If only Soichiro Honda could see what has become of his dream, he would be more than happy. Great variety of vehicles of all classes, some of the best motorcycles in the world, Formula One championships, even robots and aircraft, all came out from the brand he established.
Honda’s vehicles you can judge by their influence, speed, design, equipment and all kind of stuff, but when one summons all of that and tries to make a list, there are only a few cars on the list. Frankly, Honda recently made some great stuff, from the new version of a sporty R types to the utility vehicles like Honda Ridgeline, the brand is all over.
And bikes. You hear the buzz, see orange thing screams pass you on a freeway… there is no second taught, that can only be Honda CBR. One of the most influential motorcycles in the world.
But let us stick to the vehicles. When you say Honda, you actually almost all the time think about sports car. But the start was a bit more humble. In fact, the first Honda’s motor vehicle wasn’t even a car. It was the truck and it was really small one. Japanese roads often require a very small vehicle, so they came up with the idea of micro vehicles. And the product of those thoughts was Honda’s first, T-360 micro truck. Introduced in 1963, it was powered by a 365cc 4-cylinder petrol engine. They even made it in a snow crawler version. Rather ridiculous looking from today, but in 1963 it was a bang. And that was just the start.
Many things changed since 1963, but one thing remained. The ingenuity of Honda’s engineers stunned us the same way as it was in the brand’s humble beginnings. So let’s try to make a list of the Honda’s best products.
The year was 1990 and Honda decided they need a real sports car. And ‘’Dear Lord’’ they made it, and they made it great. The mighty NSX was later produced in the USA under Honda-owned Acura brand. Actually NSX origins from 1984 as the Honda’s mid-engined sports vehicle prototype. The name NSX origins from that era “New”, “Sportscar” “eXperimental”. Designed to look like F-16 fighter jet, and even late Ayrton Senna gave his contribution in designing it. NSX is powered by a 3,0 V6 engine and it outperformed Ferrari 308GTB and it’s V8. And it was a lot cheaper than the Italian. The first generation NSX was in production since 1990 till 2005 with minor changes. In 2006 NSX suffered a major redesign which is in production until nowadays by the same name, but the different meaning. The phrase “New Sports experience” literally describes second generation NSX.
Originally called Honda Ballade, this was the Honda’s way to make a small front-wheel drive compact car. With it’s 1,5 L engine it reportedly cruised over 70 miles per gallon (3,4L/100km). The design of the first and second generations are similar and very popular. CR-X homed many engine variants, from the first 1,3L with 58 HP to 1,6L 135 HP powerplant.
Redesigned in 1989, small CR-X even homed 1,6 VTEC engine, producing, even more, horses, in fact up to 140 which is enormous for the small car of that era. In 1992 Honda redesigned it again, adding the targa top, and called it CR-X del sol, which featured 170 HP VTEC. In a way, CR-X cemented Honda’s brand as a manufacturer of a small, strong and reliable cars, and affordable to the common citizen.
We need a sports coupe, they said. And they made it. First generation Prelude entered the market in 1978 and considered one of the oldest Honda brands. It was the first Honda model to offer moonroof as standard which became Prelude’s trademark.
The first generation was produced until 1982 and after the redesign, Prelude became much sharper and sportier car. Supplied with bigger engines and stronger transmissions which established its sports spirit for the next generation. And the second redesign of Prelude brought one of the most beautiful Honda’s ever. Third generation Prelude is mainly the reason for which it is on this list. In 1990 Honda released limited edition Si States Prelude equipped with a four-wheel steering and limited slip differential. Worth mentioning is that fourth generation Prelude was used as a Formula One safety car during 1994 Japanese Grand Prix.
After Mazda introduced its MX line of cars, Honda just had to reply. And it was one of the best roadsters ever hit the tarmac. The S2000 appeared in 1995 as a concept vehicle, and the commercial production started in 1999. The name came from its predecessors, S500, S600 and S800 marking the engine’s power. There are two official versions of S2000. AP1 produced till 2003 and facelifted AP2 from 2003-2009.
It was basically all the same engine in all versions, naturally aspirated straight 4CYL 16 valve VTEC, combined with a 6-speed manual gearbox. But still, one of the most beautiful roadsters from Japan. Surely deserves to be on the top 10 Hondas.
HONDA INTEGRA R-TYPE
Integra entered the market in 1985 as a sport orientated family coupe, passed trough a few changes till the end of its production in 2006. The really best from Integra came as the R type sports coupe derivated from the DC5 version of basic Integra. R-type Integra is a just beautiful coupe. Produced from 2001 till 2004 came with 4 cylinders i-VTEC 2,0L engine, which can generate up to 220HP.
As a standard equipment, it carries Recaro seats, Brembo front brakes, limited slip differential and modified exhaust system which makes it a real sports car. Added to all that is stiffer suspension which makes it more stable when cornering and a lot less slipping under the wheels. Also, the driver feels the track a lot better.
Affordable for a common buyer, Integra type R is one of the most popular „street racers“ in Japan, and a lot of racers actually improve it’s already good specifications, adding various parts for more power, better stability, even the nicer sound.
Trough five generations, Honda Legend got the status of the manufacturer’s flagship vehicle. Legend is sold all over the world, known by various names, Acura Legend, Acura RL, Acura RLX, Daewoo Arcadia and it’s maiden name Honda Legend.
