The cars that put Honda on the map in Australia

As Honda Australia celebrates five decades of official sales in this country, we tick off the ten most significant cars sold by Japan’s ‘Big H’

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Every fiftieth birthday needs a slideshow, but unlike the one whipped up by your well-meaning aunt Beryl, our little graphical presentation here should hold your attention a little longer. To celebrate 50 years of Honda officially selling cars locally, we’ve put together a top ten of the most significant Hondas to be offered to the Australian public.

What models is Honda currently selling?

From sub-compact hatches to mid-engined supercars, Honda’s product portfolio has offered plenty for the enthusiast and average Joe alike. What kind of cars will the next 50 years bring?

1 – Honda Scamp

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Smaller than a shoebox and with similar levels of structural integrity, the Scamp was offered with 360cc or 600cc engine options. Slow, but its combination of frugality, Japanese reliability and city-friendly dimensions endeared it to more than a few Aussies

2 – Honda Civic

Of course the Civic is on this list. One of the longest-lived automotive nameplates, the Civic has proved to have enduring appeal in this country with a reputation for solid engineering, efficiency and enjoyable dynamics

3 – Honda NSX

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Honda schooled the supercar establishment with its ambitious all-alloy NSX, showing them that driveability, reliability and quality could indeed exist in the world of mid-engined sports cars. Sold in miniscule numbers here, but surely drew thousands into Honda showrooms nevertheless

4 – Honda S2000

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Mazda wasn’t the only Japanese manufacturer to have a rip-snorting rear-drive roadster, and the screaming 9000rpm redline of the S2000 2.0-litre four-cylinder made it a firm fan favourite. Sadly, there’s been no successor.

5 – Honda CR-V

Honda got in early on the SUV craze, releasing its first-gen CR-V softroader in the mid-1990s and launching one of its biggest commercial success stories to date. The original came with a fold-up picnic table integrated with its boot floor, and we wish that feature never went away

6 – Honda Odyssey

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Okay, so the current model is a bit of a bloated bus, but at the turn of the century Honda revealed the third-generation Odyssey and proved that minivans could look low-slung, sleek, and somewhat sexy.

7 – Honda Accord Euro

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Honda performed the same trick with the Accord Euro, applying its handling know-how and attractive styling to a mid-sized front-drive sedan to make a thoroughly engaging four-door with more than a modicum of sex appeal. Especially fun when you opted for the six-speed manual.

8 – Honda Jazz

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The humble Jazz’s one-box bodyshell conceals one of the most pragmatic interiors in the automotive world, with a forward-mounted fuel tank and Honda’s patented Magic Seat mechanism allowing the tiny hatch to turn into a capacious micro-van.

9 – Honda CRX

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Light weight, compact proportions and a zingy engine  endowed the pint-sized CRX with huge driver satisfaction levels, with the second-generation model arguably the pinnacle of the nameplate.

10 – Honda Legend

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Honda’s luxury offshoot Acura never officially made it to our shores, but the near-luxury Legend large sedan and coupe took the Japanese brand into premium territory with opulent interiors and big, torque-rich V6 powerplants. An underappreciated badge indeed.

 

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