If you need lots of passenger and cargo space, high-tech features, and a safe, reliable ride, you just might be shopping for a minivan. One of the best-selling vehicles in this category is the 2019 Honda Odyssey, named as the year's best minivan by U.S. News and World Report.The Odyssey was upgraded last year with a full redesign that gave the minivan a more powerful engine, two new transmissions, and increased interior space including more than 10 cubic feet added to the cargo hold. As a result, the Odyssey carries over from the 2018 model year with no major changes. If this Honda minivan is on your list, here's what you need to know when choosing between the various 2019 Odyssey trim levels.
Compare the 2019 Honda Odyssey LX vs EX - What is the difference?
The base LX model is the only seven-seat Odyssey, with second-row captain's chairs in place of the three-seater bench that comes in the other trim levels. All Odyssey models can accommodate four child safety seats with LATCH connectors, which receive a Good rating for ease of use from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Exterior color options for the LX include Lunar Silver, White Diamond, Obsidian Blue, and Modern Steel. The EX adds several other options to these four, including Pacific Pewter, Deep Scarlet, Forest Mist, and Crystal Black. The LX and EX both offer gray cloth upholstery with built-in stain resistance.
Both the LX and the EX come with 18-inch alloy wheels and can be upgraded to 19-inch accessory alloy wheels. You can add a diverse range of factory exterior accessories that include a fork mount or frame mount bicycle attachment, chrome bumper protector, body side molding, splash guards, ski and snowboard attachment, tent, surfboard attachment, wheel locks, trailer hitch, and black or chrome roof rail crossbars.
The EX offers all these options plus available door edge guards, door edge film, door visors, chrome door trim, hood air deflector, kayak attachment, and long or short roof box.
Available interior accessories for the LX include all-weather floor mats, cargo liner, cargo bins, cargo net, folding cargo mat, and cargo tray. The EX is available with these features and can also be upgraded with an auto-dimming rearview mirror, illuminated door sill trim, interior illumination, heated steering wheel, a first-aid kit, and third-row seat covers.
Every Odyssey trim shares the same engine, a 280-horsepower V6, and is equipped with front-wheel drive. The V6 is paired with an nine-speed automatic transmission in the lowest three trims. You'll get EPA-estimated fuel economy of 19 city/28 highway miles per gallon, which is above average for a vehicle of this size. Even if you're not used to driving a minivan, you'll appreciate the precise steering, limited body roll, and easy handling offered by the Odyssey.
Standard LX features include an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, remote entry with push-button start, automatic climate control, and a rearview camera that allows the driver to select several different viewing angles. It can also be upgraded with available rear parking sensors.
Additional comfort and convenience features when you upgrade to the EX trim include power sliding doors, proximity entry in which the car opens automatically when the key fob is within range, heated front seats, second-row window sunshades, and Magic Slide second-row seats. This feature allows you to remove the middle seat from the second row bench and slide and configure the remaining two seats for maximum flexibility. In addition, the standard automatic climate control is upgraded to a three-zone version for optimal comfort in all three passenger rows.
As for tech, the LX is equipped with a seven-speaker sound system and a five-inch display screen that supports two USB ports, Bluetooth, and voice-activated hands-free text messaging. The EX model ups the ante on infotainment with an 8-inch touchscreen that supports smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This system features HD and satellite radio as well as CabinControl, which allows you to control climate, infotainment settings, and navigation through the Honda smartphone app.
In addition to room for an extra passenger and upgraded infotainment tech, the EX trim of the Odyssey adds a full suite of driver assistance features. These include blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control that automatically adjusts to road conditions, pre-collision braking, lane keep assist and lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and road departure warning.
Compare the 2019 Odyssey EX vs EX-L Trims. What is the difference?
The EX-L is your ticket to a more luxurious Honda Odyssey cabin. This trim includes everything from the EX trim plus gray leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 12-way power adjustable driver seat with memory settings that allow you to retain your most comfortable position, a power liftgate for easy, convenient cargo loading, and a moonroof. It also has two second-row USB ports in addition to the two first-row ports.
The EX-L also offers the option to add a rear-seat entertainment system with a 10.2-inch overhead display, HDMI input, and Blu-Ray player. Other available equipment includes a separate navigation system as well as a power hands-free tailgate and a wireless phone charger.
Drivers who add both the rear-seat entertainment system and the navigation system to the Odyssey EX-L also get a 110-volt power outlet and an intercom system that allows the front-seat passengers to broadcast to the rear-seat passengers.
In addition to the exterior add-ons offered in lower trims, you can opt to add a moonroof visor at an additional cost.
Compare the Odyssey EX-L vs Touring - What is the difference?
The Touring trim of the Odyssey is equipped with everything from the EX-L trim plus additional tech and convenience features. These include the HondaVAC integrated vacuum to clean up those cookie crumbs, a hands-free power liftgate which opens the cargo hold when the key fob is in proximity, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and the HondaLink app for remote access to the vehicle's functions and features.
In addition, the CabinWatch feature lets you view an image on your touchscreen of the second and third rows of the minivan at the push of a button, ideal for parents who need eyes in the backs of their heads. This feature also offers night vision and zoom functionality. The optional navigation and rear-seat entertainment system available for the EX-L trim are standard equipment in the Touring trim.
In the Touring trim, the nine-speed automatic transmission is upgraded to a ten-speed model. The V6 engine is also equipped with an automatic engine start-stop system.
Compare the Odyssey Touring vs Elite Trims. What is the difference?
The Elite combines all the features from lower Odyssey trims with a premium 11-speaker sound system, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and a wireless phone charger. The standard gray leather seats in the EX-L and Touring trims are upgraded to premium perforated leather.
The Elite also comes with upgraded 19-inch alloy wheels, with the option to add accessory alloy wheels at an additional cost. Reviewers say that the Elite offers an exceptionally quiet ride thanks to added road noise insulation.
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Which One Should You Choose?
Most industry reviewers feel that the 2019 Honda Odyssey EX offers the best value for the money. That's because it has desirable infotainment features and the high-tech safety features that appeal to most minivan drivers, at a price point thousands less than the higher-end trims. Unless you feel strongly about upgrading to the ten-speed automatic transmission in the Touring or Elite models or want to create a more luxurious minivan experience, the 2019 Odyssey EX has everything you need and then some.
Our second choice would be the Touring trim, especially for families that will get good use out of the in-car vacuum and rear-seat entertainment system.
Reasons To Choose the 2019 Honda Odyssey
Fans of the Odyssey and industry experts alike praise its spacious, well-built interior and easy-to-use tech features. Class-leading cargo space of almost 39 cubic feet behind the rear seats can accommodate shopping sprees and furry friends alike--and it expands to 158 cubic feet with both rows of seats folded flat. Although it costs a bit more than other vehicles in this class, its exceptional quality makes the extra price worthwhile.
The Odyssey was named as Motor Week magazine's Best Minivan and received the Cabin Tech of the Year Award from CNET. Not only is the Odyssey one of the best-reviewed vehicles in the class, it has earned stellar crash test scores including a five-star overall rating from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It received Top Safety Pick designation from the IIHS and has an above-average predicted reliability rating from J.D. Power and Associates.
Despite these accolades, the Odyssey does have a few omissions. Unlike most other vehicles in this class, it's not available with a power-folding third-row seat or a 360-degree rearview camera. Some find the second-row seat difficult to remove, a must for taking advantage of the entire available cargo space. Still, if you're looking for a powerhouse vehicle at a great value, it's hard to go wrong with the 2019 Honda Odyssey.
• Compare the 2018 Honda Odyssey Trim Levels