The Truth About Cars » Honda http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:40:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Honda http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/reviews/honda/ Capsule Review: 2015 Honda City (Brazilian Market) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2015-honda-city-brazilian-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2015-honda-city-brazilian-market/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 12:30:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=918050 Cars do not exist in a vacuum. Besides all the regulations they must follow, there are market realities and competitors. Some makers are able to rise above the fray and charge more for their products as there is a perception that the cars are somehow superior to others, as is the case for many a […]

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Cars do not exist in a vacuum. Besides all the regulations they must follow, there are market realities and competitors. Some makers are able to rise above the fray and charge more for their products as there is a perception that the cars are somehow superior to others, as is the case for many a German luxury maker. Others rely on their reputation of reliability and robustness to charge a bit more for their wares, such as most Japanese OEMs. In some markets though, it would seem makers overestimate their value and simply overcharge for what they deliver. Such is the case for Honda’s latest offering in Brazil: the Fit-based City sedan.

Costing from $22,000-$29,000, the Honda City has to compete with cars like the Ford Fiesta sedan and Fiat Linea, which costs thousands less. Sitting on the stretched version of the platform that underlies both it and the Fit, Honda stretched the 2015 City in all dimensions, too, except width. Therein lies this car’s problem. At just 66.5 inches in width due to Japanese regulations, the higher trim Cities are just not big enough to compete with larger Focuses, Sentras, Jettas, and various French models unknown in North America (and all are around 68 inches in width). Not only that, but content levels are lower, and dynamically speaking, it is also relatively inferior to the cheaper Linea and Fiesta. Cars like Renault Logan, Brazilian, Sonic-based, Chevy Cobalt or Nissan Versa come in cheaper, have similar driving dynamics and the same amount of interior space.

So how does Honda figure they can entice buyers to fork over more for less car? They added a CVT with seven virtual shift points and redid the exterior and interior design. The car has added chrome, and received more pronounced creases on the sides following its donor footsteps. Gazing at the car from the outside, I liked the new hood and the height of the car. The back now has elongated lights that help give the car an impression that it is wider, which would help in its quest to conquer higher prices. Not only that, the fact that those lights are mounted in a split fashion, helped Honda make the trunk opening wider and less of a hassle. It is now easier to make use of the 356L volume. Looking at the front though, I can’t help but feel overall this design is a step back; head on, it looks too much like Civics of old, though the three quarters look is quite dashing.

Stepping inside, the new improved dash is evident. Using the same shapes as those seen in the world Fit, the instrument cluster is different. It makes do without the deeply recessed binnacles the Fit uses, managing to look more refined. More expensive Cities light up in blue, while cheaper ones use red. Instrumentation, though still sparse, is more complete than on the outgoing model, giving the car an overall impression that it is now richer. On all but the basest Cities, air con buttons have been eliminated, giving way to digital controls that look good, but are harder to use. All Cities now also have a quite complete multimedia center, though it is smallish.

That positive impression does not last long. Even though everything is well assembled, plastics are nastier than in the Linea or the Brazil-only Chevrolet Cobalt (no relation to the North American car). The seats are a good size for its class (beating the Fiesta and Linea), but comparing to the larger cars it is still too hard and has excessive lumbar support. Longer than before, the two (ideally, since it’s a narrow bodied car) back passengers have more space for their legs and heads, though a fifth passenger would make life harder. The seating position for the driver is very good and everything has been perfectly aligned. Its relationship to the Fit is also felt here, as you sit high in this car, which is unusual for a Honda sedan.

Driving the car reinforces my suspicion that Honda is asking too much of the chassis, and the consumer’s wallet. It still uses the 1.5 engine, though output here is less than in other markets (115 horses). Honda skimped for Brazil and didn’t bump power up to the 130 ponies enjoyed elsewhere. However, it did increase the engine’s compression ratio, adding torque. Being lighter than the 1.8 and 2.0 cars it now competes with, top speed (around 190 km/h) and acceleration times (in the 12 second range) are very good and similar to the larger cars. One advantage it does have is economy, using less gasoline. Then again, a Brazilian Fiesta sedan uses even less.

A word must be said on the transmission. I drove the manual City as many changes have been made. Honda elongated fifth gear greatly aids this sedan. Now, higher speeds are reached at a more comfortable noise level. The engine is still a screamer with the manual, so much so that it becomes uncomfortable to try to explore its higher range, which is a shame. Honda claims it has added more sound insulation, but, in comparison to its rivals, tire roar and engine roar is still too much. The manual shifter is still a reference point for the competition to study. Very precise and light, it’s a joy to use. For aural comfort though, a buyer should choose the CVT equipped City. The driving experience is so much more refined that choosing the manual is only for hair shirt devotees of three pedals.

Using new bushings and hydraulic stops for the shock absorbers in the front, handling is comfortable, but precise. The back benefits from a more rigid, yet lighter, torsion beam, feeling more planted than before. Though it comes from the same family tree as the Fit, it behaves differently being softer and more comfortable. But the City likes perfect road surfaces. Over broken asphalt, it quickly becomes unsettled while even on good surfaces, that road is felt more than in competitors. The Fiesta is both more comfortable and takes curves better, while the Linea is more pliable (to say nothing of the bigger cars, more refined). Therefore, the City’s suspension setup limits make it a car that appeal more to a more conservative driving style and at a sedate pace it feels very relaxed and easy to live with.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a good car and will surely give owners many years of reliable service. Pressured from beneath by cars offering almost the same for less, and reaching up in price to compete with larger cars,, the Honda City is a tough sell. Being the pricing what it is, Honda should have endowed the car with more content and less noise. It would seem they are betting on its reputation of reliability. The market has accepted this proposition, but now Honda may be stretching it.  As cars from other makers have become more reliable than ever, trading solely on reliability is very one-dimensional. Buyers looking for more have plenty of reasons to look elsewhere and the market, thankfully, provides many options to choose from.

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Paris 2014: Honda Unveils Refreshed, New Civic Models http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/paris-2014-honda-unveils-refreshed-new-civic-models/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/paris-2014-honda-unveils-refreshed-new-civic-models/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 12:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=918450 With only days to go until the 2014 Paris Auto Show, Honda has gone ahead and unveiled its refreshed Civic and Civic Tourer, as well as the new Civic Sport. The Civic models all have sportier looks from stem to stern for the 2015 model year, with LED taillights capping things off. As for inside, […]

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With only days to go until the 2014 Paris Auto Show, Honda has gone ahead and unveiled its refreshed Civic and Civic Tourer, as well as the new Civic Sport.

The Civic models all have sportier looks from stem to stern for the 2015 model year, with LED taillights capping things off. As for inside, Honda’s all-new, Android-powered Connect infotainment system is meant to give the driver “convenience and connectivity whilst on the road.” The system uses Android 4.0.4, with its smartphone gestures very much intact.

Meanwhile, the new Civic Sport — a diet Civic Type-R, if you will — arrives on the scene with either 1.6-liter i-DTEC diesel or 1.8-liter I-VTEC petrol firepower, driving 118 to 140 horsepower to the front line. Color-coded rear spoiler and 17-inch alloys add to the hot hatch’s looks alongside other Type-R-esque features.

Finally, all of the above will have Honda’s City-Brake Active system as standard. The braking system is meant to minimize or avoid entirely low-speed accidents by applying the brakes if such an event — up to 30 km/h — is detected.

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Chevrolet, Honda Give CNG Passenger Cars Another Chance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chevrolet-honda-give-cng-passenger-cars-another-chance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chevrolet-honda-give-cng-passenger-cars-another-chance/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=915178 Aside from a few trucks, some taxis and a fair number of buses, natural gas doesn’t receive a lot of play in the alternative energy game in comparison to darlings such as electric power and hydrogen. Despite this condition, Chevrolet and Honda are both ready to push natural gas onto commuters and efficiency-minded consumers alike. […]

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Aside from a few trucks, some taxis and a fair number of buses, natural gas doesn’t receive a lot of play in the alternative energy game in comparison to darlings such as electric power and hydrogen. Despite this condition, Chevrolet and Honda are both ready to push natural gas onto commuters and efficiency-minded consumers alike.

The Detroit News reports Honda recently introduced a new generation of its Civic Natural Gas model, featuring amenities like heated leather seats and premium sound systems the previous model lacked. Chevrolet, on the other hand, plans to bring a dual-fuel Impala to the party in a few months, being able to use either CNG or gasoline depending on the situation.

Though both brands are willing to give CNG passenger cars another shot, not too many others are as willing. Most automakers believe there’s no money or demand to be found in the alternative fuel, legislators are too focused on the in-crowd of energy solutions, and environmentalists are playing the long game instead of being in the present.

As for the vehicles themselves, both models will come straight from the factory with the same warranties as their gasoline-powered siblings, with the expectation of greater confidence in CNG from the consumer as a result. The Civic and Impala will likely drum up competition among other CNG vehicle manufacturers for the first time in a decade, as well.

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Life With Accord: 12,000 Miles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/life-accord-12000-miles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/life-accord-12000-miles/#comments Sat, 13 Sep 2014 17:36:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=911786 Seven months after taking delivery of my 2014 Accord V6 6MT coupe in “Modern Steel”, we’ve finally hit the 12,000-mile mark. This might seem like a lot of mileage but it’s actually quite a bit less than it could be; I’ve put more than twelve thousand miles on rental cars in the same time period. […]

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Seven months after taking delivery of my 2014 Accord V6 6MT coupe in “Modern Steel”, we’ve finally hit the 12,000-mile mark. This might seem like a lot of mileage but it’s actually quite a bit less than it could be; I’ve put more than twelve thousand miles on rental cars in the same time period. What can I say — I’m an itinerant. Insert snarky comment about journalists who live in cities and don’t drive except on press trips here, and so on, and so forth.

It probably reduces the chances of you “clicking the jump” to say so right up front, but very little about my Accord experience has been surprising.

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I’ve been measuring the Honda’s self-reported fuel mileage in 2,000-mile increments, and it’s steadily risen from an initial 23.8mpg to 26.9 in the last complete stint. Freeway driving below 80mph results in a self-reported average of 32.0 to 32.8mpg while running at 80-100mph returns about 28.5 over longer distances. The vast majority of this car’s life has been spent in a fifty-mile radius around my house, driving short trips and usually reporting about 23-25mpg during those trips. I use the “Eco” mode at all times, with the sole exception of when I’m on a racetrack and I remember to turn it off. Compared to a four-cylinder CVT, I’m losing five or six mpg as a consequence of choosing the big motor and the clutch pedals. And, as Lorde says, we’re fine with this.

Less fine with the royal “us” than the mileage: the abysmal floormats. When I was but a young sprog bullying my mother into buying a 1983 Civic 1500 “S”, it never occurred to us to ask for floormats. Everybody knew that they cost extra and that the price of the floormats was some mathematically improbable exponent of the true cost. Having already paid MSRP plus maybe ADP for your new Honda, it was particularly critical to escape the F&I office without accepting floormats, lest your payment double.

Well, that was then and ours is a far more enlightened age. In 2014 Honda rewards its higher-end customers with free floormats, and those floormats have the half-life of bohrium-262. What you see at the top of the article is an actual hole worn in the driver’s-side mat after just six months. TTAC readers who are reasonably familiar with my personal habits know that I am far more likely to wear actual leather-soled grownup long-wing shell-cordovan shoes than the average Honda buyer might be, but surely that is balanced out by the fact that I just as often drive in those stupid Vibram Five Fingers shoes or even barefoot, and that I’m a heavier-than-average user of cruise control.

Frankly, I’d have rather had the twelve bucks or whatever it cost to recycle some worn-out Dickies pants into these things removed from the sticker price, because these “free” floormats are more like “delaying actions” regarding floormats for which you’ll have to pay anyway. A few weeks ago I got more drunk than usual on a Tuesday evening and had an unusually vivid dream where I was standing in a parking lot and an aging but still attractive brunette pulled up in an SUV with Lexan rain guards mounted to the door frames.

“It’s time for you to buy new laser-measured FloorLiners(tm),” the woman told me.

“Csaba, should I do it?” I asked. And Csaba Csere appeared next to me and whispered,

I wouldn’t have let them buy thirty pages a month in the magazine if they weren’t the very best.” After a dream like that, I had no choice but to buy the MacNeil Products FloorLiners(tm). They fit as if they were laser-measured. This is the third car for which I’ve bought them and I expect they’ll be completely bulletproof as they’ve been in the past.

Alright, that was five paragraphs about floormats. What about the rest of the car? Well, this past week I used it to carry four people plus myself on the run from Road&Track‘s offices in Ann Arbor to the “Motown Mile” track at the Coleman Young Airport. It’s a forty-five-mile drive and believe it or not the Accord does just fine with three six-foot adults in the back seat for that trip. There are even cupholders for the outside passengers. Running the Accord around the Mile, I was reminded that this car possesses an exceptional match of power, weight, and dynamic capability.

There was a lot of offhand joking about how I was trying to insert the car into the comparison test so at one point I asked everyone, “Does anybody here think this car would finish last if we actually added it?” There was a lot of looking around at the fourteen cars we’d brought to the airport, and then a unanimous “NO.” With that said, one editor did refer to the Accord, dismissively, as “a front-wheel-drive Mustang.”

So far, there have been no quality problems with the car, nor has anything broken or fallen out of alignment. The brakes feel pretty soft as a consequence of modest track time and the driver’s seat feels like it might have a spring out of place — there’s a “click” at times when I sit down in it. I’ll have that looked at during the next service.

I finally got around to putting a bunch of Zaino not-quite-wax on the thing last week and I noticed that Honda’s inability to paint cars properly in the United States has yet to be completely addressed. After 12,000 miles, the Accord has more rock chip damage and wear on the front than any of my Volkswagens, BMWs, or Porsches had after three times that much distance. No orange in history has ever had as much orange peel as this Honda and where the paint has chipped off you can see just how thin it is. Oh well. My 1986 Jaguar Vanden Plas had brilliant and flawless lacquer that was approximately as thick as a trauma-plated bulletproof vest but it also failed to make it to 75,000 miles without requiring the replacement of every rubber part in the suspension and body. Choose your battles.

Although the price has been bumped a few hundred bucks for 2015, the Accord Coupe remains a fairly staggering value. What it loses to the ponycars and the Hyundai Genesis in driveline purity and high-speed maneuverability it takes back in space and ease of use. I’ve seen nothing so far to make me think I wouldn’t buy it again. This year, Honda’s gone totally wacky and added a fourth “color” to the available palette. So if you want people to know you have the new one, you’ll want “White Orchid Pearl” instead of the “Steel”, black, or red.

Out on the road, I’m often greeted by my Accord Coupe brethren by a discreet wave or a flicker of the brights — oh, who the hell am I kidding. The only way I could be more anonymous on the road would be by trading in for a blue CR-V. There’s absolutely nothing special about being seen behind the wheel of an Accord and not even I can lie to myself about it. Regardless, it continues to earn my recommendation.

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Pre-Production 2015 Honda Civic Type-R Spotted In Croatia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/pre-production-2015-honda-civic-type-r-spotted-croatia/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/pre-production-2015-honda-civic-type-r-spotted-croatia/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 14:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906473 While our European friends are waiting for the next-generation Honda Civic Type-R to arrive next summer, one lucky spotter discovered a pre-production model tackling the switchbacks of Eastern Europe not too long ago. Carscoops reports a friend of theirs sent in two photos of the 2015 Type-R as it was shooting a promo in Rijeka, […]

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While our European friends are waiting for the next-generation Honda Civic Type-R to arrive next summer, one lucky spotter discovered a pre-production model tackling the switchbacks of Eastern Europe not too long ago.

Carscoops reports a friend of theirs sent in two photos of the 2015 Type-R as it was shooting a promo in Rijeka, Croatia, located two hours to the southwest from the nation’s capital, Zagreb.

This particular Type-R — later spotted on a trailer in Slovenia — lacks the concept version’s massive front wheel arches and matching set of front and rear air ducts — as seen at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show — yet maintains the large rear spoiler/LED tail lamp combo.

The Type-R will receive power from a 2-liter VTEC turbo-four punching out 280 horsepower through the front wheels when it begins production next year.

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Honda Fixes Flawed Beam Design In 2015 Fit, Gains IIHS Top Safety Pick Rating http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/honda-fixes-flawed-beam-design-2015-fit-gains-iihs-top-safety-pick-rating/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/honda-fixes-flawed-beam-design-2015-fit-gains-iihs-top-safety-pick-rating/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897842 After a poor performance at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Honda has redesigned the front end of the 2015 Honda Fit to correct an issue with the compact’s front bumper beam. Autoblog reports the beam had broken free during the small-front overlap test earlier this year, resulting in a “Marginal” grade by the IIHS. […]

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2015 Honda Fit

After a poor performance at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Honda has redesigned the front end of the 2015 Honda Fit to correct an issue with the compact’s front bumper beam.

Autoblog reports the beam had broken free during the small-front overlap test earlier this year, resulting in a “Marginal” grade by the IIHS. The broken beam allowed more impact energy to be absorbed on the driver’s side of the Fit.

In turn, Honda’s engineering team set about to fix the issue, then ask the agency to retest the Fit. The newly updated compact hatch fared better in the test this time, bumping the original grade up to “Acceptable.” On top of receiving “Good” status on the vehicle’s other four tests, the IIHS gave the Fit the title of Top Safety Pick, a goal Honda desired for the compact hatch according to chief vehicle safety engineer Chuck Thomas:

We had targeted “Top Safety Pick,” and just weren’t satisfied with not achieving that. We had studied the results of that test, and made some modifications to the front bumper.

The modifications were made on the production line in June, and the 12,000 owners with their Fits already in possession can bring back the vehicle for the free upgrade. Honda will send notices in September.

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2013-14 Honda CR-Z Receives HPD Supercharging Kit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2013-14-honda-cr-z-receives-hpd-supercharging-kit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2013-14-honda-cr-z-receives-hpd-supercharging-kit/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 11:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897810 The Honda CR-Z will be gaining much needed firepower under the bonnet thanks to the automaker’s performance division. Autoblog reports Honda Performance Development has introduced an aftermarket supercharger kit good for boosting power from the hybrid’s 1.5-liter four to 197 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. The HPD kit also comes with an air-to-air intercooler, […]

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The Honda CR-Z will be gaining much needed firepower under the bonnet thanks to the automaker’s performance division.

Autoblog reports Honda Performance Development has introduced an aftermarket supercharger kit good for boosting power from the hybrid’s 1.5-liter four to 197 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. The HPD kit also comes with an air-to-air intercooler, high-flow fuel injectors, a re-calibrated ECU that complies with CARB AT-PZEV rules, and an air filter.

The kit, priced at $5,495 plus the cost of dealer installation, is meant only for 2013 and 2014 CR-Zs with the six-speed manual funneling power to the front. If installed at a dealership, it also will maintain the vehicle’s 5-year/60,000-mile warranty balance. An optional limited-slip differential and sport clutch are available for $1,375 and $640, as well.

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Honda Tops Most Stolen List, Overall Figure Lowest Since 1967 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/honda-tops-stolen-list-overall-figure-lowest-since-1967/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/honda-tops-stolen-list-overall-figure-lowest-since-1967/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 10:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897202 The National Insurance Crime Bureau released its newest list of the top 10 vehicles most likely to be stolen, with Honda and pickups leading the pack in a year that has seen the lowest number of vehicles stolen since 1967. Autoblog reports the following made the top 10 list of vehicles most likely to be […]

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The National Insurance Crime Bureau released its newest list of the top 10 vehicles most likely to be stolen, with Honda and pickups leading the pack in a year that has seen the lowest number of vehicles stolen since 1967.

Autoblog reports the following made the top 10 list of vehicles most likely to be stolen in 2013 as noted by the NICB:

  • Honda Accord: 53,995
  • Honda Civic: 45,001
  • Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size): 27,809
  • Ford Pickup (Full Size): 26,494
  • Toyota Camry: 14,420
  • Dodge Pickup (Full Size): 11,347
  • Dodge Caravan: 10,911
  • Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee: 9,272
  • Toyota Corolla: 9,010
  • Nissan Altima: 8,892

That said, according to Autoblog, owners of newer Hondas can sleep more soundly than those whose vehicles were made during the start of President Bill Clinton’s final term in office. In 2013, 8,166 1996 Honda Accords were stolen, compared to only 276 2013 Accords.

Meanwhile, 2013 will likely be the first year since 1967 that auto thefts fell below 700,000 stolen, based on preliminary results from the FBI. That number also represents a 50 percent drop in thefts since cresting at 1,661,738 in 1991.

NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle tempered the good news, however, with a reminder that while this year’s figures are a good sign, “it still amounts to a vehicle being stolen every 45 seconds and losses of over $4 billion a year.”

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Honda Dealerships Asked To Issue Waivers Over Defective Airbags http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/honda-dealerships-asked-issue-waivers-defective-airbags/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/honda-dealerships-asked-issue-waivers-defective-airbags/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 10:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=877626 Ever wonder what would happen if Dethklok decided to go into the automotive business, especially with the virtual band’s use of pain waivers as a legal means to protect themselves from whatever death and/or dismemberment would likely occur during a concert? Wonder no more: Honda is asking its dealers to ask their customers to sign […]

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Scholfield Honda Dealership

Ever wonder what would happen if Dethklok decided to go into the automotive business, especially with the virtual band’s use of pain waivers as a legal means to protect themselves from whatever death and/or dismemberment would likely occur during a concert?

Wonder no more: Honda is asking its dealers to ask their customers to sign a waiver acknowledging the used car they’re about to buy off the lot may have an Takata airbag that, in the event of a crash, could kill them upon deployment.

Automotive News reports the automaker’s Airbag Inflator Recall Disclosure and Acknowledgment waiver affects the following Honda and Acura vehicles:

  • 2001-2005 Accord V6
  • 2001-2007 Accord I4
  • 2002-2003 TL
  • 2002-2003 CL
  • 2002-2004 Odyssey
  • 2002-2006 CR-V
  • 2003-2006 MDX
  • 2003-2007 Pilot
  • 2003-2011 Element
  • 2005 RL
  • 2006 Ridgeline

Most dealers believe the waiver is a smart move by Honda, citing liability concerns. However, New Jersey lawyer Eric Chase says the waver could prove to be a problem for both parties:

If a dealer called me and said, “We’re talking about something that is under recall but we can’t repair it and it’s dangerous to the point we’d have to warn them about death,” I’d say, “You’ve got to do everything you legally can to make sure a consumer does not get behind that wheel.”

Meanwhile, a Honda representative said that once the automaker has gone through its VIN database and those of all 50 states’ DMVs to find and recall all vehicles affected by the Takata airbag crisis, dealers won’t need to issue the wavers come purchase time, instead using a VIN search to determine any potential problem with a given vehicle.

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Honda Fit EV, Insight Discontinued http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/honda-fit-ev-insight-discontinued/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/honda-fit-ev-insight-discontinued/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=876985 It’s official: the Honda Fit EV and Insight have been discontinued. Edmunds reports the Insight will cease production later this summer, while inventory will be available at dealerships through the end of 2014. Meanwhile, the Fit EV — of which 1,100 were ever going to be built for the United States market — will remain […]

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It’s official: the Honda Fit EV and Insight have been discontinued.

Edmunds reports the Insight will cease production later this summer, while inventory will be available at dealerships through the end of 2014. Meanwhile, the Fit EV — of which 1,100 were ever going to be built for the United States market — will remain in production until sometime this autumn, with Honda providing customer support through each vehicle’s lease period.

As for the future, representative Sage Marie said the automaker would focus on “a new generation of electromotive technologies,” such as the expanded use of its two-motor hybrid system found in both the Accord Hybrid and Accord Plug-In Hybrid. In addition, a decision will be announced regarding the FCX Clarity, especially with a successor — influenced by the FCEV from last year’s LA Auto Show — waiting in the wings.

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Japanese Government To Push FCVs Via $20k Subsidy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/japanese-government-to-push-fcvs-via-20k-subsidy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/japanese-government-to-push-fcvs-via-20k-subsidy/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872802 With Toyota ready to make big moves with its 2015 FCV, the Japanese government is ready with their own big move: $20,000 USD in incentives. Autoblog Green reports the government will offer buyers of the hydrogen-powered sedan $20,000 in subsidies, which may bring down the reported $69,000 MSRP down to $49,000; EV subsidies in Japan […]

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With Toyota ready to make big moves with its 2015 FCV, the Japanese government is ready with their own big move: $20,000 USD in incentives.

Autoblog Green reports the government will offer buyers of the hydrogen-powered sedan $20,000 in subsidies, which may bring down the reported $69,000 MSRP down to $49,000; EV subsidies in Japan max out at $8,500 per vehicle for comparison.

Meanwhile, the FCV will likely sell for $50,000 in the United States when it leaves the container ships next summer, and will be joined by Honda’s own FCV — name to be determined later — sometime in 2015.

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Japan Three, Others Meet With President Over Supplier Aid Pledge http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/japan-three-others-meet-with-president-over-supplier-aid-pledge/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/japan-three-others-meet-with-president-over-supplier-aid-pledge/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=865777 A number of U.S. and multinational corporations met with President Barack Obama Friday to shine a light upon their pledge to pay their suppliers within 15 days as part of an initiative to help small businesses expand and bring on more employees. Automotive News reports representatives for Nissan, Toyota and Honda, including Honda North America […]

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A number of U.S. and multinational corporations met with President Barack Obama Friday to shine a light upon their pledge to pay their suppliers within 15 days as part of an initiative to help small businesses expand and bring on more employees.

Automotive News reports representatives for Nissan, Toyota and Honda, including Honda North America executive vice president Rick Schostek, were in attendance for the 90-minute meeting about the pledge, based upon a similar program with government contractors, whereupon the federal government promises to quickly pay its contractors if the latter does the same for the smaller suppliers that help them.

The original initiative affected 172,000 small businesses, bringing $1 billion for workforce investment since its launch in 2011. Friday’s meeting was to reaffirm the pledge, as well as to introduce the program to the public sector.

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2015 Audi A3 Sedan Sales Outpacing Supply, Stealing From Honda, Toyota http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-audi-a3-sedan-sales-outpacing-supply-stealing-from-honda-toyota/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-audi-a3-sedan-sales-outpacing-supply-stealing-from-honda-toyota/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 11:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=860769 The 2015 Audi A3 Sedan is doing quite well for itself in the United States since its arrival back in April of this year, even if the hipster parties during the sedan’s U.S. unveiling more than likely just amused the automaker’s traditional clientele instead of attracting younger buyers as the party plan intended. Autoblog reports […]

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The 2015 Audi A3 Sedan is doing quite well for itself in the United States since its arrival back in April of this year, even if the hipster parties during the sedan’s U.S. unveiling more than likely just amused the automaker’s traditional clientele instead of attracting younger buyers as the party plan intended.

Autoblog reports Audi of America sold 2,452 A3 Sedans in June alone, with just over 25 percent of consumers under the age of 30. That particular group of young Audi drivers are new to the automaker, brand conquests over Honda and Toyota.

As for buying one right now, there may be a line ahead of you: Audi is still stocking its dealer network with the $30,795 sedan, with a wait as long as 30 days for those wanting specific features for their A3. The line may grow longer, however, when the automaker’s A3 E-tron arrives in Q2 2015, with every one of Audi’s U.S. dealerships being granted the opportunity to sell the PHEV.

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Capsule Review: 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/capsule-review-2014-honda-odyssey-touring-elite/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/capsule-review-2014-honda-odyssey-touring-elite/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 12:45:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=835945 The 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite is the Nimitz-class flagship of the suburbs. Many suggest it’s the only van for enthusiasts, if there can be such a thing. It must be true, there’s even a lightning bolt zapping down the side view and all. Is the Odyssey the way for you to buy in without […]

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The 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite is the Nimitz-class flagship of the suburbs. Many suggest it’s the only van for enthusiasts, if there can be such a thing. It must be true, there’s even a lightning bolt zapping down the side view and all.

Is the Odyssey the way for you to buy in without selling out?

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On the suburban battlefield, the Odyssey demands respect. Honda will tell you it’s the best-selling single nameplate, though that’s likely to end soon. Combine the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country numbers and the total nearly doubles what the Odyssey shifts. Chrysler is going to consolidate its two vans into a single model, and even if the new Town & Country takes a bit of a sales haircut, there’s plenty of headroom. The Odyssey is likely to lose its single-model sales leadership.

Let’s avoid getting confused with the facts, though. Everyone loves the Odyssey. Motor Trend even went so far as to say it “doesn’t drive much different than our 2013 Honda Accord Sport.” Choose an Odyssey and you’ll even get validation from people who see automobiles as little more than white goods. It’ll wind up in a conversation that also includes front-loading high-efficiency washing machines, refrigerators with snack drawers, and radiant heat in the bathroom.

In the immortal words of Orson Welles, “fellas, you’re losing your heads.” I have driven both, and unless there’s a Tuna Boat option package, The Odyssey is not like the Accord.

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I expected more supple responses given the way the Odyssey has been talked up. Instead it’s choppy. The Odyssey does handle well, so if you want to slalom, go right ahead. For family-hauling, the Toyota Sienna does a better job being compliant without floating. There is that 3.5 liter, 248 hp V6; a lively engine once you get it revving. Power lags the competition, but only a little, and 250 lb-ft of torque is right in the fight. The six-speed automatic transmission is newly standard across all Odyssey models, and it stays out of the way. The snarl of the V6 is great and the Variable Cylinder Management drops back to four or three cylinders when all six aren’t needed. Thanks to careful tuning and active engine mounts, the VCM system is virtually undetectable.

While I’m not reminded of an Accord, the Odyssey definitely drives like a Honda. The power boost of the rack and pinion steering is too light for my tastes, but probably just right for the buyers. It’s a little numb, too. The brake pedal is solid, easy to modulate, and clamps down on big four-wheel discs. That’s good, because there’s more than 4,000 pounds to stop. The suspension that can be harsh lets you corner with confidence hard enough to rip that ice cream cone right out of little Suzy’s hand and splatter it on the side window. Body roll is well-checked.

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You just can’t beat a van for actual usefulness. Two powered sliding doors and a powered rear hatch open up a world of possibilities with ease. Load heights are low and the third row seat can be disappeared into the floor. With the seats stowed, the surface is lumpier than the the Chryslers, and you have to heave the second-row seats out to get the maximum cargo space. Because of its seating arrangement, the Odyssey has longer front seat travel. That’s important because it lets you find a comfortable driving position.

The seating design is flexible, giving you the option of three-across in the second row, or a “wide mode” with a console in between. All three rows are comfortable, though the first and second rows are where it’s at. Pop the second row seats out, stow the third row, which is easy, and 4×8 sheets of material will fit. Who needs a pickup?

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The Touring Elite is the most comfortable Odyssey there is. It had better be, because it costs luxury car money. There is no inexpensive Odyssey. The base-model Odyssey LX starts at $28,825. You can step through EX, EX-L, and Touring before you get to the Touring Elite trim level and its $44,450 MSRP. The result of that spending is basically every feature that’s optional on lesser Odyssey trims is standard for the Touring Elite.

That’s all of the things. More climate zones than your house (3), rear DVD system with remote and headphones, even a friggin’ central vacuum. The equipment list reads like a rental property, for crying out loud. Features like a cool box in the center console, power doors and hatch, parking sensors, rear-view camera, and navigation are what other moms and dads will chat you up about at soccer. They’re all fine, and they create profit for Honda. Half of the extra features are more distraction, the other half make the Odyssey easier to use. The hard ones are the controls for the infotainment, a partner in maintaining the peace when there are miles to cover with restless natives aboard.

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The electronic support for drivers looks comprehensive on paper. It’s like Honda figured two screens are obviously better than just the single displays the competition offers, and my Odyssey also included blind-spot monitoring and a forward collision warning system. It’s confusing to know where to look for which controls, and some features require the control knob while others are driven via touchscreen. When using the audio screen there’s no tactile feedback, the layout is cramped, and it’s hard to stab the right spot when traveling at speed. It’d still be a bad idea even if the screen were responsive, which it isn’t.

Using Chrysler’s UConnect will make an Odyssey driver fall to their knees, weeping. At least Honda’s attention to detail tries to redeem the Odyssey. The interior materials are good, and even pieces you’d expect to feel flimsy, like the little change cup that folds out of the left side of the dashboard, are solid. While I hated the electronics, I thought the basics of the Odyssey provide firm footing to stand up to the abuse a family will deliver.

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Minivans are do-it-all family vehicles, there’s no denying that. There’s only so much styling you can apply to a box on wheels, though the Odyssey does its best with a kink in the side view and crisply-creased surfaces. The Odyssey is most chic van to be seen disgorging your family, and the van scene has really changed since the turn of the century. Honda and Toyota have upped their van games and Chrysler has been the only domestic manufacturer willing to try and keep up.

Still, the Odyssey wouldn’t be my pick. It’s expensive. The electronics and secondary controls are infuriating. When you’re making the ultimate family-vehicle play, it’s going to take some abuse. The Odyssey may be the diamond of the field, but from the 2015 Kia Sedona, to the Chrysler vans, to even the Nissan Quest, there’s a lot of cubic zirconia options that are going to cost less, wear well, and be easier to use.

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Honda, Nissan, Mazda Recall 3 Million Over Defective Airbag Inflators http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/honda-nissan-mazda-recall-3-million-over-defective-airbag-inflators/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/honda-nissan-mazda-recall-3-million-over-defective-airbag-inflators/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 10:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=850770 Honda, Nissan and Mazda are recalling a total of 3 million vehicles equipped with defective airbag inflators supplied by Takata, following a similar action by Toyota. Automotive News reports 2.03 million Hondas, 755,000 Nissans and 159,807 Mazdas globally are being recalled to replace the defective units. The effort comes just after Toyota recalled 1.62 vehicles […]

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Honda, Nissan and Mazda are recalling a total of 3 million vehicles equipped with defective airbag inflators supplied by Takata, following a similar action by Toyota.

Automotive News reports 2.03 million Hondas, 755,000 Nissans and 159,807 Mazdas globally are being recalled to replace the defective units. The effort comes just after Toyota recalled 1.62 vehicles outside Japan that were recalled earlier this month for the same issue, and 655,000 vehicles in the home market that were being recalled for the first time. As of June 23, 10 million vehicles between 2009 and 2014 have been recalled due to defects in Takata’s airbag units.

June’s action follow those by the four automakers conducted in April of this year, when Takata informed the group that a number of the defective units had escaped into the supplier channels due to poor record-keeping between 2000 and 2002 at the supplier’s plants in Washington and Mexico, where the moisture-infected units were assembled and stored. Moisture degraded the airbags’ inflators, which led to the units exploding, throwing metal shrapnel throughout the cabin.

Other manufacturers who used Takata airbags — including Ford, Chrysler and BMW — are also calling back a handful of affected models, especially those in humid climates such as Florida and Puerto Rico; CEO Shigehisa Takada claimed “the high levels of absolute humidity in those states” may also cause catastrophic failure of the inflators.

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Reader Ride Review: 2000 Honda S2000 “AP1″ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/reader-ride-review-2000-honda-s2000-ap1/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/reader-ride-review-2000-honda-s2000-ap1/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 13:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=842794 There has been no shortage of words written about the Honda S2000 on the internet. In fact, when a RRR request came in from Ryan in the ATL for his new-to-him 2000 AP1 S2K, my first thought was, “Why? It’s been done to death.” Okay, that’s a total lie. My first thought was “Hell yes. […]

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There has been no shortage of words written about the Honda S2000 on the internet. In fact, when a RRR request came in from Ryan in the ATL for his new-to-him 2000 AP1 S2K, my first thought was, “Why? It’s been done to death.”

Okay, that’s a total lie. My first thought was “Hell yes. When and where?

You see, the S2K and I have a bit of history. There are a lot of pictures on the Internet of me driving various S2000s, and nearly all of them look something like this:
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My good friend Marc and I campaigned an S2K in SCCA National Solo for a little over four years. I had some really good results (and some really bad ones) but most importantly, I always had fun behind the wheel. The S2K, especially in its original AP1 format (available beginning in the 2000 model year through 2003), gives even the best drivers fits. In order to get a winning run out of one, the driver must constantly be at the threshold of disaster, trusting both his car and his reflexes to the nth degree. On an autocross course, that can mean a trophy-winning day just as easily as it can mean a day with all dirty runs. High risk, high reward.

