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. Wed, 02 Sep 2015 16:00:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 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 » Honda http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/reviews/honda/ Honda Won’t Sell Tiny S660 in America, Because of Course Not http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/honda-wont-sell-tiny-s660-america-course-not/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/honda-wont-sell-tiny-s660-america-course-not/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2015 16:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1157082 Honda won’t import its tiny S660 convertible to the United States because we are a nation of giant people who drive giant cars, Automotive News is reporting. John Mendel, executive vice president for Honda, said three weeks ago that the S660 could bring some “spice” to the American Honda lineup, but apparently he looked at […]

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Honda won’t import its tiny S660 convertible to the United States because we are a nation of giant people who drive giant cars, Automotive News is reporting.

John Mendel, executive vice president for Honda, said three weeks ago that the S660 could bring some “spice” to the American Honda lineup, but apparently he looked at a nearby parking lot and changed his mind.

“When the practicalities of the market come in, and the car only so big, that might not be the best car for the U.S. market,” Mendel told Automotive News. “It might be better for India or China or somewhere else.”

Mendel said the “baby NSX” rendering that came out was a “design study” from their R&D labs in California, but stopped short of saying anything further about that car.

According to the report, the long-awaited Civic Type R should arrive in North America next year, which means we won’t have to make do with the Civic Si and exciting redesigned CR-Z as the fastest Hondas money can buy much longer.

Honda is expected to reveal its next-generation Civic at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

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Honda CR-Z Gets New Face, Will Live Beyond 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/honda-cr-z-gets-new-face-will-live-beyond-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/honda-cr-z-gets-new-face-will-live-beyond-2015/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 17:30:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1153953 Honda unveiled its face-lifted CR-Z in Japan on Thursday, Automotive News is reporting, which means the slow-selling car will have a future in the U.S. and Canada for at least another year. The updated nose and redesigned rear bumper cover the fact that the car hasn’t mechanically changed from this year. The same 130-horsepower, four-cylinder hybrid will […]

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2016 Honda CR-Z

Honda unveiled its face-lifted CR-Z in Japan on Thursday, Automotive News is reporting, which means the slow-selling car will have a future in the U.S. and Canada for at least another year.

The updated nose and redesigned rear bumper cover the fact that the car hasn’t mechanically changed from this year. The same 130-horsepower, four-cylinder hybrid will power the car, mated to either a 6-speed manual or continuously variable transmission.

Despite its critical reception as a relatively slow sportscar, engineers increased the size of the CR-Z’s brakes 10 millimeters.

Honda hasn’t officially confirmed that the updated Japanese design would make it to North America (the car is only sold in Japan, Canada and the United States anymore) but said that the 2016 CR-Z would gain “updated exterior and interior styling.”

Automotive News is reporting the updated CR-Z would go on sale in the U.S. in November. Honda hasn’t confirmed that date.

So far this year, Honda has sold 1,562 CR-Z models in the U.S.

(Photos courtesy Honda Motor Co.)

2016 Honda CR-Z 2016 Honda CR-Z 2016 Honda CR-Z 2016 Honda CR-Z

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2016 Honda Pilot Review – The Sensible 8-Hauler http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/2016-honda-pilot-review-sensible-8-hauler/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/2016-honda-pilot-review-sensible-8-hauler/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 15:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1139410 2016 Honda Pilot Elite AWD 3.5-liter i-VTEC SOHC V-6, direct injection, cylinder deactivation, CVVT (280 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm, 262 lbs-ft @ 4,700 rpm) 9-Speed ZF 9HP automatic 19 city/26 highway/22 combined (EPA Rating, MPG) 21.6 mpg (Observed, MPG) Tested Options: Elite Trim Base Price: $30,875* As Tested: $46,420* * Prices include $880 destination charge. My sister-in-law announced that she […]

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2016 Honda Pilot Exterior

2016 Honda Pilot Elite AWD

3.5-liter i-VTEC SOHC V-6, direct injection, cylinder deactivation, CVVT (280 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm,
262 lbs-ft @ 4,700 rpm)

9-Speed ZF 9HP automatic

19 city/26 highway/22 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

21.6 mpg (Observed, MPG)

Tested Options: Elite Trim

Base Price:
$30,875*
As Tested:

$46,420*
* Prices include $880 destination charge.

My sister-in-law announced that she and her husband were having child number four. As a result of this announcement, they decided it was finally time to sell the five-seat sedan and buy another crossover. Since she is constantly flooded with a parade of visiting family members, she asked what sounded like a simple question: What’s the best 8-passenger crossover with a comfortable third row and room for cargo. My answer: Buy a minivan. No, seriously, just buy a minivan. Think you need AWD? Get some winter tires. Really, really need AWD? Get a Sienna.

I’m sure you can guess what she said: “I am not driving a minivan.”

The problem is, aside from minivans, there are few 8-passenger options that aren’t expensive, full size, body-on-frame SUVs. Those options are: the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and GM’s identical triplets — the Chevy Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave. That’s it. If you need more room, be prepared to shell out for a Suburban, Escalade, Navigator or a few other spendy options.

Today we look at the freshest entry in this phonebooth-sized segment, the all-new 2016 Honda Pilot.

Exterior
Back when the crossover segment started, shoppers were drawn to truck-like proportions and boxy shapes. The last-generation Pilot wore some of the same questionable styling cues you see on body-on-frame SUVs like the Nissan Armada where the third-row window line doesn’t jibe with the rest. Perhaps because the crossover segment is maturing, or perhaps because everyone is finally admitting that the 3-row crossover is the modern-day minivan, Honda’s designers penned a body that looks the CR-V and Odyssey mashed together. The overall look is sleeker and more modern, but certainly less like a traditional SUV.

