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The minivan market does not have a plethora of choices, unlike the ever-expanding SUV segments. And the 2021 Honda Odyssey makes the choice fairly simple. And, hey, the good news is that you get a lot of choices within just this single line-up. From the base trim to the line-topper, you can pick and choose what you want on your Odyssey.
Let's start with the pros of getting a 2021 Odyssey. There is a second row of seats that is extremely easy to configure. Just move them as needed with very little effort on your part. The amount of available technology is also something that should impress drivers. Getting a vacuum hidden inside of the cargo area on the higher trim levels is a 'must' for any parent. To top all of that off, the V6 engine is extremely strong and has some really secure handling.
The downsides? The V6 might be powerful, but it has a mediocre fuel economy that is not going to appeal to parents with large families. The third row of seats does not fold, which makes for a difficult time when you need to expand your cargo space. And, last but not least, the forward collision warning system is a little overactive.
Overall, the 2021 Honda Odyssey has a lot to offer if you can get beyond a few drawbacks. You're just going to have to give some consideration to the different trim levels. Since there are quite a few of them, we will break down each one in this trim level comparison review, going one by one through the entire line-up. In the end, we will let you know which trim level we think will suit the needs of the average buyer the best, so stay tuned to the conclusion.
Compare the 2021 Honda Odyssey LX vs EX Trim Level. What is the Difference?
Let's start things off with the 2021 Honda Odyssey's base LX trim level and its safety features. Every trim level comes with the Honda Sensing suite, which bundles safety and driver assistance technology. This bundle includes a collision mitigation braking system, road departure mitigation system, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control with a low-speed following feature, automatic high beam headlights, brake assist, and a multi-angle rear-view camera with guidelines. A tire pressure monitoring system, LED daytime running lights, and Advanced Compatibility Engineering for the body structure are also standard features.
The EX has all of these features but adds a blind spot monitoring system and dynamic guidelines on the rear-view camera.
Technology is broad on even the base LX. Its standard features include a 5-inch LCD display, a single 1.0-amp USB audio interface on the center console, a 7-speaker sound system with a subwoofer added in, Bluetooth hands-free audio streaming and calling, an MP3/auxiliary input jack, a 2.5-amp USB charge-only port, and 12-volt power outlets up front and in the cargo area.
The EX adds quite a bit more though. You get Cabin Control Remote Capability, an 8-inch high-resolution touchscreen display, Honda Link, smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, HD Radio, SMS text messaging, and a 2.5-amp USB smartphone/audio interface.
Creature comforts don't end there though. Far from it. The LX equips standard convenience features like automatic climate control, power door locks that can be programmed, a push button start function, one-touch turn indicators, a tilt and telescoping steering column, dual illuminated vanity mirrors up front, a locking glove compartment, beverage holders in each row, capless fuel filling, four garment hooks, heater ducts for the rear seat, a storage well in the rear, a front passenger-side lower seatback pocket, auto up/down on the front windows, and black floor mats for the first two rows.
The EX swaps in a tri-zone automatic climate control system. It also adds programmable tailgate locks, and second-row integrated sunshades.
The LX comes with an 8-way power-adjustable driver seat, while the front passenger seat is 4-way power-adjustable. The third row is a Magic Seat, meaning that this 60/40-split folding seat has a one-touch function that moves it. Seating capacity maxes out at 7 with the second-row captain's chairs. The EX seats 8, and the driver's seat gets upgraded to 12-way power-adjustability with 4-way power lumbar support. Also, heated front seats come standard on the EX.
These two trims are hard to tell apart from the exterior though. They both have LED headlights, rear privacy glass, and integrated LED light bars in the LED taillights. There are also variable intermittent windshield wipers, black side sills, remote entry, and black door handles. The EX gets upgraded to programmable remote entry, heating on the power side mirrors, and chrome door handles. It also gets power sliding doors, LED fog lights, and a black fin-style roof-mounted antenna.
Now, let's not forget to mention the standard V6 engine, which gets paired up with a 10-speed automatic transmission. This generates 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, which is definitely enough to give the Odyssey some get-up-and-go power. Hill start assist comes equipped, as do active noise cancellation and an Eco Assist System. To this, the EX only adds remote engine start.
Compare the 2021 Honda Odyssey EX vs EX-L - What is the Difference?
