A gray 2020 Honda CR-V is shown driving on a bridge to view used cars for sale.

Honda Corners the Family Used Car Market With the CR-V, Pilot, and Odyssey

When picking your next family vehicle, there are plenty of things to consider. Passenger room and cargo space often rank at the top, especially for those with a full complement of kiddos in tow, but they are not the only metrics by which these models are judged. Selection and price are certainly important considerations, but if we had to pick one detail to consider, reliability would probably top the list. With the cost of living rising each year, families already have enough to worry about without having to budget for expensive repairs and the headaches that can come with having a vehicle out of commission for even a short time. That’s why reliability is such a vital factor when you’re weighing different used models.

If you’re searching for a ride that won’t let you and your family down when you need it most, Honda is worth a closer look. Known for its long-lasting lineup of vehicles, Honda’s reputation for reliability has kept it near the top of the sales charts for many years. But what about the price? Financial constraints can make shopping for a brand-new vehicle an impractical option for many, but Honda’s impressive track record for reliability really pays dividends when you’re trying to land a great deal on your next family vehicle. Because they’re able to stay on the road longer and with fewer issues than the average vehicle, Hondas are particularly well-suited for families seeking used cars for sale.

Their popularity also means they’re ubiquitous on the preowned market, which means a wide selection of quality used models to choose from. Speaking of selection, the brand not only offers some of the industry’s most popular cars, trucks, and SUVs but also has the distinction of being one of the last automakers to offer a minivan. While the options might be overwhelming, we’ve compiled a short list of some of the best used Honda models for families. We’ll also examine Honda’s reputation for reliability and see why, time after time, families have gravitated toward the brand when it comes time to choose their next vehicle.

Putting Quality First

Honda certainly stands out when it comes to reliability. The Japanese automaker consistently ranks as one of the most dependable on the market, but you don’t have to take our word for it. Consumer Reports ranked Honda as the fifth-most reliable brand in 2023, though it actually ranks as high as number three if luxury automakers are left out of the calculations. This ranking echoes similar studies from numerous sources over the years.

How has Honda achieved such an iron-clad reputation for reliability? In reality, there’s no one trick you can point to, but rather a spirit of hard work and determination that has long been the backbone of the Honda design and manufacturing process. The automaker is known for its tight quality control standards when it comes to its production line, not to mention continually perfecting its designs and original manufactured parts, as well as instituting new practices to ensure a reliable, consistent product.

One such practice is known as root cause analysis. If a Honda vehicle or component is found to malfunction or fall below Honda’s quality standards, the company traces the issues back to its source, pinpointing exactly what went wrong and addressing the issue before it can spiral into a recall or repair. It’s this head-on approach that’s won Honda so many accolades over the years and should help instill a sense of confidence when shopping for a used Honda model.

A red 2020 Honda Odyssey is shown driving on a city street.

Honda CR-V

Since debuting in 1997, the Honda CR-V has quickly risen through the ranks to become the brand’s best-selling model. This speaks to the increasing popularity of the crossover SUV segment, but to credit all of the CR-V’s success to simply jumping on the trend would be doing the compact a disservice. This SUV provides an ideal mix of space, performance, and efficiency, making it perfect for any family on the go.

When it comes to performance, it all depends on which year you choose. The CR-V was given an optional turbocharged 1.5-liter mill in 2017 to complement the existing 2.4-liter offering, but since 2020, the turbo has become the new standard. It’s a powerful little engine despite its smaller displacement, producing 190 hp while sipping gasoline. The naturally aspirated version lags behind at 184 hp and has slightly worse fuel economy, so try to find a model with the turbo if you can. The CR-V features comfortable seating for five, and while cargo room has never been the strong suit of the compact class, the CR-V punches well above its weight to deliver a 39.2 cu.ft. of space behind the back row and 75.8 cu.ft. with the back seat folded down in fifth-generation models.

The CR-V also stands out when it comes to standard safety features. The 2020 version made the Honda Sensing suite standard, which includes features such as Lane Departure Warning, a Road Departure Mitigation System, Forward Collision Warning, and a Collision Mitigation Braking System. That was enough safety tech to make the 2020 CR-V an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick, providing some valuable peace of mind for those hauling their most precious cargo.

Those looking for an even more fuel-efficient version of the CR-V should consider the hybrid model. Introduced in 2020, the hybrid takes everything there is to love about the standard CR-V and graces it with a new powertrain that maximizes fuel economy without sacrificing performance. In fact, the CR-V Hybrid is even more powerful than its gas-powered forerunner with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that, thanks to a little electric assistance, is able to churn out 212 hp. Combine that with standard all-wheel drive and the 2020 CR-V Hybrid’s EPA-estimated 38 MPG combined, and you’ve got a versatile family vehicle that’s both efficient and fun to drive. The CR-V Hybrid is relatively new, so while finding a preowned model might not be quite as easy as some of the other vehicles on our list, it’s certainly worth the effort.

