What’s Hot And What’s Not in the 2019 Honda Lineup
What to Buy and What to Stay Away From When it Comes to Honda in 2019
Honda is the second largest Japanese car manufacturer in the U.S. behind Toyota, with 1,486,827 vehicles sold during 2017 compared to their arch rival’s 2,129,177 units. Despite the wide gap between the two brands, Honda’s result is more than admirable since they spent a larger part of the last decade without offering a competitive pickup truck whereas Toyota had two. Even the latest-generation Ridgeline doesn’t add all that much to division’s overall result with 23,667 and 34,749 units sold during 2016 and 2017 respectively. Moreover, Honda’s U.S. sales have been on the rise constantly since 2011 when they marketed a record-low 21st-century figure of 1,023,986 vehicles. MY 2019 should bring about another good yield for the brand as the 2019 Honda lineup promises to be even more exciting than years gone by.
Although the Japanese automaker’s U.S. lineup is designed to be utilitarian and not overly exciting, there are still a few models that are more appealing than others. Not like these iconic Honda JDM models, but still inspiring enough. The Honda Civic Type R is definitely among them, and one can’t forget about the second-generation Acura NSX either. Yet, with the third decade of the 21st century lurking around the corner, the emphasis is usually on high-efficiency and zero-emission vehicles. Honda is no different in that respect, hence some of the most interesting 2019 Honda cars will fit that description perfectly. A few other 2019 Honda models will be refreshed or redesigned, while a number of them continue on mostly unchanged. Here’s what to expect from the most prominent 2019 Honda vehicles.
What’s Hot In the New 2019 Honda Lineup
2019 Honda Accord
Not only was the new tenth-generation Honda Accord fully redesigned for MY 2018, but it went on to win the 2018 North American Car of the Year accolade at the same time. One of the most popular sedans in the U.S. saw a radical decrease in sales in 2017 compared to one of the better recent years in 2014 (322,655 units compared to 388,374 units respectively), and a generation shift complemented by the aforementioned award should help steer it right back to the path the Japanese have intended for it. The 2019 Honda Accord should only build upon the inaugural tenth-gen model’s success without changing the overall layout.
The new Honda Accord sports a duo of turbocharged inline-four engines. The base unit is a 192-horsepower 1.5L turbo four, whereas the more powerful engine boasts 252 ponies and a 2.0L displacement. The former is tied to a CVT gearbox, while the latter gets an all-new 10-speed auto transmission. Moreover, both can be paired with an optional 6-speed manual as well. The ride is smooth and composed, interior room is as abundant as the available features list and efficiency has been improved. Overall, the new Accord is one of the best family sedans on the market, but there’s still one major obstacle it has to beat: the new Toyota Camry. Although upgraded compared to the outgoing model, the new Camry still doesn’t feel as exciting as the new Accord. Despite that, Camry’s early 2018 sales easily beat corresponding Accord figures for one important reason: the Camry’s early 2018 incentives amounted to $2,900 a car whereas Honda’s incentives averaged only $1,200 per Accord.
2019 Honda Insight
The Insight is to Honda what the Prius is to Toyota. Despite being the very first hybrid car on sale in the U.S. market (7 months prior to Prius), the Insight never managed to garner the same type of following among prospective hybrid car buyers that the Prius has. The Insight’s fortune went downhill after its total sales slid into a four-digit region in 2012. Despite the second-generation Insight’s production being ceased after 2014, the remaining units were still being sold well into 2017, although only 3 of them found their new homes early that year. The next-gen Insight aims to bring a breath of fresh air into the Honda lineup and reverse the hybrid car’s fortune altogether. Unveiled at the 2018 New York auto show, the 2019 Honda Insight promises fuel economy of up to 55 mpg in the city in a modern shell that slots between the Civic and Accord.
Purists will be glad that the next-gen Insight is purely American-made, including the engine and battery. Speaking of which, the 2019 Honda Insight draws power from a 1.5L 4-cylinder gasoline engine working on an Atkinson cycle, dual electric motors (one geared to the engine itself and the other tied to the differential), and a lithium-ion battery pack of still undisclosed size. Total system output is rated at 151 horsepower and 197 lb-ft of torque. As mentioned above, the new Insight should be able to return up to 55 mpg in the city and around 50 mpg combined. The dedicated hybrid sedan will be available come Summer 2018, and the price range is still to be disclosed. While details are still a bit sparse, we can certainly say that this is the most attractive take on the Insight to date and we’d bet money that there will be some early adopters followed by a steady stream of buyers – assuming Honda gets the interior and underpinnings right. Hopefully, she’s not just a pretty face.
2019 Honda Civic Type R
Despite running basically unchanged since 2017, the 2019 Honda Civic Type R is a no-brainer for any list of hot and recommendable Honda models. The perennial hot hatch is currently in its fifth generation, and although dealers are charging absurd markups of up to 90 percent for it, the only Type R model available at the moment is selling like hotcakes. Thing is, their number is limited to 6,000, and dealers are using that fact to their advantage. What’s more, most dealers will never even have them in stock. It’s no surprise then that dealers are having a field day whenever someone decides to buy one. But is the Honda Civic Type R worth paying $10,000, $20,000, or even $30,000 above the MSRP sticker of $33,900? There’s no real answer to that question.