So, what does the 'L' in EX-L mean? Whatever it means, it alludes to the fact that the EX-L gets a few extra things equipped. A second 2.5-amp charge-only port gets added, as does a third-row 12-volt power outlet. The Home Link Remote System gets made standard, as do an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and second-row lower seatback pockets.
Two-position memory gets added to the driver's seat, and leather trim comes on the front and second-row outboard seats. The front passenger's seat gains 4-way power lumbar support.
On the outside, the EX-L gains memory and reverse gear tilt-down on the side mirrors. It also features an acoustic glass windshield, a one-touch power moonroof with a tilting feature, and programmable height on the power tailgate.
Compare the 2021 Honda Odyssey EX-L vs Touring Trim Level. - What is the Difference?
The Touring trim level becomes even more sophisticated than the EX-L. Just how does it manage to do that? Well, it tacks on a good number of extra standard features. This trim level gives you handy features like an in-car PA system called Cabin Talk (which can be heard only through the headphones given), an advanced rear seat entertainment system with a 10.2-inch hi-res screen and Bluray DVD player, a front 115-volt power outlet, an HDMI interface, a built-in navigation system with HD digital traffic and voice recognition, a Cabin Watch rear seat monitor, subscription services to Honda Link, and wi-fi hot spot connectivity.
The front row also gets upper seatback pockets, and there is lovely blue ambient interior lighting. Also, the side sills become body-colored and fin-style antenna mounted onto the roof. There are front and rear parking sensors too.
Compare the 2021 Honda Odyssey Touring vs Elite Trim. - What is the Difference?
The 2021 Honda Odyssey's line-topping trim level is known as the Elite, and it definitely lives up to its name. Minivans typically do not have a luxurious appeal, but this one actually does. While it might be a bit much for some people, for others, it is going to be one attractive option.
Why is that? To start off with, the Elite trim level gets equipped with a massive 11-speaker sound system that has 550 watts and and includes a subwoofer as part of its set-up. You also get multi-zone audio (which is something you cannot find on a lot of other line-topping mini-van trim levels) and a wireless phone charger.
As far as creature comforts go, the Elite gets beefed up with a heating function for the leather-wrapped steering wheel, which feels fantastic in the winter months. The instrument panel gains the blue ambient lighting found throughout the rest of the cabin. Additionally, the HondaVAC vacuum system that we mentioned earlier comes standard on this trim level. And, as a nice touch, the front seats are both heated and ventilated for your comfort.
The exterior also gains some distinguishing characteristics. The roofline spoiler with the integrated brake light becomes body-colored. The variable intermittent windshield wipers are able to sense rain, and the side mirrors gain power folding and auto-dimming functions. Also, the front and rear doors gain the same type of acoustic glass that is used on the windshield. To top all of that off, the power tailgate gains hands-free access. This makes getting into the cargo area a lot easier when you have your hands full of groceries or other bulky items.
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Which Trim to Choose?
As is evident by this point, the 2021 Honda Odyssey is a line-up that is full of excellent choices. No matter which one you go for, you get that powerful V6 engine (that unfortunately guzzles up a bit too much gas for the liking) which helps get this big ol' mini-van moving like it is a smaller SUV. And the 10-speed automatic transmission provides for some seamless shifting between the gears.
But which trim level is going to be the one that works the best for the average buyer this model year? They all have something good to offer, but we think that sticking with the EX trim level is going to be the way for most people to go. Why do we think that this is so? Well, the addition of standard blind spot monitoring is a real selling point for families wanting the utmost in safety features. This rounds out an already bountiful list of standard driver aids.
The EX is still budget-friendly too, whereas some of the higher trim levels might be a bit too pricey for the average buyer. It provides a nice balance between comfort, affordability, practicality, and - what every parent is looking for - extra space. It might not have some of the fancier features found on the Touring or Elite trim levels, but it certainly gives you enough to leave you feeling cozy and relaxed. The amount of tech that you get is going to be more than satisfactory.
All in all, the 2021 Honda Odyssey is a well-rounded vehicle that provides an ample amount of comfort, safety, and standard infotainment features that are family-oriented. You also get a lot of space available in the cargo area for hauling your items, and there are many nifty little nooks and crannies where you and your passengers can stash all types of small items. Although we recommend going for the EX trim level, the Touring might be a good option for those wanting a few more extra high-tech gadgets. Still, it is hard to go wrong with any trim level on this line-up.
• Compare the 2020 Honda Odyssey Trim Levels