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Honda Odyssey (North America)

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Title: Honda Odyssey (North America)  
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Subject: Honda, Honda Accord (North America seventh generation), Honda Crosstour, Honda Accord (North America eighth generation), Honda Civic (eighth generation)
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Honda Odyssey (North America)

Honda Odyssey
Manufacturer Honda
Production 1994-present
Body and chassis
Class Minivan
Body style 5-door minivan

The Honda Odyssey is a minivan manufactured by Japanese automaker Honda since 1994.

The Odyssey had originally been conceived and engineered in Japan, in the wake of country's economic crisis of the 1990s – which in turn imposed severe constraints on the vehicle's size and overall concept, dictating the minivan's manufacture in an existing facility with minimal modification.[1] The result was a smaller minivan, in the Compact MPV class, that was well received in the Japanese domestic market[1] and less well received in North America.[2] The first generation Odyssey was marketed in Europe as the Shuttle.

Subsequent generations diverged to reflect market variations, and Honda built a plant in Lincoln, Alabama, incorporating the ability to manufacture larger models.[2] Since model year 1999, Honda has marketed a larger (large MPV-class) Odyssey in North America and a smaller Odyssey in Japan and other markets. Honda also offered the larger North American Odyssey in Japan as Honda LaGreat between 1999 and 2005. Both versions of the Odyssey were sold in Japan at Honda Clio dealership locations.

The North American fourth generation Odyssey was officially released on sale on September 30, 2010 for the 2011 model year.

First generation (1994–1998)

First generation RA1-5
Also called Isuzu Oasis
Honda Shuttle
Production 1994–1998
Assembly Sayama, Japan (Honda Sayama Factory)
Body and chassis
Layout FF layout
Related Honda Accord
Isuzu Aska

2.2 L F22B I4
2.2 L F22B6 I4
2.3 L F23A I4

2.3 L F23A7 I4
Transmission 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase 111.4 in (2,830 mm)
Length 187.6 in (4,765 mm) (1997-98)
187.2 in (4,755 mm) (1995-96)
Width 70.6 in (1,793 mm)
Height 64.6 in (1,641 mm)

The Odyssey was introduced in 1994 as Honda's first minivan[3] — based on the Accord platform, with a 4-cylinder engine, all-disc anti-lock braking, all wishbone suspension, and a four-speed automatic transmission with a steering-column-mounted shifter and a hill-hold feature, marketed as Grade Logic.[3] The design featured unibody construction,[4] dual airbags, dual gloveboxes, dual zone heating and cooling with 20 percent greater capacity than an Accord's system[4] (overhead rear fan-speed adjustment control, and main control switch over the front-seat passenger), conventional rear swing-open rather than sliding doors, and a third row seat that could fold and tumble into a compartment beneath the floor — the spacesaver spare tire carried inside, on the right, rear wall of the cabin.[3]

Honda marketed the first generation Odyssey in two trim levels. The LX accommodated seven passengers with two front buckets, a removable three-seat middle bench, and a 2-seat third row bench. The EX accommodated six passengers (using two removable second row captain's chairs in lieu of the bench) and offered additional equipment including a roof rack, alloy wheels, power driver's seat height adjustment, power sunroof, remote keyless entry system, fog lights (later model years), body-colored side moldings and mirrors, map lights, and 20-watt AM/FM/cassette six-speaker audio system.

Isuzu offered a rebadged version of the Odyssey from 1996–1999 as the Isuzu Oasis.


The Odyssey was engineered by Kunimichi Odagaki, then a chief engineer at the Honda's Research and Development Center, along with a team of 20 members[1] — in the wake of Japan’s recession of the early 1990s and the possibility of a 25-percent tariffs if the minivans were imported to the U.S. as light trucks.[1] In the course of developing the Odyssey, it became paramount to circumvent these obstacles and conceive a feasible interior package that could use existing manufacturing facilities with minimal investment.[1]

Odagaki traveled to the U.S. in September 1990 with a small sub-team to conduct a review of the U.S. minivan market.[1] At the project's inception, the team was considering variations for the project from 4-cylinder to V6 alternatives, when the project was canceled.

