The Truth About Cars » Honda http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 29 Sep 2014 21:20:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Honda http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Honda Civic Type-R Ushers In The Turbo Era http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/honda-civic-type-r-ushers-turbo-era/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/honda-civic-type-r-ushers-turbo-era/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 12:20:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920873 As is standard operating procedure for Honda, the Civic Type-R has been revealed, nominally labeled a “concept”, even though the production car will look nearly identical. This will be the first performance-minded Honda to use forced induction, with a 2.0L VTEC 4-cylinder making in excess of 278 horsepower thanks to turbocharging. Active dampers and a […]

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As is standard operating procedure for Honda, the Civic Type-R has been revealed, nominally labeled a “concept”, even though the production car will look nearly identical.

This will be the first performance-minded Honda to use forced induction, with a 2.0L VTEC 4-cylinder making in excess of 278 horsepower thanks to turbocharging. Active dampers and a sport mode, dubbed “+R”, will give the new Civic the qualitative chops needed to compete with the Volkswagen Golf GTi, Ford Focus ST and other current generation hot hatches.

North American buyers will likely not get the wild looking hatch seen here, but hopefully the boosted VTEC four-banger makes its way here in the next Civic Si.

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25 Years On, Are Cars Really More Expensive? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/25-years-cars-really-expensive/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/25-years-cars-really-expensive/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 19:45:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=919594 That’s the question that Marketplace is asking, using the Honda Accord as a yardstick. In 1989, a Honda Accord with 98-horsepower, no ABS, crank windows and no A/C. In 1989 dollars, that would set you back $11,700. A base model 2014 costs $21,955 in today’s dollars, or $11,500 25 years ago. Obviously, there’s a massive […]

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That’s the question that Marketplace is asking, using the Honda Accord as a yardstick. In 1989, a Honda Accord with 98-horsepower, no ABS, crank windows and no A/C. In 1989 dollars, that would set you back $11,700.

A base model 2014 costs $21,955 in today’s dollars, or $11,500 25 years ago. Obviously, there’s a massive qualitative and quantitative advantage between the two cars, with the newer car offering better performance, safety, fuel economy and size.

There are plenty of economic factors (wages, cost of living etc), but as Marketplace notes, the cost per mile figure (when depreciation, fuel costs and maintenance) have stayed constant and financing terms have never been better. For those of you who were around in 1989 and able to chip in with your experiences

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Capsule Review: 2015 Honda City (Brazilian Market) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2015-honda-city-brazilian-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2015-honda-city-brazilian-market/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 12:30:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=918050 Cars do not exist in a vacuum. Besides all the regulations they must follow, there are market realities and competitors. Some makers are able to rise above the fray and charge more for their products as there is a perception that the cars are somehow superior to others, as is the case for many a […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Honda, GM Cracking Down On Non-Compliant CPO Programs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/honda-gm-cracking-non-compliant-cpo-programs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/honda-gm-cracking-non-compliant-cpo-programs/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 14:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916922 Honda and General Motors dealers beware: If you’re not strictly adhering to the rules laid out by the certified pre-owned overlords, you might find yourself suspended until conditions improve. Automotive News reports Honda CPO manager Brian Butts and GM CPO chief Larry Pryg both said most of the dealerships under their watch properly administer their […]

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Honda and General Motors dealers beware: If you’re not strictly adhering to the rules laid out by the certified pre-owned overlords, you might find yourself suspended until conditions improve.

Automotive News reports Honda CPO manager Brian Butts and GM CPO chief Larry Pryg both said most of the dealerships under their watch properly administer their respective programs, but those who do not are temporarily suspended.

For Honda, those suspensions are part of why CPO sales are down in 2014; production cuts — and the subsequent low off-lease volumes — following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami account for the rest of the missing sales. Sales dropped 7 percent in comparison to 2013 to 186,248 units.

Meanwhile, GM’s program saw a 10 percent increase in sales through August compared to last year, with 255,077 units leaving the used lot.

As for how those programs are monitored, Honda uses third-party companies to certify compliance, while GM Certified sends out its own reps to visit dealerships one to four times annually; those who comply receive fewer visits.

Honda’s program, which is undergoing a makeover as of this writing, requires non-compliant dealers to submit a plan and work with field staff to be able to sell CPO vehicles again after the 90-day suspension is lifted. GM also removes non-compliant dealers from the program, though no length of time was stated by Pryg.

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2015 Honda CR-V Gets New Look, New Transmission http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2015-honda-cr-v-gets-new-look-new-transmission/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2015-honda-cr-v-gets-new-look-new-transmission/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 14:23:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916346 Our own Jack Baruth is full of praise for Honda’s CVT transmission, and it looks like the 2015 CR-V could be the next vehicle from the Big H to adopt it, replacing the 5-speed automatic gearbox. While Honda has released just a single photograph of the 2015 CR-V, we have it on good authority that […]

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Our own Jack Baruth is full of praise for Honda’s CVT transmission, and it looks like the 2015 CR-V could be the next vehicle from the Big H to adopt it, replacing the 5-speed automatic gearbox.

While Honda has released just a single photograph of the 2015 CR-V, we have it on good authority that the CVT will be part of the CR-V’s mid-cycle refresh. It’s unlikely that consumers will notice the changeover, despite the howls of protest from certain corners of the enthusiast community. And the CR-V is unlikely to lose its dominant spot on the top of the crossover sales charts.

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Can The TLX Restore Acura’s Car Business? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/can-tlx-restore-acuras-car-business/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/can-tlx-restore-acuras-car-business/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 12:17:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=913394 U.S. sales of passenger cars at the Acura brand are down 32% through the first eight months of 2014, yet total Acura brand volume is down just 3%, a loss of 3264 units. Acura’s trio of crossovers, including 66 sales from the cancelled ZDX, have improved 20%, a gain of more than 12,000 units, not […]

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2015 Acura TLX SH-AWD V6U.S. sales of passenger cars at the Acura brand are down 32% through the first eight months of 2014, yet total Acura brand volume is down just 3%, a loss of 3264 units. Acura’s trio of crossovers, including 66 sales from the cancelled ZDX, have improved 20%, a gain of more than 12,000 units, not quite enough to offset the car division’s 15,552 lost sales.

