In many ways, September 2017’s auto sales bucked the trend. After the industry combined for decreased volume, year-over-year, in each of 2017’s first eight months, auto sales in September rose 6 percent. Meanwhile, the shrinking car sector that tumbled 12 percent through the first two-thirds of 2017 was down only 3 percent in September.
There were two big reason the passenger car decline wasn’t worse: America’s two best-selling cars.
Excluding the Honda Civic and Toyota Camry, U.S. car sales fell 6 percent. But as the clear-out of remaining 2017 Honda Accords got underway and produced 10-percent growth, the launch of the 2018 Toyota Camry generated a 13-percent uptick. Meanwhile, the Honda Civic’s 26-percent surge allowed the compact Honda to expand its lead over the midsize Camry in the race to end 2017 as America’s best-selling car.
From a historical midsize perspective, the all-new 2018 Honda Accord is rather thrifty with the Earth’s decreasing supply of oil.
It’s fuel efficient, in other words. Over the span of 10,000 highway miles, the basic 2018 Honda Accord is expected to consume 263 gallons of regular octane gasoline. That’s only 13 more gallons than you’ll consume in a 2018 Honda Civic Hatchback with the same 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. It’s 15 fewer gallons than you’d have used in the most efficient non-hybrid 2017 Honda Accord.
The city improvement is more meaningful. The 2017 Honda Accord four-cylinder topped out at 27 mpg in the city, equal to $944 for 10,000 miles at the current fuel price of $2.55/gallon. The new 30-mpg Accord reduces city consumption in the same scenario to $850, a 10-percent decrease.
The 2018 Honda Accord is not, however, the most fuel-efficient car in America’s midsize sedan category. Honda thought it would be. Honda was wrong.
Let’s get this out of the way up front – I’ve always had a soft spot for the Honda Accord. I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a fanboy, but I am a former owner of an ‘90s-era Accord coupe (I bought it used in 2005 or so and sold it in 2012) and I always felt that the Accord was sportier, generally speaking, than most other mid-size sedans.
Sure, the Mazda 6 has been the best driver’s car in the class for a while, and the Ford Fusion is fun to drive, but I’ve long thought the Accord had a sporting character the Camry and others lacked, at least until recently. Honda seemed to get more vanilla with the Accord in the past generation or two, even though the car still presented a strong package overall. Would the newest Accord, which comes with a choice of turbocharged engines and is available with a three-pedal setup, bring back the flavor of yore?
George W. Bush was finishing his second year as president of the United States when Toyota reported 434,145 Camry sales in calendar year 2002. No other passenger car generated more U.S. volume that year.
Or the next year. Or the next. Or the one after that. In fact, the Toyota Camry’s reign as America’s best-selling car continued for a decade and a half, stretching from 2002 through 2016.
Unless the launch of the all-new 2018 Toyota Camry results in a superior final third of 2017, however, Toyota’s tenure atop the leaderboard will end this year. Ahead of the Camry by 1,153 sales through the first eight months of 2017 is the Honda Civic.
With 2018 Civics arriving in Honda showrooms on October 3, 2017, Honda is determined to leave well enough alone. The recipe is unchanged. Honda will not mess with success.
Last week we took entries for the worst utility vehicle of the past decade. There were certainly plenty of submissions; it’s always easy to dream up crossover criticism (less dream, more nightmare in the case of the Acura ZDX).
This time around, we flip the question: What’s the best utility vehicle of the past 10 years?
Let’s get this out of the way right up front: The 2017 Honda Civic Si is not a baby Civic Type R. Yes, it shares the name and platform, but not only does it differ mechanically and stylistically in key ways, it also provides a different driving experience.
Different, but still excellent. Just a different kind of excellent. I’ll get to that right after I find my thesaurus.
Like its main competitors – the Ford Focus ST, Subaru WRX, and Volkswagen Golf GTI, the Civic Si is supposed to be the mid-level performance trim of a compact car (in Subaru’s case, the WRX is based on the Impreza but drops the moniker). As such, it’s not the outright burner the Type R is, and that’s just fine.
Utility vehicles have been a hot ticket personal transport item for some time, much to the delight of OEMs and their shareholders. As the definition around what should qualify as “utility” became more and more blurred during this (presently, CUV) craze, inevitably some entries missed the mark and floundered. Perhaps a redesign was in the cards if the manufacturer felt confident, or a product cancellation if it didn’t.
Either way, recent examples of bad utility vehicles are our subject today. What’s your pick for the worst utility vehicle of the past decade?
American Honda’s vice president for sales, Ray Mikiciuk, won’t provide a firm forecast for sales of the 10th-generation Honda Accord. But as far as next year goes, “I don’t expect to sell fewer Accords in 2018 with this great new product,” Mikiciuk tells CNBC.
With belief in the company’s new product, Honda has invested $267 million into its Marysville, Ohio, plant where the Accord, Acura TLX, and Acura ILX are assembled. With 300 additional employees, American Honda is following the lead of Toyota’s all-new 2018 Camry.
