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Citation M2 vs HondaJet Elite

Comparing the Cessna Citation M2 and HondaJet Elite Entry Level Jets

Known for their speed, convenience, and lower costs compared to most midsize and larger business jets, Very Light Jets – also known as entry level jets – have become one of the fastest growing categories of business jets.

Citation M2 vs HondaJet comparison
The Cessna Citation M2 (top) and the HondaJet Elite

Designed to carry 4-6 passengers with speeds of more than 400 mph, a typical range of around 1,200-1,500 nautical miles, and the ability to access shorter runways, entry level jets offer more freedom and flexibility than any other jet class, and is often marketed as a “personal jet”.

In 2006, Cessna Aircraft, owned by Textron Aviation, offered the first VLJ to be certified by the FAA, the Cessna Citation Mustang, a favorite among pilots and passengers alike and the most popular entry level jet of the early 21st century. The CE-510 Mustang enjoyed an 11 year production run with a total of nearly 480 deliveries, and was replaced by the Citation M2 in 2017.

Honda Aircraft Company entered the aviation market in 2015 with its debut aircraft, the HondaJet. The company explored the idea of designing smaller business jets in the late 1980s, developed its first concept jet in 1997, and completed it’s maiden flight in 2003.

The HA-420 HondaJet delivered on the company’s reputation for reliability, efficiency, and performance and was an immediate success, offering innovative designs such as a composite fuselage, aluminum wings, and a pair of above-the-wing mounted engines.

Honda followed on the success of its first aircraft with the 2nd generation HondaJet Elite variant in 2018, offering an expanded performance envelope, improved interior, and updated flight deck to directly compete with the Citation M2 for top of its class.

The Citation M2 and HondaJet Elite are two of the top entry level jets for and both are popular choices for regional flights like New York to Miami, Seattle to San Francisco, and Los Angeles to Las Vegas, but what are the key differences between these two very light jets?

Citation M2 vs HondaJet Elite Performance

The Cessna Citation M2 is powered by a pair of Williams International FJ44-1AP-21, delivering a combined 3,930 ft/lbs of thrust and a maximum cruise speed of 404 ktas (748 km/h).

The M2 offers a maximum range of 1,550 nautical miles while traveling a distance of around 1,050 nmi with full crew and 4 passengers. The M2 burns fuel at a rate of 516 liters an hour, and offers a maximum payload of 1,410 lbs.

The Citation M2 requires a 3,210 foot runway for takeoffs at sea-level, and for landing only needs a 2,590 foot runway.

Thanks to its compact design and a pair of advanced Honda HF120-H1A turbofans, the HondaJet Elite outperforms the M2 in almost every performance category, including higher cruise speed – 422 ktas (782 km/h); longer range – 1,437 nmi with 4 passengers; increased thrust – 4,100 combined ft/lbs; significantly less fuel burn – 340 liter an hour; and a higher payload – 1,552 lbs.

The HondaJet Elite reaches altitude faster, outclimbing the M2 by around 400 feet per minute, and the Elite can climb to 43,000 feet compared to the 41,000 foot service ceiling of the M2. The Honda engines also offer an additional 1,500 hours time between overhaul (TBO) compared to the M2’s Williams International turbofans.

Both light jets are equipped with the Garmin G3000 Flight Deck and a host of advanced cockpit technology to increase safety and reduce pilot workload; the HondaJet offers better overall performance while the Citation M2 offers slightly better runway access and a long range cruise speed 10 km/h higher than the Elite.

Citation M2 vs HondaJet Elite Cabin

The Citation M2 is designed to accommodate up to 6 passengers, although its cabin is optimized to seat 4 or 5 passengers.

The M2’s cabin measures 4’9″ H x 4’9″ W x 13’1″ L, with 4 seats in double club configuration and a belted lavatory seat at the rear of the cabin.

Additional features include fully adjustable seating, 46 cubic feet of baggage space, and Cessna’s cabin connectivity system offered across the Citation family, Clarity Wireless.

The HondaJet Elite offers more cabin space than the M2, measuring 4’9″ H x 5’0″ W x 17’10” L and offering 4 trackless, fully-ergonomic seats in standards layout and a forward gallery not found on the M2.

The additional cabin size also creates flexible seating configurations with the ability to add a side-facing 5th seat, or high-density arrangements with seating for 6 passengers.

The cleverly mounted above-the-wing engines reduce overall vibration and cabin noise to provide a more comfortable flight, while also opening more storage space for a total of 66 cubic feet – 20 cubic feet more than thee M2.

The Elite’s fully enclosed rear lavatory features unique skylighting, a first in its class.

Overall, the HondaJet Elite offers more cabin space, more baggage capacity, a higher payload, and a quieter cabin experience. Both jets offer the ability to seat up to 6 passengers, wirelessly controlled cabins, and enclosed lavatories.

Citation M2 vs HondaJet Elite Costs

The Cessna Citation M2 and HondaJet Elite are both competitively priced at $5.15 million and $5.4 million respectively.

As of 2021, Cessna had already made 302 deliveries of the Citation M2, compared to just 209 deliveries of the original HondaJet.

The Citation M2 carries a direct operating cost of approximately $1,395 per hour, slightly higher than the HondaJet Elite at $1,135 an hour, with the cost per nautical mile coming out to around $3.45 for the M2 and $2.75 for the HondaJet Elite.

However, the average charter cost is often similar on both the Citation M2 and HondaJet Elite due to availability, coming out to around $3,000-$3,200 an hour.

With a lower direct operating cost and lower cost per mile, combined with the additional 1,500 hours between engine overhauls, the HondaJet Elite offers better economical performance than the Citation M2.


The HondaJet Elite was developed to become a leader in its category, and outperforms the Citation M2 in top speed and useful range while offering lower operating costs and similar charter rates.

Both jets seat 4 in standard layout, with the HondaJet Elite offering more cabin space and accommodating up to 6 passengers more comfortably than the M2.

The M2 offers better access to short runways and a lower cost of acquisition compared to the HondaJet Elite.

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Interested in renting a Citation M2, HondaJet Elite, or similar entry level jet? Submit a request or give us a call at +1 (888) 987-5387 for a free charter quote from Air Charter Advisors.