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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Upon its debut in late 2014, the Acura TLX had big shoes to fill. Not only was the TLX intended to replace the Acura TL, the TLX would also serve, at least in part, as a replacement for the Acura TSX.
Not surprisingly, the TLX never sold as often as that duo did at their peak. Acura sold over 113,000 TLs and TSXs in 2005. Yet by the end of their run, in 2013, Acura managed to sell fewer than 42,000 TLs and TSXs. As a result, the arrival of the Acura TLX — and yes, it’s difficult for both reader and writer to keep the letters straight — was heartily welcomed by Acura dealers. The TLX represented a simpler lineup, one sufficiently spacious car, and 47,080 sales in 2015.
But TLX sales have trailed off rather precipitously ever since, and Acura is counting on a thorough refresh for the 2018 model year to spur TLX demand once again.
And quite a spur it must be. Wards Auto is reporting that Acura’s goals for the facelifted TLX are loftier than ever.
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.
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?
With production of the three-row Acura MDX joining the Acura RDX at American Honda’s East Liberty Auto Plant in East Liberty, Ohio, Acura has become a profoundly Buckeyed automobile brand.
Still stealing some production space at Honda’s Lincoln, Alabama assembly plant where the Honda Pilot, Honda Ridgeline, and 2018 Honda Odyssey are also built, production of the MDX has shifted to Ohio in order to free up capacity for both Honda’s and Acura’s top-selling model.
As a result of the MDX’s relocation, Acura now builds five of its six models in the state of Ohio.
And the one Acura that doesn’t hail from Ohio? That’d be the RLX, which forms less than 1 percent of the Acura brand’s volume.
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.
“We’ve really upped the ante in terms of styling, emotion and road presence,” Acura general manager Jon Ikeda said, talking about the refreshed 2018 Acura TLX shown by Honda’s upmarket brand at 2017’s New York International Auto Show.
And for once, an auto executive’s hyperbole matches reality.
The 2018 Acura TLX’s ante has been upped. It appears as though the grille that’s somewhat awkward on the refreshed Acura MDX is far more cohesively adapted to Acura’s affordable 3 Series alternative.
Given the anonymity of the first TLX, which ran for three increasingly less successful model years through 2017, an aggressive exterior is a positive step in the right direction.
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.
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.
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.
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.