Subcompacts, in the event that they ever had been in favor, have rapidly fallen out of favor in america. In 2017, gross sales within the first three-quarters of the yr plunged by greater than a fifth, year-over-year. The Honda Match, modestly up to date for the 2018 mannequin yr, is on observe in 2017 to fall to a five-year low of round 50,000 gross sales, a far cry from the practically 80,000 American Honda offered a decade in the past.
The Honda Match, not now in third-gen type nor in any prior iteration, has by no means offered on the power of fashion. There have at all times been cheaper subcompacts, sooner subcompacts, and better-equipped subcompacts, as nicely.
There haven’t, nevertheless, not less than not throughout the Match’s tenure, been any subcompacts that provide the pliability of the Honda Match. However does the truth that the 2018 Honda Match is probably going the one present subcompact that would function as my household’s lone automobile make up for the truth that the Match lags behind rivals in key areas?
Now coming into the fourth mannequin yr of its third era, the 2018 Honda Match advantages from intensive availability of the Honda Sensing suite of security gear (lane preserving help and adaptive cruise, for instance), retuned suspension, an acoustic glass windshield, and extra sound insulation.
However in essence, this is similar automobile for 2018 that it was for 2017. Meaning the driving force’s seat doesn’t slide again fairly so far as it should. Thigh assist is sort of nonexistent, and what little comfortable foam assist there may be stays of inadequate high quality. Wind noise on the A and B-pillars is extreme. Hooked as much as a repeatedly variable transmission, the 130-horsepower 1.5-liter isn’t a very completely happy revver. Missing the smoothness anticipated of a Honda four-cylinder, the 1.5 protests with a harshness that diminishes the driving force’s need to speed up. Driving on the Match LX’s 185/60R15 rubber, there’s not sufficient grip for the Match to really feel sporty, and the third-gen mannequin doesn’t present sufficient really feel and interactivity to foment enjoyable.
And but the 2018 Honda Match is at its core a veritable minivan, within the true sense of the phrase mini. Slap a pair of sliding doorways on this 161-inch-long monobox and also you’re about as set for the frugal faculty run as is feasible.Honda says there are 39.three inches of rear legroom within the Match and 96 cubic ft of passenger quantity general. That’s extra legroom than you’ll get behind a Honda Civic sedan and extra passenger quantity than you’ll discover in a Volkswagen Jetta, two vehicles that stretch a lot farther than the Match on a lot lengthier wheelbases. Throw one other 17 cubic ft of cargo capability behind the rear seat and the Match turns into an inordinately spacious subcompact automotive. And that’s earlier than you introduce the adaptability of the Match’s second-row Magic Seats, which may basically introduce a second cargo space once you’re travelling with three passengers aboard.
However is versatility the reply if Honda calls for a Match premium? In any case, Nissan Versa sedans sticker from as little as $12,875 with sufficient rear legroom for NBA forwards. The brand new Kia Rio is distinctly extra refined than the Honda Match and begins beneath $15,000. The Toyota Yaris iA, basically a Mazda 2 in sedan garments, begins beneath $17,000 with the enjoyable driving mannerisms as soon as linked to the Honda Match.
Sure, versatility will be the reply. Sure, versatility could also be such a worthwhile additional in an in any other case succesful (if not excellent) automotive as a result of within the case of a household of 4 with a big canine, for instance, no different automotive on this class can deal with our wants.That’s at all times been the Match’s declare to fame. Even when it isn’t essentially the most engaging, the quickest, or essentially the most inexpensive, or essentially the most handsomely outfitted subcompact, the Match does what I want it to do.
Regardless of the newfound set up of in depth security gear on the low finish of the lineup, nevertheless, a better grade can be tempting, largely as a result of the 2018 Honda Match LX seems way more poverty-spec than it really is. Changing these lined wheels with alloys, swapping the CVT for a six-speed guide, putting in the 2018 Match EX’s fog lights, and gaining a sunroof gained’t flip the Match right into a magnificence, however it is going to extinguish the one-lakh-car look of the Match LX.
At $19,035, simply $170 greater than this $18,865 tester, the fundamental 2018 Honda Match EX could be the n0-brainer within the Match vary.
[Images: © 2017 Timothy Cain]
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Fact About Vehicles and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.web. Observe on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.