Honda vs. Acura: 1 Area of Ownership Gives Honda a Big Advantage
Acura is the Honda Motor Company’s luxury brand. Ever since its founding in 1986, Acura has been a more luxurious, high-performance, and high-tech alternative to the more mainstream Honda brand. Acura has many advantages over Honda in terms of comfort and premium features, but Honda has some perks when it comes to everyday ownership. Let’s compare the reliability and ownership costs of Honda vs Acura.
Honda vs Acura on reliability
According to J.D. Power reliability ratings, the Honda Accord gets a score of 83 out of 100, while the closest Acura counterpart, the TLX, scores a 75 out of 100. As for SUVs, the Acura RDX scores an impressive 81, but the Honda CR-V is even better earning a slightly higher reliability score of 82. It’s a similar story with midsize 3-row SUVs; the Acura MDX gets a 78 out of 100 and the Honda Pilot earns a score of 81 out of 100.
So, Acura models are reliable for luxury cars, but not as dependable as their Honda counterparts. This is perhaps the biggest factor to consider when cross-shopping the Honda and Acura brands.
Honda vs Acura on maintenance costs
RepairPal also shows an advantage for Honda over Acura when it comes to maintenance costs. Both brands get an impressive reliability score of 4 out of 5 from RepairPal, but Honda models are cheaper to maintain.
The site estimates an average annual maintenance cost of $501 for Acura, which is well below average for a luxury brand. However, Honda has even more affordable estimated annual maintenance costs of $428.
Like their overall reliability, Acura beats the average for luxury vehicles when it comes to ownership costs. However, once again, Honda is even better in this category.
Now that the NSX is discontinued, every model in the Acura lineup has a Honda counterpart. However, there’s more going on here than simple rebadging.
If you compare the Honda Accord to the similarly sized Acura TLX, the Acura has many advantages like available AWD, an optional turbo V6, and an ELS Studio premium audio system. You can’t get any of those features in an Accord, but the Honda has the aforementioned advantages of better reliability and lower maintenance costs, plus a lower starting price and a hybrid variant.
It’s a similar deal across the lineup. For example, the Honda CR-V has an efficient hybrid option, but the Acura RDX doesn’t. The Acura MDX is more luxurious and has a sporty Type-S variant, but the Honda Pilot is roomier and more family-friendly.
Because of the hybrid options available in the Honda lineup and absent in the Acura family, fuel cost is another factor to consider in the overall ownership costs.
So what does all this mean?
Unsurprisingly, Honda has better reliability and lower maintenance costs than the Acura luxury brand. However, it’s notable that Acura is more reliable and has lower ownership costs than the average luxury brand, especially expensive European rivals. Acura is certainly a practical choice in luxury vehicles, but Honda models are a bit more dependable and affordable.