2022 Honda Odyssey: a better minivan than Pacifica and Sienna?

2021 Honda Odyssey

By Chuck Giametta

What changes will make the 2022 Honda Odyssey different?

Nothing significant, after a model-year-2021 refresh that tweaked styling, added safety tech, and upgraded the cabin. The ’22 Odyssey will carry over those changes as it faces stiffened competition in the shrunken but still strongly contested minivan market.

There might be a new color choice or two but few other changes as the 2022 Odyssey returns with seating for up to eight, front-wheel drive, and a V-6 engine. It’ll retain this formula and rely largely on the model-year ’21 updates until its next full redesign. That’s expected for model-year 2024 or ’25.

The 2022 Odyssey’s two toughest rivals, the 2022 Chrysler Pacifica and 2022 Toyota Sienna, are available with all-wheel drive (AWD) and as high-mileage gas-electric hybrids. In fact, Pacifica’s hybrid is a plug-in, and the redesigned-for-2021 Sienna comes only as a hybrid. Also in the mix is the all-new 2022 Kia Sedona, with SUV-like styling and an upscale interior.      

Should I wait for the 2022 Honda Odyssey or buy a 2021?                                              

2021 Odyssey

Buy a ’21. The ’22 isn’t apt to change in any way worth waiting for, although it’s almost certain to cost more. Either way, this is a smartly designed family conveyance with innovative seating configurations, comprehensive standard safety features, and parent-pleasers like video monitoring of the second- and third-row seats.

Expect the ’22 Odyssey lineup to repeat the ‘21’s five-model roster: base LX, better-equipped EX, leather-upholstered EX-L, luxurious Touring, and flagship Elite. The LX should return with seats for seven, the others with accommodations for eight via Honda’s Magic Slide setup. This uses a second-row center position that can be removed to allow the individual outboard sections to slide laterally for customized configurations.  

Will 2022 Honda Odyssey styling be different?

2021 Odyssey

No. It’ll retain the basic shape and dimensions that came with its model-year 2018 redesign. That remake introduced pronounced body-side sculpting while retaining a softer version of the 2011-2017 generation’s drooping rear beltline. The ’21 refresh changed only the nose and tail. It blackened the grille, reshaped the front bumper, and added gloss-black trim beneath the rear window. All models also got more efficient LED headlamps.

Visual distinctions between 2022 Odyssey trim levels will remain subtle. All but the LX will return with LED foglamps, chrome instead of black door handles, and body-colored side mirrors with integrated turn signals. Touring and Elite get body-colored side sills, too. Wheel design and size will also remain differentiators. The ’22 LX, ES, and EX-L should again have 18-inch alloys with silver, pewter, and dark-gray finishes, respectively. The ’22 Touring and Elite should return with 19-inch alloys, each with their own machined-gray design.

2021 Odyssey

The dashboard will again play on geometric themes to mostly good effect. The digital instrumentation is clear, controls grouped logically. Debatable is the use of buttons to shift the transmission. It saves space but isn’t as intuitive as Sienna’s conventional gear stalk or even Pacifica’s rotary selector.

Look for the ’22 Odyssey LX to return a simple infotainment system with a 5-inch central dashboard display. The other models will again use an eight-inch touchscreen and come with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and satellite radio. USB charge points will again range from one in the LX to four in Touring and Elite, including two in the second row and one in the third.

The ’22 Touring and Elite should again include imbedded satellite navigation that doesn’t rely on a cell signal for real-time GPS mapping. They’ll also get WiFi hotspot capability, with the Elite asserting its flagship status via an audio upgrade to 11 speakers from seven. We do think Honda would better serve buyers by expanding availability of the wireless phone charger; for ’21 it was exclusive to the Elite.

Switchgear with precision movement, panels that feel solid, and padding at every expected touchpoint will remain selling points. Spiffs that came with the ’21 refresh – restyled seating surfaces, piano-black accents on upper-trim models – will carry over for ’22. The EX-L, Touring, and Elite models will again supplant cloth upholstery with leather. They’ll also include heated power front seats with power lumber support. Expect ventilated front seats and perforated leather with contrasting stitching and piping to remain Elite exclusives.    

2021 Odyssey three-passenger second-row seat

Every ’22 Odyssey will retain an airy, expansive cabin with room enough for grownups in all three seating rows. The front buckets and second-row outboard positions are particularly comfortable. The second-row central section is well padded but no wider than in, say, a full-size SUV. The three-passenger third-row bench is sufficiently elevated to avoid a knees-up posture. And that drooping beltline pays off in side windows large enough to prevent feeling closed in.