At the Camry’s Georgetown, Kentucky, assembly plant, production of the new TNGA-based Camry required Toyota to build up its employee count to the highest level ever. That’s certainly not the way rivals are approaching America’s midsize segment. You’ll recall that General Motors cut Chevrolet Malibu production — and consequently, jobs — in Kansas City earlier this summer. Prior to the new Camry’s launch this summer, the Malibu was the freshest midsize sedan on the block, yet Malibu sales have plunged by more than a fifth in 2017.
Ohio production of the 2018 Honda Accord began yesterday, September 18th. But what do Honda’s vague sales forecasts mean in the broader American midsize segment?
More market share.
“This is not some vision of the distant future,” Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo says of the Honda Urban EV Concept that debuts at the Frankfurt Motor Show. “A production version of this car will be here in Europe in 2019.”
Be a skeptic if you like. Honda’s recent history is full of pie-in-the-sky small car concepts that never came to production fruition: Remix, Step Bus, IMAS, Puyo, P-Nut, Gear. But there are also Honda concepts that ended up in the real world. The Model X Concept became the Element, the CR-Z Concept became the CR-Z, the SUT Concept arrived as the Ridgeline.
Honda has every intention to introduce the delightfully retro-modern Urban EV, albeit most assuredly without suicide doors, gigantic wheels, a front bench, or the unusually minimalistic interior. Yet if Honda can maintain the silhouette, a blend of early Civic and Mk1 Golf GTI, we’ll begin to wonder whether Honda’s lost decade – in which mistakes were made and costs were cut — is about to produce evidence of a reinvigorated Honda.
Long before he launched a reasonably successful solo career, and long before he took time out of his busy day to personally criticize my musicianship, Victor Wooten was already recognized for his unique and astoundingly proficient technique on the electric bass guitar. Some time around 1990, an interviewer asked him how much time he devoted to learning new instruments. Just for perspective, it should be noted that this was very much the era of Prince and a few other musicians who, like Stephen Stills and Walter Becker before them, would often record anything from a demo track to an entire album by playing all the instruments themselves, using hired hands to fill in the gaps on the road.
Wooten gave the interviewer his characteristic cocked-head pause before replying. “Instead of putting time into learning other instruments,” he noted, speaking slowly as if to a child, “I take that time… and I put it into learning my instrument.” There’s a lesson here, if anybody cares to learn it. Don’t waste your time doing things badly.
In the paragraphs that follow, I will attempt to convince you that the Civic Si is eminently superior to its more celebrated Type R sibling because it adheres strictly to Victor Wooten’s advice. The Type R attempts to supersize its platform’s basic capabilities to the point where it can do battle with everything from rally-reps to ponycars, but the Si pursues the much cheaper, much less ambitious path of being simply the best Civic possible.
Its success in doing so is beyond any contradiction.
While Honda has a long and storied automotive history, it has lost much of its luster in recent years. We won’t fault the Accord, as many of us have deemed it miraculous, nor the CR-V, which continues to gain sales momentum as the rest of the industry slows. But something definitely went wrong.
Pinpointing the first misstep is difficult, however. It might have been that we became accustomed to decades of repeated success, followed by a series of middling models that weren’t bad but showcased limited progression in the new millennium — past Civics being a prime example. Maybe it started with the sudden influx of recalls, kicked off by a reputation-crippling 11 million units equipped with Takata’s infamous and extremely dangerous airbags. Perhaps it was when Honda thought it would be a good idea to replace a simple volume knob with a touch-sensitive slider or its untenable partnership with Maroon 5 and Nick Cannon in 2013.
We could speculate endlessly. But the point is that Honda knows it screwed up somewhere along the line and has become trapped by a more stifling version of the methodology that once made it great. It’s now seeking a way out.
Let me start this review off with a promise: I will try to avoid any “VTEC kicked in, yo” jokes.
That’s in part because the 2017 Honda Civic Type R doesn’t exhibit the behavior of past VTEC engines that inspired the jokes, but mainly because the meme is played out.
Full disclosure: Honda provided us with travel to the Seattle area, and provided us with airfare, food, and lodging. They even used a seaplane to get us from Seattle to the hotel and fed us dinner on a small cruise ship. We got some track time in the Type R in addition to on-road drives. Also, they gave us seat time in go-karts, in which I spun out a lot. They left us with a scale-model Type R which will likely never leave its box. If it does, I will use it for living-room races against a scale-model Ford Focus ST I have from a previous gig, if I ever take that one out of its box.
It’s all about product, they say.
Product, product, product.
When in doubt, add product.
New product, they say, will reinvigorate the American midsize sedan categor y. New product, one might have imagined, would provide an ample boost to America’s minivan segment.
Yet in August 2017, only the third month on the market for Honda’s fifth-gen 2018 Odyssey, overall minivan sales increased for just the second time in a year despite another sales decline from that very same new product, the Honda Odyssey.
It’s early days for the second-generation Acura NSX, known in most global markets as the Honda NSX. After a decade-long hiatus, the Ohio-built NSX only returned in the summer of 2016.
Yet 577 copies of the NSX have been sold in America during the supercar’s first 14 months. In the much smaller and less supercar-friendly Canadian market, 82 copies of the Acura NSX have been sold since July 2016, including 29 in the last two months.
