The Honda Odyssey was completely unknown to me and I was gobsmacked when I first slid back the rear doors to find gold-class cinema-style seats, complete with footrests, in the second row!! I was eager to put it through our BabyDrive testing to see how family friendly these seats and the rest of the vehicle really is!
The Odyssey is very aptly named! It felt spaceship-like to be in and just otherworldly really!! Unlike any other car I've driven it had a gangway that went the length of the interior, two individual arm-chair style seats in the second row and a row of three in the third row. The second-row seats could be moved forwards and backwards in more interior space than most city apartments have! The seats reclined all the way to flat, have footrests, slide outwards to create the gangway and inwards to join them together.
There is ISOFix in the two second-row seats, but they are not within plastic guides, they have the seat upholstery fabric concealing them and I found it difficult to part the fabric with one hand while connecting them with the other while managing the child seat as well!
There are top tether anchor points right at the bottom of both second-row seat backs, I found I needed an extension strap for the rear-facing child seat.
There were two top tether anchor points for the outer seats in the third-row model I tested, but no ISOFix. The top tethers were not on the seat backs but on the lip of the boot opening, which caused the tether straps to go across the boot space which is not a practical design at all.
I managed to install two big child seats in the back there, I did struggle a little to post them in and out through the doors and folded forward seats though.
I was able to install four child seats in the Odyssey which was great.
Like the 2018 Kia Carnival, the rear doors slide down the side of the car rather than opening outwards! I love this because it gives you a lovely big door opening to post Bub into their seat from outside the car and you don't have to worry about car doors bashing into the car next to you when you're in a car park! I felt the doors in the Odyssey did not have as smooth a mechanism as they were in the Kia Carnival.
The amount the second-row seats could slide meant that I was able to climb in around the installed child seats to access the third-row seats and the gangway makes accessing all the seats really easy too.
Legroom is fantastic in the Odyssey, with a rear-facing child seat installed in the second row you can distribute the legroom to 25cm each in both the front and third rows.
Storage in the Odyssey is, well… odd too! There is no central console storage box because of the gangway. The central console moves up and down and the two cup holders it has are not easy to use.
In the front it is all very minimal, in the second row there is very little, there is a cup holder in each the door that replaces door bins and then there is a bottle holder in each chair.
In the third row, there is a square cup holder on each side and a 12V socket on the left.
The Odyssey's boot is similar to the Kia Carnival when you are using all three rows of seats. Behind the third row seats is like a trough at the back of the car and it is really low down. This is also the space that the third row of seats collapses down into.
Although the boot looked small I could only get six shopping bags in there, which is four less than in the Kia Carnival and the Infiniti QX80, two fewer bags than the Nissan Pathfinder and one less than the Mazda CX-9. The trough shape boot worked really well to stand strollers up in with shopping bags beside them.
When I was only using five seats the third-row seats collapsed into the trough in the floor, their seat backs created a flat surface in part of the boot and then the second-row seats slide mechanisms etc were in the floor too so there was not an even surface. It was difficult to decide where to position the second-row seats for this test because they have soooo much movement so I positioned them so that they were level with the front of the wheel arches and there was plenty of legroom in front of them.
When only using four seats I could get 20 shopping bags in the boot, that is four less than the Kia Carnival, two less than the Infiniti QX80 and two more than in the Nissan Pathfinder and the Mazda CX-9.
The media screen in the Odyssey is VERY old fashioned! It doesn't have Apple Car Play or Android Auto and I found every function very frustrating to use and connecting my phone was actually impossible! I could not get it to connect at all!!
I found the Sat-Nav was really difficult to use as well.
The reversing camera has multiple views which you can flip through by pressing a button on the end of the indicator stalk, the image on the screen is small though. There are no parking sensors in the Odyssey only park assist.
The whole digital dash controls were like something out of am 80's spaceship. Having the gear lever on the dash next to the push start button, touch airconditioning controls and media screen.
The air-conditioning in the Odyssey was effective, there are vents that run down the sides of the ceiling for the second and third-row passengers, as well as four across the front dashboard. There are controls in the centre of the second-row ceiling as well as on the front dash. So you can control the rear airflow while driving, in case your rear passengers are too little or fighting over it!!
The Odyssey was quite a smooth car to drive but you could hear the engine struggling up hills! Visibility is actually quite good out of the side windows especially because the second-row seats sit so far back you get a good amount of window to see out of even with child seats installed. When parking and manoeuvring I relied on the reversing camera a lot which had many different views which were really helpful, it had a convenient button on the end of the indicator stalk to change the views.
The Honda Odyssey got a 5-star ANCAP safety rating in 2014 and has 6 airbags as standard.