2021 Odyssey Magic Slide “Super mode”

To take advantage of the Magic Slide you remove the second row’s central seating section — a fairly cumbersome chore, and there’s no dedicated onboard storage site. That done, the remaining outboard sections are left in “Wide mode” with a central pass-through to the third row. Work easy-to-use handles and the outboard sections slide together in “Buddy mode.” Slide them to either side of the cabin for “Super mode,” with convenient door-side access to the third row.

The ’22 Odyssey will return with latches for five child safety seats: three in the second row, two in the third. Any seat in the second-row center position can slide forward for easier kid access from the front.

2021 Odyssey CabinWatch with rear-seat reminder view

For more interaction, there’s Honda’s CabinTalk in-car PA and CabinWatch rear-seat monitor, which should return as exclusive Touring and Elite features. Both work in conjunction with the rear-seat entertainment system – Blue-Ray player, 10.2-inch high-def ceiling screen, wireless headphones – that also should return as Touring and Elite exclusives. Push an icon on the dashboard touchscreen and CabinTalk broadcasts the voice of a front-seater to occupants in the rear. It’s great for those “leave-your-sister-alone” moments. For ’21, Touring models broadcast CabinTalk commands through only the wireless headphones. More conveniently, Elite models broadcast though both the wireless headphones and the audio-system speakers.

CabinWatch employs a wide-angle ceiling camera that transmits to the dashboard screen a live video view of all rear rows. It’s clear, visible in the dark, and responds to swipe and pinch screen inputs for useful closeups of any rear occupant. All ’22 Odysseys will return with an audible and visual alert to check the rear area for children, pets, or cargo before exiting the vehicle. CabinWatch-equipped models add a video view.

Honda’s wizardry with storage space is something you’ll appreciate daily. Multi-use cubbies, pockets, beverage holders, and grocery-bag hooks abound. The front center console is cavernous and there’s dedicated floor space for a purse or the like. Folding the second-row’s center seatback reveals three more cupholders and yet another bin.

2021 Odyssey

A deep rear floor well furnishes a generous 32.8 cubic feet of cargo volume will all seats upright. The 60/40 split third row tumbles neatly into the well, making available 88.8 cubic feet. The second-row seatbacks tip forward and if you’re up for removing the heavy seats themselves you’ll have 144.9 cubic feet of cargo room, the most of any minivan.

There is opportunity for Honda to add conveniences features available on both the Pacifica and Sienna. For example, all but the Odyssey LX has come standard with power sliding side doors, but no Odyssey offers hands-free operation. By contrast, every Sienna but the base model comes with hands-free power sliding side doors, and Pacifica includes this amenity on the top two of its four trim levels.

Additionally, only the ’22 Odyssey EX-L and above are likely to again come with a power tailgate, and only the Elite is apt to retain the convenience of hands-free operation. Sienna includes a hands-free tailgate on all but its entry-level model. Pacifica makes one standard on its top two grades — and teams it with power folding third row seats.

Any 2022 Honda Odyssey mechanical changes?

2021 Odyssey

Not before the next full redesign. Until then, all Odysseys will use a 3.5-liter V-6 engine with 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. (Think of torque as the force that gets a vehicle moving, horsepower as the energy that keeps it moving.) The sole transmission will remain a 10-speed automatic driving the front wheels. If Honda’s considering all-wheel drive for its minivan, don’t expect it before the mid-decade redesign.

The smooth engine and quick-shifting transmission team for very capable acceleration, even with several passengers and their luggage aboard. The ’22 Odyssey will furnish good scoot away from a stop, alert reactions in city and suburban traffic, and power enough for drama-free highway merging and passing. The transmission’s Sport mode elevates engine speed and recalibrates shifts for a small but noticeable sharpening of throttle response.

2021 Odyssey transmission shift buttons

No reason to doubt the ’22 Odyssey won’t maintain an edge in acceleration – and powertrain refinement — over both the Pacifica and Sienna. Yes, Sienna and the gas-only V-6 Pacifica will again be available with AWD. But we don’t believe its absence here is a deal-breaker. If it is, Honda points you to its eight-seat Pilot midsize crossover SUV, which shares much of Odyssey’s under-skin engineering and offers AWD. 

AWD is reassuring if you regularly negotiate deep snow or need to ascend even a snow-dusted gradient (it provides no real advantage in cornering). About 56 percent of Odyssey’s weight is over the front tires, helping them provide sufficient traction to get moving on snowy surfaces – so long as you’re experienced enough to keep throttle inputs gentle. If you’re not, the powertrain’s driver-selectable Snow mode does it for you.

