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Confirmed: 2021 Honda Odyssey facelift to take on new Kia Carnival, LDV G10 Wagon and Toyota Granvia in Australia

While only the front fascia, tail-lights and dash are the obvious changes, they're enough to distinguish new Odyssey from old.

Good news for people-mover buyers, bad news for the upcoming all-new Kia Carnival as well as the LDV G10 Wagon.

Honda has confirmed that the Odyssey will continue to be sold in Australia for the foreseeable future, ending months of speculation that the evergreen people-mover series might be facing the chop.

While a company spokesperson declined to reveal when we will see the facelifted version released in Japan back in September, it is probable that a first-quarter local launch is likely, given that the current Odyssey is now being promoted as officially in runout phase on the brand’s website.

“There are no plans to discontinue the Odyssey in Australia,” according to Honda Australia acting public relations manager Justin Lacy. “It remains an important part of the Honda line-up in this country.”

Reports out of Japan have suggested that the Odyssey has been struggling in recent times, and that this facelift may be the last-ditch effort to reverse waning interest in the series. Interestingly, Australia is one of the few places outside of the domestic home market where the three-row wagon is sold.

The changes to the MY21 Odyssey run deeper than the usual Honda makeover, with a completely different front clip featuring a squared-off silhouette and reshaped lights, grille and bumper. The wheels, tail-lights and tailgate have also been changed.

Inside, an all-new upper dashboard section is fitted, and includes a large separate multimedia screen in place of the previously integrated unit, restyled instrument dials, an altered steering wheel and revised trim and materials. Some sound-deadening measures have been introduced to quieten things down.

Swipe-actuated gesture control now comes to the Odyssey’s power-operated sliding side doors, via LED light sensors located near the opener. The operator can use their elbow as well as hand to activate this, as long as it is within 30mm and 50mm of the door respectively.

Powertrain options are likely to remain the same as before, meaning a 2.4-litre twin-cam four-cylinder petrol engine, driving the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT auto). In local guise, it currently delivers 129kW of power at 6200rpm and 225Nm at 4000rpm, and can average 7.6L/100km.

In Japan, a 107kW/175Nm 2.0-litre petrol-electric hybrid version known as the e-HEV is also offered, though that’s not likely to land in Australia any time soon. Its electric motor produces 135kW and 315Nm, and helps it achieve under 5.0L/100km, making it an intriguing eco option.

Whether Honda Australia elects to offer the MY21 model in carryover base VTi and highly specified VTi-L grades isn’t as yet known.

The existing, fifth-generation Odyssey has been on the Australian market for nearly seven years, surfacing during 2014, and underwent a series of minor changes in late 2017. These were led by a number of safety upgrades, including the Honda Sensing suite of driver-assist technologies, like autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, road departure mitigation and adaptive cruise control. Small exterior titivations were also carried out at the time.

The sub-$60,000 people-mover market is in the doldrums right now, down a sizeable 42.5 per cent compared to the same time last year, and representing just 0.8 per cent of all new-vehicle sales in Australia up to the end of November. This fall is well ahead of the 16.1 per cent average decline for the entire industry this year.

Of the 6300 units overall, the Carnival leads with a commanding 56 per cent share (3531 sales), followed by the Odyssey at 15.7 per cent (989 sales) and the G10 Wagon with a 10 per cent slice (632 sales). Note that Honda’s spokesperson told CarsGuide that the Odyssey has traditionally led in the private sector.

Toyota, meanwhile, has shifted just 253 Granvias in 2020, and although that’s in the $60k-plus people-mover sector, it must be a worry for the Japanese giant, since that’s well behind the Mercedes-Benz V-Class’ 369 and related Valente’s 188 tallies, putting the Three-Pointed Star brand firmly in the number-one position.

More information on exactly what the MY21 Odyssey will bring to the table will be revealed in the coming weeks, so please stay tuned.