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Honda vs. Acura: What’s The Difference

honda vs acura

If you’re thinking about whether to buy a Honda or an Acura, you may be wondering what the differences are between the two brands.

The Honda Motor Company manufactures both the Honda and Acura brands, with Acura being Honda’s luxury brand created in the 1980s.

Many people believe Hondas and Acuras are similar, and in some ways, they are.

They generally share the same chassis across their respective lineups, for example.

However, there are some crucial differences you should be aware of before you decide which brand best meets your needs.

This article examines the differences between Hondas and Acuras to help you make an informed purchasing decision.

Overview: What Sets Them Apart?

When you buy an Acura, you’re paying for a luxury experience.

With an Acura, you’ll have access to high-end technology, and features such as power seats come standard with Acura.

Since Acura is Honda’s luxury vehicle line, you’ll get a premium interior when you buy an Acura.

Acura’s luxury suite comes packed with features such as leather seating and top-end stereo systems.

On the other hand, Honda’s design emphasizes functionality and practicality.

Acura appeals to drivers who value a premium experience, while Honda appeals to drivers seeking affordability.

Acura offers a limited lineup of vehicles marketed to buyers looking for a luxury experience.

Honda has a much more extensive lineup that caters to diverse buyers.

From coupes to sedans and SUVs to trucks and minivans, Honda’s lineup seems to have something for everyone.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the differences between Honda and Acura.

Performance

When it comes to performance, you don’t always get what you pay for.

When comparing how the two lineups perform against other cars in their class, Honda comes out on top in more categories than Acura.

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The Acura NSX and RDX boast impressive performance, but Acura trails most cars in their class.

In contrast, Honda tends to outperform comparable vehicles across many classes, including the Insight, Fit, Civic, and Odyssey.

A Honda Odyssey isn’t going to leave an Acura NSX in the dust, but the Odyssey does outperform all other minivans.

What separates Honda and Acura is that Acura is topped by more of its competition than Honda.

Thus, you get more bang for your buck with a Honda, which performs at a level that’s difficult to beat.

When it comes to Acura, except for a couple of brands, you will get a better performing car by choosing a vehicle from a competing luxury brand.

Reliability

Honda and Acura are in a dead heat when it comes to reliability, with both lineups producing reliable vehicles.

Historically, Honda has produced some of the world’s most reliable cars, but things are changing.

Based on JD Power data, most Honda and Acura vehicles have average reliability ratings.

Only two Honda and Acura vehicles received below-average ratings over the past three years.

Simultaneously, both lineups include cars that have earned above-average ratings, including the Honda Fit, CR-V, and Ridgeline, and the Acura TLX.

Since vehicles from Honda and Acura have received the same predicted reliability ratings, it’s difficult to say one is better than the other in this category.

Thus, we’re calling it a tie.

Safety

Vehicle safety is at the top of the list of most people thinking about buying a car.

Whether you buy an Acura or a Honda, you’ll be getting an incredibly safe vehicle.

Acura and Honda both perform well in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing.

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The Honda Sensing Suite and the AcuraWatch Package offer comparable safety features, including emergency braking, road departure migration, forward collision warning, and lane-keep assist.

Some Acura models come with a surround-view parking camera system, automatic high-beam headlight, and traffic jam assist to the safety package.

Other safety features that come standard on some models or you can upgrade to include:

  • LandWatch: a video feed of the passenger-side blind spot that appears on the vehicle’s infotainment screen
  • Head-up display
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert

Acura edges out the Honda when it comes to safety because of its additional features.

SUVs

If you’re looking for an SUV, Acura stands out for its small and mid-size SUVs.

Acura’s RDX comes with a super-fast engine and sharp handling, outperforming Honda’s small SUV offerings.

RDX models come with a panoramic sunroof, 10.2-inch display, and WiFi hotspot, plus a premium interior with lots of standard features.

Honda’s CR-V and HR-V offer a lot of practicality with abundant passenger and cargo space.

The CR-V uses the same platform as the RDX but has a weaker engine and fewer standard features.

When it comes to mid-size SUVs, the Acura MDX trumps the Honda Pilot, outshining the Pilot for safety, predicted reliability, and performance.

Honda makes great SUVs, but Acura squeaks out a narrow win based in this category.

Interior

Since Acura is the luxury car in this comparison, it would be logical to believe that its interior is superior to the Honda’s.

However, Honda offers great interiors, making the upgrade to Acura less clear cut.

Acura vehicles often have interiors that border on luxury.

Honda comes equipped with comfortable seats, high-quality material, and ample cargo space.

When compared side by side with other luxury cars, Acura lacks when it comes to interiors. A fully-loaded Honda costs less than an Acura with the same interior.

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Thus, Honda is the clear winner when it comes to interiors.

Price

Unless you’re independently wealthy, price is probably one of the deciding factors when it’s time to purchase a car.

Luxury cars always start at a higher price point than their non-luxury counterparts.

Every Acura model has a higher starting price than Honda base models.

To compare Acura and Honda’s price, we have to look at what you get for your money.

Although an Acura comes with more standard features than a Honda, you get more value for your money with a Honda.

For the price of a base model Acura, you could buy a fully loaded Honda.

An Acura has more engine power than a Honda, but you get more features at a better price when you buy a Honda.

Maintenance Costs

Luxury cars generally cost more to maintain than their non-luxury counterpart; Acura and Honda are no different in this respect.

However, unlike luxury vehicle lineups from other manufacturers, the cost of maintaining an Acura is not significantly higher than maintaining a Honda.

Unlike Toyota’s Lexus lineup and the Infiniti lineup from Nissan, Acura and Honda share many powertrain components, keeping Acura maintenance costs close to Honda costs.

You’ll pay a little more to maintain an Acura, but the difference isn’t significant.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between a Honda and Acura will come down to personal preference.

Both Honda and Acura produce durable vehicles, which boast outstanding safety records.

If you’re shopping for a premium experience, Acura is probably the best option.

However, if you’re shopping for value, your dollar will go a lot further by purchasing a Honda.

Honda is the practical option, Acura is the luxury option, ultimately, the best one for you will depend on your circumstances.

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