Honda makes backup cameras standard on most models

2012 Honda CR-V backup camera.

2012 Honda CR-V backup camera. (Credit: Cars.com)

Starting with the 2013 model year, a backup camera will be standard on the redesigned Honda Accord along with the Crosstour, Odyssey, Pilot, Ridgeline and CR-Z. That means Honda's 12-model lineup goes from having just two models with a standard backup camera -- the FCX Clarity hydrogen vehicle and the CR-V crossover -- to nine models. A backup camera was already standard on the 2012 Honda CR-V and remains that way for the 2013 model year. The 2013 Honda Fit EV also has a standard backup camera.

That's a drastic change for Honda; previously, backup cameras were an option that had to be coupled with an expensive navigation system. In fact, the update means Honda offers a backup camera on more of its lineup than any other mainstream automaker -- other strong contenders include Kia and Hyundai.

Why the change? The possibility that backup cameras will be mandated for all passenger vehicles by 2014 (though it looks like that rule may be delayed) was probably a motivating factor. "We've definitely known about the possibility of legislation down the pike, but we didn't have to start this early," Honda spokesman Chris Martin said. Honda's more immediate considerations for the cameras were financial and design oriented, Martin says.

"Visibility is a key design attribute at Honda," said Martin, who mentioned how the automaker makes sure to design and maintain a thin A-pillar on its new vehicles to optimize forward visibility. The other motivator to standardize cameras is that most of the building blocks for the rear visibility aid are already in each of these vehicles, Martin said. "What really made the push possible was the infotainment screens found on most of these models," he said. With the screens already integrated into the console design, the addition of a backup camera doesn't cost a whole lot more, Martin added.

Even more unique camera aids are coming to some of Honda's most important vehicles. The soon-to-be unveiled 2013 Honda Accord sedan, which will have a standard backup camera, will also be the carmaker's first implementation of LaneWatch, a passenger-side camera that helps with blind spots. LaneWatch also will be available on the 2013 Honda Crosstour.

The only vehicles not getting backup cameras are Honda's smaller vehicles. The Honda Insight has a backup camera available only with an optional pricey navigation system. The Honda Fit and Civic have no backup camera options, though that could change for the 2013 model year. The 2013 Civic is getting a significant interior refresh for the model year, which could bring a standard backup camera, for instance. "The light trucks, Accord and CR-Z is what we've committed to at this point, but I certainly wouldn't say that's the limit," Martin added.

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