On the street, it can mean you’ve found yourself neatly wrapped around a tree, and the low acquisition cost of the S2K meant that younger, aggressive drivers often did. As a result, Honda made several changes to the car for the 2004 model year (AP2), including a more stable suspension, bigger wheels with wider tires, and a slightly longer stroke. The downside of this, in the eyes of many, was the lowering of the redline from just under 9K to 8K. This led to nearly endless bench racing debate on S2K forums about which model was better, a debate that was effectively squashed when Honda released the eye-violating, lightweight Club Racer edition for the 2008 model year. The CR won nearly everything it entered for the next several years, and is still the dominant car in several SCCA classes today.
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I realize that for most of you this is remedial knowledge, but ponder this for a moment: the S2000 has now been discontinued in the US for seven model years. If you’re a young man leaving college today, the S2K has never been available for you to buy as new car since you got your license. It has been gone nearly as long as it existed.

While its main competitor, the Mazda MX-5, continues its run into a highly anticipated fourth generation, the S2000 is as dead as John Cleese’s Norwegian Blue. It seems like it was born from a Honda that no longer really exists. Perhaps that is why the S2000 continues to command such exorbitant prices on the used car market. What other modern non-exotic still retains fifty percent of its original value fifteen years later?

Now, let’s meet Ryan. Ryan is a young IT professional from Atlanta. His last car was a 2014 Camaro SS that he bought when GM bought back his 2013 Camaro V6 under lemon law circumstances (heads replaced three times, followed by an entirely new motor). Unfortunately, the SS just became too expensive to own and operate in the city, so he recently set out to find another car that would satisfy his requirements of being inexpensive, small (he owned a MINI before the Zetas), fun, and big-city friendly.

Other options included the NC Miata, NB Mazdaspeed Miata, 350Z, and RX-8. Although he had an FC RX-7 in high school, he didn’t want the hassle and poor gas mileage of the Renesis. The 350Z was a bit of a tight squeeze, and the extra HP of the S2K over the Miata was just too much of a temptation to ignore.

As a result, Ryan says, “I went on a mission to find the best S2000 I could afford.” After several searches, he finally struck gold—or more appropriately, Silverstone, the gorgeous dark grey of his new ride.

“It was a one-family car. The uncle had been the original owner, and after fourteen years, he gave it to his nephew. The nephew sold it to me three months later to pay for a wedding.” Ryan had owned it for all of three weeks when he made the ill-advised decision to let me review it.

After meeting Ryan for a quick and delicious lunch at the Lazy Goat in Greenville, SC, we made our way down to the parking garage where I got my first look at Ryan’s new baby.

I couldn’t believe it. The car looked as through it had somehow been sent from 2000 to 2014 through a wormhole in the space-time continuum. 46,000 miles on the clock. Original shocks. Only one ding—a minuscule dot on the passenger door—and nary a scratch to be seen. No curbing on any of the wheels. The interior was showroom quality. My only complaint? The BF Goodrich g-Force Sport Comp 2 tires it was sporting. There are lots of great tire choices for an AP1—that isn’t one of them. “Please get a set of Star Specs or Ventu R-S 3s,” I offered kindly. “You’ll thank me later.”
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As we wound the car up around the wonderfully curvaceous roads of Greenville, the roadster came to life. The engine felt as fresh as that of any S2K I’ve ever driven, and the familiar sound of the short-stroke four cylinder rang out through the stock exhaust as I found the maximum power of the car between 7-8k on the tach.

AP1s have a few known trouble areas, and the clutch and differential are right at the top of any pre-purchase-inspection list. A telling sign of an AP1 that’s seen import racer duty is a worn second-gear synchro. No such troubles here—Ryan’s car snapped through the pattern flawlessly. I was concerned when Ryan told me that he had to replace the rear tires when he bought the car—that meant it had already burned through the original Potenzas and had now burned through a set of BFGs in the rear. However, the diff appeared to be no worse off for it. I didn’t launch his car at any point, though, and I recommended that he be gentle with it, as well.

The best gear of the AP1 is third gear. The motor was happiest here, as the worries of low-end torque disappeared and it simply sang along the road. However, the true magic of the S2K AP1 lies in the gearbox. The pedals are neatly arranged so that even your size-nine-footed author can easily heel-toe his way into a second gear downshift around the tightest of corners. Ryan mentioned that he found it difficult getting the car into first gear under any type of motion.

At the mention of this foible, I shot the car down a side street into a narrow lane with 15 MPH turns. Rev matching an S2K into the low cog takes practice—approximately four years of it, at last count, for me—but it can be done with ease once your ear becomes accustomed to the right sounds. Just getting used to the fact that 8,000 RPM is not only safe, but actually where the car is happiest, can be quite a challenge. The car did exactly what I asked it to do, rotating slightly under throttle after the downshift and correcting.

Unfortunately, my confidence to push the adhesion limits of the car was severely limited by the BFGs. The total lack of feedback from the tires made it difficult to know where the breaking point was, and I certainly wasn’t willing to find out we had passed it in another person’s car on a public road. The AP1 really needs a proper suspension and tire combination to reach its full potential as a driver. Without it, the car feels soft and unpredictable. The good news is that a set of Koni Sports, Hankooks, and a bigger front sway bar are all that’s needed to correct this issue.

And that’s the great thing about the AP1. It’s a blank canvas, but the paint by numbers sets are easy to find and readily available. All the engine tuning and suspension research has been done and done again on it, and the sticky topics are right there on the forums for you to read and duplicate. Provided you find a good early example that hasn’t been thrashed, it’s a hard deal to beat for an enthusiast. Buy a good example for $10K, put another 2-3 into it along with a good rollbar,and you’ve got a car that can run around any road course with nearly anything out there. Ryan said he hopes to get into autocrossing, and I gave him the names of some great S2K drivers in Atlanta who I know will be glad to help him get started.

Despite all the fuss made about Miatas by enthusiasts here and elsewhere, I think I’d make the same call Ryan made—the S2K simply does everything a Miata does and then some. Even at fifteen years of age, the design is a head turner. It has aged much better than other competitors that came later. For whatever reason, it appears to have been abandoned by the import racer types in favor of other cars. Their loss is your gain. Go buy one—you won’t be sorry.

Thanks to Ryan for not only supplying his car but for driving two hours to meet me. Congrats on a great buy!

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Review: 2014 Honda Civic Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/review-2014-honda-civic-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/review-2014-honda-civic-coupe/#comments Wed, 04 Jun 2014 13:46:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=836401 Once upon a time, the Honda Civic was like McDonalds: its wide-ranging menu had something to offer for everyone, in an easily-digestible and economical format. There was even a time when the Japanese compact was offered as a sedan, coupe, and a hatchback (and for a brief spell, it even offered some British go-fast goodness!). The […]

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Once upon a time, the Honda Civic was like McDonalds: its wide-ranging menu had something to offer for everyone, in an easily-digestible and economical format. There was even a time when the Japanese compact was offered as a sedan, coupe, and a hatchback (and for a brief spell, it even offered some British go-fast goodness!).

The Civic used to be a fantastic thing.

Unfortunately, the ninth-generation Civic was a bad hamburger. When Honda served it up in 2012, they were treated to numerous complaints about the cheap interior, inexcusable road noise, and incompetent suspension. The outcry was so loud that Honda did something they’d never done before.

“Let us reheat that for you,” they said.

I’ll make one thing clear from the get-go: I didn’t get a chance to drive the Honda Civic Coupe in ’12 or ’13. Not that I’m overly sad about it. From the multitude of reviews available, it looks like I didn’t miss much.

However, I did own one of the last sporty-ish, mildly-hot Civics sold on our shores.

My 2000 Honda Civic Coupe, in Canadian Si trim (EX to you Yanks), was certainly no sports car. Yet, with a real trunk, upon which rested a fairly sharp spoiler, and a sleek-yet-subdued body, my silver Civic at least looked the part without being pretentious or trying too hard. Its SOHC VTEC-equipped 1.6-litre D-series four-cylinder gave a somewhat exciting growl above 6,000 revs. The shifter, too, felt very mechanical, providing a certain notchiness when throwing the lever into each gate.

Most of all, I felt connected with my old coupe. It got me back and forth to work each day before doing double-duty as an evening pizza delivery car. We spent a lot of time together and shared many great memories.

Unfortunately for me, and maybe Honda as well, I crawled into the new ninth-generation coupe with some possibly misplaced nostalgia.

2014 Honda Civic Coupe (15 of 29)

My tester was a mid-level EX trimmed coupe with only a single option – the continuously variable transmission, which is new for this year and replaces Honda’s venerable 5-speed automatic transmission. The gearless transmission, along with a big, green ECON button to the left of the steering wheel, dashed all hopes of connecting with the latest Civic.

2014 Honda Civic Coupe (11 of 29)

Powered by a 1.8-litre SOHC i-VTEC four-cylinder engine, the Civic is still motivated by aspirations of driving something faster on your way to the dragstrip. The engine has been slightly improved and now produces 143 hp and 129 lb-ft of torque (up from 140 hp and 128 lb-ft the year before), but you can still do better in the compact coupe segment. The Hyundai Elantra Coupe and Kia Forte Koup, equipped with identical 2.0-litre mills, get 173 hp and 154 lb-ft. If you desire more power, you may want to look across the street.

2014 Honda Civic Coupe (28 of 29)

The new fangled continuously variable transmission may keep engine revs at the peak of the power band, but it’s far from exciting, especially with ECON mode engaged. Fuel economy was the main reason for introducing the CVT, though a real-world average of 29 MPG is far from the official mixed EPA rating of 33 MPG. The difference means you’d pay an extra $184 per year at today’s US average regular gas price of $3.67 per gallon if you drive 12,000 miles per year.

