Are you in the market for a minivan? If you are, then the Honda Odyssey is probably one of your top picks. But do you want to know which year is the best year for Honda Odyssey? Well, in this article, we are going to find out. We will answer your questions and more.
- Background Of The Odyssey
- Third Generation (2005-2011)
- Fourth Generation (2011-2017)
- Fifth Generation (2018- Present)
When buying a used vehicle, you need to do thorough research. Research is important because not all of the generations of the same vehicle are the same, and problems are not inherited from the previous generation since all the components are new for the later generation.
This applies in the case of the Honda Odyssey, as well. There are five generations that were released. These generations are not sharing the same components between them and they have different problems. Different problems mean different approaches for every car. That’s why you have to learn which is the best year for Honda Odyssey.
In this article, we are going to cover everything you need to know when it comes to the Honda Odyssey. We will start from the history of the Odyssey and learn more about what is this car about. Then, we are going to discuss the last three generations of the Odyssey.
After that, we are going to learn the specs and also the common problems that the Odyssey of each generation had. Additionally, we are going to discuss the best year for Honda Odyssey for each generation. This is for you to have a better idea of what you are buying. So, without further ado, let’s get into the article.
Background Of The Honda Odyssey
The Honda Odyssey is a minivan produced by Honda for the American market. The Odyssey is in production since 1994 and can be regarded as one of the longest production runs ever.
There is a total of 5 generations of the Honda Odyssey with the last fifth-generation entering production in 2018.
The Odyssey is one of the top picks when it comes to a family minivan. It steadily gains around 100,000+ in sales each year. But what is the best year when it comes to the Honda Odyssey? Well, we are going to discuss that in one of the next chapters.
In its first years, the Odyssey was imagined as the perfect Taxi vehicle for New York City. But the Odyssey became one of the most popular cars for the grocery getters and people who had large families and needed more space. Having a lot of kids isn’t easy and since you are looking for an Odyssey, you probably face the same struggle. The Odyssey is the perfect option if you are in this situation.
The Honda Odyssey, for the American market, is built in Lincoln, Alabama and the Odyssey can be considered as an American product.
During its long production run, the Honda Odyssey has changed a few platforms and increased a bit in size compared to the earlier models.
Also, there was a shift to different engines as well as different automatic transmissions. The Honda Odyssey only came with automatic transmissions and you cannot find an Odyssey with a manual.
But what about the Honda Odyssey problems and specs? Well, we are going to cover that in the next chapter. We will go through the last three generations of this model and find out which is the best year for Honda Odyssey for each generation.
Honda Odyssey Third Generation 2005 To 2010
The third generation of the Honda Odyssey was released in 2005 and has replaced the previous model that was in production. Similarly, to the previous model, the new Odyssey was produced in Lincoln, Alabama. Although this is a model for the American market the new model has carried out the same Honda design line that Honda is famous for.
Specs And Engines
The wheelbase of the Honda Odyssey is long, coming at 118.1 inches with a total length of 201 inches. This makes it as long as a van. It had an overall weight of 4475 lbs., which is more than 2 tons of weight. The new Odyssey was a great improvement compared to the previous generation in terms of design and features. This new generation has offered a dashboard-mounted shifter instead of a column shifter and greatly improved the space at the front.
The new Honda Odyssey had four trim levels and these were the EX, EX-L, LX, and Touring. The LX and the Touring were the top models in this lineup.
There were two variations of the same 2.5 V6 engine, one was making 255hp and was a standard. While the other variation included the Variable Cylinder Management System also known as VTEC which gave the Odyssey an extra kick of power.
In the transmission department, there was only one transmission that was offered and that was a 5-speed automatic. But what about the best year for Honda Odyssey? We are going to cover that in a bit.
Problems And Reliability
Now let’s discuss the problems of the Honda Odyssey as well as the reliability because that’s what is important when you are getting a used vehicle. Knowing these problems is key if you don’t want to waste a ton of money on repairs.
One of the biggest problems with this engine is the VCM system. The VCM is Honda’s proprietary variable displacement system. Similarly, to the Chevy’s AFM or Chrysler’s MDS. The system works in a way that it shuts down some of the cylinders to save fuel. When this VCM system is engaged, the engine basically turns into a V4.
This system is created for the benefit of the owners. Although, it was reported that many owners are experiencing problems with this system. More precisely, vibrations and oil leaks.
Vibrations can frequently appear by using this system. That’s since the engine configuration changes, and two of the cylinders shut down. The smooth running of the V6 is converted into a rough running V4. As the vibrations increase, the motor mounts are suffering the consequences. If you have VCM activated on your Honda Odyssey, you can expect that you will replace the motor mounts quicker than usual.
