The larger North American Odyssey was sold in Japan as Honda LaGreat between 1999 and 2004. However, Honda has no plan to sell the smaller Odyssey in North America, despite its popularity when it was first introduced at the 2003 Tokyo Auto Show.
First generation (1995-1998)
The Odyssey was introduced in 1995, based on the Accord platform, with a 4-cylinder engine and featuring rear swing-open rather than sliding doors. The basic vehicle was shared between the Japanese and North American markets. The Odyssey was also the first minivan to have a flat-folding third row seat.
The first generation Odyssey came in two trim levels LX and upscale EX. The LX could fit seven with two front buckets, a three-seat middle bench, and a 2-seat third row bench. The EX came with two second row captain's chairs.
The Odyssey was rebadged as the Isuzu Oasis, which is now discontinued. This unusual sharing of vehicles resulted from a lack of SUVs in Honda's lineup. Isuzu received the Odyssey and renamed it Isuzu Oasis. Honda got from Isuzu the Rodeo and renamed it the Passport. Acura got the Trooper and renamed it the SLX. 1995-1998 Odyssey and Oasis are commonly used in New York City as taxi cabs.
The Odyssey was Wheels magazine's Car of the Year for 1995.
Second generation (1999-2004)
The second generation North American market Odyssey was first assembled in Canada as a 1999 model mainly for North America. In Japan it was called Lagreat, "Canadian-made minivan". It was considerably larger than the car it replaced, and adopted the Chrysler style minivan format, with sliding rear doors instead of hinged ones, and a 210 horsepower V6 engine instead of the original, four-cylinder one.
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 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 i-VES 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 Odyssey also received a slight increase in power from 210hp (157kW) to 240hp (179kW) in 2002. Also added for 2002 was a five-speed automatic transmission, side airbags, rear disc brakes, and a few minor cosmetic improvements on the outside as well as the inside. The Odyssey remained unchanged for 2003 and 2004, before being replaced with the third-generation model.