Best Honda Car Models in the Philippines

Honda is one of the leading auto manufacturers that has a good arsenal of older-generation cars that can give other brand-new cars a run for their money. Here's a list of Honda models that have proven to be the cream of the crop.

If there's one thing that holds true for every Filipino car buyer, and every other buyer in the rest of the globe, it is the fact that everyone wants a quality vehicle. But with the overly numerous vehicle makers and models, it has become difficult to determine which ones are the best. And there's really no perfect answer, of course, to the question as to which car is the best since different buyers will have different preferences and will have varying interpretations of "quality".

While "quality vehicle" for some may mean high performance, to others it may mean a spacious interior, fuel economy, affordable price or loads of security and safety technology features. Longevity and reliability are also at the top of most car shoppers' lists. Also, car manufacturers will always strive to manufacture excellent quality cars; otherwise they will not last long in the market. Still, there will always be brands and models that will stand out. And many will agree, Honda cars would definitely be among them.

Honda History

Although it started off as a motorcycle company, Honda Motor Company, Ltd. has also been a trusted automobile brand globally for some time now, with its very-first automotive entry, the kei car truck Honda T360, introduced in 1963. Since then it has made a good name for itself in the automobile market. In 2019, Honda ranked fourth in the world's car brand ranking, following Ford, Volkswagen and Toyota, with only a 0.1% point gap between Ford.

In the company's 2019 fiscal year, Honda sold about 5.3 million automobile units worldwide, which, compared to 2018 was 124,000 more. Add to this the motorcycles which reached 20.3 million motorcycles in the same fiscal year. In terms of revenue, the Japanese conglomerate earned JPY 15.9 trillion in fiscal year 2019, a large part of which was generated from automobile sales. More than 40% of the car sales came from Asia, 37% from North America, at least 13.5% locally from Japan and the remaining 9.5% from the rest of the world.

In the Philippines, Honda may not be among the 5 top-ranking autocar manufacturers but it is in the top 10, at the 7th spot with a market share of 4.96% based on the numbers from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI).

Overall, in spite of the declining market, Honda ended 2019 with a positive note and strong sales.

The Best Honda Car Models

What spurs Honda to attain such success? The key is in its quality car offerings. The Honda Civic and Honda CR-V are iconic names worldwide and have been around for as long as many enthusiasts will remember. In the Philippines, there are four models that stand out: the Honda Civic and its EG hatchback, EK sedan/SiR and FD series trims, the first- to third-generation Honda CR-V, the first and second generations of the Honda Fit and the first and second generations of the Honda HR-V. Most Honda cars, even if they are already many generations older, still fetch a good price, because their engine and/or chassis alone are known to last. The Honda car models are also a favorite among tuners, who set up or modify their cars to look better and perform better.

Read on to know more about Honda's best-selling models, brand new or used, and see for yourself why they are the cream of the crop from among Honda's diverse car lineups.

Honda Civic

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Launched in July 1972, the first-generation Honda Civic was actually a subcompact sedan with two doors. In September of the same year a three-door hatchback variant was introduced, similar to the British Mini at that time, with a 1169cc transverse engine and a front-wheel drivetrain.

The Civic was fuel-efficient, environment friendly, and reliable, and it had been widely accepted, which led to more iterations and many more generations. There had been lots of major changes and redesigns that came with the generations, with the Civic having transformed into a larger, more upscale model, then later again becoming a compact car. Aside from reliability, fuel efficiency and environmental friendliness, the next-gen Honda Civics were also known for their sportiness and performance, especially the Honda Civic VTi, Civic Type R, Civic SiR/Si and Civic GTi.

It was during the second-generation 1980 models that the CVCC-design engine was introduced by Honda. By this time the car had become more angular in shape. A two-speed semi-automatic transmission, which was Honda's first-ever automatic transmission, was introduced along with four-speed manual and five-speed manual gearboxes.

In the third generation, a five-door "shuttle wagon" was introduced along with the coupe-style CRX. It was during this generation that the four-cylinder D series engine came around. The high-performance Honda Civic Si model with DOHC ZC engine was released in Japan, while a three-door Civic Si hatchback and the CRX Si variant with fuel-injected SOHC 12-valve engine was released in the United States. A different transmission 4WD engine was also introduced for the first time.

