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What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For Great value for money, refined engine

Against Complete lack of image, and hard to find

Verdict Lots of car for your cash, but it’s pretty mediocre

Go for… 3.5 V6

Avoid… Cars without service history

Honda Legend Saloon
  • 1. The steering is lifeless, although at least the car cruises well at motorway speeds
  • 2. The reliability is basically good but automatic gearboxes can fail and are expensive to replace
  • 3. Check the suspension carefully on a test drive - costly faults have been reported
  • 4. Warped brake discs are common on Legends, so give them a thorough test
  • 5. The boot is a decent size and well shaped
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Honda Legend Saloon full review with expert trade views

As a rival to German executives such as the Mercedes E-Class, the Legend was never able to cut the mustard, especially in terms of image. As a used car, it’s rare – but don’t assume that means it’s exotic; rather, it just wasn’t very popular as a new car.

Performance is adequate, but never outstanding; the standard automatic gearbox is nowhere near as smooth as those fitted to its rivals. The Legend’s drive is something of a disappointment, too: it never feels like anything other than a big car, and body roll is pronounced. The steering is lifeless, too, although at least the car cruises well at motorway speeds.

On the plus side, the Legend is comfortable, spacious and solidly built, even if the quality of materials can’t match the class standard. And, the boot is a decent size and well shaped.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Alternative to A8 or BMW 7 Series. Not many sold new so values hold well

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Just one engine is available in the Legend - a 3.5-litre V6 - and a single trim level is available, too, which provides plenty of equipment.

This includes an automatic gearbox, metallic paint, alloy wheels, climate control, an electric sunroof, power steering, remote central locking, cruise control, electric windows all-round, a CD multichanger and leather seats. Despite this long list, though, Honda never offered the Legend with the kind of options executive buyers expect, such as sat-nav.

Standard safety kit includes twin front airbags (side ’bags from February 1999), anti-lock brakes and traction control – reasonable, but not especially generous.

The Legend was face-lifted in February 1999, and revisions included wood trim on the centre console, steering wheel-mounted stereo controls and a different alloy wheel design.

Given the specialist nature of the car, it’s probably safer to buy from a main dealer or Honda specialist than from a classified advert.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Little demand, but face-lifted and up-specced '99 models do better

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The Legend has always suffered from crippling depreciation, which means second-hand prices are very attractive. And, of course, once it's lost much value early in life, there's not much more left to lose over your time with it. On thing's for sure - you get an awful lot of car for your money, considering the standard equipment.

There’s no diesel option, though, so buyers are stuck with the thirsty petrol. It has an official average fuel economy of just 23.2mpg, which means you’ll make plenty of visits to the fuel station, particularly if you use the engine’s full potential. It’s costly to insure, too, attracting a group 17 rating.

At least servicing costs are reasonable compared with many manufacturers – about 30% lower than many of the Legend’s executive rivals.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Alternative to A8 or BMW 7 Series. Not many sold new so values hold well

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Honda regularly tops What Car?’s reliability surveys, which should provide peace of mind to Legend buyers. A cherished high-miler can be a bargain, but only buy a car that has been serviced exactly on schedule.

However, when things do go wrong, they can be costly to fix, as average repair costs are on the pricey side. For instance, automatic gearboxes can fail and are expensive to replace – sometimes costing as much as the car is worth. Suspension faults have been reported and these too can be costly to put right, while warped brake discs are also common.

Check that recall work has been carried out – Legends built between January 2000 and March 2002 were recalled due to concerns with the brake-light switch.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Little demand, but face-lifted and up-specced '99 models do better

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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