Archive for Honda Auto

Honda bets on an Accord Plug In

September 11, 2012 — Honda tried to sell a Hybrid version of the Accord just a few short years ago, but got a little burned with complaints that the fuel economy just wasn’t good enough. With lessons learned and new details refined, Honda has unveiled the classy new 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid. This new Accord, Honda claims, is expected to achieve at least 100 MPGe. A huge advance over the previous go at a green alternative Accord, which barely out performed the gas powered version of the sedan.

 

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As for the power train, Honda has supplied the new plug-in with a 2-liter 4 cylinder gas engine that delivers 137-hp that will work in conjunction with the 124-kilowatt electric motor and 6.7 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, totaling 196 hp. 10-15 miles of range purely on batteries is expected, with an overall range of 500 miles.

The vehicle will run on battery power until the batteries read low, then it will switch over to HV mode, which makes the Accord act like a traditional hybrid, running between gas and electric- maximizing fuel economy. Honda claims that the Accord Plug-in can fully charge in less than 3 hours through a standard 120-volt household outlet.

According to Honda, this new Accord will arrive on dealer lots early next year with a traditional Hybrid following in the summer.

Japan Sales Report: August Winners and Losers

2013-Honda-Accord-Front-Three-Quarters-View

 

We’re at the tail end of summer and Japan’s heavy hitters are feeling warmth. Toyota and Nissan continue excellent years, with the Toyota Camry outselling all midsize sedans in the most important, competitive segment. Nissan has given its most important model—the Altima—a makeover. The new model gets an estimated 38 mpg on the highway, which is no small feat of engineering. Even Honda has emerged from the shadows to a rosier future. With post-tsunami production and capacity back on track, the automaker is seeing a surge in sales of its two chief offerings—the Honda Accord and the Honda Civic. Luxury players are also feeling the love, with Lexus, Acura, and Infiniti all with newfound momentum. Mazda continues to transition to its new Skyactiv strategy, which is paying early dividends on the Mazda3 and especially on the all-new Mazda CX-5. Read on for the full rundown.

Toyota’s Winners:

  • Camry: The Camry outsold all midsized sedans in August, Toyota’s flagship shines brightly.
  • Prius: The American hybrid appetite appears insatiable.
  • GS: Lexus updated the 2012 GS, and it’s paying dividends.
  • Rav4: Even in a tough compact crossover segment, the new Rav4 is gaining ground.
  • Tacoma/Tundra: With all the Camry and Prius hoopla, it’s easy to forget Toyota makes trucks. Truck buyers however, are clearly aware.

Toyota’s Losers:

  • Avalon: The fancy Camry has ever-more competition, and it shows.
  • LS: We’ve driven the new LS, and it’s very good. Unfortunately for Lexus, dealer lots are still shooing out the current LS. Expect to see the Lexus LS in the Winners category soon.

Honda’s Winners:

  • Mother Nature/Production: After a year of dismal sales figures, post-tsunami production and deliveries are up, product is less bland. Honda, is back.
  • Accord/Civic: After a lull, Honda went back to the drawing board to revive its iconic nameplates. And now with production capacity back, momentum is with the storied ones.
  • Acura RDX: Crossovers are all the rage, and priced in the mid-30s, Acura’s RDX is sporty and luxurious.

Honda’s Losers:

  • CR-Z: Two seats, 20 grand, hybrid badges that return the fuel economy of similarly sized gasoline-only powered cars. Something’s got to give.
  • Insight: Honda’s Prius knock-off looks like the Prius, and gets good fuel economy, but shoppers prefer the original.

Nissan’s Winners:

  • Altima: A midsize that can get 38 mpg on the highway using a 2.5-liter engine? Impressive.
  • Frontier: Strong 4.0-liter V-6 doing the trick.
  • Rogue: Not the nemesis its name might imply, the Rogue is an attractive and affordable crossover.
  • Quest: Minivans are considered a top value segment for consumers. The Quest is no exception.
  • Infiniti G Sedan: Topping all Infiniti models in sales, which is good as it’s the automaker’s most important vehicle.

Nissan’s Losers:

  • Cube: Curves are sexy. The cube has none.
  • Leaf: In need of a spark. Or a better, more thorough easy-charging network.

 

Subaru’s Winners:

  • Impreza: Good fuel economy and all-wheel-drive are doing the trick.
  • Outback: Newly refreshed, this wagon boasts a lot of room, a good go-anywhere attitude and decent fuel economy.

