For most of its lifespan, the Honda Odyssey has been a favored pick among minivan shoppers. Although the vehicle had a rather humble debut, it quickly hit its stride once Honda came out with the second-generation model, which featured a spacious cabin and an innovative third-row seat that folded into the floor. Now in its fifth generation, the Odyssey is one of the top minivans available.
The Honda Odyssey has made a strong showing, usually earning top honors in every minivan comparison test we've held. There are other minivans that rival the Odyssey's family-friendly features, but the Honda combines those attributes with confident handling and a long-standing record of reliability, making it an all-around family favorite.
Current Honda Odyssey
Fully redesigned for 2018, the Honda Odyssey boasts a variety of improvements over its predecessor. It's about the same size as before but is slightly roomier on the inside.
There are six trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L, EX-L Nav & Res, Touring and Elite. All of them are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 280 horsepower. That power is sent to the front wheels through either a nine-speed or a 10-speed automatic transmission, depending on the trim level.
The LX is decently equipped, but the EX and above are what most shoppers should consider. The EX gets you truly useful features such as power-sliding rear doors, keyless ignition and entry, sliding second-row seats, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, heated seats and a bunch of driver safety aids. The EX-L adds leather upholstery, and the Nav & Res version includes navigation and a rear entertainment system. On the high end, the Touring and Elite include the 10-speed automatic transmission and some additional convenience features, including an integrated vacuum cleaner and an overhead interior camera that displays a view of the second- and third-row seating on the touchscreen.
In reviews, we've found this Odyssey's new second-row seat design to be valuable. You can slide the outboard seats inward and outward a lot more than before, which improves access to the third-row seat and gives you new ways to configure the seating. You can also adjust these seats even if you have a child safety seat installed.
As is typical for the Odyssey, acceleration and handling are above par. It quickly accelerates to highway speed yet still delivers respectable fuel economy. Around turns, Honda's minivan is stable and secure, giving the driver plenty of confidence. It's also impressively quiet. We prefer the 10-speed automatic to the nine-speed because of its smoother shifting, so it's unfortunate that Honda only offers it on the most expensive models. Overall, though, this is a minivan with no glaring faults. For shoppers with young children, in particular, we think it's a great choice.
Used Honda Odyssey Models
Before the newest Odyssey, Honda sold the fourth-generation model from 2011 to 2017. Compared to the previous generation, it has sleeker styling, a roomier interior, improved fuel economy and new features.
There were five trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring and Touring Elite. Under the hood was a 248-hp 3.5-liter V6. Odysseys from 2011 to '13 had a five-speed automatic transmission. For 2014 and up, Honda switched to a six-speed automatic. That year, the fourth-generation Odyssey also got its most significant update. The van's styling changed slightly, and Honda introduced some new standard and optional features.
As such, feature availability will vary some depending on the year. In general, the entry-level LX included a power driver seat, a 60/40-split folding third-row seat, Bluetooth and a rearview camera. The EX added on power-sliding side doors, keyless ignition and entry, tri-zone automatic climate control, a multifunction second-row seat and an upgraded audio system. The EX-L was similar but had a power liftgate, a sunroof and leather upholstery. The Touring added navigation and a rear-seat entertainment system, and the top Touring Elite came with xenon headlights, an integrated vacuum cleaner, and upgraded audio and video entertainment systems.
On the road, this Odyssey stood out with its smooth V6 and relatively agile handling. Inside, the seating was comfortable and spacious, and wind and road noise were reduced compared to levels in older Odyssey generations. Downsides were minimal. Some of our editors weren't fond of the button-intensive dashboard, and the rival Sienna of the time typically had a few more features. Overall, though, this well-rounded Odyssey should be a great choice for used-minivan shoppers.
The previous (third-generation) Honda Odyssey was produced from 2005 to 2010. Trim levels included the LX, EX, EX-L and Touring. Power was supplied by a 244-hp 3.5-liter V6 mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The V6 found in the EX-L and Touring trim levels had a variable cylinder management system to improve fuel economy.
The LX featured full power accessories, cruise control, side curtain airbags, stability control and a CD player. The EX added alloy wheels, eight-passenger seating, power-sliding doors, a power driver seat, a six-disc CD changer, in-floor storage with a lazy Susan, and second-row sunshades. The EX-L brought leather seating, heated seats, a power tailgate and a sunroof. The Touring added triple-zone climate control, power-adjustable pedals, foglights, parking sensors, a removable second-row center console and run-flat tires. A rear entertainment system and a navigation system with Bluetooth were optional on the EX-L and Touring.
In reviews, we found this Odyssey to be a top minivan thanks to its smooth V6, responsive steering and secure handling. Inside, Honda's minivan boasted tight build quality and spacious, comfortable seating areas. At the time, downsides included elevated road noise and, as the years went on, a somewhat dated interior.
There were only minor changes for the third-generation Odyssey; 2008 brought minor exterior styling updates and new convenience features, and 2009 ushered in a standard power liftgate for the EX-L as well as integrated Bluetooth for the optional navigation system.
The second-generation Honda Odyssey was available from 1999 to 2004. It was powered by a 3.5-liter V6 initially rated at 210 hp (1999-2001) and later cranked up to 240 hp (2002-'04). The transmission was a four-speed automatic until '02, when a five-speed automatic debuted. This Odyssey boasted dual sliding rear doors in place of the first generation's swinging doors, and it was considerably larger overall, but it retained the original model's trick fold-flat third-row seat. In the all-important safety department, antilock brakes were standard from the get-go, though rear disc brakes only became standard across the lineup in 2002. Side curtain airbags arrived for '02 as well. Two trim levels were available, each with seven-passenger seating: LX and EX.
In reviews, our editors remarked on the second-generation Odyssey's best-in-class performance, which came courtesy of a powerful V6 and a capable all-independent suspension. We also lauded the Odyssey's large cabin, available power-sliding doors and that slick hideaway third-row seat. Throughout its six-year run, Honda's second-generation Odyssey was quite simply the one to get. It won the Editors' Most Wanted award every year from 1999 to 2003 for the minivan category.
The first-generation Honda Odyssey, which debuted in 1995, had a few features that, for better or worse, made it unique. Instead of sliding doors on the sides, the Odyssey had four conventional swing-open doors with roll-down windows. And although the competition offered V6 engines, the Honda didn't. An inline-four borrowed from the Accord EX powered the Odyssey. With VTEC variable valve timing and lift, it made a respectable 140 hp. But good as it was, 140 wasn't enough power when the Odyssey was loaded up with kids or cargo. The van did, however, offer a highly functional fold-flat third-row seat. This feature has proven invaluable to — and highly popular with — minivan buyers over the past decade.