Odagaki continued working with an "underground" team, using as its design credo the concept of a "personal jet"[1] — which in turn led to the car's original PJ concept code-name.[5] Odagaki conceived the idea of the third row seat folding into a floor compartment, and he worked with his team to include a "center aisle." The team determined a minimum interior height of 1.2 meters to retain the aisle, and favored a design with a low floor — to provide ease of passenger entry and exit, easy garage-ability, low roof-loading height, as well as enhanced productivity on the assembly line.[1]

The team worked to convince management of the project's viability, using extensive illustrations, a one-quarter scale model and a full-size foam model.[1] By April 1991, Odagaki won permission to develop a prototype.[1]

After bringing the right-hand drive prototype to the U.S., Odagaki won the support of American Honda. Production was officially launched on October 20, 1994 — the first Honda model in to be released at the same time through Honda's three Japanese distribution channels (Primo, Clio, Verno), marketing the Odyssey through the three channels under the same name.[1]

At its debut, the Odyssey won the Japan Car of the Year Award (Special Category) and the RJC New Car of the Year Award. By September 1997, the Odyssey had sold more than 300,000 units, becoming Honda’s fastest-selling new car and breaking the Civic’s record.[1]

1998 Honda Odyssey (US)

Taxi service

In 1996, New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) expanded the number of licensable automobiles, approving the first generation Odyssey for use in the city's taxi fleet[6] — the Odyssey having been recommended by the seven year-old grandson of a TLC advisory commission member.[7] Initial test riders identified advantages over then-prevalent Chevrolet Caprice and the Ford Crown Victoria taxi models — including greater height (for a better view of the road), headroom, rear legroom, rear footroom (the front-wheel-drive Odyssey having a flat floor) and cargo space over the sedans, as well as air-conditioning vents in the rear, which the sedans did not offer. [8]

Second generation (1999–2004)

Second generation RL1 (North America)
Also called Honda LaGreat (JDM)
Guangzhou-Honda Odyssey
Production 1998–2004
Assembly Alliston, Ontario, Canada (HCM)
Guangzhou, China (Guangqi Honda)
Lincoln, Alabama, USA (HMA)
Body and chassis
Layout FF layout
Related Acura CL
Acura MDX
Acura TL
Honda Accord
Honda Pilot
Engine 3.5 L J35 V6 (gasoline)
  • 4-speed B7XA automatic
  • 5-speed BYBA automatic
Wheelbase 118.1 in (3,000 mm)
Length 201.2 in (5,110 mm)
Width 75.6 in (1,920 mm)
Height 69.7 in (1,770 mm)
68.5 in (1,740 mm) (LX)

The second generation North American market Odyssey was first assembled in Canada as a 1999 model mainly for North America — and marketed in Japan as the LaGreat between 1999 and 2005.[9] The television ad campaign for the new Odyssey evoked moments from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, particularly the extended space-station docking and lunar landing sequences to the soundtrack of The Blue Danube waltz.

By its second generation, the Odyssey was considerably larger than its predecessor, and adopted the Chrysler style minivan format, with sliding rear doors instead of hinged ones, simpler front strut suspension in place of upper and lower control arm front suspension of the 1995-1998 model and a 210 horsepower (160 kW) V6 engine instead of the original, four-cylinder. The Odyssey offered two sliding doors as standard equipment, whereas some minivans of the time only offered one, a second door being optional. The Odyssey offered power sliding doors which were standard on the EX trims, but not available on the LX trims. The Odyssey kept the fold-into-the-floor rear seat, an innovation adopted by many other minivans. The van continued to receive upgrades, such as offering both VHS and DVD-based entertainment systems. There was also an available Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System, introduced in 2000, which became the first navigation system ever offered in a minivan.

