The all-new 2018 Honda Odyssey is like a human transportation Swiss Army Knife – it has you covered in almost any situation! We connected with our partners at Rock Honda in Fontana, CA for a test drive that left Tom sold! Hear the complete details in this iDriveSoCal Podcast.


Recorded May 15, 2018, in Los Angeles, CA

Tom Smith: Welcome to iDriveSoCal, the podcast all about mobility from the automotive capital of the United States – Southern California.

I’m Tom Smith and today we’re talking family transportation by way of the all new 2018 Honda Odyssey from our great friends in the Los Angeles suburb of Fontana, California, Rock Honda!

As you know I’m a new Dad… at least I think I can still call myself “new”. My son is 7-months old… so maybe I’m technically no longer “new”. But parenting is definitely still “new” to me so I’m going to stick with calling myself a “new” Dad. Probably forever, quite honestly… but that’s another topic and podcast entirely – maybe an entire series.

Anyway, as a new Dad I’m looking at everything differently. Thinking differently – thinking transportation in terms of multiple bodies and stuff necessary for whatever those multiple bodies are up to.

And when it comes to transportation involving a multi-night stay – I recently was given a bit of a wakeup call. This, when I took my wife and son on our first road trip a few months back.

We drove the new mid-size SUV that we had purchased, while my wife was pregnant, with just these kinds of trips in mind. At the time we bought that mid-sized SUV my wife thought we were getting too big of a vehicle for what we’d need.

But wow, did I have to bust out my Tetris skills in order to pack that mid-size SUV for a simple three night-stay. We immediately realized that, when we grow our family, we’ll definitely need an even bigger vehicle – without a doubt.

So I was excited when my buddy David Latif, who’s the general manager of Rock Honda, hooked me up with one of his Honda Odyssey experts, Eddie Latigo.

Eddie and I cruised the Inland Empire and grabbed lunch while he got me acquainted with the immense number of features and all the versatile functionality that comes with the newest generation of the Honda Odyssey.

Now I got to drive the tippity-top-of-the-line which is the Elite. But here are all the trim levels of the 2018 Honda Odyssey:

  • It starts with the base LX @ about $30-thousand.
  • Then you step up to the EX @ about $34-thousand.
  • Next is the EX-L @ about $37-thousand-six-hundred.
  • And then the Touring @ $44-thousand-six-hundred.
  • And finally, the fully loaded Elite – which again, is what I drove, @ about $46-thousand-nine-hundred.

Now, as always in our podcasts, the prices we quote are approximates. You need to find and equip your vehicle as desired and that will obviously impact the price.

But in this case I highly recommend you go to our friends at Rock Honda in Fontana to do so.

So, again, I drove the Elite with all the bells and whistles and man there’s plenty.

When Eddie started showing me the Odyssey all I could think was that this thing is a human transportation Swiss Army knife. It’s just got everything – no stone unturned. Every family activity considered. Form and functionality throughout.

The all new 2018 Odyssey is still unmistakably a Honda. One of the coolest exterior changes makes a really big difference to the look of the vehicle.

They took the tracks that the side sliding doors operate on and tucked them into the seam between the rear side windows and quarter panels. This makes those tracks basically disappear and gives the vehicle a sleeker side view.

The Odyssey can carry 8-passengers and has a ton of versatile space inside the vehicle.

My wife and I will own one for many reasons. One of those reasons is the optional heated and ventilated front seats. For you regular listeners you know I love my ventilated seats almost as much as my wife loves her heated seats.

The second row of seats in the Honda Odyssey is super-cool and convenient. Honda calls it their Magic Slide Seats. It’s two bucket seats plus a center seat-console which are all on sliding rails.

This allows you to remove either seat and/or the center seat-console or slide them into any configuration you like.

So, say I want my son, in his child safety seat, in a second-row bucket but in the middle of the vehicle for easy access. No problem. I just remove the center seat-console and slide his seat into the middle position.

Now you want to talk about versatility, I can even take the entire second row out of the vehicle and fold the third row down. This basically turns my Odyssey into a cargo van. And it’s so spacious that standard four-foot by eight-foot plywood sheets can lie flat. Crazy!