Base models get halogen headlamps while Elite trims like ours receive Honda’s new LED low beams. Although the Acura MDX is a close relative, Honda did their best to differentiate the products. Aside from the general dimensions, the DNA is well hidden. As we’ve seen from other crossovers, ground clearance drops from an SUV-like 8 inches to 7.3; still more than your average minivan but less than the truck-based people carriers. The decrease in ride height and addition of sleek lines help hide the three inch stretch Honda gives the Pilot for 2016.

2016 Honda Pilot Interior-002

Interior
The biggest change for 2016 is inside where Honda ditched the discordant faux-truck theme of the last Pilot for a more elegant and restrained look. In the center of the dash is a single 8-inch LCD, which surprised me since the Accord uses Honda’s 2-screen system. If the CR-V is the “‘Civic Crossover” then surely the Pilot is the “Accord Crossover”, so you’d think it would sport the same infotainment setup. The most logical reason for this change is that Honda didn’t want the Pilot to look like a bargain MDX on the inside. Whatever the reason, the infotainment system looks more like the Civic than the Accord. In another twist, Honda didn’t use a variant of the Accord’s instrument cluster like we see in the CR-V, instead opting for three dials and a digital speedometer in all models — again, rather like the Civic.

Front seat comfort proved excellent in our Elite tester, but I actually found the cloth EX model to be a hair more comfortable. Like other Honda products, front seats have generous lumbar support and a soft bottom cushion designed for hours of comfortable highway cruising. On the down side, even our top-of-the-line Elite model gives the front passenger electric adjustability in just four directions.

2016 Honda Pilot Interior-005

The second row in LX through Touring models ia a comfortable three-across 60/40 folding bench, but our Elite model swaps in captain’s chairs reducing the seat count to seven. The three-across third row surprises with more headroom and legroom than you find in most large SUVs but only a hair more width than the tight Highlander. This is thanks to the Pilot’s minivan-like profile and by the engineers cramming the seat bottom cushion as low as possible. The obvious downside to seats that are so low is the lack of thigh support for adults. Kids should be fine and Honda shows their love for LATCH anchors by giving you four sets in most Pilots — three for the middle row and one on the right side of the third.

Why bother with the three-across third row? It does have a practical application. It is possible to jam two skinny folks in the way-back and fold the row’s 40% side down. Those two would need to be skinny, friendly, or my mother in law. If you can make it work, you can put cargo on that 40% side and squeeze in 7 people and more cargo than large 7-seat crossovers like the Pathfinder.

Although the Pilot has grown for 2016, it is still among the smaller 8-passenger vehicles on sale. This lack of length is primarily a problem with it comes to cargo hauling where the Acadia/Traverse/Enclave have considerably more room behind the third row (the Pilot will haul more widgets than the Highlander however). Honda says that four carry-on sized roller bags will fit behind the third row in the vertical position, but it is a tight fit.

2016 Honda Pilot Interior-022

Infotainment
2016 brings Honda’s latest Android-based touchscreen infotainment OS. Using an 8-inch capacitive LCD, the new system is similar in appearance to what we see in the Honda Civic with some important differences. The system now runs Android OS and uses a new processor making the user interface snappier. The graphics have also been tweaked for the higher-resolution screen and Garmin now provides the optional navigation software. Like Chrysler’s uConnect system, the nav interface looks very much like someone jammed an aftermarket windshield-mount nav unit into the dash. Operation is easy and intuitive and familiar to anyone using Garmin products.

Perhaps the biggest change between this system and the similar looking one in the Civic is that the Pilot does not support smartphone-based navigation integration. With the Civic you can buy a $60 app and the car’s touchscreen LCD displays the interface while your phone does the processing. Also absent is Android Auto or Apple Car Play support which we see in the new Accord. Honda has yet to comment officially on the lack of smartphone love, but since the system in the Accord is related, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it in 2017.

2016 Honda Pilot Engine-001

Drivetrain
All Pilot trims get the same 3.5-liter V-6 we see in a variety of Honda products, from the lowly Accord to the upper-end Acura MDX. As usual, the engine is tuned differently from Honda’s other applications. Versus the Acura, power drops to 280 horsepower primarily because the Pilot is tuned to run on regular and the MDX is tuned for premium.

Power is routed to the front wheels via a Honda 6-speed automatic in LX through EX-L trims, or a ZF-sourced 9-speed in Touring and Elite. The $1,800 AWD system is optional on all trims, except the Elite where it’s standard. Pilots with the “i-VTM4″ AWD are the first Honda branded vehicles in America with a torque vectoring rear axle.

The AWD system is functionally similar to the latest SH-AWD system used in the 2016 MDX, but the software is programmed very differently. In addition, the Pilot appears to lack the “overdrive” unit that spins the rear wheels 2.7-percent faster than the fronts under certain conditions. Regardless of which transmission you get, towing ratings are 3,500 pounds in front-wheel-drive models and 5,000 pounds in AWD trims.

2016 Honda Pilot Interior-030

Drive
Offering the 9-speed in top-end trims is an interesting alternative to offering an engine re-tune that might step on Acura’s toes. Adding 10 or 15 horsepower to a top-end trim would have a negligible impact on your acceleration times, but adding three extra gears to the Pilot makes it go from 0-60 a half second faster.

How is that possible? It’s all about gearing. The 9HP transmission not only has more gears, it also has an extremely broad ratio spread. Honda chose to use this ratio spread differently than Fiat Chrysler did in their Jeep Cherokee. The Jeep engineers wanted high-speed fuel economy improvements for the European market. In the V-6 Jeep, 9th doesn’t engage until over 85 mph and the low ratio is a fairly average 15.3:1. Honda doesn’t sell the Pilot in Europe and only Texas has speed limits that high in the U.S., so they took a different approach and tuned the final drive for acceleration. The result is an incredibly low 20:1 stating ratio vs a 14:1 ratio with the same engine and the 6-speed auto. That means that in normal driving, the Elite is done with first gear by 10 mph. By the time you’ve hit 40, you’ve used more gears than the LX possesses. On the flip side, the deep first gear and closely spaced 2nd have an enormous impact on the Pilot’s 0-30 time. Of course, if you skip the AWD system entirely, you’ll get plenty of torque steer and one-wheel peel.

Remember how I said the AWD system wasn’t exactly the same as the MDX’s SH-AWD system? You’ll notice this on the road if you drive them back-to-back. SH-AWD employs a few tricks to make the MDX dance like an X5 alternative. The two most important being the aggressive side-to-side torque vectoring and the overdriving of the rear axle. By making the rear differential spin slightly faster than the front and then shunting all the power to one side, the MDX can feel more like a RWD-biased AWD car under power. The torque vectoring function on the Pilot appears to be much less aggressive, although it does feel more nimble than most of the mass-market competition. If you’re after the best driving dynamics in this segment, you’ll have to give up a few seats and get the RWD Dodge Durango.

2016 Honda Pilot Exterior-005

When it comes to dynamics, the Pilot feels large and moderately soft. The suspension is tuned firmer than GM’s Lambda triplets or Nissan’s Pathfinder, but a little softer than some versions of the Highlander. The steering is light — as numb as you’d expect from electric power steering — but more accurate than the Buick Enclave. Elite trims get 20-inch alloy wheels and suspension tuning tweaked to be a little softer than the Touring model. The result is an entirely competent crossover sitting near the top of the pack.

When comparing crossovers, keep in mind that the Santa Fe and CX-9 are both more engaging, but neither seats eight. Nissan’s Pathfinder is more comfortable and delivers a superb highway ride, but again, no eighth seat. Toyota’s Highlander feels more nimble in the four-cylinder version, but considerably less refined. The Acadia, Traverse and Enclave are all quite heavy for this segment with top-end Buick trims nearly hitting 5,000 pounds. There’s just no denying physics; although the GM crossovers ride well, the handling, performance and braking all take a toll. Toss in aging styling and lacklustre fuel economy, and the only thing they have going for them are two inches of legroom and about 30-percent more cargo space.

2016 Honda Pilot Interior-025

Honda priced their new people hauler aggressively for 2016. The ladder starts at $29,995 for a base front wheel drive model, which is about $3,000 less than a base GMC Acadia or the base V6 trim of the Highlander. (The $29,765 Highlander has a 2.7-liter four cylinder.) Pricing is also in line with the $30,700 Explorer or the $30,150 Santa Fe — again, those two don’t offer an eighth seat. I was initially worried that the $46,420 Elite represented a decent value compared to a full-loaded Buick Enclave at $50,340. The Enclave gets a softer suspension but the Elite brings a 9-speed transmission, newer infotainment systems, a torque vectoring AWD system and LED headlamps to the party. After sitting in an Enclave, Pilot Elite and MDX back-to-back, the Elite model made more sense. This is perhaps more direct competition with the Buick than the Acura.

2016 Honda Pilot Exterior-011

Thanks to some steep discounts on GM crossovers, you can expect the Traverse to be the bargain entry in this segment. However, the Plain Jane Traverse is probably my least favorite 3-row crossover. It’s large, thirsty and lacks the modicum of design given to its GMC and Buick siblings. Of course, the real problem here is that none of the three row crossovers really excel at carrying a family of 6 or 7 and their luggage in comfort, something that is supposed to be the role of a large family vehicle. The modern three-row CUV has taken the place of the minivan for modern families. Unfortunately, it trades style and perceived capability for capacity.

This is where Honda’s Odyssey comes in and blows the Pilot out of the water. The Odyssey is 8-inches longer and all of the additional length goes straight to the cargo area and third row. Because the Odyssey isn’t pretending to be an SUV, the shape is optimized for interior room and you get a whopping 13-inches more combined legroom, more than double the cargo room behind the third row (38.4 cubic feet) and nearly twice the cargo room if all rows of seats are folded. That’s before you consider the practicality gained by removing the seats, something not allowed in a crossover. Although the Odyssey can be a hair more expensive than the Pilot, lacks AWD and Honda detuned the engine a hair, they drive more alike than crossover shoppers want to hear. And the minivan has a vacuum. Because: kids.

Although the Pilot is hands down the best 8-passenger crossover available in the USA and one of the best three-row crossovers on sale, the best vehicle for my sister-in-law is the Odyssey. Sorry Rachelle.

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

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.7 Seconds

0-60: 6.7 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 14.85 Seconds @ 94 MPH

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Honda Reportedly Considering S660 for America, but Will Any of Us Fit in It? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/honda-reportedly-considering-s660-america-will-us-fit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/honda-reportedly-considering-s660-america-will-us-fit/#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2015 21:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1140106 Honda may bring its small, two-seater S660 to the United States, Edmunds is reporting. The car, which is much smaller than Mazda’s MX-5 Miata and categorized in Japan in the “kei” class, is powered there by a small, 660cc turbocharged three-cylinder. In case you’re not picking up what I’m putting down: the S660 would be fantastically tiny on American roads. […]

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Honda may bring its small, two-seater S660 to the United States, Edmunds is reporting.

