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25 Important Things About Honda Cars Drivers Ignore For No Reason

Cameron EittreimDecember 2, 2021

The Honda brand has come a long way since its humble beginnings in America. It’s now one of the most prominent auto brands in the world. Honda cars are world-renowned for their reliability and ease of maintenance. Hondas used to be some of the most reliable vehicles on the road, but in recent years the quality has declined. Honda cars are now competing with increasing competition from Kia and Hyundai.

While Honda isn’t the economy car maker it once was, there’s still a certain level of quality to each vehicle. When drivers buy a Honda, they have a reasonable expectation that the model is a quality vehicle. But there are certain drawbacks to Honda vehicles that drivers have ignored, especially when it comes to flagship models that sell well. So we looked at 25 important things that Honda drivers ignore the most about Honda cars and trucks below.

Photo Credit: Hagerty

25: Fuel Economy

Honda cars are often touted for their superior fuel economy, but that’s a myth that has followed the brand for decades. While the Honda Civic and Accord were some of the most fuel-efficient cars on the road, that has changed. Now almost every automaker offers a fuel-efficient car or truck model (via What Car).

Photo Credit: Honda

Even full-sized pickup trucks are vastly more efficient than ever. The fuel economy isn’t one of the driving factors when it comes to purchasing a new car anymore. Honda cars can no longer rest on the laurels of the past. The brand needs to evolve into the future and offer a more compelling car all-around.

Photo Credit: Honda

24: Bland Styling

Unfortunately, drivers need to face the facts here that Hondas cars are bland cars. There was a time when Honda cars were innovative and original. The design language peaked in the mid-2000s with the futuristic Civic and Ridgeline and never went back. The Honda brand has been stuck on a fastback theme for its sedans (via Car & Driver).

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Many enthusiasts have been criticizing Honda cars’ styling lately. The Honda Civic SI is the latest victim in the design language Honda has been following. The curious thing about the Civic SI is that it’s still a strong seller for Honda. But in recent years, the styling has drifted further away from the formula that made it popular.

Photo Credit: Honda

23: Lethargic Performance

Honda was never a performance powerhouse of a brand, but recent models have been increasingly dull. In addition to phasing out the manual transmission, the new generation of the Civic lacks the zippiness that the older models had. Many of this has to do with the fact that Honda uses CVT transmissions (via Team BHP).

Photo Credit: Honda

Traditional enthusiasts have spoken out about these transmissions and performance is worse than you’d expect. The gradual phasing out of the manual transmission is another reason the performance has dropped. The manual transmission mated to a zippy four-cylinder was a hallmark of Honda.

Photo Credit: Honda

22: High Theft Rates

Honda owners love their vehicles, especially the Civic. But there is an underlying problem with the Civic and that’s the fact that it gets stolen time and time again. The Civic was for a long time one of the most stolen cars in America. The ease of theft only decreased the value of the car for a long time and raised insurance rates (via Pickers Plan).

Photo Credit: Honda

Nowadays, anti-theft systems seem to have deterred theft a little bit, but not a lot. The Civic is still a stolen car, as are its replacement parts. There is no denying that car thefts can decrease the value of a vehicle. Civic owners tend to brush this fact off as they tout the positives of the car.

Photo Credit: Honda

21: Lack Of A Hatchback

The original Honda Civic hatchback was one of the most popular cars of all time. The easily modified hatchback model was fun to drive and easy to fix. The model has evolved over the years to discontinue the hatchback model altogether. Instead, the Civic that drivers get nowadays is a fastback style model (via Fixya).

Photo Credit: Honda

The cheap, honest fun of a hatchback was one of the things that made the original Civic an excellent car. The late 1990s and early 2000s Civic hatchback is highly regarded in the Tuner community and is one of the most reliable cars on the road. The brand has gotten away from that original magic that made the car great.

Photo Credit: Honda

20: Failures In The Hybrid Market

The hybrid car is a segment of the automobile Honda pioneered in 1999 with the Insight. But early on, the Insight was a car that was much too limited. Similar to the Chevy EV1, the design didn’t catch on with most consumers. What you had was a specialty car that couldn’t capture the entire marketplace (via Consumer Reports).

