5 Best And Worst Years For The Honda Odyssey

Learn what year model of Honda Odyssey is the most popular and reliable through my guide

Even though not Honda’s most popular product, the Honda Odyssey has many loyal customers, some of whom even say it is the best minivan ever made.

And judging by the fact that it has constantly been in production since 1995 and has had five generations, they might not be wrong.

However, there have been pits and crests throughout the 27 years of Honda Odyssey’s history.

Here I will list down the best and worst years for Honda Odyssey, starting with the bad ones.

Worst Years for Honda Odyssey:

  1. 1999
  2. 2002
  3. 2004
  4. 2005
  5. 2014

Best Years for Honda Odyssey:

  1. 1995
  2. 2016
  3. 2017
  4. 2018
  5. 2021

So, without any further wait, let’s jump into details of these years and why they belong to the category in which they are labeled.

What Are The Worst Years For The Honda Odyssey? Which Years To Avoid

Even though the Honda Odyssey is one of the top minivans of all time, numerous bad models have come out, each with a variety of issues that affected this car.

1. 1999 Honda Odyssey

The second generation of Honda Odyssey would not be remembered fondly. It was riddled with a lot of problems. The 1999 model kick started this generation.

Even though the engine’s performance was significantly improved with a new five-speed transmission and 3.5-liter engine, it did not come without faults.

Numerous transmission issues were reported, especially after the minivan had crossed 100,000 miles.

The main fault caused by transmission failure was rough shifting in the gears. Repairs that were needed cost about $3000 to $4000.

Other than this, there were issues with the airbag, as it sometimes did not properly inflate, or more accurately, underinflated.

This later caused the car to even be recalled in 2020. Minor issues like easily eroding paint, traction control warning light malfunction, etc., were also present.

2. 2002 Honda Odyssey

Honda Odyssey sales dropped to an all-time low this year. Mainly this was caused by the lingering transmission failures that Honda took very little effort in addressing.

A new fault of rattling and squeaking noises while shifting gears was introduced in this 2002 Honda Odyssey model.

All problems of the previous models remained, including the airbag inflator, which still did not properly inflate after all these years.

In some cases, the transmission failed when the minivan crossed 10,000 miles. Fixing the transmission was also expensive, at an average of $3100.

One major issue placing this model on the haywire is the abnormally high chance of exploding in case of an accident. That is a big red flag for any vehicle.

3. 2004 Honda Odyssey

As in previous years, transmission issues remained. Even after all this time, Honda did not fix this problem remains a mystery, although there were some improvements in this model.

Transmission fluid leaks were a new thing added, with them being just too high not to notice.

A slightly better thing for this model was that the complaints about this 2004 Honda odyssey were reported after it crossed an average of 117,000 miles.

However, a not negligible part of the customer base reported complete transmission failure when the Odyssey crossed 130,000 miles.

A model built to last at least 200,000 miles is very concerning and indicative of the transmission’s poor quality.

There were some other minor faults, mainly rapidly peeling paint that cost up to $1600 to fix and broken window regulators.

Because of all this, this model of the Honda Odyssey was given a 1 out of 5 scores for its reliability by Consumer Reports.

4. 2005 Honda Odyssey

According to CarComplaints.com, the 2005 Honda Odyssey model registered the highest number of complaints of all the Honda Odyssey series.

The most-reported problem was air conditioning, easily broken by road debris.

After the minivan had completed 40,000 miles, this issue became more prominent, as reported by customers.

As always, transmission failures lurked around. They started as early as when the car completed 86,000 miles.

The most common fix was replacing the transmission system, which cost a whopping $4500.

Symptoms of transmission issues were gear shifting into neutral while driving and transmission shutters at about 35 to 45 miles per hour.

Among other major issues was also the problem of spark plug blowouts. In some cases, spark plugs got dismantled and hit the engine bay, causing several dents to the car’s body.

Not only was this a serious issue that could lead to accidents, but repairs were also very expensive.

5. 2014 Honda Odyssey

This is widely regarded as one of the worst models- if not the worst model of the Honda Odyssey series.

So much so that numerous of this model’s cars were recalled for its various issues.

Some of these issues were unsecured seating, braking failures, and of course, the age-old faulty transmission systems.

The second-row seats were the target of the majority of the complaints. Their main problem was that they failed to properly latch in a secure manner.

Braking was a major player in the complaints reported accounting for nearly 25% of the NHTSA complaints of the 2014 Honda Odyssey.

