Picking the best Hondas is hard, but this is the definitive list

51w ago

Honda has a history of making sensible, reliable but also innovative, high-tech and hugely entertaining cars, so selecting just eight seems an impossible task when you start delving into old Honda-founder Soichiro’s goodies cupboard.

There should be shout outs for the first, fifth and eighth-generation Civics, third and fourth-gen Preludes, and my all-time favourite Accord — the third-gen 1985 edition with the pop-up lights and multiple body styles — all were handsome, but oh, that Aerodeck... And can we please have a standing ovation for the legend that is thee Legend, especially the first and second-gen cars? I’ve always wanted the coupe version of the latter.

But alas, these and more had to be put aside to make room for the definitive eight hottest Hondas ever:

8. 1966 S800

Japan’s MG Midget, the S800 was a follow up to the S600 two-seat roadster, but advanced the game by being the fastest sub-1.0-litre car at the time, despite only 70hp from its 800cc four-cylinder engine. That peak power was delivered at a lofty 8,000rpm and the little engine screamed on to 10,000. It was small, light and nimble, and it was very pretty.

7. 1991 Beat

It’s often suggested that another car on this list, the S2000, was the spiritual successor to the S800, but that assumption unfairly dismisses the genius of the Honda Beat. It may have had one cylinder fewer, but it produced similar power to the S800, also at around 8,000rpm and was essentially the same size and even weight. Still a two-seat roadster, it looked very different but no less cute.

6. 1998 European Accord Type R

Aside from the lightweight alloys, beefier front spoiler and rear wing, this looked like a regular European Accord, which had started to appear a little dowdy by this time. From behind the wheel though, it was something of an unstoppable road ninja. During a magazine group test years ago, I had immense fun troubling a Mercedes C43 AMG of the same era down some B-roads, despite a near 100hp power deficit to the German V8.

5. 1988 CRX

The first-gen was cool and the third was… well let’s not talk about that one. But this mark two version, with four-wheel double wishbone suspension, keen performance and vertical glass window in the lower tailgate, was an absolute gem thanks to its hugely engaging handling. I owned one and have always regretted selling it. Small and adorable with decent performance, especially from the later VTEC models, this little car is Honda cult classic.

4. 1999 S2000

Hailed as Honda’s 50th birthday present to itself, this was one special roadster, which has become something of an icon thanks to its high revving engine – renowned for producing the most power per cubic capacity (125hp per litre in this case) of any naturally aspirated engine. 250hp and rear-wheel drive occasioned reportedly tail-snappy handling, but I’ve driven several in my time, and never found them wayward. Charismatic and cool, these will become highly collectible.

3. 1995 Integra Type R (DC2)

Like a tin-top racer readied for the road, the crazed Honda Racing White Integra Type R (the only correct colour) was a riotous and raucous thing that terrorised other street racers of all ilks. It only had about 200hp but weighed around 1100kg and boasted a very stiff chassis and sports-tuned suspension. It was lauded as the best handling front-wheel drive sports car ever by notable automotive journals.

2. Civic Type R

All Honda Civic Type R models are awesome hot hatches, make no mistake. In my experience the 2001 EP3 was ferocious fun to drive, and the 2007 European FN2 was the most sensational in styling. Whilst the current 2017 FK8 is not necessarily the most cohesive design, and foregoes the traditional Type R, live-on-the-limiter, screamy style of power delivery for more turbocharged potency, its utter solidity, unshakeable composure and shocking speed make it the zenith of the Type R genre so far, and frankly one of the greatest all-round Hondas ever.

1. 1991 NSX

The original 1991 Honda NSX was touched by the hand of God. Also known as racing legend Ayrton Senna, and that’s close enough, as by his own testimony he would feel he was touched by the presence of God when racing. What Honda achieved with its beautiful hand-built Ferrari-beater can never be overstated. It was a seriously quick and exciting supercar that could be driven daily and had no time for tantrums. Drive one even today and its handling, its grip and its performance still shames many modern machines. It remains Honda’s finest hour.

Honda dust caps

If you're considering one of these Hondas you already have impeccable taste and presumably an eye for the details, too. So why not add the icing to your (mostly) VTEC-powered cake with these Honda dust caps that'll make you the envy of your Honda-driving friends.

Join In

Comments (46)

  • I opened the article just to make sure that NSX is #1...was not disappointed.

    Great list. I really like the Beat; such an underrated car

      11 months ago
  • Where is the Civic Ek9 Type R? This is the best civic model.

      11 months ago
  • I am so glad the new NSX isnt here. In my opinion, the ‘91 NSXR is better than the MK2. Yes it is the pop ups.

      11 months ago
  • All great cars but one of my favourites is missing from your list, the Prelude

      11 months ago
  • If you did a Honda Top 10 list, which two would you add? Mine would add the first gen Honda Insight. Amazing technology for the day, 900kg, very aerodynamic, and use of titanium and carbon fibre!

      11 months ago
    • Really good question. In fact I did have the Insight on my shortlist initially, along with several others that I allude to in the intro. Thanks!

        11 months ago
    • Great article. I agree w your intro comments. I'd add the Gen 1 Honda Legend to my Top 10. Also didn't know it came in a coupe version later. My bro worked for Honda and had a company Legend to drive. Regret not ever going for a drive in it

        11 months ago