The ’22 Odyssey will again deliver confidence-inspiring composure on the open road. In turns, a lower center of gravity typically means a minivan handles better than a higher-riding crossover of similar mass. But no people mover this size will excite the enthusiast driver. Still, as a rule any Honda is a candidate for the best handler in its class.

That’s true for the Odyssey, although the Pacifica in particular is a formidable match for overall road manners. The Honda feels a bit more honed, quicker to answer steering commands, a little more eager to take a corner. The Chrysler’s more fluid in its movements. And it rides better.

Odysseys tend to allow impact harshness from sharp bumps and ridges to send small shivers through the structure. That’s true especially of the Touring and Elite models, with their 19-inch wheels and tires. Suppression of road noise isn’t up to Pacifica or Sienna standards, either.

Will 2022 Honda Odyssey fuel economy improve?

2021 Odyssey

Very unlikely. Expect 2022 Odyssey EPA ratings to repeat those for the ’21 model: 19/28/22 mpg city/highway/combined.

That would again beat the front-drive V-6 Pacifica’s 18/28/22 rating, and its 17/25/20 AWD rating. But it won’t challenge the plug-in Pacifica’s 30-mpg combined rating when operating as a conventional hybrid. As a bonus, the Pacifica plug-in has an EPA-rated 32-mile range operating on battery power alone.

And for reference, expect the 2022 Sienna hybrid to again rates a very impressive 36/36/36 mpg city/highway/combined with front-wheel drive and 35/36/35 with AWD.

Will there be new 2022 Honda Odyssey features?

2021 Odyssey rear entertainment system

Probably not, although we’d like to see Honda extend blind-spot monitoring to the LX model. Otherwise, don’t expect features to migrate from one trim level to another. The ’22 Odyssey will again hew to Honda’s policy of eschewing individual options in favor of model grades with strictly defined feature sets.

Laudably, every version of this minivan will return with the Honda Sensing suite of safety equipment. It includes autonomous emergency braking designed to automatically stop the minivan to mitigate a frontal collision with another vehicle or object. The ’21 refresh added pedestrian recognition, too.

Also included is lane-departure warning and lane-maintaining automatic steering correction. Every ’22 Odyssey will also return with adaptive cruise control designed to maintain a set distance from traffic ahead. For ’21, it gained the ability to operate in stop-and-go traffic, a welcome convenience.

Among the most useful driver assists are blind-spot monitoring to alert of unseen vehicles in an adjacent lane, and rear cross traffic detection to warn of vehicles approaching from the side when you’re backing up. On the ’21 Odyssey, these were standard on all but the LX model. On Sienna and Pacifica, they were standard on every model.    

All ’22 Odysseys will again come with automatic highbeam headlamps. EX-L and above should retain an automatic-dimming rearview mirror. The Elite adds automatic dimming outside mirrors. A single-pane power moonroof should again be standard starting with the EX-L model; only Pacifica offers a larger panoramic moonroof.

Will 2022 Honda Odyssey prices be different?

2021 Odyssey

They’ll almost certainly increase slightly — although they’re also likely to continue to undercut base prices of direct competitors within the Pacifica and Sienna lineups.

For reference, here are 2021 Odyssey prices, including Honda’s $1,120 destination fee.

The ’21 Odyssey LX was priced at $32,910 and the ’22 should return with such features as pushbutton ignition, a power driver’s seat, and automatic climate control in addition to equipment covered earlier in this review.

The ’21 Odyssey EX was priced at $36,310 and included all the LX equipment, plus tri-zone automatic climate control, heated outside mirrors, keyless entry, second-row sunshades, and remote engine start. Priced at $39,580 the ’21 Odyssey EX-L built on the LX and EX with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Home Link remote garage-door opener, plus all the features covered earlier.

The ’21 Odyssey Touring was priced at $43,620 and included the aforementioned features, plus third-row sunshades. Adding equipment already noted, plus a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, and the build-tin HondaVac vacuum cleaner, the ’21 Odyssey Elite was priced at $48,440.

By comparison, the 2021 Pacifica V-6 models started at $36,540 and topped out at $54,885 for the AWD Pinnacle model. Base-price range for the ’21 Pacifica plug-in hybrid was $41,490-$52,340. Starting prices for the 2021 Sienna ranged from $35,635-$51,075 with front-wheel drive and from $37,635-$51,635 with AWD.     

When does the 2022 Honda Odyssey come out?

2021 Odyssey

Expect a 2022 Honda Odyssey release date in the third quarter of 2021.

Best 2022 Honda Odyssey competitors

Chrysler Pacifica, Kia Sedona, Toyota Sienna

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]