It’s a tough year on which to judge Acura’s car output. Acura is replacing the TL sedan, TSX sedan, and TSX wagon with a single model, the TLX sedan. The TLX operates in a broad and rather affordable price spectrum, with four and six-cylinder powerplants, front or all-wheel-drive, and eight or nine-speed transmissions.

But this year’s car sales decline at Acura is nothing new. Moreover, it stretches beyond the disappointing sales of the disappearing TL and TSX.

ILX sales are down 18%; RLX volume is down 5%. Acura car sales slid 10% in 2013 after a 19% increase in 2012, which followed 2011’s 8% loss, 2010’s 1% increase, and consecutive declines in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. Acura sold 151,662 passenger cars in 2005, when the brand’s U.S. market share was 1.23%, but didn’t sell that many total vehicles in 2012. Acura car sales in 2013 were down 56% from 2005 levels; down 16% from 2008.

Is the TLX the answer? We only have one month’s results on which to base our interpretation of the market’s reaction to the new car, so interpret we shall not. However, after a bit of a wait for cars to arrive, the TLX’s August sales results (2286 units) were better than anything the TSX, wagon-inclusive, has achieved in the last 27 months.

Acura sales chart cars vs. SUVsEven if the TLX quickly outshines the TSX, historic TL numbers will be much harder to match. TL sales declined consistently on an annual basis in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009, perked up very slightly in 2010, then declined in 2011, perked up slightly again in 2012, and then plunged in 2013. The slide has been so long in forming that we forget how popular a car it was. 78,218 TLs were sold in 2005; less than a third that many last year. Combined, Acura sold 113,074 TLs and TSXs in 2005. We’re not about to see the TLX make a return to those heights for Acura.

The RLX is far less popular than the RL was nine years ago, as well. Acura may sell 3800 this year. 17,572 RLs were sold in 2005, which preceded seven consecutive years of decline.

The RSX contributed an average of 19,915 annual sales in its three final full years: 2004, 2005, and 2006.

With help from those two lower-volume models, cars generated 70% of Acura’s U.S. volume in 2004, 72% in 2005, and 69% in 2006. Cars accounted for 41% of Acura’s U.S. sales in 2013, just 31% so far this year.

Acura is very much a crossover brand now. Acura sold 98,151 MDXs, RDXs, and ZDXs last year, the kind of total Acura hasn’t achieved with its cars in seven years. Compared with 2005, when the MDX was alone in Acura’s utility vehicle stable, Acura crossover sales in 2013 were 69% higher. Acura has already sold 73,375 MDXs, RDXs, and ZDXs in 2014, more than the total achieved by the brand’s crossover lineup in all of 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, or 2011.

These aren’t just popular vehicles in comparison with Acura’s increasingly unpopular cars. The MDX outsells all premium brand SUVs and crossovers save for the Lexus RX. Sales of the RDX are down 2% in 2014, but it’s still outselling the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK, BMW X3, and Volvo XC60. And it’s not as though all premium automakers (or premium wannabes) aren’t increasingly reliant on utility vehicles. BMW, for example, didn’t produce any SAVs in 1998, but in 2014 more than one-third of the brand’s U.S. sales involve an X1, X3, X4, X5, or X6.

Yet Acura’s steady rise in the SUV/CUV segment has not proved strong enough to maintain Acura’s position in the overall market. Acura’s market share in America was as high as 1.23% in 2005 and 1.15% in 2010, but Acura market share is down to 0.95% this year.

On its own, the TLX won’t replicate what the TL and TSX managed a decade ago. If the TLX can simply stop Acura from becoming an SUV-only brand, Honda’s crossover-centric answer to Land Rover or Jeep, we’ll say it achieved something meaningful, though perhaps not voluminous.

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

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

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

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

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

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Generating Content http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/generating-content/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/generating-content/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:16:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=913042 A heretofore unknown publication dubbed Gadget Review published a video outlining  “How to Charge BMW’s i3 Electric Car in a Desert (or Any Where)” using a Honda generator. I’m sure that somebody somewhere thought that this would be a great concept for “shareable” content (including the part where the host attempts to run the generator […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

A heretofore unknown publication dubbed Gadget Review published a video outlining  “How to Charge BMW’s i3 Electric Car in a Desert (or Any Where)” using a Honda generator. I’m sure that somebody somewhere thought that this would be a great concept for “shareable” content (including the part where the host attempts to run the generator inside the vehicle). The actual idea didn’t yield a ton of juice for the i3′s battery, but the idea of using generators to assist EV charging isn’t entirely unknown.

Long before the Chevrolet Volt, GM’s EV experimented were far cruder, and involved, you guessed it, Honda generators rigged to battery packs as an ersatz range extender. According to a former GM engineer and friend of TTAC, the generator would kick in as the batteries depleted themselves, allowing the prototype vehicle (a Geo Storm) to recharge the batteries and make its way home. “Some of those guys ended up working on the EV1 and are still at GM,” he told us. “I bet that’s where the inspiration for the Volt came from.”

This begs the question – why not just get the i3′s optional from the get-go, and avoid this problem altogether?

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Piston Slap: Why So Uncool Minivan? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-uncool-minivan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-uncool-minivan/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:07:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908561   Josh writes: What is the deal with minivans? I was thinking the other day that as an outdoor person, minivan’s are perfect. They have lots of room for people and gear, AWD (in some cases), lots of roof space, and better MPG’s than an SUV. But apparently I can’t own one because they’re not […]

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1972 Ford Carousel (photo courtesy: forum.chryslerminivan.net)

Josh writes:

What is the deal with minivans? I was thinking the other day that as an outdoor person, minivan’s are perfect. They have lots of room for people and gear, AWD (in some cases), lots of roof space, and better MPG’s than an SUV. But apparently I can’t own one because they’re not cool. I could get a wagon though. Isn’t a minivan just a super-sized wagon?

