Chile went into this Group H encounter as the favourites and quickly impressed against the Central Americans, who had seven part-time players in their ranks, and the gulf in class was clearly evident.
Despite being separated by only 20 places in Fifa's official rankings, Honduras are only making their second appearance in the finals.
That lack of experience could account for why Chile dominated the early exchanges at the Mbombela Stadium.
They came close to taking the lead in the third minute after Wilson Palacios had fouled Jorge Valdivia 30 yards from goal.
Playmaker Matias Fernandez tried his luck from the set-piece and Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares was relieved to see the ball sail over his crossbar.
But Valladares looked more nervous six minutes later when Arturo Vidal produced a shot from distance that swerved in the air, forcing the keeper to make an uncomfortable save at the second attempt.
But Honduras promised to make a fight of this match and they had their first shot at goal in the 18th minute when Carlos Pavon came close to scoring against the run of play with a low shot from outside the box.
Valdivia tested Honduras once more before the pressure eventually told and Chile helped themselves to a 1-0 lead in the 34th minute.
Forward Jean Beausejour was on hand to turn in Mauricio Isla's cross from the right wing.
It was no less than they deserved for playing attractive and attacking football, the likes of which has been sorely missed from many of the previous matches in the competition.
Yet it was not all straightforward for Chile, as Honduras had a penalty appeal turned down by referee Eddy Maillet soon after the restart when Gary Medel challenged Edgar Alvarez on the edge of the box.
The official then made another bold decision to deny Chile's Alexis Sanchez a spot-kick when he went down after a clumsy challenge from Maynor Figueroa.
Honduras received another let off in the 64th minute when Fernandez whipped in a free-kick that was headed back across goal by Vidal.
Waldo Ponce was completely unmarked but headed the ball straight at Valladreas, who made a good save.
But the win was fully deserved by Chile, who looked good value to reach the knock out stages.
TEAMS: Honduras (4-4-2): Valladares; Mendoza, Chavez, Figueroa, Izaguirre; Alvarez, Guevara (Thomas 66), Wilson Palacios, Nunez (Martinez 78); Espinoza, Pavon (Welcome 60). Subs (not used): Canales, Escober, Johnny Palacios, Bernardez, Garcia, Sabillon, Turcios, Suazo, Jerry Palacios.
Chile (4-3-3): Bravo; Isla, Medel, Ponce, Vidal (Contreras 81); Millar, (Jara 52), Carmona, Fernandez; Sanchez, Valdivia (Gonzalez 87), Beausejour.
Subs (not used): Pinto, Marin, Fuentes, Estrada, Fierro, Tello, Suazo, Orellana, Paredes.