The car, which is much smaller than Mazda’s MX-5 Miata and categorized in Japan in the “kei” class, is powered there by a small, 660cc turbocharged three-cylinder.

In case you’re not picking up what I’m putting down: the S660 would be fantastically tiny on American roads.

The S660’s 90-inch wheelbase is 8 inches shorter than the new Smart ForFour and one inch shorter than a Miata’s.

According to the report, the S660 won’t be a direct competitor to the Miata, but it could have a bigger 1-liter, turbo 3-cylinder for the U.S. market, which produces 127 horsepower compared to the Mazda’s 155 hp.

“We’re looking at it intently for North America,” John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda, told Edmunds. “We want some spice in the lineup.”

The tepid CR-Z doesn’t do much apparently, and the “Baby NSX” rumor could be true-ish (the S660 is mid-engined, after all).

Mendel added that the car would needed to be complemented with a somewhat sane business case — “It’s got to be commercially viable,” he said — but he should just dig in the Honda archives for that. Check under “S2000, Honda.” We’re sure it’s there.

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You Can Buy a 2016 Acura Honda Accord for $22,925 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/can-buy-new-acura-accord-22925/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/can-buy-new-acura-accord-22925/#comments Mon, 10 Aug 2015 21:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1137746 The refreshed, mid-size Acura Honda Accord will start at $22,925 and run all the way up to $35,400, according to Car and Driver. That represents a mild increase from $150 to $950, depending on trim, and a continued price war with its lifelong, bitter and everlasting rival, the Toyota Camry. Apples-to-apples on the high end: The […]

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2016 Honda Accord

The refreshed, mid-size Acura Honda Accord will start at $22,925 and run all the way up to $35,400, according to Car and Driver.

That represents a mild increase from $150 to $950, depending on trim, and a continued price war with its lifelong, bitter and everlasting rival, the Toyota Camry.

Apples-to-apples on the high end: The Accord will cost $635 more than a comparably equipped Camry (2016 Camry XLE V-6 with Technology and Navigation vs. 2016 Accord Touring V-6). Apples-to-apples on the low end: The Camry is $170 more (2016 Camry LE Automatic vs. 2016 Accord LX w/CVT).

Shedding two doors will add anywhere from $1,670 to $545 to the bottom line. The coupe will run from $24,595 for the base LX with a manual to $35,945 for the V-6 Touring model.

The redesigned Accord was unveiled last month in California and boasts integrated Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a slew of other small changes for its mid-cycle refresh.

The Accord also comes available with a suite of safety features, dubbed Honda Sense, that can be added at any trim level and will be standard on Touring models. The same safety suite is only available on the XLE trim of the Camry, which is the top trim.

Both the Accord and Camry are expected to replace their V-6 engines with turbo fours, albeit in different applications. Toyota will use the turbo four to replace the top-end engine option, whereas Honda will use a smaller turbo four to replace its standard engine.

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Honda Accord, Toyota Camry Will Get Turbo Fours Soon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-accord-toyota-camry-will-get-turbo-fours-soon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-accord-toyota-camry-will-get-turbo-fours-soon/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 19:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1128169 The best-selling mid-size sedans in the United States will catch up to their competition by offering boosted fours under their hoods soon, Automotive News is reporting (via Car & Driver). The long-running Camry will replace its six-cylinder engine with the turbo four, though the Accord is likely to use a new, smaller, boosted four pot to replace its base […]

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2016 Honda Accord

The best-selling mid-size sedans in the United States will catch up to their competition by offering boosted fours under their hoods soon, Automotive News is reporting (via Car & Driver).

The long-running Camry will replace its six-cylinder engine with the turbo four, though the Accord is likely to use a new, smaller, boosted four pot to replace its base four-cylinder engine.

The Camry’s turbo four comes from the newly announced Lexus IS200t and NX200t, which will produce around 235 horsepower (or 241 in the IS200t) and 258 pound-feet of torque. The turbo four would likely replace the 3.5-liter V-6 option at the top of the range for Toyota, which makes 268 horsepower.

Honda’s solution is on the other end of the spectrum. Their 1.5-liter turbo four, borrowed from the new Civic, will likely replace the 2.4-liter naturally aspirated base engine that cranks 184 horsepower. The smaller engine would likely improve upon the 27 mpg city/36 mpg highway rating that the base model has now.

The force-fed Camry and Accord models would join the ranks of mid-size sedans already including smaller displacement, turbocharged engines such as the Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu and Volkswagen Passat.

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Honda Lifts Cover Off Updated Accord, Now With Apple CarPlay http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-lifts-cover-off-updated-accord-now-apple-carplay/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-lifts-cover-off-updated-accord-now-apple-carplay/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 21:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125041 Honda unveiled its refreshed mid-sized sedan on Thursday, complete with facelift and available 19-inch wheels on the Acura Accord. The new car also sports updated technology, including Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto systems and a 7-inch touchscreen on EX and higher trims. The Accord will continue to use its 2.4-liter four and 3.6-liter V-6 engines. In addition […]

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2016 Honda Accord

Honda unveiled its refreshed mid-sized sedan on Thursday, complete with facelift and available 19-inch wheels on the Acura Accord.

The new car also sports updated technology, including Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto systems and a 7-inch touchscreen on EX and higher trims.

The Accord will continue to use its 2.4-liter four and 3.6-liter V-6 engines.