Subaru’s Losers:

  • Impreza WRX: Despite all-wheel-drive, can’t find any traction.

Mazda’s Winners:

  • CX-5: The CX-5 jumped in the mini-pitbull crossover category and showed that its got teeth, too. With agile handling, excellent fuel economy, and solid styling, the CX-5 is a needed homerun.
  • Mazda3: 85 percent of all Mazda3s sold featured the automaker’s new Skyactiv technology. The move to a more fuel efficient strategy appears wise.

Mazda’s Losers:

  • CX-9: A good SUV, but right now the spotlight shines brightest on the smaller crossovers.

Mitsubishi:

  • Mitsubishi’s sales are down nearly 50 percent from this time last year. The Outlander Sport is still top dog.

Suzuki:

  • Suzuki says it sold almost 2000 vehicles in August. That’s roughly how many people buy a Toyota Camry on any given Saturday.

 

Source: Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Acura, Nissan, Infiniti, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Suzuki, Mazda

 

Acura Introduces the 2013 ILX

Acura is getting back to its roots here in America with the new, entry level ILX. Back in 1986, Acura was the first Japanese automaker to market an upscale luxury brand, years before Lexus and Infiniti were conceived. Honda introduced Acura with two cars, the luxurious Legend and the sporty Integra. The Integra was based on the Civic platform. While our neighbors in Canada have had an upscale Civic available to them, the Civic-based ILX is new to us here in the States.

The 2013 Acura ILX has a base price of $25,900USD. With that, you get a 2.0L four rated at 150hp paired to a five speed automatic. Buyers can opt for the Premium Package for an additional $3,300, which adds leather seats, heated front seats, a power drivers seat, HID headlights, foglights, upgraded audio with XM satellite radio, 17″ alloys and a rearview camera. For an extra $2,200, the Technology package adds surround sound stereo and navigation. Enthusiasts will want to opt for the 2.4L four, rated at 201hp, mated to a six-speed manual as seen in the Honda Civic Si. There will also be an ILX Hybrid, powered by a 1.5L four with a CVT, which is priced at $28,900. Acura is typically straightforward with its option packages, so I find it odd the base ILX can be had with the Premium and Technology packages, while the 2.4 can only get the Premium package, and the hybrid can only get the Technology package. The 2013 Acura ILX hits the showroom floor late May.

Review: 2012 Honda CR-V

I’d excuse you if you thought the Honda CR-V was the company’s first attempt at a tall wagon, but you would be incorrect. That distinction belongs to the Honda Civic Wagon, sold in the US from 1984 to 1991, a car that has now achieved cult-like status with the Honda diehards who appreciated its simplicity, durability, all-weather handling and cargo capacity. The first CR-V’s were introduced as 1996 models, and retained many of the traits of the Civic Wagon. Let’s face it, a lot has changed in the intervening years, and for 2012, Honda has redesigned the CR-V. Now in its fourth generation, has the CR-V remained current? Read on to find out.

The CR-V has been wildly successful for Honda. At its inception, the term ‘crossover’ hadn’t been invented, so many referred to small, car-based SUVs as ‘cute utes’ in the 1990′s. Today, with the crossover having replaced the SUV as the preferred mode of transport for American families, the CR-V remains at or near the top of the heap for compact crossover sales. While the first CR-V’s were fairly plain and utilitarian, the CR-V has grown in size and with the introduction of the third generation car in 2007, received some curves for a more car-like look. The move away from boxy utilitarian was a raging success for Honda.

It comes as no surprise then the 2012 CR-V is a very careful evolution of the last generation car. I can’t say I blame Honda. When you have such a winning recipe I’d be hesitant to do take a risk and take the vehicle design in a different direction. The new car is easily recognizable as a CR-V with contemporary touches such as the grille, which works much better here than on the Crosstour. There isn’t a bad line on the car, but it hardly gets your adrenaline pumping either. But, walking around our Urban Titanium test car, the aim here is to aim at the widest possible range of customers possible, and in that respect, the new CR-V should keep current customers coming back for the updated car.

If the CR-V has evolved from simple transportation on the exterior, the same can be said of the interior. Honda’s reputation for building high quality interiors with intuitive ergonomics is well-known, and the CR-V is no exception. Our leather-trimmed cockpit offered all the latest modern technology has to offer and was still user friendly. But again, the flat as a pancake front seats and tiny tachometer instantly reminds you of the CR-V’s mission to carry people and cargo, not hold you tightly in place as you carve up your favorite country road. For a simple to use, comfortable cabin, the CR-V is tough to beat.

All CR-V’s are powered by a 2.4L 185hp four cylinder engine paired to a five-speed automatic. Buyers can choose between front or all-wheel drive. Towing capacity is a modest 1,500lbs. Our test car featured all-wheel drive and offered a very respectable 22/30 MPG city/highway EPA rating. The CR-V’s engine exhibited typical Honda silky smoothness, and the shift changes were virtually seamless. The CR-V is generally well composed and handles well for a crossover built for family duty. One area that did frustrate me was a complete lack of steering feel. The driver is not getting any communication from the road beneath at all, and this proved to be the CR-V’s most glaring flaw.

A base Honda CR-V LX with front-wheel drive starts at $22,495, and is a fairly well-equipped car. Our test car was the EX-L with Navigation and all-wheel drive, the top of the food chain CR-V. In addition to the leather interior, heated seats and Navigation with voice recognition, 7-speaker audio with XM satellite radio, Pandora Internet radio interface, SMS Text Messaging functionality, dual zone auto climate control, power driver’s seat, power moonroof and 17″ alloys round out the notable features. Including delivery, the tab comes to $30,605USD. Strangely, the CR-V EX-L is also available with a rear seat DVD entertainment system, but buyers must choose between this or navigation-you cannot have both. This price is competitive for its class, but the Kia Sportage adds a panoramic moonroof, 18″ wheels and a ventilated driver’s seat for the same money, not to mention edgier styling and a sportier ride.

This fourth generation Honda CR-V is a careful evolution of the outgoing car, one that brought Honda enormous success. When you are doing this well, I can see how Honda felt there was no need to reinvent the wheel here, and the updated styling in and out along with the addition of up to the minute tech keeps the CR-V current work well here, I have a nagging thought. Cars like the Kia Sportage and upcoming Ford Escape are not conservative evolutions, they are game-changing cars whose sights are aimed squarely at the Honda CR-V. This time around, Honda chose to not mess with success, and in doing so has built a car difficult to fault, but the competition is relentless, and to remain at the top Honda must move ahead. Honda considers itself a renegade, engineering-driven company, a mild restyle with some updates to an existing drivetrain seems to run counter to that mantra. No doubt the new CR-V will continue to be a sales success, but with the competition breathing hard down its neck, how much longer will playing it safe keep the CR-V as a top seller?

What’s Up With Honda?

To say that both the automotive and mainstream press have been pretty rough on Honda lately is an understatement. The fact this is a story worth talking about gives pause to wonder if there is, in fact, more than just smoke here. The latest public relations nightmare came from Consumer Reports, who announced the new 2012 Honda Civic no longer held that magazine’s coveted ‘Recommended’ status. For generations of Civics, it was practically a given it would get CR’s ultimate seal of approval. For sure, that’s a blow to the ego for Honda, but is that really all that is going on here?

Clearly not. Trouble for the Civic surfaced last year when word got out the new Civic would be delayed while Honda engineers went back to the drawing boards-hugely uncharacteristic of the company. The Garage reviewed the new Civic and found it to be a good, competent car with little to complain about, but after living with the car for a week, I could not figure out why it took Honda extra time to give us a car that is nearly the same as the model it replaced. Yes, gas mileage is improved a bit, but the average Joe won’t be able to tell the new Civic apart from the old one. Parked beside the new Hyundai Elantra, the Civic is a wallflower. While cars like the Elantra and Ford Focus are pushing the compact car segment forward, it makes the Civic look like it is stuck in neutral.

Honda has received some criticism for not offering as diverse a line of vehicles as Toyota or Nissan in the past. To their credit, Honda has added new lines over the years to fill out their portfolio, yet Honda seems at times distracted with niche cars that hardly seem worth the effort. The Crosstour’s appearance has polarized consumers before the car even went on sale. As a jacked-up Accord with all-wheel drive with a hump back rear-end, the Crosstour left many wondering ‘Why?”. The Ridgeline, a four door pickup meant to offer more refinement than typical trucks has been a slow seller for Honda. Which is sad, because the Ridgeline is good. But here in America, I must confess, you will not command the same respect at your local bar when you mention the new Ridgeline parked out front than if it were a Silverado or F-150. Fair? Maybe not. True? Yep.

