‘Minnie Van’: Redesigned Alabama-built Odyssey makes memorable debut

‘Minnie Van’: Redesigned Alabama-built Odyssey makes memorable debut
The "Minnie Van" version of the new 2018 Honda Odyssey made a splash, but the vehicle under the mouse ears and polka dots is getting plenty of attention all on its own. (Honda)

The latest transformation of the Alabama-made Honda Odyssey is turning heads. The redesigned 2018 edition of the top-selling minivan hit dealer lots this summer and is already earning high marks from reviewers for its performance, technology and other new and improved features.

The fifth-generation 2018 Honda Odyssey, made at the automaker’s Alabama plant, is hitting dealer showrooms. (Honda)

Adding to the buzz, Honda also teamed up with Disney-ABC to create a pink and white polka dot version of the vehicle complete with mouse ears and a big bow, and appropriately dubbed the Minnie Van.

The one-of-a-kind, display-only model was on display at a Disney fan expo in July, and it was part of a campaign to introduce the 2018 Odyssey to families across the U.S.

The automaker was proud to partner with Disney-ABC and “be inspired by the style of the most fashionable gal around – Minnie Mouse,” said Susie Rossick, assistant vice president of Honda Marketing.

“The all-new Odyssey was developed for modern families offering high-tech features, flexible seating and new styling, all aimed at keeping everyone in the family happy,” she said.

Alabama lineup

Honda’s redesigned 2018 Odyssey got help from Minnie Mouse as part of a launch promotion. (Honda)

The Odyssey is a key part of the lineup at the automaker’s $2.2 billion, 4,500-worker Talladega County plant, which also produces Honda’s Pilot SUV and Ridgeline pickup, as well as the Acura MDX and the engines that power all four vehicles.

The Odyssey was the first vehicle the company built in Alabama, with the first one rolling off the assembly line in November 2001. Since then, more than 2.3 million have followed.

Honda unveiled the 2018 redesign – the Odyssey’s fifth generation – at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit early this year.

The new Odyssey’s styling is low and wide, with improved aerodynamics and a more sharply sculpted body, and it’s powered by a new 3.5-liter direct-injected V6 engine.

There’s a full slate of new and updated family-friendly features aimed at functionality and connectivity, including:

  • Magic Slide seats, which move front-to-back and side-to-side, improving access to seating.
  • The CabinWatch system that allow parents to get a bird’s eye view of the second and third row seats through a ceiling-mounted camera, day or night.
  • CabinTalk technology, which acts as an in-car PA system so mom and dad can directly connect with the kids.
  • The CabinControl app that allows passengers to control the rear entertainment system, audio, heating and AC from their smartphones.
  • In-car 4G LTE Wi-Fi.
  • A “How Much Farther?” app that lets kids track their journey’s progress.

Forbes called the redesigned Odyssey the “carpooler’s dream machine,” while Kelley Blue Book declared it “the best family car in the world.” 

Motor Trend said the Alabama-made 2018 Odyssey is the horse to bet on in a competition among the top minivans.

“…(W)hen it comes down to which of these vans rides, drives and handles the best, the Odyssey stands out. When it comes to thoughtful, family-friendly features, the Odyssey stands out. When it comes to comfort and connectivity, the Odyssey stands out,” the reviewer says.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

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