Best Used Minivans: 2003-2004 Honda Odyssey
When this version of the Honda Odyssey debuted for the 1999 model year, it revolutionized minivan design, from its substantial size and appealing design to its reconfigurable second-row captain’s chairs and Magic Seat third-row bench that tumbled and folded into the floor. It’s not at all surprising, then, that as we look back at a decade of models for this best used Minivans buying guide buying guide, the final two model years for the second-generation Odyssey qualify for inclusion – with a caveat.
The Odyssey is a safe minivan, achieving 5-star ratings in frontal- and side-impact tests conducted by the NHTSA. In IIHS tests, the Odyssey received a “Good” rating for frontal-impact protection. No problems here.
Rather, the Odyssey suffers a single and widespread mechanical issue. Generally, reliability is better than average, but these models reportedly suffer from transmission trouble and early transmission failures. Before buying any Odyssey of this vintage, be sure to ascertain the condition of the transmission; whether it has been replaced; whether the replacement transmission was new, rebuilt, or used; and where it was installed.
If that hasn’t scared you away from the Honda, know that one of the Odyssey’s hallmark features is its Magic Seat third-row bench seat. This feature originally debuted on the first Honda Odyssey back in the mid-1990s, but it wasn’t until Honda introduced the sizable 1999 model that it became a must-have feature. Additionally, the Odyssey’s second-row captain’s chairs could be moved to form a bench seat, allowing parents to position a child in the middle of the vehicle, the safest position. Maximum cargo volume was a whopping 146.1 cu.-ft.