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. Tue, 24 Mar 2015 19:37:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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/ Honda Adds Over 100k To 2014 Takata Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/honda-adds-100k-2014-takata-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/honda-adds-100k-2014-takata-recall/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 12:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025745 Over 100,000 Honda vehicles have been added to the ongoing recall linked to Takata airbags. USA Today reports 104,871 vehicles join the now-5.5 million Hondas and Acuras affected by the supplier’s airbags, linked to several injuries and five fatalities thus far. The affected models are: 2008 Pilot: ~89,000 recalled 2004 Civic: ~11,000 recalled 2001 Accord: […]

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2004 Honda Civic Sedan

Over 100,000 Honda vehicles have been added to the ongoing recall linked to Takata airbags.

USA Today reports 104,871 vehicles join the now-5.5 million Hondas and Acuras affected by the supplier’s airbags, linked to several injuries and five fatalities thus far. The affected models are:

  • 2008 Pilot: ~89,000 recalled
  • 2004 Civic: ~11,000 recalled
  • 2001 Accord: ~5,000 recalled

The three models are part of an expansion of the 2014 recall over the same issue, which includes the 2003 Acura CL, 2006 Honda Ridgeline, and 2003-2011 Honda Element. Driver-side airbags are the focus of the expansion, with key components being replaced free of charge.

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Honda Unveils Wild Aero Kit For 2015 IndyCar Season http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/honda-unveils-wild-aero-kit-2015-indycar-season/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/honda-unveils-wild-aero-kit-2015-indycar-season/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2015 14:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020193 After years of spec racing, IndyCar has decided to allow the manufacturers to shape the game for 2015. Honda, for its part, isn’t holding back. Road & Track reports Honda’s new aero kit for the DW12 chassis pulls its influence from Formula One, with former F1 chassis designer/entrant Nick Wirth and his team at Wirth […]

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2015_Honda_DW12_HJ3_Silver_Livery_RC_FrMean_000012

After years of spec racing, IndyCar has decided to allow the manufacturers to shape the game for 2015. Honda, for its part, isn’t holding back.

Road & Track reports Honda’s new aero kit for the DW12 chassis pulls its influence from Formula One, with former F1 chassis designer/entrant Nick Wirth and his team at Wirth Research, as well as the engineers and designers of Honda Performance Development, coming up with the aggressive design for the road course/short oval kit.

HPD vice president Steven Eriksen says kits like the one by his company can help lead the way out of spec racing, inspiring competitors and fans alike in so doing:

We’ve had a car that is essentially the same since 2012—all cars the same across the whole grid. Now you’re going to have the visual differences across the cars. I think it will be engaging for the fans, particularly the folks that are really interested in the details. My sense is that it is really about getting back to the roots of IndyCar, where you have development going on as opposed to being spec.

He added that the initial cost of the 200-piece kit [press release says 200 pieces – CA] is $75,000, and that teams can add or subtract as many pieces as needed for a given situation, with three possible combinations for qualifying, practice and competition as a result.

The kit will debut next week at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Ala. for two days of testing alongside Chevrolet’s own aero kit, with both set to compete March 29 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

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Review: 2015 Honda CR-V Touring (With Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/review-2015-honda-cr-v-touring-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/review-2015-honda-cr-v-touring-video/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 21:24:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004938 Refreshed, redesigned or updated, whatever you want to call the changes to the CR-V for the 2015 model year, it’s hard to argue with this model’s success. The CR-V isn’t just the best-selling compact crossover in America, it’s the best-selling crossover period and the 7th best-selling vehicle overall. With sales success on the line Honda […]

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2015 Honda CR-V Exterior Front

Refreshed, redesigned or updated, whatever you want to call the changes to the CR-V for the 2015 model year, it’s hard to argue with this model’s success. The CR-V isn’t just the best-selling compact crossover in America, it’s the best-selling crossover period and the 7th best-selling vehicle overall. With sales success on the line Honda did what any Japanese company would do: make minor changes that give you more of what shoppers want without upsetting the apple cart. Does that make the CR-V just right? Or is it a compact bore-box?

Honda gave the CR-V its last redesign as a 2012 model year vehicle. The “old Honda” would have allowed the CR-V age unchanged for 5-6 years, but the new Honda seems to prefer making incremental changes to keep things fresh. While the 2012 CR-V wasn’t the same kind of mis-step the press thought the 2012 Civic was, competition is fierce and the 2012-2014 CR-V’s performance and fuel economy weren’t exactly compelling.

Exterior

Because this is a refresh and not a redesign, none of the “hard points” in the vehicle changed. Up front we get more modern looking headlamps with LED DRLs in most models and the fog lamps became rectangular. The grill has lost the Ford-like horizontal slats in favor of a simpler design with a larger Honda logo and a chrome “smile” reminiscent of the Accord and Civic. Changes to the rear are similar with new lamp modules, a tweaked bumper with silver painted inserts, more chrome on the tailgate and a style that still reminds me of a Volvo wagon in a way.

2015 Honda CR-V Dashboard

Interior

The CR-V’s interior slots somewhere between the Civic and the Accord in terms of both quality and theme. The instrument cluster is [thankfully] styled after the Accord with a large central speedometer flanked by three additional physical gauges.  The small monochrome LCD in the center of the speedometer is still a novel concept, but five years after Honda launched this look it is starting to feel dated compared to the large color LCDs you find in some of the competition. The dashboard and doors are a combination of hard and soft plastics which is again a middle road between the Civic and the Accord. For 2015 Honda has added a few extra features to keep things fresh including a standard console armrest, telescoping sun visors and rear HVAC vents. Since the CR-V never suffered from the unfortunate amount of questionable plastics that the 2012 Civic had, Honda spent the interior budget largely on the infotainment system.

2015 Honda CR-V HondaLink.CR2Infotainment

Base CR-V LX models get a 4-speaker 160-watt sound system controlled by large physical buttons and the same small screen that also handles trip computer functions (at the top of the picture above). Thankfully EX and above (which are the majority of sales) use essentially the same 7-inch touchscreen system found in the current Honda Civic with physical buttons instead of touch-controls. Dubbed HondaLink Next Generation, this is not the same system you find in the Accord. Rather it is Honda’s lower cost alternative which I think is also a better value. While there aren’t as many built-in features as you find in the Accord, this system has all the basics like Pandora and Aha streaming, Bluetooth and USB/iDevice integration and available factory navigation. Unlike many systems however it also supports iPhone integrated navigation via a $60 app. (Sorry Android users, there is no love for you at this time.) Unlike the BrinGo navigation we find in certain GM products, this solution doesn’t just store data on the phone and have the head unit render the mapping interface. Instead the iPhone is generating all the video and processing touch inputs but the head unit is displaying the video via an HDMI cable. Shoppers should note that this is not Apple CarPlay but Honda’s own solution that was created prior to CarPlay and is not upgradeable to support Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. For occasional nav users this represents a significant discount over the factory software (assuming you have an iPhone) but there are some limitations. Your iPhone has to stay on the nav app for the system to work, so if you check your email at a stop light, the nav map will disappear. Your iPhone’s data plan will of course get consumed and if you’re out of a coverage area then your mapping will be limited or non-existent depending on how much your device has cached.

 

honda-diagram-1Drivetrain

The biggest change for 2015 is under the hood where we find a revised version of the 2.4L “EarthDreams” four-cylinder engine we saw in the 2013 Honda Accord. For 2015 Honda has added counter-rotating balance shafts to try and help cancel out some of the vibrations. Power stays the same as before at 185 ponies, but torque is up to 181 lb-ft and across a broader range than in 2014.

In order to improve efficiency, Honda does something a little different with this 2.4L engine, they offset the cylinders about 8mm from the engine’s centerline. This trades reduced friction for increased vibration, hence the need for the additional balance shafts. The balance shafts certainly help, but some customers have complained about the added vibration especially at idle and indeed it is not as smooth as the 2014 model. Is the vibration worth a 4 MPG bump in the city and 3 MPG improvement overall? I’d say so, but be sure to sound off in the comment section. Also improving economy is an AWD capable version of the CVT found in the Accord bumping the numbers to 27 / 34 / 29 (City / Highway / Combined) for FWD models and 26 / 33 / 28 for AWD.

Front Wheel Drive Biased Transverse AWD System, Drawing Courtesy of Alex L. DykesAWD Controversy

My favorite Swedish magazine, Teknikens Värld, has a winter capability test where they put the test vehicle on a slope and the front wheels on rollers. The test is to see if 100% of the engine power can be sent to the rear wheels. Note that the 100% is essential here, because the incline and front wheels on the rollers makes sure no traction exists on the front axle. The CR-V failed this test because Honda’s AWD control system is programed to not lock the clutch pack if it detects zero traction up front and 100% in the rear. It also appears that traction control was disabled in the test. (The CR-V is not designed to be RWD essentially.) You will note in the diagram above that this type of system can lock the center clutch pack and get a 50/50 power split front/rear like a vehicle with a traditional transfer case, or it can slip that clutch pack to vary things from 100/0 to 50/50 assuming no wheel slip.

When wheel slip occurs, something different happens. Say just one front wheel sips. The front differential, being an open unit would send power to the wheel that is slipping, this action essentially causes the power balance to shift to the rear up to a power balance around 20/80. Leaving the traction control on, the slipping front wheel would be braked until it was spinning the same relative rate as the others. This would return the system to a 50/50 power balance because even if the front wheel was up in the air, the brakes on that wheel would be “consuming” the 50% of the power on that axle to maintain the power balance. The CR-V’s AWD system is designed to operate in this 50/50 window without issue. With your front wheels on ice and your rear wheels on tarmac, the front wheels will always have some traction and the traction control will help keep things in balance. Similarly in off-camber situations in snow with one wheel in the air, the brake based system will keep things in line. Pop the CR-V up on rollers however and the system things something is wrong.

The bottom line is that the CR-V is not a Jeep Cherokee, it was not designed with locking differentials and not designed with the Rubicon Trail in mind. It was however designed with the urban jungle and 2015 snowpocalypse in mind and 99.9% of shoppers will never even know there was a controversy. If you’re the 0.01% of shoppers that lives in a roller factory, there could be an issue of course. Is the Jeep system “superior?” Yes, but for most folks it’s also overkill.

2015 Honda CR-V EarthDreams 2.4L Engine-001

Drive

The popularity of the CR-V is no surprise when you get behind the wheel. The CR-V drives like a slightly taller Accord which makes sense as the ground clearance has dropped over time as the CR-V has transformed from trucklet to tall wagon. The compact CUV doesn’t handle as well as the Mazda CX-5, but the wide tires, relatively light curb weight and moderately firm suspension certainly place the CUV at top end of the segment.

Thanks to the improved torque band and the continuously variable transmission (CVT) that has a much lower starting ratio than the old 5-speed (13.3:1 vs 11.7:1), the CR-V is notably faster off the line and hit 60 MPH nearly second faster than the 2014 model. Similarly the higher effective “top gear” ratio is the key to the CR-V’s large jump in the fuel economy score. As with the Accord and Civic which also use Honda’s new CVT tech, the CR-V’s transmission changes ratios much more rapidly than the Nissan Rogue’s more traditional CVT. The feel is more like a stepped automatic’s downshift than the rubber-bandy feeling you get in the Nissan.

2015 Honda CR-V Instrument Cluster-001

Thanks to the programming of the CVT, fuel economy has indeed improved over the 2014 model coming in at 27.5 MPG, just 1/2 an MPG shy of the EPA rating for our AWD tester despite my commute over a 2,200ft mountain pass daily. Thanks to the lower torque band of the EarthDreams engine, the CVT can keep the engine at a lower and more efficient RPM more of the time. Unfortunately higher torque outputs at low RPMs tend to highlight the new engine’s cylinder offset which, as I said earlier, trades smoothness for efficiency. Many of you on Facebook asked if I encountered the vibrations that some shoppers have complained about and indeed I did. Was it bad? No. Was it noticeable? Yes. Would it keep me from buying the CR-V over something else? No, because for me the MPG improvement is enough of an incentive to overlook it.

2015 also brings some tweaks to the suspension and sound insulation improving ride and cabin noise by a hair. Perhaps the biggest change for the CR-V out on the road has nothing to do with the driveline or suspension however, it’s the infusion of some Acura driving aids. The new Touring model comes standard with radar adaptive cruise control, a lane keeping system that steers you back into your lane and Acura’s Collision Mitigating Braking System or CMBS which will autonomously brake the vehicle if it believes a collision is imminent and you’re going above 10 MPH. While this isn’t breaking any ground, it does help the CR-V stay competitive with the Forester’s camera-based EyeSight system and the Cherokee’s latest radar based features. The Honda system isn’t as smooth as the Jeep system, but it is more natural than the Subaru system, works better in poor weather where the camera systems become less functional and supports a broader range of speeds.

2015 Honda CR-V Exterior.CR2

Ranging between $23,445 and $32,895 the CR-V straddles the middle in this segment after you’ve adjusted for feature content. The Forester is less expensive and more capable, but the interior is more down-market, no surprise since the standard AWD means it starts about $2,500 less than a comparable Honda. The Cherokee is the most rugged and capable vehicle in this segment but the off-road ability takes a toll on cargo room and handling while bumping the curb weight north of 4,000lbs in some trims. The RAV4’s latest redesign saw the demise of the optional 3rd row and the V6, (the two prime reasons for buying a RAV4 over the CR-V) and the addition of plenty of questionable plastics on the inside. Mazda’s CX-5 handles extremely well but isn’t as comfortable or as large inside and until the 2016 model arrives, the infotainment system is archaic.

Oddly enough, the fact that the CR-V fails to be the best in the segment in any particular category is actually the key to its success. It’s easy to create the cheapest or best off-road compact crossover (the bar is after all kind of low), a little harder to make the best handling crossover, but making a crossover that averages consistently high marks in every category is quite an undertaking. While the CR-V’s AWD system has received bad press, the same thing applies there. The AWD system isn’t the most capable in this segment but it is perfectly acceptable and won’t leave you stranded on your way to Aspen. The CR-V may lack the charm it once had, but it is still the best all-around vehicle in this segment.

 

Honda provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

Specifications as tested

0-30: 3.2

0-60: 7.79

1/4 mile: 16.4 Seconds @ 87.5 MPH

2015 Honda CR-V Cargo Area.CR2 2015 Honda CR-V Cargo Area 2015 Honda CR-V Cargo Area-001 2015 Honda CR-V Console.CR2 2015 Honda CR-V Dash.CR2 2015 Honda CR-V Dashboard 2015 Honda CR-V Dashboard-001 2015 Honda CR-V Dashboard-002 2015 Honda CR-V Exterior Front.CR2 2015 Honda CR-V Exterior Front 2015 Honda CR-V Exterior Rear 2015 Honda CR-V Exterior Side 2015 Honda CR-V Exterior.CR2 2015 Honda CR-V Exterior.CR2-001 2015 Honda CR-V Exterior 2015 Honda CR-V Exterior-001 2015 Honda CR-V Exterior-002 2015 Honda CR-V HondaLink.CR2 2015 Honda CR-V Infotainment 2015 Honda CR-V Instrument Cluster 2015 Honda CR-V Instrument Cluster-001 2015 Honda CR-V Interior 2015 Honda CR-V Interior-001 2015 Honda CR-V Trip Computer.CR2

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Geneva 2015: New Honda Civic Type R Drifts Through Video Before Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-new-honda-civic-type-r-drifts-video-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-new-honda-civic-type-r-drifts-video-debut/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 15:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006770 Though set to appear next month in Geneva, the Honda Civic Type R drifted through a video showing a few of the automaker’s latest and greatest. Per Autoblog, the video, titled “Keep Up,” shows the hot hatch drifting across the screen for one second in the 55-second video, which also showed Honda’s HondaJet, Jazz and […]

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honda-civic-type-r-concept

Though set to appear next month in Geneva, the Honda Civic Type R drifted through a video showing a few of the automaker’s latest and greatest.