Fuel economy aside, the CVT’s paddle shifters provide some entertainment for the Gran Turismo set, and even some fairly quick ‘shifts’, but those of us familiar with clutch pedals or traditional automatic paddles will be disappointed.

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In fact, the only connection made between myself and the Civic Coupe was with the headliner and my skull each time I sat in the car. The EX model tester came equipped with a power sunroof that takes away a serious amount of headroom for a 6’1″ human being. Even with the driver’s seat height adjustment all the way to the floor, my head made frequent contact with the Civic’s ceiling. My only way out of this situation was to go into “gangsta lean” mode, which, now that I think about it, explains the driving position of so many Civic Coupe drivers.

Elsewhere inside, the two-door did provide acceptable ergonomics. Materials were, again, acceptable, but the design did nothing for me in comparison to the knockout interiors in the Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla. Infotainment wise, Honda is still well behind the curve, and that applies to more than just the Civic. Even the Acura MDX, lauded in some circles, has a horribly designed headunit.

2014 Honda Civic Coupe (23 of 29)

It wasn’t all bad, however, as the Civc did provide a good balance between ride and handling. Not all cars need to be sprung like race cars (I’m looking at you Hyundai and Kia) and, gladly, none of my head-on-ceiling contact in the Civic was suspension induced. Steering was slightly vague, though not bad by any margin.

Outside, the Civic Coupe still isn’t going to win any awards for earth-shattering design. While the emergency refresh available this year is certainly an improvement over the launch model, it’s still too close to the eighth-generation model to really be considered all-new. The painted pocket 16-inch wheels are a try-hard move to catch up to the Koreans, while the the overall shape screams “I’m mildly edgy!”

2014 Honda Civic Coupe (14 of 29)

Overall, it seems like Honda is now fully content with resting on their laurels, bringing in repeat customers who’ll never cross shop. Considering this version of the Civic is built solely for North America, maybe Honda just doesn’t want to drop a ton of money into a vehicle with limited marketability. Hell, the Civic isn’t even sold in Japan anymore; Europe gets their own version that’s actually appealing with a nice selection of engines.

However, back on our shores, the 2014 Honda Civic Coupe is a bad hamburger, slightly warmed over.

Mark Stevenson is a freelance automotive journalist based in Nova Scotia, Canada with a certain penchant for dead brands, on both two and four wheels. He’s a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), former member of Texas Automotive Writers Association (NAMBLA), and the human pet of two dogs – Nismo and Maloo

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Review: 2014 Accord EX-L Sedan CVT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/review-2014-accord-ex-l-sedan-cvt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/review-2014-accord-ex-l-sedan-cvt/#comments Sat, 31 May 2014 13:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=834889 Earlier this year, the most important car purchase question in human history was answered by a Accord EX-L V6 Coupe with six-speed manual transmission. Having cleared the 6000-mile mark in said coupe and having put everything from a wheelchair to a Rainsong JM-1000 to a BMX bike in the trunk in the past four months, […]

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Earlier this year, the most important car purchase question in human history was answered by a Accord EX-L V6 Coupe with six-speed manual transmission. Having cleared the 6000-mile mark in said coupe and having put everything from a wheelchair to a Rainsong JM-1000 to a BMX bike in the trunk in the past four months, I’ve learned a lot about the Modern Steel two-door. At some point, I’ll sit down and write up a long-term report.

Today, however, we have an Accord of a different feather. The trim designation is the same: EX-L. The engine, transmission, and body are all from the other half of Honda’s all-too-frequently binary choice matrix, however. A 125-mile trip in a mix of local and freeway conditions gave me the chance to answer the question: What’s the Accord like in a configuration that normal people actually buy?

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Our test car was loaned to me for a rather quixotic mission involving Volkswagen replacement parts. For a destination-included MSRP of $29,070 against my Coupe’s $31,415, you get a choice of eight exterior and two interior colors. This one was “Champagne Metallic” with the beige interior. With just over 8,000 miles on the clock, it made for a very appropriate comparison with my Coupe.

In exchange for parting with about twenty-three hundred fewer dollars, you get:

  • An extra set of doors and a longer wheelbase
  • Seven cubic feet more passenger space and five inches more rear legroom
  • The 2.4L, 185-horsepower EarthDreams inline four
  • A continuously variable transmission
  • No Homelink, but you do get an auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Power passenger seat
  • Deletion of the LED running lamps
  • Seventeen-inch wheels instead of eighteen-inch ones
  • A forty-pound weight savings

The four-cylinder/CVT combo is, by far, the most popular Accord, and this is the nicest way to get it in the United States.

Stress and nervous tension are now serious social problems in all parts of the Galaxy, and it is in order that this situation should not be in any way exacerbated that the following facts will now be revealed in advance.

Honda has the CVT thing totally dialed.

Unless you’re a disaffected middle-aged man who is basically 50% Hank Moody and 50% a post-Minute by Minute Michael McDonald, the four-cylinder is more than powerful enough and it returns economy the six can’t think about touching.

In all other respects, the Accord continues its reign as America’s best mid-sized sedan, a reign that was horrifyingly interrupted by the chunky eighth-generation mistake-mobile but otherwise stretches back at least as far as 1982.

Okay. Feel better now? I certainly do. Let’s start with all the things this Accord sedan does very well, for those of you who have no experience with the 2013-up model: The beltline is lower than it is in any of the competition, sightlines are better, there is an airy, light feel to the cabin that cannot be had for love nor money anywhere else in the segment. You can argue that the Fusion, in certain trim levels, imparts a more convincing premium feel both in its interior aesthetic and the Germanic, lead-lined way it smothers external interruptions from noise to big bumps.

The Accord’s rear seat is simply enormous in precisely the same way that the Malibu’s is not. While in Las Vegas recently I saw a few of these in taxi service. You’d be lucky to get one; it’s spacious in all respects. The two-tone black-and-cream interior of our test sedan isn’t quite as convincing as the all-black interior of the V6 coupe is; if you want a top-notch light-colored cabin, you have to spend more money on the effort than Honda’s willing to do. This is where the Accord falls tangibly short compared to something like an Audi A4, but that will be small consolation to the German entry-luxury buyer who finds that the big Honda makes more friends on couples’ date nights.

All of that matters less in a market like ours where cars are owner-driven and frequently occupied by a single person. The Accord made headway in the Seventies as a dynamic proposition, a little low-cowled race car in a vast field of 204-inch personal luxury coupes. It was so good at replacing those bigger American cars that it eventually became a bigger American car. (See: “The Descolada”, Speaker For The Dead by Card, Orson Scott.) In a perfect world, the 2014 Accord would combine the thrift of the 1976 original with the effortless thrust of a 403-powered ’77 Cutlass Supreme Brougham.

Amazingly, it sort of does. Your humble author was impressed by the way Nissan used the CVT to make the Altima 2.5 acceptably quick, but trust me: compared to the CVT in this Accord, that Nissan was about as sophisticated as an episode of Friends. This one does the business. Around town, it responds to the typical half-throttle-in-a-mild-hurry by letting the engine rev immediately to 3500 or so, at which point it allows the revs to slowly creep as the ratio unwinds. The impression thus created, that of an engine accelerating mildly while the car sprints along, is exactly why people used to buy a big-block and pair it to a 2.73 axle ratio. Simply brilliant.

Once on the freeway, the four-cylinder Accord pulls a trick the six can’t touch: it drops the revs to a mildly astounding 1950 or so at eighty miles per hour, keeping the 2.4-liter on the very edge of lugging along. The result: over the course of seventy-plus fast freeway miles, the EX-L reported 36.4mpg. In the same conditions, my Coupe wobbles between 29.0 and 31.0. That’s outstanding economy that works in the real world. “Do you ever check the fuel economy?” I asked the car’s owner.

“I don’t know how,” was the response. So I pulled up the screen in question:

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Consistent 30-plus, in mostly urban driving, with someone who couldn’t care less about economy behind the wheel. In those same circumstances, the V6 Coupe is lucky to return 25. (My Audi S5, just to put this in perspective, would return between twelve and fourteen miles per gallon when driven the same places in the same way.)

When it’s time to accelerate for a pass or to facilitate a merge, the Accord simply swings the ratio high again and provides near-instantaneous acceleration. It fairly leaps for the fabled 100mph mark and just as quickly drops the revs into the basement when the throttle is eased out again. How could you want any more powertrain than this, in the real world? Alas, but the four-cylinder isn’t likely to be nearly as magic without the rubber band transmission, and in any event it fails to deliver the VTEC rush of the single-overhead-cam six.

It’s common among the journalists to praise the four-cylinder variants of midsized sedans for their superior balance and scale-friendly GVWR. In Accordland, there’s barely any weight penalty for choosing the faster coupe. A few pounds on the nose is it and in daily use you wouldn’t be able to tell which engine your car had if you weren’t allowed to floor the throttle. Still, it’s easy to see why the six doesn’t account for many Accord sales. Indeed, the true question is why Honda doesn’t offer the loaded Touring model as a four-cylinder here, the way they do in Canada. It would sell, no doubt. Perhaps such a vehicle would be too murderous a sibling to the similarly priced but nontrivially less roomy Acura ILX.

