Honda Odyssey For Vanlife: 12 Reasons Why It’s the Best

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Considering the Honda Odyssey for Vanlife?

With great reliability, lots of aftermarket parts, & good fuel economy, the Odyssey is a solid option.

But how does it stack up against other popular Minivan models like the Dodge CaravanToyota Sienna, & Kia Sedona?

In this post, we’ll find out.

Here’s everything you’ll learn:

12 Reasons Why Vanlifers Like the Honda Odyssey

The Odyssey is widely available, easy to service, & very reliable – but is it the best option for vanlife?

Here are 12 reasons why vanlifers like the Honda Odyssey:

  1. Fits in a Garage: Unlike high top vans, a Honda Odyssey will easily fit in your garage, so you won’t ever have to pay extra to store it somewhere.
  2. Very Reliable: Honda Odysseys are widely considered the best and longest-lasting minivan on the market. The higher price you pay for this minivan translates to a longer lifespan and lower maintenance costs.
  3. Large Interior Space for a Minivan: Compared to the Sedona, Dodge Caravan, and the Sienna, the Odyssey has the longest cargo space, at 65 inches. That means more room for a longer bed, or larger kitchen.
  4. Lots of Conversion Kits Available: Companies like Oasis Campervans make conversion kits for the Odyssey that are easy to install and relatively inexpensive.
  5. Good for Non-Permanent Builds: Since the seats are easy to take out and put back in, the Odyssey makes a great weekender vehicle. Many owners make a simple bed and kitchen unit that can be installed and removed very easily.
  6. Decent Fuel Economy: Compared to most vehicles its size, the Odyssey has great fuel economy at 22 MPG.
  7. Widely Available: The Odyssey is one of the most widely manufactured minivans on the market. There are tons available new and used.
  8. Easy and Inexpensive to Service: Hondas are relatively inexpensive to service. If you’re more of a DIY-er, there’s tons of repair info on YouTube for simple to more complex mechanical issues on the Odyssey.
  9. Fits in Any Parking Space: Even with its large cargo volume, the Odyssey still easily fits into any parking space, unlike some vans with longer wheelbases.
  10. Good for Stealth Camping: Odysseys are one of the most common cars out on the roads today. No one will suspect you’re camping out in one.
  11. Easy to Remove Seats: The Odyssey seats are pretty easy to take out and replace.
  12. Powerful Engine: The Odyssey comes with a V6 engine, which is pretty hefty for a minivan.

6 Reasons Why Vanlifers Dislike the Odyssey

As with every vehicle, there are downsides to the Honda Odyssey.

Here are 6 reasons why vanlifers dislike the Odyssey:

  1. Can be Pricier Than Other Minivans: Brand new Odysseys go for a whopping $37,000, and used Odysseys can be around $20,000. They are pretty pricey compared to a budget option like the Dodge Caravan.
  2. Large Blind Spots: Owners say the Odyssey has a large blind spot. Though, newer models have safety features that help get around this issue.
  3. Can’t Stand up Inside: The height inside the Odyssey is just 38 inches, so it won’t be possible to stand up inside.
  4. Not Enough Room for an Interior Kitchen: While the Odyssey offers a lot of cargo room for a minivan, it’s not quite enough for a fully indoor kitchen. Pretty much every Odyssey build you’ll see will have an outdoor kitchen that is accessed by the trunk door.
  5. Difficult to Navigate City Driving: Since the Odyssey is a bit of a bigger minivan, it may be less nimble when maneuvering through the city, or squeezing into small parallel parking spaces.
  6. Transmission Issues on Older Models: Honda Odysseys from 2010 and before are known to have some major transmission issues after around 100,000 miles.

 

5 Amazing Honda Odyssey Van Builds

With lots of interior cargo space, removable seats, & plenty of aftermarket parts, the Odyssey provides a good platform for designing a layout… but which is the best?