Will minivans ever be cool to own?

Sajeev answers:

What’s the deal with minivans? From public perception, CUV popularity, fleet usage, etc. the “uncool minivan” is indeed a sad reality.  But there is plenty to love here on TTAC, from the Farago era to something brilliantly Baruthian.  My second favorite rental vehicle was the 3.6L Pentastar Caravan: it was quick and comfortable with chassis/suspension/steering components ready to play. No surprise, my fav rental was a white 2011 Crown Vic. But I digress…

Isn’t a minivan just a super-sized wagon?  Not really, even if they (kinda) ended the station wagon era. Uncool minivans are a radical rethink: eschewing the traditional notions of the family wagon and the creepster’s van with the adoption of a modern front-wheel drive layout (Aerostar and Astro notwithstanding) for maximum utilization of a traditional two box design, while adding the styling of a family sedan/wagon for curb appeal. Supposedly the Chrysler minivan’s early concepts were lifted from Ford’s work in the early 1970s: possible since Lee Iacocca famously left FoMoCo after butting heads with Henry II far too many times, and took some design staffers with him…though that’s the subject of some controversy.

Will minivans ever be cool to own? Keep in mind the Minivan was and remains an enlightened design: that will attract people. Just like so many Pistonheads go nuts over vintage wagons these days (especially with wheels you’d expect on a restomod ’69 Camaro), the uncool minivan will come back to win our hearts.

Until then, who gives a crap what people think? Go buy one and brush off the haters, no matter what they say!

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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

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

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

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

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

Honda-Civic-Type-R-2 Honda-Civic-Type-R-1 Honda-Civic-Type-R_1 Honda-Civic-Type-R_2

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Chart Of The Day: Will The CR-V Eventually Be Honda’s Accord? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chart-day-will-cr-v-eventually-hondas-accord/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chart-day-will-cr-v-eventually-hondas-accord/#comments Sat, 30 Aug 2014 13:15:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=893858 In a manner of speaking, this chart is nothing more than anecdotal evidence. But it’s also evidence that’s been collected nationwide over the span of  a decade from one of America’s largest auto sellers. Proof that America is gradually moving away from traditional passenger cars to “crossovers” is better seen in a glance of the […]

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Accord CR-V sales chartIn a manner of speaking, this chart is nothing more than anecdotal evidence. But it’s also evidence that’s been collected nationwide over the span of  a decade from one of America’s largest auto sellers.

Proof that America is gradually moving away from traditional passenger cars to “crossovers” is better seen in a glance of the complete numbers for all vehicles. But the CR-V/Accord relationship is a useful one for telling a story.

As recently as 2006, American Honda sold more than two Accords for every CR-V. The CR-V’s reign as America’s favourite utility vehicle, suspended only briefly in 2011, began in 2007, a year in which Honda sold 1.8 Accords per CR-V. Fast forward to the first seven months of 2014 and Honda sells 1.2 copies of the Accord, America’s second-best-selling car, for every CR-V.

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Piston Slap: Less Slap, More (oil) Control http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/piston-slap-less-slap-oil-control/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/piston-slap-less-slap-oil-control/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:57:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=898410 Pete writes: Hey Sajeev, I got one for you. Several engines nowadays are set up to operate on half their cylinders under light-load conditions. Would the design considerations for piston rings vary from those normally used for such cylinders that are only used part-time? The question arises in the context of a 2009 V6 Accord […]

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(photo courtesy: autozone.com)

(photo courtesy: autozone.com)

Pete writes:

Hey Sajeev, I got one for you.

Several engines nowadays are set up to operate on half their cylinders under light-load conditions. Would the design considerations for piston rings vary from those normally used for such cylinders that are only used part-time? The question arises in the context of a 2009 V6 Accord that is currently in the Honda dealer’s shop to have the piston rings replaced at the manufacturer’s expense to cure a continual oil consumption and spark plug fouling problem.

Sajeev answers:

We learned from a previous Piston Slap that General Motors answered your query:  the displacement-on-demand (DoD) 5.3L truck motor (and its sister, LS4-FTW?) needs new and redesigned piston rings to cut oil consumption in the four deactivated cylinders. The motors still (supposedly) performs as intended with strong compression from the compression rings, oil burning is only a shameful side effect. Not to make a molehill out of a mountain, but that’s it.

Or perhaps turn off DoD with a computer re-flash, since there’s no free lunch in this business: if you want fuel economy, buy a lighter, trimmer and smaller engined vehicle. But I digress…

Honda, operating under the same Laws of Physics (Thermodynamics?) has the same DoD problem. In theory, the design of the “oil control” piston rings is crucial: more info is in this insanely detailed article. Definitely great bedtime reading for the Pistonhead.

Honda’s Class Action lawsuit doesn’t seem to hurt Odyssey or Accord resale values, so dump it if you wish. Or regularly check your oil level and spark plug condition, doing so lets affected V6 Honda products live a long and happy-ish life. Heck, this much oil consumption (1-3 quarts per high mileage oil change) was once the norm (during old school 3000 mi intervals) and that’s without DoD’s inherent fuel savings.

But that fact remains: save fuel or save oil? Pick one, son.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Question Of The Day: Carros Blindados http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/question-day-carros-blindados/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/question-day-carros-blindados/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899434 A few days ago, Jalopnik posted a link to a classified site in Colombia that listed a bunch of armored cars for sale. These aren’t the MRAPs patroling the streets of Ferguson either. Hell, they’re even more discreet than the typical black Suburbans you see roaming around D.C. In many parts of the world, those who […]

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A few days ago, Jalopnik posted a link to a classified site in Colombia that listed a bunch of armored cars for sale. These aren’t the MRAPs patroling the streets of Ferguson either. Hell, they’re even more discreet than the typical black Suburbans you see roaming around D.C.

