Best & Worst Honda Odyssey Years – An In-Depth Analysis

Are you in the market for a reliable and family-friendly minivan? Look no further than the Honda Odyssey. This iconic nameplate has been a staple in the minivan segment for decades, offering a perfect blend of practicality, comfort, and Honda’s signature reliability. 

However, like any other vehicle, the Odyssey has had its fair share of ups and downs throughout its generational journey. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve deep into the best and worst Honda Odyssey years, arming you with the knowledge to make an informed decision.

Honda Odyssey Generations

The Honda Odyssey has undergone several generational changes since its inception, each iteration bringing newfound advancements and improvements. To better understand the evolution of this minivan, let’s take a closer look at its generations:

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
2nd generation (RL1)2004N/A1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
3rd generation (RL3/RL4)200920082005, 2006, 2007
4th generation (RL5)201220112013, 2015, 2016, 2017
5th generation (RL6)Present20182019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023

Familiarity with these generations is crucial, as it provides valuable context for understanding the best and worst years within each generational cycle.

Honda Odyssey Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

To determine the best and worst Honda Odyssey years, we’ve undertaken an extensive analysis, considering a multitude of factors, including:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer Reports reliability scores
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • VehicleHistory owner ratings
  • owner ratings
Honda Odyssey Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

Following the graph, I have tabulated the categorizations of each Honda Odyssey model year into best, neutral, and worst years for your convenience.

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
2nd generation (RL1)2004N/A1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
3rd generation (RL3/RL4)200920082005, 2006, 2007
4th generation (RL5)201220112013, 2015, 2016, 2017
5th generation (RL6)202120202018, 2019, 2022, 2023

When we mention “Neutral Years”, we’re indicating model years that offer balanced performance, without any remarkable highs or lows.

Some factors, for instance, NHTSA recalls, contribute negatively. A high number of complaints and recalls suggest lower reliability for that model year.

Now, let’s dive into the specifications of Honda Odyssey’s best, neutral, and worst years.

Best & Worst Years for Honda Odyssey 2nd Generation (1999-2004)

The second generation of the Honda Odyssey (RL1) marked a new chapter for this minivan, with a revised look and upgraded features. However, this generation was plagued by several issues, making it a mixed bag for prospective buyers.

The Best Years: 2004

The 2004 Honda Odyssey stands out as the best year in this generation, thanks to its reasonably good reliability and owner satisfaction scores from platforms like Edmunds and Consumer Reports. Under the hood, this model year boasted a 3.5L J35A4 V6 engine, paired with a 5-speed BYBA automatic transmission.

Available in LX, EX, and EX-L trim levels, the 2004 Odyssey offered a range of features, including traction control, anti-lock brakes, and side-curtain airbags. Additionally, it introduced groundbreaking technologies like a DVD-based navigation system and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system – firsts for any Honda vehicle.

The Worst Years: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003

Unfortunately, the 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003 model years are considered the worst Honda Odyssey years in this generation. These models were plagued by a myriad of issues, most notably transmission failures and electrical malfunctions that caused unexpected stalling due to defective ignition switches.

The infamous sliding door issue also reared its ugly head in 1999, with faulty latches causing unexpected openings while the vehicle was in motion. Honda issued two recalls to address these ignition switch malfunctions, highlighting the severity of the problem.

Transmission problems were so widespread that they persisted into the 2000, 2001, and 2002 models, leading Honda to issue a recall in 2002 to address the issue – a recall that also encompassed the 2003 and 2004 model years.

Best & Worst Years for Honda Odyssey 3rd Generation (2005-2010)

Best & Worst Years for Honda Odyssey 3rd Generation (2005-2010)

As Honda entered the third generation of the Odyssey (RL3/RL4) from 2005 to 2010, the automaker aimed to rectify past issues and deliver a more dependable and feature-rich minivan experience. Additionally, consumers often seek guidance on the Best & Worst Honda Civic Years to make informed decisions.

The Best Years: 2009, 2010

The 2009 and 2010 Honda Odyssey models are widely regarded as the best years of this generation, earning excellent ratings from owners on platforms like VehicleHistory and These models benefited from the introduction of a more robust 5-speed transmission sourced from the Honda Ridgeline, further improving transmission reliability.

