2020 Honda OdysseyPerformance • Comparisons
What's New for 2020?
This model year, the Honda Odyssey sees the standardization of the 10-speed automatic transmission across the entire line-up. It is known for having smooth, uninterrupted gear changes that move swiftly. Other than that, everything from the 2019 line-up carries over. This is not a bad thing since, as they say, if it isn't broken, don't fix it.
The Pros and Cons of the 2020 Honda Odyssey
✅ The Second Row of Seats is Highly Configurable
One of the biggest selling points for any mini-van are the rear seats. If the second row is not highly configurable, then the vehicle loses its appeal to buyers. These vehicles have to be able to accommodate people with kids, so that means the seats need to have a lot of configuration options. And the 2020 Honda Odyssey has that. The second row of seats slide and recline for a lot of extra comfort. They also leave plenty of room for accessing the third row of seats, which is certainly helpful.
✅ A Strong and Capable Powertrain
The Odyssey's 3.5-L V6 engine is plenty powerful, as it generates 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. The now-standard 10-speed automatic transmission makes for some serious smooth shifting capabilities, and the engine delivers a good amount of power. Even when the van is fully loaded up with passengers, the Odyssey can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 7.6 seconds - a number that other vehicles in this segment struggle to best.
✅ Superb Comfort Thanks to the Handling and Steering
The 2020 Honda Odyssey is a mini-van that drives more like a sedan, and this is definitely a good thing. The suspension adds a lot of comfort, but the handling and steering really stand out. The handling feels incredibly secure, and there is absolutely no sign of body roll. The steering feels completely natural, and the wheel is well-weighted. The driver gets just the right amount of feedback from the steering wheel, so they will always know exactly how the wheels are tracking. Oh, and the seats? Packed with comfort! They serve to enhance the cozy ride quality you get from the Odyssey.
✅ An Innovative and Spacious Cargo Area
The 2020 Honda Odyssey is a true stand-out in its class when it comes to its innovative and spacious cargo area. Honda has spent a lot of time and money redesigning their cargo areas in order to make them as versatile and utilitarian as possible. If you remove the second row of seats, a ton of space opens up - 156 cubic feet of cargo space, to be more precise. And that is a best-in-class number. Even when the seats are all left in place, there are a ton of cleverly designed storage areas to be found. Just take a peek behind the third row; you will find a huge, deep storage area that is perfect for securely storing your groceries or other items that might otherwise fly about. You will also find plenty of well-sized bins and pockets on the doors, making it easy to store your smaller items.
❌ Outward Visibility is Limited
One of the biggest downsides to driving the 2020 Honda Odyssey is that outward visibility is significantly limited. The front has thick roof pillars, which you will find on a lot of minivans. These make it hard to gauge exactly where the front end is in relation to things around the vehicle. You might find yourself smacking into curbs when you thought you still had enough room to get the van's nose up further. Also, the rear outward view is hampered by the bulky second-row headrests. You will have to rely on the rear-view camera much more than you might like, and there is no surround-view system available to help you see in front and to the sides.
❌ The Seats Can Be Difficult to Move
Minivans are supposed to be easy to reconfigure in this day and age. The Odyssey has competitors with power seat-moving systems that make it super simple to take down the second and third rows of seats when necessary. Honda has not yet gotten the message that a minivan's rear seats need to be easy to move. The second row is the one that is really troublesome. It is heavy and awkwardly designed, making getting the seats out a challenge even for a strong, able-bodied adult. It will take at least one person to get them out, and it will require some time and energy.
Configurations / Trim Levels
Before you buy a vehicle, it is important to know what each trim level comes with. Some trim levels might have different specs or features that explain why they price higher than the others. Are these features that you want? Are they the ones you truly need? Let's go over what you will find on the 2020 Honda Odyssey's different trim levels.
The Odyssey's base trim is the LX. For the price, it is considerably well-equipped and offers a lot of versatility compared to many of its rivals. The LX, like all of the other trim levels in the Odyssey's line-up, is powered by the standard 3.6-L engine and now the 10-speed automatic transmission - a smart move on Honda's part. Front-wheel drive is also standard across the line-up. This is pretty general for the minivan segment, and there is only one automaker offering all-wheel drive on their minivan line-up this model year (see the comparisons below to find out which vehicle we are referring to).