In many parts of the world, those who are fortunate enough to afford a new (or relatively new) car are also the kind of people who are targeted for robbery, violent crimes or even kidnappings. An armored car is often a necessary requirement for daily life. The extra protection afford by the bulletproof glass and body panels can stop (but not completely hold off) an attack, and let you make a safe getaway. Other, more heavily armored vehicles have James Bond-esque features like smoke screens, sirens and gun ports.

These are often the Land Cruisers, Suburbans, Nissan Patrols and other SUVs that can withstand an AK-47. The body-on-frame construction is better able to withstand the added weight of the heavy armored body panels and glass. Smaller passenger cars are typically built to withstand attacks from a 9mm round (or a more powerful handgun round should it be required). A Renault Sandero appears to be a common type of lightly armored car in Colombia, although if you’re a badge snob, nearly twice that money will get you an Audi A1.

As much as I’d like a bulletproof Land Cruiser, this old Honda Legend is my ultimate choice. It looks old, and is therefore nondescript, a good quality to have in a dangerous environment. It appears to be nicely maintained, and it should be as reliable as any Honda product. And it represents the pinnacle of Honda’s mainstream passenger cars.

Check out the listings here and tell me what you’d pick.

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

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2015 Honda Fit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Yes, Honda Sales Are Down, But Key Hondas Aren’t http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/yes-honda-sales-key-hondas-arent/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/yes-honda-sales-key-hondas-arent/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 11:36:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897314 Honda sales are decreasing in a market that’s increasing, a fact to which Honda drew attention when the company’s U.S. sales boss called out the industry for short-term tactics that artificially expand the size of the market. U.S. new vehicle sales are up 5% through the first seven months of 2014, yet sales at the […]

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2014 Honda CR-V EX-L AWDHonda sales are decreasing in a market that’s increasing, a fact to which Honda drew attention when the company’s U.S. sales boss called out the industry for short-term tactics that artificially expand the size of the market.

U.S. new vehicle sales are up 5% through the first seven months of 2014, yet sales at the Honda brand are down 1.3% and sales at Acura are down 1.8%.

The good news at Honda includes their lack of reliance on fleet sales, the strong loyalty-building resale values of their vehicles, and their lack of emphasis on incentives.

Yet lost in the overarching statement that says, “Honda sales are down,” are the sales figures displayed by their core models.

Sales of the best-selling Acura, the MDX, are up 55.5% through the first seven months of 2014. The MDX is nearly 20,000 sales back of the dominant premium brand crossover, Lexus’s RX, but it leads the Buick Enclave and Cadillac SRX and easily outsells the Mercedes-Benz M-Class and BMW X5. With RDX sales sliding slightly and Acura’s car division in the throes of undesirability (ILX and RLX) and major model changeovers (TL and TSX to TLX), the MDX’s strength is a true bright spot.

Over at the headlining Honda brand, the company’s three best-selling models are collectively up 3.1% this year. The Accord, Civic, and CR-V account for more than three quarters of the Honda brand’s U.S. volume, and sales of this trio are not less common this year than they were last year.

July sales of the Accord jumped 11.3%, taking the midsizer’s year-to-date tally up to 220,351 units, a 0.9% increase. Among America’s five top-selling midsize cars, the second-ranked Accord’s growth is slowest: Camry volume is up 8.3%, Altima sales are up 2.9%, sales of the Fusion are up 4.3%, sales of the Sonata are up 5.8%. But midsize sales overall have fallen 1.6% in 2014 as the Malibu, Optima, Passat, 200, defunct Avenger, and Legacy have all declined. The overall passenger car market has not expanded at the same rate as the Honda Accord, either, rising just 0.7% year-to-date.

Meanwhile, while compact car sales have risen just 1.2% this year, Honda Civic volume is up 3.1%. It is now America’s second-best-selling small car, having led the compact category in both 2012 and 2013. While sales of the Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Volkswagen Jetta, Mazda 3, and Dodge Dart have fallen, Civic sales have risen.

Finally, the Honda CR-V is America’s top-selling SUV/crossover through the first seven months of 2014. The CR-V owns a much smaller portion of the utility vehicle market this year than last, however, as overall utility vehicle sales are up 17% in 2014 and the CR-V’s own category is up nearly 19%. CR-V volume has grown 5.9% year-over-year.

Simply put, Honda’s most successful models aren’t the models holding the brand back. As Acura will surely be helped to some degree by the new TLX, there is anticipated growth from Honda via the HR-V and a replacement for the aging Pilot, sales of which are down 19% in 2014.

Combined sales of the Odyssey, Pilot, Ridgeline, Crosstour, CR-Z, Fit, and cancelled Insight are down 13.3% in 2014, a loss of 28,192 units over the span of seven months.

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

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1996 Honda Accord

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Honda’s Sales Chief Warns Of “Stupid Things” As Accord, CR-V Top Retail Sales Charts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/hondas-sales-chief-warns-stupid-things-accord-cr-v-top-retail-sales-charts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/hondas-sales-chief-warns-stupid-things-accord-cr-v-top-retail-sales-charts/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 19:33:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=895466 In this year’s red hot new car market, the Honda Accord and CR-V have apparently captured the top spot in both new car and SUV retail sales through the first half of 2014, according to Polk registration data. But John Mendel, Honda’s head of sales, had some pointed words for the industry as a whole, and […]

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In this year’s red hot new car market, the Honda Accord and CR-V have apparently captured the top spot in both new car and SUV retail sales through the first half of 2014, according to Polk registration data. But John Mendel, Honda’s head of sales, had some pointed words for the industry as a whole, and the state of the American auto market.

Speaking to Automotive News, Mendel said that despite Honda’s slipping market share, Honda wouldn’t do“stupid things in the short-term that damage the person who bought yesterday.”

Criticizing longer loan-terms and looser underwriting standards for new vehicle loans, Mendel said

“It’s a very, very short-term tactic…especially in the subprime area, because you not only are pulling sales forward, you’re probably pulling people out of used cars into a new car that maybe they can’t afford.”

