Used Honda Odyssey 1999-2004 review

Overall rating:4 Star Rating: Recommended
Updated: December 2, 2013
2003 Honda Odyssey
2003 Honda Odyssey. Click for larger photo

The 1999-2004 Honda Odyssey is a very spacious, comfortable minivan with good safety ratings, strong engine and good handling. The 1999-2004 Honda Odyssey came in two models: LX and EX, with one major difference that the EX comes with dual power sliding doors. The 1999-2004 Odyssey has front-wheel drive with a V6 engine and 4-speed automatic (5-speed automatic from 2002) transmission. Antilock brakes (ABS) are standard. The interior is very spacious. The tall driving position provides great visibility in the front. The dual air conditioning system has separate controls for the rear passengers. For more cargo room, the second-row seats can be folded or completely removed. The third-row seat easily folds flat into the deep storage well. Overall, it's a good minivan, but the reliability isn't spotless; read more below.

Honda Odyssey 2003 interior
Honda Odyssey interior.
Honda Odyssey 2003 Cargo well behind the third-row seat
Cargo well behind the third-row seat

Engine: The only available engine is the 210-hp 3.5L V6 SOHC VTEC. Starting from 2002, the engine power has been increased to 240 horsepower. This is a very good reliable engine, but it needs to be maintained well to last long.

Fuel Economy: The Odyssey won't be cheap on gas. The EPA rates the 2003 Odyssey at 16/23 mpg or 14.7/10.2 L/100 km.

Handling and ride: The Odyssey handles very well for a minivan. The 3.5L V6 offers plenty of passing power. The ride is fairly smooth, but noisy.

Timing belt or chain: The 3.5L V6 engine has a timing belt. According to the 2003 Odyssey maintenance schedule, it needs to be replaced at 105,000 miles or 168,000 km. The timing belt replacement cost ranges from $375 to $525. Replacing the water pump (it's driven by the timing belt) along with the timing belt, will cost extra $250-$300.

Safety: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the 1999-2004 Honda Odyssey "Good" in the offset frontal crash test. In the NHTSA crash tests the 1999-2004 Honda Odyssey received a perfect score of five out of five stars in both, the frontal and side impact tests.

Pros: Plenty of space, refined interior, good crash test scores, handling, strong V6.

Cons: Road noise, transmission problems, gas mileage, the engine has a timing belt that needs to be replaced at recommended intervals.

Overall: The 1999-2004 Honda Odyssey offers good crash test ratings, well-designed spacious interior, folding third-row seat, powerful V6 and standard ABS. On the downside, parts and service could be quite expensive. Automatic transmission issues, power sliding doors on early models and the 'Check engine' light with the EGR codes are among the common problems. Read more about what to watch out for when buying a used Honda Odyssey and maintenance tips on the next page.