Per Autoblog, the video, titled “Keep Up,” shows the hot hatch drifting across the screen for one second in the 55-second video, which also showed Honda’s HondaJet, Jazz and ASIMO products, all with words of encouragement rapidly flashing over the desert environment.

Power for the Type R is a 2-liter VTEC turbo-four pushing 280 to 300 horsepower to the front wheels, and was recently teased to have round foglamps, as opposed to the video’s bladed LEDs.

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Ito: Honda Won’t Help Takata Sort Its Affairs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/ito-honda-wont-help-takata-sort-affairs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/ito-honda-wont-help-takata-sort-affairs/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 11:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006282 Should the day come when Takata asks for financial assistance to remain afloat after its troubles have passed, Honda may not be there to lead the rescue. The Wall Street Journal reports Honda CEO Takanobu Ito stated as much during an autonomous vehicle demo in Asahikawa, Japan, dismissing rumors that the automaker planned to lead […]

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2015 Honda CR-V Touring

Should the day come when Takata asks for financial assistance to remain afloat after its troubles have passed, Honda may not be there to lead the rescue.

The Wall Street Journal reports Honda CEO Takanobu Ito stated as much during an autonomous vehicle demo in Asahikawa, Japan, dismissing rumors that the automaker planned to lead a bailout of the supplier:

Takata itself needs to figure out how to fulfill its duties, but if it makes any request to auto makers, then we would think about that.

Ito also warned that many of Takata’s clients would be in trouble if it was unable to supply the needed replacements for the defective airbag modules linked to the ongoing recall of 25 million affected vehicles around the world; Honda’s own vehicles account for half of the overall total.

For its part, Honda has begun working with rival suppliers Daicel and Autoliv to quickly replace the defective parts, as well as investigate what factors lead to the catastrophic failure of current units, and implementing recalls as needed.

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One Year And 18,766 Miles Of Being Couped Up http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/one-year-18766-miles-couped/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/one-year-18766-miles-couped/#comments Sun, 22 Feb 2015 07:48:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1005682 So here we are, one year after I took delivery of a 2014 Accord EX-L V6 six-speed coupe, eleven months after the first update, and five months after hitting the 12k mark. As fate would have it, at the same time the crew at Automobile was enjoying a free year in a car almost exactly […]

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PHILIPMICHAELTHOMAS 040

So here we are, one year after I took delivery of a 2014 Accord EX-L V6 six-speed coupe, eleven months after the first update, and five months after hitting the 12k mark. As fate would have it, at the same time the crew at Automobile was enjoying a free year in a car almost exactly like mine, courtesy of Honda. This, incidentally, is where the true nature of the autojourno biz comes into play: I laid out slightly over $9,300 in monthly payments, insurance, and maintenance to do exactly what the Automobile crowd did for free.

Well, not exactly; I also took mine to a racetrack. A few times.

utnam

Nominally speaking, the purpose of my March trip to Putnam Park was so I could drive a Lingenfelter-tuned Corvette ZR1 for R&T and coach Josh Condon, the magazine’s bald but brilliant front-of-book-editor, into a measure of competence driving said 750-horsepower creature in temperatures that never cracked the high side of forty degrees Fahrenheit. Since I’d traveled there in my new Accord, though… why not try it, as well? With just 3,000 miles on the V6, the Accord was broken-in enough to absolutely dust a couple of competently-driven Scion FR-S coupes around Putnam Park — for three laps, anyway. That’s all you get out of the amusingly undersized front discs. Keep in mind that the V6 Accords do get a brake upgrade over their four-cylinder siblings, but that’s like saying Attack Of The Clones is an improvement over The Phantom Menace. It’s just different degrees of sucking. If you want to know how Honda provides this much car at this price, looking at the brake hardware will help you understand.

As mentioned in my previous article at the 12,000-mile mark, the Accord did very well around R&T’s “Motown Mile” during the Performance Car Of The Year testing. In October, I took it to the same Southeastern Ohio roads we used for that article and decided that I preferred it to both the VW GTI and the Subaru STi — with the caveat, naturally, of the brakes.

2014accord

After a full year, however, I’m still using my old Audi S5 as the yardstick by which I judge the big Honda coupe. In the kind of winter we’re having right now, I’d rather have the Audi, and by a long shot. There’s nothing like ten-below temperatures to expose shortcuts in materials quality, and I’m afraid to say that the Accord has some flaws here. The driver’s seat has been creaky since Day One and in cold conditions it makes a crinkly-crackling noise. I’m going to have that looked at, I think. The fuel door is misaligned, and by not much less than the gap that enraged young Derek last year. None of the body panels really line up the way I’d like them to.

I’ve been to my local dealer twice since taking delivery, in both cases to have the Honda-recommended maintenance performed. It’s much cheaper to have basic service intervals done on an Accord than, say, a Porsche Boxster, but I don’t think that really comes as a surprise to anyone. Come March, I’ll go talk to them about the driver’s seat and the fuel-filler door.

What else can I complain about? Well, there’s a bug in the media interface that causes the display to be a bit garbled when playing music from an Android phone. The Acura TLX I drove late last year had an updated version of the same system that didn’t have the problem, so I suspect that 2015 Accords won’t, either. The sunroof is a bit noisy both closed and open. If, like me, you use your car as an office and a restaurant and everything else, you won’t like the way that salt and other tiny particles clog in the perforated leather. In cold weather, the windows stick shut easily and the clutch feels soft. The headlights aren’t brilliant and you’ll have to drive to Canada to get an Accord Coupe with LED headlights. That, or break into the Ohio factory where they are installed. The center console feels delicate and wobbly, although no more so than what you get in a Camry or Altima.

Against that list of annoyances, the Coupe offers: a strong, clear sound system. Great visibility. Sensibly-located LATCH tethers. Plenty of storage space. Comfortable seats with long thigh bolsters, which really matters when you’re carting a taller woman around. (Or dude, I suppose, but I don’t care about that.) Fast defrosting time. Decent A/C. Legible instrumentation. Big side mirrors. A lot of trunk space. A super-cool “EarthDreams” badge on the plastic intake cover. You get the idea.

Since September or so, I’ve been intermittently commuting to a couple of jobs in downtown Columbus via a 15.6-mile route that is mostly freeway driving. In those conditions, I’m seeing a consistent 24-26mpg. That’s not brilliant, but the S5 couldn’t crack 15mpg in the same circumstances, and it wasn’t much faster in real-world use despite the Accord’s best C/D-test showing of 14.0@103 against the Audi’s 13.4@105.

Experienced drag racers will note the 0.6-second gap in ET against the 2mph gap in trap speed and suspect, correctly, that the Accord is traction-challenged. It’s not just that the Honda spins its front wheels from a dig; even a Yugo GV does that. It’s more that you can be rolling down the road at 40 in second gear and spin ‘em easily. Pushed hard enough, the coupe will chirp in third like a 440-powered Chrysler. It’s virtually always possible to spin at least one of the front wheels at any time.

This trait, along with some completely unfounded complaints about the steering and suspension, was enough for Automobile to give the Accord EX V6 low marks in their four-season testing. “To me, the standard Accord sedan is a much better-executed vehicle than the coupe, which is trying too hard to be something it’s not,” quoth Joey Capparella in the magazine’s wrap-up review. Joe Lorio noted that the Accord’s “extreme-enthusiast specification” was “disappointing”. I’ll have to admit that my first reaction to both comments was less than respectful, but after looking both of these fellows up I think I understand why they wrote what they did a little better.

If you think of this car as an “extreme enthusiast” Accord, you’re bound to be disappointed. This isn’t a Type-R or even an Si. Nor is it trying to be. It’s just a family car with a big motor. That’s a recipe as old as the flathead Ford, you know. If the Accord sedan is the successor to the everyday-sedan retail-purchase throne once held by the ’74 GM A-body, then this is simply a modern take on my mother’s ’77 Cutlass Supreme, which was (over)powered by a 403-cubic-inch V-8. That car wasn’t sporty, it wasn’t extreme-enthusiast, and it could spin its tires at any time. It was popular, but not enormously so. History shows that most people chose a V-6 or a small-block in the Seventies A-bodies, and that most people choose a four-cylinder Accord today.

Mr. Capparella is simply too young to remember the days when high-powered, soft-suspended coupes ruled the American road, and the odd historical astigmatism that the automotive press applies to any discussion of the pre-OBD-II era cloaks that time in vaguely ironic labels of “Malaise” or “Jimmy Carter telling the country to put on a sweater”. The fact remains, however, that hundreds of thousands of new-car buyers once chose vehicles that were spiritually similar to this Accord. Cars that had plenty of room for Mom and Dad and two kids and the groceries but which sacrificed a tiny bit of practicality for a tiny bit of style. Cars that looked pretty boring but which could match anything short of a Corvette when the view through the windshield showed two lanes merging to one up ahead. Cars that didn’t pretend to be able to win an SCCA race or roost a fire road or carry a ton of dirt or tow the Space Shuttle but which somehow were purchased by normal people in significant numbers regardless of those missing pseudo-qualities.

If you think that a CVT-powered four-cylinder Accord is the best Accord, good news: you’ll be able to buy one ten years from now. If you want a little bit of power, or a bit of two-door flair, or the ability to actually choose your own actual combination of synchromesh gears through moving a lever that is actually connected to those gears by a steel linkage, you’d better move quickly. The Accord Coupe isn’t an M3 wannabe or a Boomer-friendly CUV or a four-wheeled expression of self-flagellating enviro-piety, and since it’s none of those, it’s something else: an endangered species.

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The i-MID display truncates the song name, as you can see above — jb

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Honda Abandons 2017 Sales Target To Improve Product Quality http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/honda-abandons-2017-sales-target-improve-product-quality/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/honda-abandons-2017-sales-target-improve-product-quality/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 11:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002770 Deciding quality should be its focus over quantity, Honda announced it would scrap its target of 6 million units sold annually by 2017. Bloomberg reports the automaker also won’t set a target for global annual sales in its next midterm plan, again, to focus its attention to improving overall quality of its products. Honda CEO […]

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2014 Honda Civic Coupe (7 of 29)

Deciding quality should be its focus over quantity, Honda announced it would scrap its target of 6 million units sold annually by 2017.

Bloomberg reports the automaker also won’t set a target for global annual sales in its next midterm plan, again, to focus its attention to improving overall quality of its products. Honda CEO Takanobu Ito, inspired by the late Soichiro Honda, says he will bring his company “back to basics,” with business expansion no longer in the cards.

The announcement follows a year of quality issues affecting the automaker, from the recalls involving the Fit and Vezel, to the Takata airbag recall crisis that led to Honda’s decision to use units from Autoliv and Daicel. The latter issue also brought scrutiny to the company from the United States government, resulting in a record fine of $70 million for how it handled reporting potential issues to regulators for over a decade.

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Chicago 2015: 2016 Honda Pilot Revealed At Last http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicago-2015-2016-honda-pilot-revealed-last/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicago-2015-2016-honda-pilot-revealed-last/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 16:27:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=997754 Under the cold light of morning, the 2016 Honda Pilot bowed at the first media day of the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. Ditching its previous boxy exterior for more curves in its third iteration, the Pilot gains three inches in length for both greater cargo space behind the third-row seat. The SUV also loses 300 […]

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Under the cold light of morning, the 2016 Honda Pilot bowed at the first media day of the 2015 Chicago Auto Show.

Ditching its previous boxy exterior for more curves in its third iteration, the Pilot gains three inches in length for both greater cargo space behind the third-row seat. The SUV also loses 300 pounds over the outgoing model, engineers having found where to best trim-away whatever was deemed unnecessary.

Under the hood, a 3.5-liter V6 with direct injection funnels its power through either a six-speed or a new ZF nine-speed automatic to the front or all four corners, depending on what the customer chooses. The V6 also uses cylinder deactivation and start-stop technology to bolster fuel economy. Power and economy figures for the mill were not given at this time.

Other features include: optional LED projector headlamps with automatic high beams; panoramic roof; heated/ventilated front seats; Android-based connected-vehicle system; lane-departure warning; collision mitigation; blind-spot monitoring; and 20-inch wheels.

The 2016 Honda Pilot is due in U.S. showrooms this summer. Pricing was not announced as of this writing.

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Honda Jade Crossing Over To JDM From China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/honda-jade-crossing-jdm-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/honda-jade-crossing-jdm-china/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 03:10:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=997378 If the Toyota 86 style Cb isn’t your thing — and you need to haul your friends to the “Kill la Kill” convention in Osaka — perhaps the Honda Jade will do. Paultan.org says the MPV will make the jump from China to Japan this month as a three-row, six-passenger affair. Power for the JDM […]

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If the Toyota 86 style Cb isn’t your thing — and you need to haul your friends to the “Kill la Kill” convention in Osaka — perhaps the Honda Jade will do.

Paultan.org says the MPV will make the jump from China to Japan this month as a three-row, six-passenger affair. Power for the JDM version is Honda’s Sport Hybrid i-DCD system — found in both Fit and HR-V hybrid models — which pairs a direct-injection 1.5-liter mill with a lithium-ion powered electric motor delivering 29.5 horsepower and 118 lb-ft of torque. The power is fed to the front through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Other features include: collision mitigation; lane-keeping assist; and adaptive cruise control. The Jade is a likely successor to the Stream, which left the local market in 2014.

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Capsule Review: 2015 Honda CR-V Touring http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/capsule-review-2015-honda-cr-v-touring/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/capsule-review-2015-honda-cr-v-touring/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:20:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988578 The Honda CR-V was America’s best-selling SUV in 2014, just as it was in six of the seven previous years. (We’re using the term “SUV” loosely here in order to avoid constant delineation.) CR-V volume increased to previously unseen levels in 2014. Honda reported 335,019 CR-V sales last year, 28,807 more than Ford managed with […]

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2015 Honda CR-V TouringThe Honda CR-V was America’s best-selling SUV in 2014, just as it was in six of the seven previous years. (We’re using the term “SUV” loosely here in order to avoid constant delineation.) CR-V volume increased to previously unseen levels in 2014. Honda reported 335,019 CR-V sales last year, 28,807 more than Ford managed with its second-best-selling Escape; 31,115 more than Honda achieved with the CR-V one year earlier.


• USD As-Tested Price: $33,775

• Horsepower: 185 @ 6400 rpm

• Torque: 181 @ 3900 rpm

• Observed Fuel Economy: 23.8 mpg


American consumers look favourably upon Honda’s reliability reputation. The CR-V is also a long-established nameplate in a relatively fresh category. But there must be numerous other reasons for the CR-V’s wild success.

More specifically, there must have been numerous other reasons at the tail end of 2014, as a refreshed 2015 CR-V like the one Honda Canada sent to our driveway began to outsell not only all other SUVs with increasingly large margins but also all passenger cars, as well.

2015 Honda CR-V TouringClearly tens of thousands of consumers are willing to overlook the CR-V’s faults, few though there may be. The CR-V’s new continuously variable transmission, implemented surprisingly well alongside the a 185-horsepower 2.4L four-cylinder, periodically allows revs to fall so low that an unnecessary amount of vibration enters the cabin. This Touring-trim CR-V is the full meal deal, but it lacks any form of power adjustment for the passenger seat. The interior, particularly at this lofty USD $33,775 price tag, is mostly inoffensive but offers luxury only in terms of equipment, not in its materials or design flair. And the interior can certainly offend, with Lilliputian buttons accompanying a touchscreen which failed on all but one occasion to come to life before the five-minute mark of a morning drive. Speaking subjectively, the CR-V is not the prettiest girl next door – Paris’s Place de l’Étoile doesn’t have as many intersecting lines as the CR-V’s front end. We’re also left to wonder why Honda hires wheel designers whose efforts wouldn’t be good enough for Pontiac circa 2001.