The LX is jam packed with all sorts of creature comforts as well as safety features. There is an automatic climate control system, a 5-inch center screen, a 7-speaker sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, and third-row seats that are 60/40-split folding. You also get a rear-view camera (which, as already mentioned above, you will need), front seats that are both power-adjustable, and two USB ports to plug your devices into.
Of course, the EX gives you a bit more. The power-sliding rear doors are definitely a huge upgrade and are ideal for those who have small children who will have to get in and out of the minivan. The EX also comes with a magnificent tri-zone automatic climate control system, a bigger 8-inch touchscreen display, enhanced sliding for the second row seats, heating on both front seats, and smartphone app integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A slew of driver aids get tacked on as well, including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring (again, something you might find you need), and automatic emergency braking.
The "L" in EX-L basically stands for "luxury" since it packs in a ton of luxury features. The EX-L is equipped with plush leather upholstery, a noise-reducing windshield, and a sunroof overhead. If you opt for the sub-trim, you get a 10.2-inch overhead display for second-row passengers, built-in navigation, and a Blu-ray player. It also features an intercom system that lets you chat with rear seat occupants versus having to raise your voice and turn your head to speak with them.
Next up is the Touring trim. This trim level has parking sensors for the front and rear, as well as its own built-in vacuum cleaner, a camera system for monitoring the rear seat occupants, WiFi hot-spot connectivity, and a hands-free liftgate.
If you want the most that the Odyssey has to offer, it comes on the Elite. This line-topper has everything from a heated steering wheel to a wireless device charging system. Want ventilated front seats? The Elite has it. Of course, it is the most expensive option, so you will need to carefully consider whether one of the lower trim levels might best suit your budget.
For a detailed comparison of these trim levels, see our recent research into the 2020 Honda Odyssey Trim Level Comparisons and Configurations. ›
Driving Impressions and Performance
When it comes to performance, the 2020 Honda Odyssey gives a great one. It feels more like a sedan than a big, bulky minivan. The 3.6-L engine is strong and capable, providing plenty of power to the front wheels. The fact that this huge minivan can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds is downright impressive.
The 10-speed automatic transmission operates smoothly as well, never seeming to pause in search of gears. It seems to know exactly when and how it needs to shift. Also, if you are the type of person who likes shifting for themselves, there are standard gear shift paddles on every trim level. A nice touch, to be certain!
Additionally, the suspension is impeccably tuned on the Odyssey. It can handle any size of bump in the road and smooths them all out with grace. Nobody will be getting jostled around inside of this cabin. And, with the steering being so responsive and handling so concise and predictable, you - the driver - will never have to worry about where this vehicle is tracking. It is spot-on and reliable each time you drive it. You will know exactly what to expect, whether you have the cabin fully occupied or if it is just you hitting the road for an adventure (or just a drive to work).
Safety is one of the things Honda takes very seriously on all of their vehicles. For decades now, this company has been praised for its safety-minded construction and plethora of standard safety features. Unfortunately, when it comes to driver aids, the ones you get in the 2020 Honda Odyssey are kind of a mixed bag. There are some that just never seem to work right, no matter what you do. Lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control definitely need some tweaking to make them seem more refined.
However, on a much more positive note, the other driver aids work pretty flawlessly. The blind spot monitoring system is a must-have since there are some pretty big blind spots on each side of the Odyssey minivan. Lane departure warning also appears to be pretty functional, never becoming intrusive. These options are definitely worth the upgrade if it falls within your budget.
Now, on to the safety ratings themselves (since knowing how they have tested out is pretty crucial for making the decision to buy). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA for short) assigned the 2020 Honda Odyssey five full stars overall and five on the Overall Front Star Rating.
