Honda a Good First Car? (Accord, CRV, Fit, Prelude +8 More)

Honda’s lineup covers just about every type of vehicle that fits any lifestyle.

The wide selection of affordable and reliable vehicles is excellent news for first car shoppers.

is honda a good first car

Generally: Are Hondas Good First Cars?

Honda vehicles have a stellar reputation for reliability and quality.

Hondas typically have above-average fuel economy and are safe and reliable, making them excellent first cars – new or used.

Consumer Reports ranked Honda #6 out of 28 automakers in their 2021 reliability survey.

Plus, Car Edge placed Honda third in their least expensive brands to maintain ranking, behind only Toyota and Mitsubishi.

Specific Honda Models:

Most Hondas make good first cars.

#1 Is a Honda Accord a Good First Car?

The Accord is a front-runner for first-time and seasoned car shoppers wanting excellent value for money.

The Honda Accord is a well-rounded midsize sedan and an outstanding first car:

  • Class-leading fuel economy – from high-20s to low-30s mpg combined, depending on the model year; the mileage is as good as a midsize sedan can return.
  • Impeccable reliability – one of the most reliable, and consistently so over the years.
  • Affordable price – plus, you get a lot for the money.
  • Inexpensive maintenance – second only to the Toyota Camry.
  • Excellent visibility – decent headroom and narrow roof pillars all around help.
  • Sporty handling – midsize sedans do not have to be unexciting.
  • A laundry list of safety aids – the provision varies with the model year, but Accords are typically well-equipped from the safety viewpoint.
  • Structurally safe – Accords typically score well in IIHS and government crash tests.
  • High practicality – spacious cabin and cargo for a midsize.
  • Excellent ride comfort – good for short and long drives.

The Honda Accord – alongside the Mazda 6 – is one of the few in the segment that is competitively priced yet has above-average engine power that is fuel-efficient and fun to drive.

Plus, the approximately $400 per year maintenance cost is well below the average of $526 per year for midsize cars.

If you’re opting for a newer or the latest Accord, going with the Accord Hybrid doesn’t cost you more than a couple of thousand dollars but gains you more than 10 mpg in combined driving.

Which Accord Year Is the Best First Car?

Table Guide:

  • Safety (IIHS): 1 (poor) to 4 (good); IIHS tests average.
  • Safety (NHTSA): 1 (poor) to 5 (safest); NHTSA overall.
  • Fuel Economy: mpg city/highway/combined (base; auto).
  • Reliability: /100; higher = fewer problems (JD Power).
  • Complaints: total reported problems (CarComplaints).
Model YearSafety (IIHS)Safety (NHTSA)Fuel Econ.ReliabilityComplaints
2022 Accord4/45/530/38/3383/100
2021 Accord4/45/530/38/3383/100
2020 Accord4/45/530/38/3382/10011
2019 Accord4/45/530/38/3382/10033
2018 Accord4/45/530/38/3382/100235
2017 Accord4/45/527/36/3083/10098
2016 Accord4/45/527/37/3184/100256
2015 Accord4/45/527/37/3182/100168
2014 Accord4/45/527/36/3082/100365
2013 Accord3.8/45/527/36/3083/100580
2012 Accord4/45/523/34/2782/100237
2011 Accord3.7/45/523/34/2783/100203
2010 Accord3.7/4NA21/31/2583/100499
2009 Accord4/4NA21/30/2482/100979
2008 Accord4/4NA21/31/2481/1002,475
2007 Accord3/4NA21/31/2584/100305
Honda Accord model years comparison.

The 2008 Honda Accord recorded the highest number of overall complaints – premature brake wear and other brake issues the most-reported problem.

That said, and 2008 aside, Honda Accords are cars you can count on to go the distance.

The relatively high number of recorded complaints suggests the Accord’s popularity and not because it is more problematic than other cars.

The 2014 Honda Accord and newer are the best for a first car through a combination of excellent safety ratings, thrifty fuel consumption, and a host of driver aids for a safer drive.

Honda Accord Compared with Similar Vehicles

The Honda Accord sets the bar high for first car standards, but a few others are equally compelling options.

