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.
Eight months ago, we took a sojourn through the build and price tool for the Honda Fit LX. Since then, Honda’s increased the price and added a paint option.
So far in 2017, the Fit has sold at a more rapid pace than last year, despite the addition of an HR-V that logically should have cannibalized some Fit sales. As we well know, logic has no place in the car business. Perhaps shoppers are being lured to Honda showrooms by the new HR-V, then flipped by an alert member of the sales staff to the more affordable Fit.
Let’s see what one gets for their extra Fit cash in 2017.
“Tested on the Nürburgring,” is just the latest eye-rolling claim to be adopted by automakers desperate to instill a new product with an air of sportiness.
“Nürburgring?!” being the anticipated reaction. “Well, the Germans aren’t going to let just any minivan on that track … ”
There’s much guilt to go around. Just as a Ram maintenance truck trundling down the runway at Edwards Air Force Base is not a space shuttle or F-35, running some laps on the famed circuit does not a supercar make. Still, the track’s allure persists, especially among marketing types.
Sometimes, an achievement crops up that makes the typing of “Nürburgring” an acceptable practice — specifically, the setting of a record.
It’s really a matter of when, instead of a question of “will it?”
This week’s Shanghai auto show saw the premiere of an electrified Honda CR-V that should hit Chinese dealers in the second half of this year. When that vehicle will get a chance to battle rivals on American turf remains a secret, but it’s abundantly clear that the model has a future on this continent.
American Honda will build a Pilot-based SUV intended to carve out a space between the Honda CR-V and Honda Pilot.
According to a report published by WardsAuto with AutoForecast Solutions, Honda will assemble this Co-Pilot in Alabama alongside the Pilot beginning in the fall of 2018.
Co-Pilot? How about Honda Pilot Sport? Nah, that’s Michelin territory. Honda Pilot Sidekick? Suzuki grabbed that one already. Honda Pilot Junior? Too juvenile.
The name matters less than the positioning. Is there room for a midsize two-row utility vehicle in between the CR-V, traditionally America’s top-selling SUV/crossover, and the Pilot, one of America’s most popular three-row vehicles?
It’s a gap Ford, Nissan, and Hyundai have no trouble filling.
Canadian passenger car sales are falling, not unpredictably, as SUVs and crossovers continue to earn an increasingly large chunk of market share.
And yet at the top of the passenger car leaderboard, Canada’s two best-selling cars are selling at a record pace, with no small amount of help from new hatchback body styles.
Bucking the Canadian, North American, and global anti-car trend most distinctly is the Honda Civic, Canada’s best-selling car in each of the last 19 years.
Indeed, so strong have Civic sales been through the first-quarter of 2017, we’re ready to make a projection. Make it a confirmation. We’ll say it with certainty. Honda Canada’s Civic streak will reach a full two decades, twenty years, as the Civic becomes Canada’s best-selling car in 2017.
The Civic’s lead is already insurmountable.
Honda needed to put some distance between the much-anticipated Civic Type R and the forthcoming Si before giving up any additional specifications. With so much buzz surrounding the 306-horsepower Type R’s North American debut, any news on the more modest Si would have been lost in a sea of Honda fanboy fury.
Still, the automaker was probably also aware that some enthusiasts might get a little snippy when they find out that the Si’s massaged 1.5-liter mill won’t see significant horsepower gains over the previous naturally aspirated engine. In fact, it makes the same 205 hp as the old model.
I’m an idiot.
Thursday night, I filled up a car with gas. That was clearly in the background of my mind when on Friday, we loaded up our 2015 Honda Odyssey for a long-weekend trip to Prince Edward Island. Luggage, children, dog, stroller, front door locked, back door locked, side entrance locked, patio door locked, heat turned down, and finally, departure.
I hadn’t driven our Odyssey in a couple of weeks, having focused my attention on the Toyota Corolla iM and Hyundai Ioniq discussed on these pages already. Distracted by a thousand tasks, and presumably still conscious of a trip to the fuel pumps the night before (in the Ioniq, it turns out), I ignored the signs at the approach to the Cobequid Pass that warn of a lack of services for the next 27 miles.
We drove up the Cobequid Pass toward the tolls when I finally noticed we had no fuel. Estimated range? 0 km. Fuel gauge? Well below the Empty line.
