Is the Honda Odyssey AWD? [Other Systems Help Keep It Stable]

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  • Post last modified:May 28, 2020

Is the Honda Odyssey Awd? [Other Systems Help Keep It Stable]Completely revamped in 2018, today’s Odyssey is a top-ranking minivan. Odyssey’s imposing exterior demands attention. Beneath the hood, a powerful 3.5L V6 engine awaits, now with 9-speed and 10-speed transmission options. Inside, the Odyssey is brimming with technologically advanced safety features and modern comforts. With many available options, you might be wondering if the Honda Odyssey is AWD. We took a close look at the Odyssey to find the answer.

The Honda Odyssey is 2WD and does not have an AWD version. Honda added traction control as a standard feature on the second-generation (1999-2005) Odyssey EX. For the third-generation (2005-2008) Odyssey, Honda included electronic stability control as a standard feature. The all-new, fifth-generation Odyssey now features an Intelligent Traction Management System with Snow Mode on EX, Touring, and Elite models. 

It is no surprise that automotive experts agree, the Odyssey is the best handling minivan on the market. Throughout Odyssey’s history, Honda has continually improved the powertrain and traction control features. Keep reading to learn more about the Odyssey’s performance.

Is the 2018 Odyssey AWD?

Since the Odyssey’s 1995 debut, this minivan has been available only as a two-wheel drive (2-WD), front-wheel drive (FWD) vehicle.The 2018 Odyssey is propelled by front-wheel drive. Honda packs 280-horsepower into the Odyssey with a 3.5L V6 engine paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission or 10-speed automatic transmission on Touring and Elite. Capable of 262 lb-ft of torque, the Odyssey accelerates with ease.

Does 2020 Honda Odyssey have AWD?

The 2020 Odyssey is propelled by front-wheel drive. Equipped with Honda’s 3.5L V6 engine paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, the 2020 Odyssey produces 280-horsepower. Capable of 262 lb-ft of torque, the 2020 Odyssey really picks up the pace.

How Does Honda’s Intelligent Traction Management System Work?

The Intelligent Traction Management system lets Odyssey drivers stay in control by maximizing traction and stability as surface conditions change. Drivers simply engage either Normal Mode or Snow Mode by pressing a button. Once engaged, Honda’s Drive-by-Wire technology enables the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system and the transmission to work together to provide optimal power for surface conditions. The system will default to Normal Mode during restart.

What are the Benefits of Front-Wheel Drive?

Front-wheel drive systems have simple engineering with the entire drivetrain (engine, transmission, differential, drive wheels) located in the front of the vehicle. Simplistic systems cost less to manufacture, making them readily available on numerous vehicles, and require less maintenance than more complex systems.

Vehicles equipped with front-wheel drive tend to weigh less, meaning your vehicle will achieve higher gas mileage compared to vehicles equipped with all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive systems. The Honda Odyssey has an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 22 mpg combined (19 mpg city/28 mpg highway).

Front-wheel drive vehicles typically have good traction because the distribution of weight is primarily over the front axle. Drivers and passengers will experience a smooth ride with precise handling and enhanced acceleration.

What are the Disadvantages of Front-Wheel Drive?

Front-wheel drive systems can put excessive wear on front tires. Front tires wear quickly because they are doing all the vehicle’s acceleration, steering, and most of the vehicle’s braking with the added weight of the drivetrain over the front wheels. Front-wheel drive systems tend to wear out more quickly compared to rear-wheel drive systems.

Driving a front-wheel-drive vehicle you might experience torque steer. Because power is sometimes unevenly distributed between the front two wheels, the vehicle can pull slightly to one side or the other during acceleration. Front-wheel drive vehicles also have a large turning radius.

Is the Honda Odyssey Good in the Snow?

Front-wheel drive vehicles, like the Honda Odyssey, generally perform well in the snow. Because the weight of the vehicle’s engine sits atop the front axle, front-wheel drive vehicles have better weight distribution and better traction during slippery conditions. The Honda Odyssey is also equipped with Snow Mode to enhance traction control.

During cold weather, you can improve the Odyssey’s performance by swapping the standard, all-weather tires for winter tires. Winter tires or ‘snow tires’ have special tread designs made with a rubber compound that stays soft in freezing temperatures. On snow or ice, winter tires grip to give the Odyssey better acceleration, braking, and steering capability. Remember when driving during inclement weather to stay alert, slow down, and keep extra distance between other vehicles.

What is Snow Mode in a Honda Odyssey?

Snow Mode is one of two available driving modes of Honda’s Intelligent Traction Management system. On the Odyssey, the driver engages Snow Mode by pressing a button. Snow Mode recalibrates the minivan’s traction to help drivers confidently navigate slippery surface conditions like snow or ice.

What is the Honda Odyssey’s Safety Rating?

Honda’s 2018, 2019, and 2020 Odyssey models received Top Safety Pick among all minivans by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Odyssey was the only minivan to achieve the IIHS’s highest rating of ‘GOOD’ for exceptional results during the Small Overlap Front Crash Test and testing of Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH).

The Odyssey received an Overall 5-Star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This safety rating is based on the function of the vehicle’s injury protection systems during the front, rear, driver-side, and passenger-side crash testing.

Can I Tow with the Honda Odyssey?

The Honda Odyssey has a powerful towing capacity and can be equipped with a dealer-installed towing package (Class III hitch, towing kit, and wiring harness). Odyssey’s Touring and Elite trim packages have a 3,500-pound towing capacity. Odyssey’s base model and EX, EX-L, and EX-L RES/Navi trims have a 3,000-pound towing capacity.

In fact, front-wheel drive vehicles are a good choice for a tow vehicle because when hitched to a trailer the weight of both vehicles is evenly balanced. Front-wheel drive vehicles get good traction when towing. The Honda Odyssey can easily tow pop-up campers, teardrop campers, mini-campers, mid-size travel trailers, lightweight utility trailers, ATV’s, and PWC.

What Minivans Have AWD?

Toyota Sienna became the first minivan to offer all-wheel drive with a complete remodel for third-generation models. Since the 2011 unveiling of all-wheel drive, Sienna continues to lead the pack as the only minivan with the AWD feature available on LE, SE, XLE, and Limited trim packages.

Chrysler’s Pacifica could be the next AWD contender on the minivan market. There is information from Automotive News that Chrysler is working on an all-wheel-drive version of Pacifica. Production of the AWD Pacifica is suspected to begin during Q2 of 2020 and could result in a new generation for Chrysler’s Pacifica.

As you can see, the Honda Odyssey is a capable, multi-purpose vehicle. Powerful front-wheel-drive propulsion and numerous safety features make this minivan a top pick among owners and automotive experts alike.

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