And in Australia? Down Under, sales of the [s]Acura[/s] Honda NSX have been less, shall we say, numerous. So far, Honda Australia has reported… carry the one, find the inverse sine, if c is equal to a+b… a grand total of two NSX sales.
Two. Dos. Zwei. Ni.
The reasons are obvious.
It was quicker, quieter, more fuel efficient, and less expensive, but the all-new 2018 Honda Odyssey failed to win its first Car and Driver minivan comparison test.
The fifth-gen Odyssey is also the newest minivan redesign. The Toyota Sienna was updated for 2017 with a new powertrain but remains in large part the same minivan that arrived for the 2011 model year. The first Chrysler Pacifica minivan — aka the second Chrysler Pacifica — has been on sale for nearly a year and a half. The Kia Sedona, having lost its previous Car and Driver comparison test, was not deemed eligible for the test. Likewise, the Dodge Grand Caravan, while currently America’s top-selling minivan, was rendered ineligible by past performance.
With only three minivans in the test, all upper-crust examples of their specific nameplates, each contender finished on the platform. But lofty expectations for the all-new Odyssey failed to come to fruition, and the segment progenitor’s party trick produced a solid victory.
Stow’N’Go isn’t the only differentiator, however.
The Dodge Dart is dead. The Ford Fiesta is likely on its last legs in the United States. Ford Focus production is moving to China, off the North American continent where demand for Ford small cars is rapidly declining. General Motors is scaling back production at the Chevrolet Sonic’s Orion Township, Michigan, assembly plant.
That’s the Detroit small car picture, or at least part of it. From Japan’s perspective, however, small cars are entirely worth it, not just because of the sales success enjoyed by the Honda Civic (currently America’s best-selling car through 2017’s first seven months) and Toyota Corolla, but because of the demographic small cars target.
It made perfect sense. In 2009, when Hyundai wanted customers to view its new Genesis luxury sedan as a premium bit of kit, Hyundai did not compare the Genesis to the Sonata. In an early marketing campaign, Hyundai’s voiceover said the Genesis is “as spacious as a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, yet priced like a C-Class.”
When the time came to market the Genesis R-Spec, Hyundai reached way upmarket to compare 0-60 mph times with the Porsche Panamera. Hyundai wasn’t under the mistaken impression that the Genesis would steal thousands of sales from $100,000 Benzes and Porsches. But Hyundai was crafting an image. Hyundai didn’t require you to believe that the Genesis was a viable S-Class alternative — the company just wanted you to understand that this is premium-oriented S-Class-sized sedan at a C-Class-like price.
Long before the Hyundai Genesis tried to cultivate a premium persona, Acura was failing to keep up with Lexus in the quest to be viewed as a true luxury rival for the German establishment. It’s still a problem. So Acura dealers are now just trying to make sure you understand that the Acura TLX is better than the [s]Audi A4 Lexus ES Infiniti Q50[/s] 2018 Honda Accord.
The lifespan of an average car-model usually lasts a half-decade before the automaker shells out for a full redesign, unless it’s a Nissan Frontier or Lincoln Navigator. That’s more or less the rule at Honda when it comes to the top-selling compact car in North America, the Civic.
While the eighth-generation Civic soldiered on for a lengthy six years, Honda sold the preceding seventh, sixth, fifth, and fourth versions of the model for either four or five years. Thanks to a boring design and lackluster reviews, the automaker spirited the ninth-gen model off of dealer lots after just four years, but not before adding extra content and style via an emergency 2013 model year refresh.
We’re now hearing the current generation — larger than ever before, radically redesigned for 2016, and a sales leader in a shrinking segment — won’t see a full redesign until the 2022 model year. That’s a six-year stretch. A stretch where automakers will be scrambling to hold on to compact-car market share in a land flush with small crossovers.
The Honda Accord is by no means a younger sibling, operating as the senior member of American Honda’s fleet.
More specifically, the 2018 Honda Accord will never be viewed as the little brother in the American Honda family, not with these substantial dimensions and MSRPs that reach deep into the $30Ks.
But the 10th-generation Accord is still a Honda. Just a Honda. Merely a Honda. Only a Honda. And while you might expect Honda to enjoy technological hand-me-downs from the automaker’s upmarket Acura brand, that’s not the way it works. Not when it comes to the Accord.
As a result, we’ll wait and see which hand-me-ups appear on the next all-new Acura, the third-generation 2019 Acura RDX.
In the 2016 calendar year, the Honda Odyssey was Canada’s 41st-best-selling vehicle.
In the first half of 2017, as the fourth-generation Odyssey’s tenure came to an end, the Honda van plunged 11 positions to 52nd. Odyssey sales were down 18 percent, year-over-year. Odyssey volume was on track to fall to a five-year low. Hashtag minivans dead.
Then, descending from the top of Mount Fuji with a Soichiro-shaped halo, hosting enough seats for the entire Odyssey SCCA pit crew, declaring 30 more horses than the original Acura NSX, equipped with enough gears in its transmission for 2.5 copies of the Toyota Yaris, and speaking with just enough of an Alabama twang to be authentically North Americanized, the 2018 Honda Odyssey appeared.
Canadian sales of the Honda Odyssey consequently rose to the highest level in 15 years. And so shall it ever be.
