2018 Honda Odyssey

As warmer weather finally hit, the Honda Odyssey went farther afield more often, with the long-haulers on staff issuing plenty of compliments for the seats. Multiple drivers observed that they were comfortable behind the wheel for six or more hours at a time, while second-row passengers brooked no complaints about their accommodations, either, whether upright for sightseeing or reclined for napping.

The onboard HondaVac vacuum cleaner is a convenient way to quickly deal with lint, sand, Cheez-It crumbs, and the like. With two onboard tools and a decent amount of suction, it tackles the little jobs nicely, but we do prefer a beefier stand-alone vacuum for tougher jobs, as well as for wet, icky stuff, since the Odyssey’s is recommended for dry detritus only.

Finally, our observed fuel economy has held steady at 23 mpg, 1 mpg over the EPA’s combined estimate, but even more long trips may see it climb up a tick or two.

WHAT WE DON’T LIKE: The infotainment setup, still. Yes, it is vastly more intuitive and graphically pleasing than older Honda units, but the menus nevertheless can be confusing for neophytes, and certain functions—choosing a satellite-radio station by keypad, as one example—are buried one or two layers too deep.

We’re also still stamping our feet about the lack of a tuning knob (see the aforementioned satellite-radio complaint). The feature has reappeared in recently launched and/or refreshed Honda products, so surely one will sprout from the Odyssey’s tabletlike screen when the mid-cycle update occurs within the next couple of years.

The transmission continues to get befuddled by certain downshift requests, especially those made with full-throttle input, when the 10-speed automatic needs two or three beats to cinch up its britches and shuffle into a lower gear. The delay can make for a different type of cinching when trying to execute a pass on a rural two-lane.

WHAT WENT WRONG: The infotainment system still throws the occasional tantrum, although it’s now confined to a quickly resolved bout of confusion as inputs are changed rather than the hard crashes that occurred earlier in our Odyssey’s stay.

We had one service performed since our last update. This one, at 25,819 miles, cost $182 and involved an oil change, inspections, tire rotation, and new cabin and engine air filters. The Apple CarPlay software was updated at the same time, too, because, well, it said it needed one. That update did not stop that software’s annoying tendency to annex the entire infotainment system at unwanted or inopportune moments, a fault not restricted to Honda vehicles.

WHERE WE WENT: Our Pacific Pewter Metallic shuttle rocketed to southern Virginia as a support vehicle for this year’s Lightning Lap competition at Virginia International Raceway, where it was used for car-to-car photography—the deep well behind the third row is a perfect perch for our shooters—and to pick up prodigious amounts of dried meats, water, and beer. It also ventured on separate trip, Kentucky, and various points in northern and western Michigan, including Mackinaw City, South Branch, and Kalamazoo.