Bought this van at an auction, didn't know it had a transi issue. $2200 later with the recommended upgraded rebuild kit & it has been great since. Getting the van at a discount made the transi rebuild isue to tolerate. Cannot imagine buying & financing at full price and having a transmission go. We love it. Had it for over a year. Now at 190k.
I like the styling and the drive. It seems mechanically sound. It replaced a 98 Quest that was totaled. The Quest didn't have the storage the Odyssey does with the large amount behind the back tires.
Since we bought our Odyssey in 1999, it's done nothing but impress. We test drove all the Odyssey's competitors, ranging from the Toyota Sienna to the Ford Windstar, and none could touch the Honda when it came to build quality and driving dynamics. The engine is wonderful, with plenty of power and low-end grunt. Transmission problems aside (See "Improvements") we've had to make only ONE unexpected repair, a single $40 coil pack, in the 195k miles we've driven! And we haven't exactly babied our Odyssey either... For 5 summers in a row we towed our 3000lb boat back and forth through the Adirondack mountains, and the van never flinched!
The engine in this van is probably it's most impressive feature, it's smooth and powerful, and with a light foot I've managed up to 27 mpg. It's no wonder they still use the J35 even in the 2013 Odyssey. The interior flexibility is also a major plus, especially the hideaway third row. Overall this is a good looking van with great performance, and after 14 years it's still serves our family well to this day.
Unfortunately, we weren't spared from the transmission durability issues that plague early Odyssey's. We had to replace the transmission twice, once at 15k (yikes!) and once at 105k. But I'm willing to forgive Honda for this, because they paid for both transmissions in FULL, even though the transmission at 105k was passed the warranty they extended to 100k on these vans. After 195k on rough NYC roads and highways, the suspension is starting to get a bit choppy and noisy, which is expected on a car of this age.
Bought the van a couple years ago. The van looked great, power doors are nice for a family and the engine has ran good. Transmission is BAD, the transmission lasted a couple years and needs to be replaced. Honda dealer said $4000 to be replaced. If it wern't for transmission problems in this van it would be the perfect van. This Honda transmission has no reliablity. Unless you're willing to replace the transmission every couple years at a cost of $4000, stay away from this vehicle.
Power doors. Engine runs great. VTEC engine is nice. Looks and drives well when its transmission is working.
We purchased this van in 2002. We owned it for 8 years and 120K miles. Overall, I was disappointed in the quality of the vehicle. It did have some good interior and exterior features. The engine was always reliable. However, the transmission was a train wreck. We had to replace the transmission 2 times while we owned it. We had numerous issues with the power sliding door. Every so often I had to clean the connectors with steel wool or the door would not shut properly. We recently traded off the van for a Toyota. The little things like nobs, handles, buttons, etc. were starting to fail. The gas mileage was also starting to diminish. I would be hesitant to purchase another Honda Odyssey van.
Engine was always reliable. Easy to maintain. Some of the interior features such as the climate control and placement of the nobs and buttons was well designed. It drove well in the snow and on family vacations.
Bad transmission design - replaced the transmission 2 times. Power sliding doors - we experienced numerous problems. A majority of the problems were with the door not shutting properly and the alarm going off. Interior nobs, buttons, handles, etc broke easily.