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Honda is better known in the United States for making reliable sedans like the Civic and Accord, but the firm actually got its start making motors to attach to bicycles shortly after World War II. From there, the company moved onto producing motorcycles before eventually using a motorcycle motor to power
its first four-wheel vehicle, a compact truck called the T360. Honda has continued on successfully as one of the world's leading manufacturers and was the first of the three big Japanese companies to launch their very own separate luxury division; Acura. Honda is the world's largest engine manufacturer making units for everything from their own range of cars, to lawn mowers, boats and stand-alone generators. Honda is rarely flashy, and can't touch Toyota globally or domestically. Also, its reputation for longevity and reliability has slipped in recent years. But it remains a strong player.
The Civic is Honda's most important nameplates, and is thus offered in a variety of models. Civic Sedans are available with a variety of four-cylinder engines including hybrid and Natural Gas powertrains. Two-Door Coupe Civics are available with the regular four-cylinder, or a high-revving unit in the Si model. Honda's flagship Accord is also available in Coupe and Sedan bodies with I-4 or V6 motors, and a new Plug-In Hybrid powertrain. A new Civic was launched in 2012, and was so widely panned that Honda had to do a total refresh for the following year. This followup got much better reviews. The Accord, Honda's other mainstay, remains a reliable choice and is one of the best-selling cars in the U.S. A hybrid version gets 40-plus MPG.
Sport-Hybrid sounds like an oxymoron, but that's exactly what the CR-Z two-door hatch aspires to be. It's also one of the rare consumer car that pairs a manual transmission with a hybrid drivetrain. The Insight is Honda's other purpose-built Hybrid with a Priu- like five-door hatch body for maximum aerodynamic efficiency and plenty of space for five passengers. Honda also released a Hydrogen Powered EV called the FCX clarity, though this car is only available in very limited quantities in specific regions. Also available as a full electric vehicle is the peppy Fit compact hatch, but if the 82-mile range Fit EV isn't adequate, the standard gas-powered model is still available.
Aside from the CR-V crossover, Honda is still relatively new to the SUV game. The Accord based Crosstour features controversial styling, but has its fans. The Pilot is a large family hauler, offering offers familiar Honda ergonomics and reliability, but more space and capability than the rest of the lineup. Honda also makes a unique pick-up truck, the Ridgeline, that's half truck, half SUV. It's not as tough as some of its American competition, but it offers practicality and clever packaging that makes it almost impossible to compare to anything else on the road.
In the dwindling minivan market, Honda continues to innovate with the newest iteration of the Odyssey, a strong rival to Chrysler's Town See more... See Less