Table Guide:

  • Fuel Economy: mpg city/highway/combined (auto).
  • Reliability: /100; higher = fewer problems (JD Power).
  • Maintenance Costs: per year avg. (RepairPal).
  • Safety (IIHS): 1 (poor) to 4 (good); IIHS tests average.
  • Safety (NHTSA): 1 (poor) to 5 (safest); NHTSA overall.
  • Visibility: excellent, good, average, poor.
 Fuel Econ.ReliabilityMaint. CostsSafety (IIHS)Safety (NHTSA)Visibility
Honda Accord30/38/3382/100$4004/45/5Excellent
Toyota Camry28/39/3282/100$3884/45/5Excellent
Hyundai Sonata28/38/3281/100$4584/45/5Good
Mazda Mazda 626/35/2982/100$4814/45/5Good
Kia Optima25/35/2983/100$4714/45/5Good
Nissan Altima28/39/3282/100$4834/45/5Excellent
Honda Accord comparison with similar vehicles.

Any of the Accord’s direct rivals – the Camry, Sonata, Mazda 6, Optima, and Altima – are excellent first cars.

They have top-notch fuel economy for midsize cars and are super-reliable.

Plus, they cost below the segment average to repair and maintain.

You should research them thoroughly, although your decision will ultimately rely on the design you like best.

#2 Is a Honda Civic a Good First Car?

The Civic has remained near or at the top of the competitive compact car segment for years.

Regardless of the model year you’re eyeing, depending on your budget, the Honda Civic continues to be a top pick for a first car:

  • High fuel economy – class-competitive around 30 mpg combined or more, depending on the model year.
  • Adequately powered – 150 hp or thereabout is sufficient for a daily driver and provides impressive acceleration for a compact car.
  • Good all-round visibility – changing lanes and parking should be relatively easy.
  • Safe vehicles – maximum ratings in the IIHS and NHTSA crash tests.
  • Inexpensive to maintain – at approx. $368/year, only the Corolla is cheaper (by a hair).
  • Relatively cheap to repair – fixing a Civic won’t break the bank.
  • Substantial resale value – a brand-new Civic depreciates 39% after five years (most cars fall within the 50% – 60% window).
  • Comfortable and composed ride – excellent for short and long-distance drives.
  • Perfect size for a city car – easy to drive, and the roomy cabin provides multi-purpose practicality.
  • Many tech and safety features – typically class-competitive and handy for new drivers.

The Honda Civic has appeared in many forms – sedan, coupe, and hatchback.

However, its sedan body style remains the most practical for a first car.

Check the Honda Civic First Car post for more details, including choosing the Best Civic Year and a Civic comparison with similar vehicles for your first car.

#3 Is a Honda CRX a Good First Car?

1991 was the final model year for the Honda Civic CRX.

Among two-door coupes – new or old – the CRX is one of the few with uncharacteristically ample storage space, making it more practical than most coupes.

Additionally, the CRX’s high-20s mpg combined and the CRX HF’s 40 mpg combined are respectable gas mileage for cars from the 80s.

On balance, the Honda CRX is still a reasonable choice for a first car if you love the design:

  • Great mileage – between 29 to 40 mpg combined, depending on trim.
  • Inexpensive upkeep – cheaper than most coupes.
  • Low and tiny – the compactness should be a plus for maneuverability, but it is potentially dangerous when larger and taller vehicles changing lanes cannot see you.
  • Questionable safety – no official NHTSA data is available, but automotive safety tech has advanced tremendously in the decades that followed the last CRX.
  • No power steering – you’ll need some muscles to point the car in the right direction.

Still, a vehicle no longer in production, let alone one as old as the CRX, makes opting for a newer Civic sedan a better choice.

#4 Is a Honda Del Sol a Good First Car?

Although the Honda Civic Del Sol replaced the CRX, its production run ended in 1997, four years after its debut.

It’s a small open-air two-seater based on the then-previous generation Civic that rivals the Mazda Miata as fun-to-drive little cars for the younger crowd.