In addition to the new nose and updated technology, Honda says its signature sedan will offer a suite of safety features including frontal collision warning and collision mitigation braking, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning and a hint of correction.

According to our own Tim Cain, sales of the Accord have remained relatively steady since the ninth-generation Accord went on sale in 2013. Honda quietly killed the plug-in hybrid Accord this year, which is statistically just as rare as a Porsche 918 Spyder.

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American Honda Boss Knows, But Tight-Lipped, About ‘Baby NSX’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/american-honda-boss-knows-baby-nsx-car-isnt-talking/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/american-honda-boss-knows-baby-nsx-car-isnt-talking/#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 17:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1115137 American Honda CEO John Mendel says he could tell us about the “baby NSX” that popped up in a patent filing, but that would probably get him fired, AutoGuide is reporting. Whatever the patent filing is — whether it’s a smaller NSX, perpetual prototype or a late-night CAD fantasy — it could find a home in Honda’s lineup […]

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American Honda CEO John Mendel says he could tell us about the “baby NSX” that popped up in a patent filing, but that would probably get him fired, AutoGuide is reporting.

Whatever the patent filing is — whether it’s a smaller NSX, perpetual prototype or a late-night CAD fantasy — it could find a home in Honda’s lineup that’s decidedly missing a sports car.

When asked if there’s room for a driver’s car, Mendel responded: “Absolutely there is.”

Details on the renderings released last month are incredibly murky. The smaller car wouldn’t likely get the NSX’s twin-turbocharged V6 with three electric motors to help propel it, but it could get some assist from electrons. Honda engineers were feverishly testing electric powertrains at Pikes Peak this year, including an all-electric CR-Z in the exhibition category.

The Civic Si is the automaker’s lone performance car in the U.S. The 305-horsepower Civic Type R is destined for U.S. shores, but it’s unclear when that will happen.

Production of the two-seater S2000 ended in 2009. Production of the CR-Z continues.

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Honda Civic Hybrid, CNG and Accord Plug-In Hybrid Models Get the Axe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/honda-civic-hybrid-cng-and-accord-plug-in-hybrid-models-get-the-axe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/honda-civic-hybrid-cng-and-accord-plug-in-hybrid-models-get-the-axe/#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 16:58:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1092913 UPDATE: Clarification on CR-Z at bottom. Honda is doing a bit of late spring cleaning as it looks to get its hybrid house in order. The automaker announced production of the Civic CNG has ended and multiple hybrid models will soon get the axe. Honda isn’t abandoning hybrid technology, however, as John Mendel, Executive Vice President, […]

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2015 Honda Civic Hybrid

UPDATE: Clarification on CR-Z at bottom.

Honda is doing a bit of late spring cleaning as it looks to get its hybrid house in order. The automaker announced production of the Civic CNG has ended and multiple hybrid models will soon get the axe.

Honda isn’t abandoning hybrid technology, however, as John Mendel, Executive Vice President, Automobile Division of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., hinted there are replacements in the pipeline in a release sent out today.

According to his statement – titled “Advancing Environment a Natural Fit in Honda Vehicle Lineup” – the Honda Civic CNG and Civic Hybrid will end with the ninth-generation compact. The tenth-generation Civic will instead offer two engines – one normally aspirated and one turbocharged, in addition to the Type R – and Honda will abandon its single motor hybrid system in favor of two- and three-motor variants.

Another model to get the axe is the Accord Plug-In Hybrid. Mendel states it won’t be offered going forward, but a new Accord Hybrid will debut early next year. Also being introduced next year is Honda’s next-generation fuel cell vehicle along with an “all-new battery electric model and the all-new plug-in hybrid model.”

The latest hybrid cull at Honda comes a little over a year after the company killed of the Honda Insight due to slow sales.

The end of the single motor hybrid IMA system also spells the end for the Honda CR-Z, at least in its current form, though when that will take place is uncertain.

Robyn Eagles, spokesperson for Honda North America, stated the CR-Z will continue into MY2016 and Honda is still committed to green technologies, but the CR-Z’s technological makeup beyond 2016 is uncertain.

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Crapwagon Outtake: 1988 Honda CRX Si http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/crapwagon-outtake-1988-honda-crx-si/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/crapwagon-outtake-1988-honda-crx-si/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 12:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071858 I needed a car. Any car. My dad and I were limping my dying ’85 Nissan Maxima around town to multiple car dealers, looking for an appropriate replacement. I was 19, I think, and since I commuted thirty miles a day to college (when I went to class) I needed reliable, efficient transport. A second-generation […]

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1988 Honda CRX

I needed a car. Any car. My dad and I were limping my dying ’85 Nissan Maxima around town to multiple car dealers, looking for an appropriate replacement. I was 19, I think, and since I commuted thirty miles a day to college (when I went to class) I needed reliable, efficient transport.

A second-generation CRX, much like this one, caught my eye and we climbed in. One problem arose, however, as both my dad and I were well north of 300 pounds each, and the stock springs were sagging a bit. Oh, and the streets near the dealer had rough, rutted cobblestones. We were lucky to return with an intact exhaust, and I reluctantly moved on to a roomier Accord coupe.

This 1988 Honda CRX Si looks nearly showroom fresh, especially to a guy from the salt-encrusted Midwest – those rear wheel wells would be perforated up here. Black on black looks quite good, though the supposedly-cursed Y-49 Barbados Yellow is my preferred shade. Most of these have seen the darkest aisles of Pep Boys, so an unmodified car is refreshing.

$6,800 seems steep for a twenty-seven year old Honda, but the CRX is a truly special car, and we may see the really good ones fetch serious money someday soon.

