After ending right-hand drive production of its Odyssey people mover just over a year ago, Honda has done an about-face.

    Honda in Japan has confirmed it will return the Odyssey to its line-up there, just in time for the 30th anniversary of the nameplate. We’ve contacted Honda Australia to confirm if there are any plans to return the model here, too.

    The company ended Japanese production of the Odyssey at the end of 2021, but it continued in China where it’s produced by both the GAC Honda and Dongfeng Honda joint ventures. It’s also sold there as the Elysion.

    Best Car Web reports new Japanese-market Odysseys will be sourced from China.

    Honda has only detailed a single variant, the e:HEV Absolute EX Black Edition, ahead of a Japanese-market launch this winter (our summer).

    This variant features heated and power-adjustable first- and second-row seats, the latter with armrests, as well as leather upholstery, a second-row table, tri-zone climate control, hands-free power tailgate, and a wireless phone charger.

    An 11.4-inch touchscreen running the Honda Connect infotainment system is available.

    The Honda Sensing suite of active safety and driver assist features also gains a “short-distance collision mitigation brake”, automatic high-beam, and sudden acceleration suppression.

    These join adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, traffic sign recognition, and Honda’s LaneWatch blind-spot monitoring system.

    The Odyssey also gets smoked rear tail lights and tweaked front-end styling.

    Odyssey e:HEV models use a 2.0-litre Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine and two electric motors, for a total system output of 158kW and claimed WLTC fuel consumption of 6.17L/100km.

    Honda offers a wide range of Odyssey and Elysion models in China, including an Elite Edition with a partition separating the first and second rows.

    The current, fifth generation of Odyssey has been on sale since 2013. It was retired early in 2022 as Honda Australia cleared out remaining stock following the closure of the Sayama, Japan plant where it was built.

    “The reality is, we were disappointed that the Odyssey was discontinued globally. It’s a car that’s been a very, very successful for us over a long period of time – number one private [people mover], all that sort of stuff,” said then-director of Honda Australia, Stephen Collins.

    “We don’t have anything on the radar currently in terms of sourcing a US-style, bigger seven-seater SUV.

    “So in the immediate future the role will be filled by CR-V seven-seat variants, and beyond that we’ll keep looking for opportunities where we can bring something, but there’s nothing on the roadmap at the moment.”

    The discontinuation was particularly disappointing considering the Odyssey had only just received an attractive facelift for 2021.

    Honda doesn’t offer the three-row Pilot and Acura MDX crossovers in right-hand drive, therefore ruling out these US-based models for markets like Japan and Australia.

    The Pilot is produced alongside the larger North American Odyssey, which is also a left-hand drive-only vehicle.

    The Odyssey had become Australia’s second best-selling people mover behind the Kia Carnival, though the gulf in sales was wide. Honda did, however, claim its MPV was more popular with private buyers.

    Honda sold 1143 Odysseys in 2021 against 5862 examples of the Carnival.

    The Odyssey nameplate was first introduced to the Australian market in 1995, and all subsequent generations have made the trip Down Under since.

    MORE: Everything Honda Odyssey

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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