Best Bang For Your Buck With Honda Used Cars
A Review of the Best Honda Used Cars
Published February 12, 2018
With the average price of a new car closing in on the $40,000 mark, used cars are making sense for more and more people. Honda used cars are among the hottest selling units in North America for many reasons. The primary reason that so many people want to buy a used Honda is that all Honda products are well built and have earned a reputation for long-term reliability. Then there is the matter of tech, safety, and comfort options available from the automaker. Rounding out the list is the excellent ride quality and engaging driving experience offered by many Honda used cars.
With so many positives to recommend Honda used cars,, it can be hard to decide which is the best option for you. To help you narrow your search for your next car, we thought we would build a list of the best Honda used cars. Read on for what we think are the best used Honda cars that offer a perfect mix of reliability, affordability, and style.
2011-2015 Honda Civic
The Civic is probably the car most synonymous with Honda. Most people picture a Civic in their mind’s eye when someone mentions Honda used cars. In fact, we’d bet you probably did when you read the title of this article.
The Honda Civic is currently in its tenth generation, so there are plenty of used Honda Civics to be found. We narrowed our selection to the coupes built between the 2011 and 2015 model years to keep them in an affordable price range while offering a fairly recent model. We did not dip back to the pre-2011 units because the eighth generation suffered from some seriously drab styling. We are recommending the coupe for styling reasons as well…the Civic just looks better as a two-door.
On top of improved styling, the ninth generation Honda Civic coupe is equipped with a 1.8L I4 engine that offers up 143 hp and 129 lb-ft of torque. Depending on the model year, the Civic can be equipped with a five-speed manual transmission, a five-speed automatic, or a CVT. The CVT became the standard gearbox after the 2014 model year. The Civic is available in several trim levels, but we recommend the EX because it offers the best mix of affordability and comfort. With the EX trim, a Honda Civic Coupe will be equipped with 16-inch wheels, automatic headlights, keyless ignition and entry, a sunroof, a center touchscreen display, an HDMI interface, and an upgraded sound system.
2008-2012 Honda Accord
Honda has been building the Accord for more than 20 years. The Accord entered its tenth generation with the introduction of the 2018 model, but we think the eighth generation offers the mix of affordable pricing and reliability our readers are looking for in Honda used cars. Because we are recommending an older version of the Accord, you can find these used cars in the top trim levels without taking a huge hit to your wallet.
The top trim level available in the eighth generation Accord sedan is the EX-L. This trim level gets you power front seats, leather upholstery, heated front seats, 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, a 2.4L engine capable of 190 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, an upgraded sound system with satellite radio, a rearview camera, and an optional navigation system. The EX-L trim also had an option for a 3.5L V6 engine, giving drivers added power and driver seat memory settings.
2012-2016 Honda CR-V
Before the introduction of the Honda HR-V for the 2016 model year, the CR-V was the only compact crossover SUV the automaker offered in North America. The CR-V is one of the most versatile Honda used cars around; offering comfort and style in a well-designed skin.
We are mentioning the fourth generation Honda CR-V because it is a redesign over the previous gen cars, but is still affordable enough to fit most budgets. The models equipped with the EX trim package offer a near perfect mix of comfort, tech, and price. For example, a 2016 Honda CR-V EX adds a host of upgrades to the standard equipment found in the lower trim levels including: automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, a sunroof, fog lights, keyless entry and ignition, a power driver seat, heated front seats, LaneWatch (a blind spot monitoring system with a camera to show your passenger-side blind spot), a touchscreen with HondaLink, and a rearview camera.
2009-2015 Honda Pilot
The Honda Pilot is the largest SUV the automaker offers in North America. Technically classed as a mid-size crossover, the Pilot is based on the same platform as the Acura MDX. The Pilot entered its third generation for the 2016 model year. We are putting the second generation of the Pilot on our list of the best Honda used cars for two reasons. First, the second gen is larger than the first gen units, allowing seating for up to eight passengers. Second, the second gen generally offers the right mix of reasonable mileage, affordability, and modern amenities that our readers deserve.
The second generation Honda Pilot is offered in four trim levels. The EX level offers a solid mix of affordability, safety, and comfort. For example, a 2015 Honda Pilot EX can be equipped with keyless entry, 18 inch wheels, tri-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, sliding and reclining second row seating, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a large display screen, and a sound system that includes a CD player, auxiliary jack, and iPod/USB interface. The EX also adds body-colored mirror caps and door handles instead of the black used in lower trim packages, automatic headlights, a power driver seat, and optional AWD. If you want a few more features, you can step up to the SE(a new trim level in 2015) to add a sunroof, a third row entertainment system, and satellite radio.
