The Least Reliable 2021 Honda Models Still Recommended by Consumer Reports

Honda has an almost unblemished record of reliability. However, Consumer Reports shows three of its vehicles that prospective buyers perhaps shouldn’t consider as reliable investments. Consumer Reports put the Accord, Civic and Pilot under the microscope as three of Honda’s cars with poor predicted reliability. Consumer Reports averages all of the car’s reliability scores from 2011 to the present day, therefore a 2021 model year car’s predicted reliability is impacted by past faults. 

2021 Honda Accord: Damaged Reputation

2021 honda accord driving through city
2021 Honda Accord | Honda

Consumer Reports gave the Honda Accord a predicted reliability rating of 3-out-of-5. It cited past issues having to do with major engine problems, the drive system, and body integrity as the Accord’s potential trouble spots. According to Consumer Reports, major engine problems include a rebuilt, or problems with the turbocharger, cylinder head, and timing chain. The body integrity metric looks at noises, leaks, and loose or cracked seals. 

Despite its predicted reliability, the Accord still earns an 84-out-of-100 overall rating. It completed the road test in spades, its CVT transmission being a strong point in its performance. The Accord’s 192 hp 1.5-liter turbocharged engine provides ample acceleration without sacrificing fuel efficiency. It’s a well-rounded car, without few faults.

The Accord received stellar marks for safety. It scored 5-out-of-5 stars in every safety test from both the IIHS and NHTSA. This is one Honda that doesn’t deserve its predicted reliability.

2021 Honda Civic: Still Reliable

2021 honda civic at car show
2021 Honda Civic | Guillaume Payen/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Civic earned the same predicted reliability as the Accord, but for different reasons. Its climate system, body hardware, power equipment, and paint/trim categories were to blame. The climate system metric refers to anything having to do with the air conditioning system or the heater system.

Body hardware includes locks, latches, and hinges. Power equipment concerns power windows, windshield wiper motors, cruise control, keyless entry, etc. The Civic also has a reputation for malfunctioning in-car electronics, which include the sound system and cameras.

Regardless of these issues, Consumer Reports still recommends the Civic thanks to its sporty drivability and low price tag. Its predicted reliability doesn’t reflect the improvements Honda made in recent years. The Civic’s base engine is a 2.0-liter inline-four that produces 174 hp, which is enough to move the car quickly.

Like the Accord, the Civic also received top scores in its safety tests from the IIHS and NHTSA, following its safety performance from the previous model year.

Honda Pilot: Predicted Reliability Looks Bleak

most unreliable 2021 honda pilot driving in the dirt
2021 Honda Pilot Elite | Honda

While the Civic and Accord improved dramatically since 2011, the Pilot has poor reliability ratings peppered throughout its tenure, with the 2015 model year being the exception. 2021 model year’s predicted reliability rests on problems with the paint/trim, body integrity, power equipment, and in-car electronics.

It also scores low on the owner satisfaction scale, with owners claiming the car isn’t worth the price. Its brakes are also a weakness, along with slow steering and overwhelming body roll. The Pilot may be one of Honda’s most unreliable cars.

Despite all this, Consumer Reports still recommends the Pilot. Comfortable seating, lots of cargo space, and a quiet ride earn the Pilot the seal of approval from Consumer Reports. The Pilot comes equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 280 horsepower. It accelerates quickly without much trouble, especially when fitted with its all-wheel drive configuration.

The Pilot did not mimic the Accord and Civic when it came to safety tests. It scored 5-out-of-five stars in most tests, but with the NHTSA’s frontal-crash and both rollover tests, it received 4-out-of-5 stars.

With the exception of the Pilot, Honda cars generally retain their reputation for being reliable. The Accord contends with body integrity, though this current model year bests the previous year according to Consumer Reports. The Civic has a similar story, though it still has several electrical problems to work out. Like any auto manufacturer, Honda has its hiccups but overall it doesn’t make unreliable cars.