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It’s Time To End The Non-Sporty Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/its-time-to-end-the-non-sporty-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/its-time-to-end-the-non-sporty-coupe/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 12:12:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071410 Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to bring an end to an automotive segment that simply needs to die: the non-sporty coupe. For those of you who aren’t sure what I mean when I say “non sporty coupe,” allow me to describe the two types of coupes that currently exist today. One is the sporty coupe. […]

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2015 Honda Civic

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to bring an end to an automotive segment that simply needs to die: the non-sporty coupe.

For those of you who aren’t sure what I mean when I say “non sporty coupe,” allow me to describe the two types of coupes that currently exist today. One is the sporty coupe. This is a car with sleek styling, and a cool interior, and a lot of power, and some modicum of performance suspension, or performance brakes, or something performancey, like a faux carbon fiber door panel.

Examples of the sporty coupe include the Porsche 911, the Ford Mustang, the Subaru BRZ, and – if you ask the Germans – the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, though the rest of us just consider that to be an overpriced sedan.

And then you have the other type of coupe. The non-sporty coupe. This is a car that was a sedan, until some auto industry geniuses got ahold of it and decided they could create an entirely new segment by just throwing on a new, two-door body and marketing it as “sporty.” Examples include the Honda Civic, the Honda Accord, and, well, that’s about it.

2015 Honda Accord EX-L V-6 Coupe

There’s a reason those are the only options: because everyone else has gotten out of this segment. For years, we had the Toyota Camry coupe, later called the Camry Solara. It’s gone. The Chevy Monte Carlo. It’s gone. The Chevy Cobalt coupe, the Chevy Cavalier Coupe, the Ford Tempo coupe, the Ford Focus coupe (look it up!), the Dodge Avenger, the Chrysler Sebring coupe. Gone, gone, gone, gone, gone. All gone. The Nissan Altima Coupe. Gone. All because this segment is a massive dud; the automotive equivalent of Kevin Costner’s Waterworld.

So why is Honda still in it?

My theory is Honda has abandoned every other sporty car they’ve ever had – from the NSX and the S2000 on down to the CR-Z – so they feel like they have to offer some piece of “performance” somewhere in their lineup. So they offer the Civic in sedan and coupe varieties, even though virtually everyone else has realized the actual place to be, when it comes to compact cars, is sedans and hatchbacks.

Interestingly, it seems like Honda still doesn’t have the hatchback memo. At this year’s New York Auto Show, Honda displayed a bright green Civic intended to preview what’s to come for the compact car’s next generation. So what body style did it use? The highly popular sedan model, which accounts for more than 80 percent of all sales? A hatchback to let us know they’re finally going to take on the Ford Focus, the Mazda3, the Kia Soul, and the Volkswagen Golf?

No: they showed off a Civic Coupe, suggesting they plan to continue the non-sporty coupe even after everyone else has jumped ship.

It’s the same situation with the Accord. Every time there’s an Accord redesign, I expect Honda to finally announce that they’re doing away with the Accord Coupe. And every time there’s an Accord redesign, Honda instead surprises me and brings it back for another round.

The question I have for people who buy these cars is: WHY?????

If you really examine the Civic Coupe and the Accord Coupe, what you’ll find is that both models are really just less practical versions of the sedans. Neither one is a sports car. Neither one offers especially sleek styling. In fact, if you ask me, the Civic Coupe is actually a bit ungainly in its current form, in the sense that it appears, at any moment, that it may be blown over by a strong gust of wind.

So basically, the “non sporty coupe” is just a sedan with less practicality. Same Accord styling. Same Accord engines. Same Accord equipment, and platform, and suspension, and brakes. The only difference: in the regular Accord, you can get out of the back seat without making the front passenger get up and exit the vehicle first.

I’ve talked to a few people who own these vehicles, and I’ve come to learn they actually believe these are sports cars. “Well,” they say. “I couldn’t afford a 370Z. So I decided to get an Accord Coupe.” As if the two are equals. This would be like saying that you couldn’t afford a place overlooking Central Park, so you instead decided to get a studio apartment in downtown Newark.

So I guess the simple truth here is that Honda is going to continue to make these things as long as people keep buying them. But as the market shrinks, and as people realize they’d really rather have a sedan, and as the tens of buyers disaffected by the cancellation of the Chevy Cobalt coupe move on to something else, I hope Honda wises up and gives us hatchbacks instead. Because the days of the non-sporty coupe are coming to an end.

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Sayonara S2K, Guten Tag GTI http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sayonara-s2k-gutan-tag-gti/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sayonara-s2k-gutan-tag-gti/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 13:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1056754 Yesterday, I traded the most hysterically fun car I have ever owned, a 2008 Honda S2000, for a new 2015 Volkswagen GTI 6-speed manual. Allow me to explain. I bought my S2000 two years ago while living in San Diego. It was the perfect car at the perfect place and time. I don’t think I ever […]

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Yesterday, I traded the most hysterically fun car I have ever owned, a 2008 Honda S2000, for a new 2015 Volkswagen GTI 6-speed manual.

Allow me to explain.

I bought my S2000 two years ago while living in San Diego. It was the perfect car at the perfect place and time. I don’t think I ever drove it with the top up, whether cruising the coast highway or screaming up and down Mt. Palomar. I loved it. Then last fall I took early retirement, thus losing my company car, and moved to Tucson, Arizona.

