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. Thu, 27 Aug 2015 16:00:05 +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 Don’t Do Me Like That, Honda! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/dont-like-honda/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/dont-like-honda/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1153737 If my personal relationship with Honda had a Facebook status, that status would be the one so beloved of mistresses, side pieces, and FWBs — namely, “It’s Complicated”. A decade ago, I took a gig reverse-engineering a piece of production-line equipment for them. I had never owned a Honda automobile at the time and I’d […]

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accordcoupe1

If my personal relationship with Honda had a Facebook status, that status would be the one so beloved of mistresses, side pieces, and FWBs — namely, “It’s Complicated”. A decade ago, I took a gig reverse-engineering a piece of production-line equipment for them. I had never owned a Honda automobile at the time and I’d long since sold my first CB550. The car I drove to work at Honda was a black Volkswagen Phaeton.

Fast-forward to 2015. It’s been some time since I took the King’s shilling, so to speak, and the balance of payments between me and Ohio’s finest automaker is very far in my personal favor. But as I write this, I am the owner of four Hondas. And I’d buy another one, if they’d just quit screwing with me about the details.


Long-time TTAC readers know about my Accord V6 6MT Coupe. You’ve heard about its stout-hearted engine and its rounded-off front tires and its paper-thin OEM floormats. And if you’ve been on the site for a while, you might know about Kellee, the CB550 that I bought in 2012 and put back on the road in 2015 with help from my friend Josh.

But I’m also the owner of two more Hondas: a VFR800 25th Anniversary and, as of about forty-five days ago, a new CB1100 “standard”. As a result of that and my decision to sell my 944 at the beginning of the year, the scoreboard in my garage that used to read “Porsche 3: Honda 1″ now reads “Porsche 2: Honda 4″. I’d like to tell you all about the CB1100, from the 527-mile ride that I took on it the day I bought it, to the way it flat fucking leaps from a low-rev roll, to what it is like to have a beautiful woman on it sitting behind you with her arms around you and her eyes closed in blissful repose — but this is The Truth About Cars, not The Romantic Discussion Of Unfaired Motorcyles And Pretty Girls And Riding Around Downtown Columbus With No Helmet While Pretending To Be David Lee Roth At 1:34 In The “Panama” Video, so we’ll save that for another time.

Let’s talk, instead, about my Accord. I’m reliably informed by this very website that “non-sporty coupes” are on the way out. I’m also pretty sure that this is the last generation of Accord that will offer a V6. It’s certainly the last generation of Accord that will offer the combination of a manual transmission and that bad-ass J35Y2 straight out of Anna, Ohio where you can smell the metal in the air when you get off the freeway and the Subway is basically the local fine-dining restaurant and the nineteen-year-olds come out in the afternoon with smudges on their perfect cheekbones, laughing in the sun and engaged in their private conversations while you lean against your Phaeton in a white shirt with someone else’s name sewn above the pocket.

For that reason, I’ve considered selling my 2014 Accord, which is about to reach the 24,000-mile mark, and buying the 2016 Accord to replace it. Objectively this makes no sense; the 2016 Accord differs from the 2014 Accord in visual particulars and an upgrade to the in-car electronics. But you have to look at it like this: If there are no more Accord V-6 coupes, ever again, then it’s best to have the newest and freshest one possible. Buying a new Accord means that I will be able to drive this kind of car two years or 24,000 miles longer before giving up and setting my future fifty-something self into whatever bullshit bug-eyed, phone-booth-esque, CVT-shifted, turbo-three-cylinder crossover turns out to be the final and solitary result of the current automotive market’s quantum possibility collapse.

I have at least eighteen months to make this decision, since I figure that the 2017 model year will be identical to the 2016 and Honda’s unlikely to can the six-speed halfway through 2016. At worst they’ll pare-down the lineup in 2017 to make room for the inevitable Accord SE and I’ll scramble for a remaining 2016 model. But which model would that be? And therein lies the annoyance.

Believe me, I truly appreciate Honda’s steadfast commitment to making the manual transmission available. It’s why I’m driving an Accord instead of a Camry XSE V6. But the manual V6 coupe is the stepchild of the line. In 2014, it was available in just three colors, two of which (“Modern Steel” and Black) are not colors so much as they are the absence, or totality, of color. In 2015, Honda threw a really nice white pearl with an ivory interior into the mix, too late for me to make that choice.

The company has also failed to make its top-of-the-line “Touring” model available as a coupe here in the United States. (Elsewhere, there are apparently four-cylinder and six-cylinder Touring Coupes). That means that if you want LED headlamps in your Accord you have to get a sedan. For 2016, however, there’s a Touring Coupe for the United States. It has LED headlamps. Woo hoo! And nineteen-inch wheels. That’s probably an ugh!, given what heavier wheels do to light-footed cars like the current Accord.

When I heard that there was going to be a Touring-trim V6 coupe, I figured that was pretty much the tipping point for swapping my car out. I didn’t have an invite to the press event, so I had to wait until the information on trim and equipment became common knowledge. This morning, Honda emailed me an invitation to look at the 2016 Accord configurator. Sure enough, there’s a Touring coupe. It’s available in seven colors, including the fascinating-looking Opal Blue Pearl. And…

…it’s automatic-only. If I want a manual, I’m stuck with the same model (EX-L V6) that I have currently. And, unless I want to drive a bright-blue Accord coupe, which I don’t, I’m stuck with the same choices of red, black, and grey from 2014. At least the price didn’t go up too much and the i-MID display is multi-color now.

You know, I keep thinking that at some point, someone at Honda is going to get it. They’re going to realize that the high-end V-6 Accords are basically the Yukon Denalis to the Acura TLX’s Escalade, attracting a more favorable demographic of wealthier, more settled and brand-loyal customers than the pimped-out version across the street. And when they realize that, they’re going to do something like offer a fully-loaded V6 manual coupe, and a fully-loaded V6 manual sedan, and they are going to capture the business of people who would otherwise drop $60,000 on a loaded-up S5 or 335i coupe. Don’t laugh; there are a lot of Accords next to BMWs in the garages of the midwest.

On the other hand, maybe I should be grateful for Honda’s less-than-perfect marketing. If their marketing team were as efficient as, say, Porsche’s, then I’d be able to get any color I wanted for my Accord. But I’d probably be stuck with an automatic no matter what color I got, the same way buyers of the current 911 Turbo and 911 GT3 are assumed to be incapable of using a clutch. And I’d still be stuck with a manual day/night mirror unless I wanted to pay $1,195 for a Porsche Doppel-Mirror-System option package that made it impossible to have another option that would be similarly overpriced but also desirable, like Carbon Fiber Temperature Display Surround Variant Three. And at some point, I’d probably have to take my Accord in for an engine replacement, instead of the transmission replacement that the slush-shifted V6 Hondas used to get.

