Buying Used Honda Cars: What You Should Know

If you’re in the market for a used Honda car, here’s everything to look out for…

Not everyone is able to buy a new car off the factory floor, and for those who still want a car of their own, the second-hand car market is the place to shop. And whether you’re shopping for an SUV, coupe, convertible, or sedan, a used car comes with its own risks. Choosing a brand that has a known reputation for being reliable, durable, and mechanically sound will go a long way to allaying some of your fears, and for this reason, Toyota and Honda vehicles are often at the top of shortlists for those seeking second-hand vehicles. 

Honda has been selling cars in the USA since the late 1950s and is best known today for producing reasonably-priced vehicles with reliable engines. The brand has a cult following for some of its performance cars and has even launched a pickup truck in recent times. But two of its best-selling vehicles remain the Accord and the Civic, and there are plenty available on the second-hand car market. Let’s have a look at a few things you should know if these are on your shopping list. 

Buying Used Honda Cars

Used Honda Civic

Older Civics have dominated used-car forums for ages, with owners noting that when looked after properly, these cars will go for hundreds of thousands of miles. The Civic can be had as a hatchback or a sedan, and the sport Type-R is beloved by enthusiasts for its incredible handling and dynamic driving feel.

The 9th-generation Honda Civic was produced between 2012 and 2015 and still holds its value today. The sedan versions have multi-link rear suspension that makes it a comfortable cruiser for everyday driving. And, while it’s not overly large in size, it offers generous interior space for passengers and their cargo. 

Some of the negatives noted by buyers include the liberal use of plastics inside the cabin, and in this generation, cloth and high-traffic plastics didn’t hold up particularly well over time, especially for cars left out in the sun. But that being said, these are still cars you can purchase at a relatively low price, maintain without having to take out a second mortgage, and you won’t be spending millions of dollars on a gas budget, either. 

If you’re trying to wade through the trims and options on the 9th-gen Civic, you’ll be happy to know that none of these need to be avoided for reliability reasons. We’d suggest you steer clear of the 2012 DX models, though, since these are rather barebones when it comes to standard features. They aren’t particularly high quality inside, either. Instead, look for an EX model from circa 2014 – it offers a higher power output, a sunroof, keyless entry, alloy wheels, climate control, and a CVT that is much better overall. These models came with a 1.8-liter inline-four engine that makes 143 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque and is paired to the CVT automatic gearbox.

If you want a performance-focused sedan, you’d be better off looking at the Si models, or if you’re not averse to smaller and more in-your-face, check out Type-R versions for the ultimate in hot hatch fun. 

Buying Used Honda Cars

Pre-Owned Honda Accord

The quintessential sedan, the 9th-gen Honda Accord is always a good choice for those needing a reliable transporter that can accommodate the kids and their school gear, too. When it comes to fuel economy, affordable maintenance, and a comfortable cabin for everyone, the Accord is hard to beat. 

Produced between 2013 and 2017, the 9th-gen Accord also offers a few of the more modern safety and convenience features in the latter part of its lifespan. While some negatives reported by owners include a less-than-ideal CVT transmission, flaky paint, and excessive oil use, the vast majority of reports indicate that this is a solid buy. With spacious back seats and a cargo area that can accommodate the monthly grocery run, the Accord is a good family hauler.  

There are three powertrain options throughout the 9th-gen Accord’s lifespan, starting with a 2.4-liter inline-four engine. A more powerful 3.5-liter V6 makes 278 hp and 252 lb-ft, while a 2.0-liter hybrid engine is also available, designed to keep gas mileage low. With an efficiency-minded setup, the hybrid version still manages a good sprint to 60 mph. The EPA also estimates that it manages 49/47/48 miles per gallon and a range of more than 700 miles per tank of gas. 

When you’re shopping the available models, however, you may be wondering which ones to avoid and which to seek out. The 2013 and 2014 model years had the unfortunate CVT gearbox though, and the V6 in the same era was known for being a bit of an oil glutton. As far as possible, we’d skip over 2013 – 2015 models as the versions that followed seemed to have ironed out some of the problems reported. 

The V6 after 2015 was a much better option and after the 2016 facelift, the EX-L trim offers a lot of value for money. 2017 models also come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, and all the benefits of available safety assists for that time. If you can find a manual version, you’d be scoring, because these are an excellent package, overall.

Buying Used Honda Cars

Before You Buy A Used Car…

Now that you’ve got some idea of which model Honda to look for, there are a few additional guidelines to consider whenever you’re shopping for a used car. Always take the following precautions before signing on the dotted line:

  •  Always go see the car yourself, as far as possible. Buying a car sight-unseen is a recipe for disaster and is the breeding ground for scammers.
  • Ask for a vehicle history and service report – avoid cars that have not been regularly maintained and don’t have a clean bill of health.
  • Check recall information with the NHTSA to make sure the model you’re wanting to buy has had all the relevant work done that may be required.
  • Take a professional with you if you’re unsure. For a small fee, a mechanic will be able to give your potential buy a good once-over to ensure you aren’t being done in. Picking up on mechanical issues ahead of time can save you money and hassle in the long run.
  • Test drive the vehicle in question and take your time running it through it’s paces. Check the infotainment system, keep an eye on dashboard warning lights, and take note of any funny sounds or smells as you drive. It should be running smoothly and without making smoke from the exhaust, too. 
  • Do your homework. Always do a bit of research on the car you’re intending to buy. Read a review or three to get an idea of what the ownership experience is like and what problems there are to look out for. Do a comparison between the car and some of it’s main rivals to be sure you’re getting the best deal.
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