The 2019 Honda Passport is the brand’s most adventurous SUV, offering some off-road chops and the looks to go with them. Fox News Autos editor Gary Gastelu heads off the beaten path to see what it can do.
Honda is still big on minivans.
The already small segment experienced serious shrinkage in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Honda is predicting a strong recovery in the coming years. It likely won’t ever reach the heights of its turn-of-the-century heyday, but there remains a steady stream of customers for whom even huge SUVs just aren’t huge enough.
In the case of Honda Odyssey owners, they’re also the most loyal, third-highest educated and – surprise, surprise – second youngest among its models. Only those crazy kids in their Civics have fewer years under their belts.
The Odyssey was the best-selling minivan model through the first three quarters of this year, just ahead of the Chrysler Pacifica. The last time it was fully redesigned was 2018, but it’s gotten a nip, tuck and a few new features for 2021 to keep things fresh.
The most notable exterior updates are a new front bumper and grille that give the Odyssey a slightly sleeker look. Standard LED lights, new wheels and black accents round out the cosmetic surgery.
Inside there’s some new dash and seat trim, but the overall design remains the same. Honda’s nifty Magic Slide second-row seats, which can move forward, backward and side to side, have been reengineered to fold flatter so they’re easier to remove altogether when you need maximum cargo space.
The Odyssey also now comes standard with a 10-speed automatic transmission on all trim levels and the 280 hp 3.5-liter V6 remains the same. That’s not a bad thing. The engine is the same one used in the Pilot and Passport SUVs that the Odyssey shares its platform with and remains a smooth and strong performer that’s more than up to the challenge of a full load of soccer players or the Odyssey’s 3,500-pound trailer rating.
Safety was a major focus of the refresh. All Odysseys now have the Honda Sensing suite of driver aids that includes automatic emergency brakes, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control with full stop and go capability, along with a rear seat reminder that alerts you to check for anyone back there whenever you turn off the car. High-end models add a Cabin Watch system with a video feed of the second two rows of seats that automatically turns on with the reminder and includes a PA system that makes it easier to tell people to STOP MESSING AROUND BACK THERE.
If they are and have made a literal mess, the top-of-the-line Odyssey Elite has a built-in vacuum located in the cargo area with a hose that’s long enough to reach anywhere in the cabin. That fully-loaded model will run you $48,940 while the entry-level Odyssey LX is priced at $32,910. Three trims are available in between.
One thing they all share is a ride quality that may make you forget you’re in a minivan at all. The Odyssey drives like a Honda is expected to. It’s responsive, light on its feet and exhibits about as much body roll as one of those Civics you had before you had kids.
2021 Honda Odyssey
Base price: $32,910
As tested: $48,940
Type: 7-passenger, 4-door front-wheel-drive minivan
Engine: 3.5-liter V6
Power: 280 hp, 262 lb-ft
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
MPG: 19 city, 28 hwy