2013 Honda Odyssey: Large luxury sedan disguised as a hip minivan

James Raia

The Honda Odyssey is now 20 years old and for 2013, the hugely popular family van is in the third year of its fourth generation. The current style, unveiled at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show, features a sleek modern exterior design. It’s decidedly non-minivan.

The 2013 Honda Odyssey features a 24-valve, 248-horsepower engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. It has 0-60 mph acceleration in 7.9 seconds and comfortable seating in three rows and for seven adults. There are a few minor changes, but mostly adding features of the more expensive trims as standard on lower-level trims.


The Weekly Driver Test Drive

As I did with the 2012 model, my weekly driver in the 2013 edition was also the five-door Touring Elite, the most expensive of five available trim levels. In addition to the vast list of standard equipment on the LX, EX and EX-L models, the two Touring trims offer a bunch more.

The Touring trim includes: 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, front and rear parking sensors, memory settings for the driver, retractable third-row sunshades and a fold-down armrest for third-row passengers and both the navigation and rear-seat entertainment systems.

The Touring Elite model adds xenon headlights, a blind spot warning system, upgraded rear-seat entertainment system with a 16.2-inch HD widescreen video monitor (with HDMI input) and a premium 650-watt, 12-speaker surround-sound audio system.

What’s immediately impressive is the Odyssey’s all-around spaciousness. There’s headroom and legroom aplenty and comfort without compromise. It’s an ideal cruising car for a weekend getaway for three couples without having to worry about a gas-guzzler’s limitations.

Likewise, it’s an ideal soccer mom’s transport vehicle or a makeshift camper or it’s so strong in so many categories, it’s a perfectly fine car for an individual who just likes its feel on the road and likes to offer to drive when he or she gets together with friends for an outing.

My weekly drive with the 2013 Honda Odyssey included a 200-mile, round-trip trek to the San Francisco Bay Area from Sacramento My family members (mother, wife, sister) all commented on the smooth drive and comfort of the Odyssey.


Strong, aggressive driving experience.

Large, clear navigation system and back-up camera screen.

Deep trunk.

Comfortable seats . . . all three rows.

Functionality and maneuverability of all seats, particularly the forward and backward-facing option of the third row.

Smooth operation of sliding doors.

Easy entrance, exit.

Clean, large-numbered and lettered dials and gauges.

Interior space. Head and legroom, space between rows and cargo space is all impressive.

Strong overall vision, with “in-charge” driver’s positioning.


The exterior sliding doors area on both sides still look slightly ajar or unfinished.

Base price too high.

It’s called a minivan, which could discourage buyers who think it’s a minivan.

Facts & Figures: 2013 Honda Odyssey

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 7.9 seconds.
Airbags (6): Standard front, front side and side curtain.
First aid kit: Not available.
Fuel economy: 19 mpg (city), 28 mpg (highway).
Government Safety Ratings: Not yet rated.
Horsepower: 248.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $44,025.00
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.honda.com.
Price As tested: Not available.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,0000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/60,000 miles; Roadside Assistance, 5 years/unlimited mileage.

What Others Say:

“A thoughtful interior, innovative seating, and excellent handling make the 2013 Honda Odyssey a standout among minivans–although it is the priciest of them all.” — CarConnection.com

“The Odyssey tops our minivan Ratings and its reliability has improved to average, allowing us to recommended it. The 248-hp V6 performs well.” — ConsumerReports.

“To our surprise (and delight) the Odyssey handled everything we threw at it, doing quite well in emergency maneuvering, performing multiple rapid stops and remaining on course even through some exceptionally fast turns.” — Kelley Blue Book.

What The Wife Says:

“I love it. It’s comfortable. It’s spacious. It has individual controls in the back seat. It’s not just a minivan. It’s a luxury car.”

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“All the stigma soccer moms and van pool types have against minivans is no longer relevant. The Honda Odyssey is a high-end sedan, really, masquerading as a large, aggressive, powerful people mover that easily seats seven in comfort.”

Article Last Updated: March 19, 2014.

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