Production started in 1985 and lasts until today. Legend is a mid-size luxury car powered by different engines trough generations, but it was always V6 24 Valve. Maybe the best known is second generation Legend, advertised by another real legend, American actor Harrison Ford. Legend introduced much of Honda’s innovations and new technologies, primarily due to fact that it served as a test platform for Honda NSX.
Legend is also produced as a coupe version, adding a real sports note to the brand. The fifth generation Legend is in production since 2014 and still producing today.
In fact, it is Honda Fit, but, it is better known under the name Jazz in Europe. Sounds better too. It is Honda’s way to make a small five-door hatchback. A classic town car with the engine placed at the front of the car and front-wheel drive, it’s primary role is to safely take your family all across the town. The production started in 2001, and until mid-2013, sales numbers almost reached 5 million units, making it one of the most popular Hondas, also, one of the safest too.
Trough its generations and variants, Jazz was powered by a variety of engines. It even got its hybrid variant in 2010. Honda even changed the placement of the fuel tank to the front of the vehicle in some variants, and the space gain at the rear was used as a cargo space when seats are folded. Honda’s officials said that was done do Jazz can compete with bigger family vehicles. It was also produced as RS version.
Jazz, or Fit, if you like it that way, deserved its place among the top 10 Hondas, primarily because it’s high sales numbers, popularity, and many interesting variants trough its redesigns. Still produced today, Honda Jazz is guaranteed a successful future.
Based on the Civic platform, CR-V is the first Honda SUV vehicle. Since the early production in 1995 until today, it remains one of the most popular too. Honda’s idea was to make a comfortable vehicle for all conditions, and they introduced the concept “anytime, anywhere, feel free and comfortable” and gave the name CR-V, meaning Comfortable Runabout Vehicle.
Engine and transmission variants were different trough time. From 2,0L petrol to 2,2L diesel, and 4, 5 and even 6-speed gearboxes.
One thing is there to say about CR-V, it really fulfilled its role, as a comfortable all terrain, all conditions vehicle. Small and reliable, can be used for many purposes, from a family car to a specialized vehicle. Interesting is the fact that Honda actually decided not to make too many versions of a car. They rather facelifted the actual model and did the right thing. In a way, CR-V established Honda as an SUV manufacturer, and that is the main reason why it deserved the place on the top 10 list.
If you’ve ever attended or participated in a discussion led by auto enthusiast, you could notice these debates are very similar to political discussions. Everyone pulls on their side, everyone has their favorites and it is almost impossible for participants to agree. The moment someone says “Honda Accord” everyone will agree that this car worth praise and there will be no lack of compliments. How Accord managed to unite car enthusiasts and to become “the best buy”?
When you think Honda, you mostly think Accord. One of Hondas best-known models. The production started 40 years ago, in 1976 and still lasts today. Accord was the first Japanese car to be produced in the USA in 1982. There are nine generations of Accord, countless versions and facelifts, and even race cars. In motorsport, Accord showed its teeth, winning the trophies all over the world. Less fast, but not less interesting common Accord also won many awards, 2013 Canadian car of the year, 2009 South African car of the year and so on.
There are some characteristics that almost every family car should have, but there are just a few models who accomplished that, and the Accord is one of those. Car length over 4.5 meters means that you and your family can travel comfortably, and the boot is big enough for all the suitcases. Due to quality production, Accord is cheap to maintain, except regular services, like oil changes and tires, you will rarely have a malfunction or a breakdown. Attractively designed, Accord scored many points. Although she is a bit of a sport, consumption remained pretty reasonable, which was also one of the reasons for the popularity.
Being a family sedan at first, Accord is a very comfortable car, even the legroom for the passengers at the rear seat is reasonably big. And one can get all of that for a pretty low price considering the vehicle’s category. In the period of 40 years of existence, Accord went trough many changes and variations from one generation to another. The first four generations were similar in terms of size and engine variants. Later generations were increasing engine power and size, in order to compete with the other manufacturer’s models.
No doubt. Civic is the most popular Honda ever to be produced. As the Accord, it is present since, almost forever, and from the first model in 1972 till nowadays, revolutionized not just Honda, but auto industry in all. First generation Civic was an instant sensation. The engine it featured was the revolution in Honda’s engine family. Fully aluminum, it had a maximum power of 54 HP. And the design originally started as a subcompact and growing to become a compact vehicle. In just four years of production, Civic managed to break the mark of one million sold units. Civic’s engine modifications were one of the main reasons which established Honda as one of the leading engine manufacturers in the world.
The sheer number of ten continuous generations tells that Civic is one indeed successful model. It would be too much to speak about each generation by itself, there is simply too many stuff to say. Countless engine variants, transmissions, and vehicle transformations.Civic was produced as a coupe, sedan, and hatchback. There are some very popular versions of civic called R-type and Si type, marking the sports performance variant of the vehicle. Honda Accord is also favorite tune up car, very easy to tune and modify. Also, since it was introduced, Civic is used in motorsport. Civics contested all over the world, a were pretty successful.
All over the world, Civic won many awards in terms of safety, and even car of the year awards. In 2005, Honda Civic EX became the international car of the year. A bigger recognition one vehicle can get. Until 2015, over 18 million Civics were sold worldwide. The number by itself tells how big this small car really is.
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