2017 Honda Odyssey (spy photo)
Honda has officially confirmed that its minivan, the Odyssey, will be redesigned. We already knew that the van was being redesigned, having snagged spy photos of camouflaged prototypes testing in public, but Honda’s confirmation also included timing: The van is coming next year.
That puts the Odyssey in 2017 model-year territory, and it means that Honda will have a very busy next two years, what with the launches of its all-new Civic, refreshed Accord, hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, and the Odyssey’s platform mate, the Ridgeline pickup. No details regarding the 2017 Odyssey were offered in Honda’s announcement, but plan on the recently introduced 2016 Pilot crossover‘s direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6 engine and possibly its ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic transmission migrating to the minivan, along with a host of new passive and active safety features. (As in the Pilot, the nine-speed ‘box may be limited to higher trim levels.)
The news that Honda remains committed to the minivan isn’t surprising, but it does foreshadow an interesting future for the family van. The segment is no doubt a shrinking one, but it’s not going anywhere. Sure, Dodge is dropping the venerable Caravan from its lineup, but Chrysler will replace the current Town & Country with a new, more upscale model offering a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Kia recently re-entered the market with an updated Sedona, and Nissan continues to offer the strange-looking Quest. Here’s hoping the Honda retains its characteristic fun-to-drive attitude, slick looks, and—most important—its sweet, optional onboard vacuum cleaner. We’ll find out for sure in the coming months.