Honda Odyssey is a practical people mover that makes a lot more sense than the large
seven-seat SUVs that are dominating our market at the moment. While the Odyssey
doesn’t give its owner the feeling they can conquer the Simpson Desert, it does offer a
smooth, quiet ride and excellent interior space.
In the fourth generation, where we pick up the long history of the Honda Odyssey it is
actually lower than some station wagons. Inside it’s positively futuristic, with a sweeping-
wave dash and instruments that sit in no fewer than four layers.
Access to the rearmost seats is easier than most, three-row-seat vehicles as the rear
passenger doors go as far back as possible.
Boot space is quite good, but the amount of luggage space suffers if all seats are in use.
The boot opening is larger than in the previous model, but there’s still more encroachment
at the sides than we like.
Due to relatively slow sales, January 2012 saw Honda Australia significantly trim prices
and add more equipment. Chief amongst these additions was a satellite navigation system
that included live traffic updates. There’s also USB, Bluetooth connectivity and audio
A rear vision camera provided images through the screen.
Finally bowing to pressure from those demanding SUV looks in their people movers the
fifth generation Honda Odyssey, launched in February 2014, was 150mm taller and has a
bold front with a huge chromed grille. It isn’t quite SUV but was certainly tougher looking
It still didn’t attract a lot of buyers, but that wasn’t such a problem by this time as Honda
CR-V and the smaller Honda HR-V were both doing well on the SUV market.
The Odyssey gen-five could be had with either seven or eight seats. Interestingly the rear
doors were sliding types as in many other people movers.
For the 2018 season the Honda Odyssey got a facelift. The VTi received what it called an
‘aero’ front fascia that was previously only available with higher spec VTi-L. It also now got
bright chrome surrounds for the new front foglights.
The VTi-L has a revised front, premium aero package with bolder bumper shaping, LED
foglights and a dark chrome finish on both upper and lower grilles as well as the door
At the rear there’s a revised fascia and a stylish tailgate applique. VTi-L also has a small
sunroof over the front seats. There are rear door LED puddle lights.
Power in all Odysseys being reviewed here comes from a four-cylinder 2.4-litre petrol
engine that was improved steadily with each upgrade and new model.
If you’re going to be carrying a lot of people, and driving in hilly areas you may find the
relatively small engine struggles at times. So, it makes sense to load it up and test drive it
in conditions you will be using before you buy – or don’t buy.
Transmission is by a five-speed automatic in the gen-four Odyssey and was upgraded to a
continuously variable transmission with the gen-five. This latter transmission is a good
one, but if you haven’t sat behind a CVT before try to arrange a long test drive to get the
feel for it.
Honda is long established in Australia and is well represented in metropolitan areas,
country cities and some larger country towns.
Spare parts prices in the commonly used items are often slightly lower than average as
Honda’s one-time reputation for expensive parts has all but gone.
The Odyssey isn’t overly difficult to work on, but we strongly suggest that professionals
should be employed to do all but the most basic work.
Insurance premiums are generally on the low side as vehicles like this are almost
invariably driven sensibly and have fewer than average claims.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Check the body for damage as these are bulky vehicles and may have suffered from
carpark damage. Not to mention that caused by drivers getting things a little wrong.
Similarly, look for scars on the wheels that may have been kerbed. The front left is usually
the one that cops it first.
Look inside the cabin for damage caused by careless children, or even kids that
deliberately kick the seatbacks because they are angry/bored/malicious.
Some owners have complained of a rattle under the dash, but we haven’t experienced
The engine should start within a couple of seconds of being turned over, even when stone
cold. After an overnight stop is the ideal time to test this.
The conventional automatic used in the gen-four Odyssey should go into Drive or Reverse
without hesitation. And change gears virtually imperceptibly.
The CVT auto on the gen-five should work smoothly at very low speeds, such as those in
carparks. Once onto road it should be smooth in operation at all times.
Hard braking should be smooth and easy, with the Odyssey staying in a straight line. The
brakes should never lock up.
Expect to pay from $5000 to $8000 for a 2009 Honda Odyssey Luxury; $8000 to $13,000
for a 2011 Luxury; $10,000 to $15,000 for a 2014 Odyssey; $12,000 to $17,000 for a 2014
VTi; $17,000 to $24,000 for a 2017 VTi; $20,000 to $28,000 for a 2017 VTi-L; $23,000 to
$31,000 for a 2019 VTi; $30,000 to $40,000 for a 2020 ViL7; and $35,000 to $46,000 for a
CAR BUYING TIP
Unfamiliar with the type of vehicle you’re considering buying? Then try several others of
that type before settling on which model you want.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: