By on November 12, 2012

Apparently, Honda invited some journalists to Japan so they could go check out new technology carefully packaged into existing cars, lest anyone reveal super-secret things like what the next Acura RL looks like. No matter, we’ve got everything below.

  1. The 2014 Honda Fit will get a new EarthDreams/CVT combo. Only a few specs were released, but we do know that it’s good for a 6 percent bump in torque and a 10 percent boost in fuel economy. The proof will be in the pudding, since 112 lb-ft of torque doesn’t sound like much of an improvement over the current Fit’s wheezy engine.
  2. Another Fit mule was outfitted (hehe) with Honda’s next-gen hybrid system; a 1.5L gasoline 4-cylinder with an electric motor and a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox. The new system is said to deliver a 30 percent gain in fuel economy. Maximum EV-only range is 3 km, with top speed in electric mode coming in at 70 km/h.
  3. The next-generation Acura RLX will come in front or all-wheel drive. The AWD version will use Honda’s new hybrid system to power the rear wheels, with a gasoline engine at the front. The FWD version will get 4-wheel steering, just like the Preludes of yesterday. Apparently, this technology might filter down to other cars as well. Who knows, maybe we’ll see the return of digital dashboards and motorized seat belts.
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23 Comments on “Honda Shows Off New Tech In Old Wrappers...”

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Earth dreams?
    One has to give credit to the Japanese, for coming up with weapons grade corny names.

    • 0 avatar


    • 0 avatar

      One of the Kreindler family’s favorite activities was looking through Japanese market brochures and finding the cheesiest acronyms/product names. No wonder I turned out so strange.

    • 0 avatar

      Earth Dreams comes from Honda’s 2007 F1 effort:

      Basically Honda had to ditch the Benson & Hedges Lucky Strike Livery and instead covered their car in what looks like a Google Earth screenshot.

      Somehow, the “Earth Dreams” naming got transferred over to Honda’s automotive engine initiative 5 years later. It’s odd to say the least.

    • 0 avatar

      Apparently, Simon Fuller, of American Idol fame, was behind the “Earth Dreams” branding:

    • 0 avatar

      > One has to give credit to the Japanese, for coming up with weapons grade corny names

      Look up “Super Delicious Planet Golden Special Reserve Gorgeous Aftercare Kit #28”.

      • 0 avatar
        schmitt trigger

        I Googled the term…….can’t believe they actually came with such a super hero name.

        Makes the name ” The artist formerly known as Prince” sound tame.

  • avatar

    Don’t even joke about those motorized seat belts coming back. I have memories of being mauled by those things more than once.

  • avatar

    Good to see Honda learned from their inability to sell a generic-looking sedan with trick AWD for 50 grand.

    What they learned is this time, they’ll try to sell a generic-looking sedan with trick AWD for SIXTY grand, and they’ll ask 50 large for FWD with rear wheels that turn. (Although in fairness, they are adding an “X” to the name.)

    This will not end up looking Legendarily smart.

    • 0 avatar

      That may actually work. A lot of buyers in this segment are looking for status.

      If you know about cars, you would say, oh that Acura is 90% the functinality at 80% the price. But people don’t buy it, because they judge a car by the price tag. If it’s asking $60k, it must be better than the $50k. If it’s a Caucasian brand, it must be better than Asian.

      • 0 avatar

        I saw a Legend this weekend, looked like it had just come out of the box, and was reminded that there was once a time that people desired honda/acura products and would pay a premium for them, those days are gone. And that was Honda’s super-secret, super hybrid system, when they start selling vaporware and release crap its called the K-Car

  • avatar

    My dad had an ’88 Prelude Si in red with every option… *except* the AWS, which he declined because it made the car feel “weird” on the test drive, he said. That was a fantastic car in all respects, light and agile and quick and sure-footed and comfortable and 30 mpg year after year to 200k miles and beyond. Somewhere deep in its little corporate heart, Honda must still know how to build a car like that, but I haven’t seen evidence of it in a while.

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      Is it bad that I could identify the 4WS Prelude before the ad ran simply by seeing the model-unique wheel castings and not even checking for the tiny B-pillar emblem?

      Of all the special performance variations of that era, 4WS Preludes were the most subtle in their exterior cues. And the all-mechanical implementation for steering the rear wheels was the sort of engineering genius that seems to be in short supply these days.

  • avatar

    My old Mazda 323 could turn on a dime –and give a nickel in change. My current Mazda 6 turns like a truck, relatively speaking. If Honda could invent a cheap, simple 4-wheel-steering system to make the 6 (Accord) turn circles like a 323 (Fit), then I’m sold.

    • 0 avatar

      Honda’s 4WS was a simple system that was completely mechanical. Ultimately I believe the rear wheels that steer died because it answered a question that nobody asked. At that time it also made a statement that Japanese makes were making great technological advances while Detroit struggled just to get panel fits correct. Years later, 4WS actually had some real value with the Delphi Quadrasteer on the GM truck lineup. Those who have the feature absolutely love it. However, it died as well because of GM’s foolish pricing structure that made the Quadrasteer part of a $5,000 plus option package.

  • avatar

    The world needs a hybrid Fit as badly as we need a remake of Bio-Dome or Sleep Away Camp.

  • avatar

    Option 2 is interesting. I’m surprised you can fit 7 speeds sideways in a the Fit’s smallish engine bay.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    The RLX sounds like another bow-wow. That will make three in a row for Acura.

    Seems to me that for the money and trick engineering that is being put into it Acura could engineer and produce a top quality $60,000 RWD car the public might buy.

  • avatar

    “The new system is said to deliver a 30 percent gain in fuel economy and a 15 percent impovement.”

    – The “30 percent gain in fuel economy” sounds great, but I’m not too sure about that vague “15 percent improvement.”

  • avatar

    What I’m hoping is that the SH-SH-AWD (Sport-Hybrid Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive; what a mouthful!) will also debut in the 2014 Acura MDX (which will available next year), and that it will have a net output that is tantamount to that of a mainstream V8. Because one of Honda’s biggest issues is having limited power-trains. The current Acura RL can’t even compete entirely with the lackluster Lincoln MKS, because the MKS at least offers the V8-like twin-turbo EcoBoost V6, where Acura tops out at a considerably-less-powerful engine. Likewise the lack of a V8 or V8-equivalent has kept the Acura MDX from competing fully with the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne. I mean, we don’t need 500 HP rockets from Acura, but it needs to start reaching for greater goals…

  • avatar

    Why cant they put a CVT in the transaxle (instead of two speed OD), mated to a 6 speed DCT, wouldn’t that achieve significant gains?

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