The 2004 model was the only second generation Odyssey model year to receive reliability ratings of five out of five according to Automotive Information Systems. IIHS gave the Odyssey a Good rating in the Frontal Offset Test in years 1999-2004.[10]

The second generation was praised for its powerful V6, its handling from its four wheel independent suspension, and its features such as a large cabin, power sliding doors, not included on LX models, and the stow-away third-row seat. Some found it noisier than competitors. It won consecutive Editors' Most Wanted awards from 1999–2003 in the minivan category.[11]

Mid-generational refresh

2002–2004 Honda Odyssey EX (US)

The Odyssey also received a significant increase in power from 210 hp (157 kW) to 240 hp (179 kW) in 2001. Also added for 2002 was a five-speed automatic transmission, side torso airbags (not side curtain airbags), rear disc brakes, and a few minor cosmetic improvements on the outside as well as the inside. Other than an AUTO power driver's window, the Odyssey remained unchanged for 2003 and 2004, before being replaced with the third-generation model.

Transmission issues

The 4-speed automatic transmission in 1999 to 2001 models had serious problems with transmission durability. Honda spokesman Mike Spencer stated that four-speed models were afflicted with a bad bearing that could break apart, scattering fragments of metal that clogged fluid passageways in the transmission, causing it to shift erratically.[12] Honda responded to the problems by extending the warranty on the transmission on U.S.A. '99-'01 models to 7 years or 100,000 miles (160,900 km). A class action settlement further extended coverage to 109,000 miles (175,400 km) or 93 months for some '99-'01 Odysseys in the U.S.A.[13] Canada is not included. The five-speed automatic was first installed in the Odyssey for the 2002 model, but general reliability of the 1999-2003 transmission was poor according to Consumer Reports. Mike Spencer, a spokesman for Honda, said that the five-speed models typically were damaged by premature wear of the third-gear clutch pack. As the clutch friction material abraded, it scattered bits inside the transmission case, clogging fluid lines and causing erratic shifting. Drivers might suffer slipping, poor or no shifts, or sudden down-shifts from 5th gear to 2nd gear.[12]

Under some conditions, a different 5-speed transmission problem arose. Second gear could overheat and break, causing the transmission to lock. An oil jet was added to lubricate this gear but this did not solve the third gear clutch problem.[14] The addition of the Honda transmission cooler with the towing package still allows transmission fluid temperatures that are too high. But it was required along with a power steering cooler for any towing, or the warranty would be void. The Acura CL, TL, MDX and Honda Accord suffered similar problems.

Third generation (2005–2010)

Third generation RL3, RL4 (North America)
Model years 2005–2010
Assembly Lincoln, Alabama, USA (HMA)
Designer Akio Fumiiri (2002)
Body and chassis
Layout FF layout
Related Acura MDX
Acura TL
Honda Accord
Honda Pilot
Honda Elysion
Engine 3.5 L V6 244 hp (2005)
244 hp (2006-2007)
241 hp (2008-2010)
Transmission 5-speed automatic
Wheelbase 118.1 in (3,000 mm)
Length 2005-07: 201.0 in (5,105 mm)
2008–present: 202.1 in (5,133 mm)
Width 77.1 in (1,958 mm)
Height 70.0 in (1,778 mm)
68.8 in (1,747.5 mm) (LX)

Honda introduced the third-generation Odyssey for the 2005 model year. It grew in width and weight but retained the previous generation's length and interior space.

Honda introduced the ACE body engineering to the third-generation Odyssey, which was later used on the eighth generation Civic. Side-curtain airbags and electronic stability control are included in all models. Both features were previously unavailable.

Additional features included integrated sunshades in the rear doors, windows that roll down in the second row, and the third row 'Magic Seat' was changed from a straight bench design to a split 60/40 design to allow for variable folding. The headrests could now be left in place when tumbling the rear seat. Some notable features of the redesign were dual glove boxes and an in-floor lazy susan storage compartment, located in the previous generation's spare tire well. Third generation models offered a dashboard-mounted shifter, instead of a column-mounted shifter. The second row bucket seats do not fold into the floor. A 'Plus-One' jump seat was standard on EX and EX-L trims for use with an eighth passenger. Touring models came with a center storage compartment.[15]

