Reader question: Honda Elysion MPG and reliability

Reader question about Honda Elysion MPG and reliability

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

“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.

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.

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