The following is region specific to the United States and is not particularly applicable in Europe or other parts of the world.

Honda makes some reliable cars and they are one of the better buys in the new car market. However their reliability is almost a myth of almost epic proportions. Yes it is quite true that some Honda vehicles surpass the 300,000 mile mark, however the average Honda still hits the junkyard somewhere around 200,000 miles, just like the average car from most other manufacturers that are capable of producing a passable vehicle in the first place. However the Honda myth does drive people to easily handwave pricey repairs on their old Hondas because Hondas are "reliable" and "worth it", when they would junk an American car needing the exact same repairs.

Cars that do super high miles tend to be purchased new and driven to the grave by one owner who maintains them religiously. Under those circumstances a lot of otherwise ordinary vehicles can and will do extraordinary mileage, and that isn't something that is really restricted to the Honda brand, or even something that the Honda brand even truly excels at. Most of the real mileage champions out there have been european cars, mostly Mercedes Benz (particularly the 300D model), although there is a Turbo Saab running around out there that has over a million miles on it and there is a 1966 Volvo P1800 out there that has over 2 million miles on it.

The Honda is no magic bullet and it is not the answer to all your vehicular woes. Yes, they do very well on reliability surveys, but you have to understand what that data truly means. You see this is no longer 1954 and most cars do not break down all the time. The reliability of almost all cars made from the 1980s onward is incredible compared to older models. The actual real-world difference might mean that your "ultra-reliable" Honda is going to break down 3 times in the next fifteen years rather than four. I won't really get too far into the fact that Honda vehicles tend to rust out earlier than many other makes, nor will I fixate on the fact that they have a lot of trouble living past twenty years old, but those are some things you might want to think about if you are a potential long-term owner. Detroit was not outselling Japan 200 to 1 25 years ago, yet surviving Detroit iron of this vintage outnumbers surviving Japanese cars of the same vintage by about that margin.

One might ask themselves where is this Honda-hating author was I going with all this? I was going right down to the used car lot actually. People often seem obsessed with getting a reliable car, because apparently a $300 repair once a year would break the bank, while a $350 monthly payment is no problem at all. These people have built Honda up into this sort of obsessive little icon that can do no wrong. This means that a Honda on the used market will often literally sell for 180-300 percent of the price of a comparable American made model. This makes a used Honda (regardless of age) basically the worst value on the planet.

Most auto makes tend to have a sweet spot in their used purchase price curve, where they represent a great value at a certain age and mileage. This just isn't true with Honda. It is fairly normal for a 5-6 year old used Honda to sell for around twice the price of similar American cars. Are they a little more reliable than those other cars? Sure, maybe a little bit, but they simply are not that much more reliable. You are talking about paying double on the used market to save maybe $500 over the life of the car, if even that, since plenty of Hondas end up needing pricey repairs too, and people just dump the money in them because they are "reliable" and "worth it".

In fact the price disconnect between a used Honda and a used Ford is so great that the difference in price would actually be enough to replace the entire drivetrain on the Ford and have money left over. In fact, research done today on past eBay sales show that a six year old Honda Accord with about 80,000 miles on it sells for about $9,000. Those aren't asking prices, those are a rough average of what a whole bunch of similar 2002 Honda Accords recently closed for on ebay. A 2002 Ford Taurus with the same mileage on it is all of $3000. If you are willing to spend as much as $4000 then you can get one with half that mileage. Does that reliable Honda still look like a good deal now? It shouldn't, not if you can do math. You say, "but I heard some anecdote about someone who had a Taurus with transmission problems". I say, so what, I heard the same anecdote, a rebuilt Taurus transmission costs $600 to buy and maybe another $400 to put in, and that still leaves you with $5000, and chances are pretty high you won't actually be replacing that transmission.