Honda also lacks a ‘Halo Car’. For the unwashed, a halo car is typically a low-volume, high performance car, but grabs headlines, gets heaps of press and buzz, and adds an air of prestige and excitement to a brand. For example, from Toyota you have the Lexus IS-F sport sedan and LFA exotic, and Nissan’s iconic 370Z and GTR. The lack of such a car in Honda’s line is made worse by the fact that the company used to offer such cars in the the Honda/Acura NSX and Honda S2000. People who thought the CR-Z was the second coming of the CR-X would be disappointed in the pretty car, but those heavy batteries just carry too much weight. Before former President Bill Clinton walks in to remind me “It’s the economy, stupid”, I realize that, and Honda dropped any immediate plans to replace their halo cars. But it did not stop Toyota and Nissan, and for that matter, Mazda with it’s MX-5 and RX-8.

So, is the sky falling at Honda? No. The Accord is slipping a bit, but remains a strong contender in the mid-size sedan market. As for Japanese 2+2 coupes like the Accord, Solara and Altima, I’d take an Accord EX with a 6-speed over the competition in a second. The Pilot is faring well, and the CR-V is an absolute juggernaut. In my opinion, Honda builds the best minivan, period, and it looks like several other automotive writers agree with me. In other words, it is not time to panic.

Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. Honda needed a more dynamic Civic replacement, but we did not get that car. And yes, the car we did get will be sold in mass quantities. But I know Honda was capable of leading the competition, and not duplicating the existing car, and that is where the frustration in the press lies. We know Honda can do better, but chose not to, and offer what everyone was already comfortable with. Honda went conservative, but this may not be the time for that. Nothing Honda has done is irreversible. As a kid growing up in the 1980′s, reading so much about Honda, a company that could virtually do no wrong, I never could have imagined as an adult I’d be writing about cracks in the pavement. Honda, I’ve no doubt the ability is there to fix small mistakes, but by all means do not let arrogance keep you from seeing the cracks, please.

Fist 2013 Honda Fit EV Delivered To California

2013 Honda Fit Ev

Congratulations go out to automotive pioneers Matt and Becky Walton, who recently became the first U.S. customers for the 2013 Honda Fit EV. Their new high-efficiency hatchback will become a daily driver for the couple, who will enjoy the ability to travel up to 82 miles on a single charge with EPA ratings of 132 MPGe city/105 MPGe highway/118 MPGe combined. Further, based on the number of kilowatt hours of electricity needed to travel 100 miles just 29 for the Honda Fit EV is the most efficient all electric car in the world.

For added practicality, it also boasts one of the quickest recharging rates: Owners will be able to re-energize the 2013 Honda Fit EV in under three hours using a 240volt charger unit. And for the Waltons, the car has the benefit of coming from one of their favorite automakers. The couple first started buying Hondas back in the early 1970s, and the vehicle that will become their alternative choice now that they have the Fit EV is their Honda Odyssey minivan.

Currently available only in California and Oregon, the 2013 Honda Fit EV can be leased for as little as $389 per month for 36 months.

“It’s truly an honor to take delivery of the first Honda Fit EV and participate in the advancement of all electric vehicles in the real world,” said Matt Walton. “The Honda Fit EV is not only a sustainable and energy efficient transportation option with the highest fuel-efficiency rating of any EV, but it has the added bonus of being fun-to-drive and can fully recharge from empty in less than three hours.”

How Does the 2012 Acura MDX Perform Off-Road?

Honda Civic: The Elegant 2012 Honda Models

In 2012 what kind of Vehicle do you envision yourself driving? Do you imagine a car with intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID), feisty i-VTEC® engine which makes an invigorating drive with great interior design and stylish look?  The fresh designed 2012 Honda models such as Honda civic Hybrid, Honda civic -sedan-si, Honda Civic Coupe are ready for completing you all driving dreams.

If we talking about the features of all these stylish 2012 Honda models then they all have own strong points and Features:

Honda Civic Coupe:

The New 2012 Honda-civic-coupe with roomy interior and aerodynamic look striking as it is efficient. The Honda-civic-coupe comes in the market with new i-MID (intelligent Multi-Information Display) and great entertainment package; the 2012 Honda Civic Coupe is armed with an array of significant safety characteristics. The 6 standard airbags and Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children are sure to keep you and your family safe.  Lap up the benefits of even greater efficiency with Eco Assist™ and the ECON button. And, like every Civic, the Coupe has a powerful i-VTEC® engine and race-inspired handling so you can find your happy place behind the wheel.