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!
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.
This vehicle is the worst I ever owned (mechanically). Shortly after buying this used with 42,000 miles, the transmission went bad. Was not covered under warranty but later warranty was extended to 100,000 on this (because so many were going bad). 2nd Transmission failed at 67,000 miles. 3rd Transmission failed at 105,000 miles (no longer under warranty). Electric doors have regular problems. 2 sets of motor mounts from transmission putting too much stress when shifting. Otherwise, powerful enough and comfortable for an entire family of 6.
We bought the van with 89k, I'm guessing that it already had a fresh tranny (looking back now). All and all I have to be fair in saying that it has served us very well. For 3 years hardly any maintenance just typical little things (fluid levels, tires, ect). I know my way around a car and it's a good van. The biggest problem with our van was the side doors being intermittent and then tranny acting wierd. Flushed it, no help. 3 yrs 10mths later, tranny has pasted on. It is a well known problem 99-01 tranny failures. With only one type of tranny to be replaced with at $3300 (w/o labor) each time. About every 3 yrs or less it will need to be replaced. And this is typical with all 99-01. Check Internet and see.