World of Honda

The Honda Heritage Heroes

Our Civic Pride: We launched the Civic in 1970s. 10 generations later, nearly 2,000 people a day buy a new one.

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Honda brand logo.

The cars that made us who we are

“A company is most clearly defined not by its people or its history, but by its products.” Soichiro Honda

On four wheels

The 1960s.

Did you know our first car, the T360, was a truck? Our second car however, the S500, was a thriller: a small, two-seat roadster that revved to an incredible 9,500rpm and could do 80mph, it was the road-going version of the S360 concept car. From its independent suspension to its twin-cam engine, it was more advanced than the established rivals.

The Honda effect

At first, sales were small, but Honda cars were now on the map – and after selling more than 100,000 T360s, the real Honda passenger car breakthrough came: the N360. A mini Honda with maximum appeal, it was this micro miracle that paved the way to our 1970s star, the Civic…

The T360

In the 1960s our very first car was a truck. It was a huge success and sold over 100,000 units.

Front three-quarter facing Honda truck from the 1960s.
Front three-quarter facing Honda S500.

The beautiful Honda S500 sports car was a purist's dream that instantly put us on the map.

The power trio

The 1970s.

The original Honda Civic, front three-quarter facing.

The original Civic was brilliantly conceived and was the right car at just the right time.

The 1970s rocked. And Honda rocked the 1970s. We launched our best-selling car ever, the Civic, a brilliant masterpiece that took the world by storm. America in particular couldn’t get enough of it, because it showed up domestic rivals as lumbering, gas-guzzling dinosaurs.

A super seller

Forty-six years later, more than 24 million Civics have been sold, and 700,000 people a year buy our Honda hero. The 70s success of the Civic led to calls for a larger Honda; we delivered, with the Accord. We even launched a glam 2+2 coupé, called the Prelude. This also rocked. We were indeed just getting started…

Rear three-quarter facing Honda Accord.

We quickly followed up the Civic with the Accord, another right-first-time Honda that continues to this day.

Big in the Eighties

The 1980s.

It was the era of big hair, big shoulders and big revs. Our tearaway Honda CRX 1.6i-16 was a pint-sized sensation that introduced the world to the wonder of VTEC engine design. Today, it’s a modern classic. We continued to innovate, too. The Honda Civic Shuttle was one of the world’s first MPVs and a master of carrying people.

A legend is born

We launched a luxurious new halo model, called Legend. And, in the US, a new luxury brand to sell it: Acura, the world’s first Japanese premium brand. We also designed a Honda for Europe, the Concerto family hatchback. It was so popular, we’d soon decide to build it here.

VTEC TECH

During the 1980s the the first engine with Variable Valve Timing was used in a road car.

The Concerto was a Honda for Europe and formed an important part of our relationship with BL.

Those Nineties icons

The 1990s.

Front three-quarter facing Honda NSX, mountain location.

The Honda NSX was our first supercar and changed the entire high-performance sector forever.

We dreamed of building a high-performance supercar for years. For the new decade, it became a reality: the incredible NSX was signed off by Ayrton Senna and was good enough to send European rivals back to the drawing board. But we still kept our feet on the ground, anticipating the shift to SUVs with the launch of the clever, compact CR-V. Today it’s the best-selling SUV in the world.

The birth of the Type R

We introduced our high-performance ‘R’ line in the 1990s – that’s R for Racing – and models such as the Civic Type R and Accord Type R were later joined by the Honda S2000 roadster, in 1999. It was a 50th birthday present to ourselves that bought our original S500 right up to date.

Front three-quarter facing Honda S2000.
Front three-quarter facing Honda Civic Type R.

Today's Honda Civic Type R still boasts the red Honda 'H' logo that clearly defines its racing DNA.

Honda space race

The 2000s.

Honda’s history of producing revolutionary small cars dates back to the 1960s. In 2002, we proved the creativity was alive and well. The Jazz was a supermini with the space of a family car. We put the fuel tank under the front seats, creating more space in the rear. We then made full use of this space by inventing the Magic Seat that folds over, tips up and dives down. Never had seats been so practical. For drivers who needed room but did not want to give up on performance, we offered the Honda Stream - a fusion of sports coupé style and MPV versatility.

More space

And, as we never stop dreaming, we created the Honda FR-V people carrier: because six seats are better than five, its clever interior meant no compromise between passenger space and boot room.

Rear three-quarter shot of Honda Jazz interior to show Magic Seats down.

Who says small cars need be small on the inside? The folding seats in our spacious Jazz were so clever, we called them Magic Seats.

Front three-quarter facing Honda Jazz, seaside location.

Our super, supermini arrived and astonished everyone with its deceptively large interior space.

Reborn pioneers and real-world heroes

2010 to today.

The original Honda HR-V, front three-quarter facing.

The first-generation HR-V was dubbed “The Joy Machine”.

We were early to the small SUV revolution. Perhaps too early. Our 1999 HR-V was well-liked but there was a ten year gap until we replaced it. When we revived the name in 2015, the market was ready, and the contemporary HR-V has gone on to be the world’s best-selling small SUV.

Superquick

We have reinvented the NSX supercar for the modern era too, as a hybrid masterpiece. Our current real-world hero is the Civic Type R, a 320PS performance car and king of the hot-hatches. Because, as our founder Soichiro used to say, “we all have the right to our crazy dreams”.

The latest Honda NSX, front three-quarter facing.

The latest NSX is, like the original, a gamechanger. Performance is explosive, yet it can also run entirely on electric power.