2016: A Cheaper Odyssey (The 2016 Honda Odyssey SE)

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Honda Odyssey
The 2016 Honda Odyssey.
Minivans have become expensive.  At least in fully tricked-out form.  The last time we drove a Honda Odyssey, it was the 2014 Touring Elite model.  Base price $44,450.  With destination and handling charges, a shade over $45,000.  A 2016 Touring Elite stickers at $44,750.

But what if you could get an Odyssey with some of the more popular options for about eleven grand less?

Rear 3/4 view of 2016 Honda Odyssey
2016 Honda Odyssey.
This year, you can.  It's the Honda Odyssey SE.  Take a one-step-up-from base EX model (base price $32,425), which gets you smart entry, 17-inch alloy wheels, second-row sunshades, Honda LaneWatch, a tri-zone climate control system, a multi-functional second-row seat, a 270-watt audio system with seven speakers and a subwoofer and an audio touchscreen and then add a DVD rear entertainment system with 9-inch display and wireless headsets, a 115-volt power outlet and the brilliant HondaVac (a built-in vacuum no kid hauler should be without but that no kid hauler except the Odyssey offers).

Interior view of 2016 Honda Odyssey
2016 Honda Odyssey interior.
Going with the SE boosts the price over an EX by $2,000, but Honda immediately discounts the price by $1,050, so you're actually only paying $33,375.  It drives the same as the full-boat Touring Elite (actually, it's a bit faster and more nimble because it weighs less), gets the same EPA-estimated 19 mpg city/28 highway as the Touring Elite (in real-life driving, we saw an extra mpg or two over the Touring Elite...again, likely the weight difference)...and you keep $11,000 in your bank account.

Sure, you give up leather everything, auto-dimming mirrors, lane departure warning, a refrigerated center console, lumbar support, third-row sunshades, a further upgrade to 18-inch wheels, blind spot detection, and an audio upgrade to a 650-watt surround sound system with HD Radio, but if you're looking for a comfortable family hauler that will keep the kiddies entertained, the Odyssey SE is all you need.  And the 11 grand savings will keep the gas tank full for something north of four years if you drive 250 miles a week.

Don't get us wrong...the Touring Elite rocks.  But kudos to Honda for bringing one of the best minivans on earth to market with the most desirable options at a down-to-earth price with the SE.