Fortunately, from that point of realization until the Ultramar in Thomson Station 16 miles later, our 2015 Honda Odyssey travelled at a rate of 35 miles per gallon.
Honda isn’t one to dish details on a new product miles ahead of a debut, but information has a way of springing leaks.
An email sent to Honda aficionados from the automaker has ended up on the CivicX forum, and its description of the upcoming Civic Si’s torque rating is apparently legit. However, those fans wish it wasn’t, as the number isn’t exactly that of a performance monster.
It’s never easy trying to whip up an air of exclusivity through your daily driver, and nowhere in the U.S. is this truer than in southern California. Whether it’s ultra exotics driven by the Beautiful People or rust-free rarities carefully maintained with end-of-week savings, chances are your neighbor, friend or coworker’s ride makes your commuter car — premium or not — look as banal as dry toast.
How does a car buyer turn heads, ideally while projecting an all-caps message about their chosen lifestyle, without breaking the bank or A-Teaming a tired sedan into some sort of grotesque absurdity? Honda has the answer.
For now — and Honda accountants would prefer that the “rarity” period remains a short one — driving a leased Clarity Fuel Cell sedan puts you in a very exclusive club. By month’s end, Honda expects the number of next-generation, hydrogen-powered five-seaters plying the roadways of the Golden State to top the three-figure mark. Huge numbers, for sure.
Next thing you know, the person you hired to walk your dogs might pull up in one.
Underneath its skin, the Honda Ridgeline is a significantly altered Honda Pilot, a large three-row utility vehicle related to the next-generation Honda Odyssey minivan. That’s hardly the stuff of which traditional, body-on-frame pickups are made.
But the Ridgeline has a separate, exposed bed, an elevated ride height, and competitive payload ratings. Therefore, it’s a pickup truck.
Or is it? In one recent Honda Canada commercial, the Ridgeline is portrayed alongside the HR-V, CR-V, and Pilot under the Honda Utility banner.
“Go where you wanna go,” The Mamas & the Papas sing, as a tree-lined bike trail appears with the CR-V in the HR-V’s rear seat, as a mountainside Pilot scene materializes in the CR-V’s cargo area, as the Ridgeline’s soccer setting unfolds from the Pilot’s third row.
Has Honda decided the Ridgeline is a sport-utility vehicle? A CUV?
Spy photos of a mid-engined roadster that couldn’t possibly be a production vehicle just rolled in from California, providing a tantalizing hint that Honda’s trademarked ZSX name might find its way onto a new addition to the company’s stable.
What appears to be a design study or full-on concept vehicle could herald a production vehicle, possibly the rumored “baby NSX.” Whatever the vehicle portents, it certainly looks ready for spotlights and a revolving pedestal. The wheels and mock license plate scream to any bystander (or shutterbug) that this is indeed a Honda-built vehicle.
If you’re an enthusiast in your thirties, there’s a good chance you’ve coveted Honda’s Civic Type R from a distance for the majority of your adult life. While the Civic Si made it to North American shores, it seemed like the whole rest of the world was enjoying its racier sibling without us. I personally knew at least two people in high school who stuck false Type R badges onto unsporting Civics, rounding out the lie with cheap aftermarket rims and a noisy exhaust.
The opportunity for those dishonest people to redeem themselves is now closer than ever. Honda has finally dished on the Civic, reassuring westerners that this Type R will be true to form while reminding us that the wait is nearly over. Just make sure you’ve budgeted some extra dough for new front tires and are practicing your lift-off oversteer technique.
Honda spoke excitedly about the inclusion of an all-new, Honda-designed 10-speed automatic in the 2018 Honda Odyssey lineup when the van debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit two months ago. Along with a higher-powered 3.5-liter V6 and a standard 10-speed automatic from the Pilot, Honda made clear that the 10-speed would be reserved for “upper grades.”
Now we know precisely how high up the Odyssey food chain you must climb to obtain the minivan world’s first-ever 10-speed.
And it’s quite high.
Honda wants to up its software game and encourage creative uses for ones and zeros at its new research and development center. With ASIMO — the company’s adorable robot mascot — almost old enough to smoke, Honda hasn’t developed a super-high-profile gizmo in nearly 17 years.
Recently, the company took a distinctive back-to-basics approach to address slipping quality, though CEO Takahiro Hachigo confessed that rekindling the R&D “spirit” would be the other half of building a better Honda Motor Co.
