2018 Honda Odyssey First Drive: Just Add Imagination

– Waikoloa Village, Hawaii

The old trope that minivans are detestable to the car-interested doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny. Talk to anyone who cares a lot about driving, and there’s a better-than-average chance they’ve owned or appreciated a minivan at some point in their lives. Boring? Hardly.

Tall boxes on wheels are, as logic dictates, damned useful. Useful for hauling around kids; useful for hauling around tires for your race car (or being a race car); useful for calm commuting with visibility over a sea of traffic. Honda has, for decades now, made one of the very most useful boxes on wheels that money can buy – it’s called the Odyssey, perhaps you’ve heard of it?

2018 Honda Odyssey: First Drive
2018 Honda Odyssey: First Drive
2018 Honda Odyssey: First Drive
2018 Honda Odyssey: First Drive

Odyssey has succeeded – wildly succeeded – because of clever engineering lavished on how the stuff inside the cabin works, without ignoring the greasy bits that make any vehicle go down the road well, or poorly. All-new for 2018, I was unable to find a piece of this fifth-generation Odyssey that points to an abatement of that success.

In fact, if I were to judge the entire minivan segment on the way its furniture moves around to allow flexibility to passengers and cargo, the Odyssey might earn best-in-class honors without my typing another word.

The third row is still magical. Called “Magic Seat,” it folds into the floor with such ease, that I was able to pull off the trick while one-handing a video camera and recording a Facebook Live video. One pull on a nylon handle and the 60/40 split sections t...