Maybe Honda will throw another color in the hopper for 2017. If you’re listening, oh sacred marketing people of Torrance, where the sun always shines and no manufacturing takes place, then perhaps you’ll hear my plea. How about… lime green?

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QOTD Bonus: Would You Buy A Chinese-built American Car? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/qotd-buy-chinese-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/qotd-buy-chinese-car/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 21:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1151657 You’re car shopping for your dream car. You test drive it. It’s perfect. Everything in its place. The power … breathtaking. You look at the window sticker and there are a few numbers after a dollar sign. You can afford it — just. Next year, your dream car will have no discernible differences from the […]

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Cadillac-XTS-with-Brad-Pitt

You’re car shopping for your dream car. You test drive it. It’s perfect. Everything in its place. The power … breathtaking. You look at the window sticker and there are a few numbers after a dollar sign. You can afford it — just.

Next year, your dream car will have no discernible differences from the one you are driving today. Everything will still be perfect, in its place, and the power will be just as intoxicating. Except next year the price will go down $5,000 thanks to a “Made in China” stamp on the doorjamb.

Whether toothless threat or real risk, the global automotive markets are so integrated now that GM can say they’ll build more Buicks in China and it’s a real possibility. GM does make vehicles in China these days. Shipping rates are incredibly low thanks to bigger and bigger ships making the journey across the Pacific more efficient.

Fifteen years ago, if a company pulled the China card, the UAW would laugh them off and say, “Yeah, right. We’ll believe that when sweaters and sweater vests become the defacto suit for automotive CEOs.” Now, almost every automaker that sells vehicles in North America has some kind of manufacturing operation in China.

Not too long ago, Honda Canada started importing the Fit from China, and not an eye was batted by consumers. I’d be surprised if a single Honda customer went into the dealer, test drove a Fit, found out it was built in China and decided not to buy it based solely on that fact.

But America is a different story, and GM is a different company. We don’t think of Honda as being a domestic automaker, even though they do manufacture a considerable number of products within our borders. Nor do we feel that Honda owes us anything (besides maybe an S2000 reprise).

Meanwhile, GM does owe us something. We kept them afloat, after all. While they don’t legally owe us — the taxpayers — a single dime at this point, the fact remains they are quickly squandering the very small amount of goodwill they had after the bankruptcy and re-emergence to profitability.

Surely, they owe us to keep as much manufacturing in North America as possible. But they don’t.

If your dream is to own a vehicle from a domestic manufacturer — let’s say Hellcat or Corvette or Shelby GT350 — and they decide to build that product in China while offering a lower MSRP, would you buy it?

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Just How Bad Are the Automakers Taking a Beating in the Stock Market? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/just-bad-automakers-taking-beating-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/just-bad-automakers-taking-beating-market/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 17:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1151441 Markets around the world are down, down, down, down and down. At the time of this writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down roughly 650 points on Monday, which is more than 1,500 points off of where we were at the beginning of August. A lot of the run is fueled by fears that China […]

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Come on Carlos, let’s hit up the Limeys for some money. Picture courtesy of motortrend.com

Markets around the world are down, down, down, down and down.

At the time of this writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down roughly 650 points on Monday, which is more than 1,500 points off of where we were at the beginning of August. A lot of the run is fueled by fears that China is tapering off its growth (or they’ve been making it up for a while) and that Europe is tinkering on the brink of sinking into another recession.

There are plenty of financial sectors that are taking a beating. Automotive companies are no different. Here’s a rundown of publicly traded automakers and how much they’ve lost from their July 31 close to mid-day trading today.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest droppers are those with more exposure to China (Especially Toyota, whose production has been hampered by a blast in Tianjinand Tesla, whose second stock offering could be diluting shares in addition to the larger, global shock.

Tata Motors (TTM) — 29.66-23.01, -22.4 percent
Tesla Motors (TSLA) — 266.15-219.46, -17.5 percent
Toyota Motor Corp (TM) — 133.71-110.87, -17 percent
BMW (BMW.DE) — 91.30-77.88, -13.5 percent
Daimler (DDAIF) — 89.19-77.59, -13 percent
Nissan Motor Company (NSANY) — 19.34-16.90, -12.6 percent
Honda Motor Company (HMC) — 33.96-29.70, -12.5 percent
Ford Motor Company (F) — 15.18-13.21, -12.9 percent
General Motors (GM) — 32.08-28.22, -12 percent
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) — 15.80-14.02, -11.2 percent
Volkswagen AG (VLKAY) — 40.35-36.56, -9.3 percent

Earlier this month, General Motors issued a statement before the massive stock sell off to ensure investors that it would endure a devalued Chinese currency. It’s “natural hedge,” or locally sourced suppliers, would help insulate it from massive market fluctuations, but not entirely. Last month, GM announced it would invest $5 billion in a joint venture with SAIC motors in China to locally build smaller cars.

On Monday, Daimler said it would press on further in China, despite worries that the market for luxury vehicles could be drying up, according to Automotive News.

Losing this much steam in China will undoubtedly have a ripple effect in the rest of the automotive world, that much is clear. The size of the wave has yet to be determined.

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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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QOTD: Why Hasn’t Anyone Out-Gas Mileaged The Prius? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/qotd-why-hasnt-anyone-out-gas-mileaged-the-prius/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/qotd-why-hasnt-anyone-out-gas-mileaged-the-prius/#comments Fri, 14 Aug 2015 12:28:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1141713 Fifty-one miles per gallon city. Forty-eight miles per gallon highway. Still the best numbers in the industry for nearly a decade now. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I’m referring to the Toyota Prius, which is a 5-door hatchback that looks a bit like an egg mated with a shopping cart. It’s been a decade since the […]

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2014 Toyota Prius

Fifty-one miles per gallon city. Forty-eight miles per gallon highway. Still the best numbers in the industry for nearly a decade now.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I’m referring to the Toyota Prius, which is a 5-door hatchback that looks a bit like an egg mated with a shopping cart. It’s been a decade since the Prius came out in hatchback form, and a decade since it achieved those impressive fuel economy figures: 51 miles per gallon city. 48 miles per gallon highway. And still, no one has unseated the Prius.

It hasn’t been without trying. After the original Honda Insight failed, Honda came out with a Prius-looking second-generation Insight trying to dethrone the king. But it didn’t even come close, with fuel economy figures reaching just 41 miles per gallon city and 44 mpg on the highway. Even the Civic Hybrid, in its current form, can manage only 44 mpg city and 47 mpg highway.

And then there are the other challengers. The Ford C-MAX, also a hybrid-only 5-door hatchback, originally seemed like it might be close to the Prius’s EPA ratings — until people started complaining that they couldn’t come anywhere near Ford’s published figures. Down the C-MAX’s numbers went to their current resting place of 42 mpg city and 37 mpg on the highway.

The Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid gets close at 42 mpg city and 48 mpg highway. So does the Honda Accord Hybrid, at 50 mpg city and 45 mpg highway. And the Ford Fusion Hybrid, at 44 mpg city and 44 mpg highway. But none of them can unseat the reigning king and champion, the Toyota Prius.

Interestingly, even Toyota doesn’t seem to be able to top the Prius. Proof of that came a few years back, when they debuted the even smaller Prius c, a subcompact hatchback version of the Prius designed to provide a low-cost alternative to the iconic car. Despite a smaller engine, a smaller size, and less weight, its fuel economy ratings are 53 mpg city and 46 mpg highway — no better combined than the Prius’s 51 mpg city and 48 mpg highway.

So how does the Prius do it? It isn’t by cheating. The people on Fuelly all seem to report somewhere between 47 and 49 miles per gallon, which is right there on par with the EPA’s estimate. By comparison, second-generation Honda Insight people all seem to be somewhere between 43 and 45 miles per gallon.

We must assume that the Prius gets its amazing miles per gallon by honest-to-goodness engineering: a streamlined body, a tremendously efficient engine, and a wide range of other modifications that gives this car a leg up on all of its wannabe-Prius competitors. Which brings me to ask: why hasn’t anyone topped the Prius?

If it’s just engineering, someone can certainly do it. After all, this isn’t rocket science. Tear down the Prius. See what they did. Replicate it. This is how Volkswagen created its current-generation Passat, although unfortunately the car they used as the benchmark was a 1995 Camry CE.

So maybe people don’t want to replicate the Prius. What I’m thinking is, other automakers have decided the Prius is old news, and they want to focus instead on plug-in hybrids and electric cars which are all the rage these days. But here’s the problem with that: last year, Toyota sold 207,000 units of the Prius family, compared to roughly 19,000 Chevy Volts, and 30,000 Nissan Leafs. In other words: although electric cars might be all the rage, the “highly efficient hybrid” segment is still exponentially larger than the plug-in EV class.

And so I ask: in today’s world of people trying to conserve energy, save the planet, and lower their carbon footprint, how is it still possible that nobody has managed to equal the Toyota Prius in terms of fuel economy? How is it possible that nobody has beaten it? How has nobody entered this wildly profitable, popular segment and given the Prius a (slow, quiet) run for its money? Because the way it stands now, it doesn’t seem like General Motors should’ve devoted all that energy to making the Chevy Volt. Instead, they should’ve made a Chevy Prius.

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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-s660-26-1

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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Piston Slap: Strutin’ Around a Loaded Question? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/piston-slap-11/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/piston-slap-11/#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2015 14:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1137058   Harry writes: My daily driver is a ’99 Honda CR-V two-wheel drive I took over from my kid when she went to work overseas. It has been in the family since 2007 and has always been economical on gas, reliable and needed only regular service. It is fine for the 20 mile drive to […]

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A loaded question? (photo courtesy: shockwarehouse.com)

Harry writes:

My daily driver is a ’99 Honda CR-V two-wheel drive I took over from my kid when she went to work overseas. It has been in the family since 2007 and has always been economical on gas, reliable and needed only regular service. It is fine for the 20 mile drive to work in suburbia — but we take our Pilot on trips because my wife refuses to ride in the CR-V.

At the last regular service my mechanic told me the ride is terrible because at 237k the struts/shocks are completely toast and it would be north of a grand to replace them. I checked online and the shocks are about 75 each but a complete strut assembly is about 225. All the sites I checked say degree of difficulty in replacing is high so I won’t be doing this myself.

My questions are:

  • Does the labor to pull apart the struts to replace the shocks wipe out the savings in parts cost?
  • Are there other parts that should be changed like bushings, spring rubbers and the like since we are already in there?
  • Will not doing the struts cause the springs to fail?

I plan on keeping the vehicle until I retire in four years, approximately 40k miles from now. What does the B&B say?

Sajeev answers:

Damn near any vehicle with that kinda mileage is likely to have terrible struts/shocks and (coil in this case) springs. Why? Because, as we’ve mentioned before, these are wear items that are neglected even more than worn out headlight bulb filaments. I wouldn’t be too surprised if you’re running on the original bits. Odds are your mechanic is right and they are making a pigs ear of your CR-V’s ride.

Question 1: With the advent of aftermarket damper+spring combo replacements (Monroe and Gabriel, for example) for MacPherson Strut configured vehicles, you always replace both the spring and the damper together. Even if they aren’t clearly bad, odds are the springs have fatigued to the point that replacement is a good idea. Factor in the labor involved to replace a strut damper (in a MacPherson strut) by removing and re-using the spring, and just throwing away the whole assembly for a new one is often cheaper. Considering the benefit of new springs and shocks, this is a no brainer. Always get the combo. Get new springs when renewing MacPherson struts.

Question 2: Maybe. Only your mechanic’s eyeballs will know for sure. I wouldn’t go digging around to replace control arm bushings as that’s more labor to remove, but if they are bad, I assume you trust this person enough to be fair with you. I wouldn’t be surprised if the end links for the anti-sway bars could be bad, but again, that’s for the mechanic to judge.

Question 3: In theory, a bad strut causes the spring to cycle up/down more frequently. In theory, every moving part has a finite number of cycles it can handle before it breaks or distorts to the point you (or your wife?) finds the ride to be unbearable. In practice? A bad strut doesn’t directly cause a spring to fail. Usually abuse (big potholes) or rust will do that instead.

Since you are keeping it for a while and I see replacement Gabriel “Readymount” spring and damper assemblies for your vehicle are $190 for the rear and $153 for the front, replacing the dampers and springs are a total no brainer. Hell, this place I’ve never heard of before has the whole set for much, much less!

Do 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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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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This Year Could Be the Biggest Car-buying Year in 15 Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/year-biggest-car-buying-year-15-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/year-biggest-car-buying-year-15-years/#comments Mon, 10 Aug 2015 20:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1137538 Automakers could sell more than 17 million new cars and trucks in the U.S. this year, approaching the sales record set in 2000 of 17.4 million, Automotive News is reporting. Analysts raised their forecasts after a strong July for automakers and new cars that will be reaching showrooms in high-selling segments by the end of the […]

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Automakers could sell more than 17 million new cars and trucks in the U.S. this year, approaching the sales record set in 2000 of 17.4 million, Automotive News is reporting.

Analysts raised their forecasts after a strong July for automakers and new cars that will be reaching showrooms in high-selling segments by the end of the year. Last month was the 18th consecutive month for increasing sales.

Our own Timothy Cain thinks that regardless of the final number, 2015 will be a very, very, very good year for automakers.