With those goals in mind, Tokyo’s Honda Innovation Lab opened its doors to the press on Tuesday as the company announced it will be forming a specific unit to focus on the development of software-laden technology for its next generation of vehicles.
No one likes worrying about running out of charged particles while driving through a sketchy neighborhood late at night. If you’re a green car aficionado and hold this fear above that of spiders, death and public speaking, you’d best look somewhere other than Honda for your next battery-powered vehicle.
A report states that the all-electric version of Honda’s upcoming Clarity, which will forever live in the technological shadow of its fuel cell-powered sibling, sports an embarrassingly short range.
We’re all supposed to enjoy, or endure, an Alfa Romeo ownership experience at some point in our lives.
The 2017 Honda CR-V is diametrically opposed to everything the Alfa Romeo SZ stands for.
You’re supposed to drive a car that reveals its character through its flaws, as if a shifter that only slots into third at 2,755 rpm is somehow symbolic of soul.
The 2017 Honda CR-V doesn’t shift. At all.
You’re supposed to tell a great breakdown story that involves a leafy Vermont village, a greedy mechanic, and a 48-hour wait for a repair that resulted in the best drive ever with an ex-girlfriend who severed your relationship the next day.
Not a single word of that could possibly apply to a 2017 Honda CR-V.
You’re an enthusiast, you have taste, you’re vulnerable. We get it. But maybe you should just drive a Honda CR-V and accept the fact that boring, or dull, or soulless cars can be wonderfully effective ways of transporting one’s family.
I’m not thrilled by the realization. But I’m impressed by the all-new, fifth-generation Honda CR-V.
It’s been about seven months since I ran out of warranty in my 2014 Accord EX-L V6 6MT. We’re now just a touch over 45,500 miles at the third anniversary of purchase, and I’ll confess I’m starting to get a little itchy about the idea of keeping a new car for this long. Only four times in my life have I kept a street-titled car past the three-year mark: my 1990 Fox stuck around 67 months, my 944 was in my possession for the better part of 10 years, and I still have two Porsches I bought during the first term of the G.W. Bush administration. Other than that, it’s been churn-and-burn, usually somewhere between the 18-month and 30-month marks.
There are sound reasons to swap the Accord out, and sound reasons to keep it, as you’ll see below. I’ve also had a few interesting incidents with the car, one of which might even be considered a legitimate blotting of the proverbial copybook.
Captain of industry John Mendel is retiring as the executive vice president of American Honda’s sales division this April, following ten years of service to the company. Mendel is probably best-known for ensuring that Honda and Acura’s marketing and sales focus remained on North America’s retail markets, not fleets.
Also retiring this spring is Honda Canada’s current president and 42-year company veteran, Jerry Chenkin. Filling the vacuum created in Chenkin’s absence is Dave Gardner, currently senior vice president and future president. Gardner will assume the role of president and provide direct oversight for the automotive and motorcycle divisions, power equipment, ATV, and small engine businesses.
There has been so much nonsense surrounding the 2018 Honda Civic Type R that it was becoming difficult to separate fact from the fiction. Speculation on the car’s engine and transmission was endless. There were rumors that it could be as large as 3.5 liters or a substantially smaller mill mated to a continuously variable transmission. However, it turned out the most expected configuration was the correct one — Occam’s razor, and all that.
Although, after so much conflicting information, when and where the 2.0 liter turbo VTEC and its manual transmission would show up seemed uncertain. The Type R was supposed to come to North America in the middle of this year, something 36 year olds have been begging for since they were 16, but Honda hadn’t said anything concrete and that deadline is fast approaching without anyone even having laid eyes on the production model.
Then, late last week, Honda Europe slipped in a small mention that the Civic Type R would debut in Geneva alongside the Clarity Fuel Cell and the NeuV electric concept while confirming the summer production and immediate export for North America.
It’s been a rough week at Frank Ancona Honda of Olathe, Kansas.
The family-owned dealership, in operation just southwest of Kansas City since 1961, has successfully weathered all of the storms that periodically pummel dealers of all stripes.
Then, last weekend, a body discovered on the banks of Missouri’s Big River — about a five-hour drive to the east — gave the dealership the kind of attention that no business wants. The corpse, which had a bullet hole in its head, also had a name: Frank Ancona.
