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.