All Odyssey models are powered by a 248-horsepower, 3.5L V6 engine. LX, EX and EX-L models come with a 5-speed automatic transmission, while Touring and Touring Elite Odysseys get a new 6-speed automatic.
Honda endeavored to make the Odyssey's body very rigid, which helps make it one of the most refined-riding and precise-handling vans on the market.
Inside, Honda has worked to make the Odyssey as comfortable as possible for all occupants. The Odyssey can carry up to eight smaller-size occupants, or six larger adults in comfort. With a new '3 mode' design, the second row can be folded forward for cargo, stretched wide for adult-size seating space, or made more narrow for easier access to the third row--when carrying a full load of kids to the soccer game, for instance. The third row carries on with Honda's "Magic Seat" arrangement, which folds easily with a single hand strap into the cargo floor when not in use, allowing a very impressive cargo capacity. The Odyssey's extensive use of sound insulation and active noise cancellation system--standard on all Odysseys--means a very quiet ride.
Cargo capacity and storage must have ranked high on the Odyssey's design priorities. With the Odyssey's third-row seat folded down and the second-row seats removed, Honda says that a 4x8 sheet of plywood can fit inside the Odyssey. With the front console removed 10-foot 2x4 studs will fit. There are more than enough cupholders (15) for all, and the back of the center console now includes a ring for easily mounting a trash bag. Altogether, the Odyssey provides 38.4 cubic feet of storage behind the third row and 93.1 cubic feet behind the second row.
The highlight of the Odyssey's styling is without a doubt the 'lightning bolt' alongside the beltline. The feature not only makes the Odyssey easy to spot from a distance and distinguishes it from the myriad of similar vehicles, it also helps ease that claustrophobic feeling that third row seats often have by expanding their view outside.
There's quite a price and equipment range from base LX models up to the Touring and Touring Elite, but even the base LX models come quite well-equipped, and include air conditioning, cruise control and a 5-speaker sound system with auxiliary input. The EX adds a 3-zone climate-control system, heated side mirrors, alloy wheels, a garage-door opener and 2GB of audio storage, while EX-L models get leather upholstery, heated front seats and Bluetooth. All models but the LX now come with power sliding doors.
A blind-spot information system included with the top-of-the-line Touring Elite model scans the area around the vehicle and warns the driver via lights on the side-view mirrors.
Safety features such as stability control, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, front side airbags, side-curtain bags for all three rows and active front-seat headrests are all among the standard features.
A new DVD rear entertainment system with 18.2-inch ultra-wide display is standard on the Touring Elite. It offers an HDMI input and the capability to display two different programs--a video game and a movie, for example--simultaneously. In the EX-L model and above, there's a new intelligent multi-information display that allows access to a range of vehicle settings. A navigation system with voice recognition is also on the options list for the Odyssey EX-L and standard on Touring and Touring Elite; it's now driven by a 60GB hard-drive system and includes traffic information, a highway guide and point-of-interest information for gas stations, restaurants and other attractions.
After a complete redesign in 2011, the Honda Odyssey changes very little for 2012.