I flew on Honda's new $5.25 million private jet to see if it's faster, quieter, and more luxurious than before. Here's the verdict.

Benjamin Zhang/Business InsiderThe HondaJet Elite.
  • The HondaJet Elite made its world debut in May of 2018.
  • It’s an updated version of the original Honda HA-420 HondaJetprivate jet that entered production in 2015.
  • The HondaJet Elite boasts increased range, a quieter cabin, an available galley, and a host of other tweaks.
  • The Elite starts at $US5.25 million, roughly $US350,000 more than the original HondaJet.

In 2015, the Honda HA-420 HondaJet entered production. It was the Japanese industrial giant’s first foray into the world of aviation as a manufacturer. The HondaJet was the culmination of three decades of research and development led by Honda Aircraft Corporation CEO Michimasa Fujino.

Honda is a company known the world over for its engineering prowess. Pretty much everything the company produces is world class from hybrid supercars to lawn movers. Still, many were unsure if Honda was up to the task of building a jet from scratch.

Read more: I flew on Honda’s $US4.9 million private jet, and it’s an absolute game-changer.

In the fall of 2017, Business Insider had the chance to experience the HondaJet first hand on a test flight over the Northeastern United States. It was magnificent. The HondaJet proved to be quick, comfortable, and chock full of innovative design features.

In 2018, Honda introduced an updated version of the plane called the HondaJet Elite. The name matches with the designation given to the company’s luxury spec automobiles.

The Elite was initially sold alongside the original HondaJet but has now taken over as the only version of the plane in production.

Read more: We drove a $US49,000 Honda Pilot to see if the new 2019 model is ready to take on Toyota and Ford. Here’s the verdict.

This month, we made our way to down to Greensboro, North Carolina, home of the Honda Aircraft Corporation, for a test flight on board the HondaJet Elite.

The HondaJet Elite starts at $US5.25 million, $US350,000 more than the original HondaJet.

Here’s a look at our flight on the Honda HA-420 HondaJet Elite:


Recently, we made our down to Greensboro, North Carolina to visit the headquarters of the Honda Aircraft Corporation.

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Waiting for us on the apron was a new HondaJet Elite.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

We had a chance to checkout to the original HondaJet back in 2017 and it won us over with its charm, performance, and innovative features.

Hollis Johnson

Let’s see how Honda has updated its latest private jet.

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HondaJet’s overall dimensions remain unchanged at 43 feet long and 15 feet tall with a 40-foot wingspan.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The HondaJet’s signature nose design also remains.

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According to Fujino, the nose of the plane was inspired by a pair of Salvatore Ferragamo high heels he encountered at a duty-free shop while on vacation in Hawaii.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The HondaJet HF120 turbofan engines are also back for another tour of duty.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Output from the General Electric/Honda engines is unchanged at a stout of 2050 pounds of thrust. However, HondaJet retuned the acoustic qualities of the engine to make it quieter.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Before you ask, it doesn’t have VTEC.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

VTEC, Honda’s world-famous Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control system, is found in many of its car engines. The system, which allows the engine to be fuel-efficient at low RPMs while delivering an extra jolt of power at high RPMs, has become a pop-culture icon among car enthusiasts.


What really makes this the HondaJet stand out is the way it mount its engines.

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Instead of on the main fuselage, the HondaJet’s engines are on pylons above each wing.

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According to Honda, this design not only contributes to a roomier and quieter cabin.

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Honda cleaned up the design of the wings and…

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… Tweaked T-tail for greater efficiency.

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As a result, the HondaJet Elite needs just 3,491 feet of runway to take off and can climb at a rate of 4,100 feet per minute.

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The HondaJet Elite boasts a 57 cubic-foot trunk…

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… Immediately aft of the passenger cabin.

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There’s also a nine-cubic foot frunk in the nose.

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Unlike many jets, the Honda boasts a single fuel filler located in the aft of the plane by the right engine.

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Filler her up!

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The cabin is made of a carbon fibre epoxy composite that is designed to be lighter and stronger than traditional aluminium construction.

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Let’s step on board!

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Inside, the cabin is 17.8 feet long, 5 feet wide, and 4.8 feet tall. Which means adults will have to duck.

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The HondaJet’s main cabin seats four passengers in a club setup. The seats sit on a floating ball-joint system.

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As a result, the seats can move forward, backward, and to the side.

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The original HondaJet came equipped with a seat facing the door.

Hollis Johnson

In the Elite, that seat has been replaced by a stylish, carbon fibre wrapped galley.

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The keep the plane’s seating capacity unchanged,…

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… The HondaJet Elite comes with a seat belt-equipped with lavatory. This way, a passenger can sit here during flight.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Under the seat, is a fully functional toilet.

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Across from the toilet is a cobalt wash basin.

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The lavatory comes with a pair of small skylights.

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Looking closely and you can see the carbon weave of the fuselage.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

A sixth passenger can sit in up in the cockpit to the right of the captain.

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That’s because the HondaJet is designed for single-pilot operation.

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In flight, the HondaJet’s cabin is impressively quiet. The experience was even more hushed than the original version.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

At 30,000 feet, the HondaJet can cruise at speeds of up to 486 mph.

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The HondaJet Elite boasts a range of more than 1,650 miles. That’s up from the 1,400-mile range of the original model thanks to the addition of an extra fuel tank.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The HondaJet Elite is equipped with an updated version of the Garmin G3000 avionics suite found in the original variant. The cockpit features three 14.1-inch high definition displays along with…

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… A pair of 5.7-inch touchscreens.

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The cockpit and its controls are designed to be clear and concise.

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Check out the push-button starters. Just like in your Honda Accord.

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The HondaJet uses a yoke instead of the side stick.

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To the right of the first officer is an emergency oxygen mask.

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The view from the first officer’s seat is stunning.

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The view from the back of the plane is equally breathtaking. The large windows flood the cabin with natural light.

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The plane does have sunshades. They can be controlled using your smartphone or by accessing a built-in touchpad.

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The touchpad also gives you access to climate control and…

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… The sound system.

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Speaking of the stereo, the HondaJet does not use traditional speakers. Instead, its cabin is surrounded by a couple dozen transducers that vibrate inside the plane’s leather-lined interior walls. As a result, the music feels like it envelopes you.

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The Honda’s jets seats are upholstered in rich leather. They are soft, comfortable, and offer solid bolstering.

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There are retractable tables on either side of the cabin.

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Beneath the tables are lighted HondaJet signs.

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Soon, it was time to head back to Greensboro. Our flight wasn’t terribly long, but it was long enough for us to come away impressed by the HondaJet Elite.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

For us, the original HondaJet was a game-changer. With the HondaJet Elite, they have managed to make it faster, quieter, and more luxurious.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

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