The top reported complaint in this was that drivers of this model of the minivan reported feeling a vibration when applying the brakes at inclines or at high speeds.

What Are The Best Years For The Honda Odyssey? Which Years To Buy

Do not let the bad years fool you. There have been many great models in the Honda Odyssey series, starting all the way from its first generation.

1. 1995 Honda Odyssey

The very first year for Honda Odyssey. Its debut model made quite the impact. Even though it had quite some problems, it made great sales and to this day has received very few complaints.

Transmission issues were in the Odyssey series since the beginning, ass evident by their presence here in the very first model.

However, it was not that bothersome back then, and neither were the transmission problems as serious as in the later models.

Mainly this model of the Honda Odyssey has the fact that it is extremely reliable and cheap.

It can be bought nowadays for as low as $2000. If it has been well-maintained, it is a sturdy vehicle even after 20 years.

2. 2016 Honda Odyssey

One of the first models of the Honda Odyssey that fixed the majority of the problems this series had.

It has a 4 out of 5 reliability rating according to Consumer Reports, compared to scores as low as 1 for some previous models of this minivan.

If you want to buy a budget vehicle with a powerful engine, good reliability, and a high owner satisfaction rate, look no further than this minivan.

It has a powerful engine, V6 that can produce 248 horsepower.

This 2016 model of the Honda Odyssey experienced the fewest transmission problems of any Odyssey series minivan that had come out till it.

Of the few complaints regarding this vehicle, the majority of them are regarding minor issues like CEL problems, etc.

3. 2017 Honda Odyssey

An unprecedented miracle happened this time around for the Honda Odyssey minivan; there were exactly zero transmission issues reported.

It took them a while, but Honda finally resolved this problem.

Not only that, but this model came with a significantly increased life expectancy, as it is rated to last up to at least 250,000 miles without any major problems.

And with regular maintenance, 300,000 miles can be expected to be crossed easily without any big hiccups.

Gas mileage also drastically shot up. With the improved transmission along with the latest engine, that was to be expected. Mileage on the highway was around 28.

4. 2018 Honda Odyssey

The Odyssey series made a huge comeback in 2016, as evident by the fact that three years straight models are on the best years list.

Not everything was perfect, though. This 2018 year model was not as good as the previous 2017 one. Transmission issues reared their ugly heads again.

Some of the cars were recalled because they had crossed 250,000 miles.

That was due to a combination of transmission problems and a wire in the third row that would spark and cause a fire in the back seat.

It has a pretty good gas mileage average, at around 23.

This is great for long trips, made even better by the comfortable seating, especially its rear seats. An all in all great vehicle to buy for a family.

5. 2021 Honda Odyssey

Safety became a top priority here. The IIHS awarded this 2021 model of the Honda Odyssey a Top Safety Pick+.

Furthermore, it also gave this model a ‘Superior’ ranking. Many factors contribute to this, including the latest LATCH child seat system.

After fixing the transmission, issues bought back in the 2018 and 2019 models of the minivan that the 2017 model had put a halt to, the 2021 model is making a major comeback for the series.

There have not been any major complaints and issues reported.

It has standard LED headlights; however, they provide a bright illumination that drivers deemed acceptable, which was also a breakthrough for the Honda Odyssey series.

How Reliable Is A Honda Odyssey?

Overall, the entire series is pretty reliable. The first generation of these minivans was some of the most reliable minivans of all time.

Then the ones in the second and third generations did not live up to that standard.

However, since 2016, there has been resurgence, both for the minivan series itself and its reliability reputation.

How Long Do Honda Odysseys Last?

For the longest time, transmission issues really limited the time span in which these vehicles could be used. Some of them could not even go past 100,000 miles.

However, since 2016 this has improved, especially in the 2017 model, which could last up to 300,000 miles with just some regular maintenance.

What To Do To Lengthen The Life Of Your Honda Odyssey

If proper care is not taken, you will not enjoy more than a decade’s time with your Honda Odyssey.

Thus, here I am listing some things you can do to increase the lifespan of this car:

  • The oil change needs to be done ideally every 5000 miles the vehicle is run. This is done so that the performance of the engine stays at its maximum.
  • Only if the engine is healthy can you expect to have a vehicle with a long life.
  • Similar to the oil change, tires need to be changed and/or rotated every about 5000 miles. Unless tires are not changed, the vehicle will not fully live out its life.
  • In order to not let dust and debris collect on the engine, the air filter needs to be changed.
  • This is typically done every 15,000 miles to 30,000 miles or once every year or two.

