By: Jag Dhatt
Most families have opted the route of the SUV/Crossover in the last decade or so; in fact, some manufacturers dropped the minivan from their lineup because of these changing times. GMC, Ford, and yes, even Mazda dropped their minivans. That being said, there’s nothing like the convenience of a minivan, if you can wrap your head around the fact that it is a minivan. There are the sliding doors, lots of seating and, tonnes of technology.
I had the chance to drive one of the best minivans ever made, the Honda Odyssey, and for the 2022 model year, it continues to impress.
The 2022 Odyssey retains the same look as the 2021 model year. Some have complained that the lowered, or falling, beltline behind the sliding doors are awkward, but it’s a very minor complaint if you think of it that way. The look of the Odyssey is quite nice, and in my opinion, is one of the better-looking minivans available. It sits low, has integrated fog lights in the front fascia, is wide at the back, and has just the right touch of chrome. Personally, I think they should offer a Black Package, but such packages are reserved more for their SUV and car line-up.
The Odyssey was, and is, built for practicality. Now, that doesn’t mean the interior is sub-standard. In fact, as with most vehicles nowadays, the interior of the 2022 Odyssey is quite nice; what’s more is that Honda uses good, soft materials for the interior, and thus, doesn’t look cheap. Seats are comfortable up front, and the second-row seats slide not only forward and back, but side to side for a variety of configurations. I think many families will find this feature super useful. The third row is also roomy and can accommodate adults; but again, probably roomier for kids versus adults. The one thing with Honda seats, both a pro and a con, is that they are solid and heavy. The pro is obvious – they are sturdy, and well, solid. The con is that they don’t fold into the floor and can be heavy when taking them out.
Personally, I find the interior of the 2022 Odyssey quite nice. And since this is a family hauler, kids have a TONNE of little cubby holes and storage compartments all over. And trust me, they fill up fast.
The 2022 Honda Odyssey comes with lots of necessary technology, especially children, have come to expect. It may not be up to par with the Chrysler Pacifica, but it’s still pretty close. I drove the Touring edition, which comes fully loaded. There’s the basics one would expect: Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, wireless charging, navigation system, blind spot monitoring, multi-view rear-view camera, and a rear-entertainment system. But there’s also a couple of neat features, namely CabinWatch and CabinTalk. Honda has placed a wide-angle camera and through a touch of a button, the driver or front passenger can see the entire cabin through CabinWatch. And if you don’t want to raise your voice to talk to the rear passengers, turn on CabinTalk and the voices are carried through the vehicle’s speaker system. It works well for the most part, but at times, it sounds very high-pitched.
I have found that although Honda has made some good progress in their infotainment setup, it still needs work. It’s not easy to navigate through and needs a definite upgrade.
Engine and Drive:
All trims of the 2022 Odyssey continue to be powered by the true and tested 3.5L i-VTEC V6, which puts out 280 HP and 262 lb-ft of torque. The engine is smooth, powerful and delivers the right amount of power for city and highway driving. It never feels sluggish, even with a full cabin. The engine is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission and again, the Odyssey never feels like it’s fighting to find the right gear. Shifts are smooth and overall ride is quite comfortable.
Since this current generation Odyssey sits lower than the previous generation, there is less body roll when taking corners. Some would even say this minivan feels somewhat sporty. It handles beautifully and is really really nice to drive.
So, What’s Missing?
The 2022 Honda Odyssey should tick all the boxes for most people; however, that being said, there are some things that are missing.
When looking at the competition, namely the Chrysler Pacific, there’s an obvious lack in the engine and drive. The Honda Odyssey doesn’t have a plug-in or hybrid engine option, both of which are available in the competitors. In addition, Honda doesn’t offer all-wheel drive. The latter is not a major concern since a good set of winter tires and common sense will suffice.
As I’ve stated earlier as well, the Honda Odyssey’s infotainment system still lacks. The touchscreen is finicky, it’s not as user friendly and a rotary dial for tuning would be much better. Are these deal breakers? No, but still, something to consider.
The 2022 Honda Odyssey is a favourite in the minivan department. And for the current model year, it will check most of the boxes for the average family.