Why Are Old Hondas So Expensive?

It’s a pretty well-known fact that Honda vehicles retain their value better than most cars on the used market and it’s been like that for the last couple of decades. Take a quick look at any classified car website and you’ll notice that many of the used Honda models made in the last five years are still priced somewhat close to their original MSRP sticker prices and often much higher than other makes in the same categories. And if you check in on older Hondas, like the ones made in the 90s, they still sell for a relatively high price. But why are they so expensive?

It has to do with a little more than just Kelley Blue Book values

white 1996 honda accord
1996 Honda Accord | Wikimedia Commons

While car value resources like Kelley Blue Book are handy when it comes to looking up a car’s value, it’s not always the most reliable source when it comes to Hondas, especially the older ones. For example, we found a 1996 Honda Civic DX hatchback with 86,000 miles listed on Craigslist recently for $5,700. Sure, the car looks like it’s in immaculate shape and it has super low miles considering its 24 years old, but that price is quite astronomical. And while we don’t think that the seller would expect to pay that asking price, we’re sure that it’s not going to sell for the $1,000 valuation that KBB.com virtually appraises it at either.

Of course, that example is a bit on the extreme side, but why the high price? It simply comes down to not just supply and demand, but also the popularity, reliability, and customizability of the older Honda Civics and Accords. As the years go on, it’s getting harder and harder to find clean examples like the aforementioned 1996 Honda Civic, so there’s a factor of rarity. But there’s also the ability for anyone to take that car and make it a fuel-efficient daily driver, but also a weekend racecar if they wanted to, thanks to the ease of swapping engines in those cars.

1996 Honda Civic DX
1996 Honda Civic DX | Craigslist

Do other older Honda models retain their values just as well?

While older Honda Civics and Accords from the 90s are seemingly immune to depreciation, other Honda models have the same benefit as well. For example, we have seen 2007 to 2010 Honda Odysseys listed at $2,000 to $3,000 above their Kelley Blue Book values and it’s the same situation for Honda Pilots as well, no matter how old they are. Of course, we are fully aware that the valuation tools online are merely guidelines, as the actual in-person conditions of these cars can vary. However, the main point is that the prices at which these are cars are listed is almost insane.

Blue 2000 Honda Civic Si coupe parked in front of a hedge
2000 Honda Civic Si coupe | Bring a Trailer

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Ultimately, it’s about popularity and rarity

Last month, a 2000 Honda Civic Si sold on the popular car auction site, BringaTrailer.com, for $50,000. Keep in mind that when it was new back in the year 2000, it was priced at around $20,000. The reason it was able to fetch a selling price over double its original worth is that it was a super clean example with only 5,000 miles on the odometer. In a way, that car has reached “classic car” levels of popularity, and for cars like that Civic Si, the values are likely to increase as time goes one.

In the end, there’s not really any strange magic to rising and already high cost of older Hondas. It really just comes down to the fact that they are popular and getting harder to find. So if you have an older Honda that’s in good shape and has relatively low miles, it might actually be a good idea to hold onto it.