Both the front driver and passenger sides received five stars each as well. The Odyssey has a five-star Overall Side Star Rating with perfect scores on Combined Side Barrier and Pole, Side Barrier, and Overall Side Pole Star. No tip was detected, and there was a 13.60% roll-over risk detected, which is quite a normal percentage for a minivan.
Meanwhile, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2019 Honda Odyssey the honor of being a Top Safety Pick - a title that it will likely also assign to the 2020 line-up. The Odyssey received "Good" marks on almost every test it was put through, only to be marked down for an "Acceptable" safety and structure cage and "Poor" headlights on the LX trim level (which are halogen and not LED). Overall, the Odyssey is probably one of the best-rated mini-vans out there right now and is likely one of the safest vehicles, period.
Mini-vans are not exactly synonymous with being upscale. But, somehow, the 2020 Honda Odyssey stands out as being more than just a safe vehicle. It actually looks and feels quite cozy and has some high-quality materials, not just the cheap hard plastic junk you still find in some of the Odyssey's competitors.
Not only does the cabin provide a lot of comfort, it just makes life a lot easier while you are driving. Getting in and out is superbly easy, especially thanks to the rear sliding doors. They are exponentially better than those horrendous traditional door that you have to use your entire upper body strength to fling open. Loading the kids, the dog, and all the items you need is so much easier with the sliding rear doors.
The second row slides and reclines for comfort, which enhances your experience if you are a passenger. Comfort should not just be reserved for the front seats, and Honda nails that on the Odyssey. Of course, the front seats are power-adjustable a number of different ways which, for the driver, makes getting into the perfect driving spot totally easy. Not to mention, the steering wheel is highly maneuverable for extra comfort while driving.
Again, the only real thing we can harp on here is the limited visibility. Other than that, the Odyssey's cabin is chock full of nifty features and is totally utilitarian with its plethora of small item storage spaces. Even for a minivan, the Odyssey's comfort knows no bounds. It is easy to sit in it for hours on a long road trip.
Exterior Color Options
Hondas are known for being vehicles that last well over 250,000 miles. Reliability is just something that comes with their territory. People who will buy the 2020 Honda Odyssey have probably owned a Honda (or seven) before or at least know someone (or seven people) who does. Word-of-mouth is how Hondas tend to sell. Just ask any mechanic or car enthusiast which make they recommend, and Honda will typically be one of the first names they blurt out.
But what about previous model years for the Honda Odyssey? Are these, in particular, good vehicles? How long can they last? As some studies have recently shown, people who buy the Odyssey are looking for reliability and are willing to spend more money to get something that they believe will last them for years. They want a minivan that can safely help them chauffeur their children (and their children's friends) around.
When you ask owners of older Odyssey models what they love about their vehicles, they will tell you that they love not having to do a ton of extra maintenance on them. Sure, regular maintenance needs to be done, and when it is done on time, these vehicles seem to just run forever. If you want a long-term investment, then the 2020 Honda Odyssey offers up a pretty good guarantee based on what we already know about Hondas in general and Odysseys in particular.
The one thing drivers of previous Odysseys note that they do not like is that the interiors can get noisy when taken up to highway speeds. Honda has sussed out some of these issues, but there might still be a little bit of intrusion. Also, like other new vehicles, the technology might always be reliable - and technicians often hate tech repairs! Bluetooth has been reportedly problematic in the past, as connections seemingly get dropped for no reason. And, like we have already discussed, some of the driver aids do not work as well as they are supposed to.
How Does It Compare
2020 Honda Odyssey vs 2020 Toyota Sienna
The 2020 Honda Odyssey is a best-in-class vehicle in many ways but is certainly not without its competition. The 2020 Toyota Sienna is right up there at the front of the pack too. The Sienna is powered by a sturdy V6 engine that provides quick, smooth acceleration similar to those of the Odyssey. The ride quality is also rather superb. Bonus: It is the only minivan on the market this model year to offer all-wheel drive!
Unfortunately, the Sienna has a few noteworthy pitfalls, the first of which is the extremely dated-looking control system. It just makes the cockpit look like something you would've seen a decade ago. Also, you do not get anywhere near as many infotainment and safety features bundled in. It, too, has second-row seats that feel almost impossible to remove, and you get even more intrusive noise from the road and wind when you get onto the highway.