Another thing I love about the Odyssey. The optional vacuum cleaner that lives inside the back side panel of the vehicle. And it’s no slouch of a vacuum cleaner. They call it a Honda-vac but it’s literally made by shop-vac – top quality to get the job done right. Awesome!

And to open the rear lift gate from the outside all you have to do is give it a little air-kick below the bumper – viola. Open Sesame Street baby!

Speaking of tech, the Elite model that I drove came with remote start that you operate from the key fob. This is awesome for those brutally hot Southern California days when you’re stuck parking directly in the sun – for instance at a soccer game, baseball game or while out for a hike or picnic. Nothing like getting into a vehicle that welcomes you with cool fresh air rather than the typical stifling heat.

And just because I love them so much I’m going to reiterate – optional ventilated seats to keep you cool too!

The Odyssey is loaded with all of Honda’s best safety tech. Again, I drove the fully loaded Elite but you have the following that all deserves mention:

  • Blind Spot Information System
  • Cross Traffic Monitor
  • Collision Mitigation Braking
  • Road Departure Mitigation
  • Lane Keeping Assist
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • And Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control
    • This helps keep you on course in the event of a situation where you happen to under or oversteer.

Now the Odyssey is clearly a family vehicle and Honda has knocked it way-way out of the park when it comes to hauling the kiddos around. Whether that’s a multi-hour road trip or cruise across town in traffic.

Again, I drove the Elite, but boy-oh-boy, this is the trim level my wife and I will be getting for certain.

Of course, you have your entertainment system to keep the kids busy watching movies in the second and third rows.

And of course, you have plenty of audio options including; multi-zone, Blue-tooth, Apple Car Play, Android Auto and an 8-inch touch screen to manage it all.

But you also have wireless phone charging up front and plenty of USB ports throughout.

Now here’s where Honda takes it to another level. Honda CabinWatch and Honda CabinTalk – I love these.

Honda CabinWatch basically gives Mom and Dad in the front seats a convenient video monitor, placed near the rear-view mirror, that allows you see what’s transpiring in the back two rows without turning around.

Then there’s Honda CabinTalk which I really love because it gives the driver a God-like presence in the vehicle. It allows you to override all audio – through any speakers or headphones connected to the car and talk directly to your passengers. Oh, just imagine the applications!

And finally, I think this is my favorite. So simple yet so effective. It’s Honda’s “How Much Further” App. It’s so simple I don’t even need to explain it but I will anyway.

When you have a destination plugged into your Odyssey’s navigation system, the How Much Further App displays a fun little video image of your Honda Odyssey’s journey – including distance to go and time to go.

Thank you, Honda! My son hasn’t spoke a word yet but seriously, my sincere thanks in advance for that one!

There’s a few more points of the all new 2018 Honda Odyssey that definitely deserve mentioning.

The 10-speed automatic transmission on the Elite model I drove – powered by a V6 putting out 280-horsepower with a 28-mile-per-gallon highway rating. So smooth with a great sense of confidence in controlled acceleration.

Also, the digital driver information interface and redesigned instrument panel – lays everything out for the driver in a very intuitive user-friendly design.

There’s so much more to the Odyssey I drove that it’s hard to pack it all into one podcast. Power sliding side doors, moon roof, sun shades, incredible forward driver view and versatile back-up camera, mobile wi-fi hot spot, Honda Link, Intelligent LED’s in front and LED’s in back… the list goes on.

Okay, my top three things:

  • Number one: The Honda Magic Slide Seats. They’re awesome and are probably one of the key features of this Human Transport Swiss Army Knife.
  • Number two: The overall drive. At the end of the day this is a Honda. I know it’s one of the safest and most reliable vehicles on the road.
  • And Number three: The tech overall – safety tech yes, for sure. But the entertainment aka – kid-management tech. Like the Honda CabinWatch, Honda CabinTalk and especially the “How Much Further App”! That is truly a hoot!

That wraps up my 2018 Honda Odyssey Elite vehicle review. Special thanks again to our partners and friends at Rock Honda in Fontana.

Be sure to go say hi to General Manager David Latif. And if you want to talk Odyssey’s ask for Eddie Latigo – thanks again for your help Eddie!

For iDriveSoCal, I’m Tom Smith, as always – thank you for listening!