The Honda Legend is the Japanese carmaker’s flagship, mid-size luxury car that has been heading up the marketplace since its release in 1985. The current fourth-generation Legend released in 2004 is a far cry from the 1980s models that started off the Legend range.
The understated elegance of the last Legend comes through with its very fluid lines, a bold grille, and smart 15-spoke alloy wheels. It addressed the requests for a more powerful rear driven sedan, and at the time, it earned the car a number of awards for its style and performance. There were a few body shape refinements in 2005, seeing changes to the car’s rear format to allow for reversing cameras.
The Legend of today is a total departure from the large, bulky-looking, Rover-inspired sedan that kicked off the range in 1985, which had a large protruding black bumper and lifeless shaping.
By 1990, Honda had produced a far more interesting and stylish luxury car, more able to compete at the high end of the auto marketplace. Still working closely with Rover, it is very much influenced by the 800 series. It incorporated slightly flared wheel arches, more rounded wings, and an integrated, matching body coloured bumper.
Under the bonnet of the Honda Legend is a powerful 3.7L V6 engine, capable of producing 226kW of power and 370Nm of torque. This is one of the best naturally aspirated, petrol engines on the market. It’s an effortless engine that calmly ticks over but goes from 0-100 km/hr in 7.2 seconds and has a top end of 255 km/h.
The engine as standard is mated with a 5-speed automatic gearbox, hooked up to the all-wheel drive system. The AWD gives the Legend its dynamic road holding and simultaneously splits the power between the wheels, depending on traction and control. The current Legend is one you can throw around, and it loves cornering, holding the road with an assured, vice-like grip.
On the open road, the Legend produces a pretty decent level of fuel consumption for the size of car, a respectable 7.9L/100km, but its downfall is congested city traffic, where the engine soars to a thirsty 15.6L/100km. Although, the Legend’s green credentials are what you would expect from a large petrol-driven car, it produces 291g/km of CO2.
The Legend only comes in one trim but it’s a well-equipped trim. The standard package has plenty of connectivity and infotainment with USB/iPod links, a 10-speaker audio system, Bluetooth hands free, satnav on the decent-sized dash-screen, and a reversing camera that helps navigate into those tight spots. Safety features abound too, with 6 SRS airbags, electronic stability assist, traction control, ABS, EBC, and brake assist, all ensuring the Legend picks up a five-star ANCAP rating.
Some of the more novel features in the Legend are set to become mainstream in the future, such as the lane change monitor to warn drivers when the car starts to drift, the Intelligent Night Vision system and pedestrian recognition, and the pop-up bonnet also add to the car’s safety.
The earlier models came well equipped. In 1990, the Legend had a gyroscope driven navigation system, duel zone air-con, and passenger airbag. As far back as 1988, the car featured headlight washer/wipers, power folding mirrors, infrared door locks, and rear seat climate control.
This is a market that Honda has been trying to conquer since 1985 and as always, in this arena, they have come up against the executive car giants. They do not have the mid-size luxury name, despite their quality building and reliability; here the likes of Audi, BMW 5-Series, and Mercedes Benz E Class rule the roost. The Legend’s competitors include the thirsty Lexus GS, the streamlined Citroen C6, and the bullish-looking Cadillac CTS.
When you are thinking of spending in excess of $70,000, there is going to be a lot of choice on the forecourt. The Holden Caprice, Ford Falcon GT Turbo, and Volvo S60 are three such vehicles to grab shoppers’ attention. So what does the Honda Legend have to offer customers?
Like all Honda cars, the Legend is a reliable, quality constructed vehicle. Its 3.7L engine is sublime and produces a quiet, relaxed drive that holds the road with relish. Its interior and equipment levels are excellent, in advance of most of its rivals, but there are still lingering questions over its fuel consumption and emission levels. When you buy a Legend, you will have a safe, gadget-packed luxury car that, despite its conservative looks, produces a great ride.