Honda does have one other used mid-size SUV offering in the form of the Honda Element, but we are not recommending it for several reasons. Topping the list is the Element’s lack of power. The best engine available is a 2.4L I4 that offers 165 hp and 160 lb-ft of torque. That is plenty of power in a sedan, but not in a mid-size SUV. In addition to the lack of power, the Element is consistently denigrated for its poor ride quality and loud cabin. It is cheaper than other Honda used cars for a reason!
2013-2015 Honda Crosstour
The Honda Crosstour was built over a six model year period and encompassed a single generation. We are recommending just three model years because they represent the short period after a mild facelift that improved the overall quality of the Crosstour.
The Honda Crosstour is classed as a mid-size SUV like the Pilot but smaller, offering just two rows of seating and about 50 cu-ft. less space than a same-year Pilot. As part of the 2013 model year refresh, Honda boosted the power coming from the available 3.5L EarthDream V6 engine while improving its fuel efficiency. This is the same engine found in the heavier Pilot and allows the Crosstour to be more responsive to the accelerator. The Crosstour is available in two trim levels. Buyers are best-served by choosing the EX-L level to get the V6. A Honda Crosstour EX-L with the V6 motor is equipped with 18-inch wheels, keyless entry and ignition, a rearview camera, Honda’s LaneWatch blind spot monitoring system, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats, Bluetooth connectivity, leather upholstery (heated in the front), forward collision and lane departure warning systems, and satellite radio. Original buyers had the option to add a voice-activated hard drive-based nav system.
All Model Years of the Honda CR-Z
The Honda CR-Z has the quirkiest styling of the Honda used cars on our list. It is also the greenest Honda used car available in North America and is rated as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) by the California Air Resources Board. Well, arguably the Honda Insight could be greener, but it is nowhere near as much fun to drive.
Honda built the CR-Z for the 2010 through 2016 model years. The CR-Z was powered by a hybrid drive system throughout its production run. The system combines a 1.5L SOHC i-VTEC gasoline engine and an MF6 electric engine. The result is a powerplant that offers a combined 130 hp and 140 lb-ft of torque. The standard gearbox is a six-speed manual, but a CVT is optional. We would recommend buying a unit with the manual transmission for the added driving experience. If driven properly, a CR-Z with a manual transmission is capable of nearly 40 mpg on the highway.
We strongly recommend stepping into the top trim level, the EX-L, for this two-seater. You will be able to keep your cost under 20K and you get keyless ignition and entry, full power accessories, a rearview camera, automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, a touchscreen display, automatic xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and LED foglights, heated mirrors, Honda’s Lane Watch blind-spot monitoring system, heated leather upholstery, and a satellite nav system.
While we are talking about used Honda sports cars, we have to mention the Honda S2000. The S2000 could be the least known of all the Honda used cars available anywhere in the world. Well known or not, the S2000 is an impressive sports car.
The S2000 was discontinued after the 2009 model year, so it lacks some of the most modern tech. Trust us, you will not miss it. The Honda S2000 is available in two trim levels, but there is really only one option for buyers…the top CR (Club Racer) trim package. A base S2000 is equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, leather upholstery, full power accessories, air-conditioning, and a CD player. The CR trim is track focused and it loses 100 lbs compared to the base model. The weight loss is achieved by removing the air conditioner, sound insulation, and using a removable aluminum hardtop rather than the power soft drop top found in the base models. The CR level also adds aerodynamic spoilers, dark gray wheels, wider rear tires, a tuned suspension, improved steering ratio, and a beefier exhaust note.
2009-2014 Honda Ridgeline
Rounding out our list of the best Honda used cars is the Ridgeline. The Ridgeline was built between the 2006 and 2014 model years, then reintroduced for the 2017 model year. All model years of the Ridgeline make for dependable Honda used cars; however, due to comfort and power upgrades, the 2009-2014 trucks are better options.
By 2014, the Ridgeline was available in five trim levels. The RTS trim offers a near perfect balance of price and comfort, though. You can expect to find a Ridgeline RTS equipped with 17 inch alloys, a power-sliding rear window, a rearview camera, automatic dual-zone climate control, power accessories, a power driver’s seat, steering wheel mounted audio controls, and an upgraded audio system with a six-CD changer.
There are several Honda used cars that are conspicuously missing from our list. The Insight, Fit, and HR-V come to mind. There are varying reasons for that. The Insight and Fit do not hold up well enough to make make viable long term used car options, especially for the price they still command. The HR-V has only been around for three model year, so its durability has not been truly tested yet. It is a Honda, so it isn’t much of a stretch of the imagination to think it will be on future lists of the best Honda used cars available.
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