Honda might be one of the largest automakers on the planet but there's more to the company than its volume-selling compacts, family sedans, minivans and SUVs. Car companies don't grow to epic proportions unless they are capable of filling in many of the automotive niches that allow them to reach customers who are looking for a very specific vehicular answer to an equally-focused transportation need. This means that there are quite a few used Honda automobiles out there on the secondhand market that are each designed to appeal to a certain group of drivers who might not find what they are looking for in a more mainstream automobile.
Let's take a look at eight used Honda niche models that together explore almost every nook and cranny of the auto market.
01. Used Honda Insight
When the Honda Insight first went on sale in the late 1990s, it played an important role in introducing North American drivers to the concept of a dedicated hybrid vehicle. A used 2010 Honda Insight - the leading edge of the second generation of this thrifty hatchback - makes a strong value case for buyers looking to get behind the wheel of an inexpensive and very efficient gasoline / electric automobile.
The main selling point of a used Honda Insight is its Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system, which consists of a 1.3-liter, four-cylinder engine that works together with a battery-powered electric motor to produce a total of 98 horsepower and 123 lb-ft of torque. Managed through a unique automatic transmission design, a used Honda Insight offers outstanding fuel economy that is rated at 40-mpg in stop and go driving and 43-mpg on the highway.
02. Used Honda S2000
The Honda S2000 enjoyed a decade of offering hardcore roadster enthusiasts the chance to slip behind the wheel of a tightly-focused sports car that stood apart from the rest of the drop-top market for several key reasons. A used Honda S2000 offers a stiff suspension system and a chassis that has been tuned to offer ruthless steering precision and excellent cornering capability. Even more notable is the power plant that resides under the hood of every used Honda S2000 - a high-strung, four-cylinder unit that from 2004 to 2009 displaced 2.2-liters and offered up 237 horses and 162 lb-ft of torque with a motorcycle-like power band that egged drivers on until it had been revved all the way up to just under 8,000 rpm. This unusual drivetrain (which includes a standard six-speed manual transmission) gives used Honda S2000's a particular appeal amongst the track and tuner car crowd, making it a cult performance cult with a strong enthusiast following.
03. Used Honda Element
A used Honda Element makes an intriguing crossover option for drivers with active lifestyles that require the frequent transportation of oversized gear or bags and bags of equipment and supplies. The cube-like, upright Honda Element resembles a tall wagon, with copious amounts of interior hauling space (75 cubic feet in total) and a second set of rear-hinged side doors that offer easier access than a more traditional design. Although it only seats four passengers the crossover was heavily marketed to pet owners and action sports fans, as its easy-to-clean cabin and reams of open space position it as a dog-and-mountain-bike-friendly vehicle that doesn't mind getting muddy inside.
From 2007-onwards, used Honda Elements are motivated by a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that puts out 166 horsepower and 161 lb-ft of torque. Five-speed manual and four-speed automatic editions of the crossover can be found, and fuel economy checks in at 20-mpg city and 25-mpg highway.
04. Used Honda Civic Hybrid
Who says a hybrid has to be ultra-compact in order to offer the best possible fuel efficiency? A used Honda Civic Hybrid manages to match or beat many of its hybrid peers in terms of fuel economy while still offering the practicality of the small sedan's generous passenger compartment. Making use of a similar Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system as found in the Honda Insight, a used Honda Civic Hybrid provides 40-mpg in around-town fuel mileage and a very respectable 45-mpg during highway cruising. Acceleration is reasonable, as the 1.3-liter, four-cylinder engine and electric motor tandem put out 110 horsepower, shifted through a continuously-variable automatic transmission.
05. Used Honda Crosstour
It's only been available as a previously-owned vehicle for a short while, but a used Honda Crosstour definitely appeals to a select group of crossover buyers. Based on the same platform as the popular Honda Accord sedan, a used Honda Crosstour adopts the plunging rear roofline of a coupe while laying it over the extended cargo compartment (up to 51.3 total cubic feet) of an SUV. The Crosstour's taller ride height, beefy exterior styling and available all-wheel drive serve to further separate the crossover from the standard Accord. Mechanically, a used Honda Crosstour is outfitted with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that provides 271 horsepower and 254 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission handles the gear shifting duties for the crossover.
06. Used Honda Civic Si
Affordable performance, thy name is the Honda Civic Si. Available in both coupe and sedan editions, a used Honda Civic benefits from a 197 horsepower, high-revving 2.0-liter four-cylinder transplant, one that injects the popular entry-level automobile with considerably more zest than is found in the standard edition. Also capable of generating 139 lb-ft of torque, all used Honda Civic Si examples come exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission and can hit 60-mph from a standing start in just 7.1 seconds. In addition, the Civic Si features a suspension system that has been reconfigured in order to improve road-holding capability, and the vehicle wears an aggressive aero package and sporty interior trim.
07. Used Honda FCX Clarity
Finding a used Honda FCX Clarity is not the easiest task. For one thing, the vehicle is available exclusively under lease from Honda, which means you would have to convince a current leaseholder to transfer the vehicle to your name. Another issue is that the FCX Clarity was only ever made available in California, and in very limited numbers, so if you live outside of the Golden State chances are you won't be able to slip behind the wheel of this mid-size sedan.
What makes a used Honda FCX Clarity deserving of such special treatment? The FCX Clarity is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, which restricts it to parts of the country which have an existing hydrogen fueling infrastructure. Honda plans to eventually offer the vehicle for more general sale once hydrogen fueling stations gain broader acceptance, which means that a wider range of drivers will hopefully soon be able to take advantage of the zero-emissions, 134 horsepower family car.
08. Used Honda Ridgeline
A used Honda Ridgeline is the perfect pickup for buyers who don't really want to be driving a truck. The Honda Ridgeline rides on a crossover-derived platform that is smoother and more comfortable than a traditional body-on-frame pickup while still offering a five-foot long cargo area plus a unique 8.5-cubic foot enclosed storage area built into its floor. A used Honda Ridgeline also offers a four-door passenger compartment that features seating for up to five occupants, as well as a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that provides 250 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque. Sent through an all-wheel drive system via a five-speed automatic transmission, the motor helps the Ridgeline achieve a 5,000 lb tow rating while also offering fuel economy figures of 15-mpg city and 20-mpg highway.