Cain writes:

It’s been 18 months since monthly auto sales volume last decreased. That decrease, mind you, was brought about by a slight decline in the lowest-volume month of the year, January. In other words, growth in America’s auto industry is notable both for its rapidity and its consistency. It’s that consistency that makes it hard to believe the current pace won’t continue. Regardless of the outright volume attained by manufacturers competing in the U.S., 2015 will undoubtedly be better than 2014. Already, through just seven months, an additional 434,000 new vehicles have been sold compared with the same period one year ago.

Spurred by cheap gas prices, trucks are pacing the overall market as the fastest-selling segment in the U.S. this year. Sales of trucks grew 13 percent this year.

Automakers such as Honda and Chevrolet will introduce newer versions of their Accord and Malibu respectively in the coming months, and that should further stoke car sales, Automotive News points out.

The Wall Street Journal notes that while new car purchases are happening more frequently, and at higher prices, used car prices are finally starting to dip, which may be a relief to low-cost and entry buyers.

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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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Accavitti Out, Ikeda Promoted Up To Acura’s Top Spot http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/accavitti-out-ikeda-promoted-up-to-acuras-top-spot/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/accavitti-out-ikeda-promoted-up-to-acuras-top-spot/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 21:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1127065 Acura head honcho Michael Accavitti (left) is head honcho no more. Honda’s luxury brand will now be led by former Division Director of Auto Design at Honda R&D Americas, Jon Ikeda (right), an industrial designer responsible for the 2004 Acura TL. Ikeda will assume the top post, Vice President and General Manager of the Acura […]

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2013 Detroit Auto Show

Acura head honcho Michael Accavitti (left) is head honcho no more. Honda’s luxury brand will now be led by former Division Director of Auto Design at Honda R&D Americas, Jon Ikeda (right), an industrial designer responsible for the 2004 Acura TL.

Ikeda will assume the top post, Vice President and General Manager of the Acura Division, effective immediately as Accavitti is no longer with the company.

Accavitti joined Honda in 2011 as its chief marketing officer and was given his most recent title in April 2014, putting his tenure at the top of Acura at 15 months. He was also CEO of Dodge for a grand total of four months in 2009.

Ikeda has been with Honda since 1989.

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Average Gas Engine Specific Output Isn’t Quite 100 HP/L, Yet http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/average-gas-engine-specific-output-isnt-quite-100-hpl-yet/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/average-gas-engine-specific-output-isnt-quite-100-hpl-yet/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 16:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126465 It was nearly 15 years ago that Honda was touting their magic number — 118.5 hp/L. This was the specific output for the U.S.-spec Honda S2000 powered by a high-strung, 237-horsepower, 2-liter engine and it was a marvel of engineering, trumping the Viper and many other more expensive machines. Fast forward to today and there […]

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Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG. Photo courtesy Autoblog

It was nearly 15 years ago that Honda was touting their magic number — 118.5 hp/L. This was the specific output for the U.S.-spec Honda S2000 powered by a high-strung, 237-horsepower, 2-liter engine and it was a marvel of engineering, trumping the Viper and many other more expensive machines.

Fast forward to today and there are only a few naturally aspirated vehicles that top Honda’s claim to fame, but many that easily beat it with some form of forced induction. Yet, even with this plethora of new high-output, small-displacement engines, the average specific output of gasoline and flex fuel vehicles in the United States is still below the record set by Honda back in 1999.

Thanks to data provided by iSeeCars, we came up with some interesting data when it comes to specific output for 2015 model year vehicles.

For one, the Mercedes-AMG CLA45 (pictured above) and the GLA45 with which it shares its turbocharged, 2-liter, four-cylinder engine are the top performers with specific outputs of 177.5 hp/L. It should be no surprise that turbocharged engines dominate the top 100 engines ranked by specific output, but there are some exceptions. The top naturally aspirated mill in the mix — the 597-hp, 4.5-liter V-8 in the Ferrari 458 Speciale — has a specific output of 132.7 hp/L. Porsche’s 911 GT3 is solidly mid-pack with 125 hp/L.

On the other end of the scale, trucks score quite low on the specific output meter, as the Ford F-350 equipped with a 316-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 struggles to make 51 hp/L. The lower output may not be representative of a behind-the-times engine, but rather it could be characteristic of their applications. Trucks need torque more than horsepower to do the work they were built to do.

Overall, the average for specific output for non-hybrid, gasoline and flex fuel engines sits at 93.3 hp/L, just 25.2 hp/L shy of the naturally aspirated benchmark set by the Honda S2000. However, as more automakers downsize their engines and boost output with turbocharging, we may just see the overall average crest this high-water mark in the coming years.

Below is a list of the top and bottom 10 vehicles available on the retail market for the 2015 model year ranked by specific output.

Top 10

  1. Mercedes-AMG CLA45/GLA45
    2-liter turbocharged I-4, 355 horsepower
    177.5 hp/L
  2. McLaren 650S Coupe/Spider
    3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V-8, 641 horsepower
    168.7 hp/L
  3. Nissan GT-R NISMO
    3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V-6, 600 horsepower
    157.9 hp/L
  4. Volvo S60/XC60
    2-liter twincharged I-4, 302 horsepower
    151.0 hp/L
  5. Porsche 911 Turbo S
    3.8-liter twin-turbocharged H-6, 560 horsepower
    147.4 hp/L
  6. Audi S3/Volkswagen Golf R
    2-liter turbocharged I-4, 292 horsepower
    146.0 hp/L
  7. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
    2-liter turbocharged I-4, 291 horsepower
    145.5 hp/L
  8. Nissan GT-R
    3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V-6, 545 horsepower
    143.4 hp/L
  9. Bentley Continental GT3-R
    4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8, 572 horsepower
    143 hp/L
  10. Ferrari California T
    3.9-liter twin-turbocharged V-8, 553 horsepower
    141.8 hp/L

Bottom 10

  1. Ford F-350 Super Duty
    6.2-liter V-8, 316 horsepower
    51.0 hp/L
  2. Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 3500HD
    6-liter V-8, 322 horsepower
    53.7 hp/L
  3. Nissan Titan/NV Cargo/NV Passenger/Armada
    5.6-liter V-8, 317 horsepower
    56.6 hp/L
  4. Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana (Cargo/Passenger/Cutaway)
    6-liter V-8, 342 horsepower
    57.0 hp/L
  5. Volkswagen Jetta
    2-liter I-4, 115 horsepower
    57.5 hp/L
  6. Ram Chassis 3500
    6.4-liter V-8, 370 horsepower
    57.8 hp/L
  7. Toyota Tacoma
    2.7-liter I-4, 159 horsepower
    58.9 hp/L
  8. Toyota Tacoma
    4-liter V-6, 236 horsepower
    59.0 hp/L
  9. Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana (Cargo/Passenger/Cutaway)
    4.8-liter V-8, 285 horsepower
    59.4 hp/L
  10. Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 2500HD/3500HD
    6-liter V-8, 360 horsepower
    60.0 hp/L

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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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Hyundai May Bring Subcompact Crossover, but It Won’t Be Creta http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/hyundai-may-bring-subcompact-crossover-wont-creta/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/hyundai-may-bring-subcompact-crossover-wont-creta/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 21:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124249 Hyundai is looking to jump into the subcompact crossover fold in the States with the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and everyone else, but it won’t be with the Creta, Edmunds is reporting. The Creta recently went on sale in India, but executives in America told Edmunds that it wasn’t the right fit for U.S. […]

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Hyundai is looking to jump into the subcompact crossover fold in the States with the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and everyone else, but it won’t be with the Creta, Edmunds is reporting.