Stating that the new car market was “near the top”, Mendel said that Honda would continue to focus on retail sales, rather than pivot towards more fleet delivers like many of its rivals do. Even so, Honda’s sales are down 1 percent year to date, while incentive spending has increased drastically – as much as 55 percent for its passenger car lineup -, as Honda aims to stay competitive against competitive brands and make new car leases more attractive.

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Piston Slap: The Self-Lathing CRX? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/piston-slap-theres-rub/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/piston-slap-theres-rub/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 11:58:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=888017 Gareth writes: Good afternoon Sajeev, Read your latest and I’m determined to help you out. I recently had a bone-stock 87 CRX Si follow me home from an impound auction and, if I can get the damn thing through an Ontario Safety Inspection, I’ll let TTAC’s very own Derek K drive it. Therein lies the […]

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photo courtesy: flickr.com

Gareth writes:

Good afternoon Sajeev,

Read your latest and I’m determined to help you out. I recently had a bone-stock 87 CRX Si follow me home from an impound auction and, if I can get the damn thing through an Ontario Safety Inspection, I’ll let TTAC’s very own Derek K drive it.

Therein lies the rub, or brake rub really. The front discs were rubbing, a lot. Constant grinding sound as the wheels turn. I have since removed/lubricated the caliper sliders (they were a bit stuck from sitting) and measured the discs and pads using a measuring tape and straight edge, everything is above min specs.

With the pin lube the grinding noise has abated somewhat but continues, worst is passenger side.

The discs don’t feel warped (no front shudder under hard braking).

Your thoughts?

Sajeev answers:

OMG SON, why can’t someone find ME a nice CRX in Houston?  What’s so wrong with giving the Piston Slap Guy a ride in your whip, huh? I care not of the distance between us, I can still feel the pain inflicted upon me! How could this happen to me?  It must be my fault!

Perhaps less self-loathing and more self-lathing is in order.

Your situation reminds me of an old road test of mine, where the subject’s rear brakes rusted shut waiting for a test drive. Popping them free was fun, actually. That said, I don’t know what’s out-of-place on the CRX.  My gut says that driving more will wipe off the rust/squeaks like a lathe in a machine shop.  Assuming you’ve only driven it a few yards…sorry, meters for you Canadians.

So either replace the discs/pads/calipers now (and flush all the brake fluid) OR drive it slowly another 0.25 to 0.5 miles kilometers to learn more.  This depends on the population density nearby and your faith in this machine. Driving the CRX it will either clear things up or the offending part will come forward as the brakes continue to lathe themselves.

Who knows, it could be a bad hub! But I bet you have rusty/sticky calipers, so flush the brake fluid and put fresh pads/calipers/new or turned rotors on too.

Cheap insurance, totally worth it. Don’t mess with rusty brake systems, DK will appreciate it.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Piston Slap: Condensing Honda’s Hot Air? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/piston-slap-3/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/piston-slap-3/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 12:24:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=884769 TTAC commentator Land Ark writes: Sajeev: I recently acquired a 2007 Honda Civic EX sedan from a neighbor who moved out of the country. I got a really good deal on it and for the most part it’s in good shape. It has 80k miles, 5 speed, and one major flaw. The air conditioning is […]

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Don’t be so dense, airhead. (photo courtesy: http://www.full-race.com)

TTAC commentator Land Ark writes:

Sajeev:

I recently acquired a 2007 Honda Civic EX sedan from a neighbor who moved out of the country. I got a really good deal on it and for the most part it’s in good shape. It has 80k miles, 5 speed, and one major flaw. The air conditioning is a little bi-polar; sometimes if blows cold and sometimes not.

It always feels cool to cold coming out of the vents but it doesn’t cool the cabin down. It seems to get warm most consistently while sitting still, like at a red light. My first thought was that there wasn’t enough R gas and I would just trundle down to my local big box retailer and pick up some Cold in a Can. But my thinking was that 2007 is too new for it to be out of gas, could it be leaking? I determined that was not too likely since the air coming out was still cold and because the temperature fluctuates and I would think a leak would cause the temperature to remain constant as the gas leaks out until there is no cold air blowing at all. I definitely could be wrong on that though, I’ve never had an A/C go bad on me before.

Symptoms:

  • AC is cool but not cold.
  • At red lights the inside of the cars gets noticeably warmer. On the highway it gets noticeably cooler most of the time and warmer on occasion.
  • At idle the temp just outside the vents ranges from 68 – 72
  • If I get the RPMs up to 2500 the temp just outside the vents will drop to 65.
  • Clutch on the AC audibly engages when turning it on
  • AC cycles on and off as I would expect. The vent temp rises about 5 degrees before kicking back on.
  • The fuses are good.
  • I swapped the relays and noticed no change in behavior. I left the compressor relay out and it stopped functioning as I would expect.
  • The clutch spins when the AC is turned on and does not spin when it turns off.
  • Both fans spin when the AC is turned on.
  • I ran the self diagnostic check and the recirc light did not blink.
  • I measured the pressure with both front doors open at ~80 degrees and got 40 low and 160 high.

I took to the Civic forums and it appears it is a wildly common problem with this and the previous generation. There doesn’t appear to be one common cause or solution. Lots of people trying things and having that fix it only to post a few days later that it stopped working again. I have checked and both electric fans are functioning, I can’t say that they spin all the time but when I checked both were working. So that is the only symptom I have ruled out. I read that sometimes something in the compressor can break off and block the lines. My fear of trying to add some R-134 would be that most cans come with leak sealer and if there is a blockage and no leak I wouldn’t want to send sealer through the system.

The most likely candidate for the problem seems to be the compressor clutch. I don’t know why I think that other than it was mentioned and seems like it would be impossible to fix in your driveway so no one has tried to replace it and reported back that it didn’t work.

I haven’t dug too deeply into the car but I bought it to get used to driving a stick and it spends lots of time sitting when it’s hot out so I am missing some good opportunities to drive. And because I plan on selling this car in a few months, I am not interested in putting a whole new A/C system in it. So what should I be checking/testing? I’ll try anything that doesn’t require releasing the pressure on the system, otherwise I’ll have to take it in.