No, the founder of Frank Ancona Honda is still alive and well at 85. But much to his dismay, the Frank Ancona discovered by the Big River was none other than the 51-year-old imperial wizard of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
Honda Canada delivered a 2017 Honda CR-V Touring to my driveway less than 100 hours ago.
It is, in so many ways, an exemplary means of transporting one’s family: surprisingly efficient, sufficiently powerful, wonderfully spacious, and undeniably refined.
But it’s not pretty.
This is my new 1992 Honda Prelude Si five-speed, which passed 100,000 miles last week while I was driving it home from Tampa to Tucson.
The car was for sale on eBay and I was in the market for a vintage stickshift Prelude as the ultimate souvenir from my Honda days. In addition, my wife and I had always wanted to do a cross-country drive. My sister and her husband recently moved to Florida, a hundred miles south of where the car was located. My wife had never been to New Orleans. We decided, what the heck, let’s buy the car and drive it home.
Did I mention that this Prelude was the closest thing to a barn-find car I’ve ever bought?
A quick look at the automotive landscape of 2017 tells us that electricity, long relegated to golf courses and RC cars, is the chosen successor to gasoline and diesel propulsion. However, automakers are hedging their bets on the best way to create those electrons.
Despite a critically meager refueling infrastructure, hydrogen lives on as a potential source for that energy, and select automakers continue a quest to equip our future vehicles with containers of lighter-than-air gas. To this end, General Motors and Honda partnered up back in 2013.
Now, we know the next step in the two automotive rivals’ plan.
It took eight years for American Honda to break 2007’s U.S. sales record. But after muscling past the eight-year-old barrier in 2015, the Honda brand shot past the new mark with ease in 2016.
And Honda, typically prudent-verging-on-pessimistic, intends to report record sales at the end of 2017, as well.
Imagine a world full of hefty, four-seat, eight-cylinder muscle cars. Then, appearing out of thin air, the Mazda MX-5 Miata arrives. You can draw parallels. The end goals are similar. But these are strikingly different machines.
Or consider a world in which buyers in search of family friendly SUVs are limited to Chevrolet Suburbans and Ford Expedition ELs. But after decades of dominance, in walks a totally different kind of answer: the Toyota Highlander Hybrid.
Like the first-generation Honda Ridgeline that bowed more than a decade ago, the all-new second-generation Ridgeline is a pickup truck. There’s a cab and a bed. It can tow and it can haul.
Yet the 2017 Honda Ridgeline is dramatically different from other pickup trucks, and not only in terms of construction. For better or worse, Honda’s truck is a whole ‘nuther kettle of fish. As a result, comparisons with other pickup trucks are, if not unfair, rendered largely invalid.
Sometimes a manufacturer churns out a base trim that — all things considered — might just be the best choice for that particular model. Here’s a candidate.
Wait, wait, wait! Yes, this is a minivan … but before you scroll past this post to revel in Steph’s news reports or one of Jack’s adventures, consider this: when was the last time you bought something which truly made your life easier? Because that’s what minivans are all about.
The first Honda Civic made its way to the United States during the Nixon administration. Honda began building Civics in the United States in 1986. Two years later, Honda of Canada Manufacturing began Civic production, as well.
In 2016, with an assembly plant in Greensburg, Indiana, and Alliston, Ontario, Honda is building more than 38,000 Civics per month in North America.
Yet seven years after Honda discontinued the Civic in its Japanese home market, Civic production is returning to Japan.
Civic sales resume in Japan this summer, and some of those Japanese-built Civics, Automotive News reports, might make their way to America.
Throughout much of the third-generation Honda Pilot’s tenure, U.S. sales have not measured up to the success of the previous-generation model, though not for lack of demand.
In a market gone mad for SUVs and crossovers, three other vehicles have constrained production of the Pilot in Lincoln, Alabama. In addition to the Pilot, American Honda builds the Honda Odyssey in Lincoln, along with the Acura MDX. The second-generation Ridgeline started rolling off the Alabama line in May 2016.
As a result, Honda dealers have had a difficult time getting their hands on enough Pilots to sate the predictably high level of interest in a respected three-row crossover nameplate. Heading into December, for instance, Honda only had 36 days of Pilot supply according to Automotive News, about half the current industry average.
But with an all-new 2018 Odyssey about to pick up steam and the Ridgeline reaching a second-gen high of 4,085 sales in December, the Pilot needs room to breathe.