Here are 5 of the coolest Honda Odyssey’s ever:

 

Build #5: Honda Odyssey Conversion With Rear Kitchen that Seats Five

  • Highlights: Freeway Camper Kit’s Honda Odyssey conversion can be installed in a 2011-2023 Honda Odyssey in minutes. It includes a platform bed that folds away into a dinette. The rear kitchen has a sink, stove, and fridge.
  • Van: 2011-2023 Honda Odyssey
  • Owner: @freewaycamperkit (more photos on freewaycamperkit.com)

 

Build #4: Odyssey Conversion with Pop-Up Table and Rear Kitchen

  • Highlights: This Odyssey conversion from Oasis Campervans has a large bed that folds away to reveal a pop-up table. The trunk of the van has a kitchen with a simple sink, and some room for a stove.
  • Van: 2012 Honda Odyssey
  • Owner: @oasiscampervans

 

Build #3: Honda Odyssey with Reclaimed Wood Panelling and Indoor Kitchen

Honda Odyssey with Reclaimed Wood Panelling and Indoor Kitchen

  • Highlights: This gorgeous Honda Odyssey has full reused wood paneling on the floor, ceilings, and siding. The bed is made of simple foam pads covered in coffee bags that expand to form a large bed. The kitchen is enclosed in the interior of the van and has a sink and some countertop space.
  • Van: 2006 Honda Odyssey
  • Owner: @kyle_and_madison

 

Build #2: Honda Odyssey with Large Dinette and Slide-Out Drawers

  • Highlights: This smart Honda Odyssey build is complete with a large bed that folds into a dinette with a large table and bench seat. Under the bed are two slide out drawers for storage and a sink.
  • Van: 2018 Honda Odyssey
  • Owner: @campervanpirasi

 

Build #1: Odyssey Conversion Kit with Convertible Dinette

  • Highlights: Road Loft’s Odyssey conversion kit for 2005-2017 Honda Odysseys is installed right over the removed seats–no flooring necessary. It comes with a dinette with a pop-up table that converts into a large bed. The rear has two slide-outs that contain the kitchen.
  • Van: 2005-2017 Honda Odyssey
  • Owner: @roadloft (more photos on roadloft.com)

 

Cost, Dimensions, & Fuel Economy

Now that you know a little more about the Honda Odyssey, let’s see how it stacks up against the Dodge CaravanToyota Sienna, & Kia Sedona.

 

Honda Odyssey Cost

Cost: Honda Odyssey vs Kia Sedona vs Dodge Caravan vs Toyota Sienna

ModelNewUsedPrice
Honda Odyssey$37,490$25,895Check Price
Dodge CaravanN/A$9,000Check Price
Toyota Sienna$35,385$23,956Check Price
Kia SedonaN/A$22,998Check Price

 

Honda Odyssey Dimensions

Dimensions: Honda Odyssey vs Kia Sedona vs Dodge Caravan vs Toyota Sienna

ModelInterior HeightInterior Length (cargo)Interior WidthExt Length
Honda Odyssey38 inches65 inches48 inches205.2 inches
Dodge Caravan39.3 inches62 inches50 inches202.8 inches
Toyota Sienna37.5 inches60.5 inches50.5 inches204 inches
Kia Sedona39 inches62 inches52 inches203 inches

 

Honda Odyssey Fuel Economy

Fuel Economy: Honda Odyssey vs Kia Sedona vs Dodge Caravan vs Toyota Sienna

ModelCityHighwayCombined
Honda Odyssey19 MPG28 MPG22 MPG
Dodge Caravan17 MPG25 MPG20 MPG
Toyota Sienna36 MPG36 MPG36 MPG
Kia Sedona18 MPG24 MPG21 MPG

 

Conclusion: Is the Honda Odyssey Right for you?

There are a lot of reasons to like the Odyssey: It’s reliable, great for temporary builds, and easy to get your hands on – but it may not be for you.

Biggest factors:

  • Very Reliable Engine
  • Good Amount of Cargo Space
  • Pricey

So should you get one?

Yes! Although pricey, with good fuel-economy, superb reliability, and more aftermarket support than the Dodge CaravanToyota Sienna, & Kia Sedona, the Honda Odyssey is a great van for vanlifers.

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