Is Honda reliable? An impartial look at the Japanese car manufacturer

We investigate how reliable the popular brand is...

Did you know that Honda are the world’s  largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines? They produce more than 14 million internal combustion engines each year. They are also the eighth largest  automobile manufacturer in the world.

Honda cars are a common sight on our roads, as well as several other roads across the globe. Their cars are a favourite among many and are synonymous with being trustworthy, well-built and great to drive.

But are Honda reliable?

In this article, we look at just how reliable Honda are, and how this compares to some of its main rivals.

Are Honda Reliable?

Yes, is the short answer. Yes, very reliable, is the slightly longer answer.

Honda have been pretty consistent when it comes to dependability and have always been in the top ten for reliability.

In 2013 they were ranked first for engine reliability by WarrantyDirect, with a failure rate of just 1 in 344, which is 0.29%.

In 2015, a survey by WarrantyDirect and WhatCar? put Honda top for the ninth year in a row for overall reliability. Honda received a reliability index of just 41, which is way below the industry average (the lower the rating, the better the score).

ReliabilityIndex also rank Honda highly, coming in 2nd place only to Daihatsu. Honda were given a reliability index of 42.

Honda were also named the most reliable used car brand by WhatCar? And WarrantyDirect.

Red Toyota CR-V 2015 on the road
How reliable are honda cta

How reliable is the Honda Civic?

If we look at one of their most well-known cars, the Honda Civic, WhatCar? have placed the Civic as above class average for many repairs. These include electrics, air-conditioning and bulbs. However, they have put them at below class-average for wiper-blades, brakes pads and discs. Though they do tend to be only a few thousand miles below class average, this is still something that should be noted.

Orange Honda Jazz outside a house

Is the Honda CR-V reliable?

ReliabilityIndex put the Honda CR-V at very reliable, with a reliability score of 59 which is below the industry average. They have reported that most of the problems come with the electrics, but that accounts for 25.37% of the problems, followed by the suspension.

Honda Jazz reliability

The Honda Jazz scores very impressively, with a reliability index of just 12. Only a few issues were reported and that was mainly due to the suspension, followed by the electrics. But there were no issues reported with the fuel system, gearbox or cooling system.

Like what you have seen of the Honda VR-V Estate? Head over and explore our transparent review of this model today

Is the Honda Accord reliable?

The Honda Accord also does very well, with a reliability index of 29 and spend an average of just 1.7 hours off the road in the event of a repair. Their main issues tend to be with the electrics and the braking system.

Overall, I think it’s safe to say that Honda are one of the most reliable car brands out there. They have consistently topped reliability surveys and their cars seem to be consistently reliable also.

Why are Honda reliable?

So why are Honda one of the most reliable brands out there?

There are quite a few reasons why Honda are so dependable. One of these reasons could be due to the fact that they don’t cost much to repair when they do go wrong. Honda cars are cheap to repair and aren’t off the road for very long. This greatly increases reliability. One of the issues that many luxury brands run into is that their parts are expensive to source, replace and can be off the road for a long period of time, which lowers their dependability. However, a brand like Honda does not have this issue, and therefore has an increased reliability.

Jim Holder from WhatCar? told thisismoney;

“Honda’s success in the reliability index is chiefly down to low failure rates. However, when things do go wrong, the cars are also relatively cheap to fix.”

Another reason Honda might be so reliable is due to their technology, or lack of it. Some more luxury car brands have packed their cars full of new, modern technology. While this might be great for the owner at first, this modern technology can go wrong and when it does, can be expensive to fix.

However, Honda cars don’t necessarily have so much modern technology. This isn’t a bad thing by any means, Honda know their audience and they know it well. But it does mean they are at a distinct advantage because the less technology there is in the car, the less there is to go wrong with it.

So those are a few reasons why Honda are so reliable.

What are the common Honda problems?

