2013 Honda Odyssey Review and Prices
The 2013 Honda Odyssey is the best minivan for you if you believe driving the family around doesn’t also prove you don’t like driving.
The 2013 Honda Odyssey’s standard equipment expands to equip every trim level with a rearview camera, Bluetooth hands-free mobile-phone connectivity, and a USB iPod interface. These features had been unavailable on the least-expensive Odyssey model. Continuing otherwise unchanged with a design launched for model-year 2011, the 2013 Odyssey remains an exceptionally spacious eight-seater with top-tier fuel economy and the capacity to anchor five child safety seats. And no minivan is more rewarding to drive.
Should you buy a 2013 Honda Odyssey or wait for the 2014 Honda Odyssey? Wait for the 2014 Odyssey if you want tweaked styling and a novel new feature or two. Buy a 2013 Odyssey if your immediate priority is a roomy family wagon that still looks current, suffers no shortage of features, and should be available with discounts as Honda readies the freshened 2014 version. Odyssey’s 2014 updates aren’t major, but they’ll be accompanied by the traditional model-year price escalation.
2013 Honda Odyssey Changes back to top
Styling: The 2013 Honda Odyssey’s styling is unchanged, carrying forward the new body that came on line with the model-year 2011 redesign. The shape is aero-inspired and sharply creased. A zig-zag window-sill-line aft of the sliding side doors distinguishes the Odyssey from other minivans and improves outward visibility for third-row passengers.
The 2013 Odyssey’s exterior dimensions are near the minivan-median, but no competitor furnishes more leg room in all three seating rows. The base version has two second-row bucket seats for seven-passenger capacity. All other 2013 Odysseys have a second row with a 10-inch-wide center section that boosts capacity to eight. The outboard sections of their second-row can slide laterally a few inches in what Honda calls Wide Mode. This creates width enough for three regulation child safety seats; two more can latch into Odyssey’s third-row bench seat.
Six adults can ride in comfort in any 2013 Odyssey. The center positions of both the second- and third-row seats, however, are best left to younger folks.
Regardless of model, Odyssey’s second-row seats flip forward to enlarge cargo room but are heavy and cumbersome to remove if you require maximum volume. Only the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan have second rows that hinge neatly into floor cavities -- their so-called Stow ’n Go system. And only the Toyota Sienna offers La-Z-Boy-type reclining second-row buckets.
All 2013 Odysseys have a 60/40 spilt/folding third-row bench that flips into a rear floor cavity, creating a flat load surface. Doing so requires yanking a strap release that drops the sections quickly but with a jarring thump. By contrast, the Chrysler, Dodge, and Toyota rivals are available with a slower but more elegant third-row power-folding mechanism.
Honda locates Odyssey’s transmission shift lever just right of the steering wheel, extended from the base of the dashboard. The central instrument panel stacks driver-information/navigation screens above a tier of climate controls. Audio controls are below. It’s a good way to organize a modern minivan’s myriad features and true to a thoughtfully designed interior that’s contemporary, airy, and solidly assembled from quality materials.
The 2013 Odyssey’s lineup reprises seven models. The LX is again the base version; for 2013 it shares its central-dashboard layout with the better-equipped EX model. The layout includes the USB port as well as an 8-inch display screen for the rearview camera and various audio functions.
Next up is the leather-upholstered Odyssey EX-L. Above that is the “Odyssey EX-L with Rear Entertainment” model, which includes a DVD system with a 9 inch ceiling screen. The 2013 “EX-L with Navigation” model replaces the DVD setup with a voice-activated navigation system.
The 2013 Odyssey Touring model combines leather upholstery with the DVD and navigation systems. The flagship 2013 Odyssey Touring Elite bundles every aforementioned feature with a premium DVD entertainment system. This system uses Honda’s Ultrawide 16.2-inch-diameter ceiling monitor with a split-screen mode capable of displaying inputs from two separate video sources.
Mechanical: The 2013 Honda Odyssey is mechanically unaltered, relying again on a balanced suspension and astute powertrain engineering to deliver fine all-around performance.
The only engine is a 3.5-liter V-6 with 248 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. (Torque can be imagined as the force that gets a vehicle moving and horsepower as the energy that sustains momentum.) This V-6 uses Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management to maximize gas mileage by idling two or three cylinders in low-demand driving, then instantaneously restoring all six when power is required.
Honda takes an unorthodox approach to controlling costs by fitting the Odyssey with a five- or a six-speed automatic transmission, depending on the model.
