The refreshed 2014 Honda Odyssey started hitting Honda dealers in the U.S. this week, bringing with it a host of improvements. Though the improvements aren’t earth-shattering by themselves, it sounds like they should add up to a more efficient, refined family van.
According to the press release from Honda, the new Odyssey’s key changes from the 2013 model include a standard six-speed automatic transmission across the range which gives lower trims a fuel economy boost compared to the five-speed automatic found in those trims previously. Also upgraded are the van’s safety features, instrumentation, and electronic controls, Honda said. This quote from the release should give you an idea how the many small upgrades, taken in concert, should enhance the Odyssey’s appeal to families:
For the first time all 2014 Odyssey models will include standard Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® connectivity, a 4-way power passenger seat, Expanded View Driver’s Mirror, Pandora® interface and an SMS text messaging function. New available features include the Honda exclusive LaneWatch™ blind spot display, Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW). Additionally, Odyssey Touring Elite models will now come standard with the much-anticipated HondaVAC™, the world’s first in-vehicle vacuum cleaner, which allows customers the ability to quickly and easily clean-up dirt and debris from every corner of the minivan.
The 2014 Odyssey’s base price climbed $150 over the 2013 model to $28,825, Honda said. However, even the basest Oddy will get you fuel economy bragging rights, with the Odyssey pulling down an EPA-estimated 28 MPG highway– a better highway efficiency score than any other minivan in its segment, Honda noted. Previously, only top-level Touring and Touring Elite trims got the six-speed automatic and 28 MPG highway ratings from the EPA. All lesser trims had to make do with the five-speed automatic and 27 MPG highway.
On the safety end, the 2014 Odyssey should be safer thanks to its use of Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, which the release said “improves frontal crash energy management through a wider range of offset and oblique collision modes.” Honda said it fully expects the 2014 Odyssey to achieve Top Safety Pick + status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. If it does earn that status, it will be the first minivan to do so, Honda said.
For a full list of upgrades across the range of Odyssey trims, we turn it over to Honda:
New Features by Trim Level:
- 6-speed automatic transmission
- 4-way power front passenger seat
- Expanded View Driver’s Mirror
- One-touch turn signals
- Next-generation Bluetooth HandsFreeLink
- Bluetooth streaming audio
- Pandora interface
- Short Message Service (SMS) text function
Odyssey EX adds:
- LaneWatch blind spot display
- Push button start with keyless access system
- HondaLink featuring Aha compatibility
- Wiper-linked headlights
Odyssey EX-L and EX-L RES add:
- Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
- Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
Odyssey EX-L Navi and Touring add:
- Multi-Angle Rearview Camera
Odyssey Touring Elite adds:
- HondaVAC integrated vacuum system
- HD Radio
- Neural 5.1 Surround audio
Yes, the Touring Elite gets an integrated central vacuum. Yes, we told you about this earlier. As a safety-concerned parent, I’m more pumped about the standard availability of Bluetooth hands-free phone integration. Bluetooth dongles and microphones are so cheap at this point, there’s really no excuse every vehicle with any sort of audio head unit shouldn’t have it installed from the factory. Kudos to Honda for doing that even in the base LX trim package.
And one other feature’s inclusion as standard on the 2014 Odyssey would make a lot of parents– my own father included– very happy: All Odysseys come with a rear view camera system.
Will the Odyssey continue to win families’ business? Sales numbers will tell the tale once the 2014 has had sufficient time to get into full circulation on dealer lots nationwide. We can say at least that Honda has made an effort to build an even more-appealing minivan for those families.