Lastly, you need to take care of the minivan’s battery to improve its life.

Tips for doing this are; park in the shed or the garage away from the influence of direct weather, clean it from time to time, and replace the battery with a new one that is of the highest quality and not put off this change.

Things That Shorten The Lifespan Of Your Honda Odyssey

Many habits and things can drastically reduce the lifespan of your Honda Odyssey.

Some of those are going to be listed down below:

  • This minivan needs to be checked up either by Honda’s mechanic and workshop or on your own. And that is not enough, as these checkups need to be done at regular intervals, as specified by the manufacturer, who in this case is Honda.
  • You might think about putting some cheaper fuel in the car for cost-cutting, but that’s just a bad idea.
  • Cheap fuel will ruin the working of your vehicle’s engine very quickly by clogging up the pistons etc., and this will affect the engine negatively, hampering its performance and causing its life expectancy to go down.
  • Spare parts of the highest quality need to be used.
  • Otherwise, you would just be wasting money buying parts that would just eventually end up shortening the lifespan of your vehicle.

You need to avoid all of these things, and with a combination of the tips given to lengthen the life of the minivan, you are almost certain to spend maximum time with your Honda Odyssey.

3 Most Honda Odyssey Common Problems You Should Know

There are numerous issues with the Honda Odyssey, but there are a few that have haunted this series since its inception 25 years ago.

Let’s take a look at a few such problems:

1. Transmission Issues

Having plagued the Honda Odyssey series since its debut, this is undoubtedly the biggest problem this series has faced.

It was so bad that it caused a class-action lawsuit filed against Honda in 2019. Drivers faced problems like rough shifting, losing complete power suddenly, and much more.

2. Braking Issues

Many owners reported this problem across various models of the Honda Odyssey series.

It only worked if the brakes were fully pumped. That is not only faulty, but a risk to human life as it can directly lead to an accident.

3. Windows And Sliding Door Issues

Owners complained that the windows would not fully close.

This is problematic as there could be harsh weather outside that the driver and passengers would want to avoid. Sliding doors were hard to operate due to their sticking door seals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Is Honda Odyssey A Good Car?

Overall, the Honda Odyssey minivan series has proven reliable. Even after a lot of bad years, they have maintained an above-average reputation for their reliability.

There are some models to look for, like the 2014 one, but other than that, this minivan is a great buy, especially if you are looking for a used vehicle that is both reliable and cheap.

Q2: Do Honda Odysseys Hold Their Value?

The Honda Odyssey does not retain its value like other Honda vehicles. But still, it does not drop heavily.

A Honda Odyssey’s value depreciates about 27% after five years, meaning you can still sell the minivan at 73% of its current price after five years.

Q3: How Many Honda Odysseys Have Been Sold?

This has been one of the best minivans ever. So, its sales figures come hardly as a surprise. Since 2005, the Honda Odyssey has sold about 2.1 million units in the United States alone.

Q4: Which Honda Odyssey Engine Is The Most Reliable?

Its 3.5L V6 engine is the most reliable. It produces 280 horsepower and is really fuel-efficient.

This engine provides brisk acceleration, towing capacity, and passing power. The V6 is also a direct-injected engine with Variable Cylinder Management.

Q5: Is Honda Odyssey Expensive To Maintain?

Yes, it is, as the Odyssey requires $7379 for maintenance and repairs during its first ten years of service.

This is higher than the industry average for minivans by $1952. Also, there is a 21.58% chance you might need to get a major repair done on your Honda Odyssey during this time.


Honda (and us) have had a roller-coaster ride with the Odyssey series. It suffered major setbacks as lawsuits and vehicle recall.

But despite that, it still ended up being one of the most popular minivans of all time. In fact, it can even be credited with revitalizing the minivan market all by itself.

The best and worst years for Honda Odyssey are such that the good years are really good while the bad years are just riddled with loads of problems.

But even then, the worst years are considered a smart choice to buy as a family vehicle in the used automobile market. That just goes to show the popularity of the Odyssey.



Written by Kane Dan

Learn why Toyota Tundra is one of the most popular trucks and find the pros and cons of that vehicle

5 Best And Worst Years For The Toyota Tundra

Wondering if old Toyota Highlanders are reliable or not? Read my in-depth guide to learn about this topic

5 Best & Worst Years For The Toyota Highlander