Still, the Honda del Sol has as many positives as negatives, making it an average first car:

  • Good on fuel consumption – low-30s mpg combined.
  • Reliable and easy car to work on – if you’re mechanically inclined.
  • Low on practicality – the two-seater design means it can’t carry more passengers.
  • Questionable safety – no government crash test ratings available, but its diminutive dimensions and decades-old safety tech aren’t reassuring.

If you like Del Sol’s design, you should research the Mazda MX-5 Miata.

#5 Is a Honda CR-V a Good First Car?

The CR-V is Honda’s top-selling vehicle and, together with the Toyota RAV4, notched the highest sales figures in the SUV market stateside for the past several years.

The Honda CR-V is an excellent first car, combining qualities of an SUV and the drivability of a compact vehicle:

  • Thrifty fuel economy – the CR-Vs are consistently top performers in this department for compact SUVs.
  • Good outward visibility – the elevated seating position of an SUV, fairly slim roof pillars, and tall side windows aid the view out.
  • Easy to maneuver and park – the relatively small dimensions and elevated ride height are a plus for new drivers.
  • Decent power – the near 200-hp output provides quick acceleration yet doesn’t feel excessively quick.
  • Topnotch safety – excellent ratings in government crash tests.
  • Optional all-wheel-drive – depending on the model year; handy for drivers in regions with inclement weather.
  • Affordable maintenance – $407/year compares favorably with compact SUVs’ $521/year average.
  • Reliable vehicles – strong reliability ratings across major automotive and owner review sites.
  • Roomy and practical – the cabin and cargo are spacious for a compact; plenty of room for grocery shopping and road trips.
  • Comfortable ride – good for short and long commutes.

It is one of the oldest small SUVs on the market and a testament to its qualities and popularity.

Which CR-V Year Is the Best First Car?

Table Guide:

  • Safety (IIHS): 1 (poor) to 4 (good); IIHS tests average.
  • Safety (NHTSA): 1 (poor) to 5 (safest); NHTSA overall.
  • Fuel Economy: mpg city/highway/combined (base; auto).
  • Reliability: /100; higher = fewer problems (JD Power).
  • Complaints: total reported problems (CarComplaints).
Model YearSafety (IIHS)Safety (NHTSA)Fuel Econ.ReliabilityComplaints
2022 CR-V4/45/528/34/3083/100
2021 CR-V4/45/528/34/3083/1007
2020 CR-V4/45/528/34/3081/10025
2019 CR-V4/45/528/34/3083/10065
2018 CR-V4/45/528/34/3082/100205
2017 CR-V4/45/528/34/3081/100347
2016 CR-V4/45/526/33/2981/100174
2015 CR-V4/44/527/34/2980/100398
2014 CR-V3.6/45/523/31/2682/100313
2013 CR-V3.6/45/523/31/2683/100188
2012 CR-V3.6/45/523/31/2682/100278
2011 CR-V3.5/44/521/28/2485/100143
2010 CR-V3.5/4NA21/28/2483/100112
Honda CR-V model years comparison.

The 2015 Honda CR-V has the most overall complaints – engine and transmission issues topping the list.

Otherwise, the Honda CR-Vs showed remarkable consistency in reliability.

Newer CR-Vs post-2017 are the most fuel-efficient and scored well in crash tests.

Plus, you can opt for the hybrid powertrain in the 2020 model year and onwards.

Honda CR-V Compared with Similar Vehicles

The CR-V competes in a fiercely contested class, so you aren’t option-limited.

Table Guide:

  • Fuel Economy: mpg city/highway/combined (base; auto).
  • Reliability: /100; higher = fewer problems; 5yr avg. (JD Power).
  • Maintenance Costs: per year avg. (RepairPal).
  • Safety (IIHS): 1 (poor) to 4 (good); IIHS tests average.
  • Safety (NHTSA): 1 (poor) to 5 (safest); NHTSA overall.
  • Visibility: excellent, good, average, poor.
 Fuel Econ.ReliabilityMaint. CostsSafety (IIHS)Safety (NHTSA)Visibility
Honda CR-V28/34/3083/100$4074/45/5Good
Toyota RAV427/35/3082/100$4294/45/5Excellent
Kia Sportage23/30/2685/100$4624/45/5Average
Hyundai Tucson26/33/2982/100$4264/45/5Good
Nissan Rogue27/35/3083/100$4674/44/5Excellent
Subaru Forester26/33/2981/100$6324/45/5Excellent
Mazda CX-525/31/2880/100$4474/45/5Good
Chevy Equinox26/31/2883/100$5374/45/5Excellent
Jeep Cherokee22/31/2578/100$5204/45/5Good
Honda CR-V comparison with similar vehicles.

