Honda Teases a Passport That's a Real Honda
The space between compact and midsize crossovers, automakers have discovered, is ripe for the creation of a wholly new segment. A tweener, essentially, that bridges the gap with two rows of seating but more cargo room, power, and (often) luxury than a compact can muster.
Ford learned this long ago with its Edge, and General Motors recently discovered it with the reborn 2019 Blazer. Nissan’s Murano stakes out the same ground, positioning itself as the slightly upscale alternative to the Rogue and Pathfinder. Then there’s the former Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, now just Santa Fe. Not to miss out on an opportunity for big crossover bucks, Honda’s preparing to enter the fray with a new iteration of the Passport.
Unlike the Passport that came before, there’s no Isuzu hiding beneath these clothes.
Junkyard Find: 1999 Acura SLX
Rare Rides Review: A Brand New 2003 Acura CL Type-S
Today’s vehicle represents a couple of firsts for the Rare Rides series. It’s the first time a Rare Rides has featured an old car that’s still new, and it’s also the first time your author actually drove the Rare Ride in question.
An Aegean Blue luxury coupe awaits.
2019 Acura ILX First Drive Review - Third Time Lucky?
Acura’s entry level ILX is redesigned for the 2019 model year. With new styling and additional technology on board, it fulfills the brand’s desire to display a cohesive design language across all models. But is this refresh of a refresh any good? We headed to Columbus to find out.
Junkyard Find: A 1993 Honda Civic DX Sedan With 323,486 Miles
Adios, Amigo? Honda Considering Moving Fit Production Out of Mexico, Report Says
It’s rumored that Honda is considering reallocating production of its U.S.-market Fit subcompact to Japan from Mexico in a few years. According to reports, this is partly due to everything that’s going on with the North American Free Trade Agreement, or whatever they’re calling it now.
The new arrangement, which replaces NAFTA, is set to raise the minimum North American content for cars to qualify for duty-free market access to 75 percent from 62.5 percent, while simultaneously raising Mexico’s auto workers’ minimum wage and giving them the right to union representation.
HELL YEAH: 2019 Honda Civic Si Comes With Larger Cupholders, Other Stuff
Honda has already revealed updates for the 2019 Civic, announcing a handful of interior changes and adding a new sport trim last August. However, the sporting Civic Si wasn’t included as part of that corporate proclamation. Fortunately, Honda didn’t forget about it. The brand simply wanted to leave some breathing room between announcements, as this is a big one.
That’s right, this is the one you’ve been waiting for. The Honda Civic Si is finally getting bigger cupholders.
Honda Airbags Are Reportedly Huge on the Black Market
Airbag crime is on the rise around the country, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and a recent report from USA Today. However, the latter of the two sources claims the issue is exponentially worse for Honda owners and nobody has any idea why.
“There’s no way for us to really know because owners don’t report to us when parts have been stolen,” Honda spokesman Chris Martin told the news outlet. “But we are certainly not unaware of the fact that Hondas have been a target of parts theft for many years simply based on the popularity of models in this market.”
Rewarding Bad Behavior? Honda Dealer Plans in Texas Raise Eyebrows
You may recall news from earlier this year of All Pro Nissan and its associated dealers, most of whom starred in Episode #4391 of the seemingly never-ending series titled “Dealers Behaving Badly.”
At the time, the entities – owned in part by a consortium of former NFL players – were being taken to task by the captive finance arms of Nissan and Hyundai over allegations that parts of the dealer group sold hundreds of vehicles, worth more than $10 million, out of trust and also failed to repay floorplan loans.
So what’s the punishment for these alleged misdeeds? Why, another brand new dealership, of course!
Honda Invests Big in GM's Cruise Self-driving Arm
Honda likes what GM Cruise LLC is doing, and wants it to have some cash. On Wednesday, the Japanese automaker announced it would invest $2.75 billion in the GM-owned autonomous driving company, hoping to reap some of the reward of its purpose-built self-driving car.
While still under development, Cruise claims the vehicle — free of such things as a steering wheel or pedals — will arrive in 2019. Already, the company has a fleet of modified Chevrolet Bolts operating as testbeds for the technology. Once unveiled, GM Cruise plans to use the vehicle in a new ride-hailing service while also making it available to others, potentially funneling big bucks into its parents’ coffers. Honda’s, too.
Software Glitch Leads to Recall of 230,000 Accords, Insights
Honda Motor Co. is recalling roughly 232,000 Accord and Insight models in the United States over a software glitch that may cause the rear-camera display to malfunction. While the number of recalled units is noteworthy, the severity of the issue is largely dependent upon how careful of a driver you are.
According to reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, certain 2018 Accords and 2019 Insight hybrids have center displays that may not function properly when asked to access the reverse camera. The NHTSA report specified that some Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring trims of the Accord suffered from other potential software malfunctions.
2019 Honda Civic: Dig Deeper If You Want a Two-door Stick
The Big H rolled out additional details for its 2019 lineup today, including trims and pricing for the Civic and Civic Coupe. As Steph detailed last month, the Sport trim will be added to the coupe and sedan, giving buyers who don’t want the hunchback hatchback an extra model in which they can get the 158-horsepower 2.0-liter engine.
Buried in the details is a rejiggering of transmission availability. With the six-speed manual no longer available on the base coupe, shoppers who want a two-door Civic with a stick shift will be paying more in 2019.
Buy/Drive/Burn: The Japanese Family Wagons of 1995
On the last installment of Buy/Drive/Burn, we chose from three family-friendly luxury wagons from the Malaise year of 1975. Several members of the B&B peanut gallery quickly retorted that all three options were awful, and that only wagons from the 1990s were worth pondering.
Bam. We’re back on wagons, 20 years later. It’s now 1995.
Tipping the Sales Scales: Honda's Light Trucks Continue Filling the Hole Left by Cars
It’s nothing new in the industry, nor is it at all uncommon, but Honda’s distinctly balanced product mix continues to tip ever further towards the trucks and SUV side, despite the assertion of American Honda’s assistant VP of sales, Ray Mikiciuk, that cars will continue as the brand’s mainstay.
With the same number of selling days as August 2017, last month showed the automaker’s volume on the upswing, propelled by the strength of light truck sales. In keeping with the theme of balance, only one mainstream car saw its sales increase, year over year, while only one light truck model saw its sales decrease.
A Tenuous Balance: Honda's Still Bullish on Cars, but Even Segment Leaders Have Weaknesses
While the Ford F-150 will likely still be America’s top-selling vehicle when each of us dies a natural death, the entries below it will surely be subject to change. In the near future, at least, expect to see passenger cars sink further down the best-seller list.
Last year, Honda — a manufacturer with a fairly even car/light truck split — showed up three times on the U.S. Top Ten list: in seventh, eighth, and ninth place, with the compact CR-V leading the way, followed by Civic and Accord. This year’s sales haven’t been as kind to the Accord as it has its segment rival, the Toyota Camry, but at least the Civic’s almost holding its own.
Publicly, Honda remains optimistic about the continuation of cars, claiming they’ll remain its primary focus. Unfortunately, even for models that seemingly can do no wrong, there’s danger signs aplenty.