2019 Honda Odyssey vs. 2019 Volkswagen Atlas

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Odyssey has a standard Whiplash Mitigation Front Seat Design, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Mitigation Front Seat Design system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Atlas doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the Odyssey and the Atlas have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, front and rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Honda Odyssey is safer than the Volkswagen Atlas:

 

Odyssey

Atlas

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

176

232

Neck Injury Risk

27%

34%

Neck Stress

184 lbs.

441 lbs.

Neck Compression

18 lbs.

51 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

95/82 lbs.

33/218 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Compression

.7 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk

32%

33%

Neck Stress

101 lbs.

180 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Honda Odyssey is safer than the Volkswagen Atlas:

 

Odyssey

Atlas

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.5 inches

.5 inches

Hip Force

321 lbs.

345 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

125

144

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

14 inches

Spine Acceleration

41 G’s

51 G’s

Hip Force

472 lbs.

800 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Odyssey the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 62 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Atlas was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

The Odyssey comes with free roadside assistance for 3 years 36,000 miles. Honda will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Atlas.

There are over 60 percent more Honda dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Odyssey’s warranty.

Reliability

The engine in the Odyssey has a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the Atlas have dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Honda vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 23rd in initial quality. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Honda 1 place higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

The Odyssey’s 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 45 more horsepower (280 vs. 235) and 4 lbs.-ft. more torque (262 vs. 258) than the Atlas’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The Odyssey’s 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 4 more horsepower (280 vs. 276) than the Atlas’ optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Honda Odyssey is faster than the Volkswagen Atlas V6:

 

Odyssey

Atlas

Zero to 30 MPH

2.6 sec

2.9 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.6 sec

7.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

17 sec

20.2 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.6 sec

8.2 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.5 sec

3.9 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.1 sec

5.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.2 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

95 MPH

89 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Odyssey 9-speed Auto gets better fuel mileage than the Atlas FWD V6 (19 city/28 hwy vs. 17 city/24 hwy).

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Odyssey’s fuel efficiency. The Atlas doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Honda Odyssey uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Atlas requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Odyssey has almost a gallon more fuel capacity than the Atlas (19.5 vs. 18.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The Odyssey has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Atlas doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A 10-speed automatic is included on the Honda Odyssey Touring/Elite, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Atlas.

Brakes and Stopping

The Odyssey stops much shorter than the Atlas:

 

Odyssey

Atlas

 

60 to 0 MPH

127 feet

139 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The Odyssey has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Atlas doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Odyssey has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Atlas’ suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Odyssey has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Odyssey flat and controlled during cornering. The Atlas’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

Chassis

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Odyssey has an electronically controlled liquid-filled main engine mount. A computer-controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The Atlas uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

The front grille of the Odyssey uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Atlas doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Odyssey uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Atlas doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Odyssey offers optional seating for 8 passengers; the Atlas can only carry 7.

The Odyssey has 9.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Atlas (163.6 vs. 153.7).

The Odyssey has .4 inches more front hip room, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, 3.3 inches more rear legroom, 6.8 inches more rear hip room, .8 inches more rear shoulder room, 4.4 inches more third row legroom, 3.3 inches more third row hip room and 5.1 inches more third row shoulder room than the Atlas.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Odyssey’s middle and third row seats recline. The Atlas’ third row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The Odyssey’s cargo area provides more volume than the Atlas.

 

Odyssey

Atlas

Behind Third Seat

32.8 cubic feet

20.6 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

88.8 cubic feet

55.5 cubic feet

Max Cargo Volume

144.9 cubic feet

96.8 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Odyssey easier. The Odyssey’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 22.5 inches, while the Atlas’ liftover is 29.7 inches.

The Odyssey’s cargo area is larger than the Atlas’ in almost every dimension:

 

Odyssey

Atlas

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

25”/56”/91”

23.8”/53”/85”

Max Width

50”

61.6”

Min Width

48”

45”

Height

54”

37.5”

The Odyssey has a standard One-Motion Magic Seat third row seat, which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The Atlas doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

Towing

The Odyssey’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Atlas’ (3000 vs. 2000 pounds).

Ergonomics

The Odyssey EX-L/Touring/Elite’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Atlas doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

If the windows are left open on the Odyssey the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Atlas can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Odyssey has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Atlas only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Odyssey’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Atlas’ headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

The Odyssey Touring/Elite has a standard center folding armrest for the third row rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Atlas doesn’t offer a third row rear seat center armrest.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Odyssey owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Odyssey will cost $1125 to $3565 less than the Atlas over a five-year period.

The Odyssey will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Odyssey will retain 53.06% to 56.62% of its original price after five years, while the Atlas only retains 50.52% to 52.72%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Odyssey is less expensive to operate than the Atlas because it costs $540 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Odyssey than the Atlas, including $283 less for a water pump, $264 less for a muffler, $64 less for front brake pads, $171 less for a starter, $313 less for fuel injection, $334 less for front struts, $1031 less for a timing belt/chain and $611 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Honda Odyssey will be $1584 to $6452 less than for the Volkswagen Atlas.

Recommendations

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Honda Odyssey, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.

The Honda Odyssey outsold the Volkswagen Atlas by 78% during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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