Sajeev answers:

I’ve personally experienced poor air conditioning in a co-worker’s Civic on a wonderfully hot and humid Houston afternoon. And when A/C systems don’t work but pass your (comprehensive) diagnosis, thank goodness for forums that agree with us. In particular, commentator Rayspitcher41:

“Went and had my A/C recharged and a dye test done for $50. Turns out my compressor was starting to go and so was my condenser. It cost about $650 to repair with labor, but my extended warranty covered it all so I had no out of pocket. I have a 07 with 60K on it. Now the A/C is running Ice Cold within a mile of starting and driving and I’m in south florida with a heat index of 103 every day.”

In theory, air conditioners operate below peak efficiency when the engine is idling (below 1000-ish rpm) because the compressor isn’t effective at those speeds.  But that’s Problem #1 in this two-pronged quandary. I suspect one of the HVAC’s radiator lookin-thingies is also to blame: the condenser or evaporator.

I suspect the condenser. Look at which HVAC component takes the most abuse: the condenser is a big net that catches anything in front of the vehicle. (The evaporator safely nests inside the dash.)  Assuming that every 8th Gen Civic owner is happy with the HVAC when new, odds are the condenser loses efficiency over time.  Combine that with a compressor’s ineffectiveness at idle and you have a hot mess of a problem.

4624-062-speedometer-tachometer-480

So what do I suggest? In this order:

1. Check the pressures you find against a Honda service manual, add or remove refrigerant safely (don’t vent to the atmosphere, obviously).

2. Keep the idle above 1000 rpm when you need cold air.

3. Clean the condenser “fins” and inspect for physical blockage.  Use a condenser fin comb (yes, really) to fix bent fins.

4. Replace condenser, look for an upgrade from a revised design or newer model.

5. Replace compressor.

6. Give up and sell it.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Corolla Getting Set To Retake Small Car Sales Crown http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/corolla-solidifying-small-car-sales-lead/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/corolla-solidifying-small-car-sales-lead/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 14:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=882210 During a nine-year stretch between 2003 and 2011, the Toyota Corolla was consistently America’s best-selling small car. For eight of those years, consecutively between 2003 and 2010, the Honda Civic was America’s second-best-selling small car. Designs, architectures, and rivals changed, but the Corolla stayed on top. Yet while sales of the Corolla jumped 21% in […]

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2014_Toyota_Corolla_S, Picture Courtesy of Toyota

During a nine-year stretch between 2003 and 2011, the Toyota Corolla was consistently America’s best-selling small car.

For eight of those years, consecutively between 2003 and 2010, the Honda Civic was America’s second-best-selling small car.

Designs, architectures, and rivals changed, but the Corolla stayed on top.

Yet while sales of the Corolla jumped 21% in calendar year 2012 and sales of 2011′s second-ranked small car, the Chevrolet Cruze, increased 3%, sales of the Honda Civic shot up 44%. After this 2012 performance in which Civic sales rose above 300,000 units, Honda reported a further 6% increase in Civic volume in 2013. Even as the aging Corolla was replaced by a far less conservative car, the Corolla’s 4% increase to 302,180 units wasn’t nearly enough to catch the Civic.

After a two-year hiatus, however, Toyota USA appears poised to take back the small car sales crown. Through seven months, the Corolla has outsold the Civic by 7987 units. On a monthly basis, the Corolla has outsold the Civic in six of the last seven months, losing out only in June. Moreover, Corolla volume is increasing at a much sharper rate of late, climbing 24% over the last four months, a period in which Civic sales have grown only 6%, year-over-year.

Toyota won’t celebrate this victory too early. (The Camry’s consistent position atop the overall car category is of greater consequence, regardless.) The Corolla was 2013′s early small car sales leader, as well. At the halfway mark last year, the Corolla was a few hundred sales ahead of the Honda. One month later, the Civic was nearly 7700 units ahead of the Corolla.

U.S. small car sales chart July 2014 YTDTaken together, the Civic and Corolla, with steady assistance from the Nissan Sentra, have been the force powering the otherwise stagnant compact sector forward this year. Year-to-date sales of the Dodge Dart, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda 3, Mitsubishi Lancer, Volkswagen Golf, and Volkswagen Jetta have declined. Chevrolet Cruze sales, though healthy at the beginning of the year, have tumbled in each of the last two months. Kia Forte sales are up 5% in 2014, but that equals fewer than 2000 extra sales for the segment, and the Forte’s gains are more than offset by the loss of 15,492 sales by its Hyundai Elantra partner. WRX/STi aside, sales of the regular Subaru Impreza are up by only 1300 units.

Compact sales are up just 1% overall this year, yet Corolla/Civic/Sentra sales have risen 14%. Excluding the trio from the equation results in a decline of 6% for the compact class.

Mazda, meanwhile, sells but one 3 for every 3.3 Corollas. No, Mazda doesn’t have the same capacity for massive U.S. success, nor do Mazda dealers possess the kinds of inventory to challenge the dominant players. But if that isn’t a sign of what the market wants, what is? (The ratio was 2.4-to-1 just two years ago.)

Improvements aside, the latest Corolla is still far from the enthusiast’s favourite. Becoming more like the Corolla (and less appealing to enthusiast drivers) hasn’t hurt the Civic and Sentra, either. Nissan has already sold more Sentras in 2014 than in all of 2012. Unless the trend reverses itself, 2014 could end as the Civic’s first ever year above 340,000 units.