Once the S2000 became my daily driver, it began to kick my ass. I am getting too old, and am way too tall, to be folding myself in and out of the car numerous times a day. Tucson has perhaps the worst roads in the west and it literally hurt to hit the potholes in the rough riding Honda. My wife and I also wanted something roomy and economical to use on road trips instead of our large SUV. The only car that came to mind that was also fun to drive was the GTI, recent winner of numerous buff book awards. Other “hot hatches” like the Fiesta ST do nothing for me – so GTI it was.

Choosing the GTI was easy; buying it was a challenge due to the infuriating, nonsensical combinations of options and models on the car. (My dealer would later confirm it is as frustrating to them as it is to the consumer). I wanted the $24,785 base model due in part to its cool Clark Plaid cloth seats. I also wanted the $1,495 Performance Package that bumps horsepower up by 10 to 220 and includes upgraded brakes and differential. The MSRP on that combo would be $26,280 but there were none to be found. Most GTIs available had additional options or were the SE model with leather, a sunroof and better sound system and were priced from $29,000 to over $31,000. If you want Navigation, your only choice is to buy the Autobahn model with a base MSRP of $30,045 and is only available as a 4-door. I ended up searching for the admittedly well-equipped base 2-door S model in white, the Official Car Color of the State of Arizona.

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You can order a VW to your exact specs and color but you will wait 6 months for delivery.

I posted the S2000 briefly on Craigslist and discovered when you’re selling a specialty car on this site, most folks that respond are dreamers, schemers, scammers and credit criminals. I could have spent a few hundred dollars and listed the Honda on cars.com or autotrader.com and profited a little more than trade-in value from an out-of-state buyer, but that would be after dealing with inspectors, shippers, etc. I was not in the mood.

In Tucson you have the choice of a friendly, local, family-owned Volkswagen store or one owned by a notorious megadealer group from up north. I chose the former but I did respond to an email from the latter that they send to all Craigslist sellers and told them I was in the game for a GTI. They characteristically did not respond.

The preferred retailer had the car I wanted on their lot. A test drive confirmed all the hype: the GTI is zippy, has a cockpit worthy of an Audi, and is a riot to drive. When the store offered a nice discount on the GTI and a trade-in value combined with tax savings that was within $1,900 of what I paid for the Honda in 2013, the deal was done. The transaction was quick and easy, maybe the best car buying experience I’ve ever enjoyed. To their credit, Volkswagen dealers did score above average in the 2014 J. D. Power Sales Satisfaction Index.

This GTI will now be a TTAC long-term test car. We will do some comparos with other vehicles in its category. We will try to obtain a GTI with the Performance Package to find out what I am missing. Most of all, we will find out what the VW is like to live with over the course of a year. The first report will be after a 2,500 mile round-trip run to Yellowstone National Park in a few weeks.

After one day of ownership (and thus I am still under the influence of the New Car Ether) my first impression can be summed up thusly: the Volkswagen GTI is a ton of fun and a terrific value for $25,000. Let’s see how it performs down the road…

Photos by Oscar Alvarado of Chapman Volkswagen.

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Honda Civic Hatch “Near Identical” To NY Coupe Concept, Will Get Hybrid http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/honda-civic-hatch-near-identical-ny-coupe-concept-will-get-hybrid/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/honda-civic-hatch-near-identical-ny-coupe-concept-will-get-hybrid/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 10:59:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1058010 If a report from Britain’s AutoExpress is to be believed, the front clip of the next-generation Honda Civic hatchback – due to arrive in North America for the first time since 2000 (in non-Si form) – will look “near identical” to the Civic Coupe concept revealed in New York. Head of Honda UK, Philip Crossman, […]

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Civic Concept

If a report from Britain’s AutoExpress is to be believed, the front clip of the next-generation Honda Civic hatchback – due to arrive in North America for the first time since 2000 (in non-Si form) – will look “near identical” to the Civic Coupe concept revealed in New York.

Head of Honda UK, Philip Crossman, told the UK outlet the next Civic hatchback will only differ from the coupe at the rear third of the car and all sheetmetal fore of that will be the same. In addition to a coupe, sedan, and hatchback, AutoExpress also posits a new Tourer model will likely be available, though we can’t see this version of the Civic coming to our shores.

The Civic will ride on a common architecture for both European and North American models. Under hood will be a brand new drivetrain with a hybrid version available later.

“We’ll come back with a class-leading hybrid powertrain in the next five years,” said Crossman, “and it’s likely to make as much impact as the VTEC valve system.”

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Attack Of The Orphaned Acuras http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/attack-orphaned-acuras/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/attack-orphaned-acuras/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 15:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1042906 My friend and fellow auto journo Tyson Hugie is the ultimate Acura fanboy. He owns a 2013 Acura ILX 6-speed with the personalized plate ILX, a 1994 Legend GS Sedan 6-speed and a 1992 NSX 5-speed which just hit 100,000 miles. He was honored by American Honda for passing 500,000 miles on his 1994 Legend […]

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My friend and fellow auto journo Tyson Hugie is the ultimate Acura fanboy. He owns a 2013 Acura ILX 6-speed with the personalized plate ILX, a 1994 Legend GS Sedan 6-speed and a 1992 NSX 5-speed which just hit 100,000 miles. He was honored by American Honda for passing 500,000 miles on his 1994 Legend LS Coupe 6-speed. And he is currently searching for a Vigor 5-speed in Arcadia Green.

Hugie clearly has a case of ADHD – Acura Definite Hyperactivity Disorder.

So naturally we had to take his orphaned Acuras along with the greatest discontinued Honda ever – a S2000 roadster, my 2008 with 32,000 miles – for a run up Tucson’s twisty Catalina Highway to Mount Lemmon and bemoan the demise of these late, great Honda cars. All in the name of automotive research, of course.

