2020 Honda Odyssey facelift previewed for Japan – e:HEV hybrid, gesture control powered sliding doors

Honda has released preliminary information for the upcoming Odyssey facelift, which is set to go on sale in Japan this autumn. This will be the second facelift for the minivan, which is currently in its fifth generation, with the first one being in 2017.

It should be noted that the Odyssey we get here is based on the Japanese version, and differs from the one designed specifically for the North American market that also got a refresh this year.

One of the more interesting 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.

In terms of design changes, the Odyssey’s previous vertical-style grille has been replaced with a hexagonal-shaped unit with four slats. The new nose is highlighted by a thick chrome bar at the top, with defined creases lines on the bonnet drawn towards it.

Also new are the reshaped headlamps, which sports a “jewel eye” look reminiscent of the Civic and Accord. Meanwhile, the lower intake has also been enlarged to make contact with two LED strips, forming a wider “mouth” that is framed by more defined creases at the corners of the bumper. There are likely more changes to the bodywork, but these are the only ones visible based on the sole image of the exterior provided so far.

Moving inside, the Odyssey gets an entirely new upper dashboard design, with slim air vents seen in the middle and on the passenger side, but curiously not for the driver. Other notable revisions include a 10-inch touchscreen head unit, a new instrument cluster and a new steering wheel design similar to what you’ll find in the latest City.

The company wasn’t specific on what powertrains will be offered, but has said that the i-MMD system, otherwise known as e:HEV, will be available. The e:HEV system operates differently from traditional hybrids in that the petrol engine acts more like a generator to charge an electric battery, which in turn powers an electric motor.

Only at higher speeds does the internal combustion engine get linked directly to the wheels, which is accomplished by way of a single-speed transmission and a lock-up clutch. This system comes in different configurations and is already found in the Jazz and will debut on the Malaysian-spec City.

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