One reason why this post was published Wednesday instead of earlier in the week is that I was at a Chicago-area event where Honda PR was presenting the all-new Accord to local media.
This particular presentation was unusual in that Honda focused less on the new car’s specs and features and more on a major question that’s hovering over the midsize-sedan class – namely, will the segment even exist in a few years? Or will crossovers (CUVs) have fully taken over by then?
There are still sedan buyers alive in this world, you see. You might just be among them. Toyota and Honda will sell some 700,000 Camrys and Accords in the United States in 2017, roughly four out of every 10 midsize cars.
So, presented with two new options from the preeminent manufacturers of midsize sedans, what choice do you make? A 2018 Toyota Camry right now, with all the glory of a J-VIN and a 301-horsepower V6? Or do you wait a few weeks for the 2018 Honda Accord, a sports sedan on the cheap with a 2.0T and a six-speed manual?
Exchange rates seriously hurt Japanese manufacturers over the past year as the yen bobbed and weaved following 2015’s surge. However, Honda was not among them. The final quarter of 2016 saw the automaker posting a 27 percent earnings increase, despite being hammered by the same foreign exchange losses as the rest of its Pacific brethren.
The first quarter of 2017 appears to have shaped up much the same way, only with slimmer margins — exactly as Honda predicted. Knowing that the North American market was about to take a turn for the worse, company analysts clung to the hope that more favorable currency rates and higher-than-expected sales in Asia would keep operating profits out of the red. Earnings ultimately creeping ahead by 0.9 percent to 269.21 billion yen ($2.40 billion) for Q1 — no thanks to the United States.
At The Truth About Cars, we’ve paid a lot of attention to the demise of the Honda Accord coupe. And for numerous good reasons.
In TTAC’s long-term fleet, for instance, there’s Jack Baruth’s own 2014 Accord Coupe V6 6MT. In the TTAC audience’s fleet, there are more Honda Accords than any other car. Furthermore, Honda revealed earlier this month the all-new, 10th-generation 2018 Honda Accord.
First we learned the naturally aspirated V6 engine would no longer be part of the Accord’s lineup. Then we discovered that the Accord coupe, responsible for only around 5 percent of total Accord sales, would be the last player to leave the mainstream two-door midsize car category.
On Friday, as we reported the enticing deals American Honda is offering on 5,000 remaining Accord coupes, a discussion ensued at TTAC’s digital HQ. It was decided that — as a memorial, as a final send-off, as a fond farewell — we should drive one of these final ninth-generation Accord coupes.
So I made a call.
Although it seemed hard to believe, we were under the impression up until a few weeks before the 10th-generation Honda Accord’s launch, that the 2018 Honda Accord would spawn yet another Honda Accord coupe.
On July 14, 2017, we learned the Honda Accord coupe would die an honorable death. The 10th-generation Accord sedan, according to Honda, will hold sufficient appeal for those former Accord coupe buyers — Accordians, who made up roughly 5 percent of Honda’s midsize clientele.
But the Honda Accord coupe, while futureless, isn’t dead yet. There are more than 5,000 on dealer lots across the United States right now. And according to CarsDirect, they’re pretty cheap.
The 2018 Honda Accord will be assembled in Marysville, Ohio. The overwhelming majority of its sales will occur in the United States of America. Its dimensions, inside and out, suit the U.S. market. In 2016, the Accord ranked second on Cars.com’s American-Made Index.
Open its trunk and a family of bald eagles fly out, having successfully incubated apple pies, having binge-watched every season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. There’s a subtle Statue of Liberty easter egg on the windshield, Hollywood signs engraved in its cupholders, and a 3D hologram of Mount Rushmore featuring a fifth character — Soichiro Honda — that emerges from the glovebox if you shift the manual transmission into sixth, say VTEC three times, and spit over your left shoulder.
The Accord, according to lead exterior designer Tetsuji Morikawa, “is an American car.”
To make sure of that, however, Morikawa said the design team, “wanted to feel like Americans.” And they wanted to finish their design of the 10th-generation Accord in the United States, not Japan.
With the launch of the seven-seat Honda CR-V in another ASEAN market, this time Australia, one wonders about the potential popularity of a three-row CR-V in the United States.
The Honda CR-V, America’s top-selling utility vehicle in each of the last five years, currently tops American Honda’s sales charts. The CR-V now accounts for more than one-quarter of Honda’s U.S. sales and generated more volume in the first half of 2017 than in any of the CR-V nameplates’s first 10 calendar years.
Broadening the already popular CR-V’s appeal sounds, at first glance, like an entirely reasonable plan.
Earlier this week in his Question of the Day, Matthew Guy asked everyone to share a favorite vehicle from their year of birth. An interesting walk through history ensued in the days following, and I encourage each of you to head there and read through the comments if you haven’t done so already. You’ve probably already guessed from the title above where I’m going with this particular question.
Today’s inquiry is all about the worst, steamiest pile of junk on sale the year you were born. Let’s get down and dirty.
Suggesting that the automaker is “providing a more compelling value,” American Honda is removing the second-from-the-bottom RTS trim level from the 2018 Honda Ridgeline lineup and extinguishing the all-wheel-drive option on basic RT Ridgelines.