The Toyota RAV4 alone makes a compelling alternative for teenagers as it is a safe choice alongside the Honda CR-V in many first car considerations.

Alternatively, the Mazda CX-5 has a more attractive and upscale cabin for a premium experience.

Plus, its keep handling and steering make driving enjoyable.

If you’re looking for the best bang for your money, the Nissan Rogue comes with lots of tech and safety features.

The Subaru Forester provides enhanced off-road capability thanks to its better-than-average ground clearance.

The Hyundai Tucson is another excellent compact SUV for a first car, providing plenty of driver aid and safety features, strong fuel economy, and an extended warranty.

#6 Is a Honda CR-Z a Good First Car?

Most two-seaters aren’t good first cars, and the sporty hybrid CR-Z is no exception.

However, the CR-Z has some pluses that make it worth considering for some shoppers.

The Honda CR-Z is an average first car for drivers who won’t need rear passenger seats:

  • Strong reliability – the CR-Z achieved an average of 82/100 in JD Power’s reliability rating across its six model years.
  • Good fuel economy – up to 37 mpg in combined driving; excellent compared to gas cars but poor for a hybrid.
  • Relatively safe – IIHS rated it ‘Good’ in their crash tests, but NHTSA awarded it a mixture of 3 and 4 stars out of 5 in various tests.
  • Front-wheel-drive – a safer option for beginners.
  • Affordable maintenance – $430/year is just about the average for subcompact cars.
  • Average visibility – the low driver’s seat and short windows hinder outward view. Rearward visibility is the worst of all sides.
  • Noisy cabin – not ideal if you plan to drive long distances.

But if you need a daily driver with room for practicality needs, skip the CR-Z.

Honda alone has many worthy first cars.

#7 Is a Honda Element a Good First Car?

The Honda Element debuted in 2003 and ended production in 2011.

It may be old, but the Honda Element is still a reasonably good first car if you can find one in good condition:

  • Solid safety ratings – IIHS rated it ‘Good’ in their crash tests.
  • Adequate power – the Honda Element uses the same engine as the CR-V (upwards of 150 hp).
  • Good size for a first car – easy to drive and park.
  • Average maintenance cost – $491/year compared to $521/year for compact SUVs.
  • Good visibility – the upright and boxy design provide a great view of the road but beware of the blind spot towards the back.
  • Lackluster fuel economy – the low-20s mpg combined may disappoint.
  • Optional four-wheel-drive – handy if you live in a region that encounters severe weather. But the default FWD should suffice for most new drivers.
  • Waterproof seats – a plus if you live in a place that gets lots of rain or have an active lifestyle.
  • Spacious and versatile interior – perfect for grocery shopping and road trips.

If you wish to get one as your first car, avoid the 2003 Honda Element as it recorded the highest number of complaints on CarComplaints – the various problems include accessories, engine, and transmission issues.

2009, 2010, and 2011 Honda Element are comparatively less problematic.

#8 Is a Honda Fit a Good First Car?

Subcompact cars are a dying breed in the States, and the Honda Fit is another one that met its demise in 2020.

The Honda Fit is a strong performer in many small car aspects, and it is an excellent first car for price-conscious shoppers:

  • High fuel economy – the 2015 Honda Fit and newer can return 36 mpg in combined driving.
  • Modest power for a small car – acceleration feels sprightly, yet it’s fuel-efficient.
  • Excellent visibility – large windows and thin roof pillars aid the driver’s outward view.
  • Solid safety ratings – passed the IIHS and NHTSA crash tests with flying colors.
  • Nimble handling – excellent for city driving.
  • Spacious interior for a subcompact – there are several ways you can fold the seats to accommodate cargo in varying shapes and sizes.
  • Inexpensive to maintain – $390/year is an affordable upkeep cost.
  • Competitively priced for a first car.