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Piston Slap: The Auto-Erratic Transmission? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/piston-slap-auto-erratic-transmission/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/piston-slap-auto-erratic-transmission/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 11:54:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=880922 Longtime TTAC commentator Mikey writes: Sajeev, I bought a 2014 Impala LT with a 2.5 four cylinder, and a 6 speed auto. I’m a 60 year old guy, that’s driven more cars than I can count. I’m still in awe that the engineers have figured out a way to move a car with the weight and size […]

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Longtime TTAC commentator Mikey writes:

Sajeev,

I bought a 2014 Impala LT with a 2.5 four cylinder, and a 6 speed auto. I’m a 60 year old guy, that’s driven more cars than I can count. I’m still in awe that the engineers have figured out a way to move a car with the weight and size of the Impala with a 155 cu. in. engine. I love the car, with its comfort, and size, it suits my needs perfectly. I’m getting great gas mileage, with mostly city driving. Were flirting with 5 dollars a gallon up here.  I’m willing to sacrifice power for economy.

I’m rarely on the highway these days.  However I do find that at highway speeds{ 75 mph or so} the slightest touch of the gas pedal, will cause a down shift. The tach will jump from 2200 up to the high 3000′s in an instant. Does the 6 speed down shift sequentially, 6 to 5? Or will it go back 6 to 4th?

A week or so ago, I think it was “Kenmore” that was talking about a 6 speed Honda?  The discussion revolved around the transmission ” clunking” as it downshifted at below 10 mph. I find the Impala does that under certain conditions.  Is this normal?

Thanks

Sajeev answers:

Occasional clunking is normal until some third-party disassembles a metric ton of these gearboxes, points to a poorly designed part and goes on the Internet saying, “ZOMG Y U ENGINEERS BE SO CHEEP HERE?”

And by that I mean that we shall never know. Regarding the frequent downshifting, I recently rented a four-cylinder Buick LaCrosse, same problem.  Hell, even a V6 Mustang rental constantly shifted when I breathed on the gas. On a mostly flat stretch of highway!

This frustration is why I referred to these units as auto-erratic in my review of the CVT powered Mitsubishi Mirage. People think CVTs suck, rightly so.  But many of today’s self-shifters suffer from computerized analysis paralysis.

It’s not entirely the autobox’s fault: with only 186 lb-ft of torque peaking at a somewhat high 4400rpm, don’t blame the Impala for a 6-5 or 6-4 downshift because you feathered the go-go pedal. That’s just the way it is…unless you get a 74hp/74lb-ft Mirage with a Nebraska-flat torque curve.

But is this a problem? Not really: any auto-erratic box attached to a low-end torque free motor shall do this.  It bothers me too, but I’m spoiled by vehicles with a fatter torque curve. I wager you are too, in your 60 years on this earth. That said…

Bonus!  A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:

Let’s consider the epic struggle between horsepower and torque. There was a time when most everything made power like a modern turbo diesel. Back when the battle for peak performance numbers and increasing redlines in boring family sedans and pickup trucks with a 4000rpm torque peak were unheard of.  

The good old days?  Not entirely sure.  But it’d be fantastic to see today’s technology applied to a fatter torque curve instead of sky-high horsepower battles. There’d be a superior driving experience and better fuel economy (less throttle needed), with a modest penalty in full throttle acceleration. Or so says the Piston Slap Guy…

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Vellum Venom: Honda N600 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/vellum-venom-honda-n600/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/vellum-venom-honda-n600/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 12:57:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=880466 What’s the difference between car design and styling? My stint at CCS in Detroit makes me think styling is the shallow, frilly, cosmetic side of car design. Freshman designers are (were?) trained to focus on styling, but anyone integrating with marketing/accounting/engineering departments after school knows the real deal. They gotta know car design. The folly […]

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title

What’s the difference between car design and styling? My stint at CCS in Detroit makes me think styling is the shallow, frilly, cosmetic side of car design. Freshman designers are (were?) trained to focus on styling, but anyone integrating with marketing/accounting/engineering departments after school knows the real deal. They gotta know car design.

The folly of a sheltered life aside (don’t us delusional autobloggers know it?) the Honda N600’s heavily constrained blueprint came to life with nearly to zero style.

1

Is this a golf cart with mad retro styling? Those pub style tables could seemingly support the N600’s shockingly small footprint. Except not, but compare the N600’s seats to the chairs. Then note how “open” the greenhouse is relative to the diminutive body underneath. Like many of our younger readers, I never saw an N600 in person…they actually sold a car this small in America?

photo credit: imcbd.org

My only recollection of the N600 was “CHiPs” reruns as a kid. Watching a huge guy destroy a perfectly servicable machine horrified took me aback, yet most viewers probably found it entertaining.

Be it Architecture, Graphic, Product or Car design; I wonder if designers recoil in horror when their art (so to speak) extends past its prime in such a public manner. It’s gotta hurt.

2

To see it is to understand the term “bare bones.” With a healthy smattering of chrome, that is. The N600 cleanly mounts headlight pods, a toothy grille and a subtle emblem into its tiny body. The signal lights are an unfortunate afterthought. But the massive bumper must be a last minute addition for the American market. It’s an interesting dynamic, but like damn near any car from the early-to-mid 70s, looks better with small bumpers.

3

This emblem, like the bodywork, has been refinished. This blend of midcentury modern in the “H” with a prominent model designation within a clean wedge of a badge does work. But the dual grille texture (metal bars with latticework behind) is an unexpected surprise, adding depth and…um…excitement?

5

Shame about the protective bumper tubing: note how the hood tapers down to the grille and effortlessly surrounds the headlight’s northern hemisphere. Without that merry-go-round grab handle, the N600 would be an appealing little car.

6

Even better, there’s no odd cut line separating the front fascia from the headlights. And there’s the hood’s logical end point at the headlight’s center line. This ability to hide cut lines at natural transition points is something we love in today’s Aston Martin, and rarely elsewhere.

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Too bad Aston craftsmanship is so damn expensive: exposed bolts/screws and slip-fit panels are the marks of a super cheap whip.

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This wee machine can’t fit all its mechanical bits inside the body!

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I’m enamored with the N600 from this angle: looking like the Plymouth from Stephen King’s “Christine.”

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Sadly all the subtle integration, the blend of flat planes and voluptuous curves of the front end absolutely disappear once you turn the corner. VW Beetles and MINI Coopers rest easy: this is design over styling.