As a result, after a 2017 run in which all-wheel-drive Ridgelines could be purchased for $32,315, the 2018 Honda Ridgeline AWD now has a base price $3,695 higher than before.
The 2018 Honda Accord is not a refresh. It’s not a refurbished, reconditioned revamp.
The 2018 Honda Accord is very much a new car, a 10th-generation follow-up to the five-year, 2013-2017 run of the outgoing Accord. That’s obvious when you look at the design of the new Accord — another midsize car attempting to banish boredom in an attempt to maintain healthy U.S. car sale volumes when more and more people want crossovers. You see it in the 2018 Toyota Camry, the 2018 Hyundai Sonata’s new grille, and the 2018 Accord’s squarer nose and faster roofline.
But Accord buyers will spend far more time inside the car than they do looking at its exterior. For owners, Honda wanted to make the 10th-generation Accord roomier, more capacious, better suited for ferrying five passengers.
So Honda moved the two front passengers closer together.
Honda’s probably right.
The coupe, long a staple of the American auto industry, is fading fast. Between automakers who insist on using phrases such as “four-door coupe” and “ SUV coupe” and automakers that are just plain killing off coupes and consumers who favor more practical bodystyles, one wonders how rare the bodystyle will be in 10, or even five years.
Now, the tenth-generation 2018 Honda Accord has appeared and the coupe variation we’ve known for decades is off the table. No coupe. Coupe be gone. Coupe discontinued. Coupe defunct. Coupe dead. Coupé de grâce, to thoroughly muddle the French.
Yet it’s Honda’s belief that the new sedan is enough to keep Accord Coupe buyers from straying from the fold.
You buy an iPhone 6 assuming you will like it more en-han you liked your old iPhone 5. You were excited to read Tender Is The Night because The Great Gatsby was a worthy tale. You had high hopes for The Godfather Part II on your Christmas holidays in 1974, having waited more than two years since The Godfather permanently altered cinema.
Expectations are everything, and my expectations for the 2018 Honda Odyssey Elite, a 280-horsepower, $47,610, eight-seater were high precisely because our garage houses a 2015 Honda Odyssey EX. My van isn’t perfect, but I’d happily buy another. And seven years after the fourth-generation Odyssey went into production, expectations for the fifth-generation model have grown significantly.
It’s 2017, not 2011. We expect quieter cabins, more powerful and more efficient engines, better interior materials, more standard features, and novel equipment.
In almost every facet, the fifth-gen 2018 Honda Odyssey is multiple steps beyond the fourth-gen Odyssey I own. But not every step forward is a step in the right direction.
The current-generation Honda’s Fit is considerably less adorable than previous incarnations, but still a vehicle that’s easy to recommend to those with a specific price point and varied needs — especially if they also do all their driving in the city. However, it wasn’t perfect and rationalizing its purchase became difficult as upmarket models offered more car for less money.
For 2018, Honda has updated the subcompact Fit with driver-assist features, new looks, and some mild performance accoutrements for a not-unreasonable amount of cash. It doesn’t necessarily make it a better buy than the Civic you’ve been considering, but it should be enough to make the Fit deserving of a second look.
Launched in mid-June 2017, the 2017 Honda Civic Type R is the first Honda-brand Type R product ever sold in the United States. And after generations of Honda enthusiasts tolerated relatively unimpressive horsepower totals from high-revving four-cylinder engines, Honda didn’t mess around with the latest, turbocharged Civic Type R.
306 horsepower at 6,500 rpm. 295 lb-ft of torque at 2,500 rpm.
Yet before the Civic Type R was even on sale in the United States, we learned that the 10th-generation 2018 Honda Accord would kill the V6 and replace it with, you guessed it, the Civic Type R’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Incidentally, only a few days after that, we learned that the optional V6 in the Accord’s long-time rival, the new-for-2018 Toyota Camry, would generate 301 horsepower.
Win for Honda? Not so much, as Honda last week revealed a 2018 Accord 2.0T with 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque.
Huh? What? Why?
After a brief history lesson underscoring just how important the Accord has been to North America throughout the last four decades, Honda unveiled the 10th generation of its midsize sedan to a semi-enthusiastic audience in Detroit today.
To be fair, it’s not the most exciting segment occupying the automotive landscape, but it is one of the most important — despite losing significant ground to crossovers and SUVs over the last few years. Honda clearly doesn’t want the Accord relegated exclusively to unimaginative buyers needing nothing more than basic transportation and fleet sales.
Despite sinking sales, automakers aren’t giving up on the midsize sedan, and Honda has placed some genuine effort behind the new Accord. That doesn’t mean they’ve converted it into a heart-stopping thrill ride, nor should they, since that’s not the kind of car it’s supposed to be. But they’ve taken steps to ensure the vehicle has improved in meaningful ways. While that didn’t stop Jeff Conrad, senior vice president of American Honda, from claiming it was “unquestionably the most dramatic remake of the Accord that we’ve ever done” at the unveiling, there is truth in that statement.
However, some the biggest changes coming to the 2018 Accord are what you won’t find in the upgraded model.