Photo Credit: Honda

Toyota, on the other hand, pioneered a consumer-friendly hybrid called the Prius. The four-door design of the car was much friendlier for the time and garnered popularity during the 2008 recession. Honda would attempt to re-brand the Insight years later, but Toyota had already taken the throne.

Photo Credit: Honda

19: The Honda Ridgeline

The Honda Ridgeline has been a confusing product since its launch almost a decade ago. The thought of a Honda pickup truck was popular with Honda loyalists. The finished product, on the other hand, was a Unibody pickup truck with limited appeal. In a segment where pickup truck buyers are furiously loyal, the Ridgeline has been a tough sell (via Car Complaints).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

Without the traditional styling of a pickup truck or heavy-duty model, the Ridgeline is rather lackluster. Honda hasn’t done enough to reinvigorate the model, which has caused the sales to slip. A mid-cycle refresh gave the Ridgeline a refined appearance that was much more appealing.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

18: The S2000’s Failure

Perhaps one of the biggest disappointments from Honda was the failure of the S2000 sports car. At a time when sports cars were immensely popular, Honda gave up on the S2000 sports car quickly. The S2000 had a lot of potential but Honda never put the time or effort into the car to make it stand out (via Edmunds).

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Many Honda loyalists were upset because the S2000 had all the qualities that the Mazda Miata did. The car was lightweight and fun to drive, and you still had Honda engineering behind it to help things out. The S2000 was one of many failures from Honda during this period.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

17: Bland Base Cars

Honda used to be a company that gave you intrinsic value when it came to buying a new car. Not so much the case these days, as base model cars are commonplace. Even with the styling being bland, another drawback is the lack of standard options. Everything is available on a higher trim level now (via CNET).

Photo Credit: Honda

Not that Honda was ever an industry leader when it came to equipping a car with standard equipment. That title belongs to the Hyundai and Kia family of cars because they still come with the most options. But still, the base Honda models are questionable, to say the least, lacking anything that makes them original these days.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

16: Turbo Engines

Turbocharging seems to be the way of the future, at least for the interim until electric cars become the norm. Honda is only one of the companies that have been turbocharging four cylinders for the past couple of years. While this practice isn’t frowned upon, it’s also no replacement for displacement (via Axle Addict).

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The turbocharged engines are more costly to fix, and that deviates away from the Honda philosophy and reputation. These cars were cheap to maintain and fix, and now they are becoming more complicated. The guys at Honda need to steer clear of turbocharging and return to the joy of a high-revving naturally aspirated motor.

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15: Honda Interior Technology

This has been a big thing with carmakers across the board, but Honda has been dipping more into interior technology lately. Anti-theft systems have become more advanced, which also means more defects. It’s so easy to lock yourself out of your car these days, and Honda makes it a pain to get back in (via Car Technology).

Photo Credit: Honda

Another thing that all this technology has done is make it more difficult to interact with your car. CD players are going away, and soon the AUX port will be gone. Bluetooth and streaming devices will be the only way to receive information. The interior of most Honda vehicles needs to be vastly improved.

Photo Credit: Honda

15: Boring Crossovers

The selection of Honda crossover vehicles hasn’t improved much in the past few decades either. What started simply with the CRV in the 1990s has evolved into a plethora of questionable vehicles. The HR-V was the most notable of these oddball crossovers that never caught on with consumers (via Car Buzz).

Photo Credit: Honda

Perhaps the most notable failure for Honda was the Crosstour, which was released around 2013 and had a horrible blind spot. Needless to say, the Crosstour wasn’t a popular choice for most consumers, and the car was quickly discontinued. And who can forget the Insight of the mid-2000s, a Prius knock-off with nothing new to offer.

Photo Credit: Car Gurus

14: Used Car Market

Many Honda traditionalists ignore the fact that Honda vehicles are atrociously priced on the used car market. It’s not uncommon for a used car lot to price a Honda vehicle way above the Kelly Blue Book value. They will try and say it’s the market or demand, but that’s not the case. The Honda name only commands such a high-quality reputation that dealerships can get away with selling these cars at a premium (via The Drive).

