Reader question: Honda Elysion MPG and reliability 10


Reader question about Honda Elysion MPG and reliability

picture of the front of a Honda Elysion I was asked the following about Honda Elysion MPG / fuel consumption and reliability recently:

“I am considering importing a 2006 Honda Elysion, the 3l VX model with 4wd. Information about it and its reliability is hard to come by. It is literally a 10 year old car and I am concerned that it may become a money hole with regards to servicing and replacing parts. But then I also hear that even though many of these Japanese cars are well maintained and are really in excellent condition despite their age. Is it a risk worth taking? The Elysion has Hondas V-tec engine that apparently is much more efficient then the Elgrand and the Alphard and this is one of the reasons I was drawn to it in the first place. Any advice would be most welcome.”

I thought it would be useful to share my response so others could benefit.

My answer

I like these cars although haven’t owned one personally.

I can see the appeal of the 3 litre V6 VTEC engine.  This engine also has VCM (variable cylinder management) enabling the car to cruise on 3 cylinders to save fuel, but reactivate all 6 when more power is needed.  I like the sound of this and the power output would make the car very enjoyable to drive.

However, one of my agents in Japan advised against the 3 litre engine due to reliability concerns.  It is much less of a proven engine than the other engine option for the Elysion, the 2.4 litre K24A.

picture of the rear of a Honda ElysionI am not convinced that the 3 litre Elysion would offer substantially better fuel consumption than a 3 litre Alphard or a 3.5 litre Elgrand.  The official fuel consumption figures are as follows:

  • Elysion 3 litre VX – 9.8 km/l (27.7 mpg)
  • Elgrand 3.5 litre – 8.0 km/l (22.6 mpg)
  • Alphard 3 litre – 8.9 km/l (25.1 mpg)

So the Elysion wins by a small margin!

About the car being 10 years old – I personally wouldn’t see this as a major concern.  Many Japanese imports are very well maintained and have low kilometers, so they haven’t seen a great deal of wear.  I’m not sure where you’re based, but in the UK a lot of the 10 year old Japanese imports are in better condition than 3 or 5 year old UK market cars.

In terms of reliability, Honda have a good reputation for reliability in my opinion, coming a very close second to Toyota.  I don’t think that a car being 10 years old makes it less reliable: it all depends on whether it has been looked after and how many kilometers have been covered.  In the UK, most car breakdowns are due to failure of serviceable items (tyres, batteries) or human error rather than age-related failure of major components.  The 3 litre engine in the Elysion may represent a reliability risk though.

In summary, I don’t see buying a well maintained, low mileage 10 year old car from Japan as a big risk, as long as you buy through a trustworthy agent.  I personally don’t think the 3 litre Elysion with VCM is worth the potential small gain in fuel economy, when offset against the extra risk of reduced reliability through increased engine complexity.  So if you’re set on an Elysion, go for the 2.4 litre engine.  If this won’t have enough power, then I think a 3 litre Toyota Alphard or 3.5 litre Nissan Elgrand would be a better option.


I’ve written a round up of information about the Nissan Elgrand and Toyota Alphard, and will be doing the same for the Honda Elysion soon.

If you own a Honda Elysion, it would be great if you could post your engine size and fuel consumption in the comments below.

If you’ve got a question about any of the cars mentioned here, or any other Japanese import cars, feel free to get in touch.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

10 thoughts on “Reader question: Honda Elysion MPG and reliability

  • John Heaton

    Hi, I have a 2.4 Elysion on a 2004 and get 30mpg on a run and a little less around town. I have owned this car since April have covered about 4 k miles without any issues. I am very pleased with it, it’s very comfortable and quiet.

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi John

      Thank you very much for your contribution. This is the engine I’d have if I were buying an Elysion. I’m pleased to hear you’re enjoying yours.

      Cheers
      Andrew

    • Oraman

      How easy is it to obtain parts for service or breakdown …the last thing I want is a car off the road for a month because I cant get a part.

    • Qadeer

      Hi John

      I’m thinking of purchasing one today … any advice ?

      Also is there any way to change the Japanese language on the sat nav etc ?

  • David Pendry

    I collected my ten year-old, 2.4, 4WD Elysion last week, just in time for a trip to the south of France.
    (I had just come back from having the air-con topped-up in my sixteen year-old Shuttle – just in case the Elysion wasn’t ready to collect – when I received the call!)
    So the ‘test drive’ was a five hundred mile blast through France, overnight, in the fog, avoiding Calais (riots and road closures. Again!) and, I am very happy to report – it never missed a beat, and the handling! It is beyond anything I’ve read about it “handling like a car”!
    Even when the French ‘Department a la Changing The Road Signs Around To Confuse The British’ had done their best to thwart us, we still smiled as we wafted along, keeping cool and comfortable.

    I have a couple of questions about the car.
    1. Can I replace the existing GPS / entertainment unit with something I can understand without resorting to the Google Translate App on the phone?
    2. Is it possible to have cruise-control retro fitted?

    With these two things fixed, I think I will have my perfect vehicle!

    Many thanks.

    David.

    • Andrew Post author

      Hi David

      Pleased to hear you’re enjoying your Honda Elysion, I guess the Shuttle was a hard act to follow!

      Thank you for your questions. Unfortunately I don’t know of an elegant solution to convert/replace the satnav. I have seen some Malaysian owners on a forum claim they have done the conversion. However it sounded quite expensive and when I looked into it further, the Garmin GPS module required for their conversion wasn’t available to buy in the UK (and exceedingly difficult to import it seemed). Personally I would use my phone for navigation and would play music from my phone through the existing radio via a bluetooth FM modulator.

      About the cruise control, I suspect it would be possible to retrofit but this isn’t something I’ve done before. I would contact a few of the specialists in retrofitting cruise control listed online and see whether they can help. In particular I know CanM8 make a lot of products for imported/unusual vehicles.

      Best wishes
      Andrew

  • phillip

    I have a 2008 elysion, it gives me around 28/30mpg on the motorway.
    the big problem is that nobody has been able to sort out changing the satnav head unit to uk spec (too complicated)

  • John B

    The VCM technology of the 3.0 V6 J30A engine is also used in the Honda Odyssey. It is apparently very hard to get the vehicle into ECO mode: it will never occur in town driving, and on the open road, you will have to travel at constant speed, and not be going too fast (this might even rule out 70MPH on the motorway? I don’t know). Anyway, this explains why the overall fuel economy from mixed driving does not appear much better than the Alphard. If you put most of your miles on in sedate motorway driving, then the economy might appear much better. It won’t be as good as a 1.5l engine, because the valves in the disabled bank all shut to provide a spring effect, but it will generate heat; this is apparently better than leaving them open and pumping a large volume of air in and out unnecessarily.
    The engine is unbalanced when firing on 3 cylinders, so there is a clever engine mount to isolate the vibration. This is known to crack.
    This engine uses a cam belt.
    According to the forums, the stereo/ICE seems much harder to upgrade than in the Toyota or Nissan because nothing is standard form factor, but I don’t know myself.