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This edition of the Honda Odyssey also received some safety goodies

Ted LaturnusYou know what they say: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. At least that was Honda’s attitude when it came to the Odyssey minivan, which, for 2015, was essentially unchanged from the year before … and the year before that … aside from a minor restyling job and the addition of a few upgrades, a six-speed transmission for one.

The 2015 Honda Odyssey was still powered by a lively and buttery-smooth 3.5 litre V6 that developed 248 horsepower. Transmission was now a six-speed automatic, with Honda’s Grade Logic Control system. This automatically finds the best gear combination based on driving conditions and engine speed, and Honda has been using it on various models for at least the past decade.

This gearbox was introduced to the Odyssey in 2014. Honda’s cylinder de-activation system was still standard equipment on the 2015 Odyssey as well, and by this time, it had been refined to the point where you hardly noticed it.

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Offered in seven trim levels, this edition of the Odyssey also received some safety goodies – the first of many to come – in the form of a lane departure notice and frontal collision warning. For neatness freaks, a built-in vacuum cleaner was offered, but only with the top-of-the-line Touring Elite model.

Eight adults could still fit into the Odyssey, no problem, and the second-row seats, though heavy, were all fairly straightforward to remove and reinstall. They also tilted forward for easy access to the back. The rear windows also opened, and the recessed floor in the back luggage area accommodated the third-row seats, which fold into the floor. With everything folded away or removed, there was some 2,636 litres of cargo space.

This generation of the Odyssey also received top marks when it came to safety. The U.S.-based National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave it its highest rating for driver and passenger safety in both front-impact and side-impact crash tests.

One thing that also remained unchanged from previous models was the Odyssey’s surprisingly good handling. This generation of the Odyssey still has a high drivability factor. Then, as now, it was the benchmark when it came to people carriers.

There was one safety recall to report from NHTSA for this vintage of the Odyssey. It concerned the fuel tank. Said NHTSA: “Fuel tanks may have insufficient welds, which could result in leaks and possible fire.” As well, there may have been some residual recall notices left over from Honda’s widespread faulty airbag imbroglio from 2001 to 2015.

Trouble spots for the 2015 Odyssey included front suspension noises, possibly glitchy power windows, misbehaving engine warning lights, excessive oil consumption, spark plugs that fouled prematurely and shuddering brakes … among other things.

Nevertheless, Consumer Reports liked the 2015 Odyssey. It received top marks in cargo room, passenger comfort, and value, with better-than-average scores for performance, ride quality and quietness.

Some comments from owners:

  • “It’s a minivan, so one doesn’t expect great handling and acceleration. But for a minivan, it’s pretty good”;
  • “There are shifting issues and small noises during shifting at low gear”;
  • “the side view mirrors extend out so far that I have less than one-inch clearance on either side getting in/out of my garage door”;
  • “the rear side windows look a little too much like a hearse,” and;
  • “We have now had our 2015 EX-L for about a year and 15,000 miles, and so far, it is nothing shy of terrific. The dynamics are good, and it made a cross-country trip of 2,500 miles a pleasant experience.”

From a base price of around $30,300 in 2015, the Odyssey is going for anywhere from the high teens for the base LX model these days, right up to the $30,000 range for a fully loaded Touring model.

2015 Honda Odyssey

Original Base Price: $30,350
Engine: 3.5 litre V6
Horsepower/Torque: 248 hp @ 5700 rpm/ 250 ft. lb @ 4800 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel Economy (litres/100 km): 10.9 city/7.1. Regular Gas

Alternatives: Kia Sedona, Ford Transit, Toyota Sienna, Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town And Country.

Ted Laturnus has been an automotive journalist since 1976. He was named Canadian Automobile Journalist of the Year twice and is past president of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). 

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