The Creta recently went on sale in India, but executives in America told Edmunds that it wasn’t the right fit for U.S. buyers.

“We have decided to wait a little bit longer to get the right vehicle,” said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America.

The Creta would enter an already crowded field of subcompact crossovers that’s getting more crowded every day. Already the HR-V, Trax and Juke duke it out with the Jeep Renegade and Subaru XV Crosstrek, with the Mazda CX-3 on its way this year. (EcoSport, Ford?)

According to Zuchowski, the Creta was too conservative for the segment and too closely resembled a smaller version of the Santa Fe.

“In our opinion, as we go into this segment, it is a great segment for Millennials, for Gen Y. It is a good youth vehicle and we think in order to tap that market, the thing should be styled less conservatively and more aggressively,” he said.

Last month, Hyundai released a rendering of the Creta that would have fit the “aggressive” bill, but as always many features didn’t make it into the production version.

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Mazda Says 2016 CX-3 Will Start Under $20,000 (Kinda) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mazda-says-2016-cx-3-will-start-under-20000-kinda/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mazda-says-2016-cx-3-will-start-under-20000-kinda/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 20:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1118137 The new mini crossover from Mazda will start at $19,960 (not including $880 destination) when it goes on sale after next month, the automaker reported Thursday. That puts the CX-3 in leagues with the Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade as sub-$20,000 crossovers in an increasingly crowded and competitive segment. Like the […]

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The new mini crossover from Mazda will start at $19,960 (not including $880 destination) when it goes on sale after next month, the automaker reported Thursday.

That puts the CX-3 in leagues with the Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade as sub-$20,000 crossovers in an increasingly crowded and competitive segment.

Like the rest of its competition, it’s not hard to hike the CX-3’s final price up in a hurry.

The base price gets Mazda’s 2.0-liter inline four and a 6-speed automatic transmission. Standard on all models will be a rear-view camera, 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth push button starter and power windows and doors. All-wheel drive can be added for $1,250.

The middle-of-the-range CX-3 Touring (with heated seats, leather wrapped wheel, blind-spot monitoring, et al.) runs $22,840. The top-of-the-line CX-3 Grand Touring (navigation, moon roof, leather, Bose sound, etc.) comes in at $25,870. And presumably, the most you could pay for a CX-3 coming from the factory would be a Grand Touring CX-3 with all-wheel drive and Mazda’s optional safety package would be $29,040.

If you need any further proof the segment is ultra competitive and willing to cut to the very bone for the best price on a headline, consider that you can still buy a Jeep Renegade without air conditioning and 16-inch steel wheels for $18,880.

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Honda Has Alarmingly Few Female Managers in Japan, and They Know It http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-alarmingly-female-managers-japan-know/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-alarmingly-female-managers-japan-know/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 15:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1114881 Last month, Honda released its annual Sustainability Report outlining the company’s position and direction under its new CEO Takahiro Hachigo. Outlined on Page 73 of its 104-page report, Honda admits its number of female managers in Japan is quite low. Well, actually 0.5-percent low. Even compared to other regions where Honda does business, the number of […]

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Auto Worker at Japanese Honda Factory

Last month, Honda released its annual Sustainability Report outlining the company’s position and direction under its new CEO Takahiro Hachigo.

Outlined on Page 73 of its 104-page report, Honda admits its number of female managers in Japan is quite low.

Well, actually 0.5-percent low.

Even compared to other regions where Honda does business, the number of female managers in Japan is quite low. According to the report, 12.4 percent of managers in Honda’s Asia/Oceania region and 17.5 percent of managers in the North America region are female.

Compared to other automakers, the number of female managers at Honda isn’t much better. Nissan reported that 8.2 percent of its managers in Japan are female, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported that 13.1 percent of its worldwide managers are female.

Matt Slouster, a spokesman for American Honda outlined a few steps by Honda in Japan:

“Increasing female representation in management positions is among Honda’s
top priorities. In Japan, Honda Motor Co. has assigned full-time staff to
the newly formed Diversity Promotion Office (DPO) to provide direct support
to female associates and accelerate their advancement within the company.
Moreover, the DPO has implemented new programs to support associates who
are managing their careers while starting families and raising children.
As part of its ongoing responsibilities, the DPO will work continuously to
ensure equal opportunity for women throughout the organization.”

The problem isn’t Honda’s alone, however. In 2011, only 4.5 percent of division heads in Japan were women, according to a regional study. Less than 1 percent of senior-level, executive managers in Japan were women. That’s compared to 9 percent in China and 15 percent in Singapore.

A 2014 story by The Economist details the struggles women in Japan are working to overcome. According to the report, 70 percent of women stop working for a decade or more after having children, compared to just about 30 percent in America. Of the women who work, many don’t work full-time or in permanent positions. In 2012, about 77 percent of Japan’s part-time and temporary workforce were women, the story reports.

It’s a widespread problem Japan has faced for decades and one that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has specifically targeted to help revitalize the country’s aging and shrinking workforce — and even that may not help.

By 2020, Abe said women should occupy roughly 30 percent of “leadership” positions in Japan — government and business. Honda has a ways to go.

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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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Piston Slap: The Cons of Recon Before Trade-in? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/piston-slap-cons-recon-trading/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/piston-slap-cons-recon-trading/#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 11:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1113713 TTAC commentator cwallace writes: Sajeev, Here’s what’s probably an easy question for you: Is it ever worth the money to update wear items on a car before trading it in? My trusty 2007 Accord EX V6 is suddenly about to cost me some real money. With 154,000 miles on it, the tires are about shot, […]

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Low Miles, One Owner… (photo courtesy: www.parknshine.com)

TTAC commentator cwallace writes:

Sajeev,

Here’s what’s probably an easy question for you: Is it ever worth the money to update wear items on a car before trading it in?