The latest-generation Civic Type R sports a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine developing 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. A considerable amount of power that’s capable of propelling the 3,111-pounder to 60 mph from a standing start in 4.9 seconds. The Civic Type R also maxes out at 170 mph and does a quarter-mile in 13.5 seconds. Yet, despite its wild figures, the Type R is almost as civil as any other conventional Civic. It’s extremely comfy, boasts exquisite handling, and offers a wide array of standard features that compact hatchbacks otherwise only get in top trims. The Honda Civic Type R also offers something called Dual Axis, which is basically a front-strut suspension that eliminates unwanted torque steer. Overall, the Civic Type R is currently one of the best Honda vehicles around and well-worthy of a recommendation. Not at $60,000, though.
2019 Honda HR-V
The smallest of Honda’s crossovers hasn’t been properly modernized since its introduction during MY 2016. Considering how competitive the subcompact and compact crossover markets are at the moment, MY 2019 is just about right time for Honda to address this issue. Incidentally, that’s exactly what they’re planning on doing. The Japanese have recently unveiled the refreshed Honda Vezel, which is nothing other than the HR-V’s clone available on their domestic market. The refreshed Vezel sports a restyled grille and new LED headlights up front, while a new set of 10-spoke wheels graces its corners. More importantly, it finally gets the Honda Sensing Suite which consists of advanced safety gear such as a lane keeping assist, a collision mitigation braking system, and a road departure mitigation system. Considering how destitute the HR-V currently is in this regard, the introduction of this advanced safety set is more than welcome.
The powertrain lineup for the HR-V’s overseas sibling hasn’t been revised, on the other hand. This likely means that the 2019 Honda HR-V is set to continue with its current 1.8L 4-cylinder engine that delivers up to 141 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque. What it lacks in power, the small inline-four fails to make up for in fuel efficiency. Up to 28 mpg combined with a 6-speed manual gearbox and 31 mpg with a CVT are definitely far from class-leading figures. Still, the addition of desperately-needed advanced safety systems and a mild facelift should be enough to further drive the interest in this quirky little crossover which has been attracting more and more buyers with each year it’s been on the market.
2019 Honda Pilot
Although first introduced in 2002, the current Honda Pilot crossover is an entirely different vehicle than its boxy predecessors. Introduced for MY 2016, the third-generation Honda Pilot is certainly more appealing to the general public, and sales figures reflect that. A total of 127,279 units sold during 2017 maybe isn’t the best result Pilot has ever recorded, but the first quarter of 2018 is projecting an increase of almost 40 percent as things stand right now. And that’s a pre-facelift year for the Pilot, which is scheduled for a mid-term revision during MY 2019. The 2019 Honda Pilot mules have already been caught testing and, as you’d expect, they sport a concealed frontal fascia. Incidentally, that’s also the only concealed part of the Pilot test mule which means the changes will be kept to a minimum. A reasonable decision on Honda’s part considering the Pilot has just begun warming up, sales-wise.
The biggest change should be happening under the Pilot’s hood. A hybrid option will finally be offered alongside a similar offering in the Odyssey minivan. The setup will likely be taken from the Accord hybrid which sports a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine backed by an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack. Total system horsepower amounts to 212 ponies, but the Pilot might require more than that. Otherwise, the conventional lineup of 2019 Honda Pilots features a 3.5L V6 engine as the sole offering. The internal combustion unit is good enough for 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy of up to 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway with an optional 9-speed auto transmission is far from being class-leading, but that’s exactly where the aforementioned hybrid model should work its miracles.
2019 Acura NSX
The Acura NSX is arguably among the top 100 most exciting things that ever came out of Japan. What’s more, unlike the Nissan Skyline, the Eunos Cosmo, fried chicken vending machines and Hitomi Tanaka, among other things, we actually get to enjoy the numerous qualities of the Acura NSX here in the U.S. The Japanese supercar returned in 2016 after a decade-long hiatus, and it looks better than ever even after two years without any major changes. As of yet, nothing new has been confirmed for the supercar going forward, so we can safely expect another carefree year for it. Considering how good it looks, we wouldn’t take it any other way. The only major change in the lineup might be the upcoming NSX Roadster, but a topless version of the Japanese icon still hasn’t been officially confirmed for MY 2019.
Like its predecessor, and like most Japanese sports cars for that matter, the second-gen NSX also sports a V6 engine. Only this time, its 3.5L V6 unit gets help from two turbochargers and no less than three electric motors (two at the front axle and one at the rear). Total system horsepower comes to a whopping 573 horsepower which is enough to propel the NSX to 191 mph and to a 0 to 60 mph time in just 3.1 seconds. True supercar figures without a doubt, and the future promises better performance still. The base price of almost $160,000 will likely inflate as well, but not for MY 2019.
