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Ask any millennial; there’s a good chance they rode to school in the back of a Honda Odyssey at some point in their life. The Odyssey quite literally lives up to its name, taking us on journey after journey to soccer games, the grocery store, and on memorable road trips. But what may come as a surprise is that one of the most recognizable cars of the century is a nightmare to maintain. 

The Honda Odyssey has been a favorite among critics for quite some time. However, those who are behind the wheel every day tell a different story. How can one of Honda’s mainstays be such a trainwreck for owners?

While the Honda Odessey may have a place in our hearts, it’s burning a hole in owners’ wallets, and not in a good way. Let’s take a closer look at how such a beloved vehicle went downhill, and see if it’s still worth considering for today’s families. 

Critics Praise the Honda Odyssey as a success 

A silver 2021 Honda Odyssey parked in front of a playground
The 2021 Honda Odyssey on display | Photo via Honda

There aren’t too many minivans to choose from these days. Meanwhile, the experts only praise a handful of models, as entries like the Dodge Grand Caravan only off barebones equipment.

The 2021 Honda Odyssey sits atop of the class in the U.S. News & World Report’s minivan ranking. It fares well in all the categories that are important to families, such as technology, spaciousness, comfort, and safety.

The latest generation of the Odyssey spans from the 2018 model year to the present day. Although, Honda gave the 2021 Odyssey a mid-cycle refresh, adding more standard safety systems and updating its design.

Its feature-rich interior is a significant factor for families who are constantly on the go. Its standard features aren’t overly impressive, which isn’t a surprise considering the 2021 Odyssey’s starting MSRP is just $31,790. However, it has impressive upgrades at a reasonable cost.

Shoppers can equip the minivan with available wireless device charging, an in-cabin PA system, a rear entertainment system, and much more.

Owners tell a different tale of what it is to own a Honda Odyssey 

There’s no denying that the Honda Odyssey offers one of the best driving experiences for families. However, reliability is extremely important for active families, especially those who are on a budget.

A number of Honda Odyssey owners left reviews on Kelley Blue Book (KBB), complaining about the minivan’s reliability. This actually led to the Odyssey having the lowest customer rating (3.4/5) among all minivans on KBB.

One reviewer called the 2018 Odyssey an “overall maintenance nightmare”, citing electrical issues as well as an issue with the fuel injection system.

Several owners have reported that they frequently took their Odyssey to the mechanic for various issues. Some drivers took issue with the minivan’s “jerky” ride, which appears to occur during low-speed gear shifts.

Another disgruntled owner said, “New Odysseys are not as good as the old ones. We bought a 2019 Odyssey EX-L to replace our 2014 Odyssey EX-L with 100,000 miles. The bottom line, I wish we never had. There are so many quirky small things that seem to be downgrades with the 2019 model.”

Past or prologue: what does the future hold for the Odyssey?


The 2021 Honda Odyssey Can’t Beat the Toyota Sienna and the Chrysler Pacifica

The verdict is still out on the refreshed 2021 Honda Odyssey, as it has only recently reached dealer lots. The newest Odyssey, like its predecessors, has earned glowing reviews from critics. But it’s worth seeing what owners have to say about their day-to-day issues with the minivan.
Additionally, there’s competition in the minivan segment than in past years. Previously, the Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica jousted for the top spot in the class. However, the Toyota Sienna was redesigned as a hybrid for 2021, and it may be a hit among consumers upon its release in November.