Honda has officially unveiled the fifth-generation Odyssey at the ongoing North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, which has been redesigned by Honda R&D in North America to “keep every member of the family happy, no matter the seating position, no matter the destination.”

We’ll get to those family-friendly features later on, but let’s start with what’s under the bonnet. Pop it open, and you’ll find a direct-injected 3.5 litre i-VTEC V6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management that provides 280 hp, a gain of 32 hp compared to its predecessor.

The previous six-speed automatic transmission has also been replaced with either a ZF-sourced nine-speed auto, or an all-new Honda-developed 10-speed auto. The carmaker has yet to provide any fuel consumption figures but it expects top-in-class EPA fuel economy ratings.

The new powertrain package rests within an updated chassis that features dual-pinion electric power steering (0.44 fewer turns lock-to-lock), more powerful brakes, along with a more compact trailing arm rear suspension (with a stabiliser bar).

In terms of looks, the new Odyssey hasn’t undergone a radical transformation from the car that precedes it. The front-end receives the company’s signature flying wing front grille, flanked by optional LED headlamps.

Below that, the fog lamps now get their own space, while the lower intake has been widened and comes with less chrome. The new face helps to conceal new Active Shutter Grille (as found on the new CR-V) that helps to improve fuel efficiency.

Down the sides, the 44% more rigid body now sports a “floating roof” look with the blacked-out side pillar, and the MPV is more streamlined thanks to the revised “lightning bolt” beltline. More pronounced character lines are also part of the new look, as are the new set of alloys and sliding door tracks hidden in the lower portion of the rear quarter windows.

At the rear, the Odyssey now comes with C-shaped LED-type taillights (a la Civic FC) that are joined by a chrome trim piece. Other notable items include a hands-free power tailgate with foot activation.

2018 Honda Odyssey

Moving inside, the redone cabin gets a new dashboard layout with an 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen infotainment system (with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support) positioned more prominently in the centre, and effectively replaces the double display setup of old.

Honda has almost relocated a majority of the car’s controls to the centre stack, with the car’s triple-zone climate control, gear selector and other switchgear being in a direct line of view for the driver. Speaking of that, the instrument cluster now comes with a 7-inch colour TFT display that is capable of displaying a variety of information (media, driving info, etc.)

With most Odyssey owners in the United States having families with children, Honda has ensured that its new MPV is well equipped to handle the young ones. For instance, there are stain-resistant leather for the first and second row seats and door trims, black carpeting and black seatbelts are designed to conceal stains, as well as a new groove-less lid on the centre console that resists the accumulation of crumbs and debris.

That’s not all as the MPV also comes equipped with CabinWatch, allowing the driver and front passenger to keep tabs on their passengers, young or old. Meanwhile, CabinTalk is the Odyssey’s built-in public address system, allowing you to talk to those in the back without having to keep turning back.

Passengers who download an app will also get to exercise some control via the CabinControl function, allowing them to control the rear entertainment system, rear cabin heat and air conditioning, and send destinations to the navigation system.

To answer the nagging question “are we there yet?” the connected rear entertainment system also includes a “How Much Farther?” app, so passengers can track the family’s trip progress. The 10.2-inch screen also doubles as a telly with PBS Kids, iHeart Radio and Spotify services.

It isn’t an Odyssey if practicality is not one of its unique selling points, and Magic Slide seats offer just that. Found in the second row, they are easily reconfigurable to different modes – Easy Access, Super, Wide and Buddy.

The first sees the removal of the centre seat, allowing the remaining two seats to slide laterally. Should you choose to leave the centre seat in place, it can be slid forwards to allow easy reach for the front seat occupants. Super mode is similar to Easy Access, but is meant to provide maximum access to the third row.

In Wide mode, the centre seat is removed, and the two outboard seats are in their outer most positions, allowing a centre walkway to the rearmost seats, and as Honda puts it: no more “Dad, he’s touching me again!” Buddy mode is as it sounds, and is the opposite of Wide mode, allowing for close proximity of occupants.

To ensure life inside is a tranquil and quiet as possible, the Odyssey gets triple door seals, acoustic front and side glass and increased use of sound deadening materials under the floor, in the engine compartment and under the fenders, along with standard Active Sound Control technology.

Safety-wise, the Honda Sensing suite is here, and includes Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). There’s also the company’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE) body structure and a high airbag count, including new driver and front passenger knee airbags. Impressed?

Keep in mind that the Odyssey referred to here is the model sold in the United States, which differs from the Japanese domestic market (JDM) version. The latter is already in its fifth-generation, and is the same one offered by Honda Malaysia here.