However, the CR-V is near perfect where it counts. It’s less than 180 inches long but packs 101 cubic feet of completely usable passenger volume into the tidy package. Rear seat passengers enjoy a flat floor that makes three-across trips a distinct possibility. Rear seats up, the CR-V provides 37 cubic feet of cargo capacity. The Ford Escape is one inch shorter than the CR-V, bumper to bumper, but offers 8% less cargo volume, 3% less passenger space, and 4% less rear legroom. It feels like the dimensional differences are more distinguishable than those figures suggest, especially aft of the rear seat.

2015 Honda CR-V interiorFor young families who might have sought out an Accord in a previous era, the 2015 CR-V’s space efficiency, easily accessed seat-folding levers, low load floor, and semi-lofty ride height form a winning ticket.

Fortunately, it drives nicely, as well. There is nothing sporty here, although the steering is well weighted and the brake pedal is nicely modulated. The CR-V accelerates more swiftly than you might expect for a 3642-pound high-rider: Car & Driver says 0-60 mph takes 8.2 seconds. Especially as revs rise to a more Honda-like level, the CR-V doesn’t require more power, but don’t take that as an indication that the CR-V will adequately satisfy your urge to scoot up off-ramps like your fellow hockey parents in their Santa Fe Sport 2.0Ts and Forester XTs. It won’t.

The CR-V may not ride quite as sweetly for MY2015 as it did before the refresh, but overall refinement is still the name of its game. Of greater consequence is the fact that the 2015 CR-V continues to marry subdued ride quality to a nimble chassis. Honda engineers crafted an SUV that feels decidedly compact in routine driving and one which remains rather level-headed through corners, seemingly treading the middle ground between the mature Nissan Rogue and the enthusiastic Mazda CX-5.

2015 CR-V Tourings include most of the features from Honda’s storehouse: all-wheel-drive, navigation, LaneWatch (right side only, of course), keyless access, perforated leather seating, power tailgate, sunroof, and a bevy of safety abbreviations from ABS, EBD, and VSE to CMBS, ACC, LDW, and LKAS, the final being a semi-autonomous steering function that helps to reduce driver fatigue on long highway stints.

CR-V touchscreenCR-Vs start at $24,325 in LX trim. All-wheel-drive adds $1250 to the price of any equipment level: LX, the $26,425 EX, $29,025 EX-L, $30,525 EX-L Navi, or the $32,525 Touring. We averaged 23.8 mpg over the course of a week with the CR-V Touring AWD, which tips the scales with 145 extra pounds compared with the base all-wheel-drive CR-V. Cold temperatures, winter tires, frequent snow coverage, and a disproportionate amount of time spent in the city caused the CR-V’s observed fuel economy to come up short of both the official combined rating of 28 mpg and the 26 mpg city rating.

The CR-V is certainly not the most exciting small utility vehicle on the market today, nor is it the only one capable of cramming a shocking amount of humankind and stuff into a small space. But it does most things better than most of its potential competitors. There are a couple of niggling issues Honda could quickly resolve, but clearly no issues Honda needs to resolve in order to keep the CR-V at the top of the sales leaderboard.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Next-Gen Honda Accord Foregoing Takata Airbags http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/next-gen-honda-accord-foregoing-takata-airbags/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/next-gen-honda-accord-foregoing-takata-airbags/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 12:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988450 When the next-gen Honda Accord arrives in U.S. showrooms in August 2017, no Takata airbags will be used in the sedan’s safety system. Reuters reports the automaker has chosen competitor Toyoda Gosei to supply driver-side, knee and curtain airbags for the North American version of the Accord. Additionally, Toyoda Gosei will supply units for the […]

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2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Exterior-012

When the next-gen Honda Accord arrives in U.S. showrooms in August 2017, no Takata airbags will be used in the sedan’s safety system.

Reuters reports the automaker has chosen competitor Toyoda Gosei to supply driver-side, knee and curtain airbags for the North American version of the Accord. Additionally, Toyoda Gosei will supply units for the CR-V and Odyssey starting in 2016.

As for the airbags currently in play, Honda signed an agreement with another airbag competitor, Autoliv, to start production of replacement units for the 13 million-plus vehicles recalled by the automaker due to Takata-supplied airbags since 2008. Honda is also in discussions with Daicel Corporation for more replacement parts, as well.

The move toward Toyoda Gosei from Takata follows a request from General Motors for the supplier to share specs with both TRW Automotive and Autoliv in the event the automaker needs to replace airbags in its own vehicles. Over 21 million vehicles from 10 different manufacturers around the world have been recalled due to the potential for catastrophic failure of airbags made by Takata, resulting in five fatalities and several dozen injuries thus far.

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Chicago 2015: 2016 Honda Pilot, Acura RDX Debuting http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/chicago-2015-2016-honda-pilot-acura-rdx-debuting/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/chicago-2015-2016-honda-pilot-acura-rdx-debuting/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 13:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987034 Within an hour of each other on February 12, Honda and Acura will debut the 2016 Pilot and RDX at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. Honda says the redesigned three-row, eight-passenger Pilot — which is teased above — is meant to represent “a dramatic shift in design while showcasing new standout technologies, versatility, and dynamics […]

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All-New 2016 Honda Pilot SUV to Make Global Debut at 2015 Chicago

Within an hour of each other on February 12, Honda and Acura will debut the 2016 Pilot and RDX at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show.

Honda says the redesigned three-row, eight-passenger Pilot — which is teased above — is meant to represent “a dramatic shift in design while showcasing new standout technologies, versatility, and dynamics currently unavailable in the mainstream SUV segment.” Like the previous two generations, the upcoming Pilot was designed in Los Angeles and Ohio. The SUV will leave the Lincoln, Ala. facility for showrooms this summer.

Over at Acura, the RDX’s own redesign is expected to blend “numerous fresh exterior and interior design elements to further enrich its sport and luxury qualities, all with a cohesiveness that speaks to its new capabilities.” Said capabilities include new premium and safety features, as well as improvements to performance and comfort. No word on when the premium crossover will arrive in showrooms as of this writing.

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Redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot Arriving In US Showrooms After HR-V http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/redesigned-2016-honda-pilot-arriving-us-showrooms-hr-v/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/redesigned-2016-honda-pilot-arriving-us-showrooms-hr-v/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=986690 Soon after the 2016 Honda HR-V hits the showroom this spring, the redesigned 2016 Pilot will follow. Edmunds reports the new SUV “will redefine what is possible with an eight-passenger midsize SUV,” according to Honda’s U.S. automotive division vice president John Mendel. Power will likely remain the 3.5-liter V6 found in the current Pilot. Competitors […]

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Soon after the 2016 Honda HR-V hits the showroom this spring, the redesigned 2016 Pilot will follow.

Edmunds reports the new SUV “will redefine what is possible with an eight-passenger midsize SUV,” according to Honda’s U.S. automotive division vice president John Mendel. Power will likely remain the 3.5-liter V6 found in the current Pilot. Competitors include the Ford Explorer and Toyota 4Runner.

Further down the road, Mendel says “a completely reengineered” Ridgeline will turn up, either as a 2016 or 2017 model. The Ridgeline will be doing battle against the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins, as well as the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma.

Finally, Honda will have a turbocharged model by the end of 2015 that has one of the automaker’s forthcoming new VTEC turbo-four family of engines under the hood, while the FCV Concept’s production-ready version will hit U.S. showrooms next year, followed by a PHEV and EV by 2018.

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EPA: 2016 Honda HR-V Nets 31 MPG Combined http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/epa-2016-honda-hr-v-nets-31-mpg-combined/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/epa-2016-honda-hr-v-nets-31-mpg-combined/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 12:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=985450 Those shopping for a small, fuel-efficient crossover can now add the 2016 Honda HR-V to the list, thanks to its EPA-certified 31 mpg combined rating. Autoblog reports the HR-V also delivers 28 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, but only if one opts for the FWD model with CVT. Adding power […]

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2016 Honda HR-V

Those shopping for a small, fuel-efficient crossover can now add the 2016 Honda HR-V to the list, thanks to its EPA-certified 31 mpg combined rating.

