This Is What I found Out
When I Visited Honda Dealerships
[Honda Pilot vs Odyssey]
by Bill Flitter
My family is so ready for a new car. The kids are 11 and 14 now and growing by the foot. My wife’s Pilot is as timeworn and wrinkled as a 90-year-old goat. So, we did our research online, read all the specs and got a feel for all the features. Then we headed out to Honda dealerships to get a real feel for them. This is our take on the Honda Pilot vs Odyssey.
Looking At The Basics At Honda Dealerships
First, we stopped to look at the Civic, CRV, and Accord, all of which look super nice. The Accord has a lot of shiny black plastic molding on the inside, which brand new looks really nice, but once that plastic starts to dull, I don’t know. But it did look very sporty.
The Accord has two large screens in the dash: one for navigation and entertainment and the other for AC control, etc.
The latest iteration of the CRV is slightly bigger and now sports an in-dash screen. It also has a fresh, modern look on the inside.
The Honda Civic now looks like the offspring of a mini sports car and space rocket and the result is really cool looking. The dealership had a lime green model on display that my daughter couldn’t stop climbing in. She would sit in the driver’s seat, grip the gear shift, and pretend to be in the Indy 500.
Not The Right Fit
Basically, the CRV is good for younger families who don’t need a ton of cargo space but still like the look and feel of driving a smaller SUV.
The Accord is a great car for the daily commute to work and it does have an extra large trunk for plenty of storage.
And the Civic is awesome for singles without kids yet. Even my daughter said it would be a lot of work getting in and out of the cramped backseat.
However, after looking at the CRV, Accord, and Civic, we were ready for the main event.
The Honda Odyssey
At the first dealership we visited (we wound up going to two on two different days) they did not have the 2018 Odyssey in stock because they keep selling out. They sold one the week before and wouldn’t get another few in until the following week.
The sales rep said if we wanted to order a specific trim, model, and options, it can take up to 2 to 3 months. We did look at the 2017 Odyssey and it was nice and very large inside. It had plenty of options on how to configure the rows and seats.
The Odyssey does have arm rests in the second row. Plus the center console can be removed if you want the space. Otherwise, the console has three cup holders, a flat space for a tablet or phone, and storage space.
The Honda Odyssey Specs
Pricewise, the sales guy said the 2018 Odyssey closely matches the price of the 2017 Pilot. He also said the Pilot and Odyssey are basically the same length on the outside. The Odyssey is maybe an inch longer than the Pilot. But the way the seats are configured on the inside, the Odyssey allows much more cargo area. Including, a deep well near the tailgate, which looks perfect for a few bags of groceries.
The deep well is possible because the Odyssey sits much lower to the ground than the Pilot. Because of that, the Odyssey does feel like you’re driving a car, albeit a very large and very long car. The test drive on the Pilot felt very different, because you are riding up high and the windshield and windows provide a better panoramic view.
The Honda Pilot
The 2017 Pilot initially looked smaller on the inside than what I was hoping. At the first Honda dealerships we went to, I did not feel wowed sitting in the driver’s seat. Maybe I built it up too much in my head? But actually seeing it in person, I kept thinking, this is kind of small in here.
The cargo area, with the third row up, is tiny. You could get groceries back there but not much else. With the third row down, it is bigger, higher and deeper than the CRV by a few inches. But it’s nothing compared to the deep well in the Odyssey, which sits much lower to the ground.
As for second row captain’s chairs, that’s only on the Elite, which is a direct contrast with the Odyssey base model.
2018 Honda Pilot vs Odyssey
At the second dealership I test drove the Pilot, which made a world of difference on how I felt about it. I had just finished test driving the Odyssey, and driving the Pilot was a world of difference. You sit up much higher, you get a commanding view. With the dashboard lit up, the wow factor started to creep in. Plus, after I saw how the navigation system worked (I was testing the Touring model) and how everything synched with my phone I was becoming more and more sold.
Android Auto worked seamlessly and I was immediately listening to my favorite artists through Spotify. When my phone was displayed on the car’s screen, it showed the album art in the background. I thought that was a very nice touch. Also during the test drive I noticed that when I turned on my right turn blinker, the side mirror camera would turn on. I could get a great view of the right lane without having to look behind me or check the mirror. I still did anyway… it’s tough to break 30 years of driving habits.
Overall, the 2017 Pilot Touring with 20 inch alloy wheels drove like butter. The wheel turned effortlessly and it felt like the SUV was just gliding along the road. With all the windows rolled up, I could barely hear any outside noise. With the windows down, we all got a great breeze.
The Big Differences
One of the biggest differences between the Honda Pilot vs Odyssey, besides the rear and side cameras, was that the Pilot does not have a gear select. Instead, you push a button for Park another for Drive. And to place it in Reverse, you slide a button backwards. All of the buttons are in a row in the center. The emergency brake is still a pedal on the floor. Which leaves room for a gigantic center console with a rollaway cover.
Inside, the storage is deep. On the outside, the cover has a grippy rubber that you would think would stop your phone from sliding around, but it didn’t really. Instead, I placed my phone on another non-slip space near where you can plug it into the vehicle.
When I placed my phone there, it stayed in place. Both of my kids immediately noticed the sunshades that can roll up and down to cover the back windows. They were both ecstatic that the back windows rolled all the way down, too. In both the Pilot and the Odyssey, my daughter was able to pull the seats up and down with almost no problem. She just wasn’t pulling the cord far enough but once she figured that out, it was easy.
Both the Odyssey and the Pilot had a rear entertainment DVD system. Which, also includes a radio and the kids can also plug in their iPods, iPads, and even gaming systems. The Pilot had a removable remote and also comes with two sets of wireless headphones.
As for color, both kids are now set on wanting a bright white car (Diamond White) and they cheered a little when the sales guy said the next Odyssey’s they are getting will be white.
When it comes down to it, our main deciding factor between the Honda Pilot vs Odyssey is that we want a vehicle for simple things like dropping the kids off at school, running errands like the grocery store and Costco, and for our yearly camping and road trips. This was the crux of the 2018 Honda Pilot vs Odyssey situation.
We thought about our experience from the Honda dealerships and decided on the following. The Odyssey wins hands down on versatility and cargo space. The Pilot won on drivability and also has a coolness factor to it. Plus, the Pilot still does have plenty of cargo space for tents and sleeping bags, but we can always have crossbars added to the roof for an extra cargo carrier for the long hauls.
Over to You
Of course I still need my wife’s approval so who knows what will happen with our next family car. All I know is that it will be a tough decision between the Honda Pilot vs Odyssey. Which one would you choose between the 2018 Honda Pilot vs Odyssey? Have you test drove both? Any feedback you can share to make my decision easier?