The fourth generation of the Honda Civic was enlarged a bit and its hood line dropped lower. Various models and variants were introduced including the Honda Civic SiR with a DOHC VTEC engine. The Special Edition Honda SE was also introduced. The entire fourth-gen of the Honda Civic all came with a fully independent rear suspension layout.

The iconic Honda model underwent more changes with every new generation after that. Fast forward to the tenth-generation Honda Civic, first launched in September 2015, the sedan is now based on the all-new Honda compact global platform with modern styling, technology and features.

There are five Honda Civic variants, which are the sedan, the 5-door hatchback, the coupe, and the sporty Si and Type-R trims. In the Philippines, the current models of the Honda Civic that are currently offered include the Honda Civic 1.8 E CVT, the Civic Type R 2.0 MT Turbo, the Civic 1.5 RS Turbo CVT, and the Civic 1.8 S CVT.

Because of the Honda Civic's proven durability and quality, the older models, even more than a couple of generations back, are still popular with used car buyers. It is reportedly one of the best-used Honda models to date.

Honda Civic EG Hatchback

The fifth-generation Honda Civic EG came out in 1992, with improved dimensions and has been designed with better aerodynamics versus the previous Honda Civic models. It initially was built in sedan and hatchback forms and was the first batch of Honda cars to sport Honda's VTEC technology.

The three-door hatchback with a front-engine front-wheel drivetrain setup comes in various D engine trims of 1.3L, 1.5L and 1.6L SOHC, DOHC, VTEC, VTEC SOGHC and VTEC DOHC, paired with either 1 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission.

The fifth-gen Civic were equipped with an engine displacement range varying from 1,343cc to 1,595cc which delivered between 74hp to 168hp of maximum power output. In the Philippines, the Honda Civic EG is actually what helped Honda gain a foothold in the country.

Honda EK Sedan

The Honda Civic EK is from the sixth generation of the widely popular model, which arrived in 1996. Unlike its fifth-generation Civic EG predecessor, it has a chunkier frame and is slightly larger.

More often than not, the Honda Civic is usually associated with the sixth-gen model. And it's not unusual because the Civic EK is still good-looking and capable even though it is already on its 25th year this 2020.

The first Civic EK was launched in Japan in September 1995 with a full range of variants: a three-door hatchback, a sedan and a coupe similar to the Civic EG. There were lots of firsts for this Civic lineup, most revolutionary, such as the continuously variable transmission (CVT), which was first fitted in the Japan-released variants, called the Multi Matic back then. The three-stage VTEC – or the VTEC 3 – engine, which was the future i-VTEC's predecessor, was also fitted in the Honda Civic EK range of cars.

Just like the Civic EG, three engine capacities were offered for the Honda Civic EK: 1.3L, 1.5L and 1.6L, but an all-wheel drive option was offered for selected variants. There were now three transmission options, with the addition of the Multi Matic CVT to the 4-speed automatic and 5-speed manual gearboxes. Space efficiency, cleaner engine technology and performance were the highlights of this generation of Honda Civic, even for the standard trim.

The engine displacements vary from 1,343cc to 1,994cc, which is bigger than the highest displacement for the Civic EG. The Honda Civic EK can deliver between 74hp to 182hp of maximum power output.

Honda Civic SiR

The iconic Honda Civic SiR, now on its 22nd year is a performance-oriented variant of the sixth-generation Civic EK. "Si" stands for "Sport Injected" which was a variant introduced in the third-generation Civic. The R is usually associated with Honda's performance cars and the four-door compact Civic SiR highlights performance, with its four-cylinder 1,595cc DOHC VTEC powertrain that could churn 160hp of maximum power output and 150Nm of peak torque. Topping this impressive mill are a double wishbone independent suspension setup and powerful disc brakes.

The Civic SiR has been fitted with features that distinguish it from the rest of the Civic EK family, such as an engine bay strut brace, a shift knob, a better stereo system and a red-stitched leather-wrapped steering wheel which is exclusive to the model.

Difference Between the Honda Civic EG and the Honda Civic EK

Though one generation apart, the two models are of the same subcompact family, with the same types of car forms. They both have been very popular and were highly "modded", from the exterior upgrades all the way to hydraulics upgrades and engine swaps.

The Honda Civic EG is lighter and smaller than the EK, though they are both comparatively meant for the C segment, with the Civic EG said to be more suitable for drag races, compared to the Civic EK. The latter, on the other hand, has more safety features.