Which Honda Fit Year Is the Best First Car?

Table Guide:

  • Safety (IIHS): 1 (poor) to 4 (good); IIHS tests average.
  • Safety (NHTSA): 1 (poor) to 5 (safest); NHTSA overall.
  • Fuel Economy: mpg city/highway/combined (base; auto).
  • Reliability: /100; higher = fewer problems (JD Power).
  • Complaints: total reported problems (CarComplaints).
Model YearSafety (IIHS)Safety (NHTSA)Fuel Econ.ReliabilityComplaints
2020 Fit4/45/533/40/3680/100
2019 Fit4/45/533/40/3677/1004
2018 Fit4/45/533/40/3677/1008
2017 Fit4/45/533/40/3682/1002
2016 Fit3.8/45/533/41/3679/10040
2015 Fit3.8/45/533/41/3677/100144
2013 Fit3.4/44/528/35/3181/10024
2012 Fit3.4/44/528/35/3182/10039
2011 Fit3.2/4NA28/35/3181/10026
2010 Fit3.2/4NA28/35/3179/10051
2009 Fit3.2/4NA28/35/3182/10061
2008 Fit3.0/4NA27/34/3083/10043
2007 Fit3.0/4NA27/35/3082/10063
Honda Fit model years comparison.

If there’s a Honda Fit to avoid, it’s the model year 2015 – electrical (starter and battery-related) and interior accessories (uncomfortable seats) issues are its most-reported problems.

Otherwise, the 2017 Honda Fit and newer significantly improved its fuel economy and scored excellent crash test ratings – perfect for first cars.

Have the car checked by a trusted mechanic before deciding.

Honda Fit Compared with Similar Vehicles

Table Guide:

  • Fuel Economy: mpg city/highway/combined (auto).
  • Reliability: /100; higher = fewer problems; 5yr avg. (JD Power).
  • Maintenance Costs: per year avg. (RepairPal).
  • Safety (IIHS): 1 (poor) to 4 (good); IIHS tests average.
  • Safety (NHTSA): 1 (poor) to 5 (safest); NHTSA overall.
  • Visibility: excellent, good, average, poor.
 Fuel Econ.ReliabilityMaint. CostsSafety (IIHS)Safety (NHTSA)Visibility
Honda Fit33/40/3679/100$3904/45/5Excellent
Kia Rio33/41/3683/100$4343.8/4NAExcellent
Toyota Yaris32/40/3580/100$3334/45/5Good
Mini Cooper28/36/3183/100$8464/44/5Good
Honda Fit comparison with similar vehicles.

If you want a subcompact for your first car and the lowest maintenance cost possible, opt for the Toyota Yaris.

Alternatively, the Kia Rio is a solid pick for a first car with its robust build quality, high fuel economy, and extended warranty coverage.

#9 Is a Honda Jazz a Good First Car?

The Honda Jazz in most markets is similar to the Honda Fit, except for minor differences in specifications.

Like the Honda Fit, the Honda Jazz is a superb choice for a first car with its beginner-friendly base price, solid reliability, and thrifty fuel consumption.

Further, the compact dimensions is a plus for new drivers as it makes driving and parking easy in urban settings.

#10 Is a Honda Pilot a Good First Car?

Compact crossovers are ideal first cars, but larger SUVs can only make sense for shoppers with a bigger budget.

The Honda Pilot is a three-row midsize SUV that isn’t the best choice for a first car, although it has several positives:

  • The large dimensions – relatively more challenging to maneuver and park for beginners.
  • Relatively expensive for a first car – for a Honda Pilot below $10k, you’d may need to settle for a 12-year old model or older.
  • Poor gas mileage – low-20s mpg combined is average for midsize SUVs but terrible for teenagers on a limited gas budget.
  • Solid safety ratings – NHTSA awarded it five stars overall in its crash tests.
  • Good visibility – upright seating position and large windows all-around.
  • Roomy interior – if you need the space, the Honda Pilot is a great choice.
  • Excellent ride comfort – suitable for short and long drives.
  • Strong towing capacity – practical only if it matches your needs.