Autoblog reports the HR-V also delivers 28 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, but only if one opts for the FWD model with CVT. Adding power to the back brings the rating down to 27 city/32 highway/29 combined, while swapping the CVT for a six-speed manual in the FWD variant pushes the savings down to 25 city/34 highway/28 combined.

The FWD HR-V’s figures best those from competitors like the Nissan Juke, Kia Soul and Chevrolet Trax at the pump, while Mazda’s CX-5 can keep up on the highway figure; the CX-3, which awaits EPA-certification, may do better than the HR-V, however. Its platform-mate, the Fit, outperforms the crossover at 33 city/41 highway/36 combined.

The 2016 HR-V is due in U.S. showrooms this spring.

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Honda Investing $340M For Increased Fuel-Efficient Engine Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/honda-investing-340m-increased-fuel-efficient-engine-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/honda-investing-340m-increased-fuel-efficient-engine-production/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 14:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=983825 Honda announced Tuesday it would invest $340 million into its Anna, Ohio engine plant to help increase production of its family of fuel-efficient engines. Bloomberg reports the automaker added a new assembly line at the plant for production of its new VTEC turbo-four engine family. The engines, which increase efficiency with variable valve technology, are […]

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1995 Acura Integra VTEC engine

Honda announced Tuesday it would invest $340 million into its Anna, Ohio engine plant to help increase production of its family of fuel-efficient engines.

Bloomberg reports the automaker added a new assembly line at the plant for production of its new VTEC turbo-four engine family. The engines, which increase efficiency with variable valve technology, are set to arrive in vehicles later this year.

Other clean-vehicle projects in the works by Honda include the production version of the FCV Concept seen at this year’s Detroit Auto Show for 2016, the Acura NSX hybrid exotic car due later in 2015, and both a PHEV and an EV by 2018.

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NAIAS 2015: Honda Debuts FCV Concept In North America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-honda-debuts-fcv-concept-north-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-honda-debuts-fcv-concept-north-america/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 16:30:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=980441 After making its global debut in Tokyo last year, the Honda FCV Concept bowed in Detroit for its North American unveiling. Power for the concept comes from a fuel-cell stack yielding over 100 kW of output, with density at 3.1 kW/L. The result is a 60 percent improvement in power over the previous FCX Clarity’s […]

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After making its global debut in Tokyo last year, the Honda FCV Concept bowed in Detroit for its North American unveiling.

Power for the concept comes from a fuel-cell stack yielding over 100 kW of output, with density at 3.1 kW/L. The result is a 60 percent improvement in power over the previous FCX Clarity’s stack; the FCV Concept’s stack is 33 percent smaller than the former’s powerplant, as well.

Driving range is expected to be north of 300 miles per tank, with refueling to take between three to five minutes at a pressure rate of 70 MPa.

The entire stack sits under the hood when compared to the Clarity’s fuel-storage tunnel. As a result, the Concept can seat five instead of four occupants.

Sales of the production-ready FCV will begin March 2016 in Honda’s home market, with the United States and Europe receiving theirs sometime thereafter.

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Honda Fined $70M By NHTSA For Data Reporting Failures http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/honda-fined-70m-nhtsa-data-reporting-failures/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/honda-fined-70m-nhtsa-data-reporting-failures/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 13:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=974330 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Thursday that it would fine Honda $70 million “for failing to report death and injury data in a timely manner.” Autoblog reports the fine is based on 1,729 incidents over 11 years that were not brought to the attention of the NHTSA via the agency’s Early Warning Reporting […]

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Thursday that it would fine Honda $70 million “for failing to report death and injury data in a timely manner.”

Autoblog reports the fine is based on 1,729 incidents over 11 years that were not brought to the attention of the NHTSA via the agency’s Early Warning Reporting system. Further, some of the incidences have still yet to be reported, prompting new administrator Mark Rosekind to send investigators to Honda to retrieve the missing information.

The fine, the largest ever delivered by the agency to an automaker, is composed of two separate $35 million fines, one for the death and injury data, the other for missing warranty claims. The U.S. Department of Justice is considering a criminal investigation into the matter, though nothing has been confirmed thus far.

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113th US Congress Leaves $8K Hydrogen Credit On The Table http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/113th-us-congress-leaves-8k-hydrogen-credit-table/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/113th-us-congress-leaves-8k-hydrogen-credit-table/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 11:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=964370 For the few who will be purchasing a Toyota Mirai in 2015, you may be out of luck as far as tax savings are concerned. For now, anyway. Autoblog reports the 113th U.S. Congress has called it a day without renewing an $8,000 tax credit for hydrogen vehicles entered into service after December 31, 2005, […]

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For the few who will be purchasing a Toyota Mirai in 2015, you may be out of luck as far as tax savings are concerned. For now, anyway.

Autoblog reports the 113th U.S. Congress has called it a day without renewing an $8,000 tax credit for hydrogen vehicles entered into service after December 31, 2005, and purchased before the same date in 2014. The credit is among other credits that didn’t get the once-over from Congress, who were busy looking over — and renewing a few of — credits from 2013.

That said, Honda wants the credit brought back in time for its FCV’s U.S. showroom arrival in 2016, the next concept version of which is set to bow at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show January. Robert Beinefeld, assistant vice president of the automaker’s Environment and Energy Policy, says his employer is working with “many partners on the legislative front to address this situation,” in the belief that legisators don’t intentionally pick “winners and losers by providing tax credits to some technologies and not others.”

As for Hyundai, whose Tucson Fuel Cell entered Californian showrooms earlier this summer, a representative didn’t give any further comment on the hydrogen credit as of this writing.

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Detroit 2015: Honda FCV Concept Ready For North American Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/detroit-2015-honda-fcv-concept-ready-north-american-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/detroit-2015-honda-fcv-concept-ready-north-american-debut/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962370 With the FCX Clarity now out of the picture, Honda is looking forward to the FCV’s replacement, a preview of which is set to bow at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. The Honda FCV Concept will be making its North American debut under the lights of Cobo Hall in January, having made its world debut […]

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Honda_FCV_CONCEPT(1)

With the FCX Clarity now out of the picture, Honda is looking forward to the FCV’s replacement, a preview of which is set to bow at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.

The Honda FCV Concept will be making its North American debut under the lights of Cobo Hall in January, having made its world debut last month in Japan. The concept is meant to show the evolution of the automaker’s plans for a new FCV, first seen with the FCEV Concept that bowed during the 2013 LA Auto Show.

As for when the production version of Honda’s next hydrogen vehicle will enter showrooms, the FCV will arrive in Japan March 2016, then land in the United States later on.

Once across the Pacific, the FCV will have quite a few locations to refuel, thanks to a $13.8 million investment deal between Honda and FirstElement Fuel to build more hydrogen refueling stations in California.

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Takata Lost Value Suits On Hold Pending Judicial Panel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-lost-value-suits-hold-pending-judicial-panel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-lost-value-suits-hold-pending-judicial-panel/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957905 Consumers looking to file a lawsuit against Takata over its defective airbags may be waiting a little while longer to do so. Bloomberg reports U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King issued a stay on a proposed class action filed in Miami, where a panel of federal judges will decide after January 29, 2015 whether said […]

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Takata Sign

Consumers looking to file a lawsuit against Takata over its defective airbags may be waiting a little while longer to do so.

Bloomberg reports U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King issued a stay on a proposed class action filed in Miami, where a panel of federal judges will decide after January 29, 2015 whether said case will be combined with over 50 others, and who will be the judge to preside over them.

As for where, the defendants — Honda and the other automakers with ties to Takata — want Pittsburgh, Penn. — where they and two Takata subsidiaries have facilities — as the venue for the multi-district litigation proceedings, while the plaintiffs want Miami, Detroit, New Orleans, Houston or Los Angeles.

