There are many reasons to love the Honda Odyssey. It endures as a reminder that three-row seating with ample space for cargo doesn't have to involve a monstrous SUV. Things are a little different for the 2021 Odyssey, however – mainly because it's already a 2022 model. And the reason for that is, frankly, a bit weird.
Jump onto Honda America's website and you'll see the Odyssey just as you normally would. Hop into the configurator and whoa, you're suddenly transported a year into the future. Actually, model-year changeovers for most automakers usually come at the end of summer or early fall, so this is maybe a half-year time jump. Still, we aren't even through the first month of 2021, and with the Odyssey already sporting an updated face, there's nothing new for 2022. What gives, Honda?
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Actually, it's what Honda is giving up. The nifty HondaVac built-in vacuum that was available on the range-topping Elite is gone, apparently due to supplier issues. We contacted Honda for a bit more information, with a spokesperson telling Motor1.com that the loss of the vacuum was indeed the primary reason for pulling forward the 2022 model year Odyssey. It certainly seems strange to advance an entire model year simply for the cancellation of a single piece of equipment, especially since it was a rather exclusive item anyway. Honda tells us that the Elite only comprised 20 percent of Odyssey sales since 2014.
Honda does go on to say that other factors can affect model-year introductions, but no further comment was offered beyond the HondaVac feature. Additionally, Honda didn't have a comment as to whether it would return in the future. As nifty a feature it is, citing a supplier issue could be a convenient escape plan for the automaker to try and cut costs for its upscale minivan, especially since Elite sales are such a small percentage of Odyssey purchases.
Gallery: 2021 Honda Odyssey Elite
The Odyssey Elite starts at $47,280 – the same as it was for 2021 – elevating it to the same stage as a base model Volvo XC90 or other SUVs that are arguably more luxurious. And while a built-in vacuum is neat, it's not like a person can't buy a portable vacuum for $50 to use in a base-model $32,090 Odyssey. It will be interesting to see if there are any changes in Elite pricing going forward.