Although the ascendancy of Toyota has been a big story, Honda has been quietly enjoying success on a lineup that has half as many models as Toyota. Honda's solid reputation for quality, high resale values, and fuel efficiency has earned the trust of buyers in just about every key segment in the industry. Honda's Fit, new CR-V and Civic are all selling strongly, and the Odyssey minivan is the benchmark for its class.

Few will see one of the most significant new Honda models, the FCX Clarity, a second-generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicle from Honda. Unlike its predecessor, the Clarity is a functional midsize sedan with dramatically increased range and driveability. Honda leases the Clarity to a couple hundred select customers worldwide.

As one of the vehicles that defined the segment, the Honda Pilot SUV enters its second generation for 2009, wearing more distinctive styling and larger proportions. With its newfound size, the Pilot has increased legroom in the second and third row in addition to increasing cargo volume. Despite the larger exterior dimensions, the Pilot earns a respectable 16/22 EPA rating for AWD models.

The Fit hatchback was a bit of an experiment when Honda brought it to the US market. Sales have been so strong that the second generation Fit was brought to market a little earlier than expected to meet demand. The new Fit is longer, wider, and a little sleeker, but retains all of the characteristics buyers love.

The Honda Civic has enjoyed strong sales this year, as buyers have sought fuel efficient cars to deal with elevated gas prices. The 2009 models receive minor styling updates to the front end, and new cloth and equipment changes on the inside.

Honda will turn its attention to hybrid vehicles with the introduction of a Prius-fighting dedicated hybrid model.

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