When you are looking at getting a car, either brand new or used, it’s important to know what problems you may run into later down the line. Here are some of the problems you may encounter when your Honda model is a bit older;

  • Vibration when braking
    • This has been reported as an issue around the 95,000 mile mark. The problem has been put down to warped front brake motors. Sometimes you can fix this by simply getting them repaired but in some cases, you may have to get them replaced.
  • Transmission failure
    • This happens due to transmission slippage, and has occurred in quite a few Honda models. Many of these models suffer from the problem before 90,000 miles.
  • Power lock failure
    • In some cases, the power lock worked only intermittently and in others stopped altogether. It has been reported that this has been known to happen after the 100,000 mile mark.

Those are some of the things you may want to look out for. If you are a buying a second hand Honda, then we recommend asking about these problems before you buy.

How reliable are consumer reports and surveys?

While we’re here, we might as well defend our use of consumer reports and surveys as a way of determining reliability.

Consumer reports and surveys from companies such as WarrantyDirect are a really accurate way of telling how reliable a car is. These surveys are carried out by the owners of the makes and models, who will be able to tell how dependable their car has been, and what problems they have had with the car. 

Surveys done by the likes of WarrantyDirect are also a good way of determining how reliable a car is due to the fact they can access a large amount of data on what claims have been made on which cars and brands. Every time a customer makes a claim, they can record this information. They then use this information to determine which brands are the most dependable and which ones aren’t.

man doing a survey on a laptop

So, they are pretty reliable.

That said, they do have their faults. For example, it is hard to judge llong-termreliability for brand new models because they haven’t been around long enough. However, a good way to estimate this is to have a look at other models and see how well they have fared.

Overall, though, consumer reports and surveys are a very accurate way of determining the longevity of a car. 

Honda vs. Toyota vs. Mazda; Which is more reliable?

It’s in this part of the article that we compare Honda to some of its rivals and see how reliable the brand is when compared to the other two. In this instance, we’re putting Honda up against Toyota and Mazda. So, how did they do?

Pretty well, but we’re sure you already predicted that. Although, Toyota and Mazda put up a good fight. Toyota came second in the Telegraph survey for most reliable used car brands, with Mazda coming in joint sixth.

In the WarrantyDirect and WhatCar? survey, Toyota came third with a reliability index of 66 and Mazda came in joint fourth with a reliability index of 82.

In the engine failure survey, Toyota came second again, with a failure rate of 1 in 171. While this is impressive, it didn’t quite meet Honda’s 1 in 344. Still, that’s only 0.58% for Toyota when it comes to engine failure rate, which is something to be proud of. Unfortunately for Mazda, in this instance they weren’t in the top 10. They weren’t in the bottom 10 either though, so that’s a bonus.

Reliability Index place Toyota fourth and Mazda fifth in their table, with a reliability index of 59 and 64 respectively.

If you are looking for a reliable car, then you won’t go wrong with a Honda. That said, both Toyota and Mazda are also very dependable brands, so it doesn’t really matter too much which brand you go for if you are comparing the three. All three of these brands have scored very highly for their reliability so you wouldn’t go wrong with either Honda, Toyota or Mazda.

Which are the most reliable Honda cars?

The following Honda models are the most reliable; 

  • Honda Jazz
  • Honda Accord
  • Honda Civic

These have all scored extremely well on ReliabilityIndex and J.D Power.

Which are the least reliable Honda cars?

And what about the least reliable?

  • Honda CR-V
  • Honda Civic Hybrid
  • Honda CR-Z

These have all scored three out of five on J.D Power. Admittedly, this is average and is by no means a bad thing, but they are the most unreliable Honda’s. In fact, Honda’s most unreliable cars are probably still some of the most reliable cars out there.

In conclusion, Honda are extremely reliable. In fact, they are one of the most dependable car brands on the market today. If you are looking for a car that prioritises longevity then you cannot go wrong with a Honda. Even their most unreliable cars are pretty reliable. If you compare them to their rivals, Toyota and Mazda, then they knock them out of the park, though you wouldn’t go wrong with either of those models. One of the reasons Honda are so reliable is due to their low repair costs and the fact that they aren’t off the road too long. Ultimately, if you want a reliable car, then you should definitely look at a Honda.

white honda grill
Rachel Richardson


  • NR| 20th February 2020 at 10:31 am Reply

    I am now in year three of my latest Honda, and as with the other Hondas I’ve owned, nothing has gone wrong, other than battery dying after I first bought it (at five years old) and new rear brakes at 30K. My mechanic reckoned it had never been serviced properly prior to my owning it, and still it’s been faultless. It’s been perfect ever since. Takes four people, all their luggage and the seats fold flat and low, making it the ideal makeshift small removals van. Averaging about 45mpg, but I don’t hang about.

