The Best & Worst Years of Honda Odyssey

The Honda Odyssey is a popular minivan that’s been around since the 1996 model year. It’s built by the Japanese automaker, Honda. While it’s known as one of the more reliable minivans, there have been some models that are riddled with defects. Before buying a used model, you want to know the best and worst years of Honda Odyssey minivans. 

We cover the best model years based on reports from owners. We also look at the worst Odyssey models and discuss what problems can be found. At the end of this guide, you’ll find some answers to questions that have been bothering you. 

The Best Honda Odyssey Model Years

The best Honda Odyssey model years do everything right and make driving more enjoyable. We found the 1997 and 2017 Odyssey models to be among the best. We also recommend the 2007, 2013 and 2021 Honda Odyssey years. 

Let’s evaluate the rankings closer.

1997 Honda Odyssey

1997 Honda Odyssey is one of the best models

It may seem odd to place such an old model at the top of our list, but this is among the most reliable. It has a proven track record of lasting far beyond 250,000 miles when it’s properly taken care of. Plus, you can find a great deal on a used model at this point.

These Odyssey minivans are smaller than the ones you are used to today, but they still offer plenty of performance. With the 140-horsepower engine and four-speed transmission, it can still run circles around some other used minivans. 

2017 Honda Odyssey

There were numerous problems occurring before the 2017 model was released, but this one seems to fix it all. While they are still on the newer side, these minivans are projected to rack up more than 250,000 miles without any serious concern. 

With a high safety rating and minimal complaints, it’s worth spending more on this model. The gas mileage is also better than some of the older versions, helping you save money at the pump. 

2007 Honda Odyssey

For the 2007 model year, Honda redesigned the transmission. The five-speed came from the Ridgeline truck and it was extremely dependable. 

Automotive publications recognized how valuable this model was, so it won many awards. It holds a spot as Car and Driver’s 5 Best, as well as earning the titles Best Car for the Money, Best Car Overall and Best Car for Families from U.S. News & World Report. 

2013 Honda Odyssey

The 2013 Odyssey is part of the fourth generation and it provides a great balance of value and features. It contains many of the same features as newer models, putting it on par with a more expensive van.

Not only does it have some high-tech equipment, it is also extremely dependable. Minus a few minor braking complaints, this one is sure to please the masses. 

2021 Honda Odyssey

2021 Honda Odyssey

The 2019 and 2020 models seem to struggle with some mechanical issues, but the 2021 Odyssey does everything much better. Honda worked hard to fix issues and present a reliable minivan this year.

On top of that, this Odyssey is a Top Safety Pick+, which is the highest designation issued by the IIHS. Considering this is a family vehicle, that’s an important point. 

The Worst Honda Odyssey Model Years

While many Odyssey models can be classified above, there are some that have serious defects. Based on our research, you don’t want to own a 2018 or 2014 Honda Odyssey. You may also choose to stay away from the 2002, 2010 and 2004 Honda Odyssey models.

What makes these so bad? Let’s take a look.

1. 2018 Honda Odyssey 

2018 Honda Odyssey - a model to avoid

In recent history, the 2018 Odyssey has been the worst. It perfectly fits the description of being a lemon and has consumers in an uproar. It’s a stark difference from the 2017 model, which is listed above. 

What’s most alarming is the recall that says the power sliding doors can open while driving. Honda had to replace the cables, which froze during cold weather, leaving some people locked out of the running minivan when temperatures dipped too low. Aside from that, there are also complaints about the infotainment center and parasitic drains on the battery. Class-action lawsuits were formed to get owners compensation. 

2. 2014 Honda Odyssey

The list of defects seems never-ending with the 2014 Odyssey models. It suffers from unsecured sliding seats in the second row. There are also malfunctioning side curtain airbags that can encourage further injuries during an accident. 

A quarter of the NHTSA complaints are also related to the braking system. When applying the brakes at highway speeds, there’s a strong vibration felt because of warped rotors. If that’s not enough, the six-speed automatic transmission can lead to hesitation while pulling out or a surging engine. 

3. 2002 Honda Odyssey

While you may be able to secure an unbeatable deal on the 2002 Odyssey, you should avoid the temptation. The transmission is faulty, leading to numerous drivability concerns. In fact, there may not even be that many of these on the road today because the transmission was prone to going out. 