Honda Odyssey

Some drivers might be surprised to learn that minivans still exist in this day and age. Once the go-to choice for parents, the minivan has largely been replaced by a new generation of crossover SUVs that now dominate the family-focused side of the market. Honda is one of the last automakers to focus on this endangered segment with its long-running Odyssey model, giving families a refreshing alternative to the crossover that offers unsurpassed passenger and cargo space. Take the redesigned 2018 model, for example, which not only boasts seating for eight passengers but also features 38.6 cu.ft. of space behind the third row of seats, 92 cu.ft. with the third row folded, and 158 cu.ft. of cargo room when both of the back rows are stowed away. That should be more than enough room for most, and it allows the minivan to double as a dependable cargo hauler by folding or removing the rear seats.

Then, there are the little creature features that set the Odyssey apart. The most notable would probably be the minivan’s HondaVAC, an integrated vacuum system mounted behind the third row that allows parents to clean up crumbs, dirt, and other messes without hauling the family vacuum cleaner out into the driveway. The Odyssey’s tricks continue with the Cool Box, a compartment built into the front console that can keep drinks, snacks, and other vital road trip supplies nice and chilled. The Cool Box is not a refrigerator or cooler but funnels cool air from the climate control system into the cubby. Simply place your water bottle in the Cool Box, hit the nearby button, and the wind will rush into the compartment. This option was discontinued with the 2018 redesign, but it’s just one of the features that makes the fourth-gen Odyssey such a standout.

Other available features that make the Odyssey such a logical choice for families include a rear-seat entertainment system, a premium sound system, and a center seat in the second row that can slide forward to allow parents easier access to fussy kids. While an older Odyssey might lack some of the cutting-edge safety and driver-assist tech that can be found in newer models, they are pretty well-equipped when one considers the age. This minivan has consistently earned a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA thanks to its superb crash test scores.

A black 2020 Honda Pilot is shown parked in a shaded room.

Honda Pilot

If the CR-V is a little too small for your growing family, and you just can’t see yourself behind the wheel of a minivan like the Odyssey, the Honda Pilot provides the perfect middle ground. This three-row SUV mixes the CR-V’s versatility with the Odyssey’s cargo and passenger space, giving drivers the best of both worlds in one package. The Pilot excels when it comes to fuel economy, especially for a three-row SUV, with the refreshed 2019 model offering 20 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway.

These numbers come courtesy of a 3.5-liter V6, which is not only efficient but also gives the two-ton SUV some impressive pep with 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. The three-row design also means plenty of room for passengers and cargo alike, with the 2019 Pilot offering seating for eight, 18.5 cu.ft. of space in the trunk, 55.9 cu.ft. with the third row folded, and 109 cu.ft. when both of the back rows are folded. That sort of cargo room should come in handy for the average family, allowing them to transport bulky sports equipment or even large appliances.

Drivers looking for a version that’s packed with a few of the more modern amenities should probably stick to models produced since the 2019 refresh. The refresh includes exterior styling changes, as well as a new 4G LTE hotspot and a number of other tech-related upgrades. The highlight would probably be a new infotainment system running an updated version of the HondaLink software that includes the innovative CabinControl app. CabinControl gives backseat passengers a little more input on the Pilot’s rear climate-control system, but it’s the app’s ability to let riders play DJ that’s probably the most compelling feature. Passengers can add songs of their choice to a Social Playlist, giving each kid a chance to hear their favorite tune and hopefully helping to maintain a little backseat harmony.

It can be hard for those riding in the front seats to make themselves heard in the spacious Pilot, but Honda has engineered around this issue with a CabinTalk feature that lets parents communicate with rear passengers using what basically amounts to a built-in intercom system. Throw in the hands-free tailgate for those times when you’re too overburdened with groceries or sports equipment to access the trunk, and one thing becomes clear: the Pilot is an SUV designed with busy families in mind.

The Pilot also earns points for being one of the more rugged and hard-working models on our list. This midsize SUV can not only tow up to 5,000 lbs, but it also offers a light off-road package that adds some important mechanical and stylistic upgrades. Introduced for the 2022 model year, the Pilot’s TrailSport trim features black exterior trim, 18-inch alloy wheels, and eye-catching orange stitching in the interior, but it’s the SUV’s suspension lift that really sets the trim apart from the crowd. By raising the TrailSport by 0.6 inches, Honda has given the Pilot a little extra ground clearance that will prove important when tackling off-road terrain. The TrailSport is certainly not designed for mudding, rock-crawling, or any other heavy-duty off-road applications, but if you’re seeking a vehicle that’s a little more capable than your run-of-the-mill crossover, the TrailSport could be just the ticket.

Your Family’s Home Away From Home

From taking the stress out of long road trips and keeping the kids distracted to accommodating larger pieces of cargo and allowing you to fit one extra passenger in that after-school carpool, choosing the right family vehicle can make all the difference. These vehicles often serve as a home away from home, with the average driver spending almost 300 hours per year behind the wheel, which is part of the reason why it’s so important to not rush into a purchase. Reliability, price, cargo capacity, and passenger space are just a few of the factors that should be weighed before signing on the dotted line, but it can often be difficult to know where to start. Honda provides a ready-made solution for even the most demanding family with models like the Pilot, CR-V, and Odyssey. These vehicles have proved popular due to their winning combination of reliability and versatility and should always be near the top of the list for any family seeking a quality used vehicle.