Higher trim levels offered premium features such as a power tailgate, Bluetooth, navigation systems, and a rearview camera. Safety was also a priority, with features like stability control, anti-lock disc brakes, front-seat side-impact airbags, and full-length side curtain airbags.

In terms of fuel efficiency, the Odyssey showcased impressive figures of around 12 mpg in the city and up to 28 mpg on the highway, making it a competitive choice for family outings.

The Neutral Years: 2008

The 2008 Honda Odyssey falls into the neutral category, serving as a bridge between the best and worst years of this generation. While it did experience some brake problems that were more prevalent in its successors, it also benefited from the technological and safety advancements introduced in this generation.

Powered by the reliable 3.5L J35A6 V6 engine and a 5-speed automatic transmission, the 2008 Odyssey offered a range of trim levels from LX to Touring, catering to various consumer preferences. Features like a sunroof, leather seating, and a back-seat DVD entertainment system were highlights of the higher trims.

However, lingering issues, particularly concerning brakes and the continued (albeit reduced) instances of sliding door malfunctions, prevented the 2008 Odyssey from being classified as one of the best or worst years.

The Worst Years: 2005, 2006, 2007

The 2005, 2006, and 2007 model years are widely regarded as the worst Honda Odyssey years in this generation, primarily due to low owner ratings on platforms like VehicleHistory and various powertrain issues.

The 2005 Honda Odyssey faced transmission slipping, jerky shifting, and hard shifting problems. The sliding door issues that plagued the previous generation also persisted, compounded by recalls related to fuel pumps, brake fluid leakage, and reduced braking performance.

In 2006, owners continued to report transmission and engine issues, along with a significant number of complaints regarding power steering assist loss, particularly at low speeds and during parking maneuvers.

The 2007 Honda Odyssey struggled with a multitude of problems, from increasing brake distances to persistent steering and sliding door issues. The reduced braking performance was of particular concern, leading to another recall from Honda to address the issue.

Best & Worst Years for Honda Odyssey 4th Generation (2011-2017)

The fourth generation of the Honda Odyssey, spanning from 2011 to 2017, marked another pivotal period for this celebrated minivan. Let’s take a closer look at the best and worst years within this generation.

The Best Years: 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017

With excellent scores on platforms like VehicleHistory, Consumer Reports, and, the 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017 Honda Odyssey models are widely considered the best and most reliable years of this generation.

These models benefited from a robust 3.5L J35Z8 V6 engine that generated a commendable 248 horsepower. Most trims featured a 6-speed automatic transmission, further improving fuel efficiency and averaging around 13 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

The infotainment system saw significant improvements, with features like Bluetooth, touchscreen controls, and the celebrated HondaVAC, a built-in vacuum cleaner for the Touring trims. Safety was paramount, with the introduction of the Forward Collision Warning system and Lane Departure Warning system in higher trims.

The 2017 Honda Odyssey, in particular, received high praise for its agile handling, upscale and roomy interior, and the plethora of available tech features.

Issues were few and far between, with minor complaints surrounding infotainment glitches and occasional AC problems.

The Neutral Years: 2011

The 2011 Honda Odyssey, being the inaugural year of this generation, found itself in a transitional phase, grappling with establishing its footing. While it laid the groundwork for the improvements that would follow in subsequent years, it also faced some teething issues.

Equipped with the 3.5L V6 engine and a 5-speed automatic transmission (6-speed for the Touring trim), the 2011 Odyssey featured a redesigned exterior with a distinctive “lightning bolt” beltline on its sides, as well as an improved interior with enhanced space and comfort.

However, owners reported issues like battery drainage, excessive vibration in the steering wheel, and instances of brake failures attributed to brake rotor designs. These issues were not widespread enough to classify the 2011 model as one of the worst, but they prevented it from being considered among the best as well, landing it in the neutral category.

The Worst Years: 2014

The 2014 Honda Odyssey stands out as the black sheep of this generation, marred by various engine and transmission problems. Due to these issues, it is widely regarded as the Honda Odyssey year to avoid within this generation.