Engine power was increased to 255 (re rated to 244 by the new SAE J1349 guidelines, and used in 2006+model descriptions) and EX-L and Touring models received Honda's VCM, or Variable Cylinder Management system. This enabled this van to receive U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy ratings of 20 mpg-US (12 L/100 km; 24 mpg-imp)/28 mpg-US (8.4 L/100 km; 34 mpg-imp) for the 2005 model year. (19 mpg-US (12 L/100 km; 23 mpg-imp)/25 mpg-US (9.4 L/100 km; 30 mpg-imp) for non VCM equipped LX and EX models.)[16][17] These numbers were re-rated in 2007, bringing numbers to 17/25 for VCM equipped models, and 16/23 for non VCM equipped models.[18] Acceleration was slightly slower than generation two models. It was rated top pick in minivan category in Consumer Reports 2005 Annual auto issue.

The EX-L and higher trims can be purchased with both navigation and rear entertainment systems, or rear entertainment system only, while the VHS-based i-VES system was dropped. There are four trim levels in the United States: LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring, the top-of-the-line package in the Odyssey lineup that incorporates features such as run-flat tires, power tailgate, power adjustable pedals, multi information display, memory seats and chrome tailgate trim.

Only the Touring model is equipped with run flat Pax tires that are designed to run 125 miles (201 km) with no air pressure. Pax was not sold on Canadian market vans because availability of tires and service could not be assured. Pax consists of a unique tire with different rim diameters on the inside compared to the outside, a support ring which is a hard ring that is mounted on the proprietary Pax only wheel, a gel lubricant and the wheel itself. When flat, Pax runs on the inner support ring lubricated by special gel. It also included TPMS even before tire pressure measuring systems were required by the government. Pax run flats wear faster than other Odyssey original tires by design with thinner tread grooves at the edges and ride harder due to the lower profile which reduces the distance from the outside of the tire to the support ring when flat. Pax tires cost about $1400 for a set of four or $1800 for 4 snow tires including mounting fee and the Gel pack. Pax requires special equipment and training to mount and do wheel alignment which many shops do not have. A proprietary gel pack is needed for mounting or overheating when running flat will occur. Some dealers and very few tire stores are able to mount or repair Pax. This makes prices high and availability reduced. Replacement or repair, especially on weekends and holidays is limited. The only Pax tires for Odyssey Touring are Michelin Energy LX4 or Michelin X-Ice snow tires. No other Odyssey Touring tire choices exist for 2005–2007 despite being on the market since late 2004. Pax became an option for 2008 models. Pax tires failed in the marketplace due to short life, high price, availability, unusual service requirements and lack of choice.

Problem areas include body integrity, which includes paint wear and rusting issues, body hardware bumpers being loose, audio system, brakes and suspension according to the Consumer Reports issue of April 2006. According to the online edition of Consumer Reports in late 2010, transmission problems have increased to worse than average for 2006 models. Crash test ratings have been five star in every test but the 2005 had a safety concern. "During the side impact test, the driver door became unlatched and opened. A door opening during a side impact crash increases the likelihood of occupant ejection."[19] Odyssey has won a spot on Car and Driver's 5 Best trucks for the past three years, as well as a host of other awards. The Odyssey is the top-ranked minivan in the US News charts.[20] The 2007-09 Odyssey was the best-selling minivan in the United States.[21]

Mid-generational refresh

2010 Honda Odyssey EX

For 2008, the Odyssey received a mid-model facelift. All models are equipped with active front head restraints, daytime running lights, redesigned dashboard, grille and taillights. An audio AUX jack became standard equipment. The backup camera, previously only included with navigation-equipped models, is integrated into the rear-view mirror of the non-navigation EX-L. Touring models feature full Bluetooth support for all Bluetooth-equipped devices, and are now standard with navigation. EX, EX-L, and Touring models are standard with the updated 'Plus One' jump seat with added storage features.

In Canada, an entry-level DX trim was added to the LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring packages for the 2008-2010 model years. The DX lacks features such as the "2nd-Row Plus One Seat with storage", conversation mirror with sunglasses holder, tinted glass, roof rails, and has black body moldings. The LX trim level was dropped for the 2010 model year, which also saw a SE Odyssey NHL edition replace the EX (being identical to the 2008-09 EX in all respects but with a rear entertainment system and NHL badges). For the 2010 model year, the DVD rear entertainment system can be ordered on the EX trim and is standard on the Touring.

