Buy/Drive/Burn: Sporty Liftbacks Hailing From 1994
Today’s edition of Buy/Drive/Burn was inspired by our previous Question of the Day on hatchback crapwagons.
In the North American vehicle timeline, the fading days of the Personal Luxury Coupe (PLC) saw the rise of a different kind of two-door for the masses. Gone was the upright formal vinyl roof, opera lamps, and trunk. En vogue was a sporty fastback profile and a strut-supported liftgate. Attainable and economic sporty driving is the name of the game, and our front-drive trio was right in the heat of things in 1994.
Gaining Insight: Honda Begins Production of Hybrid Sedan, Challenging Market Awaits
The first-generation Honda Insight was a rare false-start for the company, marketed as a hatchback that had more doors than seats (three and two, respectively). Its atomic-egg styling enveloped a 67 horsepower 1.0-liter gasoline engine paired to a 10kW electric motor. The second-gen model, a more conventional car in terms of its styling and capacity, also fell a bit flat compared to the segment-leading Prius.
Honda’s betting the third time’s the charm, kicking off the mass production start of the all-new 2019 Honda Insight today at its plant in Indiana. Will this Insight electrify buyers or fizzle out? At first glance, it would at least appear they’ve got the styling right this time. Not everyone wants to shout that they’re driving a hybrid.
If Only the Range Matched the Price: Honda's Clarity EV Leasing for $199 a Month
By that, we mean the figure “199,” not the overall cost of leasing. Moving on…
Honda’s only true EV, the Clarity Electric, began arriving at dealers in California and Oregon Thursday, completing a green trifecta that includes a plug-in hybrid variant and hydrogen fuel cell model. It also carries a lease price that undercuts its rivals by quite a bit.
While Clarity EV lessees stand to pay significantly less for their eco-conscious ride, both up front and on a monthly basis, they’d best familiarize themselves with the location of charging stations.
Honda's Hottest Civic Sees a Second Price Bump
It’s a smokin’ deal compared to the first Honda Civic Type R to land on American shores. That vehicle, which carried a VIN ending in “1” without any numbers in front of it, went on the auction block at Bring-a-Trailer last June. A lucky(?) buyer took the Civic hatch home for $200,000.
Certain dealers marked up their own early examples, but greater availability and the passage of time soon had a predictable impact on the hot hatch’s window sticker. The Civic Type R remains an aspiration car with a mid-30k price tag.
Now it’s Honda’s turn to jack the Type R’s price, but it’s not likely to rattle anyone in the market for a compact four-door with a bad attitude.
Rare Rides: 1986 London Coach Sterling Limousine - Formality and Finery
Today’s Rare Ride hails from beyond the normal reaches of even astute car enthusiasts’ knowledge base. It was the brainchild of some British executives who were convinced there was a market for the classic London Taxi in the United States. In addition to standard taxis, the company offered one that was thoroughly luxed and broughamed.
I’m just not sure.
Honda Concept Previews a Smaller Type R, But Not for Us
Honda quietly unveiled the Small RS Concept hatchback at the Indonesia International Motor Show.
This concept is basically a mini Type R. It has a large rear wing, LED daytime running lights, gloss black accents, a small air intake in the hood, side skirts, wing mirrors, creases along the sides, a rear diffuser, and unique tailpipes.
Black wheels and orange paint round out the look.
No word on technical specs just yet.
Ask Jack: How Seriously Are We Going To Take This Whole Accord Thing?
Just in case you’re new to TTAC, let me bring you up to speed on a few things.
0. My name is Jack and I write the “Ask Jack” column.
1. I take Honda Accord coupes very seriously.
How seriously? Well, I’ve been driving one for the last fifty-one months, giving TTAC readers periodic updates along the way. Some time ago, I caused a bunch of Baby Boomers to have mild heart attacks by claiming that the Accord V6 was the last American muscle car. I like Accord V6 Coupes so much that I now own two of them, having recently bought the car that was run in Pirelli World Challenge for two seasons by Rains Racing out of Alabama. So far we’ve had a great season, beating the S2000s for a first place in the Honda Challenge class at NCM last month and taking second place in a Super Unlimited race ahead of everything from an IMSA Cayman to a variety of prototype racers.
You get the idea. I take the Honda Accord Coupe pretty seriously. Do I think it’s a better car than a rare V8-powered BMW M3 ZCP? That’s where today’s episode of “Ask Jack” begins.
Teen Killed by Folding Third-Row Seat in Honda Odyssey
A 16-year-old boy was killed last week after being trapped behind the third-row seat of a 2004 Honda Odyssey.
The incident happened Tuesday in Cincinnati. Initial reports indicate that Kyle Plush was trying to retrieve tennis equipment from the cargo area of his family’s van when the third-row bench seat, which he was reaching over, unexpectedly folded. He was turned upside-down and stuck beneath the seat.