My trusty 2007 Accord EX V6 is suddenly about to cost me some real money. With 154,000 miles on it, the tires are about shot, it needs new struts, there’s a crack in the windshield, and the rear main seal is starting to make a mess of my driveway. Plus, my commute just got a lot longer, so the lack of creature comforts (like sound insulation, for heaven’s sake) make me think I’ve got my money’s worth from this car.

Other than those things, it looks good for its age, and everything else works just as it should. All that dealership service paid off, is what I tell myself.

Anyway, should I bother fixing the windshield and maybe putting a new set of tires on it before trading it in? If I were selling it to another person, I’d do that only because I am an ardent believer in karma, but I’m sure a dealer can do that work more cost effectively than I can — so should I bother?

(P.S., I’m taking over command of my wife’s Mazda CX-9 and she’s getting a Toyota Sienna, so it isn’t going back to a Honda store, if that makes a difference somehow.)

Sajeev answers:

Good question. Perhaps a Honda store likes new tires as part of reconditioning your trade into a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle, but not with your Honda’s age and mileage. Reconditioning for trade-in is a slippery slope. Dealers usually expect to recondition (or dump at auction) and your “value add” won’t mean as much to them as to you.

More to the point: Leave service records on the passenger seat and clean from bumper to bumper to get the most value on trade-in. Dirty, cluttered cars are both hard and/or time consuming to appraise and (more importantly) allude to overall vehicle neglect.

Why? Because it’s a sad reality of trading in a vehicle. Your car — unless Certified Pre-Owned, with the assumed quality from that asking price — will likely be sold to someone who doesn’t care about the quality of the reconditioning. New Michelin Pilot tires? The Kelly-Springfields look just as black and round to me. New glass? Nice, but the dealer probably gets it done for less.

Seeing a clean interior, fresh fluids, good (enough) tires, decent brakes, a solid Carfax and everything working on the test drive is a 99 percent guaranteed sale to someone.

While it’s possible to demand more for your trade-in because of reconditioning, you must include that in the negotiation. If not, you’ll get pennies on the dollar invested. Sell fully reconditioned cars for private party money on the open market for maximum profit. Otherwise, dump it as-is, and trade-in like everyone else yearning for a new ride.

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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With New Honda CEO, Possible FCA Partnership? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/new-honda-ceo-possible-fca-partnership/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/new-honda-ceo-possible-fca-partnership/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 17:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1109249 New Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo told media Monday that the automaker wouldn’t aim for a specific global sales figure to drive growth and would be open to partnerships with other automakers, Automotive News reported. The speech also emphasized sharing global manufacturing resources within Honda’s six regional divisions and to create “challenging products.” (Which may or may […]

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Photo courtesy Honda

New Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo told media Monday that the automaker wouldn’t aim for a specific global sales figure to drive growth and would be open to partnerships with other automakers, Automotive News reported.

The speech also emphasized sharing global manufacturing resources within Honda’s six regional divisions and to create “challenging products.” (Which may or may not — probably not — mean “Challenger.”)

The speech was Hachigo’s first public address since taking the reins of Honda last month. In a sustainability report released in June, Hachigo signaled that the Japanese automaker would adopt English as its official language by 2020.

The news yesterday is particularly interesting as speculation ramps up around FCA and Sergio Marchionne’s plan for consolidation with General Motors. Any alliance with Honda could help FCA gain a sales foothold in Japan and could revitalize FCA’s hybrid program. In turn, Honda could capitalize on FCA’s European market share and network.

In the speech, Hachigo outlined several different initiatives Honda will undertake in the next few years, which include building a smaller, turbocharged Civic and other production efficiencies. For example, the CR-V, which is produced in Canada, will be exported worldwide. Civics produced in England will be shipped to Japan, and Japanese-built Fits will be sent to the U.S. In addition to those announcements, Hachigo said Honda will begin building Accords in Nigeria for African markets. More than 80 percent of Honda’s car building is outside Japan.

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Honda Making English Its Official Language by 2020 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-making-english-official-language-2020/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-making-english-official-language-2020/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107121 In its 104-page annual sustainability report, Honda announced it would make English its official language by 2020, requiring all interregional communication be conducted in English. Similarly, English-language proficiency would be a requirement for promotion to management. The new mandate appears on Page 70 of the report. Despite burying the lede, it’s a seismic change for the Japanese […]

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Takanobu Ito

In its 104-page annual sustainability report, Honda announced it would make English its official language by 2020, requiring all interregional communication be conducted in English. Similarly, English-language proficiency would be a requirement for promotion to management. The new mandate appears on Page 70 of the report.

Despite burying the lede, it’s a seismic change for the Japanese company. According to Automotive News, five years ago then-boss Takanobu Ito said — possibly in Japanese — that making English the official language of Honda was “stupid.” Five years from now, presumably all of Honda’s workforce, which includes more than 200,000 people — nearly three-quarters of it outside of North America — will be speaking the language.

Honda’s official stance on English isn’t wholly surprising, or new.

According to a report by The Economist in February 2014, Honda was keen on adopting “Corporate English” throughout the company and following suit with many other global manufacturers. Chinese tech giant Lenovo made English its lingua franca. Same goes for Nokia, Renault and Samsung.

Only one quarter of Honda’s workforce is in North America, but accounted for nearly one third of its new hires for 2015. Honda’s move to English is emblematic of its reality: 40 percent of Honda’s sales are in North America and 81 percent of its vehicles are assembled outside of Japan.

Included in the report is an outlook for the future of Honda’s manufacturing in North America.

The U.S. will add more than 3.4 million manufacturing jobs in the next 10 years, the report states, but will have only 1.4 million people to fill those jobs. Honda says they will implement a program in Ohio — where Honda builds cars — to teach middle- and high-school students how to fill those jobs with video games, or by directly funding STEM programs in some schools.

There’s been no word on whether Buick will be making the switch to Mandarin.

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Nissan, Toyota, Honda Team to Build Fuel-Cell Infrastructure in Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-toyota-honda-team-build-fuel-cell-infrastructure-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-toyota-honda-team-build-fuel-cell-infrastructure-japan/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1106169 According to Toyota, three Japanese automakers — Honda, Toyota and Nissan — are working together to build hydrogen fuel stations around for future fuel-cell cars. The program, which will subsidize fueling stations up to 11 million yen ($89,500) per year for each station, is meant to boost the nation’s infrastructure for hydrogen-powered cars. The agreement […]

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According to Toyota, three Japanese automakers — Honda, Toyota and Nissan — are working together to build hydrogen fuel stations around for future fuel-cell cars.

The program, which will subsidize fueling stations up to 11 million yen ($89,500) per year for each station, is meant to boost the nation’s infrastructure for hydrogen-powered cars.

The agreement was formed in February between the large automakers, but began accepting applications July 1.

The program also boosts “awareness” of the FCVs by offering incentives for stations to stay open longer and offer more services.