If you desire the safety that a large SUV affords, the Honda Pilot is a solid choice.

But expect knocks and scratches with a beginner driver in a large vehicle.

#11 Is a Honda Prelude a Good First Car?

The Prelude is Honda’s two-door sports coupe that ended production after its 2001 model.

Most old cars have few modern safety features, and thus, the Honda Prelude is a terrible first car:

  • Old and discontinued – with some Honda Preludes past the three-decade-old mark, parts are expensive and hard to find.
  • Poor gas mileage – low-20s mpg in combined driving is a gas guzzler by today’s standard.
  • Premium fuel required (2001 Prelude) – first cars should only deal with the cheaper regular gas.
  • Abysmal safety – NHTSA awarded the 1990 and 1991 Prelude 1/5 stars in the front driver crash tests. The 1992 and 1993 Prelude improved to 4/5 stars in the same test. No results are available for other model years.
  • Expensive to insure – discontinued sports coupes and teenagers do not combine well for a favorable insurance premium.

They are so old now that you’re highly unlikely to find a Prelude in good conditions.

Honda Prelude Compared with Better First Cars

These alternatives may be the better first car for those looking for a little more fun on the road.

Table Guide:

  • Fuel Economy: mpg combined (manual).
  • Maintenance Costs: per year avg. (RepairPal).
  • Safety (IIHS): 1 (poor) to 4 (good); IIHS tests average.
  • Safety (NHTSA): 1 (poor) to 5 (safest); NHTSA overall.
  • Visibility: excellent, good, average, poor.
 HorsepowerFuel Econ.Maint. CostsSafety (IIHS)Safety (NHTSA)Visibility
Honda Prelude135-200 hp21NANANAGood
Subaru BRZ205-228 hp24$6723.8/4NAGood
Honda Civic Si197-205 hp30$368+4/45/5Good
Mazda Miata116-181 hp29$429NANAAverage
Honda Civic110-158 hp33$3684/45/5Good
Honda Prelude comparison with better first cars.

The Mazda MX-5 Miata is a two-seat roadster that continues to improve with each iteration, combining a sporty rear-wheel-drive platform and modern conveniences.

If you want a first car that’s engaging to drive, opt for the Mazda Miata.

The lightweight Miata delivers crisp performance without being excessively powerful.

Plus, it’s one of the most fuel-efficient sports cars you can buy.

Alternatively, the Honda Civic Si is more powerful than the standard Civic but less aggressive than the Civic Type R.

If you want a sporty Honda for your first car, the Honda Civic Si is an excellent choice.

#12 Is a Honda S2000 a Good First Car?

The Honda S2000 is a compact two-seat roadster with its final model in 2009.

A discontinued model and powerful vehicle like the Honda S2000 is unsuitable as first cars:

  • Disproportionately powerful – only experienced and skilled drivers should go near a 240-hp small sports car on a short wheelbase (94.5”).
  • Unforgiving rear-wheel-drive – a lightweight but powerful sports car that sends all the horsepower to the rear wheels is an accident waiting to happen for lesser-skilled and inexperienced drivers.
  • Poor fuel economy – 20 mpg combined is the best any S2000 can deliver.
  • Premium fuel required – further drives up fuel cost.
  • Not the safest vehicle – NHTSA awarded it 4 out of 5 stars in the Overall Frontal Crash (driver) test – the same across all S2000 model years.
  • Stiff ride – not comfortable for daily driving.
  • Impractical – no rear seats; unsuitable for road trips.
  • Limited trunk space – 5 cubic feet is modest for a roadster but meager for a daily driver (the Honda Civic has more than 14 cubic feet).
  • Low ground clearance – 4.2 inches; unsuitable for a city car that needs to clear speed bumps and humps.

The Honda S2000 may be better as a second car, but you should aim for a ride with more-manageable power delivery when starting out.

Honda S2000 Compared with Better First Cars

Consider these alternatives if you want your first car to have a little more pep.

