2019 Volkswagen Atlas vs. 2019 Honda Odyssey

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Atlas has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Odyssey doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Atlas SEL/SEL Premium has standard Maneuver Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Odyssey doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Atlas offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Odyssey doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Atlas SEL Premium has a standard Overhead View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Odyssey only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Atlas and the Odyssey 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 and available lane departure warning systems.

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

 

Atlas

Odyssey

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

138

247

Chest Compression

.7 inches

.7 inches

Neck Compression

46 lbs.

63 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

156/231 lbs.

324/302 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 Volkswagen Atlas is safer than the Honda Odyssey:

 

Atlas

Odyssey

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

57

66

Chest Movement

.5 inches

.5 inches

Abdominal Force

48 G’s

83 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

70 G’s

Hip Force

527 lbs.

709 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

279

369

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

Warranty

The Atlas comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck. The Odyssey’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 3 years and 36,000 miles sooner.

The Atlas’ corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the Odyssey’s (10 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

The Volkswagen Atlas’ engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Odyssey’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Atlas’ engine. A rubber belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Odyssey’s camshafts. If the Odyssey’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

Fuel Economy and Range

Regardless of its engine, the Atlas’ engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Honda only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Odyssey Touring/Elite.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Atlas’ front brake rotors are larger than those on the Odyssey:

 

Atlas

Odyssey

Front Rotors

13.2 inches

12.6 inches

The Atlas’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Odyssey are solid, not vented.

The Atlas stops much shorter than the Odyssey:

 

Atlas

Odyssey

 

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Atlas has larger standard tires than the Odyssey (245/60R18 vs. 235/60R18). The Atlas SEL Premium’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Odyssey (265/45R21 vs. 235/60R18).

The Atlas SEL Premium’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Odyssey Elite’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Atlas SEL Premium offers optional 21-inch wheels. The Odyssey’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The Atlas has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Odyssey doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Atlas’ drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Odyssey doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For better maneuverability, the Atlas’ turning circle is 1.5 feet tighter than the Odyssey’s (38.1 feet vs. 39.6 feet).

Chassis

The Atlas is 4.9 inches shorter than the Odyssey, making the Atlas easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Atlas has .6 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more front legroom and .9 inches more rear headroom than the Odyssey.

Cargo Capacity

The Atlas’ available rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Odyssey doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the Honda Odyssey is limited to 3500 pounds. The Atlas offers up to a 5000 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The Atlas uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Odyssey uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the Atlas and the Odyssey have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Atlas is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Odyssey prevents the driver from operating the rear windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Atlas’ front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Odyssey’s standard rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The Atlas’ rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Odyssey’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Odyssey doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Atlas has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Odyssey has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the EX/EX-L/Touring/Elite.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Atlas offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Odyssey doesn’t offer cornering lights.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium has standard extendable sun visors. The Odyssey doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Atlas’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Honda only offers heated mirrors on the Odyssey EX/EX-L/Touring/Elite.

Both the Atlas and the Odyssey offer available heated front seats. The Atlas SEL Premium also has standard heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the Odyssey.

The Atlas SEL Premium’s Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Odyssey doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Atlas owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Atlas with a number “5” insurance rate while the Odyssey is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Atlas is less expensive to operate than the Odyssey because typical repairs cost less on the Atlas than the Odyssey, including $25 less for a fuel pump.

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

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