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Updated Nov. 13, 2023

Older Honda Odyssey Overview, Reliability, Possible Maintenance Problems, Overall Pros And Cons

Related: How To Get The Lowest Price On A "Brand New" Honda Odyssey

While historically high new and used car prices have forced buyers to look for "older" vehicles that may have aged well as a way of saving money, the issues of reliability and dependability have become even more crucial.

2013 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite

And the Honda Odyssey has certainly aged well and has earned above-average reliability ratings across all model years. An older, low-mileage, well-maintained Odyssey may very well fit the bill in today's market.

And a properly cared for Odyssey can last around 300,000 miles, with a cutoff point being around 250,000 because that is when it is more likely to experience more serious malfunctions and expensive issues.

But the essential ingredient is, besides it being a Honda, is the "properly cared for" part. Without that, all bets are off.

So here, we'll review the features of several older Odyssey generations, as well as possible mechanical issues to be on the lookout for because even Hondas can experience them, and the overall pros and cons worth consideration.

But first, and very importantly ...

Things To Do When Considering An "Older" Vehicle

Locate Lower Mileage Vehicles: They are certainly out there to be found with careful and patient shopping. Be willing to drive a distance if you have to.

Vehicle History and Maintenance: Ask for the vehicle history report (CarFax or AutoCheck) as well as documented maintenance and repair records. If not provided by the Dealer or private seller, it's usually best to move on.

Pre-Purchase Inspection: Have the vehicle independently inspected before making a final decision. This usually will cost in the $150-$200 range but is well worth it given the potentially thousands in savings over the long term.

Older Honda Odyssey Overview

The Honda Odyssey has established itself as a favorite among minivan buyers nearly since inception. With its spacious seven passenger cabin and first-of-its-kind hide-away third row seat, it's quite arguably the best minivan available.

This is because it is also an outstanding handling vehicle with a powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine that is also smooth and quiet. Toss in it's proven and hard-to-match reliability record and there's lots to like about this minivan.

You've got roominess and comfort, sporty driving dynamics, innovative family-friendly design and durability. It's just hard to go wrong with an Odyssey.

Honda Odyssey Fourth Generation

The Odyssey was totally redesigned for 2011 and this version was produced through the 2017 model year. Improvements included a more spacious interior, a sleeker design, improved fuel efficiency and new available features such as a chilled storage box and a rear entertainment system with a high-definition display and surround-sound.

2011 Honda Odyssey

This Odyssey was once again a top choice in the minivan segment (along with the very well regarded Toyota Sienna). Other appealing qualities include its good fuel economy, easy to fold third-row, conveniently configurable second-row and impressively quiet interior.

In addition, a revised suspension provides a smoother ride while still preserving the Odyssey's better than average overall handling. The top-trim Touring model also came with a new 6-speed automatic transmission which provides both quicker acceleration as well as improved gas mileage performance.

Trims, Standard Features And Options:

This version was available in five trims: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring and Touring Elite.

Standard features on the already fairly well-equipped base LX include power windows, power mirrors, power doorlocks, 17-inch steel wheels, a power driver seat, cruise control, keyless entry, air conditioning, automatic headlights, a 60/40-split-folding third-row seat, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel and a 5-speaker audio system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.

The Odyssey EX then adds power-sliding side doors, tri-zone automatic climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, a removable front center console, a multifunction second-row seat, a conversation mirror, heated outside mirrors, retractable second-row sunshades and an upgraded 7-speaker audio system with 2GB of digital music storage.

Moving up to the Odyssey EX-L adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power liftgate, a chilled storage box, a sunroof, a power front passenger seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, satellite radio, Bluetooth and a USB audio input. Optional features for the EX-L include either a voice-operated navigation system and a rearview camera or a rear entertainment system and a 115-volt AC household-style power outlet. This is a one or the other pick as they can't come together on the EX-L.

Added standard features on the top-of-the-line Touring and Touring Elite models include both the navigation system and rear entertainment system, 18-inch alloy wheels, driver memory functions, front and rear parking sensors, retractable third-row sunshades, foglights and a fold-down armrest for the third-row.

2011 Honda Odyssey dashboard

And the new Touring Elite model also includes an upgraded rear entertainment system with a 16-inch HD widescreen, a blind spot warning system, xenon headlights and a 650-watt 12-speaker surround-sound system.

Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:

Powering the front-wheel drive Honda Odyssey is a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 248 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission in the LX, EX and EX-L models, while the Touring and Touring Elite models are equipped with a new 6-speed automatic.

The EPA-estimated gas mileage for 5-speed automatic models stands at a respectable 18 mpg city and 27 mpg on the highway. The 6-speed models get a gas mileage boost to 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.


Standard safety features across all of these Odysseys include electronic traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes (ABS) with brake assist, front side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags for all three rows and active front head restraints.


The most noticeable redesign changes were made inside. While this Odyssey's cabin remains attractive and well-built with comfortable and supportive seating, its now roomier interior provides a 4-inch wider second-row seat that can actually accommodate three children's car seats side by side. Plus, the center section can slide forward 5.5 inches (not on the LX) for easier access from the front seat.