The LX, EX, and EX-L have a five-speed automatic, the more expensive Touring and Touring Elite get a six-speed automatic. The additional gear ratio is intended to furnish a smoother driving experience, though only the subtlest difference is evident in real-world performance. Odysseys with the six-speed do have a slight fuel-economy edge, though (see the 2013 Honda Odyssey Fuel Economy below).
No matter the model, Odysseys accelerate with little stress, cruise confidently, and take turns with good control. Touring and Touring Elite versions have 18-inch wheels and tires for a modest edge in steering precision over other Odyssey models, which have 17-inch wheels and tires for a less defined feel in changes of direction.
Like every other minivan except the Toyota Sienna, the 2013 Odyssey remains exclusively front-wheel drive. Front-drive locates the weight of the drivetrain over the tires that also propel the vehicle, for advantages in packaging and poor-weather traction. The Sienna is the only minivan to offer both front- and all-wheel drive.
All-wheel drive (AWD) improves sloppy-surface grip but adds mass that compromises fuel economy. And the components that supply power to the rear wheels take up some space otherwise devoted to third-row foot room. Honda directs buyers who desire AWD and three-row seating to the Honda Pilot crossover SUV.
Features: The 2013 Honda Odyssey continues a fine selection of convenience and infotainment features – and now you don’t have to ascend the model line quite so far to get some of the essentials.
Indeed, expansion of the 8-inch dashboard screen to the base LX model equips even the least-expensive Odyssey with Honda’s Multi-Information Display or i-MID. Its screen displays audio, phone, and climate information, plus the rearview camera. Bluetooth hands-free mobile-phone linking and audio-streaming, USB iPod interface, and two-gigabytes of CD music storage are also part of the system. The change also means the 2013 Odyssey LX has seven speakers instead of five.
Still, Honda continues to eschew independent options in favor of an unalterable set of features that define each model. The advantage is assembly quality and ordering simplicity. And while the features assigned to each model seems to reflect the desires of most buyers at each price point, you may have to move up the model line to get a particular feature you want – and end up paying for some you don’t.
Every 2013 Odysseys again comes with keyless remote entry, air conditioning, a power driver’s seat, manual tilt/telescope steering wheel, cruise control, tinted rear privacy glass, and power mirrors, locks, and windows. The dashboard’s pull-out “media shelf” holds iPods, cell phones, and the like; 12-volt power outlets are nearby.
Starting with EX models are standard features such as power sliding side doors, heated mirrors, tri-zone automatic air conditioning, outside temperature indicator, second-row pull-up side-window sunshades, and alloy wheels. Same goes for Honda’s “trash ring,” a plastic hoop that flips from the rear of the front-center console as a frame for a standard plastic shopping bag.
Eight-passenger Odysseys have 15 beverage holders; the seven-seat LX comes with 12. All include receptacles that adjust to accommodate Big Gulp cups or skinny Red Bull cans.
You must move up to EX-L and the Touring models to get such features as leather upholstery, heated front seats, power tailgate, power moonroof, and navigation and rear-DVD entertainment systems.
The audio system in every Odyssey has a single-disc in-dash CD player and an auxiliary plug for digital music devices. Satellite radio is standard starting with the EX-L grade. The EX-L with Navigation model and the Touring and Touring Elite include a 15-gigabyte hard drive, as well as Honda’s Song by Voice system that uses spoken commands to access artist, song, playlist, or genre from the hard drive or a linked iPod.
2013 Honda Odyssey Prices back to top
Base-price range for the 2013 Honda Odyssey is $29,505-$44,885. That puts the Odyssey near the top of the minivan price spectrum, second only to the premium-positioned 2013 Chrysler Town & Country, which starts at $31,525. The Town & Country, however, comes standard with leather upholstery and a rear DVD entertainment system. The equivalent Honda model lists for $38,055. Indeed, all Odyssey prices tend to be slightly higher than comparably equipped competitors, in keeping with the Honda minivan’s the upscale audience.
(All base prices in this review include the manufacturer’s mandatory destination fee; Honda’s fee for the 2013 Odyssey is $830.)
The three EX-L levels account for roughly 50 percent of Odyssey sales, with the single most popular model being the EX-L with Rear Entertainment System, at some 23 percent of volume. The Touring/Touring Elite represents about 22 percent of Odyssey sales, the EX about 20 percent, and the LX around 9 percent.
The 2013 Odyssey LX is priced at $29,505 and comes with the standard equipment outlined in the Features section above.
The 2013 Odyssey EX is priced at $32,655 and adds to the LX additional equipment described in the Features section above.
