Honda Legend: Spotted

Okay, in the pantheon of great executive cars it's fair to say the Honda Legend never quite cut the mustard. In its first incarnation, back when it shared its underpinnings with the contemporary Rover 800, it was obviously brilliant in patches and desperately dull in others. It was exquisitely made, of course - much to Rover's embarrassment - but too pricey, and even if you were swayed by the looks or the quality no one would part with over £30k for a front-wheel drive Honda when they could have had a BMW or a Merc for the same money.

And the story remained pretty much the same right up until the last UK Legend, the 2005 model. This was smaller than the older cars but roomier, thanks to its transverse engine, and if it looked as beige as the older models on the surface underneath it was laden with some innovative and deeply impressive technology.

That it had a competent engine can be taken for granted. Its 295hp 3.5-litre V6 was gloriously smooth and refined and lively enough to push the Legend - which alas was no lightweight - from a standstill to 60mph in just over seven seconds and on to a competitive top speed of 155mph.

But its USP was its four-wheel-drive system, labelled SH-AWD. This beauty could turn the outside rear wheel faster than the others when cornering to reduce understeer and shift up to 70 per cent of the engine's power either front or rear. At the rear axle, it could move 100 per cent of it to either side, wherever it was most needed. It even allowed the front and rear axles to turn at a different speed, the better to aid traction and stability in fast cornering.

On the road it was quiet, rode well and handled eagerly. It had a neat five-speed sequential autobox, too. Inside was a well-built and solid interior that was fully leathered up and equipped with all the latest tech. It was, if we're honest, a bit dull, like an old friend you haven't got the heart to shake off, but like a lot of quiet people it at least had hidden depths.

No one bought it new, of course, and so there are precious few to buy used, but we found a well-maintained 2009 example with an average mileage and a full Honda service history that's actually, at £5800, reasonably priced.

What you'd get is years of luxury motoring - quite possibly trouble-free - and unlikely though it seems a car you could take by the scruff of its neck and thrash without fear of coming massively unstuck. And if no one notices your dowdy Legend consider that a good thing, too: stealthy speed is always better than unwanted attention.

See the full ad here

Mark Pearson

Engine: Front 3.5-litre V6
Transmission: Five-speed sequential automatic, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 295hp
Torque (lb ft): 259
0-60mph: 7.3 seconds
Top speed: 155mph
Weight: 1878kg
CO2: 273g/km
Price new: £35,835
Price now: £5,800

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (50) Join the discussion on the forum

  • oilit 30 Jun 2018

    I did smile when I looked at the ad: .."This model also comes equipped with SH-AWD (super handling - all wheel drive system), CMBS (collision mitigation breaking system), Advanced Driver Assist"

    The seller says he is selling due to advancing years - so doesn't the 'Advanced Driver Assist' work properly then?

    As for the 'CMBS (collision mitigation breaking system)' - last time I looked all breaking systems were for collision mitigation!!

    I'll get my coat - but before I go - I choked on my coffee when I saw the price - for some reason I was expecting this to be in shed territory

    Lovely looking car though.

  • Jag_NE 30 Jun 2018

    The price looks pretty fair, especially so if it is in truly “beautiful” condition. Very niche car but probably a lovely barge for someone who doesn’t do a lot of miles. I’m sure these are very well made but given the tech on them they must be vulnerable to a big bill or two.

  • Hotel India 30 Jun 2018

    Really like this. Much more preferrable than a Phaeton. 4WD takes away the main problem of the old model (which I drove a little, albeit an import).

    Hmm: this or a C6? Don't fancy any other luxobarge as much as these two. But try finding a petrol C6.

  • Cambs_Stuart 30 Jun 2018

    Always thought these were Good value for money. A decent rival barge to a GS300 Lexus.

  • rtz62 30 Jun 2018

    When I was a police officer, this was called a ‘bank robbers car’ by my erstwhile colleague.
    Well, if robbers used one as a getaway car it would be hard to describe it, as it blends in with no significant difining features.
    Hence my colleague giving it’s alternative moniker, ‘grey porridge’...

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