This is not a review. The 2018 Honda Odyssey Touring will be reviewed, by me, at some point in the near future.
But this part couldn’t wait. This is breaking news. This is an alert. This deserves a chyron.
The 2018 Honda Odyssey Touring’s 10-speed automatic transmission does not suck.
We had not yet seen the 2017 Honda Civic Type R.
We did not yet know at what lofty level the 2017 Honda Civic Type R would be priced.
We didn’t know precisely when we’d have an opportunity to purchase a 2017 Honda Civic Type R. We didn’t know how powerful it would be, whether there’d be a CVT option, if the Civic Si would be powerful enough to decrease Type R demand, or how many aero-aiding elements the Civic Type R would be wearing when it came off the boat from the UK.
But we were told Honda thought it could sell 2,000 Civic Type Rs per month. Which is impossible.
The Ford Ranger is poised to return to the domestic market in 2019, accompanied by all the fanfare befitting a junior American icon. Unless the Blue Oval totally botches the job, everyone anticipates the reborn Ranger becoming a big seller in the midsize truck market.
However, there’s already a smaller pickup syphoning off volume from its rivals before the Ranger can avail itself. While sales of most midsize truck models have been cooled by the gentle breeze of market stagnation, Honda’s second-generation Ridgeline has returned with a vengeance, enjoying favorable reviews and posting sales volume not witnessed in over a decade. While Honda still doesn’t move nearly as much midsized metal as Toyota’s Tacoma (which sold 191,631 units in the U.S. in 2016), the Ridgeline proves there is space in the marketplace for more than just body-on-frame offerings.
Last month, I brought to you a Question of the Day about resurrection; saving something from an untimely death. Naturally, we were talking about car brands — specifically, which dead brand you’d select to bring back to life in a modern world, with a modern lineup.
In the well-established TTAC interest of balance, fairness, and equality in all things, now we ask the opposite question: Which car brand deserved its death?
Who knew the well-equipped 2018 Honda Odyssey was so… titillating? An unsuspecting journalist over at Forbes saw a few more — let’s call them entertainment options — than she expected while browsing through the video selection offered via her Odyssey tester’s rear media screen.
At that point, things became a little hot under the collar at Honda.
Against its normal methodology, Honda is already leaking details regarding the all-new 2018 Accord, the tenth-generation of Honda’s venerable midsize car.
With continued manual transmission availability, a hi-po turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder in place of a V6 upgrade that was part of the lineup for more than two decades, and another generation of coupes, the tenth-generation Honda Accord has the potential to be a terrific car.
But will it be the best Honda Accord?
American-built for 35 years, on the market for four decades, and the most popular car among TTAC’s devoted readership, the Honda Accord is a known entity. But not all Accords were created equal. Judge using whatever methodology you prefer: style, reliability, ride and handling, efficiency, interior quality. Then tell everyone which Honda Accord is the best Honda Accord.
Following early technological success in the electric car field, Honda entered the 21st century with a newfound aim to place hybrid vehicles in the driveways of global carbuyers. While rival Toyota’s hybrids have garnered the most headlines and sales, no one can criticize Honda (CR-Z notwithstanding) for the continued refinement of its electrified powertrains. Just look at the most recent Accord Hybrid or Acura’s growing list of performance-oriented multi-motor products.
Still, as fully electric vehicles began emerging on the scene, Honda found itself lagging behind. The Clarity EV, an electric version of its second-generation fuel cell vehicle, arrives this summer with a paltry 80-mile range. However, we’re promised much more in the year ahead.
As it moves forward with its EV plans, Honda also wants to have a stake in the supply of EV components to automakers — namely, electric motors. As of today, Honda and partner Hitachi have a name for their joint venture: Hitachi Automotive Motor Systems Limited.
Minivans. They’re the ultimate family haulers: unpretentious, utilitarian, and usually ugly.
Minivans haven’t been slow in some time. A decade ago, the Honda Odyssey produced 244 horsepower and required fewer than nine seconds to accelerate from nought to 60 miles per hour, hardly the behavior of a contemporaneous Chevrolet Aveo.
But the rate at which minivans have been packing on the ponies and adding gear ratios has evolved quickly over the last year. The Chrysler Pacifica came first, producing horsepower similar to its Pentastar twin from Dodge but adding a handful of gears. 0-60 times dropped to 7.3 seconds.
That was nothing to sneeze at. At least until Toyota made the 2017 Sienna the most powerful van in the segment and linked its 3.5-liter V6 to an eight-speed automatic; at least until Honda launched the 2018 Honda Odyssey with 10 speeds and 280 horsepower. Now the numbers are staggering.
You’re not likely to find another car sporting over 300 horsepower and a price below $35,000 with the same kind of visual impact as the Honda Civic Type R. Call it over the top, call it arresting, or call it exactly what you’ve been waiting for.
Honda designers and engineers know what buyers they want to reach — as many as possible. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have decided to spice up its every-popular Civic with warm ( Si) and hot (Type R) variants. With both models, deciding on power and price meant walking a fine line. Honda wants the Civic to be a big tent model. Nothing too exclusive, thank you very much.
