Honda Has Chosen Not To Compete in This Car Segment
Manufacturers are selling fewer sedan models these days, but Honda is sticking with them. “The Accord and Civic are the foundation of Honda’s business,” said Sage Marie, Assistant Vice President of Public Relations at American Honda Motor Company, according to Torque News. But, unlike other car manufacturers, Honda doesn’t sell a large car.
Honda doesn’t offer large cars
Today, Honda offers buyers looking for a car a choice among the Civic, Insight, Accord, Accord Hybrid, Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, and Clarity Fuel Cell. Consumer Reports classifies both the Accord and the Clarity as midsize cars. The Civic and Insight are compact cars. While the Japanese automaker sells the Accord as a midsize car, it’s close in size to some of the large cars.
Large cars available today
Consumer Reports rated six large cars, and none was from Honda. The six cars, in order of their Consumer Reports’ rankings, are the 2021 Toyota Avalon, 2021 Nissan Maxima, 2021 Dodge Charger, 2020 Kia Cadenza, and 2021 Chrysler 300. The 2020 Kia K900 wasn’t rated.
However, Honda’s midsize cars aren’t really smaller than the Toyota Avalon or the Nissan Maxima. The 2021 Avalon is 195.9 inches long, according to Edmunds, and the 2021 Maxima is 192.8 inches long. The Honda Accord is 192.2 inches long, while the Honda Clarity is 192.7 inches long.
Th wheelbase measurements are also similar. The Avalon’s is 113.0 inches and the Maxima’s is 109.3 inches. The Honda Accord’s is 111.4 inches, while the Clarity’s is 108.3 inches. The front legroom is even closer. The Maxima has 45.0 inches of front legroom, but the other three have between 42.1 and 42.3 inches. For rear legroom, the Accord actually comes out on top, with 40.4 inches. The Avalon has 40.3 inches. The Clarity has 36.2 inches, and the Maxima has 34.2 inches.
The 2021 Dodge Charger and 2021 Chrysler 300 are the largest of the large cars on the list, but Edmunds found that while they have more length and a longer wheelbase, their front and rear legroom is similar to the Avalon’s.
Why Honda might have decided not to offer a large car
Car and Driver explains that the size categories for cars “help control emissions and calculate fuel economy.” They’re categories used by the EPA, insurance companies, and manufacturers. There aren’t set definitions though, so different groups place cars into different categories.
The EPA defines a midsize car as having less than 120 cubic feet of interior space for both passengers and cargo, says Car and Driver. It also isn’t longer than 196.8 inches. With an interior volume of 119.4 cubic feet, according to Edmunds, the Honda Accord is right on the bubble for being a midsize car. In addition, it used to be smaller in earlier generations, so it has remained in the same category.
Not having a large car has been Honda’s plan for many years. Former U.S. chief of the automaker, John Mendel, told Cars.com back in 2011 that the full-size sedan “doesn’t seem to be the trend in the market.” That was affected by new U.S. federal fuel economy standards in 2005. With auto manufacturers all looking for improved fuel efficiency, Honda planned to focus on offering more space without making its cars larger.
Mendel said, “We’re kind of doing a large car kind of derivative. What you’ll continue to see us do is put more and more package space in the existing same size car. … It’s a trend that’s been going on in Europe for the last 15 years.”
The 2021 Honda Accord is the largest car the carmaker offers. Although it’s classed as a midsize car, it’s right on the line of sometimes qualifying as a large car. With trends and requirements pushing cars to be smaller, there’s no need for Honda to offer something larger in car form. For buyers interested in larger vehicles, Honda does offer bigger SUVs.