2019 Acura RDX
Apart from the aforementioned NSX, Acura’s lineup consists solely of luxury sedans and crossovers. One such crossover is the CR-V-based RDX which is switching to an all-new architecture that’s allowed it to grow in size. Despite wearing the Acura badge, with north of 50,000 units sold each year between 2015 and now, RDX is clearly one of the most important Honda vehicles overall. The 2019 Acura RDX serves as a vanguard for the new third-generation, and apart from being bigger (especially in terms of cargo room), it also looks better than the outgoing model thanks, in no small part, to the hallmark beak grille’s retirement. The new model boasts more than 50 percent high-grade steel in its construction but still doesn’t gain on weight. It also sports a strut front and multilink rear suspension, alongside optional active dampers for a smooth ride worthy of a luxury car.
When it comes to the powertrain, the 2019 Acura RDX is returning to its roots by ditching its second-gen V6 setup and incorporating a first-gen turbocharged inline-four unit. The engine in question displaces 2.0L, and yields more than healthy 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. It also promises better fuel economy – especially considering it’s tied to an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission. The surprises don’t end there, for all RDX models are set to come with a standard power panoramic sunroof and AcuraWatch safety bundle which includes automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, road-departure mitigation, and forward-collision warning. With all of the aforementioned in mind, the new RDX promises to become one of the premier compact luxury crossover options on the market.
2019 Honda Fit
The funky subcompact that damn-near everyone loves is driving a healthy chunk of Honda’s sales traffic, but yearly numbers for 2017 have fallen below the 50,000 mark for the first time since 2012. Despite that, the mid-cycle facelift is still not on Honda’s mind. That said, the 2019 Honda Fit will become one of the more outdated Honda cars on the market, given it’s running basically unchanged since 2014. It’s still arguably the top choice among subcompacts, as the Fit boasts simply unbeatable practicality, great highway fuel efficiency, and an impressive level of safety gear. However, its position as the best choice among small hatchbacks can’t be retained by passivity – innovation drives sales, and the Fit may be getting too comfortable with the status quo this year.
Then there’s the issue of a slow-accelerating 1.5L 4-cylinder engine. Good enough for 130 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque, the inline-four takes more than 8 seconds to reach 60 mph from a standing start. Not that city cars were built for speed, but a bit more juice would have done wonders with the 2,551-pound Fit. At least those are the figures with a less-efficient 6-speed manual option. The available CVT gearbox improves fuel economy at a cost of 2 hp and 1 lb-ft of torque, and it throws in droning as a bonus. How exciting.
2019 Honda Civic
Honda Civic sales are growing steadily with each passing year, and after spending the early 2010s in the low 200,000 region, they’ve reached an imposing figure of 377,286 in 2017. However, one of the best compact cars on the market (Honda really nails the small cars segment, don’t they?) hasn’t been properly refreshed since the tenth-generation model made its debut in late 2015. The 2019 Honda Civic will likely be the last pre-facelift model, but it’s worth noting that this will be its fourth year as such. In other words, if you’re really aiming to buy a Civic (and no one is saying you shouldn’t – it’s a great compact car), you might want to consider sitting this one out and waiting for the 2020 model to arrive.
Comfy, practical, and efficient, the Civic still ticks all the important compact car boxes even as it is. Powertrain lineup is up-to-date as Civic offers a couple of 4-cylinder options that are unlikely to change anytime soon. Base models get a 2.0L naturally aspirated unit that develops 158 hp and 138 lb-ft of torque, while upper echelons benefit from a more powerful 1.5L turbocharged mill delivering 174 hp and either 167 or 162 lb-ft of torque depending on a choice of transmission. The higher output is, naturally, courtesy of a 6-speed manual gearbox, while the lower one comes as a result of opting for the CVT. The CVT gearbox doesn’t come without its upsides though, as models fitted with one manage to return up to 32 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway.
2019 Acura ILX
The compact luxury ILX is practically the fourth Honda Civic-based car on this list which speaks a lot about the Japanese automaker’s lineup. Aside from the Civic Type R and conventional Civic itself, the latest addition to the Honda lineup, the Insight, also shares the compact car’s platform. The Acura ILX was first unveiled in 2012 and a mid-cycle refresh ensued in 2016. The compact luxury sedan is now seriously beginning to show its age as pretty much every single one of its 20 or so rivals on the market beat it in an overall comparison. Yet, the Japanese are apparently letting it enter the MY 2019 unchanged since anything tangible about its possible redesign is yet to be confirmed.
Considering how it trails its competitors in pretty much every segment imaginable, prospective Acura ILX buyers will be happy to know it’s at least more affordable than most of them. It also offers – impressive for a luxury compact – 35 mpg on the highway, courtesy of a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine and an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission combo. Together, they raise 201 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque which is no slouch, but the ILX’s extremely dull handling ruins the picture completely. Of all Honda and Acura models you might want to consider buying or avoiding, this one would definitely be the one to avoid.
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