On the other hand, I seem to recall that the ILX has decent stoppers, which the Accord doesn’t. The rotors in our tester are already warped, and during testing at Putnam Park in March I quickly learned to interpret the mixed messages coming back through the middle pedal of my Coupe as carefully and fearfully as Indiana Jones examining temple hieroglyphs for warnings of rolling stone boulders and whatnot. These cars are simply underbraked, perhaps even for street use. Yes, the one stop you really need will probably be fine. It’s the thousand freeway off-ramps that will drive you crazy.

The reason this Accord works when the previous car didn’t is simple: Honda returned to some of their original virtues in this generation. Weight was shed, the engines were improved, the transmissions were finessed, and the interior electronics were brought as far up to date as Honda customers could comfortably handle. About the only un-Honda thing you can point to in this car is the strut-front suspension, but having double wishbones didn’t make the previous car a good one. Not only is this a major improvement on its predecessor, it’s truly better than the seventh-generation V6 in every way that counts and many that don’t, really, but continue to satisfy.

I’d spend every dollar of the difference between this solid-citizen Accord and my immature, overpowered coupe again, but compared to the rest of the mid-size field this remains the one to have. Assuming, that is, you can resist the Fusion’s siren song — but if it helps, just lie back and think about the ten-year-residual. In a month or so, we’ll evaluate the new Sonata to see if it can knock the Accord off its perch. Don’t bet on it.

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Honda Selected To Power Upcoming Formula Lites Series http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/honda-selected-to-power-upcoming-formula-lites-series/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/honda-selected-to-power-upcoming-formula-lites-series/#comments Mon, 19 May 2014 10:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=826194 Honda’s Honda Performance Development announced this week that it will provide the power for the upcoming Formula Lites series, an open-wheel series sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing with the goal of developing young professional drivers on their way up the competitive ladder. Autoblog reports the power will come in the form the K24 2.4-liter four-cylinder, […]

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Honda K24 engine

Honda’s Honda Performance Development announced this week that it will provide the power for the upcoming Formula Lites series, an open-wheel series sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing with the goal of developing young professional drivers on their way up the competitive ladder.

Autoblog reports the power will come in the form the K24 2.4-liter four-cylinder, which will be mated to the FIA Formula 3-spec Crawford FL15 chassis and delivering an unknown amount of power to the rear set of Pirellis all of the cars will be wearing around the track.

The Formula Lites series, designed to keep costs down while providing a reliable competition platform for those who wish to someday run at Indy or Monaco, will run at select events this year before running a full schedule in 2015

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Honda S660 To Enter Production In 2015 At Former Beat Factory http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/honda-s660-to-enter-production-in-2015-at-former-beat-factory/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/honda-s660-to-enter-production-in-2015-at-former-beat-factory/#comments Wed, 07 May 2014 11:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=816737 Over two decades ago during the early years of Japan’s Lost Decade (or Lost 20 Years for those who believe the nation’s economy has yet to improve since the boom of the 1980s), Soichiro Honda’s final car before his passing — the Honda Beat kei roadster — left the Yachiyo Industry Company-owned factory at Yokkaichi […]

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Over two decades ago during the early years of Japan’s Lost Decade (or Lost 20 Years for those who believe the nation’s economy has yet to improve since the boom of the 1980s), Soichiro Honda’s final car before his passing — the Honda Beat kei roadster — left the Yachiyo Industry Company-owned factory at Yokkaichi to take on the likes of the Suzuki Cappuccino and Autozam AZ-1.

History could come back around, however, when the factory gears up to build the production-version of the Honda S660 in 2015.

Autoblog reports the Yokkaichi factory — which currently builds the N, Life and Vamos for Honda under-contract — had been slated for expansion a few years ago before the automaker moved the majority of its kei-car production to its own factory in Suzuka.

No word on how many of the new roadsters will be built, nor how much they will be priced; it also remains to be seen if American Honda CEO Tetsuo Iwamura can bring the S660 — or S1000, should more power be needed than the 660cc turbocharged engine mounted mid-ship can provide — to the United States sometime after Japan gets theirs.

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New York 2014: Honda Announces 2015 Fit-Based HR-V CUV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-honda-announces-2015-fit-based-hr-v-cuv/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-honda-announces-2015-fit-based-hr-v-cuv/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:54:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=803034 Automotive News reports Honda announced the Fit-based subcompact crossover will be called the HR-V, releasing the first official photos during the 2014 New York Auto Show. The crossover will enter U.S. showrooms later this year from Honda’s Celaya, Mexico plant, where the Fit is made, and will be priced just below the CR-V, currently $23,775 […]

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Automotive News reports Honda announced the Fit-based subcompact crossover will be called the HR-V, releasing the first official photos during the 2014 New York Auto Show. The crossover will enter U.S. showrooms later this year from Honda’s Celaya, Mexico plant, where the Fit is made, and will be priced just below the CR-V, currently $23,775 to start.

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Honda Pursues 70k Annual US Fit Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/honda-pursues-70k-annual-us-fit-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/honda-pursues-70k-annual-us-fit-sales/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 13:30:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=797498 In 2008, Honda sold nearly 80,000 Fit subcompacts to the United States, and is preparing to move 70,000 annually from the lot to the driveways of America thanks to its new Celaya, Mexico plant. Ward’s Auto reports the automaker had a difficult time hitting the milestone set in 2008 due to production constraints at home […]

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In 2008, Honda sold nearly 80,000 Fit subcompacts to the United States, and is preparing to move 70,000 annually from the lot to the driveways of America thanks to its new Celaya, Mexico plant.

Ward’s Auto reports the automaker had a difficult time hitting the milestone set in 2008 due to production constraints at home and fervent demand abroad. With the new plant, however, Honda will be able to make 200,000 Fits annually, as well as the Fit-based crossover set to begin production later this year.

As for who Honda expects will buy the 70,000+ Fits aimed for the U.S. market — aside from lifestyle bloggers — product planner Hiroaki Hamaya says the subcompact is already “capturing the highest household income and percentage of college grads.” Data from J.D. Power bears this out: Fit buyers hold an average income of $75,000 while 64 percent of them have graduated college. However, median age and percentage of buyers under 35 currently lag behind competitors such as the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic.

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2015 Honda Fit Deep Dive http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/2015-honda-fit-deep-dive/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/2015-honda-fit-deep-dive/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 18:56:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=793874 By now, you’ve heard what driving the new 2015 Honda Fit is like. You’ve seen what riding in a new Fit is like, too- and, maybe, you’ve figured out how they got one into a tiny bar (I haven’t). Still, we haven’t spent much time actually talking about the nuts and bolts and whys and […]

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By now, you’ve heard what driving the new 2015 Honda Fit is like. You’ve seen what riding in a new Fit is like, too- and, maybe, you’ve figured out how they got one into a tiny bar (I haven’t). Still, we haven’t spent much time actually talking about the nuts and bolts and whys and hows of the new Honda. Until now, that is.

2015 Honda Fit is SO New, it Has a New Home


Honda factory in Celaya, Mexico

For starters, just about everything on the 2015 Honda Fit is new or modified compared to its 2014 siblings- and that includes where it’s being made. Instead of a mostly Chinese-built product, the new Fit has North American roots, being built in Celaya, Mexico. The new production facility is supposed to separate North American demand from global demand, giving dealers better selection, more freedom in ordering, and (of course) cutting costs for Honda, itself.

The new plant in Celaya will also start building a Honda Fit-based mini-SUV to slot below the CR-V later this year, bringing total North American vehicle production capacity to over 1.9 million units. That bump in capacity from Celaya means that some 98% of Hondas sold in North America will be built in North America.

 

2015 Honda Fit Body + Chassis


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The new Fit is 1.6″ shorter than the outgoing 2014 model, but thanks to Honda’s “packaging magic” design, the 2015 Honda Fit has more than 3″ of additional rear seat room, and 1.4″ of additional rear seat leg room. That’s a great distinction to make, by the way, for customers who’ll be stuffing baby seats- rather than adults- into the back of the thing. The new Fit also gives the front passengers more slide-adjustment in the front seats.

So, despite the reduced length of the Fit, it’s roomier. That happy mindf*** comes courtesy of a new, contortionist fuel tank that twists and turns around the Fit’s floor frames and contorts itself around the new, shorter, rear trailing arms more closely than the outgoing Fit’s tank. It’s a trick worthy of Gumby- just pray that you’re not the tech who has to replace one, because I imagine it would be a b***h to do without some advanced robotics.

The suspension that the tank wraps around is worth mentioning, as well- it’s all new, a rigid, torsion-beam style rear suspension and conventional-ish struts up front. It feels a lot more advanced than that, however, thanks in large part to the new Honda Fit’s electric power steering and a new VSA stability program that seems to serve to keep the car neutral. Whatever the actual reason is, the new Fit handles far better than anything with a glorified solid rear axle should.

 

2015 Honda Fit Earth Dreams Drivetrain


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Back in 1989, Honda introduced the original, 1.6 liter, 160 HP B16A and B16A1 engines in Europe and Japan. 25 (twenty-five) years later, Honda’s newest 1.5 liter, direct-injection i-VTEC engine makes “just” 130 HP. Granted, that’s a huge improvement over the last Honda Fit’s 117 HP engine- but a 29 MPG combined EPA rating for the 6 speed and 31 MPG combined rating for the CVT version doesn’t exactly scream “25 years of progress!”