The 2013 Honda Odyssey EX-L is priced at $36,055 and has leather instead of cloth upholstery (the third-row is vinyl), plus heated front seats, a power liftgate, and a power moonroof. Odysseys beginning at this level also have a “cool box,” a refrigerated front compartment large enough for four 20-ounce beverages.
Honda divides availability of the DVD entertainment and navigation systems between mutually exclusive models. The 2013 Odyssey EX-L with Rear Entertainment System is priced at $37,655. The 2013 Odyssey EX-L with Navigation System is priced at $38,055.
To get an Odyssey with both a DVD and navigation system requires the 2013 Touring model, priced at $42,360. The Touring also comes with the six-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, and a memory power driver’s seat.
The 2013 Odyssey Touring Elite is priced at $44,855. It includes everything on the regular Touring, plus xenon headlamps, the 16.2-inch Ultrawide DVD screen, and blind-spot detection that visually alerts of vehicles in adjacent lanes.
2013 Honda Odyssey Fuel Economy back to top
EPA fuel-economy ratings for the 2013 Honda Odyssey are unchanged. Odyssey remains among the pacesetters for minivan gas mileage -- though you need to pony up for a Touring or Touring Elite to enjoy the top ratings.
The 2013 Odyssey LX, EX, and EX-L models with their five-speed automatic transmission rate 18/27/21 mpg city/highway/combined.
The 2013 Odyssey Touring and Touring Elite models with their six-speed automatic rate 19/28/22 mpg.
Though five-speed automatics are generally less fuel efficient than six-speed automatics, Honda doesn’t attribute the higher mileage ratings of the Touring and Touring Elite to their extra gear ratio.
Instead, the automaker cites the specially shaped mirrors and other aerodynamic touches that make the Touring and Touring Elite less wind-resistant. Honda also credits the lower rolling resistance of the tires fitted to the Touring and Touring Elite compared with tires on other Odysseys.
2013 Honda Odyssey Release Date back to top
The 2013 Honda Odyssey went on sale in September 2012.
What's next for the 2013 Honda Odyssey back to top
The 2014 Odyssey will get a new-look nose but the difference is subtle. And use of some lighter-weight body panels suggests a potential bump in fuel economy, though EPA ratings were unavailable in time for this review.
There’s a revised central dashboard design. And new gee-whiz features include a built-in vacuum cleaner for the top-line Touring Elite model. Staying competitive would mean every 2014 Odyssey would get the six-speed automatic transmission, but Honda was withholding word on such a change. Look for the next all-new Odyssey around model-year 2017.
2013 Honda Odyssey Competition back to top
Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan: These corporate cousins are twins beneath their similar skin. Grand Caravan aims for the mainstream-family audience while Town & Country chases a wealthier clientele similar to Odyssey’s. Town & Country adds an available high-resolution Blu-Ray entertainment system for 2013. Staring at $20,990, meanwhile, the Grand Caravan American Value Package model is America’s lowest priced seven-seat minivan. Restyled for model-year 2011 and treated to parent-company Chrysler’s 283-horsepower Pentastar V-6, these are comfortable, good-performing minivans that deliver fine value. And we’re fans of the hide-away second-row Stow ’n Go seating. Both rate 17/25/20 mpg city/highway/combined. The 2013 Town & Country’s base-price range is $31,525-$41,740. Grand Caravan’s base prices top out at $30,990.
Toyota Sienna: Odyssey’s main rival for upmarket import-brand buyers, Sienna loses its available four-cylinder engine for model-year 2013 but top-line versions gain blind-spot detection. Sienna was redesigned for model-year 2011 and it doesn’t drive with the athletic feel of the Odyssey. But it gives the Honda a run for roominess and features, including those La-Z-Boy buckets and available 16.4-inch-diameter DVD screen. The only engine is a 266-horsepower V-6 rated 18/24/20 mpg with front drive and 16/22/18 with AWD. The 2013 Sienna’s base-price range is $27,430-$42,320. Sienna’s next full redesigned is slated for model-year 2016.
Nissan Quest: This roomy seven-seater goes its own way with anime styling and a continuously variable transmission in place of a conventional automatic. Reintroduced after a one-year hiatus as an all-new minivan for model-year 2011, the 2013 Quest is available with a monitor that displays a full-surround view of the exterior to make parking and close-quarters maneuvering easier and safer. The only engine is a 260-horsepower V-6. It teams with a smartly tuned suspension for good acceleration, ride, and handling. Passenger accommodations are comfortable, though Quest creates its flat cargo surface by folding the second and third row seats into an elevated plain, not into the floor. Fuel-economy ratings are 19/24/21. Base-price range for the 2013 Quest is $26,835-$43,485.