A similar alliance between automakers in the U.S. could boost FCV participation rates, but maybe we can’t have nice things.

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Piston Slap: What’s so Hellabad about Hellaflush? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/piston-slap-whats-hellabad-hellaflush/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/piston-slap-whats-hellabad-hellaflush/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1100985   Casey writes: Hello Sajeev, I had a coworker who had an older Acura NSX that was lowered. He complained about having to buy new tires because they were worn on the inside edge (down to the belts!). He had, what I thought to be, extreme negative camber due to an improper lowering. He said […]

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Nice, Slammed, eXtreme? (photo courtesy: www.nsxprime.com)

Casey writes:

Hello Sajeev,

I had a coworker who had an older Acura NSX that was lowered. He complained about having to buy new tires because they were worn on the inside edge (down to the belts!). He had, what I thought to be, extreme negative camber due to an improper lowering. He said it was supposed to be like that. I have seen other cars running the negative camber and I’ve seen cars that were lowered without. So question, is there a reason to run extreme negative camber or is this just a bad lowering job? 

Sajeev answers:

I agree with your assessment. Very few, if any, performance cars come from the factory aligned aggressively enough to wear tires that unevenly. I reckon that NSX was lowered, tweaked to reflect well upon the Stancenation. To live the Hellaflush lifestyle! To embrace the image of performance, without necessarily improving actual performance.

No seriously, facades are awesome like that. Because I’d be a hypocrite if I said otherwise.

New Cadillacs and Lincolns = Cooler in Houston

Now to make inferences, and foolishly justify them.

There’s always a reason for this: a subtle lowering can improve performance and stance at the same time. On an NSX? Probably not, since it isn’t a buffalo-butted, blunt nosed family sedan jacked up to the sky by the factory. I reckon the fastest NSX on a less-than-perfect track has the factory ride height with a slightly more aggressive wheel alignment. A hellaflush NSX will lose…if that was the point.

It’s totally not the point. We all have a need to look cool, even those who claim otherwise in the comments section below. To wit, I put 1.5″ front lowering springs (factory spring rate) from these guys on my Fox Cougar to both look cool with my 17×8.5″ reproduction Cobra wheels and retain factory-like ride/handling traits. The rears have a small (1/8″) spacer because of the mishmash between wheel offset and new axles from a rear disc brake conversion. All this effort for a modest lowering job is important on a suspension as half-baked as a Fox body Ford.

I avoided the “improper” or “bad lowering job” you mentioned. Well, at least I think so.

Some folks think more aggressive suspension and wheel/tire modifications add extra cool factor to their lives. Perhaps I might be one of them, even if I bristle at the sight of most Hellaflush rides. But Hellaflush riders certainly don’t give a shit about what you or I think.

So let your coworker buddy enjoy his cool looking NSX. If you can’t resist the urge to twist the knife, take him to a track day and let serious racers give him an education that he might deserve. Or not.

UPDATE: TTAC commentator “Sketch” corrected me about the NSX’s factory tire wear issues, sadly my Google-fu failed us all. My apologies. 

 

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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No Fixed Abode: Walljobbed. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/no-fixed-abode-walljobbed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/no-fixed-abode-walljobbed/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 14:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1102601 I grew up in the back of two-door family cars ranging from a ’67 Camaro to an ’83 Civic 1500 “S”. It never seemed like a hardship to me. Nor does it seem like a hardship to have my six-year-old son in the back of my Accord Coupe. He knows how to let himself in […]

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I grew up in the back of two-door family cars ranging from a ’67 Camaro to an ’83 Civic 1500 “S”. It never seemed like a hardship to me. Nor does it seem like a hardship to have my six-year-old son in the back of my Accord Coupe. He knows how to let himself in and out of the back seat. It’s no different from having a four-door sedan and letting him out of the back door. Ninety-nine percent of the time I don’t even think about it.

The other one percent of the time is when I clean the interior of the car. It takes the strength of Hercules and the flexibility of a Cirque du Soleil headliner to get the explosion of fast food, Legos, school paperwork, and miscellaneous unidentifiable items out of the cave behind the front seats. And then I have to condition the leather, you see, which would work better if my arms were between six and eighteen inches longer. So having done all that this past Sunday, I figured I’d do my other least favorite job: brake dust removal. I was already in a bit of a bad mood, crouching next to my Griot’s Garage bucket and shaking out my favorite horse-hair wheel brush, when I saw it.

Oh, hell no.


It was just a two-inch scratch on the rim of the rear wheel, from parallel parking downtown. Most people wouldn’t think twice about it. But I just about lost my mind, because:

a) I don’t scratch wheels. In more than fifteen years of owning cars with low-profile alloy wheels, I’d only scraped one wheel prior to Sunday.
b) That wheel also being one of the wheels on my Accord. I’d scraped it a few months ago on a curb. But two weeks ago I had the tires rotated as part of a 22,500-mile service, which meant that this was a second scrape, likely from the same thing.

The idea that I’d scraped two wheels in under a month was enough to make me consider tearing up my license and riding a bicycle downtown from now on. I was still in a foul mood as I put some Armor All on the front tires, which were torn up from a couple of trackdays.

Wait.

I’d just had the tires rotated front to rear. By rights, the worn shoulders should have been on the back now. But they were still up front. And a quick check of the other three wheels revealed that none of them were scraped. That was good news because it meant that my lifetime wheel damage count was stuck at one. But it meant that I’d been walljobbed.

Car and Driver’s brilliant and innovative technical editor, Patrick Bedard, wrote a column entitled “The Wall Job” back in the magazine’s glory days. A “wall job”, if you haven’t already figured it out, is when a shop takes a car in for service, parks it against the wall for a few days, then returns it to the customer along with a bill for work that the customer cannot readily verify. The various consumer-protection laws that require  the customer be given the option of getting the “old parts” back are meant to address the wall-jobbing problem. I don’t know how effective they are. To begin with, most people can’t tell the difference between a control module for a Rolls-Royce Ghost and a distributor cap for a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, and they aren’t interested in getting a bag full of mystery junk with their credit-card receipt.

Furthermore, much of modern automotive service leaves no parts behind. The five hours of diagnosis with a Bosch “Hammer” tool that your dealer supposedly put in before figuring out why your 964 Carrera stalls at lights? The road testing that was necessary to figure out that mystery vibration? How do you know how much of it was done, if any?

The first thing I did when I realized I’d been wall-jobbed on my tire rotation was to pop the hood on the Accord and look carefully at the oil. Oil changes are famous walljob candidates, but in this case the dealer had done right: the oil was clear and clean. The filter, too, looked new. So that much, as least, was correct. On the other hand, I had serious doubts that the “multi-point visual inspection” required by Honda, and paid for by me, had been performed.

