There’s a reason why business is always booming at Classic Honda of Midland, your used Honda dealership: it seems Honda has an unflappable reputation as a solid, reliable, safe, and economical automotive manufacturer. While every brand has its die-hard fans and sworn adversaries, Honda is one of the most beloved manufacturers in the market. But why?
The Honda lineup includes vehicles for nearly every driver including cars, trucks, minivans, crossovers, and SUVs. You can buy a hybrid Honda, an electric Honda, or a gasoline-powered Honda. There are front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive Hondas.
But this diversity in selection is only a portion of what makes Honda so irresistible to many American drivers. What is it about the brand that attracts millions of drivers each year? While it’s impossible to put your finger on the exact magic ingredient that makes Hondas so very drivable, many obvious factors go into this winning equation.
First, there’s the fact that Honda seems to be developing an award-winning vehicle every year. These aren’t menial awards either, such as “Most Versatile Cup Holder” or “Least Confusing Clock to Change.” In 2022 alone, the Honda Odyssey won the U.S. News & World Report award for “Best Minivan for Families” for a record-breaking 12th consecutive year.[a] The Honda Passport earned USN’s 2021 “Best 2-Row SUV for Families,” and the 2022 Honda Accord Hybrid won “Best Hybrid Car for Families.”[b][c]
In fact, the Accord regularly earns top marks for long term value, safety, and overall enjoyability. The Accord most recently made Car and Driver’s 10Best Cars list for 2022, a feat it has accomplished 36 out of the 40 years Car and Driver has posted this list.[d]
But why is the Accord so well-regarded by automotive experts? It seems to be a special combination of style, ingenuity, performance, safety, and fuel economy that leads to its overall value. With a continuously reasonable price tag, the Accord is not only budget-friendly but has a low cost to own. Purposefully designed to provide fantastic fuel economy, drivers report that the Accord, while not as thrilling as a sports car or spacious as an SUV, offers all the right things to make it ideal for many drivers. From the comfort and convenience features that make sense without going over the top to style that stands the test of time, it’s clear that the Honda Accord has won all of its awards fair and square.
Many automotive experts, from mechanics to industry writers, will confidently agree that a Honda is a “wise investment.” They’ll use terms like “high resale value” or “strong desirability.” But what does this mean to you as the person buying the vehicle?
Resale value is determined by many things; the car's overall condition and parts are a major consideration. A heap of rust vaguely resembling a 1988 Civic, for example, will not fetch an outrageous sum of money if you were to try to sell it. However, it’s not hard to find a reasonably well-equipped, not too old, low mileage used Civic.
One factor that goes into resale value is what the vehicle was worth when you bought it. Price and value are subjective terms that change based on location, time of year, and other business-related factors set by the manufacturer. However, the Honda Civic has always been one of the most economical vehicles on the market. That means that even with the standard depreciation that comes with merely driving off the lot, the Civic retains value.
This may be due to its low cost to own. Hondas have a reputation for being durable, with many Civics surviving the errors that come with being a first-time car owner. Nearly every Civic driver has a story about when their car should have broken down but didn’t. Perhaps this is why it has won WardsAuto “10 Best User Experience 2021” and NACTOY (North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year) “2022 North American Car of the Year.”[e][f]
It could also be because of the Civic’s pleasant, straightforward, uncomplicated style. While the Civic frequently gets makeovers to help it meet current aesthetic preferences and aerodynamic demands, the features available on a 2013 Honda Civic are still relevant and functional nearly a decade later. The Civic model trim packages have just the right quantity and quality of features that help drivers get through their daily commute comfortably and enjoyably.
Experts tell of the “Goldilocks” phenomenon. Much like the hapless heroine of the traditional children’s tale, this is a very specific sweet spot in which something is not too much and not too little of any one quality. Honda is able to provide an array of vehicles that focus equally on the qualities most customers are looking for in a vehicle: safety, fuel economy, and choice.
The Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver assistance features are available on nearly all models and come standard on many, including the Passport, Pilot, and CR-V. Many features, such as Reverse Camera View and Forward Collision Alert, are standard in most Honda vehicles. Additional features, such as the Lane Keeping Assist System and Traffic Sign Recognition, are also included or available as options.
Fuel economy is a major part of a vehicle’s overall cost to own, but it’s an important factor on its own. After all, no one wants to run out of fuel halfway through their daily commute. Honda was born in the midst of a fuel crisis, and today’s vehicles have not forgotten this important part of their heritage. In addition to producing gas-powered vehicles, Honda also offers a full lineup of Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid vehicles. The CR-V and Accord are offered in hybrid versions, while the stand-alone Insight boasts an EPA-estimated 55 miles per gallon in the city.[g] Newcomers, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid and Clarity Fuel Cell tout an all-electric EPA-estimated range of 340 and 360 miles, respectively.[h][i]
But perhaps it’s the overall selection offered by Honda. There is a little something for everyone in the regular lineup, including the rugged and capable Ridgeline pickup truck, the customizable 3-row Pilot, and the performance-focused Civic Si. We spend a lot of time on the road, commuting to school and work, heading out for adventure, and doing our daily errands. Isn’t it a good thing if we enjoy ourselves while we do so? Each Honda model is offered in various trims that capture all of the little things that make driving less of a chore.
When someone asks you if you’ve looked for a used Honda during your car shopping experience, you might have a clearer idea of why this particular brand is often referenced. Honda has rightfully earned its reputation as a solid, dependable vehicle manufacturer. It has all the right stuff in the right places to make many drivers feel that they’ve received a solid value for the price.
Is there a magic formula for Honda’s success? Clearly, the elements include durability, dependability, style, safety, fuel economy, and user experience, but what quantity of each ingredient is required to hit as many “Goldilocks” spots as Honda’s lineup? The designers and engineers behind the vehicles are likely the only individuals with access to the exact recipe for value, which they tweak to drivers' tastes year after year.
Therefore, when the time comes to look for a new-to-you vehicle, perhaps you should take the advice of those who recommend checking out a Honda. With so many options available, it’s very likely that your ideal vehicle will end up being a Honda.
[a] Honda Odyssey won the Best Minivan for Families. For more information, visit usnews.com. U.S. News & World Report is a registered trademark of U.S. News & World Report L.P.
[b] Honda Passport won the Best 2-Row SUV for Families. For more information, visit usnews.com. U.S. News & World Report is a registered trademark of U.S. News & World Report L.P.
[c] Honda Accord Hybrid won the Best Hybrid Car for Families. For more information, visit usnews.com. U.S. News & World Report is a registered trademark of U.S. News & World Report L.P.
[d] Honda Accord won the 10Best Cars for 2022. For more information, visit caranddriver.com. Car and Driver is a registered trademark of Hearst Autos, Inc.
[e] Honda Civic won the 10 Best User Experiences. For more information, visit wardsauto.com. Ward's Auto is a registered trademark of Informa USA, Inc.
[f] Honda Civic won the 2022 North American Car of the Year. For more information, visit northamericancaroftheyear.org. North American Car of the Year Awards is a registered trademark of North American Car, Truck and Utility Awards.
[g] 55 city/49 highway/52 combined mpg rating for the EX trim. 51 city/45 highway/48 combined mpg rating for the Touring trim. Based on 2022 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on driving conditions, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, battery-pack age/condition and other factors.
[h] 110 combined miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent (MPGe) electric rating; 44 city/40 highway/42 combined MPG gasoline-only rating. 47-mile maximum EV mode driving-range rating. 340-mile combined gas-electric driving-range rating. Based on 2021 EPA ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your MPGe/MPG and driving range will vary depending on driving conditions, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, battery-pack age/condition and other factors.
[i] 360-mile driving-range rating. Based on 2021 EPA range ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your driving range will vary based on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, powertrain condition and other factors.