Regular Civics for the masses, a 205 hp offering for the lively commute type, and a 306 hp hatch festooned with go-fast add-ons for the wannabe (or legitimate) racers. Seems like a pretty good range, right? Nope, there’s still white space in need of filling, says the Civic’s head engineer.
They’re monsters, fighting over a squeezable toy bus before the journey has even begun. They’re inattentive rascals, wearing headphones and tuning out their parents before Mom is even in the van. They’re instigators and agitators, wholly dependent upon parents to keep the peace.
Or are they? Are children really so bad that Honda’s very first marketing campaign for the fifth-generation 2018 Odyssey has to present a negative slant on the life of a parent?
Maybe not. But in an age in which conflict is fostered during live news coverage all day long, in which children are perpetually entertained so they don’t need to entertain themselves, in which there’s not enough time before Zoey’s pottery class and Aiden’s play date to source a conventional resolution, Honda’s Magic Slide seats produce a brilliantly eye-catching commercial, with a little help from animation.
Of course, my kids would never tussle like this.
The 2018 Honda Odyssey went on sale three weeks ago. The Chrysler Pacifica has only been on the market for a year. The Toyota Sienna will enjoy another refresh for the 2018 model year.
If ever there was a time in which America’s minivan segment needs to shine, the second-half of 2017 is it.
Minivan sales tumbled 14 percent, year-over-year, through the first five months of 2017. Only 3 percent of the auto industry’s volume is now minivan-derived. Year-over-year volume decreased in nine consecutive months between August 2016 and April 2017.
There are far fewer competitors now than there were a decade ago. Therefore, the minivan market doesn’t need to produce the sort of volume it did a decade ago. However, minivan sales can’t continue to plummet, month after month after month.
Minivan sales need to rise. If they can’t do so now, then when? And if the segment can’t do it with fresh product from Chrysler, Honda, and Toyota, then who can supply the growth?
Hold on, you say. That’s just the same old Honda Fit. Wrong. You’re not looking close enough.
While the mid-cycle refresh of Honda’s diminutive-yet-roomy subcompact hatch retains much of the previous Fit’s design hallmarks, the automaker has seen…fit…to make the model more noticeable.
The third-generation Fit bowed in 2014 as a 2015 model year vehicle, offering a single powerplant and two efficient transmissions for not much money less than the larger Civic. Now that Honda’s compact sedan looks gigantic in comparison to its predecessors, the Fit can more comfortably occupy the subcompact segment.
The 10th generation of Honda’s venerable Accord will debut for 2018 without a V6 engine option.
A few months later to the all-new midsize party than the next-generation 2018 Toyota Camry, the new Accord will not follow the Camry’s entrenched path of providing customers with a base four-cylinder and a V6 upgrade.
Instead, Honda will make do with the 1.5-liter turbocharged four already under the hood of the 10th-generation Civic and the fifth-generation Honda CR-V. As an upgrade, Honda will offer the 2.0-liter turbocharged unit from the 2018 Honda Civic Type R. In both cases, Honda has not yet revealed the power output. Honda will continue with an Accord Hybrid, as well.
But the V6 is a goner.
Honda Motor Company finally expressed an interest in developing autonomous cars on Thursday, while also stating its intention to bring two new electric vehicles to market by 2018.
The Japanese automaker has been cautious in making tech-related promises, especially those that relate to self-driving models, even as many of its rivals wear their autonomous development efforts like a badge of honor.
We knew Honda was working on the technology, but any semblance of a goal-oriented timeline was absent prior to this week. As part of its “Vision 2030” strategy, the car manufacturer claims it will coordinate R&D, procurement, and manufacturing to minimize development costs as it branches out into the realm of self-driving and electric vehicles.
The very first Honda Civic Type R is being made available to U.S. buyers via auction, and it’s probably going to go for a small fortune. While my sensible side wants to urge you to save your money and wait for the second or even third Type R to hit our shores, the premium you’re paying to be numero uno is going to a good cause. Honda donated the Civic to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and all the proceeds will go to the charity.
That gives you the right to install the most obnoxiously loud exhaust system legally allowed and rev up that homely hot rod in your driveway day and night. If your neighbors complain, you can tell them that your car helped save the lives of children before asking them what their CR-V has done for the world.
Can frugal transportation and family transportation coexist in a single package?
Lead Honda R&D engineer Tom Sladek indicated to Wards Auto at the Hawaiian launch of the all-new, fifth-generation, 2018 Honda Odyssey that Honda’s minivan could receive a hybrid powertrain in the future.
Presently, hybrid powertrains are available in a numerous three-row crossovers. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is presently launching a plug-in hybrid version of the new-last-year Chrysler Pacifica, as well.
“The electrification initiative is definitely coming, but on which products and which timing is not 100% clear yet,” Honda’s Sladek told Wards. If one such product is the Odyssey, we would expect to see improvements both in the Odyssey’s fuel economy and its performance.
And all-wheel drive?
Not everyone was blown away by the new Honda Civic Si’s 205 horsepower, especially after a year of rumors suggesting output could fall in the 220-hp range. While the hotter ( but not hottest) version of Honda’s 10th-generation Civic possesses the same horsepower rating as its predecessor, albeit with significantly less displacement, many Big H aficionados had hoped for more.