Honda unveiled the production 2018 Odyssey today at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show, revealing a thoroughly redesigned but wholly familiar family hauling box. New features include second row seats that slide side-to-side, as well as an interior camera to monitor mischievous rear-seat occupants.
Mechanical innovations include an optional, all-new 10-speed automatic transmission built at Honda’s Georgia transmission plant, and an upgraded 3.5 liter V6 that now produces 280 horsepower.
The Chevrolet Bolt was named the North American Car of the Year at the Detroit auto show today. Journalists also saw fit to bestow the honor of Truck of the Year to Honda’s Ridgeline, while the Chrysler Pacifica — which is a minivan — was crowned as 2017’s best “Utility Vehicle.”
The trifecta was recognized this morning in the Cobo Center’s atrium in front of a crowd of automotive journalists and industry executives, launching the next two days of press previews at the North American International Auto Show.
It was all very exciting. The world of continuously variable transmissions was poised to grant entry to a new star — the snarling, winged and not-yet-born Honda Civic Type R.
Hot hatch aficionados who loathe the three-pedal life rejoiced, while most others recoiled. Well, rest easy, stick fans. Thanks to some very confusing wording in a report originating from England — where the Type R is taking shape — the wrong information got across.
No, there won’t be a CVT in the upcoming Type R.
An optional CVT, to be clear.
We all know true motoring — as Mother Nature intended — should involve the manual changing of one’s own gears, but even scrappy, youth-infected Honda knows that stick shifts are not the way to have customers beat down your doors.
Hence the availability of a traditionally tepid transmission in its upcoming Civic Type R.
Honda released a teaser of its awe-inspiring and boldly redesigned Odyssey today — a vehicle that will make its official appearance at this year’s North American International Auto Show. I know that I really shouldn’t weigh in until after the Detroit debut, but this has to be one of the most impressive imaginings of an automobile I’ve seen in my lifetime. The overall impact of the model’s new design language must be acknowledged.
The fifth-generation Odyssey has been completely redone, gaining a new powertrain, updated technology, advanced driver’s features, and this uncommonly sophisticated styling.
It’s time for a new car, I told Mae last night.
She was explaining to a group of friends how she tore the passenger side mirror off and drove across the MacKay Bridge, on a particularly windy evening, with the mirror swinging about like an unchoreographed contemporary dancer.
The dangling power mirror, which another friend disconnected at Mae’s request, was only the latest issue. First, it’s a Saturn Ion Quad Coupe. Issue number two: the air-conditioning died long ago, and Mae’s reluctant to spend a single penny redeeming this car. It’s bitterly cold in eastern Canada now, but A/C is needful for one-third of the year and helpful for the other nine months. Finally, it’s a Saturn Ion Quad Coupe with a manual transmission.
“Ooh, aah, save the manuals,” you say. And I’m with you. Mae’s with you, too. But I’ve spent enough time — way too much time — in manual shift Ions to know that in an extremely hilly city, the Ion’s shifter/clutch combo is worthy of dread. Not all manuals are worthy of saving.
Now the mirror’s off, and the conversations Mae and I have had over a period of many months culminated in her succinct statement last night: “I want a Honda HR-V.”
Insert awkward pause.
Until recently, American car shoppers generally treated hatchbacks with a level of disdain normally reserved for that fetid cheese you forgot about in the back of the fridge.
It made sense; most of them were base-model penalty boxes with all the charm of plain oatmeal. Now, though, the market is awash with five-doors featuring content levels and power outputs formerly reserved for much more expensive machinery.
Honda recently re-entered the hatchback game with its 2017 Civic, while Mazda has been hawking a five-door 3 since its introduction a dozen years ago. Last week, the stars aligned and the press-fleet gods shone upon TTAC by placing a Honda Civic Hatchback and Mazda 3 5-Door in the grubby hands of Tim and Matt during the same week.
While the two cars were optioned differently (a CVT-equipped Civic LX and a manual-equipped Mazda 3 5-Door Grand Touring), we nevertheless took the opportunity to get these two hatchbacks together and ask the question: “Which is gooder?”
As I exited the grocery store this past Sunday night thronged by late night shoppers, the expressions on the faces of those who walked past the 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback LX, parked right in front of the store, were not difficult to discern.
