What’s Wrong with Honda?

I shared my affection for Honda’s on this blog in the past. The automaker’s “man-max, machine-min” engineering philosophy helped me rethink my own understanding of church programming. How many car companies have inspired your ecclesiology?

In high school I worked at a Honda dealer as a porter. My first car was a Honda Prelude. And in the years since I’ve owned six different Hondas-from a sports car to a minivan; an SUV and a scooter. So, yes, I’m a fan of the fuel-efficient, ergonomic, and very reliable vehicles.

But lately I’m beginning to wonder what they’re smoking over at Honda’s design studios. Honda has never been known as a cutting edge design company. They’re notoriously conservative. That means they’ve never produced anything as beautiful as a Jaguar E-type, but they haven’t laid a turd like the Pontiac Aztek either.

I started to worry when the latest Accord debuted. It struck me as over-designed; loosing the understated tone of the earlier generation. And it didn’t have the unity of design seen in its leading competitor, the Toyota Camry. The Accord isn’t offensive, but it doesn’t strike me as a pleasant design either.

But now Honda has really blown it. Take a look at the 2010 Accord-based Crosstour. What a mess. That massive grill…the angular front attached to that bulbous behind…the frumpy tailgate with the fake black-out glass…and the tiny oval fog lamps in those awkwardly large bumper slats. It’s just terrible. And I’m not alone in my opinion.

In an attempt to be “cool,” Honda decided to release the first images of the Crosstour on Facebook and Twitter. They were hoping to make an instant splash with social media. It worked. The car has been trounced. Reports indicate Honda is reeling. (Yet another reason to be skeptical of using Twitter.)They should have tested the design with social media fans long before building this beast.

Sorry, Honda. High quality, fuel efficiency, and interior ergonomics aren’t going to be enough this time. Are you watching, GM? Honda is weak. This is your chance to make your move.

honda crosstour

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  • September 18, 2009


    Ugh. I totally agree. Ugly, ugly, ugly. The Aztec of Honda design. It actually looks more like a Chrysler than a Honda. Very sad.

  • January 17, 2011

    m kharrat

    i really agree with you .. they really seem like havin the worst amature design studio in the world .
    honda are trying to make cool designs , but they are loosing control … they are no more definig what a beautiful auto is .
    just take a look to the ugly new odessy 2011 .. it is with no doubt the worst design i ever seen in my life … even the 90s odessy looks much more beautiful and more satisfiying …
    i guess they need a europen hand to guide then in the right way back …

  • May 11, 2011


    I live in Europe.
    Have had 4 Hondas in the past. 2 Preludes, and 2 CRXs,
    Loved the engineering and excitement these cars provided. Today, Honda has only one mildly exciting car in it’s range in Europe: the Civic Type R and honestly against the competition it looks pretty lame.
    I do not understand what the strategy is…. Bore your customers to death? What’s up with the Accord and Legend? exactly who were they designed for? It’s an insult to claim to replace the lovely CRX with that hybrid thing. Shame on you.