Still, the 2015 Honda Fit has more power, more torque, offers better fuel economy, and puts out fewer emissions than the 2014 model- so that’s a step in the right direction.

Sadly, Honda took a step in the wrong direction in terms of transmissions. For starters, the new 6 speed manual transmission might seem like an upgrade from the old 5 speed- but the “new” 6th gear is the same as the “old” 5th gear. So, while you might find snappier performance in the more closely-spaced 1-5 ratios, you’ll still have the same high-rpm buzz you had in the old Fit at highway speeds. At the 80-85 MPH cruising speeds common on Illinois’ I-90, the Fit’s 1.5 is revving at a positively raucous 4000-ish RPM. In this tester’s opinion, it’s a horrific experience- and one that makes the CVT option a no-brainer, no matter how much you like to row your own … which brings us to our next dubious transmission choice: the CVT’s “gears”.

Honda spent an awful lot of time and money developing a CVT that was capable of keeping the new Earth Dreams at its peak power and efficiency while infinitely adapting the gearing around it (between 2 hardware-determined limits, of course). That was good- then they lost the plot completely by setting 7 pre-determined “shift points” into the Fit’s S-mode, which can be manually selected via paddles on the steering wheel. If you understand the purpose and function of a CVT at all, you’ll immediately realize how stupid this is.

Left on its own, however, the 2015 Honda Fit’s CVT is more than capable of doing its job. Stay away from the paddles, in other words, and you’ll do just fine. More than fine, in fact, since Honda’s CVT is one of the best in the biz (the best CVT setup I’ve experienced, by the way, was also in a Honda).

 

2015 Honda Fit Earth Dreams Interior + Trim


2015 Honda Fit Interior

For 2015, Honda upgraded the plastics on the Fit- offering leather for the first time, as well. Gone are the old “Base”, “Sport”, and “Navi” trim levels, which are replaced with a more Honda-like LX, EX, EXL (for “leather”), and Navi versions. The infotainment system, too, is a major upgrade from before with a large, easy-to-read screen on all models, and a clever phone/nav integration on the EX that (despite a long boot/load time) works exactly as expected. Mostly (my pre-production tester had no “backspace”, so we had to back ALL THE WAY OUT of the Nav screen and start again if we mis-typed anything).

Still, the real magic of the 2015 Honda Fit interior isn’t in the upscale materials- it’s in the seats. The Honda Fit seats can be configured in a number of ways. There’s the standard “passenger mode”, as well as 4 other modes for carrying people and things. These being “Cargo Mode” (for cargo- spluh), “Long Mode” (for carrying long items with passengers sitting in tandem), “Tall Mode” (for carrying tall items like plants and big-screen TVs), and “Refresh Mode”, which was the highlight of my initial “passenging impressions” article.

Those different modes were part of the old Fit, as well- and looked like this here …

 

Honda Fit seat modes

… but I’d never seen or heard of a Honda Fit having “modes” (refreshing or otherwise), so it’s news to me. Judging by the amount of people currently looking at pictures of my limited-edition slip-on Converse, though, it’s probably news to a lot of people- and really one of the strongest selling points for considering the 2015 Honda Fit as a second car.

 

2015 Honda Fit Pricing


Honda’s product planners explained that the new 2015 Honda Fit would cost a bit more than the outgoing Base and Sport models, with the LX starting at $15,525 and the EX-L Navi topping out at $20,800. That’s not a huge bump from last year’s $15,425-$19,790 range- and that $19,790 didn’t get you 130 HP, leather, or a 7″ screen. So, yeah- the new 2015 Honda Fit is an objectively superior machine than the 2014 it replaces, but what do you think?

Did Honda do enough to place the new Fit in the premium compact class occupied by the Mini Coopers of the world, or is its move upmarket a step in the wrong direction? Let us know what you think, in the comments. Enjoy!

 

Sources | Photos: Honda, FitFreak. Originally published on Gas 2.

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Review: 2015 Honda Fit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/review-2015-honda-fit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/review-2015-honda-fit/#comments Thu, 10 Apr 2014 15:01:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=791401 There’s really no way to lead into this, so I’ll just come out and say it: the 2015 Honda Fit is a fantastic car. Around town, at speed on Southern California’s twisty canyon roads, on the highway, stuck in traffic- there wasn’t a single situation we put our EX and EX-L testers into that it […]

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There’s really no way to lead into this, so I’ll just come out and say it: the 2015 Honda Fit is a fantastic car. Around town, at speed on Southern California’s twisty canyon roads, on the highway, stuck in traffic- there wasn’t a single situation we put our EX and EX-L testers into that it didn’t handle with aplomb. Even some light off-roading didn’t twist up the Fit’s rigid frame.

Diving into corners at twice the posted advisory speed, the made-in-Mexico 2015 Honda Fit‘s electric steering does exactly what you’d expect it to. The new, 130 HP Earth Dreams engine pulls the car out the corner effectively enough, too- especially for a long-stroke 1.5 liter. The brakes are direct, drama-free, and the ABS kicks in right when you’d want it to.

After a quick lunch, Jeff (my co-driver for the day) and I decided to make some solo runs in the “comparison cars” Honda had on-hand for the event. These included a Chevy Sonic, a Toyota Yaris, and a Nissan Versa Note- all optioned up to about $17,000.

Simply put, the 2015 Honda Fit blew them all away. The Fit was a generation newer than the non-turbo Chevy Sonic, and it showed. The interior of the Nissan Versa was almost laughably cheap in comparison to the other cars, and the car, itself, got frighteningly squirrel-y under braking. The Toyota, alone, had an interior I’d call “comparable” to the Fit- but I certainly wouldn’t call it better and, on the canyon roads surrounding our Don Quixote-looking lunch stop …

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… the Yaris was simply no match for the Honda.

It was such a one-sided Honda blowout, in fact, that I started to get a bit snarky about the whole event. “Do you think there’s much of a science to picking the comparison cars for these things?” I asked Jeff.

If you don’t know Jeff Palmer, trust me on this: he’s smart. You can tell. When you ask him a question, for example, he thinks about it for two or three seconds, then answers in complete, well-formed sentences. “I think Honda wants to its present competitor’s cars in a situation where they won’t perform as well as their car.”

Here’s where I (tried) to get snarky. “I dunno- I think all Honda’s really proven today is that they can build a $25,000 car better than other people can build a $17,000 car.”

I’d expected to get a giggle or a laugh out of Jeff, but he just looked confused. “How do you mean?” he asked.

“Well, this Honda- what’s it cost? There’s no sticker on it, so what’s it gonna cost? 22,000? 23?”

“No, this is an EX,” explained Jeff. “It’s replacing the old Fit Sport, which was about 17. It’s not going to be more than 17, $18,000.”

No way. There was no way that the 2015 Honda Fit EX (with an excellent 6-speed manual, I should add) we were driving was the same price as the cars we’d just driven. I refused to believe it, and the exchange that followed saw us pull over, open the trunk, and dig furiously through our notes to see just how far upmarket Honda had dragged its little hatchback.

$17,435.

The 2015 Honda Fit EX with a 6-speed manual transmission will sell for $17,435- and, if you’re shopping new subcompacts under $20K, you’d be a fool to spend your $17K on anything else. Really.

Properly chastened, I flipped and flopped the 2015 Honda Fit’s Magic Seats into Refresh Mode, kicked up my feet, and asked Jeff to drive me back to the hotel bar. When you’re a professional blogger (well- paid, anyway), and you can’t find any way to be snarky or s***ty about something, it’s time to pack it in for the day.

The new for 2015 Honda Fit should be arriving at dealerships soon, with 30+ MPG fuel economy and your choice of 6-speed manual or CVT. If I had to come up with a complaint, it would be that the 6 speed’s top gear is too short for American highways, and the engine buzzed at more than 3500 RPM at a 77 MPH cruise. If you drive 68, the buzz is gone- so, yeah. Small price to pay for the privilege of rowing your own, you know?

You can see how the new 2015 Honda Fit looks in red and yellow, below, and let us know what you think about the new Fit in the comments.

 

2015 Honda Fit in Red


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2015 Honda Fit in Yellow


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Originally published on Gas 2.

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Honda Drawing Back UK Production In Face Of Weak Growth http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/honda-drawing-back-uk-production-in-face-of-weak-growth/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/honda-drawing-back-uk-production-in-face-of-weak-growth/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 13:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=781425 With a forecast of low sales growth in Europe expected to remain in place for the next few years, Honda has decided to scale back production at its plant in Swindon, England. Reuters reports the plant will go from three shifts to two, resulting in a 10 percent layoff in the workforce. Honda will build […]

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2014 Honda Civic Hatchback

With a forecast of low sales growth in Europe expected to remain in place for the next few years, Honda has decided to scale back production at its plant in Swindon, England.

Reuters reports the plant will go from three shifts to two, resulting in a 10 percent layoff in the workforce. Honda will build about 120,000 vehicles annually, down from 140,000 in 2013. Swindon has the capacity to build 250,000 cars per year, but at projected levels, the plant will be severely underutilized.

Though Honda Motors Europe senior vice president Ian Howells said his company had not seen the growth it expected in 2013 in the European market, figures for January showed overall sales climbing 5.2 percent on the strength of demand from Italy, Portugal and Greece. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom’s sales climbed 10.8 percent in 2013 to 2.26 million vehicles.

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