We were joined by the owner of a 144,000-mile 1993 NSX 5-speed and a group of Southwest auto writers credited at the bottom of this post. We tried in vain to find an example of the other great discontinued Acura, an Integra R or GSR. We recently wrote about this 1997 R in Phoenix, but it was in the process of being sold for $43,000, and every other one we spotted on Craigslist had aftermarket rear wings too tall for the low hanging trees on our drive. Apparently original 1990s Integras are as rare as original 1990s Legends.

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Kulikowski joked about us doing a running Le Mans start to see who could grab an NSX for first leg. I hopped in Hugie’s 1992 and was first struck by how low the car sits; I was actually looking up at the S2000. The mid-engine NSX is simply sensational to drive, with 270 horses over your shoulder, the precise Honda stick shift and near-neutral cornering. Said Jason, “The NSX was intimidating to me at first but in typical Honda tradition, the car instantly felt familiar and easy to drive. Everything feels raw and mechanical. This is a sensation you just can’t find anymore.”

Both NSXs had over 100,000 miles on their clocks but you could barely tell, a testament to Honda durability. They were rock solid with not a squeak or rattle to be heard. I doubt there are many 100K Ferraris to be found in such condition. Whether you fall into the “it can’t be an exotic because it is a Honda” camp or the “it is built by Honda so it is an exotic that will not break” group, most will agree that the NSX is one of the greatest sports car ever sold in America.

Acura Fanatic: Tyson Hugie's 4 Acuras have a combined 901,224 miles

Tyson’s Corner: Acura fanatic Hugie’s 4 Acuras have a combined 901,224 miles

I had one of the first Gen 2 Legend Coupes as a “demo” back in 1991 and I still remember what a sensation it was at the time. I doubt I will ever drive a 500,000+ mile car as strong as Hugie’s coupe. We only drove the car briefly due to a dying clutch. The suspension was also a little iffy but the silky 6-cylinder motor pulled as willingly as the sedan’s. Amazingly, this Legend has only been towed once – when its original fuel pump let go at 399,750 miles. The car has been through seven timing belts and Hugie’s goal is seven more.

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It is no surprise that everyone loved the S2000. I told the gang that below 6,000 RPM, the Honda is the World’s Crappiest Miata: rough-riding, loud and not much torque. At that point the VTEC kicks in (yo!) and the motor screams towards its 8,200 rpm redline. This may be Honda’s greatest engine ever: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 240 horsepower in the original AP1 version, 237 horsepower from 2.2 liters in this second-generation AP2, or 7 more than in the Legends’ engines.  All agreed the convertible was the best car for the serpentine and smooth Catalina Highway and the sunny 70 degree weather we enjoyed.

As for that lack of low-end umph: I did have a ride in high school that had less torque. I don’t remember the model but I remember it was made by Schwinn.

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We all agreed on the car that surprised us the most: the 147,000-mile Legend Sedan. The last flagship Acura sedan available with a manual transmission, it was quiet, quick and comfortable. Said Pawela, “The big glass greenhouse and low dash made for an excellent view out. When it came time to toss this big boy around some corners, I was amazed how composed and level the body remained.” Thanks to Acura’s designers and its stealthy Desert Mist Metallic paint, the sedan was also voted the car “Most Likely to be Ignored by the Highway Patrol.”

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Both Legends came standard with a cool now-discontinued feature: AN ACTUAL NAME rather than being an “Acura RTIGLX.” Stop me if you have heard this one before: if Acura had kept the name “Legend” and stuffed a V8 under its hood, the luxury car landscape would be vastly different today.

Our chase car was a new Lexus RC350 (which we all loved for its great seats alone), allowing us to put the cars in perspective. Said Lee, “Having the Lexus kind of gave a unique experience – here, you have all these cars designed to be “driving” cars; there was a certain connection between the driver and the car. As the driver you felt a sense of control; in fractions of a second you have to decide if you need more or less steer, adjust your throttle or your braking. Going between the NSX, S2000, and the Legend 4-Door and then back into the Lexus you can see a massive difference in how and what a car is suppose to do.”

NSX in Mirror

Honda and Acura still sell mainstream cars with a sporty twist, but none like these. There is a revived S2000 and NSX on the horizon but they will feature turbos and hybrids, be bluetoothed and 27 air-bagged, and probably even have power steering which two of our testers lacked. In other words: the days of basic (read manual transmission and normally aspirated) unique, fun luxury and sports cars are dwindling due to the realities of today’s auto business. Build a screaming 4-cylinder convertible that only gets 18 mpg in town today? No way due to CAFE regulations. Put a stick shift in a luxury coupe? Who would buy it? Build an exotic mid-engine sports car? Sure, that will be $150,000 please – or more like $250,000 after Acura dealers are done ADMing the new NSX.

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The greatest compliment we can pay these classic vehicles is this: go check out the soaring prices being asked for clean, unmodified examples.

We plan to do Part Two this fall and it may take that long to find decent copies of an Integra GSR, CRX Si, CRX HF, and 4th generation Prelude. Or if Honda drops the CR-Z as they did recently with the Crosstour and Hugie finds his Vigor, we will find a Honda del Sol and take all four cars on another run – the Crappy Orphaned Hondas Tour…

Thanks to Tyson Hugie, James Lee, Jason Pawela, Peter Kulikowski, Kelvin Chang and photographer Beau MacDonnell for making this event happen!

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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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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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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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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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Honda Jade 02

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.

Honda Jade 01 Honda Jade 03 Honda Jade 02 Honda Jade 04

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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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