Photo Credit: Car Gurus

But there was a time when Honda cars weren’t considered a premium product. For an extended period, Honda was considered the value brand. Most consumers would agree that these cars started to get way out of line with their pricing. Now, a used Civic SI can easily set you back thousands of dollars.

Photo Credit: Copart

13: Simple Ignition Systems

As previously mentioned, Hondas are among the most stolen cars in America, especially the used models. An early 2000s Civic is perhaps one of the most easiest cars to steal. The simplistic ignition locking system makes the car a cinch to take. Which means the insurance premiums for these cars are much higher than a comparable vehicle from this time period (via Motor Biscuit).

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The Civic was basically a simple car, especially the 1990s and 2000s model. You can’t go wrong with one of these in terms of reliability. But you also have to contend that because of its ignition system, the Civic is a car that can be stolen easily. You’ll want to invest in a timely alarm when it comes to buying one of these.

Photo Credit: Acura

12: The Failure of Acura

When you compare Acura to the success Toyota has had with Lexus, there is no competition. The Acura brand has been a failure, except for a few successful car models that came out over time. The Acura Integra was a popular model, perhaps the most popular Acura of all time (via Auto Evolution).

Photo Credit: Acura

But the rest of the models fell on deaf ears, and for the most part Toyota has dominated the Japanese luxury car scene. That’s not to say the Acura brand is bad by any means, but it has been a failure to gain any real market share. The luxury car market isn’t a simple egg to crack and Acura has had an unpleasant time.

Honda Accord
Photo Credit: Honda

11: Price Of Options

Another place where Honda has begun to slide is the pricing of options on their vehicles. It used to be that a Honda would offer a few options or trim levels. Now you can expect to pay a pretty penny when it comes to getting options in your car. Depending on what options you are considering, the cost can get astronomical (via Vehicle History).

Honda Accord
Photo Credit: Honda

Especially when you start looking at special edition models such as the SI or the Ridgeline H.P.V. The choices seem endless with the list of options now, and while that’s great for making a choice, it’s not so satisfactory for the cost. The price of these options can become quite a pain in the rear end.

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
Photo Credit: Honda

10: Questionable Hybrids

As previously stated, Honda hasn’t had the best of luck competing in the hybrid segment. Sure, you have a few sales here and there, but nothing compared to the success Toyota had with the Prius. The Prius was a massive runaway success during the 2008 recession, and Honda was never able to catch up (via Autobody Paint Review).

Photo Credit: Honda News

It’s true there have been cars like the Accord Hybrid, but even this car never achieved the same level of success that Toyota did. The Insight was awkward when it was first released as a two-seater hatchback, and the Prius clone later on was no better. Then you had the CR-Z sports car, which wasn’t all that sporty.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

9: Transmission Issues

Perhaps one of the most overlooked problems for Honda in recent years was the issues that plagued the transmissions. Honda is traditionally a world-renowned company for quality and reliability, but the sudden transmission failures in the Odyssey minivan left many drivers scratching their heads (via Car Brain).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

The second generation Odysseys were notoriously guilty for having this happen to them. The transmission replacement would be expensive and often leave the minivan incapacitated. This transmission failure issue followed into the next generation. Honda would improve reliability as time went on, but early models are still problematic.

Photo Credit: Honda News

8: Manual Transmissions

Honda has been one of the main automakers that has been phasing out manual transmissions. The automaker is switching to CVT and automatic transmissions like everyone else. But there was a time when a Honda car was synonymous with great gas mileage and a manual transmission. There will be a whole generation of drivers who don’t know how to drive a stick shift (via Motor Biscuit).

Photo Credit: Honda

The original Honda’ and even the 1990s models were famous for having a stick shift. The Accord and the Civic were both immensely popular economy cars. Nowadays, you have to deal with all the technology that goes into a transmission. Most drivers don’t want to deal with the headache associated with this.