The cases against Takata and its clients were filed by consumers seeking damages for lost vehicle value as a result of the plaintiffs’ vehicles being equipped with the supplier’s airbags, which are linked to a number of fatalities and injuries due to catastrophic failure upon deployment. Nine others were filed in order to claim damages related to said fatalities and injuries, some of which could be combined for evidence-gathering prior to the panel.

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Shimizu: Takata Hasn’t Found The Cause Of Airbag Failures http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/shimizu-takata-hasnt-found-cause-airbag-failures/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/shimizu-takata-hasnt-found-cause-airbag-failures/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 15:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955722 Takata has yet to find the root cause of the defect affecting its airbags; Autoliv will supply replacements to Honda; and Toyota, Mazda and Chrysler are expanding their recalls. Reuters reports Takata hasn’t found the cause behind the catastrophic failures in its airbags, per testimony given by safety executive Hiroshi Shimizu before Congress Wednesday. That […]

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Shimizu, Takata's Senior Vice President for global quality assurance, testifies before a U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing in Washington

Takata has yet to find the root cause of the defect affecting its airbags; Autoliv will supply replacements to Honda; and Toyota, Mazda and Chrysler are expanding their recalls.

Reuters reports Takata hasn’t found the cause behind the catastrophic failures in its airbags, per testimony given by safety executive Hiroshi Shimizu before Congress Wednesday. That said, Shimizu said his company was of “the strong opinion that (there) is a factor contributing to this defect: which is high humidity, temperature and the life of the product.” He also claimed the ammonium nitrate used in the airbags was safe and stable, though he admitted replacements weren’t coming fast enough.

Meanwhile, competitor Autoliv announced it would supply replacements to Honda for vehicles in the United States. The automaker had mentioned before Congress it was in talks with the supplier and another, Daicel, regarding expanded production to replace modules in a nationwide recall. Autoliv will add capacity in its existing plants, with deliveries to come after six months.

Among the other affected automakers, Chrysler, Toyota and Mazda have stepped up their individual recall efforts. AutoGuide says the subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has called back 149,150 Dodge Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 models from the 2003 model year, covering Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan and the Virgin Islands. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated the move wasn’t enough, and is looking at what action to take next.

Over in Japan, Bloomberg reports Toyota is recalling 190,000 affected vehicles in its local market and in China. The recall comes on the news of a catastrophic detonation at a junkyard of a Takata airbag inside a 2003 WiLL Cypha; the detonation was part of the procedures outlined by Japan’s Automobile Recycling Law, which also requires dismantlers to report any problem to the automaker to determine if a recall is necessary.

Finally, The Detroit News says Mazda is recalling 40,000 more vehicles — including the 2003-2007 Mazda6, 2004-2008 RX-8, 2006-2007 Mazdaspeed6, 2004-2005 MPV and 2004 B-Series — in Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Texas and Alabama. The automaker previously recalled 44,000 units in the U.S. and 2,600 in Puerto Rico.

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Takata Refuses NHTSA Call For Nationwide Airbag Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-refuses-nhtsa-call-nationwide-airbag-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-refuses-nhtsa-call-nationwide-airbag-recall/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955057 Takata won’t be conducting a nationwide recall of its defective airbags anytime soon, but did hire three former U.S. Transportation Secretaries to help the supplier manage the crisis. Meanwhile, an airbag in an non-recalled model explodes in a Japanese junkyard; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration won’t push for a nationwide passenger airbag recall; and […]

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Toyota WiLL Cypha

Takata won’t be conducting a nationwide recall of its defective airbags anytime soon, but did hire three former U.S. Transportation Secretaries to help the supplier manage the crisis. Meanwhile, an airbag in an non-recalled model explodes in a Japanese junkyard; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration won’t push for a nationwide passenger airbag recall; and Toyota and Honda both call for an industry review of Takata’s wares.

The Detroit News reports the supplier informed the NHTSA Wednesday morning that it will not conduct a nationwide recall of vehicles in the United States equipped with driver-side airbags, as requested by the agency in a special order made last week, and whose deadline was December 2. Deputy administrator David Friedman expressed the agency’s disappointment in a statement, lamenting Takata is failing to live up to its responsibility toward keeping drivers safe. Chair and CEO Shigehisa Takada proclaimed in his own statement that his company “remains committed to cooperating closely with our customers and NHTSA to address the potential for inflator rupturing.” An initial decision and public hearing demanding the supplier to recall is the next step for the NHTSA.

Detroit Free Press says Takata called upon former Transportation Secretaries Sam Skinner (George H.W. Bush), Rodney Slater (Bill Clinton) and Norman Mineta (Clinton, George W. Bush) to help guide it through the crisis. Skinner is slated to lead a quality assurance panel to help the supplier better design its airbags, while Slater and Mineta will provide counsel to help it “regain the public’s trust.”

Though the NHTSA is pushing for Takata to recall every driver-side airbag possibly affected by the quality issues at the center of the current regional recall, Automotive News says the agency isn’t in a hurry to do the same for passenger-side airbags. Friedman informed the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade in a written statement that such a recall “is not supported by the data as we now understand it. At this point, a national recall of all Takata air bags would divert replacement air bags from areas where they are clearly needed, putting lives at risk.” That said, if the supplier’s test data proves otherwise, the agency may demand a recall for those airbags, as well.

Over in Japan, a Takata airbag exploded in a 2003 Toyota WiLL Cypha at the Chikamatsu Shokai Co. scrapyard in the Gifu prefecture. Manager Akihiro Wakayama was caught off-guard by the explosion, as the car in question was not among the models already under recall:

I was surprised once again because the unusual explosion occurred in a vehicle that we were told to be safe. That made me think we really don’t know what we can trust to do our work safely.

The WiLL Cypha’s airbag detonation marks the seventh occurrence of junkyard detonations in Japan since June 2012, with the first six occurring among four Honda Fit and two Toyota Corolla models in July of that year. The incidences prior to the Cypha’s — all occurring during detonation procedures as prescribed by the nation’s Automotive Recycling Law prior to scrapping — led to an additional 3 million units being recalled globally.

Speaking of Toyota and Honda, The Detroit News says the two Japanese automakers are calling for a coordinated effort among the entire industry to independently test Takata’s airbags for defects. Both companies issued separate statements to Takata and eight other manufacturers — including Ford, Chrysler and General Motors — asking them to commit to the effort. Ford said it would heed Toyota’s call, with Chrysler Group proclaiming it would “remain committed to identifying the root cause” of the malfunctions, and GM taking the call “under NHTSA guidance.”

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Capsule Review: 2015 Honda Fit EX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/capsule-review-2015-honda-fit-ex/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/capsule-review-2015-honda-fit-ex/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 14:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=953985 Perhaps as a result of having twice left our spacious two-bedroom apartments for smaller dwellings with less than 500 square feet of living space, my little family has come to love storage. Though we now have a basement and a shed in which to toss assorted detritus, we still look back fondly on the days […]

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2015 Honda Fit EXPerhaps as a result of having twice left our spacious two-bedroom apartments for smaller dwellings with less than 500 square feet of living space, my little family has come to love storage. Though we now have a basement and a shed in which to toss assorted detritus, we still look back fondly on the days when our only available storage space was located in the apartment building across the street or in the multiple small closets of the “bachelor pad” that we pressed into more-than-bachelor duty. But not too fondly, mind you. Space for people and stuff is a good thing.

The 2015 Honda Fit is only 160 inches long, 19.4 inches shorter bumper-to-bumper than Honda’s own Civic sedan; shorter than hatchback rivals like the Hyundai Accent and Nissan Versa Note. Yet Honda says the Fit offers more rear legroom than any of those cars. With the rear seats folded, the Fit has 38% more cargo capacity than the Versa Note and 11% more than the Civic. In other words, more of a good thing.

