Beginning March 15, 2018, every guy’s favorite time of year will tip off: March Madness. With this sanctified holiday comes slightly illegal office bracket pools, smack talking at the water cooler, and a wicked competitive spirit that some might consider too unsettling to unleash in your cubicle. To each their own, right?
The next couple of weeks will be exciting, and to get you into your default March Madness mood early, we thought it’d be fun to choose winners in our own bracket of the best Honda models for Phoenix drivers. Does it serve a purpose other than to highlight Honda’s finest desert-handling assets? Not really, but you can’t put a price on creative marketing. Here, for your viewing pleasure, is the 2018 Honda Championship bracket, just in time for the NCAA Tournament.
Eight Hondas enter. Only four move on to the semifinals.
Accord (1) vs. Fit (8)
The new Honda Accord has been undefeated all season, with a 2018 NAIAS North American Car of the Year Award in its trophy case to show for it. But the Accord is gunning for the championship this year. It’s got the speed, endurance, and athletic charm of a champ, so there’s no surprise that it remains a hands-on favorite to win it all.
Standing stoically in the Accord’s way is the 2018 Honda Fit, a smart little compact hatchback with more than enough in its axles to put up a fight. A Jack of All Trades playing style—its 2nd-Row Magic Seat is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise bland hatchback segment—emphasizes versatility over all else, though its tires start spinning faster when it wears the Honda Fit Sport jersey.
Those of you looking for a car in Phoenix may not find two better options than the Accord and Fit. But there’s no denying the supremacy of the Accord, which was named the Overall Best Buy by KBB.com, too.
Winner: 2018 Accord
Civic (4) vs. CR-V (5)
Each year, the Civic is in the running to be the best Honda car of the bunch, which is saying a lot considering the Accord exists. There’s a natural grace to the new Civic, a certain je ne sais quoi that puts it in a class all its own. For 2018, that classiness leaves a lasting impression thanks to a beefier turbocharged engine and an estimated fuel efficiency of 40 mpg on the highway. It can outpace just about anyone.
The Arizona staple may very well be the Honda CR-V, a crossover that’s proven time and time again that it deserves as much recognition as the Accord. The winner of a 2018 KBB Best Buy Award and Motor Trend SUV of the Year Award, the latest CR-V is sporting a rockin’ hairdo and new sneaks, looking the part of a leader. It adds a hands-free power liftgate to its repertoire of over 50 other pieces of technology, too.
Like in basketball, it’s all about the match-up. Under normal situations, the Civic has an advantage; in Phoenix, the 2018 CR-V is just too much to handle.
Winner: 2018 CR-V
Ridgeline (2) vs. HR-V (7)
As for last year’s North American Truck of the Year, the new Honda Ridgeline returns with many of the same features that made us fall in love with it in the first place. There’s the in-bed power outlet built for tailgaters, a flip-up rear seat that covers a cabin storage compartment, and a full-size trunk/cooler. Ingenious in nearly every way, the 2018 Ridgeline can tow up to 5,000 pounds, returns an astounding 26 mpg on the highway, and is safer than nearly every other truck in its segment.
A relative newcomer to March Madness, the 2018 HR-V is a blend of Civic and CR-V. Its aggressive stance and tall physique scream “CR-V,” while its cocky attitude and demeanor showcase that Civic competitiveness. Like the Fit, the HR-V’s biggest perk is its Magic Seat, which flips and flops in multiple configurations to make room for everything from bikes and skateboards to 114 rattlesnakes (we counted).
In the Arizona sand, both the HR-V and Ridgeline make for a great vehicle. However, the decks were stacked in the Honda Ridgeline’s favor. That torque—the Ridgeline makes 262 pound-feet—puts it way over the edge, making it the ideal pickup truck for off-roading outside of Prescott or Chandler, AZ.
Winner: 2018 Ridgeline
Odyssey (3) vs. Pilot (6)
The new 2018 Odyssey, voted by many to be the finest minivan on the market, doesn’t seem to have the quitting gene. Energy and effort are always at 110% when the Honda Odyssey is leading the charge.