2011 Honda Odyssey interior

Comfort has also been added to the third-row seat area thanks to an additional 1.1 inches of legroom. The rear seat folding mechanism has also be revised to make for still easier folding into the deep well just inside the rear liftgate. And by removing the second-row seats, the total cargo capacity is a very generous 148 cubic feet.

Also added were several innovative and useful items, including a "cool box" for beverages built into the bottom of the dash's center section as well as a removable center console with a convenient flip-up trash bag holder.


Most drivers will likely be satisfied with the Odyssey's overall performance thanks to its capable engine and responsive handling. Performance is enhanced still further in the Touring models thanks to the smooth and quick shifting 6-speed automatic transmission.

This Odyssey's reworked body structure, which is both more rigid and lighter, along with a retuned suspension, provides a well-balanced combination of comfortable ride quality and confident road manners. Braking ability has also been improved via larger brake discs. And also particularly noticeable is just how quiet this version is, every bit as quiet as a luxury sedan.

2011-2017 Honda Odyssey Possible Mechanical Problems

While considered very much above-average in terms of reliability, all vehicles have possible issues that could occur. It's important to note that the following information is based on general trends and user reports, and individual experiences may vary.

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Some of the potential mechanical problems reported for this older Odyssey version, which should always be checked before purchase, include:

Transmission Issues: Some owners reported problems with the automatic transmission, including rough shifting and hesitation. In response to these concerns, Honda issued technical service bulletins (TSBs) and extended warranties for certain transmission-related issues.

Power Steering Pump Noise: There were reports of power steering pump noise or whining in some vehicles.

Engine Mounts: A few owners reported issues with engine mounts, leading to increased vibrations or noises. Engine mount replacements were sometimes necessary to address these problems.

Sliding Door Issues: Some users experienced problems with the power sliding doors, including issues with sensors, latches, or motors.

Air Conditioning Problems: A few owners reported problems with the air conditioning system, including issues with the compressor and condenser.

It's important to keep in mind that not every vehicle will experience these problems. Previous owner maintenance and driving habits can also impact an individual vehicle's reliability.

Honda Odyssey Third Generation

Honda Odyssey Minivan (2008)

Produced from 2005 through 2010, this third generation consisted of four trims: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring.

The LX is the base model but still comes well-equipped, featuring full power accessories, cruise control, side curtain airbags, stability control and a CD player.

Additional features of the EX include eight-passenger seating, power-sliding doors, alloy wheels, a power driver seat, a six-disc CD changer, in-floor storage with a "lazy Susan" and sunshades in the second-row.

The Odyssey EX-L version then adds leather upholstery, heated seats and a sunroof.

Lastly, the top-of-the-line Odyssey Touring model adds a a driver memory seat, a power tailgate, triple-zone climate control, an AC power outlet, power-adjustable pedals, parking sensors, a second-row removable center console, fog lights, run-flat tires and a tire-pressure monitoring system. Navigation and a rear entertainment system are options on both the EX-L and Touring trims.

Honda Odyssey Minivan (2005)

Powering this generation is a smooth and capable 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 244 horsepower and is coupled with a five-speed automatic transmission. In addition, the EX-L and Touring models come with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM), which shuts down three cylinders when cruising and decelerating for better fuel efficiency.

There were only modest changes during this run, including a minor exterior design update and new convenience features in 2008, as well as the introduction of a standard power liftgate for the EX-L and integrated Bluetooth as part of the optional navigation system in 2009.

2005-2010 Honda Odyssey Possible Mechanical Problems

Once again, this third generation of the model was generally proven to be an above-average vehicle for reliability. However, like any vehicle, it was not without its reported issues. Here are some of the possible mechanical problems or concerns associated with this Odyssey version which should be checked before purchase:

Transmission Issues: Some owners reported problems with the automatic transmission, including harsh shifting or premature failure. Honda extended warranties and issued technical service bulletins to address certain transmission-related issues.

Power Steering Pump Noise: Similar to the next generation above, some of these Odyssey owners reported noise or whining from the power steering pump. This could be related to the pump itself or the power steering fluid.

Engine Mounts: Engine mount issues, leading to increased vibrations or noises, were reported by a few owners. Replacing the engine mounts was sometimes necessary to resolve these problems.

Sliding Door Problems: Power sliding door issues, such as sensor malfunctions or problems with the latches and motors, were reported by some owners.

Air Conditioning Troubles: A few owners experienced problems with the air conditioning system, including issues with the compressor and condenser.

Again, it's essential to remember that individual experiences may vary, and many owners of these Odysseys have very positive experiences with mostly routine maintenance requirements. Routine maintenance and addressing any issues promptly can contribute to the overall reliability and longevity of the vehicle.

Honda Odyssey Second Generation

Now harder to find with lower-mileage, the second generation Odyssey was produced for the 1999 through 2004 model years. Under its hood is a 3.5-liter V6 that initially produced 210 horsepower, but was later increased to 204 horsepower for the 2002-2004 models. Older used Odyssey shoppers should also note that the transmission was a four-speed automatic through 2001, switching to a five-speed automatic in 2002.