That’s why many owners have found a way around this VCM system and learned how to turn it off. Turning off the system will make your engine spend more gas. But you will not have bad motor mounts issue.
Another problem with the VCM is the leaks of oil. The gasket that is between the engine and the VCM unit is can fail. Then, the oil drips to the alternator and can ruin the alternator and cause some issues when it comes to charging the battery and other systems. This loss of oil can also lead to camshaft wear, and cause the camshaft wear issue that we are going to cover next.
The camshaft wear is another problem of many Hondas. This is the case because, on Honda engines, there is a requirement for the valves to be adjusted every 30,000 miles. Also, regular oil changes are a must. Many owners fail to do this maintenance and their cams are wearing down rather quickly.
Timing Belt Problem
These engines are timing belt-driven engines. And the timing belt should always be changed every 60,000 miles. If you don’t change the belt, it can snap and bend your valves and will cost you thousands of dollars to fix this problem.
There weren’t many significant problems reported with the automatic transmission on the Honda Odyssey. There are only the usual problems that prevail in transmissions from this era and that is the transmission shudder, jerking, slipping gears on transmissions with high mileage on them.
That’s why before you buy Honda Odyssey you need to look for the best year for Honda Odyssey. And the best year is the most recent year since these problems that occurred at the beginning of the production were patched. So, you will not have any big issues with your Honda.
Also, when getting an automatic transmission car, you need to be sure that the transmission shifts properly and doesn’t have any problem while doing its job. This will guarantee that you will not have any problems during the first few thousand miles on your new car.
Honda Odyssey Fourth Generation 2011 To 2017
The fourth generation of the Odyssey was released in 2011 and has replaced the previous generation. This production run has lasted until 2017. The new Odyssey has brought many improvements in safety as well as driving comfort.
In the safety department, the Honda Odyssey did well, gaining 5 stars on all of the tests except the rollover where it got only 4 stars. And if safety is the top of your concern, this model is perfect for you. The Institute for Highway Safety has found the Honda Odyssey to have the lowest death rate per million registered vehicles and that number is 0.
Specs And Engines
The new Odyssey grew by an inch compared to its predecessor, coming in at 202.9 inches in length and 118.1 inches of wheelbase.
The new Odyssey, in terms of technology and safety features, was far beyond its predecessors and it included a new platform and improved frontal crash structure since 2014.
There were five trim levels in which the Odyssey was offered. And these were the LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, and Touring Elite. One more trim level than its predecessor.
Other commodities were the 12-speaker sound system, GPS navigation, rear-seat DVD system in the top trim package, and a removable front row center console if you wanted more space.
Since 2014, there included some safety features like forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and also a backup camera.
In the engine department, there was an improved 3.5-liter V6 engine that made 248hp and 250 lb. ft of torque which was plenty to help move the enormous Honda Odyssey from a dead stop.
There were two transmissions. From 2011 until 2013, the Odyssey had the same 5 speed automatic from the previous model while from 2014 to 2017, all models came with the 6-speed automatic that improved the fuel economy of the vehicle.
Problems And Reliability
Now let’s discuss what are the main problems with this model when it comes to the engine and transmission since these components are the essential components that you need to be in the right working order if you want to have ownership without mechanical nightmares.
This generation of Honda Odyssey basically has the same problems as the generation before.
VCM System Problems
There is still the problem with the VCM system and this should be one of your top priorities to look after before you end up buying a Honda Odyssey.
The symptoms of the VCM system, as we said, can include oil leaks that will soak the alternator. And if the alternator gets soaked, it will stop working properly, and will not generate electricity. The only solution will be to replace the alternator, and also replace the gasket for the VCM system.
Another problem with this system was the vibrations. These vibrations can be so hard that they could damage the engine mounts. In this case, you will have to replace the engine mounts on your Honda Odyssey. New engine mounts are going to cost you between $400 to $600.
Other problems were the leaks, and if your engine runs out of oil, it can damage the camshafts that are on top of the engine. That’s why checking the level of the engine oil is mandatory on the Odyssey. Doing regular oil changes is also a must.
The best option if your engine has a VCM system is to turn this system off, and you are not going to have some major issues with it.
Similarly, to the previous generation engine, this V6 also has a premature camshaft failure problem. Valves on these engines have to be adjusted every 30,000 miles if you don’t want permanent damage to happen to the cams.