Then, as it became obvious I was the “owner” of said Civic, previously repulsed glances shifted toward me, now full of pity. Can’t say I was surprised. The exterior design Honda foisted upon an otherwise excellent car is downright horrifying.
I wanted to shout across the grocery store parking lot, “It’s not mine.”
Update: An earlier version of this story stated the 2017 Honda CR-V was “American-made.” However, the CR-V is manufactured in both the United States and Canada for North American consumption. Sorry, Allistonians.
We sat down for dinner in a rented space shortly after arriving in Monterey, California. The food, standard fare for such a gathering, consisted of no less than three different types of meat, the usual suspects of sides, and one or two items my small-town mind couldn’t infer from the non-Anglo-Saxon names printed on the buffet placement cards.
This was normal for a manufacturer press launch dinner: provide just enough “exotic” items for attendees to feel fancy, privileged, and cultured, but make sure the usual assortment of normal standbys are present so as not to confuse the rest of us with indecipherable choice.
Not adventurous enough to take on that mystery sushi? Here’s some roast beef.
That sauteed vegetable of dubious origin giving you second thoughts? Here, have a potato.
To the front of the room stood two new 2017 Honda CR-Vs. Much like the edibles offered to the journosaur guests, one of the examples wore a resplendent, bright hue; the other a more muted pigmentation for those with more conservative sensibilities.
Just when I think to myself, Do we really need a minivan?, we plan a week-long road trip to Prince Edward Island. We didn’t need to add mileage to the lease on GCBC’s long-term 2015 Honda Odyssey EX. We had the option of driving a 2017 Ford Escape Titanium EcoBoost 2.0 from the press fleet instead.
But numbers matter. Indeed, the numbers pertaining to the cargo volume available behind the second rows of each vehicle matter greatly. 34.3 cubic feet vs. 93.1 cubic feet: nearly triple the amount of space for our stuff.
Yeah, we’ll take the van.
Only once in the last nine years, and not once since the Ford Escape scored a victory in 2011, has the Honda CR-V failed to top America’s SUV/crossover sales leaderboard.
At its current pace, 2016 will be the Honda CR-V’s fifth consecutive year as America’s best-selling utility vehicle. Better yet, there’s an all-new Honda CR-V arriving for the 2017 model year. (We’ll post a First Drive Review of that CR-V on November 30th. –Ed.)
But Honda has little intention of ramping up CR-V production growth in 2017 simply to match the Toyota RAV4’s rapid ascent.
We’re far removed from the 91-horsepower 1984 Honda Civic Si.
Honda, on the eve of the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, introduced the Si version of the tenth-generation Civic in prototype coupe form. Honda plans to bring the Si to market as a 2017 model next year with both sedan and coupe bodystyles.
Expect very few changes for the coupe when this “prototype” becomes a production car next year. In Honda vernacular, “prototype” is as close to production as a production car can be without actually being the production car.
The skyrocketing popularity of utility vehicles in the U.S. marketplace has left Honda scrambling to catch up with the rapid change in consumer demand.
Production doesn’t turn on a dime just because more Americans want to option of transporting four kids, their stuff, and their sister’s dog. So, as it trims its sales forecast due to a car-heavy product mix, Honda has rolled out a plan to give buyers more of what they want.
It’s also prepared to use boats, if necessary.
What if… you could walk into a Honda dealership and buy a brand-new Honda from fifteen years ago or thereabouts? Would you buy a sixth-generation Accord, all 2,950 sensibly-sized pounds of it? What about one of those Year 2000 Civic Si coupes, the ones that are worth almost as much with 200,000 miles on them as they were when they sat on the showroom floor? How much would you pay to travel into the increasingly distant past of Japan’s most enthusiast-oriented, detail-driven automaker?
Well, here’s the good news: you can walk into a Honda dealership tomorrow and buy a fifteen-year-old design with just the barest minimum of minor cosmetic updates to separate the “new” model from the one you could have gotten back in ’01. Here’s the bad news: it’s a motorcycle. Here’s the worse news: it’s a Gold Wing. Here’s the worst news of all: if there has ever been a Honda that truly needed to be revamped into compliance with the state of the art elsewhere in the industry, it would be this one.
It’s like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack, only these needles possess the power to kill.
