Honda\'s flagship model isn\'t quite a Hall-of-Fame contender.
This year marks 25 years of the Honda Legend nameplate, although Honda Australia has little to celebrate.
Available in just one specification level, the Honda Legend is not cheap. Starting at $76,990, there are plenty of other options for new car shoppers with this kind of coin. The Ford Falcon G6E Turbo ($58,990), Holden Caprice V ($75,490) and the Volvo S60 T6 ($64,950) are just three premium sedan options at a lower starting point.
The 3.7-litre V6 engine in the Legend is an absolute gem. With 226kW of power (at 6300rpm) and 370Nm of torque (at 5000rpm), the Legend’s V6 is one of the most powerful naturally aspirated V6 engines available in Australia.
Stopped at traffic lights, the Legend is the ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing. The inconspicuous exterior will lead most fellow motorists to think it’s a languid, lifeless executive car. You’d no doubt see their jaws drop, if only they weren’t so small in your rear view mirror sitting almost where you left them.
The feeling of composure and surety is enhanced by Honda’s all-wheel drive system, called SH-AWD (super-handling all-wheel drive). Not only does SH-AWD distribute power between the front and rear wheels, it also varies power between the left and right, depending on where the power is needed.
The result of this is tremendous levels of grip, and a truly confidence-inspiring driving experience. In the wet, around bends, at speed – the Legend is unfazed.
Unfortunately, if you push the Legend’s drivetrain to even seven-tenths of its capabilities, you will become fairly well acquainted with your local servo clerk. The big Honda is officially rated at 10.7 litres/100km on the combined cycle. On the highway it uses a respectable 7.9 litres/100km, but that balloons out to 15.6 litres/100km once you’re crawling through the city. It’s an unavoidable consequence of the Legend’s combination of a powerful naturally aspirated petrol engine, an all-wheel drive system, and – compared with its direct German rivals – a significantly cheaper starting price.
Its memory function is impressive, however. Inserting the key in the ignition automatically adjusts seat and side mirrors and brings the steering wheel out from the dashboard into your preferred driving position (each key has its own memory).
The satellite navigation system is fairly intuitive to operate and provides clear and accurate instructions. The screen is a good size and positioned high on the dashboard. Included in the map data is an extensive database of points of interest, which is great for exploring unfamiliar areas. The integrated reversing camera takes the stress out of manoeuvring the Legend in tight spaces.
Although the boot will swallow plenty of gear, it’s far from the biggest going around. Incredibly, the Legend’s boot is smaller than that of the pint-sized Honda City (452 litres vs 506 litres). The Legend misses out on a full-sized spare wheel, making do with a temporary space saver instead.
The Honda Legend is an interesting proposition. On one hand, Honda asks you to pay $27,000 extra for a car that’s the same size as the Accord and has a similar engine. On the other hand, the Legend comes with the unique combination of a tremendous drivetrain and a standard features list that its German rivals could only dream of at the price. If you can look beyond the ageing appearance and the high price for a Honda badge to see the sharp dynamics and clever interior, the Legend is worth adding to your test drive list if you’re in the market for a sub-$100,000 luxury sedan.
[gallery link="file" order="DESC" columns="4" orderby="title"]