2020 Honda Odyssey vs 2020 Chrysler Pacifica
The 2020 Chrysler Pacifica is another prime example of a minivan getting a lot of things right but still being outshone by the Odyssey. The Pacifica is priced nearly the same as the Odyssey, and it has some seriously easy-to-maneuver seats in the second row. Also, its interior looks upscale, and the materials Chrysler uses are refined enough. You also get an excellent view outside of the vehicle thanks to the slender roof pillars - something you obviously do not get on the Odyssey.
The Pacifica isn't problem-free. Both rows of rear seats are exceedingly uncomfortable and do not feel nearly as well-padded as the Odyssey's. Also, the Pacifica's 9-speed automatic transmission is choppy and spends time searching for gears, falling vastly short of the 10-speed's smoothness on the Odyssey. Drivers can definitely feel the difference between these two transmissions, and the 9-speed is known for being something of a troublemaker anyway. The 10-speed massively outperforms it.
2020 Honda Odyssey vs 2020 Honda Pilot
How about a little internal competition here?! The 2020 Honda Pilot is a great alternative to the Odyssey if you decide you do not want to drive a minivan. The Pilot has a new line-topping trim level this year, known as the Black Edition (and you can guess why). This SUV is superbly roomy, and the rear seats especially so. Taller adults can kick back and relax in the rear seats, no problem. You also get a very well-tuned suspension and comfortable ride quality. And, of course, you get better fuel efficiency. While it is rated for 22 mpg combined (like the Odyssey), the Pilot seems to get closer to 24, which is better than its minivan sister.
The downsides? There aren't too many. Access to the third row is a bit narrow, which is fairly typical for this segment. Also, the Pilot has the same issues with driver aids being a bit wonky. This seems to be a Honda problem that buyers cannot avoid. Other than that, the Honda Pilot is a surprisingly pleasant alternative to the Odyssey and still offers the same type of clever storage and cargo designs.
2020 Honda Odyssey vs 2020 Kia Sedona
Now, what about the 2020 Kia Sedona? Is this minivan anywhere near as solid as the 2020 Honda Odyssey is supposed to be? For starters, the Kia is priced about $4,000 below the starting MSRP of the 2020 Honda Odyssey, so if you are on a tight budget, the Sedona might be worthy of your consideration. It also has this great cockpit that feels more like you are piloting an SUV than a minivan which is something a lot of drivers will appreciate. For your money, you get a ton of standard features and a wonderfully quiet ride in the cabin. In other words, it makes for some stiff competition for the Honda Odyssey.
The 2020 Kia Sedona does have its drawbacks though, as all vehicles clearly do. The Sedona lacks the same wealth of cargo space as the Odyssey and does not have all of the creatively designed storage areas inside of it. You will also have to put up with a ride quality that gets busy as the wheels roll over harsh road surfaces. It just does not smooth out bumps as well as the Odyssey does.
2020 Honda Odyssey vs 2020 Dodge Grand Caravan
For decades now, the Dodge Grand Caravan has been hauling American families all around the country. It was once an industry leader. But the 2020 Dodge Grand Caravan? There are only two things this minivan really has going for it: the low price and its Stow 'n' Go seats. These second row seats fold flat, right into the floor, opening up cargo space without the hassle of trying to remove them. If Honda adapted this technology to use in the Odyssey, they would have a near-perfect vehicle! Alas, that just is not the case. Sadly enough, Dodge's innovation ends there, though.
The Dodge Grand Caravan coming out for the 2020 model year is plagued by problems. It has a mere fraction of the advanced driver aids that come on the Odyssey and other competitors, which serves as part of the explanation for why it is so drastically cheap compared to the others. Also, the infotainment system is markedly outdated and will make you feel like you would be better off with just a basic radio and CD player. To make matters worse, smartphone app integration is not available at all, so do not think about trying to sync your Apple or Android apps up with the Grand Caravan. And, to really make things seem terrible, the crash test ratings are below average for this segment.