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Honda Civic Type R 3/4 view

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.

Honda Accord side view

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 Insight front 3/4 view

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.

Honda Civic Type R 3/4 view

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 Vezel (Japanese HR-V) frontal view

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 Honda Pilot test mule

What’s Not

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.

Honda Fit side view

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.

Honda Civic front 3/4 view

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Nikola Potrebić
About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much.

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