    • Rachel Richardson| 24th February 2020 at 4:07 pm Reply

      Hi Nigel,

      Thank you for your comment on the reliability of Honda as you’ve experienced it. Honda has a very good track record, it appears, when it comes to reliability. They are frequently appearing near the top of consumer reports and surveys for their dependability.

  • Lynne| 11th February 2020 at 5:29 pm Reply

    I have a 2003 Honda Civic I bought in 2005 and I have never had problems with it. Even the battery lasted 13 years before it needed replacing. My husband has a 2001 Honda Accord. Both cars have been consistently reliable and still going strong. I love my car and I will be heartbroken when it eventually gives up the ghost. We would definitely purchase Honda cars again.

    • Rachel Richardson| 12th February 2020 at 8:23 am Reply

      Hi Lynne,

      This is wonderful to hear. It’s always interesting to hear from people who have experience with these models. When you are ready to look for a new vehicle, please get in touch with our vehicle specialists on 01903 223391 and they will be happy to help you find a new Honda.

  • KeithDavis| 8th February 2020 at 3:33 am Reply

    I have made some huge mistakes in my motoring life.After some pre purchase information I purchased a Honda city in2010 and never looked back,I regret not buying a Honda years earlier.

    • Rachel Richardson| 10th February 2020 at 8:56 am Reply

      Hi Keith,

      Thank you for commenting on the reliability of Honda. Over the last few years they have appeared more and more in the top five of the reliability rankings.

  • Mark Anthony Cirilo| 26th April 2019 at 8:34 am Reply

    How about the Honda City? Considered the sedan twin of Jazz, can I say the same with it in terms of Jazz reliability? Thanks in advance and more power.

    • Rachel Richardson| 29th April 2019 at 9:14 am Reply

      Hi Mark,
      Thank you for the comment. This article is in the process of being updated with more current information and we will be looking into the reliability of further models to provide more detail to our readers. Hopefully this future update will help you.

  • Rocket| 31st January 2019 at 3:24 pm Reply

    I am just about to trade in my 2009 Civic Type R (I bought it new in 2010). By the time I drive it into the dealer’s yard on Saturday it will have done just shy of 247,000km… it has been THE most reliable car I’ve ever owned. I have had other Honda’s but this one is the most reliable because I’ve never had a car do over 150,000km before so I’m giving the Type R the extra credit for it’s longer mileage. I am a bit older now and my eldest daughter has been given her Mum’s old car so I have bought a brand new base model Civic Hatch (10th generation) which I will had over to our youngest daughter in 2.5 – 3 years. The base model here in Australia comes with 7 inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, ABS, TCS, VSA, AHAS, reversing camera and the against the model above it only misses out on alloy wheels (which I will add in a month or so), indicators in the mirrors, front/rear parking sensors, fog lamps, push button start and a few minor items. Most of them, like the parking sensors can be added later even though Honda here say they’re not an option, the dealer tells me the exact same instrument set up is in the base model and despite what Honda say, the genuine sensors will plug into the instrument cluster and work just like in the next model up. I drove one the other day and the suspension and even the 1.8 SOHC engine is very smooth (and I’m coming from the 2.0 Type R screamer with 148kw compared to 104kw. I have never owned any other brand than Honda and I have no intention of doing so. This will be my family’s 12th Honda since 1977.

    • Rachel Richardson| 31st January 2019 at 5:00 pm Reply

      Hi Rocket,
      Thank you for your comment about your Civic. I am pleased to hear that your experience with it has been so positive and I am sure that our readers will find the information helpful.

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