Another huge concern is the defective airbags. If you are to get into an accident, there’s no guarantee that the airbags are going to deploy.

4. 2010 Honda Odyssey

2010 Honda Odyssey - one of the worst years

While the recalls might take a dip for the 2010 Odyssey model year, there are still serious complaints to be aware of. Engine problems seem to top the list, creating expensive repair bills.

Yet, there’s also an issue of the paint peeling and chipping. Even though this model is more than a decade old, the paint shouldn’t look as bad as it does on most minivans. 

5. 2004 Honda Odyssey

The final model to avoid is the 2004 Odyssey. It continues to rack up serious complaints about the airbags, with many failing to deploy. 

There are also serious engine and transmission problems. At this point, repair costs could easily exceed the value of the minivan, making it only good for the junkyard. 

Most Common Honda Odyssey Problems

The Honda Odyssey has suffered from some major problems over the years, from the power sliding door opening on its own and faulty brakes. There are also reports of transmission troubles and interior malfunctions.

Based on data from customer reviews and RepairPal, here are some details. 

Power Sliding Door Malfunction

car door not closed properly

There have been recalls for the power sliding door across many model years. Not only were there recalls because the sliding door would open up on its own while driving, but also issues where the door couldn’t be opened at all during colder temperatures.

At the same time, customers complained about the power windows not working. It seemed that whatever could go wrong with doors and windows did. 

Faulty Brakes

Faulty Brakes on Honda Odyssey

Several models also dealt with warped brake rotors. This issue led to serious vibrations when pushing on the brake pedal.

In addition, some owners were unable to stop the vehicle when trying to brake. In a few instances, the brake pedal needed to be pumped before it would catch and work.

Faulty Transmissions

Transmission repairs are common on Honda Odyssey

Honda has been known for making reliable vehicles, but there are some Odyssey models that suffered from catastrophic transmission issues. In fact, class-action lawsuits were filed for some models with the nine-speed automatic transmission.

It appears that owners would struggle with rough shifting and delayed acceleration. What’s worse is that even on the newer models, the transmission would go out, requiring an expensive replacement

Interior Malfunctions

Honda interior

While not always a safety issue, the list of interior malfunctions grows longer and longer. Many of these are nuisances, but when stacked on top of the mechanical problems, it just becomes too much for owners. 

Some of the complaints include a lack of comfort because of hard seats and headrests that can’t be adjusted. There’s also the issue of interior electrical malfunctions, whether they are with the radio system or various displays. 

What year is the most reliable Honda Odyssey?

Based on consumer reviews, recalls, and other online data sources, the best Odyssey models to drive are 1997 and 2017. However, the 2007, 2013 and 2021 Honda Odyssey also have great reviews and lack major mechanical issues, making them top choices as well.

What years to avoid for a Honda Odyssey?

Whether the power sliding door is an issue or the warped brake rotors, several Honda Odyssey models should not be driven. We recommend staying away from the 2018, 2014, 2010, 2004 and 2002 Odyssey models until you can perform your own research into the complaints.

Is Honda Odyssey safer than Toyota Sienna?

The newest Honda Odyssey is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ but does score poorly in one crash test. In comparison, the Toyota Sienna is also a Top Safety Pick+ but has better crash test ratings. Both minivans are designed for families, so it’s clear that the automakers put effort into making them safe.

What is considered high mileage for a Honda Odyssey?

The reliable Honda Odyssey models could easily rack up 300,000 miles on the odometer as long as they are well-maintained and cared for. With the models that have significant mechanical issues, it wouldn’t matter how much maintenance is performed; it’s unlikely that these minivans will see 200,000 miles before ending up in the junkyard.

Finding the best Honda Odyssey model for your family doesn’t need to be difficult if you are willing to do a little research. By looking at what other customers think and evaluating the mechanical defects from every year, you can find a model that won’t be in the repair shop every week.

When buying a used minivan, it’s also important to consider the service history. If it wasn’t well taken care of, it wouldn’t matter how much maintenance you put into it now. The damage may already be done and you could be wasting your money. 


Categories: General

Related Posts