Table Guide:

  • Fuel Economy: mpg combined (manual).
  • Maintenance Costs: per year avg. (RepairPal).
  • Safety (IIHS): 1 (poor) to 4 (good); IIHS tests average.
  • Safety (NHTSA): 1 (poor) to 5 (safest); NHTSA overall.
  • Visibility: excellent, good, average, poor.
 HorsepowerFuel Econ.Maint. CostsSafety (IIHS)Safety (NHTSA)Visibility
Honda S2000237-240 hp20NANANAGood
Mazda Miata116-181 hp29$429NANAAverage
Subaru BRZ205-228 hp24$6723.8/4NAGood
Toyota 86205-228 hp24$7553.8/4NAGood
Honda Civic Si197-205 hp30$368+4/45/5Good
Honda S2000 comparison with better first cars.

The Mazda MX-5 Miata and Honda Civic Si are exceptional first cars that bridge the gap between standard commuters and high-strung performance vehicles.

If you like the cool two-seat design, include the Mazda Miata in your shortlist.

If room and daily practicality matter in your first car (as they should), opt for the Honda Civic Si. Further, the Civic Si is an FWD vehicle.

The Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ may stretch the performance boundaries of first cars, but they are worth considering.

Comparison: Best Honda for a First Car

Most Hondas are safe and reliable vehicles, so which ones should you focus your energy on?

Table Guide:

  • Safety (IIHS): 1 (poor) to 4 (good); IIHS tests averaged.
  • Safety (NHTSA): 1 (poor) to 5 (safest); NHTSA overall.
  • Visibility: excellent, good, average, poor.
  • Fuel Economy: mpg city/highway/combined (base model).
  • Reliability: /100; higher = fewer problems; 5yr avg. (JD Power).
  • Maintenance Costs: per year avg. (RepairPal).
Safety (IIHS)Safety (NHTSA)VisibilityFuel Econ.ReliabilityMaint. Costs
Honda Fit4/45/5Excellent33/40/3679/100$390
Honda Civic4/45/5Good30/38/3382/100$368
Honda Civic Si4/45/5Good27/37/3182/100NA
Honda Accord4/45/5Excellent30/38/3382/100$400
Honda Accord (Hybrid)4/45/5Excellent48/47/47NANA
Honda Insight (Hybrid)4/45/5Good55/49/5278/100$392
Honda Clarity (PHEV)NANAGood44/40/4281/100NA
Honda HR-V4/45/5Good28/34/3079/100$301
Honda CR-V4/45/5Good28/34/3083/100$407
Honda CR-V (Hybrid)4/45/5Good40/35/38NANA
Honda models comparison.

Note: the Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid (PHEV) can return 42 mpg combined on gas or 110 mpg equivalent on elec+gas.

For teenagers wanting an affordable and reliable SUV, the Honda HR-V is an excellent first car as it has one of the lowest maintenance costs among Hondas.

At $301/year, it is thoroughly affordable compared to the average of $466/year for subcompact SUVs.

Alternatively, the CR-V is a viable alternative that’s one size larger than the HR-V.

The Honda CR-V’s impeccable reliability – the best among the Hondas, judging by JD Power’s ratings – is the best dependability first car shoppers can buy.

Likewise, the Honda Civic and Honda Accord are the quintessential first cars – inexpensive to operate and ultra-reliable.

The best Honda for a first car would be the Civic, Accord, HR-V, or CR-V; your choice ultimately depends on the vehicle type and size that suit you.

Opt for the hybrid version of the Honda you like to save more on gas.

After all, you’re not paying a great deal more for considerably higher fuel efficiency.

Alternative Makes to Honda for a Teenager’s First Car

If you’re considering a Honda, you’re in the first-car territory.

You can research and opt for these alternatives if you like their design better as they are equally suitable for new drivers:

  1. Toyota – Camry, Corolla, RAV4, Yaris.
  2. Mazda – Mazda 6, Mazda 3, CX-5, MX-5 Miata.
  3. Hyundai – Sonata, Elantra, Tucson.
  4. Subaru – Forester.
  5. Kia – Optima, Forte, Sportage, Rio.
  6. Nissan – Altima, Rogue.
  7. Chevrolet – Equinox.
  8. Jeep – Cherokee.

Always do your research, inspect, and test drive before buying.