He managed to make two calls to 911, but died of asphyxia by chest compression before authorities arrived.
Accord Sales Are Declining, so Honda Figures You Might Like a Cheaper Lease
There’s no danger of discontinuation, but customers aren’t beating a path to the Honda Accord’s door in the kind of numbers the automaker hoped for. Sales of the revamped-for-2018 midsize sedan fell 9.9 percent in the U.S. last month, with volume over the first three months of 2018 down 11.8 percent. That’s a problem.
What to do? If you’re Honda, the time-honored tradition of piling cash on the hood doesn’t seem all that attractive. Better to make those in the mood for a lease happy.
2018 Honda Clarity PHEV First Drive - Seeking Clarity North of NYC
Honda’s Clarity is an interesting, and likely oft overlooked, entry in the brand’s lineup. Available in electric, fuel cell, and plug-in hybrid versions, the Clarity is part of Honda’s strategy to electrify two-thirds of its global lineup by 2030.
Other key vehicles in this effort that are already on sale (or are soon to be) are the hybrid version of the latest Accord and the Civic-based Insight hybrid.
This first drive was different than the norm – our drive route wasn’t as comprehensive as most. I was behind the wheel for about 30 miles, with part of the drive taking place on gently curving suburban parkway and the rest in New York City traffic. No long stretches of interstate, no curving canyon roads.
Which is fine, since most Clarity buyers are going to use it as a commuter car. That’s certainly the case with the plug-in hybrid version I sampled north of New York City.
Bark's Bites: New York's Greatest Misses
It seems like only last year that the star of the New York International Auto Show was an 840 horsepower, zero you-know-whats-given, single-seated rocketship that did a 9 second 1/4 mile and literally lit things on fire. That’s probably because it was last year. This year, I found myself enthralled by … an in-car audio system.
That’s right — the very best part of the 2018 NYIAS was enjoying Art Pepper and Bonnie Raitt on the ELS surround sound system in the Acura RDX A-Spec (no kidding, it’s freakin’ amazing and it’s worth buying the RDX just because of it).
Yes, there was a yellow Porsche thing and there was a very Lamborghini Orange Corvette, but there was little else for this journosaur to get excited about other than the fact Honda ordered some extra wine for their social hour (see pic at the top, featuring my security detail: our own Bozi Tatarevic), due in no small part to the fact that I drank six glasses of red wine all by myself in less than 60 minutes.
So rather than do what every other autoblog on the planet does, I’m not gonna give you my greatest hits of the auto show. Rather, I’m going to tell you what should have premiered on this year’s show circuit.
Prototype No More: 2019 Honda Insight Prepares to Wade Back Into the Hybrid Fray
Honda’s remarkably fleshed-out Insight prototype has now emerged in production form, looking remarkably like the prototype. Go figure, that.
With the 2019 Insight now positioned between the compact Civic, from which it borrows a platform, and the midsize Accord, Honda wants to tempt green car buyers with an upscale appearance (and experience) they can’t find in the Toyota Prius line. If Honda’s estimate pans out, the sedan will boast better city fuel economy than the stalwart Prius.
The Thin Green Line: 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid Heads to Dealers, Undercuts Nemesis in Price
The epic battle known as Honda Accord vs. Toyota Camry won’t end until we’re all sitting in the backseat of a driverless electric Ford shuttle bus, content in knowing we’re doing the right thing for society. Future cities, man.
Until then, there’s cars to sell, and nothing motivates buyers like price. As re-skinned and improved 2018 Honda Accord Hybrids head to dealer lots, the automaker has clearly staked itself out as the value green buy, slashing $4,505 from the previous model’s entry price. That puts the hybrid’s chief rival in an unenviable position. A base Camry hybrid now retails for considerably more, but, if overall sales numbers tell us anything, Toyota probably won’t break into a sweat after reading this news.
Buy/Drive/Burn: Oddball Semi-premium SUVs From 1998
The Buy/Drive/Burn series has been stuck in a time warp lately. After tackling domestic minivans from 1994 with luxury appointments, we moved on to 1997 and some nontraditional imported minivans.
Once again, we’re going to keep it in the ’90s and determine which of three imported, alternative semi-luxury SUVs should burn at the stake. Are you ready for gold badges and two-tone? Rhetorical question.
Buy/Drive/Burn: Alternative Japanese Minivans From 1997
In the first van edition of Buy/Drive/Burn, we inquired which luxurious minivan from 1994 you’d relegate to each category. Using typical One Simple Trick methodology, I lured everyone in with a picture of the Previa (above). Then, when the Previa was not a choice in the transportation trio, you all doused me in Haterade.
Well, here you go. Import vans — including the Toyota Previa. Douse me in clicks!