Buying a Used Honda Odyssey or other vehicle that seats a lot

Hi all,

My 2001 Honda Odyssey is on its last legs/wheels. I’m looking to get another one and wondering if anyone has recommendations as to what years are good. Yes, I’ve checked Consumer Reports and I know Honda is good in general, but after my 3rd transmission dying after 30,000 miles, I’m hoping they have improved.

Also, I’ve never bought used before, so any recommendations regarding how many miles on the car is safe to buy, or other things to look at (besides having a mechanic check it over–that I know), I would greatly appreciate. I’m hoping to spend under $15,000 and I’m in the NYC area, but will go up a bit if it would make a substantial difference.

I’m also open to other vehicles you might recommend that seat at least 7, preferably 8, but not Toyotas.

Finally, is there a site that tells how models have changed over the years–e.g. which year curtain airbags were added, changes in the fold-down aspects, etc.

Thanks for helping a newbie.

A good site for researching models and changes over the years is .

You know the weak link in the Odyssey, the auto transmission. Who is doing these tranny replacements? The replacement transmissions should last longer than 30K. I suspect some not too good rebuilds have been installed.

You should look at a factory rebuilt transmission from a quality rebuilder, such as Jasper. The rest of the '01 Odyssey tends to hold up well, the tranny is the problem. Jasper incorporates upgraded parts and design changes into their rebuilt trannys which is the reason they hold up well.

Honda transmission quality has improved significantly since all the troubles they were having in the mid/early 2000’s.

The Ford Flex seats a lot of people but is just a station wagon configuration ie; no get-up-and-move-around ability like a minivan.
You decide your needs.
I’d buy used and just as new as you budget can go.
Buying from a private party gets more car for the dollar compared to dealers yet a dealer purchase can get you some warranty.

Why not A Sienna? I’m not a big fan of Toyotas either, but the Sienna is one of the better minivans.

I’ve owned 4 minivans: 1) 1990 Ford Aeorstar; 2) 2000 Ford Windstar; 3) 2006 Chevrolet Uplander; 4) 2011 Toyota Sienna. I have 44,000 miles on the Sienna and have no problems. We sold the 2006 Uplander to our son. It now has 115,000 miles and there have been no major problems.
I would have purchased another Uplander or one of its clones with the Pontiac, Saturn or Buick nameplate, but GM, in its infinite wisdom, dropped its minivan lines. If you can find a good, used GM minivan, it might meet your needs. A used Sienna would be equally as good.

I drive a minivan since it meets my needs for transporting people and musical instruments. I was impressed with a Chevrolet Traverse we had as a rental for an extended trip a couple of years ago. It had plenty of room for seven or eight passengers.

@Uncle Turbo,

The 3 trannies were all from Honda directly. That’s the extremely sad part.

@JT Sanders, I like the Siennas very much.but find Toyota seats really uncomfortable.

Excellent reason to avoid the Sienna.

@EW–If the seats are uncomfortable for you in the Toyota Sienna, that is a good reason not to buy one. While I don’t find the seats uncomfortable in my 2011 Sienna, I thought that the driver’s seat fit me better in the 2006 Chevrolet Uplander that I owned. We had a 1993 Oldsmobile 88 that was a great car except that I was never comfortable driving the car for long trips. The car had the 6 way power seat and every option available that year, but it was never comfortable for me. I’ve had to drive Honda Civic Hybrids from my institution’s fleet and I was never comfortable–I didn’t have enough leg room.
Driver comfort is most important.

1999-2004 Odysseys have horrible transmissions. Haven’t heard of too many problems in the 2005 and newer models.