Photo Credit: Honda

7: Practicality

Let’s be honest, Hondas were originally some of the most practical cars on the road. But somewhere in the 2000s, Honda’s became a premium product. The practicality went out the window and the prices started to increase. All of a sudden, driving a Toyota or Honda was like a badge of honor (via Humoropedia).

Photo Credit: Honda

Because of the stellar reliability, a Honda is still a good deal for a new car, but the practicality has sort of gone away. Take the Ridgeline for instance, this truck is about as impractical as they come. The truck bed is vastly undersized, and the truck is only available in a single configuration for the body.

Photo Credit: Honda

6: Repairs

With a Honda vehicle, there is the misconception that you’ll never have to get anything repaired on it. While a Honda is a reliable car, that doesn’t mean your Honda will never be in the shop. On the contrary, when a Honda vehicle breaks down, it can be costly either way (via Honda Repair Guide).

1993 Accord
Photo Credit: Honda

Take the Odyssey problem that we highlighted above. A transmission repair can cost thousands of dollars. So even if the van is running smoothly, the transmission is still an expense that most drivers can’t afford to pay. Thus, a Honda can be as costly as some of the more notorious automotive failures.

Honda Civic Del sol
Photo Credit: Honda

5: Lackluster Performance Models

There was a time when a Honda with an SI badge was a special vehicle. Nowadays, this is nothing more than an appearance package. At least in America, the Honda Civic SI has changed dramatically over time, not for the better. The most recent rendition of the car is so far from the original formula that it’s ridiculous (via Motor 1).

Del Sol
Photo Credit: Honda

Meanwhile, the larger full-size cars such as the Accord haven’t been much better. Honda was never a performance company, but in recent years the image has become even more watered down. It will be interesting to see if Honda brings back some of the performance that made the brand great before.

Honda HR-V
Photo Credit: Honda

4: High Cost of Maintenance

Honda cars used to be affordable vehicles to fix, but going to the dealership to get a repair can be pricey nowadays. The Honda certified service technicians charge an arm and a leg to fix these cars nowadays. It’s not even that Honda’s have expensive parts, but there is a lot of technology that goes into these vehicles now (via Honda Problems).

Photo Credit: Honda

The increased price of repairs has caused many potential new car buyers to change their minds about Honda. What was once an affordable brand that you could get fixed fairly cheaply has ballooned to an expensive proposition. That’s especially true when you start talking about the technology that goes into these cars.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

3: Forward Thinking

Honda used to be ahead of the curve when it came to vehicle design, but nowadays, that isn’t the case. The automaker is going along with the trends that every other company has been following. That isn’t a good thing, because Honda was always a carmaker that came up with original ideas (via Tuning Pro).

Photo Credit: Honda

The fact that things are falling so far out of place has made the automaker an unfortunate choice these days. No one wants to pay for outdated ideas or a car that just copied someone else’s design. Companies like Hyundai and Kia have been leading the curve when it comes to new technology in their vehicles.

Photo Credit: Honda

2: The Absence of VTEC

There was a time when hearing the words VTEC and Honda meant you were in for fun. But that isn’t the case these days as the motors have gotten extremely watered down. You can’t get the same sort of driving enjoyment that you once got out of a Honda. The VTEC motors are not the same type of feeling anymore (via Lember Law).

Photo Credit: Honda

The new engine choices are almost exclusively geared toward fuel economy, not the driving pleasure that once was. This has been an unfortunate choice for Honda, as it has alienated many original buyers who would frequent the showrooms. You can’t give buyers one thing and then years later take it away.

Photo Credit: Honda

1: No Personality

Hondas are becoming dull when you look at them nowadays. The worth thing is that the company continues to push this flashback design for their sedans. Most buyers don’t want a fastback-styled sedan, and thus the idea is troubling. But the company still pushes these designs on consumers as if we want to keep paying for them (via Repair Pal).

Photo Credit: Honda

The Accord is a mere shadow of the car it once was. The design has become bland and familiar when you compare it to other cars on the road. This lack of inspiration and design has made the brand just another automaker in recent years.

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