It's best to think of the 2021 Honda Odyssey as the ultimate piece of parenting gear rather than a car. From novel features like its "Magic" sliding second-row seats and available onboard vacuum to common-but-indispensable traits like remotely opening doors and gargantuan cargo space, it's far more akin to a BOB Rambler, Chicco KeyFit30 or MamaRoo – cleverly engineered items specifically designed to make parents' lives easier. While being oriented towards kids and parents might seem obvious for a minivan, none are so unabashedly centered on that goal than the Odyssey.
While competitors attempt to hide their van-ness, the Odyssey lets its van flag fly. There was no attempt to add sporty or SUV-like flourishes outside, while inside, the dash has all the visual appeal of a washing machine. The driving experience is similarly indifferent, characterized by loose steering and a pillowy ride (unlike earlier Accord-like Odysseys). It's all about the kids here, and they don't care if you're getting feedback through the wheel or your eyes are treated to an interesting-looking dash. They also probably don't care about fuel economy, but that's one of the few objective areas where the Odyssey trails its competitors. While its V6 engine is perfectly fine relative similarly powered vans, the Chrysler Pacifica offers an exceptional plug-in hybrid model while the all-new 2021 Toyota Sienna is only offered as a hybrid that gets an estimated 36 mpg combined. The Odyssey gets 22, and while it's more powerful, we're guessing acceleration is hardly a priority for those buying what is basically the ultimate stroller.
The Odyssey gets a multitude of updates for 2021. The restyled grille and front fascia are more streamlined and attractive. The interior looks the same, but upgrades include second-row seats that fold flatter, grocery bag hooks mounted to the back of the third-row seat, an updated center console with a cord management system, and extra seatback storage pockets for the EX-L and higher trims. New tech features include a third-row USB port on the Touring and Elite trims, and a rear seat reminder system on all trim levels. The forward collision warning system has also been enhanced to detect pedestrians, while the adaptive cruise control system can work in stop-and-go traffic.