Honda NSX review
The Honda NSX is a futuristic hybrid supercar that takes inspiration from the legendary 1990’s original, but can’t quite match the raw thrills provided by many petrol alternatives
What's not so good
Find out more about the Honda NSX
The Honda NSX is a seriously fast sports car with a high-tech hybrid petrol-electric engine that means it can drive in silent electric power alone. It doesn’t have the same badge kudos as the likes of an Audi R8 or a Porsche 911, but it more than makes up for that with its impressive turn of speed and space-age looks.
Unfortunately, the Honda NSX’s interior isn’t quite as eye-catching as its look-at-me exterior. Sure, you get plenty of leather on the dashboard and some aluminium trims dotted about the place, but the central infotainment screen looks like it’s been pinched from a Civic – and not even the current model.
Thankfully, the leather seats feel plush and supportive which helps make long journeys as relaxing as if you were driving a comfortable family saloon. Even visibility’s pretty good, so squeezing through gaps in the traffic won’t result in any heart palpitations like it can in some supercars.
On top of the easy drive, you get a boot that’s practical for a supercar, the NSX is one of the few of its type with a boot big enough to carry a set of golf clubs. Sadly, there isn’t enough space for a large suitcase, so you’ll have to settle for a soft bag that’ll crease your shirts.
If you’re planning on driving the NSX for long distances, you’ll be pleased to hear its suspension does an excellent job of ironing out bumps and potholes – in Quiet mode, at least. Stick it in Sport, Sport+ or Track mode, however, and things become much firmer, faster and louder.
With all the knobs and dials turned up to 11, the Honda NSX transforms from a surprisingly relaxing cruiser to a seriously speedy sports car. Blasting from 0-62mph takes less than three seconds and the instant response you get from its three electric motors helps it slingshot out of a tight corner faster than a cheetah with a rocket up its bottom.
If you think Hondas are designed exclusively for pensioners, then the NSX will make you think again
When the muscles in your face are tired of grinning and you just want to get home, the Honda NSX settles into a quiet, comfortable cruise, and even returns 26mpg – very close to Honda’s claimed 28mpg figure.
It’s this that makes the NSX such a compelling sports car – it can do everything the Audi and Porsche can, but makes light work of the day-to-day stuff that leaves some conventional supercars completely stumped. If you can look past the Honda badge and the slightly disappointing soundtrack, the NSX deserves a place very near the top of your supercar wishlist.
You can read more in-depth info on the Honda NSX in the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages.
The Honda NSX isn’t exactly cavernous inside, but it’s much roomier than most rather cramped supercars. Unfortunately, while golf clubs fit in the boot, a large suitcase doesn’t
Because it has two electric motors mounted between the front wheels, the Honda NSX doesn’t come with a second boot under the bonnet like other supercars
The Honda NSX only comes with two seats, but there’s enough headroom and legroom for you to get comfortable if you’re over six-feet tall. The steering wheel adjusts to give you plenty of knee room, too, and the seats themselves are very comfortable. Many supercars lack the back support you need to make long journeys bearable, but the NSX is comfortable enough for you to soak up lengthy motorway stints with ease.
Unfortunately, while the Honda NSX’s cabin is pretty spacious you don’t get many handy cubby holes or storage bins. The glovebox is wide, but not particularly deep, and there isn’t a storage space under the centre console armrest.
You don’t get any bottle-sized pockets in the doors, either, and the tray on the centre console isn’t deep enough to securely hold an open bottle or a cup of coffee. As a result, accelerate hard (which you’ll be doing a lot in the NSX) and you risk drowning the Honda’s leather upholstery in boiling hot macchiato.
Rather worryingly, you might also end up dowsing the two USB ports mounted behind the front seats in coffee, but at least the standard 12V socket is tucked safely (if rather awkwardly) down in the passenger footwell.
Despite the Honda NSX’s slinky shape, there’s still enough space in the boot to carry a set of golf clubs. Unfortunately, the boot opening under the glass rear hatch is quite small so loading and unloading large bags can be slightly tricky.
The boot’s shallow shape combined with the NSX’s low roofline means there isn’t quite enough space for a large suitcase. The Honda’s exhaust also passes very close to the boot floor which means you might find your shopping pre-cooked by the time you get home. Unlike the Audi R8, the Honda NSX doesn’t come with a second load bay under the bonnet.
The Honda NSX is both searingly quick when you want it to be, and comfortable and quiet when you don’t. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound as exciting as a wild-looking supercar should
With a light touch on the accelerator, the Honda NSX will return more than 25mpg. Do you really care, though? No, thought not…
The Honda NSX comes with a turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 that’s assisted by three electric motors – one driving the rear wheels and an extra two driving one front wheel each. Together, they produce 581hp – that’s enough to blast the NSX from 0-62mph in less than three seconds. That’s a smidge faster than the Audi R8 and more than a second faster than the hybrid BMW i8.
Helping the Honda NSX serve up such blistering acceleration is a slick nine-speed automatic gearbox. When you floor the throttle it changes gear lightening fast, yet it takes on a smoother, more relaxing nature when you’re cruising along.
Speaking of cruising, when you’ve finished having fun, the NSX will deliver impressive fuel economy – for a supercar, at least. Go easy on the accelerator and it’ll return around 26mpg compared to Honda’s claimed 28mpg.
Another thing the NSX brings to the supercar party that few alternatives can match is its silent low-speed running. Stick it in Quiet mode and the petrol engine shuts off altogether at under 30mph, engaging the electric motors instead. This setting lets you creep along almost silently for short distances. Accelerate hard, however, and the petrol engine fires up to lend a hand.
The Honda NSX comes with selectable driving modes that govern what it feels like to drive. Go for Quiet mode to make long motorway slogs as relaxing as possible – it muffles the sound of the 3.5-litre V6 and puts the adaptive suspension into its most comfortable setting. In this mode, the NSX soaks up bumps and potholes impressively well for a low-slung sports car and it’ll even cruise along at slow speeds using just the electric motors – ideal for creeping through sleepy suburbs in the wee hours.
Go for Sports or Sports+ mode and the NSX’s suspension becomes firmer and its engine louder. The steering feels heavier, too, and the pedals more responsive which makes it the perfect mode for enjoying an impromptu backroad blast.
Go one step further – into Track mode – and the Honda NSX turns into a serious performance machine. The electric motors and petrol engine deliver instant bursts of acceleration and the four-wheel-drive system is geared up to launch you from corner to corner as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, even in this hardcore track-focussed setting, it doesn’t feel quite as nimble as the Audi R8 (the Honda NSX’s complex hybrid system means it’s significantly heavier than the Audi) and the raspy V6 exhaust note can’t match the volume of the R8’s magnificent V10 engine.
Around town, however, the Honda claws back some points. You get a good view out thanks to the low dashboard, large side windows and thin door pillars, so it’s surprisingly easy to manoeuvre for such a sporty car. Rear visibility is pretty good, too, but if you want rear parking sensors they’re a rather expensive optional extra.
Unfortunately, you can’t get the NSX with automatic emergency braking, but then it’s a similar story with most high-performance supercars. You do get plenty of airbags as standard, however, to help keep you safe should the worst happen.
You get a decent amount of equipment in the Honda NSX as standard, but neither the digital screens nor the standard materials look particularly upmarket