Though the Fit officially lags behind the similarly box-shaped Note and Accent in terms of seats-up cargo space, it’s ahead of the Civic. The Fit’s squared-off shape also makes it easy to fit (get it?) large or unwieldy items past the hatch opening. Pound for pound, or rather inch for inch, the 2015 Fit is among the most flexible new vehicles available today, rivaling minivans for space efficiency.

2015 Honda Fit EX

As a young married couple, Mrs. Cain and I were anxious not to pay for any more space than we needed. In the quest to save money, or to spend money elsewhere, we chose less spacious residences. When possible, we also chose apartments where heat, hot water, lights, and internet were provided free of charge. Although this EX-trim Fit, a CAD $22,090 car Honda Canada provided for a week, may not be the best example of a poverty-spec subcompact – sunroof, Honda LaneWatch, 16-inch alloys, leather-wrapped wheel, 6-speaker audio – it sipped fuel like a conscience-stricken teetotaler at a vintner’s after-hours tasting. 39 miles per gallon in a mix of mostly city and some highway driving is ridiculously good and remarkably close to the EPA ratings. Base LX Fits with the continuously variable transmission are supposed to return 33 mpg city and 41 highway; EX and EX-L Fits with the CVT (and paddle shifters, hot diggity) take a minor hit at a rated 33 city, 38 highway, presumably due to differing tire choices.

So the newest Fit is efficient, both space-wise and with fuel. Though the Fit, which is now assembled in Mexico, has been subject to a raft of recalls in its initial months on the market, it feels very well-built inside. There’s no pretense – this is not a luxury car. But the interior neither looks nor feels like the penalty box economy cars of yore.

2015 Honda Fit EX interior

As a consumer product, it seems like a solid bet, but is it desirable? That’s not as clear. For instance, the Fit isn’t the enthusiast’s choice in the subcompact category, certainly not with this bothersome CVT. Toss the Ford Fiesta or Chevrolet Sonic down a twisty rural road (yes, the two Detroit subcompacts) and you’ll then find the Fit’s steering to be slower and lifeless by comparison. Its buzzy engine lacks a typical Honda’s rev-happy nature. Ride quality, acceptable in most circumstances, comes up short when sharp impacts produce an inordinate amount of noise, causing the structure to shudder. There’s no expectation for special on-road dynamics in a car of this type, but Fits have been fun in the past, and much of that joy has been lost. Moreover, if a keen driver wants to enjoy a car of this type, there are now more, and more compelling, options than was the case when the original Fit arrived in North America.

Honda LaneWatch camera

Good news: a Fit with a manual shifter will likely return a measure of contentment to the 130-horsepower 1.5L four-cylinder. This is not a pairing in which a CVT can be considered a success, at least if we rule out fuel economy as a criterion. 6-speed manual base Fits have a combined rating of 32 mpg, well below a Fit LX CVT’s 36 mpg. But if you’re stuck with the self-shifter, it’s possible to close some of the pleasure gap. Deactivate the green-leaf Econ mode, push the shifter into S, and the Fit becomes far more responsive. Unfortunately, the resultant drone of the engine cruising along smack dab in the middle of its power band isn’t something you’ll want to endure in routine driving.

The interior is a marvel of expansive human space, yet rear seat passengers might be the first-class citizens in the Fit. Front-seaters above five-foot-eleven likely won’t be able to get the seats to slide far enough back for ankle comfort. Not to worry, though; the infotainment screen is annoying enough to distract you a little from any fit (get it?) issues.

Tasked with operating a convoluted and unresponsive touchscreen with embedded volume controls, I was frustrated for the duration of the Fit’s visit. Sleek minimalism is wonderful, but does it fix anything? Were car buyers complaining about simple volume and tuner knobs? Honda clearly thinks that big operate-them-with-gloves-on knobs are great for climate functions. Why not for radio?

Yet for hardcore Fit loyalists, I’m not certain it would matter if the touchscreen was operable only by the sixth finger of your third hand. Who cares? You can fold the front passenger seat flat to create a lounge for the right-rear passenger. The rear seats can be folded down. Or up. They can do so independently, 60/40. One up, one down? No problem. The Fit is also more of an individual’s choice, unlike the Civic, for instance, which is (honestly) parked in one-third of the driveways on our cul-de-sac. Therefore, this may be the subcompact capable of keeping a young family out of a small crossover or large sedan. Yeah, as if young families are buying big cars. Funny joke.

When you send a big box down the road and cut some costs on the insulation, you do have some problems as a result. Front seat occupants might not be able to hear rear seat occupants. Wind noise isn’t outrageous, but while road noise has been lessened compared with older Fits, the improvement isn’t sufficient.

2015 Honda Fit EXRegardless of how you or I quantify the pros and cons of the 2015 Fit, how we mete out blame and credit for its idiosyncrasies and benefits, the little Honda box is a success. In fact, more Americans registered new Fits in October of this year than at any time in the car’s history. With improved North American supply, the Fit won’t be quite as rare on dealer lots, thus not as rare in shopping mall parking lots, either. Only 11% of the subcompact cars sold in America in 2013 were Fits, when the Honda ranked fifth in its segment. The Fit was America’s second-best-selling subcompact in October 2014 with 18% market share.

The Honda Fit driving experience is not what it was, but it’s probably still what its buyers expect. Living inside a Fit, with more room for passengers and slightly less room for stuff than in the second-gen car, is a profitable exercise in downsizing. Yes, downsizing is something you should try at least twice in your life.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. If you wish to read a better Fit review, check out The Grandma Edition.

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NHTSA Orders Takata To Recall Airbags By December 2 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-orders-takata-recall-airbags-december-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-orders-takata-recall-airbags-december-2/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951985 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ordering Takata to conduct a nationwide recall of its airbags, while Honda was found to have issued Takata-related recalls as early as 2002. Reuters learned the automaker called back 2,686 vehicles — including the 2000 Honda Accord and Acura TL — in March of 2002, citing a November […]

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2000 Acura TL

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ordering Takata to conduct a nationwide recall of its airbags, while Honda was found to have issued Takata-related recalls as early as 2002.

Reuters learned the automaker called back 2,686 vehicles — including the 2000 Honda Accord and Acura TL — in March of 2002, citing a November 2001 report from a dealer who witnessed an “improper deployment” of a Takata airbag in an Accord. The incident prompted both the automaker and the supplier to investigate, leading to the recall months later.

The recall, which focused on passenger airbags deploying due to improper welds, could further plunge Honda into hot water with federal regulators, especially since Honda North America executive vice president Rick Schostek testified before Congress that the first time his employer had known of an airbag failure was in 2004. The NHTSA is “actively investigating” the automaker presently, using information going back to 1998 in so doing.

The agency also formally issued an order to Takata to declare a nationwide recall by December 2 of the driver-side airbags at-fault for a number of injuries and fatalities due to catastrophic failure upon deployment. Per Bloomberg, should the supplier fail to meet the deadline, the NHTSA will force the recall, and fine the company $7,000 for every violation found. Takata representative Toyohiro Hishikawa said the company’s execs were discussing how best to respond to the letter.

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Takata, Honda Under Government Spotlight At Home http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-honda-government-spotlight-home/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-honda-government-spotlight-home/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951465 Takata and Honda are both coming under the gun at home, on order of Japan Transport Minister Akihiro Ota. Bloomberg reports the transport minister ordered the formation of a special task force to oversee the 2.54 million vehicles under recall in Japan over the Takata airbags onboard. The ministry also announced that it would probe […]

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Japanese-government-weighs-in-on-Takata-airbag-debacle

Takata and Honda are both coming under the gun at home, on order of Japan Transport Minister Akihiro Ota.

Bloomberg reports the transport minister ordered the formation of a special task force to oversee the 2.54 million vehicles under recall in Japan over the Takata airbags onboard. The ministry also announced that it would probe Honda’s reporting errors in the United States, where 1,729 injury and/or death claims weren’t reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration between 2003 and 2014.

Regarding the errors, Honda President Takanobu Ito reiterated that his company misunderstood the the responsibility it was supposed to take in reporting said claims to the agency, that management made several mistakes in filing procedure.

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