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Honda Odyssey: Why You Should Never Buy a 2002 or 2005

The Honda Odyssey is considered a reliable and quality family van. It’s one that drivers tend to hold on to for years. But not every model year fits the bill. According to USNews, in 2020, the Odyssey ranked near the top of the minivan class and earned a #1 ranking on their site.

But if you’re in the market for a used Odyssey, there are two years, in particular, you don’t want to consider at all. The 2005 model year brought the most complaints, but it wasn’t deemed the worst model year. That title belongs to the 2002 model year. Read on to learn why these years are ones you shouldn’t drive even if someone paid you to.

The Honda Odyssey with the most complaints

What makes the 2005 Odyssey the year with the most complaints? According to CarComplaints.com, with 338 total complaints, it outranked 2006 (292), 2007 (272), 2002 (265), and 2003 (249), respectively. 2005 saw a wider range of issues, but the top complaint had to do with body and paint problems. There were 75 complaints regarding this area.

Since it doesn’t affect the safety of your drive, it makes sense that this model year was only listed as a ‘clunker’ to avoid and didn’t get a much worse description. Other complaints revolved around steering problems (53), engine problems (48), A/C and heater problems (41), and transmission issues (34). The list consisted of more items overall, but they were as severe as some of the complaints the worst-ranked model year saw.

The worst-ranked Honda Odyssey

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The title of the worst-ranked model year actually belongs to the 2002 Honda Odyssey. Remember, this was the 4th most complained about model year, but it still took the worst-ranked title.

That’s because factors such as higher repair costs, more problems at lower mileage, and the severity of the issues all made it impossible to ignore the 2002 Odyssey as the one you are warned to avoid like the plague. It’s also worth noting that out of 265 complaints, 221 were regarding the transmission, and 118 of those were complete transmission failure.

That’s a pretty scary issue to have, especially while you’re driving down the road. One consumer had a total failure at 61,000 miles, which is far below the average of 97,900 miles that others saw their transmission issues pop up. Typical repair costs were about $3,400, and the report claimed that the entire 2nd generations Odyssey, which consists of model years 1999-2004, were just “one giant transmission problem waiting to happen.”

The Honda Odyssey has gotten better

Fortunately, the Odyssey has gotten better. In fact, since 2015, there have never been more than 59 complaints in any given year. 2017 saw only one complaint. But back to the 2020 Odyssey and what U.S. News had to say about it.

It was a finalist in their ‘2020 Best Minivans for the Money’ category and offers up a sophisticated cabin, ample space, and exceptional performance. As part of the 2018 redesign, the 2020 model continues to offer drivers great features at a reasonable price.

Standard features include a 5-inch display, a 7-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, and two USB ports. Other features that come standard include a multi-angle rearview camera, seating for seven, spill-resistant fabric, push-button start, and eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat.

It also offers an EPA-estimated 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway driving and rated 5/5 stars for overall safety by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.