High-five for Honda
The latest lease is a CRV, a pseudo 4WD crossed with a station wagon and 4WD. This has to be one of the nicest cars I’ve driven (and I haven’t driven a top end Merc or BMW so I’m comparing mid range cars here).
The CRV handles better than the Mazda3 which I’ve been driving for the last three years, and corners effortlessly for a vehicle that has a higher center of gravity than a normal car. The car is packed full of all the gizmo’s that are usually stripped out of base models by companies such as Toyota – so it had dual aircon, automatically folding mirrors, when you reverse and you’re using the wipers, the back one comes on automatically, alloys, 6 disc player, cruise control etc. In fact the only thing between the base CRV and the ‘sports’ model was a body kit and leather seats.
The seats fold down to give more boot space than the Accord Wagon so there’s a lot of room in the back – I managed to fit a large fridge/freezer in it. There’s also plenty of leg room in the back and it’s a surprising roomy car for it’s size.
With Honda, it isn’t just that I have never once had a fault or problem with a single car, it’s also the hig quality of the finish and the service that comes with the vehicle.
Their service is excellent. The staff have always been helpful and maintain contact after the purchase following up to see how things are going. Leases include WOF and registration and they contact you about servicing so you don’t need to worry about it – when you get the car serviced they provide a loan car.
Honda have an interesting pricing policy that’s worth mentioning. They don’t discount, it doesn’t matter if you are a corporate or a guy (or gal) off the street, you’ll pay the same list price. This way if you’re just buying one car you’re not subsidising the corporate who’s buying 100 cars. This may disappoint those who like to bargain, but the interesting side effect is that the depreciation on Honda’s is lower than on other cars, and this makes their lease costs cheaper – my second Jazz lease was cheaper than the first one even thought the list price hadn’t changed. Generally a new car loses 20-30% of it’s value the second you drive it off the lot, this is partly because while you may have paid $30,000 for it, Mr Corporate got a ‘fleet discount’ and he only paid $25,000, so this makes for some pretty steep depreciation rates.
Honda’s lease rates are also pretty competitive, this is likely to be because Honda NZ may be accessing funds from Japan and they have virtually 0% interest rates there.
Honda do have a limited range of cars, and sometimes I wonder at their choice of models for the NZ market, often models that only appear as second hand imports do very well here, the Shuttle and some of the Accord models for example. I think they made a mistake not bringing in the Civic Hatch and that is a seriously cool looking car and hatch backs are popular here.
Honda’s styling has improved a lot (which is why it’s a pity we won’t see the Civic Hatch) as it used to be a bit stodgy, the new Jazz is certainly a sharper looking design than the first model.
If you’re in the market for a new car, I’d recommend trying Honda, if the Accord or CRV are too big for you, the Jazz is also an excellent car, with a heap of space that beats any other small hatch hands down for performance, features and economy. I’ve always used Honda Newmarket, so if you’re in Auckland try there. Try here for web site based quotes.