I looked at the receipt and saw that I’d paid $19.95 plus tax for the rotation. That’s something I can do myself, but it takes me a bit of time and annoyance to do it. Twenty bucks to save a dirty half hour of my time is a deal with which I can live. But twenty bucks for nothing? The hell with that.

This morning I called the dealership. My service advisor was brusque at first. “Why do you think your tires haven’t been rotated?” I explained. She seemed doubtful. “What do you want me to do?”

“I want my twenty bucks back.”

“Are you willing to bring the car by so we can look at it?”

“Absolutely.”

“Sometimes it’s hard to tell if the tires have been rotated.”

“Not in this case.” And then I discussed the nature of my part-time job as an automotive writer and how I could earn twenty dollars back by mentioning the name of the dealer in an article.

“We’ll call you back.” Which they did, an hour later. Good news! My entire seventy-eight dollar service had been refunded. And they’d be happy to rotate my tires for free. I told them I’d handle it myself, and that I was satisfied with the deal. In truth, I wasn’t. Not really. From now until the time my car is out of warranty, I’ll be verifying everything they claim to have done myself. I could change dealers, but what’s the point? The new dealer could be just as bad, or worse. Better to deal with these people. Maybe they’ll be more likely to do the work now.

I’ve written time and time again about how far more of the car business revolves around dealers than most people realize. Everything from product mix to warranty terms is a product of interactions with dealers. They are enshrined by state laws that the dealer associations purchase at considerable expense. They are the true customers of the manufacturers. And when their interests conflict with yours, they will nearly always win the battle.

After hanging up the phone, I asked myself if this incident would keep me from buying another Honda. The truthful answer is: probably not. I don’t like Honda dealers in general, and I’ve yet to see one that treats the customer with the consideration and truthfulness that I’ve experienced as an owner of BMWs, Audis, Mercedes-Benzes, and even Land Rovers, but that’s what you get for shopping in the discount aisle. Wal-Mart doesn’t treat its customers the way that Nordstrom does, and Honda dealers don’t treat their customers the way that Audi dealers do. Moreover, Honda can’t do much to change the state of affairs any more than a husband in a thirty-year marriage can dictate terms to his wife, and for pretty much the same reasons.

If the manufacturers had any real power on the ground of customer/dealer interactions, they’d make damned sure dealers didn’t endanger their next thirty-three-thousand dollar transaction to make a quick twenty bucks on a walljob tire rotation. But dealers don’t look at it that way. They see the chance to make a few hundred, or even a few thousand dollars, every day. That adds up in a hurry, and it makes a lot more difference to the bottom line than another “mini-deal” to some jerk who has the invoice price and the incentives printed out in a manila folder and doesn’t want to pay a penny of net profit on his next car.

So from now on, I’ll treat my dealer like Reagan treated Gorbachev. Trust, but verify. And if the day ever comes that my opinion or my vote might possibly matter to anyone as regards the possibility of manufacturer-owned stores in Ohio, I’ll be right there in the ballot box. But really, what chance is there of that? What chance do mere voters have against people who make twenty dollars a shot all day, every day, for precisely nothing? How do you out-vote someone who uses your own money to buy votes? Didn’t there used to be a political party that promised to rebalance the scale in the favor of the consumer? What about the Supreme Court? I hear they’ve been doing a lot for individual liberties lately – but when it comes to dealer franchise protection, they sided with the multi-millionaire “little guys”, not the customer.

I guess you really can put a price on change. That price is $19.95.

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Honda’s LMP2 Prototype Withdrawn From 2015 Pikes Peak Hill Climb http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/hondas-lmp2-prototype-withdrawn-from-2015-pikes-peak-hill-climb/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/hondas-lmp2-prototype-withdrawn-from-2015-pikes-peak-hill-climb/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 18:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1100713 Honda’s HPD ARX-04b LMP2 prototype set to climb Pikes Peak this weekend has withdrawn from the annual event. The ARX’s withdrawal comes after a turbocharger failure created extensive damage to the prototype’s engine, GTSpirit reports, preventing it and IndyCar driver Justin Wilson from practicing Tuesday and Wednesday. As the practice sessions were necessary in order […]

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Honda HPD ARX-04b Circa Spa 6Hr 2015

Honda’s HPD ARX-04b LMP2 prototype set to climb Pikes Peak this weekend has withdrawn from the annual event.

The ARX’s withdrawal comes after a turbocharger failure created extensive damage to the prototype’s engine, GTSpirit reports, preventing it and IndyCar driver Justin Wilson from practicing Tuesday and Wednesday. As the practice sessions were necessary in order to compete, there was no other option but to pull out of this year’s field.

According to HPD CEO Art St. Cyr, entering the ARX was done as “an exploratory exercise” meant to gather information for further improvements to the prototype’s V6 engine and chassis, a goal achieved in spite of the mechanical failures experienced. St. Cyr aims to return to Pikes Peak in 2016 with the ARX.

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Renault-Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn Banks $16M In 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/renault-nissans-carlos-ghosn-banks-16m-in-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/renault-nissans-carlos-ghosn-banks-16m-in-2014/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 16:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097801 Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn did well for himself in 2014, banking around $16 million in compensation compared to the salaries of other automotive CEOs. Breaking down the numbers, Nissan paid Ghosn ¥1.035 billion ($8.39 million USD) during 2014, Reuters says, up 4 percent from what he made in 2013. On the Renault side, Ghosn took […]

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Carlos Ghosn

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn did well for himself in 2014, banking around $16 million in compensation compared to the salaries of other automotive CEOs.

Breaking down the numbers, Nissan paid Ghosn ¥1.035 billion ($8.39 million USD) during 2014, Reuters says, up 4 percent from what he made in 2013. On the Renault side, Ghosn took home €7.2 million ($8.17 million), bringing total compensation to $16.56 million.

Ghosn’s combined paycheck is in line with compensation paid to two of the Detroit Three’s CEOs, where both Ford CEO Mark Fields and General Motors CEO Mary Barra made $16.8 million and $16.2 million respectively at the end of their first year helming their companies. Meanwhile, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne’s compensation paints a complex portrait, with figures ranging between $8 million and $72 million depending on the source.

Among the rest of the ToHoSan Zaibatsu, Toyota’s Akio Toyoda made ¥229 million ($1.84 million) in 2014, while Honda’s Takanobu Ito brought home ¥150 million ($1.21 million).

In Germany, the Teutonic Trinity’s CEOs took home €6.57 million ($7.35 million – Audi’s Rupert Stadler), €7.25 million ($8.11 million – BMW’s Norbert Reithofer) and €9.35 ($10.5 million – Mercedes’ Dieter Zetsche).

Finally, under the remaining stripes of the Tricolore Français, PSA Peugeot Citroën CEO Carlos Tavares received €2.75 million ($3.07 million).

(Photo credit: Nissan)

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