Of the roughly 70 million vehicles recalled for potentially deadly Takata airbags, Honda vehicles make up over one-seventh of the total. Certain Honda models have been listed as the most dangerous of the group, but, at around 15 years of age, the vehicles are now at the bottom of the automotive food chain, far from dealer lots and manufacturer oversight.
In its quest to rid the marketplace of dangerous Honda models, the automaker has already gone to unusual lengths to find the vehicles. Now, it’s going even further.
As I drive the new 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback through the yellow leaves of Ontario’s autumn, a very tired metaphor comes to mind. You probably know the one. It includes a guy with the initials R.F. — and no, not the one who founded this particular corner of the internet.
I’m going to refuse this inspiration. Leveraging The Road Not Taken in automotive journalism is as banal as quoting Dom Toretto.
Instead, let’s talk about something else entirely: The ’70s.
Are you an absolutely shameless individual who is sick to death of walking and loves gimmicks? Ford has you covered with an entry from what it has dubbed a “Cult of Disruption Innovation.”
That, there’s a certain popular Japanese vehicle built in Canada that won’t be going to Europe (thanks to the United States), Tesla is now inexplicably in the glass making business, and minivans are in danger of going seatless in the event of a supplier strike… after the break!
Ford is offering a new turnkey GT4 series racecar, meaning ‘Stang owners can now race on a track instead of just strip mall parking lots.
That, Volvo is moving S90 production east, a Texas woman is suing Honda and Takata for almost fatally spraying her with bits of her own car, and Mopar is letting you refresh old cars with new Hemis with a lot less hassle… after the break!
The unloved Honda Crosstour was last sold in 2015 and heavily criticized for its awkward, ungainly styling. After only 2 years, Honda has brought back a car with nearly identical styling in the 2017 Honda Gienia.
Available only in the Chinese market, the Honda Gienia is based on the Honda City, a sedan version of the Honda Fit. Dimension wise, the compact crossover Gienia is significantly smaller than the defunct Crosstour.
If you were thinking a vehicle manufacturer backed by a billionaire with a futuristic hyper-car concept and hundreds of millions of dollars in government tax incentives wouldn’t have problems paying the bills, you would be wrong.
That, Hyundai executives are taking a “voluntary” cut in pay, German prosecutors could be letting Volkswagen’s top brass off the hook, and Honda markets a car you can only drive in California… after the break!
Public disdain for small cars means Ford is going to take U.S. production behind the barn and shoot it.
That, Toyota practices good corporate citizenry, Honda worries it can’t build enough CR-Vs, and BMW Films returns with a new action-drenched short starring Clive Owen and the new 5 Series… after the break!
The coming out party for Honda’s new CR-V has been distinctly lacking in fanfare. The compact crossover debutante hasn’t skipped the ball entirely, but she is certainly being a bit of a wallflower.
Honda’s low-key intro is intentional, as making a big to-do about the model would be a minor disaster at this juncture. It’s a lesson other automakers would be wise to heed.
To say that details on the next-generation Honda Civic Si have been limited would be a massive understatement. Honda fanboys — and even normal people — have been hungry for even the barest scraps of information.
Well, we finally have a scrap. The Los Angeles Auto Show recently let loose in a press release that Honda will introduce the tenth generation Civic Si at their expo in November. They also ended some of the speculation on what type of engine we can expect.
Honda had to play it safe while redesigning its juggernaut compact crossover, as it didn’t want a repeat of the 2012 Civic fiasco.
Now that the wraps are officially off the fifth generation of the brand’s second-best selling model, we can see that it didn’t suffer that fate. The 2017 CR-V sports updated looks, boosted dimensions, an upscale interior, and— for the first time —a turbocharged powerplant.
Oh, there’s also a very special knob.
When planning the ninth-generation Accord, Honda knew it pushed the boundaries of size and good taste a little too far. The eighth-generation Accord became a caricature of its former self, scampering as it did into full-size territory by swelling to 195 inches in length.
This particular Ace of Base candidate reminds me of Mitsubishi. Why, you might ask? Well …
How ’bout that new Civic sedan? I don’t know about you, but I think it’s the boldest mainstream design I’ve seen from a Japanese manufacturer since Honda got rid of the hidden headlamps on the Accord back in ’92. It’s got a ton of surface texture, a vicious fastback profile with a tiny trunk opening, and big wheel arches like a show car.
There’s only one problem; it’s a clear and present riff on the Audi A7. But as we’ll see, this is a game Honda has played before.