let the rear passengers know exactly how far the car is away from the destination. A Near Field Communication (NFC) tag is located on the right side of the electric shift buttons for quick Bluetooth connection between the car and your smartphones.

To keep the rear passengers entertained on those long drives, an available 10.2” ceiling mounted display is located in the 2nd cabin. It accepts HDMI input, plays Blu-ray DVD, and projects the content of the embedded media apps.

Our touring trim tester comes with the CabinTalk and CabinWatch systems. The CabinTalk system broadcasts the driver’s voice to the 2nd and 3rd-row speakers and headphones, and the CabinWatch system displays a fisheye view of the rear cabins on the center screen. Both are very useful to communicate with your kids when on the road. 

The digital gauge cluster in front of the driver is large and easy to read. It is controlled via the switchgears on the steering wheel, and shows most of the relevant driving information.

Our Touring trim Odyssey comes with a 550-watt, 11-speaker audio system that sounds fantastic. All other trims get a 150-watt, 7-speaker audio system.

Safety and Driver Assistance

Nothing is more important than safety for a family vehicle, and Honda takes it to heart by offering a very comprehensive list of active safety features. They include:

  • Brake Assist
  • Auto high beam
  • Collision Mitigation Braking System
  • Forward Collision Warning System
  • Lane Departure Warning System
  • Road Departure Mitigation System
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Lane Keeping Assist System
  • Honda LaneWatch blind spot display

The LaneWatch system displays the passenger side rear view on the center display via a rear facing camera mounted on the passenger side mirror. 

The Odyssey earns a 5 star safety rating from NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick rating from IIHS.


The 2020 Odyssey is powered by the same engine as the Pilot. The 3.5L V6 delivers 280hp of power and 262 lb-ft of torque. All of the engine power is sent to the front wheels through the 10-speed automatic transmission. The 2020 Odyssey is surprisingly spirited for such a big car. It really goes when the accelerator is pushed hard. 0-100km/h happens in roughly 7.5 seconds. Not bad for a minivan. The power delivery continues to be excellent even at higher engine RPMs, making highway overtaking a breeze. 

Being a FWD vehicle, you do experience occasional front tire spins, but the Odyssey remains composed in most driving conditions. Concerned parents shouldn’t be afraid of snowy conditions. The Odyssey has a dedicated Snow Mode. With proper winter tires mounted, the Odyssey should be more than capable of handling snow packed roads. 

The suspension is nicely balanced between comfort and handling. While the suspensions of Honda vehicles tend to be on the firmer side, it is not the case for the Odyssey. The steering wheel is nicely weighted, but remains easy to to maneuver. Compared to a SUV, the Odyssey feels more planted due to its lower center of gravity. On the other hand, the minivan is more rear heavy, and that can be felt in fast corners. 

Fuel economy wise, the Odyssey is rated at 12.2L/100km city, 8.5L/100km highway, and 10.6L/100km combined. It is slightly more efficient than the Pilot. Our one week mostly city test drive observes a 12.7L/100km fuel economy rating figure.

Cargo Space & Storage

This is the strong suite of a minivan, and the Odyssey does not disappoint. Even with all the seats occupied, there is still a respectable 929L of cargo space behind the 3rd row seats. That is 419L more than the Pilot. This, in part, is due to the deep cargo well. 

Once you drop the third row seats into the well, the cargo space is increased to 2452L, and the trunk floor becomes completely flat. 

With the 2nd row seats taken out of the car, the total cargo space is increased to a whopping 3973L. It is wide and long enough to fit a 4x8 plywood sheet, a feature that would super handy for many DIY owners.

Honda also thoughtfully includes the HondaVAC in-car vacuum system for most trims. It is essentially a small ShopVac that hides in the side of the trunk. Perfect for cleaning the trunk after hauling some building materials. 

In-cabin storage options are impressive. The list includes a large glove compartment, a deep center console storage bin, a slide-out storage drawer under the center console, multi-layer door pockets and trays, two cup holders for the front cabin, 5 cup holders for the 2nd row cabin, and 4 cup holders for the 3rd row cabin.

I haven't been in a minivan in a little while, and the 2020 Honda Odyssey really impresses. It is clever, feature packed, and immensely practical. Compared to the minivans I am used to in the 90s, the new Odyssey also looks much better inside out, and is more fun to drive. Simply put, other than the lower ride height and the lack of an AWD option, the Odyssey beats most 3-row SUVs in terms of comfort and practicality handily. If you are looking for a family hauler, the Odyssey deserves your serous consideration.

Test Vehicle
2020 Honda Odyssey Touring

$54305 as tested CAD

Crystal Black Pearl


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