Honda Odyssey
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Overall

Honda’s updated 2014 minivan receives mild interior/exterior touch-ups along with added structural support; base models arrive with more content; top-line Odyssey Touring Elite features a built-in . . . vacuum cleaner.

Drivetrain

All trim levels use a 248-horsepower V6 with cylinder deactivation to save fuel, along with a previously optional six-speed automatic transmission (replacing the base five-speed unit).

Of all the rivals to Chrysler’s Town & Country and Dodge’s Grand Caravan, the Honda Odyssey minivan is out in front of the pack despite its steeper base price. For 2014 the Odyssey minivan becomes more competitive with upgrades for base models that include a six-speed automatic transmission to replace the five-speed unit. The six-speed transmission was formerly the domain of up-level trims. The carryover 248-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 comes with variable-cylinder-management that cuts out two or three of the cylinders under light-load conditions for improved fuel economy. Also newly standard are Bluetooth short-range wireless networking, four-way power passenger seat, “Expanded View” driver’s mirror and upgraded audio functionality. These features are in addition to a power driver’s seat, keyless entry and cruise control. The resulting $150 base-price increase still makes the $29,650 Odyssey a pretty good deal, especially since it gets the six-speed automatic and now earns the same 19-mpg-city and 28-mpg-highway rating as the other four higher trims. At the top of the Odyssey heap is the $45,250 Touring Elite with its self-leveling headlights, 16.2-inch rear video screen (bigger than the average the laptop computer screen), 650-watt 12-speaker surround-sound system and new-for-2014 “HondaVac” built-in 12-volt vacuum cleaner positioned at the rear of the van. Visually, the Odyssey receives the type of mid-cycle updating that’s common in the auto industry, highlighted by a restyled front and rear end plus an updated instrument and control panels.

Base price (incl. destination): $29,650
Type: Four-door minivan
Engine (hp): 3.5-liter SOHC V6 (248)
Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive
Transmission: Six-speed automatic (opt.)
MPG (city/hwy): 19/28
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 4,350