Owners faced a range of transmission problems, including shuddering, jerking, and hard shifting. Additionally, the VCM (Variable Cylinder Management) system presented engine issues, with oil leakage through piston rings into the cylinder leading to misfires, triggering the “Check Engine” light, and causing internal engine damage.

This problem was significant enough for Honda to face a class-action lawsuit, which they subsequently settled.

Best & Worst Years for Honda Odyssey 5th Generation (2018-Present)

Best & Worst Years for Honda Odyssey 5th Generation (2018-Present)

Embarking on its fifth generation, the Honda Odyssey further refined its stance in the competitive minivan market, introducing new features and addressing previous concerns.

The Best Years: 2021, 2022, 2023

The 2021, 2022, and 2023 Honda Odyssey models are widely regarded as the best and most reliable years of this generation, earning top rankings on platforms like J.D. Power, Consumer Reports, and

Under the hood, these models continue to be powered by the dependable 3.5L J35Y6 V6 engine, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission that also improves fuel efficiency, reaching approximately 14 mpg in urban settings and a commendable 33 mpg on highways.

These years witnessed a remarkable array of features, from an updated infotainment system with enhanced responsiveness to integrated CabinWatch and CabinTalk systems. Safety became a hallmark, with the Honda Sensing Suite becoming standard, offering adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and collision mitigation braking.

A notable highlight of these years is the enhanced exterior design, with sharper lines and a more aerodynamic profile. Inside, the Magic Slide second-row seating, ample cargo space, and refined materials make journeys more comfortable and convenient.

The Neutral Years: 2020

The 2020 Honda Odyssey, while boasting significant advancements, found itself in the neutral zone mainly due to some teething issues.

Building on the foundation of previous years, it carried the trusted 3.5L V6 engine, and the majority of the features that would be refined in subsequent models were introduced this year.

However, some owners pointed out infotainment glitches and occasional powertrain issues reminiscent of earlier models, preventing the 2020 Odyssey from being classified as one of the best or worst years.

The Worst Years: 2018, 2019

The 2018 and 2019 Honda Odyssey models have a surprisingly high number of NHTSA recalls concerning various issues, making them the years to avoid in this generation.

The 2018 Honda Odyssey was plagued by various powertrain issues, with owners frequently citing experiences of jerking, shuddering, and even occasional loss of motive power. These performance issues, coupled with complaints about the infotainment system – with the rearview camera occasionally malfunctioning due to a combination of Media Oriented Systems Transport cable and software issues – caused significant owner dissatisfaction.

The 2018 Odyssey also faced recalls due to loose battery terminal connections, faulty sliding door latches, and reduced braking performance.

Meanwhile, the 2019 Honda Odyssey grappled with similar concerns and faced a recall related to fuel pump failures that potentially caused the vehicle to stall.

Honda Odyssey Average Resale Values

When considering a vehicle purchase, understanding its resale value is crucial, as it plays a significant role in determining the overall cost of ownership. The following graph provides a comprehensive view of the Honda Odyssey’s average resale values over the years:

Honda Odyssey Average Resale Values

As you can see from the graph, the Honda Odyssey maintains a respectable resale value, especially for the more recent model years. This is a testament to the minivan’s enduring popularity and Honda’s reputation for reliability and quality.


After an in-depth analysis of the Honda Odyssey’s generational journey, it’s clear that some model years stand out as the best and most reliable, while others should be approached with caution.

For those considering a purchase, we particularly recommend the 2010-2013, 2015-2017, and 2021-2023 models as the Honda Odyssey’s best and most reliable years. These models have consistently scored well in terms of reliability, owner satisfaction, and overall performance.

It would be wise to avoid the entire 2nd generation, as well as the early 3rd generation (2005-2007), the 2014 model year, and the initial 5th generation models (2018-2019). These years were plagued by various issues, ranging from transmission problems to powertrain concerns and a high number of NHTSA recalls.

Ultimately, the Honda Odyssey remains a compelling choice for families seeking a spacious, feature-rich, and reliable minivan. By considering the information provided in this guide, you can make an informed decision and secure a Honda Odyssey that not only meets your needs but also provides years of dependable service.

Do you own a Honda Odyssey from one of our top-recommended years? Share your experiences with us in the comments below! Your insights can help fellow readers make an even more informed decision.

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