If you delay the oil changes, the camshafts will get some dirty oil that could damage them. Also, if you have oil leaks, this problem can cause the camshafts to wear. But which is the best year for Honda Odyssey? Well, we are going to see that in a bit.
Timing Belt Problems
Also, not to forget the timing belt problems that these engines have. Their timing belts usually last 60,000 miles before they fail. And when they fail, they break and the valves get bent.
This is the case because the Odyssey is a relatively heavy vehicle. And the load that is on the belt is big, that’s why these belts do not last for long as on other cars.
Some problems with clunking and jerking were reported on the transmission of this generation. But nothing serious. This transmission is one of the best when it comes to used Honda transmissions.
But you should always try to get the later models of this generation because the early models are always more prone to problems.
So, if you are asking which year is the best year for Honda Odyssey, I would say to get one between 2014 to 2017. Also, try to get one that has lower miles. This is since this car is rather heavy and there is a lot of stress basically on every component. If you want to avoid problems try to get the most recent one.
Honda Odyssey Fifth Generation 2018 To Present
The new Odyssey that is still is in production was released in 2018. It replaced the previous generation and brought many new features and greatly improved the previous model.
Specs And Engines – Best Year For Honda Odyssey
This new generation of the Odyssey shares the same good platform and keeps the same wheelbase of 118 inches. Meanwhile, it is a bit narrower compared to the previous generation by 0.7 inches and taller by 1.2 inches. The new body is manufactured by using many new technologies, and Honda has used high-strength steel and aluminum in the production of this new model. The new model also includes some composites like magnesium.
Honda has managed to reduce the weight, but increase the rigidity compared to the previous generation by 44% and the new generation is lighter by 29 lb. compared to the previous generation.
The new model includes many active safety features like lane keep assist and forward-collision warning system.
This model uses the same V6 engine but the specs were bumped up to 280hp and 262 lb. ft of torque.
The transmission department saw a major change with incorporating of new 9 speed ZF transmission and a 10 speed from the 2020 model. These new transmissions greatly improved the efficiency of the Odyssey as well the comfort of the passengers. By making all the shifts to be seamless and without delay.
Problems And Reliability
The engine has inherited the same issues with the VCM system that plagued the previous model. And also, the camshaft wear issues. Something new with this engine was the carbon buildup.
Honda has switched this engine to direct injection. And direct injection is one of the worse nightmares to many engines. This is the case because the high-pressure fuel pump and injectors are creating a lot of carbon deposits.
This is one of the downsides of direct injection and almost all the engines that are using these systems are suffering from the same issues.
The best thing to do when you have carbon deposits in your engine is to visit a service for carbon cleaning. They will remove the intake and pour a solution that will eat away the carbon. Then, they will suck these carbon deposits with a vacuum machine. Then, your engine would be like brand new again. But remember that you need to perform this work every 50,000 miles if you don’t want your engine to become clogged up with carbon.
This service can cost between $400 to $600. But at the end of the day, it’s worth it when it comes to the health of your engine.
In the transmission department, there was the new addition of a 9 speed ZF and 10 speed Honda transmission. There were no complaints concerning these transmissions and most of the owners were happy with them. And considering the fact that this vehicle is fairly new, no serious problems were reported. But what is the best year for Honda Odyssey? We are about to find out in the next chapter.
Best Year For Honda Odyssey
So, what is the best year for Honda Odyssey? This is a tough question since all the models performed really good and there were no major problems with the Odyssey.
In my opinion, it’s best to avoid the first two years of every generation. That’s since most of the problems prevail during the first two years and they get patched up with updates later.
So, if you want to get around most of the potential issues, try to get a later year model. Also, get a car that has lower mileage. Most of the Odyssey engines are rated for 200,000 miles. And the best thing to do is to look for an engine that is in the lower 100s or below 100,000 miles. This will be the best option for you. And also, before you buy, get a test drive to see how the transmission and engine are working.
Inspect the components inside if they are working properly. Make a whole checklist to inspect before you go and see the car in case that you forget something. This way, you can be sure that you will avoid getting a lemon.
Conclusion – Best Year For Honda Odyssey
In this article, we have covered a lot when it comes to the Honda Odyssey. We learned about the history of this model and how long it has been produced.
Then, we have covered the last three generations of the Odyssey. We decided to do the last three generations because these cars you are probably looking to get.
Once we’ve done that, we discussed the specs of each generation and engine and transmissions that these cars are using. After that, we covered the important engine and transmission problems. These problems are the most expensive to fix and you should be aware of them.
Lastly, we covered the best year for Honda Odyssey. The best year is always the later years.
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