Fourth generation (2011-present)

Fourth generation RL5 (North America)
Production Aug 2010-present
Model years 2011–present
Assembly Lincoln, Alabama, USA (HMA)
Body and chassis
Layout FF layout
Related Acura MDX, TL
Honda Pilot, Accord
Engine 3.5 L V6 248 hp (2011-present)
Transmission 6-speed automatic (Touring models 2011-2013, all models 2014+)
5-speed automatic (2011-2013)
Wheelbase 118.1 in (3,000 mm)
Length 202.9 in (5,154 mm)
Width 79.2 in (2,012 mm)
Height 68.4 in (1,737 mm)

Honda presented the 2011 Odyssey Concept in early 2010 at the Chicago Auto Show and officially on June 17; with a larger, wider body, a lower roofline and revised styling.

The redesigned Odyssey features options including 12-speaker 650 watt audio system (Touring Elite), a voice-controlled satellite GPS and DVD navigation system with XM NavTraffic (Touring and above, available EX-L), an external HDMI input, a larger 16.2" split-screen rear-seat DVD entertainment system (Touring Elite), a "cool box" chilled by the air conditioning (EX-L and above), a stowable 3rd row 60/40 split bench seat, a removable first row center console (EX and above), and a new steering wheel via updates.[22][23]

The 2011 Odyssey includes projector headlamps or HID xenon low-beam headlamps (Touring Elite), standard 17-inch wheels, 18-inch alloy wheels (Touring and above), and 6-speed automatic transmission (Touring and above). All trims come standard with a backup camera, with higher trims offer a tri-angle rearview camera. The body is constructed using 59% high strength steel, ranging from 390-1,500 MPa yield strength.

Mid-generational refresh

For the 2014 model year, Honda facelifted the Odyssey. This includes a 6-speed automatic transmission on all models, sleeker exterior styling with a new aluminum hood, aluminum front fenders, twin-bar grille and revised lower front fascia with integrated fog lights, darker-finish projector headlight housings, and LED rear taillight bars. A built-in vacuum cleaner system is included with the Touring Elite model.

Honda's i-MID, also available on the Civic and Accord, is also standard for 2014, all models get standard Pandora Internet Radio capabilities, Bluetooth Hands-Free Link, iPod, iPhone, and USB integration, a 3.5 millimeter auxiliary input jack, and a color display screen.

The models for 2014 include the LX, the EX, the EX w/ Leather (EX-L), the Touring, and the Touring Elite; the SE trim, which is positioned between LX and EX, is available for the Canadian market [1]. New exterior paint colors are available for 2014, as are new interior fabrics and trim pieces.



IIHS EX-L:[24]
Moderate overlap frontal offset Good
Small overlap frontal offset (2014–present models) Good*[25]
Side impact Good
Roof strength Good
* first minivan to earn IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award[26]


2011 Odyssey FWD NHTSA[27]
Overall: 5/5 stars
Frontal Driver: 5/5 stars
Frontal Passenger: 5/5 stars
Side Driver: 5/5 stars
Side Passenger: 5/5 stars
Side Pole Driver: 5/5 stars
Rollover: 4/5 stars / 12.7%


At its debut, the Odyssey won the Japan Car of the Year Award (Special Category) and the RJC New Car of the Year Award. By September 1997, the Odyssey had sold more than 300,000 units, becoming Honda’s fastest-selling new car and breaking the Civic’s record.[1] The Odyssey was Wheels magazine's Car of the Year for 1995.[11] At the Odyssey's European launch, where it was marketed as the Shuttle, British ex-Grand Prix driver Jonathan Palmer described its handling as equal of any "executive sedan".[5]

In a 1995 survey owner survey, 98% of the respondents rated the Odyssey's handling as above average, 50.3 percent rating engine power to be good — and 25 percent wanted a more powerful engine.[4] A later review of the first generation Odyssey summarized the minivan's market reception:

Awards and recognition

The Odyssey has received numerous awards since its inception, winning both Car and Driver's "5 Best Trucks" and Consumer Reports' "Top Pick Minivan" several times.[28]

Export vehicle

In the middle of 2012, Honda Cars North America began exporting the new Odyssey minivan to the Philippines, which has seen high demand on family haulers and luxury cruisers. It was the first time a North American version was sold in another country after the second generation Odyssey, which was sold in Japan as the LaGreat. This exported model is powered by the same 3.5 L V6 engine.