Nah, you don’t want that, Honda says. The Si’s massaged 1.5-liter turbo does offer increased torque (192 lb-ft) compared to the previous 2.4-liter model, but the automaker claims the addition of more ponies would have harmed the model.
Earlier this month, Honda announced pricing for its hotter Civic Si sedan and coupe, both of which carry an after-delivery price of $24,775. However, at 205 horsepower, the 2017 Civic Si’s powertrain could leave some front-drive sporty car lovers wanting more.
Not to fear, the Civic Type R will arrive on dealer lots imminently. Offered on North American shores for the first time, the Type R adds an extra 101 hp to the Si’s power output, all thanks to a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Torque tops out at 295 lb-ft, and a hatch is the only bodystyle available.
According to new photos of a fresh-from-England batch of Type Rs, the cost of that extra power amounts to about $100 per horse.
After a four-hour journey that included a ferry ride across the Northumberland Strait from Prince Edward Island, we arrived at one of the largest import car meets in Atlantic Canada in Bedford, Nova Scotia. There, owners showed off rows upon rows of cars in varying states of modification and personalization, from tasteful to tasteless.
My car club friends and I walked though to say hello to other folks we’d only previously chatted with on our local import forum, all the while gawking at some of the wildest vehicles east of Quebec. Body kits, massive turbo setups, and convoluted engine swaps ruled the day. But I only remember one vehicle vividly, parked at the end of a row and free from the usual slack-jawed, drooling masses: a pristine, unmodified, 1999 or 2000 Honda Civic Si Coupe (actually an SiR in Canada) still wearing its factory Electron Blue Pearl paint.
To me, back in 2007, this was automotive perfection.
Fast forward some 10 years later. I had the chance to meet the 2017 Honda Civic Si, a quicker, more mature, and more usable younger sibling wearing a similar shade of blue — then proceeded to act like a 22-year-old again and drive the ever-living snot out of it.
Center-mounted in a vertical fashion, the shifter in the fifth-generation 2018 Honda Odyssey profiled yesterday by Chris Tonn requires drivers to push a rectangular button for park, pull back an indented button for reverse, push another rectangular button for neutral, or depress a square button for drive.
In the new, second-generation 2017 GMC Terrain, a low-slung horizon of shift buttons mandates pushes of a rectangle for park and a small square for neutral plus a slight pull for reverse or, farther to the right, drive.
Perhaps you’re familiar with the lengthy push-button shift mechanism in newer Lincolns, where buttons for ignition, park, reverse, neutral, drive, and sport are laid out vertically on the driver’s side of the centre stack.
They’re here to stay. Blame technology. Hope for reliability. Don’t expect standardization.
“Remember, you are in a minivan,” my better half commanded as I tapped the left-hand gearshift paddle, grabbing a lower gear to power out of the improbably banked corner on a mountain two-lane. The 19-inch Bridgestones squealed in protest as I pushed it a bit wide, just as the kid squealed from the third row over a funny movie.
What was I to do? It’s not like the roads Honda chose for this drive are the typical minivan haunts — namely suburban surface streets or long interstate slabs. There are no real suburbs on the big island of Hawai’i, and interstate drives would get quite wet after a couple of hours in any direction. So I pressed on, trailbraking as if I were hustling a much smaller car around an autocross course.
It’s indeed a minivan, but the new 2018 Honda Odyssey is surprisingly rewarding to drive. While the majority of miles racked up by any minivan undoubtedly result from a commute, either on city streets or the interstate, taking the long way home in this Odyssey won’t feel like punishment.
U.S. minivan volume has decreased in nine consecutive months as the American minivan category lost 70,000 sales since August 2016, year-over-year.
As a result of the steady decline in a minivan segment that essentially features only five vans, 2017 is set to be the lowest-volume year for the category since 2009. At the rate achieved through the first one-third of 2017, Americans will purchase and lease only 452,000 minivans in 2017, just 2.6 percent of the overall market and only slightly more minivans than Americans purchased and leased when the overall industry collapsed to the lowest level in 27 years.
Or perhaps not. Fresh product is the carnauba wax bath balm for the soccer mom segment’s tired flesh. And a new 2018 Honda Odyssey is due at dealers in the coming weeks. (We’ll have a review of it next week.)
Is a new Odyssey the answer for America’s minivan woes?
Honda believes so.
Honda’s new Civic is a heck of a car, even if the styling is polarizing. But it’s not a performance car like Civics of old, where mixing and matching engine and transmissions from other models could yield a very quick ride with a stratospheric redline. Enthusiasts are anxiously awaiting the Si and Type-R trims, which promise plenty of power — but what of those who already have a car, or need features the high-performance cars don’t have?
Enter Hondata, the firm that’s been tuning Honda engine management systems for years. It’s been the industry leader for those looking to do those engine swaps, and has developed software and devices to add performance to the factory ECU.
Recently, Hondata released its FlashPro for the newest Civic powered by the 1.5-liter turbo engine, and I had a chance to drive a Hondata-tuned 2017 Civic.
Even stock, the new turbo Civic is faster in the quarter-mile than the previous-generation Civic Si, so the extra performance should be impressive.