Debuting in 1994, the Odyssey has become a popular and well-loved minivan across North America.
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Compact but still spacious enough for kids and cargo, the Odyssey paved the way with many minivan features that are now standard, including folding third-row seats and a center aisle for easy accessibility.
As with all vehicles, though, some Odyssey years were better than others.
For all our research on the best and worst Odyssey models, check out our list compiled below.
The Best And Worst Years For The Honda Odyssey Are:
For an Odyssey with a demonstrated track record for reliability and safety, choose a model from 2013, 2017 or 2021. The top years to avoid for the Odyssey include 2002, 2005, 2006, and 2014.
Each of these saw a spike in consumer complaints, and definitely don’t offer the most bang for your buck.
Check also our article on how long the Honda Odyssey lasts.
What Honda Odyssey Years Are The Most Reliable?
Arriving in the middle of the fourth generation, the 2013 Odyssey is a great pick if you’re not picky about having the latest technology.
In every other respect, the older model is pretty much on par with more recent ones, offering the same engine and similar interior design.
It also includes features such as a back-up display camera and Blind Spot assist, improving maneuverability and safety.
It’s reliability record is also fairly strong for a ten-year-old model, though it does have several complaints relating to the brake system.
If you do decide to invest in a 2013 model, that’s one issue to watch out for – in most other respects, however, you’re guaranteed a safe bet.
By 2017, the Odyssey had come back strong from a series of rough years.
The vehicle’s rating on Edmunds.com was back up to 4.2 out of 5 stars after spending some time in the 3.5 range, as the vehicle settled into its fourth generation.
Drivers point out that the interior design remains unmatched for passenger space and maneuverability, and also highlight details such as the entertainment and sound systems.
The Odyssey also comes out on top as far as drivability, with many favoring it in comparison to the Honda Pilot.
Just like in previous years, the model also maintains its top safety score from the IIHS, along with a 5-star rating from the NHTSA.
It’s also seen only 19 official complaints – a near spotless record for a vehicle more than five years old.
With those stats, the 2017 model is sure to provide all the comfort and reliability that the ideal Odyssey should, without any of the headaches.
The 2021 model is also a great recent pick for the Odyssey, offering some of the latest driver assistance technology and an updated 10-speed transmission.
The model year also saw a slight facelift, receiving new exterior styling and 4-way lumbar seat adjustment.
The one slight downside is it’s low fuel economy, with only about 20 miles to the gallon. Still, for all the space and comfort offered by the minivan, that’s a flaw you may be willing to excuse.
In all other respects, the 2021 model is sure to impress, with:
- superior drivability,
- excellent storage capacity,
- and a luxe-feeling interior.
It’s also seen only 15 NHTSA complaints, and only a single recall.
While the model is still relatively new, those low numbers definitely bode well for it’s long-term reliability.
Overall, the 2021 model does what the Odyssey does best, and manages to avoid many of the mechanical drawbacks.
What Honda Odyssey Years Should You Avoid?
2002 saw a sudden spike in the number of reported complaints for the Odyssey, with many concerning the vehicle’s transmission.
The model received over 600 NHTSA complaints concerning the powertrain alone – more complaints than many other years have received altogether.
Drivers report typical signs of a bad transmission, including difficulty shifting, stalling out, and slipping gears.
The issues could be related to the slight update that the model received that year, which included an increase in horsepower.
Honda did issue a recall regarding the matter, which affected more than 1 million vehicles.
The issue was attributed to build-up in the gearshafts of the automatic transmission, which could lead to the locking up of the gears and failure of the transmission.
The majority of the other ten recalls had to do with the airbag system, which also seemed to experience a higher failure rate than average.
These and other safety concerns put the 2002 Odyssey at the bottom of our list for reliability.
The 2005 model received a whopping 824 official NHTSA complaints, along with 9 recalls.
The complaints covered a wide range, concerning everything from air bag issues to power train defects.
One of the more serious issues had to do with the engine mounts, which consistently showed premature wear.
This sometimes led to loud engine noises and shuddering while driving, and could cost around $1,000 to have fixed.
Other prevalent problems had to do with the steering and braking systems, which would sometimes fail while driving. Reports state that the vehicle would become difficult to steer, or would sometimes power down completely.
The issue often stemmed from underlying problems with the electrical system.
The numerous recalls also covered problems such as:
- leaking fuel pumps,
- steering column malfunctions,
- and potential fuse box issues.
All of the recalled parts posed a significant safety concern, and in some cases affected as many as 900,000 vehicles.
While the majority of 2005 models were still reliable and safe, and the vehicle’s popularity barely flagged, the chances of a running into a problem from this year are just a bit too high, so it’s definitely one to avoid.
The 2006 model was a slight improvement over the 2005 one, though not by much.
It still received nearly 700 complaints, with many having to do again with the engine, powertrain, and steering systems.
The 2006 model also saw a high incidence of paint chipping and flaking – a fairly minor problem in most cases, but one that can lead to rust and corrosion in more severe instances. Paint jobs can also be an expensive fix, running about a $1,200 repair bill on average.
Drivers also reported many instances of malfunctioning sliding doors, with some stating that the rear doors simply fell off the tracks when they were opened.
In other cases, the doors would suddenly open while the vehicle was in motion.
While the vehicle still saw four recalls, they didn’t begin to cover the range of issues experienced by the 2006 Odyssey.
While the number of complaints for the 2014 Odyssey doesn’t come close to those for the other models on our list of years to avoid, it still has one of the worse records of recent years.
The model continued to experience problems with the brakes, engine system, and powertrain.
The incidence of transmission failures spiked once more, though there hasn’t been a recall issued for the problem this time.
In many cases, the transmission issues occurred well below 50,000 miles.
As a result, 2014 also saw a dip in consumer ratings for the Odyssey, as it fell to 3.6 out of 5 stars on Edmunds.com.
With increasing competition and a higher incidence of mechanical failings, the model seemed to be going through a rough patch.
While drivers still praise its:
- safety performance, c
- and convenience,
However, many lament issues with the engineering.
There are definitely other model years that provide the Odyssey’s benefits without the high repair bills.
What Are Some Typical Problems With The Honda Odyssey Models?
We have a full list of problems with the honda Odyssey here.
When things go do wrong with the Odyssey, it tends to be one of these issues:
- Transmission troubles
- Steering system malfunctions
- Flaking and peeling paint
- Engine mount failure
Back to overviews: Best & Worst Years Per Honda Model.
ⓘ The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.