For those looking to buy one of these models and can't decide, the parts of the Civic EG are reportedly cheaper and easily available.

Honda Civic FD Series

The eighth generation Honda Civic unwrapped in 2005 and went on sale the following year, with a four door-sedan Civic FD and a two-door Civic Si coupe. The Civic FD series has different powertrain variants made available to the global markets. In Asia and the Philippines, four FD variants were introduced. The Honda Civic FD1 sports a 1.8L 4-cylinder VTEC EFi mill while the FD2 a more powerful 2.0L DOHC i-VTEC K20 engine. The Honda Civic FD3 is a hybrid version run by a 1.3L VTEC EFi engine that works in tandem with a power-assisting electric mill paired with a standard automatic gearbox, while the Honda Civic FD4 has a middle-ranger 1.6L powerplant.

This 8th-gen Honda Civic FD series, aside from having an aerodynamic design, boasts of a good suspension layout, with front MacPherson Struts and rear independent double wishbone. Stopping power is provided by front ventilated discs and rear solid disc brakes.

The Honda CR-V

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There's another widely popular Honda vehicle aside from the Honda Civic, and similarly iconic, but a bigger vehicle: the auto manufacturer's entry to the compact SUV market, the Honda CR-V. With five generations in its impressive portfolio, the "Compact Runabout Vehicle," as its name acronym implies, has been running about since it came to market in the 1990s and capturing the hearts of many enthusiasts with its unique design.

The Honda CR-V is based on the Honda Civic platform; hence, it has a compact design, and is smaller than the other SUVs. Yet, it isn't lacking when it comes to tackling on-road and off-road capabilities, offering the best comfort and a pleasurable ride. Back then, seven-seater, pickup-based SUVs were just starting to gain traction and the CR-V had been a favorite.

In the Philippines, the Honda CR-V made its presence known in 1996, was well received, and has had a huge customer base, making it one of Honda Philippines' best-selling car models. Currently, it has been in the local market for over two decades.

As with the Honda Civic, many enthusiasts have grown to love the older generation vehicles. The first- generation to third-generation models were among the best iterations of this well-loved Honda SUV.

First-Generation Honda CR-V

Unveiled in 1995, the first make and model of the Honda CR-V was created by Honda's designers and engineers with the intention of proving the comforts of a sedan but with an added performance, that's why it was meant to be a five-seater. The first-gen CR-V's tailgate is a glass hatch that can be lifted upward a lower gate with a sideway opening. A 2L gasoline mill capable of up to 145hp of power output and 182Nm of torque is under the hood.

Second-Generation Honda CR-V

Both the exterior and interior of the second-generation CR-V was restyled to make for a spacious cabin, which at that time was the largest compared to other SUVs. Its cargo space can accommodate 527 liters worth of load. The boxy shape of the SUV was subtly replaced with curves, and there was a new look to the vehicle's front fascia, such as the bumper, grille and the headlights.

The same 2L engine from the first gen was carried over to the second generation, but a slightly bigger 2.4L i-VTEC engine variant was introduced. This powertrain is capable of 158hp maximum output and 220Nm of torque. For this generation, a European version of 2.2L diesel engine capable of 140hp and 340Nm of torque was also released.

Third-Generation Honda CR-V

A bigger Honda CR-V with a more aggressive styling was introduced for the third generation. It's a completely drastic change from the SUV's previous appearance and styling. This change was an effort by Honda to make the Honda CR-V move away from its compact image and challenge the other full-fledged SUVs. The front was once again redesigned, now with sweptback headlights, a reworked grille and a newly designed bumper. Other changes are apparent in the roofline and the wheel arches.

The same 2L or 2.4L engine could be seen under the hood, but the latter had a power boost with 168hp and 218Nm of torque.

The Honda Fit

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The Honda Fit, also known as the Honda Jazz in some markets including the Philippines, debuted as a five-door subcompact hatchback that's based on Honda's Global Small Car platform. Inside the seemingly small exterior is a roomy, comfortable cabin with unique seating configurations to make for a large cargo space for the Honda Fit. It features a forward fuel tank, which allows such seating configurations.

One of the hatchback's appeal is that it is highly versatile. The hybrid drive system that can be found in one of the Fit's variant is one of the best ones there is, delivering impressive fuel economy and low harmful emission.

