2005 Honda Odyssey Wheelchair Van Expert Review

Author : Jason Dion

The third generation of the Odyssey wheelchair van kicks off with the 2005 edition. This minivan offers strong performance, interesting features and is capable of serving as a full-featured wheelchair vehicle.

Notable Strengths

The Odyssey offers a good combination of styling and power. It’s more attractive and offers superior handling relative to most vehicles in its class.

Notable Weaknesses

The Odyssey is a solid overall vehicle, but a series of smaller issues including a lack of steering responsiveness on the highway and rattling sounds are frustrating. A series of recalls draws the vehicle’s overall reliability into question.

2005 Honda Odyssey Overview

Honda introduced the Odyssey in 1999. It’s performed well in its class since that time, but has never garnered superior reviews or built a substantial policy. Honda undoubtedly hopes that the Odyssey’s next generation will challenge Dodge and Toyota for top minivan honors.

The all-new 2005 Odyssey handicap van is a solid performer with unique styling and represents a significant improvement over earlier models. Wheelchair users can customize the Odyssey to create a solid mobility vehicle.

Trim Levels and Options

Honda offers three different trim packages for the 2005 Odyssey.

The LX is the base model. It includes:

  • Manual sliding doors
  • Air conditioning
  • Manual driver’s seat
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Power door locks
  • Side and front power windows

This core offering provides the basics, but those interested in more accoutrements may want to upgrade to the EX, which adds features like the following:

  • Heated front seats
  • Power sliding doors
  • Multi-zone climate control
  • Improved stereo with a CD player
  • Steering wheel stereo controls
  • Alloy wheels
  • Stowable second row seat

The EX is also available with a leather trim interior at an additional cost. EX buyers enjoy a superior iVTEC engine, as well.

The Touring package transforms the Odyssey into a luxury minivan by adding several features to the EX offerings. Touring package owners enjoy upgrades like:

  • An enhanced suspension
  • Improved sound system
  • Run-flat tires
  • Power tailgate
  • Leather interior
  • Front and rear parking sensors


The 2005 Odyssey may be the first in the model’s third generation series, but its design isn’t much different from earlier versions. The grill is slightly larger, as are the headlights.

The Odyssey is a handsome minivan. Honda has tried to create a minivan that has sedan-quality styling and they’ve accomplished that. It has a sleeker and less boxy look than other minivans.

The interior is workmanlike, but makes up for a lack of elegance with a surplus of storage opportunities. The Odyssey is a warehouse of cup holders and hidden cargo holds. Honda has created a clever Lazy Susan-style storage area, as well.

Powertrain and Mechanical

All Odysseys feature a solid 3.5-liter V6 capable of delivering 255 horsepower. The iVTEC is a strong performer that offers more than enough power while still managing decent fuel efficiency. The minivan is rated at 25 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg in the city. Those who buy the EX or touring models get a slightly improved iVTEC that improves the gas mileage via its “intelligent” system of automatically deceiving three cylinders when cruising.

The 2005 Odyssey has a good 5-speed Honda automatic transmission for all models. The minivan comes standard with a full complement of airbags, antilock brakes and traction control.

Driving the 2005 Odyssey Handicap Van

Honda’s commitment to producing a accessible minivan reminiscent of a touring sedan has led to a new Odyssey that handles and performs better than earlier models. The V6 makes highway drives enjoyable and the quality design allows the minivan to handle much better than one might expect.

There are two performance deficiencies worth noting. While neither represents a strong reason not to purchase an Odyssey, they can be a source of annoyance. The steering tends to feel loose, particularly when on the highway. You can turn the wheel a few inches to either side before any shift in position occurs. Additionally, Odyssey wheelchair vans fail to create a silent ride at highway speeds. Drivers have noticed some rattling, even though Honda made a point to install more sound-deadening insulation to the 2005 edition.

The 2005 Odyssey Wheelchair Van

The Odyssey passes inspection in terms of construction and performance, but can it handle the modifications required to create a usable wheelchair van? Fortunately, it can.

One conversion manufacturer, VMI, has authorized over one hundred Honda dealers to sell and service their Odyssey conversion, which combines more space than any other minivan on the market along with a number of adaptations including:

  • A floor dropped by eleven inches
  • A powered in-floor ramp
  • A power kneel system to improve accessibility and to create a safer ramp slope

Overall, the Odyssey makes a nice side-entry wheelchair van.

Wheelchair Van Safety

Honda has a reputation for strong vehicle safety and that’s reflected by the inclusion of front-side airbags for the driver and passenger along with a full side curtain arrangement to protect all passengers. Honda Odyssey handicap vans have passed all crash testing and rollover testing with flying colors.

However, there have been a few issues with the vehicle’s safety. Honda recalled over 85,000 Odysseys due to a problematic air bag front sensor control module. The sensors were at risk of corrosion, which may have had an eventual negative impact on their ability to function.

Honda also recalled nearly 2,000 minivans due to a fuse box problem that could cut off power to the fuel pump. Some pumps were faulty, as well. A small number of Odysseys were recalled based on potentially dangerous steering flaws.

Overall, the Odyssey is a safe vehicle, but you’ll want to make sure any used version under consideration was properly serviced in light of these recalls.

About the Author
Jason was a professional test-driver is his last life and is now a full time Nurse in Seattle, WA and follows the changing landscape of Disability Rights and Advocacy. He is keen to assist in developing useful disability information and advice from his real-life perspective working with people with disabilities. Jason is an automotive guru and covers a broad range of topics, including disability automotive, health conditions and lifestyle advice.