The Odyssey manufactured at HMA in Alabama has also been exported to Canada, the United Arab Emirates, and South Korea.


Calendar year US sales
1994 230[29]
1995 25,911
1996 27,025
1997 20,333
1998 20,819
1999 77,801
2000 126,705
2001 131,041
2002 153,467
2003 154,063
2004 154,238
2005 174,275
2006 177,919
2007 173,046
2008 135,493
2009 100,133
2010 108,182
2011 107,068
2012 125,980
2013 128,987[30]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Developing a Car with a Roomy Interior". Honda Worldwide. 
  2. ^ a b c "First Drive: 1999 Honda Odyssey". Insideline, Greg Anderson, Jan 1, 1999. 
  3. ^ a b c "Honda Odyssey EX V S Nissan Quest GXE - Road Test". Motor Trend, March 1995, Jeff Karr. 
  4. ^ a b c "1995 Honda Odyssey - Long Term Wrapup". Motor Trend, February 1995, Jeff Bartlet. 
  5. ^ a b "Honda SHUTTLE (1995 - 2000)". Yahoo Cars, UK, Jonathan Crouch. 
  6. ^ "A More Varied Diet for a Cab-Hungry City". The New York Times, David Stout, May 3, 1996. 1996-05-03. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  7. ^ "Brooklyn People in Profile: Jimmy Beatrice". New York Daily News, Laura Williams, September 30th 1996. 1996-09-30. 
  8. ^ "A Cab That's a Van!' and Other Reactions to a Test Drive". The New York Times, Richard Perez-Pena, November 5, 1995. 1995-11-05. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  9. ^ "Honda Worldwide | Products & Technology | Automobiles | History". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ a b "Honda Odyssey Minivan". Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  12. ^ a b "Honda's Unexpected Gear Shift". The L.A. Times, John O'dell, Sep 11 2002. 2002-09-11. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  13. ^ Honda Transmission Settlement
  14. ^ "Odyssey Transmission Recall" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  15. ^ """OdyClub Forums - "Does Plus one seat fit touring?. 2007-11-26. Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  16. ^ "All New Honda Odyssey Indonesia". PT Istana Kebayoran Raya Motor. Retrieved 2013-01-07. 
  17. ^ "2005 Honda Odyssey model library". Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  18. ^ "2008 Honda Odyssey model library". Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  19. ^ NHTSA - 2005 Honda Odyssey w/SAB
  20. ^ "2010 Honda Odyssey Reviews, Pictures and Prices". U.S. News Rankings and Reviews. Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  21. ^ Jensen, Cheryl (2010-10-29). "Honda Odyssey Is the Latest Weapon in the Battle of the Vans - Review". The New York Times. 
  22. ^ "Honda reveals 2011 Odyssey minivan". 2010-08-11. Retrieved 2010-09-12. 
  23. ^ """2011 Honda Odyssey Promises "More Swagger. 2010-06-18. Retrieved 2010-09-12. 
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Quality and Reliability Make Honda Odyssey Award-Winning Minivan". 2003-10-06. Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  29. ^[5147d]_Honda_2012_Digital_FactBook.pdf
  30. ^
  • Issue of Nov 2003 of Car and Driver HK

External links

  • Original design presentation drawings for the first-generation Honda Odyssey
  • Official U.S. Site
  • YahooAutos-2007 Honda Odyssey
  • YahooAutos-2006 Honda Odyssey
  • In depth Information on the 2005+ Honda Odyssey
  • Informative website related to transmission issues in 1999-2004 Honda Odyssey
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