First-Generation Honda Fit

The first generation of the Honda Fit hatchback was unveiled in Japan in 2001 and the reception was positive. It even received the 2001 Japan Car of the Year recognition and raked in lots of sales in the succeeding years.

The first-generation of the Fit sported a 109hp-producing, four-cylinder 1.5L VTEC valve-system-equipped engine. A 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic tranny sends the power output to the front wheels. A CVT option is also available.

Second-Generation Honda Fit

A restyled version of the Honda Fit was introduced in 2007, and it was marketed alongside the older generation until 2008. The exterior has had some major revisions and its dimensions changed – with an increase of 140mm in length, 50mm increase in wheelbase, and 20mm increase in width. The storage capacity was also improved. The shape of the second gen is more rounded, with taillights that are similar to the Civic SiR. Impressively, for the second time, the second-generation Honda hatchback won the Japan Car of the Year Award again.

Under the hood is a 1.3L, 100hp-producing engine paired with a CVT. Fuel efficiency is still the Fit's main highlights. An upscale "Road Sailing" (RS) variant sports a 1.5L engine, and features performance-related upgrades.

This second iteration comes with tech features such as a navigation system with 40-gigabyte hard drive is available, as is an outward-rotating driver's seat for even easier access.

Honda HR-V

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The Honda HR-V is a five-door compact crossover with the acronym HR-V standing for High-Rider Vehicle. While the crossover looks somewhat similar to the Honda CR-V and doesn't differ that much in price, the HR-V is a totally different package as it was built on a different platform with a different target audience.

First-Generation Honda HR-V

The Honda HR-V was built on Honda's supermini platform and was referred to as one of the earliest low- emission offerings of Honda, especially in terms of nitrogen oxide emission.

It was originally a concept vehicle that was introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1997, which came to fruition as a lightweight cross-country vehicle in 1998, and was distributed exclusively in Japan by Honda Verno. The crossover had become so popular that soon it was mass produced and was targeted at the younger demographic in 1999.

The HR-V European version came with a 1.6L D16W1 SOHC engine or the four-wheel drive (4WD) SOHC VTEC D16W5 engine with a CVT option. The 4WD system of the Honda HR-V was based on the CR-V, which employs a dual hydraulic pump rear differential. Its drive shafts and suspension setup were also enhanced.

From 1999 to 2003, the Honda CR-V featured three doors, along with a five-door variant, but in 2006, the 3-door version stopped production and only the five-door version was continued.

In 2002, the HR-V underwent cosmetic changes and its interior was upgraded. It had features such as pedestrian safety, which at that time was considered advanced, ABS brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), dual supplemental restraint system (SRS) airbags and other advanced features such as electric windows, electric mirrors, and heat-absorbing windows.

Second-Generation Honda HR-V

The second-generation of the Honda HR-V (also known as Honda Vezel in Japan) has various trims launched in different countries including Southeast Asia. In the Philippines, the subcompact crossover came to the local market in 2015.

In 2018, a facelifted Honda HR-V was released, with a new RS variant that features a blacked-out grille, new headlights and taillights and two-tone wheels.

Under the hood is the 1.8L Honda R18 engine – the very same one that runs the Honda Civic 1.8L trim. This naturally-aspirated engine can deliver 140hp of maximum power output and 172Nm of peak torque paired with Honda's Earth Dreams CVT and like most Honda car offerings, power is directed to the front wheels.

Conclusion

Factors such as safety, fuel economy, reliability, and expert driver impressions, among others are considered to identify highest-quality cars. On top of these, resale ratings and performance also play a large part. While other cars continue to depreciate as they grow old, there are some cars that driving enthusiasts just can't let go of.

Japanese brand Honda is known all over the world for its vehicles' reliability and longevity. This is evident just by looking around on the roads – you'll most likely see that the older cars going strong on the roads are Honda models, most likely the Honda Civic. This Honda model has proven to be a crowd favorite and is probably the most tuned and modified by car enthusiasts. Next in line is the Honda CR-V which is also time-tested to be a favorite model, brand new or used. Then there's the Honda Jazz or Fit and the Honda HR-V. These are highly reliable Honda cars, and with the right maintenance, they can go for hundreds of thousands of miles and you can still get good value if you resell them. If you're a buyer of used cars, a well-maintained used Honda car model can still serve you for years and give you good value for your money.