2002 Honda Odyssey EX Minivan

It was this Odyssey that added the dual sliding rear doors, replacing the previous generation's swinging doors, while still having the innovative trick fold-flat third-row seat that was introduced in the first generation. And always safety conscious, antilock brakes (ABS) were a standard feature through this run, while rear disc brakes and side curtain airbags became standard for the 2002 model year.

There were two available trims at this time: LX and EX. Standard features on the LX include full power accessories, cruise control, air conditioning, a tilt steering wheel and an AM/FM/CD stereo replacing the tape deck of the earlier models.

The Odyssey EX added power-sliding rear doors, automatic climate control, alloy wheels, traction control (the LX got this in 2001) and a multifunction steering wheel. Used EX models can also be found with optional items such as navigation (became available in 2000), leather upholstery and a rear-seat entertainment system (on 2002 and newer models).

2008 Honda Odyssey interior

These minivans were also considered the leader in its class due to its roominess, powerful V6 engine and very competent all-independent suspension.

1999-2004 Honda Odyssey Possible Mechanical Problems

Similar to the next generations above, the occasional mechanical problems associated with this Odyssey were very much like the later models and included:

Transmission Issues: Transmission problems, including premature failure and shifting issues, have been reported by some owners. It's important to note that Honda has faced some criticism for automatic transmission problems in certain models during this era. Regular maintenance, such as fluid changes, may have helped mitigate these issues.

Sliding Door Problems: Power sliding door issues, such as sensor malfunctions or problems with the latches and motors, have been reported.

Power Steering Pump Noise: Some owners have reported noise or whining from the power steering pump.

Engine Mounts: Engine mount problems, leading to increased vibrations or noises, have been reported.

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Air Conditioning Concerns: Problems with the air conditioning system, including issues with the compressor or refrigerant leaks, have been reported in some cases.

Oxygen Sensor Failures: Some owners have experienced failures of oxygen sensors, which can affect engine performance and fuel efficiency.

Older Honda Odyssey Pros And Cons

Older Honda Odyssey Pros

Reliability: Honda has a reputation for building reliable vehicles, and many older Odysseys have proven to be durable with proper maintenance.

Versatility: The Odyssey is a minivan, providing spacious and versatile interiors, making it suitable for families or those who need ample cargo space.

Fuel Efficiency: Compared to some larger SUVs or vans, the Odyssey typically offers reasonable fuel efficiency for its size and capacity.

Resale Value: Historically, Honda vehicles tend to retain their resale value well. This can be beneficial if you plan to sell or trade in the vehicle in the future.

Safety Features: Even in older models, Honda often included safety features, such as airbags and antilock brakes, making them relatively safe options.

Older Honda Odyssey Cons

Transmission Issues (Early 2000s Models): Some older Odysseys, particularly those from the early 2000s, were known for automatic transmission problems. Regular maintenance, including timely transmission fluid changes, may have helped mitigate this issue.

Aging Technology: As with any older vehicle, the technology, including infotainment systems and safety features, may be outdated compared to more recent models.

Potential for Rust: Depending on the region and climate, older vehicles, including the Odyssey, may be prone to rust.

Limited Advanced Features: Older models may lack some of the advanced features found in newer vehicles, such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) or modern connectivity options.

Fuel Efficiency Compared to Modern Standards: While the Odyssey might have been fuel-efficient for its time, newer models and technologies may offer better fuel efficiency.

Also, Always Know The Value Of Your Trade-In!

Whether you are trading or selling on your own, it's just a good idea ... even whether you are in the market or not at the moment. You can then use this important information for a number of purposes ... to negotiate with a dealer, or to know how to price your car in the retail market, or simply to know the value of one of your assets, which is always a good idea.

Getting trade-in values online tend to vary a lot from site to site. But I've found the one at Edmunds Trade-In Quotes is particularly comprehensive and accurate. It's free, it's quick and there's no contact by any third parties. I think what helps its accuracy is the inputs will include either your plate# or VIN#. They really focus in on the specific vehicle.

Lastly, Suggestions For Getting The Lowest Odyssey Price

First of all, here's a Lowest Price Used Car Buying Guide that details a very effective method.

Here's another method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.

In addition, you can also try the Public Car Auctions in your own geographic area. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them.

And for those of you who might be interested in a "brand new" Odyssey if the price was crazy good, here's info on exactly How To Get The Best Price On A New Car. This works just phenomenally well.

And checkout our Facebook page for more tips, car news and fun.

Other Older Models Of Possible Interest:
2013 Honda Odyssey
2010 Honda Odyssey
2011 Honda CR-V
2012 Honda Civic
Older Used Toyota Sienna
Older Used Honda Pilot
Older Used Lexus RX 330
Other Older Hondas
Older Used Kia Sedona
Older Honda Ridgeline
2011 Honda Pilot
2011 Honda CR-V