After an earlier preview back in September this year, Honda has now officially launched the facelifted Odyssey in Japan. Still in its fifth generation, this is the second refresh for the MPV after the first one that came about in 2017.

In terms of styling changes, the Odyssey cuts a more imposing look, with a more upright front end and flatter bonnet than before. The new face also sees a clearer separation of the upper and lower intakes, with chromed horizontal slats to highlight the former.

Redesigned “jewel eye” headlamps accompany these changes, with a thick chrome bar that extends into the clusters, while the lower apron has LED strips that are better integrated with the surrounding trim rather than being isolated items. These result in a wider “mouth” that are joined by well-defined creases at the corners of the bumpers.

Along the side, it’s the same Odyssey that we currently know, but the rear receives new taillights with a less rakish design, along with revised lighting graphics. A thin chrome strip laid across the width of the tailgate splits the clusters slightly, mimicking what is seen at the front – both have sequential turn signals.

Inside, the Odyssey gets a new dashboard design with slim passenger-side and centre air vents, while decorative trim is placed above them to not only provide a more upmarket feel, but also to hide an additional storage cubby underneath. Other changes include a seven-inch display in the instrument cluster, which is an upgrade from the previous 3.5-inch unit, and a large 10-inch touchscreen head unit.

As before, the Odyssey continues to offer seating for up to eight people, with available sliding captain’s chairs on the second row, while the third-row seats can be removed to allow for more storage. There’s also no shortage of places to store things and drinks – there’s a new a retractable drink holder on the driver’s side – along with a variety of ways to configure the seats.

To further improve everyday usability, one of the Odyssey’s new features is the ability to open the powered sliding doors via a gesture instead of pushing a button or pulling a handle. According to Honda, a blue light guide is illuminated on the door as you approach the vehicle, and you simply need to wave your hand over it to get the door to open.

There’s also something called “reserve lock,” where users can set the MPV to lock itself after the sliding doors or tailgate is closed. Certain grades also come with hands-free access for the power-operated tailgate, so a swipe of the foot under the rear bumper is all that’s needed to get it to open.

The kit list also sees an improvement to the Honda Sensing suite, which now comes with false start suppression when reversing. The suite is standard on all grades, and includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, traffic sign recognition and lead vehicle departure alert.

For Japan, the Odyssey gets two powertrain options, with the first being the familiar K24W 2.4 litre four-cylinder that serves up 175 PS (173 hp) at 6,200 rpm and 225 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. The mill is paired to a CVT, with front- and all-wheel drive available.

The second option is an Intelligent Multi Mode Drive (i-MMD) hybrid system – dubbed e:HEV – which is also used for the StepWGN. The system consists of a 2.0 litre Atkinson cycle four-pot with 145 PS (143 hp) and 175 Nm that acts as a generator for a lithium-ion battery.

Said battery is used to power a front-mounted electric motor rated at 184 PS (181 hp) and 315 Nm, which provides drive for most driving situations. However, the engine can provide direct drive at higher speeds, using a lock-up clutch and a single-speed transmission, as it is more efficient than an electric motor at those speeds.

Pricing for the new Odyssey in Japan starts from 3.495 million yen (RM139,208) and goes all the way up to 3.9294 million yen (RM156,515) for petrol-only grades. As for the e:HEV-equipped grades, they range from 4.198 million yen (RM167,214) to 4.58 million yen (RM182,429).