- Its height-adjustable, hands-free liftgate is a big plus when you’ve got an armful of navel oranges and cat food slung over your shoulder.
- Honda’s Magic Slide Seats are an obvious addition to this 8-seater van, allowing parents to access the third row with ease or separate feuding siblings on road trips.
- HondaVAC sucks up the sand, old French fries, and loose ponytail holders faster than an armadillo
- On those long trips from Phoenix to wherever, the integrated rear entertainment system and mobile Wi-Fi hotspot are godsends, eliminating the need to play the License Plate Game.
- CabinWatch and CabinTalk, two innovative features specifically designed with parents in mind, ensure you’ve always got eyes and ears on the little ones. (Timmy, stop eating your boogers! Megan, tell Timmy to stop eating his boogers.”)
A family vehicle is exactly what the Odyssey is, but Honda doesn’t rest on its laurels with its award-winning minivan. The 2018 Honda Pilot, with its five USB ports, high ground clearance, 5000-pound towing capacity, and seating for up to eight passengers, is a talent-filled SUV that has made a name for itself over the many years. It has the ideal physique to give the Odyssey trouble—it’s a bit taller, more muscular, weighs less, and has the same 280-horsepower V6 to power it over the dunes.
In perhaps the closest match yet, it’s the Pilot who emerges as the unlikely hero, sinking a game-winning shot to move onto the next round.
Winner: 2018 Pilot
Accord (1) vs. CR-V (5)
As two of the most popular Honda models for decades, the Accord and CR-V were destined to meet up during this year’s Honda Championship. Sophisticated, always up for a challenge, and good under pressure, both Honda vehicles have had their 15 minutes of fame—for the Accord, that 15 minutes extended to over 31 years being a Car and Driver 10Best winner—bringing home trophies left and right.
Unfortunately for the Accord, its matchup with the CR-V is in Phoenix, giving an upper hand to the Honda with more of a natural inclination to off-road. The CR-V’s 8.2-inch ground clearance gets it closer to the net, where a 230-pound advantage allows it to post up the Accord through two halves of play.
Winner: 2018 CR-V
Ridgeline (2) vs. Pilot (6)
A close matchup is a-brewin’ in Phoenix. The Ridgeline, carrying over last year’s award-winning “best of” features, is no stranger to pressure. Or long-winded trips down the floor. Or busy stop-and-go traffic clogging up the lane. Really, the 2018 Honda Ridgeline is as well-rounded a truck as you’ll find, with its standard voice recognition software, dual-hinge tailgate, in-bed storage solutions, wide stance, and 210-inch wingspan. It shares the same powertrain as the Pilot, resulting in similar fuel economy, but the Ridgeline’s trailering ability puts it on top.
Winner: 2018 Ridgeline
Ridgeline (2) vs. CR-V (5)
Do you bet on the Ridgeline or CR-V to take home the Honda Championship? Smart money is on the Ridgeline, but the 2018 CR-V won’t back down without a fight.
For 2018, the CR-V has reinvented its playstyle, becoming a spitfire in Honda’s starting lineup. What it lacks in power and size it makes up for in slyness. It’s got enough fuel in the tank to last an entire 40-minute match—its combined 28 mpg is better than the Ridgeline’s 22 mpg—the quickness to get around defenders, and the decision-making ability to limit turnovers thanks to a complete suite of Honda Sensing safety tech.
But power and size ultimately get the best of the CR-V in Phoenix, as the 3.5L V6 under the Ridgeline’s hood pushes Honda’s truck up to cut the nets.
Champion: 2018 Honda Ridgeline
As March Madness gets underway, why not grab a winning truck for your future journeys around Phoenix, AZ? With the 2018 Honda Ridgeline from one of our Valley Honda Dealers, you’ll have every opportunity to explore the desert, plus 100,000 miles’ of no scheduled tune-ups! Just ask your certified Honda dealer in Phoenix for details about buying or leasing a new Ridgeline. Locate a Honda dealer near you to get started, and be sure to browse our current Honda offers for money-saving specials this March.