12

Some strange bits: the blocky, stagnant negative area making a hood valley, on something small enough to need no contouring for curbside appeal. And the teardrop bulge, which I was couldn’t verify was needed, as the hood wouldn’t open. A tricky latch, that!

12_1

The washer nozzle is adorable.

13

The hood vents cleanly integrate into the N600’s form, even if they shouldn’t need to “fight” the valley in the hood. The simple cowl treatment looks clean, staying that way those who battle snowfall or falling leaves/debris.

14

Wait, where did all the round-ish and somewhat appealing style go? Uber static lines! Gone, in the name of design?

15

Afterthought chrome aside (needed for chrome hungry Americans?), there’s nothing appealing from this angle. It’s in stark contrast to the front.

16

Much like the grille’s emblem, the N600’s hubcap makes a strong statement in its minimal form: that Mad Men worthy Honda emblem inside a “keystone” perimeter with a subtle lip at the cap’s edge is a nice touch. The size of the hubcap relative to the wheel makes it close to a full wheel cover, and more chrome here means the N600 is less warehouse trolley-like.

17

SITTIN ON KUMHO TENZ, Y U HATIN SON???

18

The N600 is cleaner/faster looking without the chrome spear. And note again how large the greenhouse is relative to the body: necessary considering the N600’s cramped cockpit.

19

Practical says the decal? Some Americans embraced the N600’s appeal, but Detroit ruled the roost back in the early 1970s. They had size, and style. The N600’s uncanny ability to lack any sense of style a la VW Beetle, Mini Cooper or Fiat 500 musta hurt sales.

To wit, note how the A-B-C pillars lack a cohesive flow in terms of complementary rake, size and shape.

20

The fender emblem possesses similar elements to the one on the grille, but with unique textures/topography. It’s cooler than the front emblem.

21

Clearly a victim of an almost-professional restoration, yet I suspect door/rocker panel gaps weren’t laser perfect back then anyway.

22

The A-pillar is rather fast and sleek on its own, not to mention the full length rain gutter accentuating the speedy demeanor. The windshield rubber is another sign of a lost era…for good reason.

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Poor paint/body work, but still more appealing than a modern car’s black plastic triangle of A-pillar DLO fail.

23

Not only does the B-pillar fail to emulate the A-pillar, it’s not symmetric! Square off the lower portion of the quarter window (or round the door) and curb appeal increases.

23_1

While the integrated release button/key cylinder is trick and space efficient, the flat profile and lumpy negative area do not help with the N600’s lack of cohesive style. Is there any room for style on this machine?

24

Real estate for a fuel door is in Manhattan-grade short supply on the N600’s body.

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It doesn’t get more honest than a roof-mounted antenna, perfectly mounting on a curved shape. Nice.

26

While the front end’s roundness was a stark contrast to the fender’s solidarity, the N600’s middle section softens up thanks to a modicum of tumblehome (seen in the door cutaway) from the base of the door to the roof.

Curves, they are a good thing.

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Imagine how much more “wrong” the N600 would look without that tumblehome from this angle!

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While the tail light flows into the body like that clean roof antenna, the rain gutter, molding and vent louver are necessary(?) afterthoughts.

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But it’s quite fetching by itself!

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The N600’s proto-CVCC DNA is showing! The taillights and trunk cutout is a nice cross between pre-war automobile construction (exposed hinges and a bustle trunk) and the future of hatchback design once a little more rear overhang was deemed necessary.

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The back end’s flattened demeanor is very MINI Clubman, without the charm. Or the functionality, thanks to the fixed rear glass. Luckily there were no Sam’s clubs back then.

29

The pudgy, cheeky contour of the trunk is both ungainly and adorable at the same time. Design over Styling!

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Nice bit of retro kit functional design for the grab handle, I was tempted to fix the logo’s problem with a Testors enamel marker.

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Quickly glance at this shot and you’d be forgiven for thinking this is a whip from L.A. Noire.

29_3

Logical and well-designed license plate light, note the exposed screws that’ll make bulb replacement a breeze. Hopefully.

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Exposed hinges in the 1970s? No wonder that dude on “CHiPs” ripped it apart so easily!

31
There’s a material heft and functional beauty presented in the lock cylinder’s one piece, polished design. Pictures fail to show the craftsmanship.

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Now let’s bring it home: no overhang is a big, BIG problem.

How can you “style” a design this restrictive? Imagine your job if your boss halved your budget. Or didn’t give you one in the first place! Therein lies the “beauty” of the N600, so to speak.

The Honda Civic that followed was a leap forward, the public’s reaction to Honda’s design and engineering prowess was logical. Because when you give enough room (literally and figuratively) to a design department, they will can make a nicely styled vehicle.

Thanks for reading, I hope you have a lovely week.

 

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Utilities, Automakers Collaborate On Smart PHEV Charging Platform http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/utilities-automakers-collaborate-smart-phev-charging-platform/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/utilities-automakers-collaborate-smart-phev-charging-platform/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 11:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=877810 A combination of one research institute, eight automakers and 15 utilities are working together to create a smart grid charging platform for PHEVs. Autoblog Green reports General Motors, BMW, Honda, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi and Toyota, as well as utilities like Con Edison, Manitoba Hydro and the TVA, are working with the Electric […]

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2015 Chevrolet Spark EV

A combination of one research institute, eight automakers and 15 utilities are working together to create a smart grid charging platform for PHEVs.

Autoblog Green reports General Motors, BMW, Honda, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi and Toyota, as well as utilities like Con Edison, Manitoba Hydro and the TVA, are working with the Electric Power Research Institute to develop a demand charging platform where the PHEV and the utility exchange information that would reduce the former’s charging during peak hours, then boost it back up during off-peak.

In turn, such a system would allow for increased service reliability for all customers “by helping to mitigate the impact of strain on the grid during peak periods and could contribute to curbing greenhouse gas emissions.” Further, utilities would better be able to manage usage without needing to upgrade their infrastructure, with the savings passed on to their customer base.

As for when this project would get off the ground, no timeline was given as of this time.

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