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Honda’s new 2018 Odyssey answers ‘Are we there yet?’ so you don’t have to

Honda has unveiled its all-new 2018 Odyssey minivan at the Detroit Auto Show. The fifth-generation model receives a more modern look, several drivetrain improvements, and more kid-friendly tech features.

The Odyssey’s overall silhouette doesn’t change drastically, but its front end has been completely redesigned. Like the new CR-V, it gets a wide chromed grille that stretches into a pair of sharp-looking headlights. Blacked-out D-pillars creates the illusion of a floating roof, while the back end is characterized by large, wedge-shaped tail lamps. A thin strip of chrome trim on the belt line elegantly reduces the Odyssey’s visual mass.

Honda’s Magic Seat technology lets users configure the interior in a variety of different ways, depending on whether they’re hauling infants, teenagers, adults, or cargo. Notably, the second-row seats slide sideways for easy access to the third row, and they can slide forward if they needed to be within reach of the front passengers.

The Odyssey is equipped with Honda’s next-generation infotainment system. The software is displayed on an 8-inch touchscreen on the dashboard, but Honda has brought back the volume knob by popular demand. A new function named Social Play List allows up to eight passengers to upload their favorite songs to the audio system using their smartphones, turning the van into jukebox for the entire family.

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Honda has developed several solutions for motorists with unruly kids. With CabinWatch, parents can monitor the second- and third-row passengers day and night by using a small camera that feeds footage to the console-mounted screen. CabinTalk lets parents talk to the rear passengers either through the speakers, or through headphones connected to the Odyssey’s rear-seat entertainment system. Parents whose kids listen to music on a smartphone or an MP3 player will need to wait until the Odyssey comes with a megaphone.

Kids riding in the back benefit from a fully connected rear-seat entertainment system displayed on a ceiling-mounted, 10.2-inch screen. The software provides access to PBS Kids, iHeart Radio, and Spotify, among other programs. There is even a new application named “how much farther?” that finally gives a precise, real-time answer to the question “are we there yet?”.

Under the Odyssey’s hood is a 3.5-liter, direct-injected V6 engine rated at 280 horsepower. A nine-speed automatic transmission comes standard on base and midrange models, while more upscale trim levels benefit from Honda’s 10-speed automatic unit. Honda expects the Odyssey will return best-in-class fuel economy, but official figures haven’t been announced yet.

Built in Alabama, the 2018 Honda Odyssey will go on sale in the coming months. Pricing information hasn’t been released yet.