After the Del Sol failed to grab buyers’ attention and the S2000 pretty much fizzled into nothingness after nine model years, Honda shelved its roadster-building practices for a few years. That being said, in a speech today, Honda’s CEO, Takanobu Ito, has announced that the automaker will again dive into the roadster-building realm, just not as deep as it was before.
According to his statements, Honda will release a new roaster in 2014, but there are two problems here. Problem No. 1, this roadster will only be available in the Japanese market, making us wonder if an S2000 successor will ever show up. Problem No. 2 is the fact that this new roadster will be based on one of the Honda’s “mini-vehicle” models. In other words, we are looking at something along the lines of a Geo Metro LSi convertible – if you even remember that slouch – not an S2000 successor.
According to Ito, this new roadster will feature “strong vehicle dynamics,” which sounds promising, but could ultimately be the typical automotive lip service. From what this sounds like, Honda is planning to actually produce a version of the EV-STER Concept that has been rumored to hit 60 mph in just 5 seconds and have a total electric range of 100 miles – okay, so maybe it’s a little cooler than the Metro LSi, but still not an S2000 replacement.
Given Honda’s tendency to let models hover in Asia for a while before releasing them worldwide, we anticipate that this new roadster will make its way to the U.S. after about two or three successful years. If it fails in the Japanese market, Honda will simply fold it up and act like it never happened.
Now for the big question; what will Honda name this new roadster? Will it bring back the much maligned Del Sol name or maybe finally cater to the purists that want the CRX name back so badly that they can taste it? We doubt that either name will make a comeback, but it would be kind of cool to see the CRX name again. The Del Sol, eh, not so much…
Click past the jump to read the full summary of the speech.
When the Honda Concept S hit the stage at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show, two models came to mind, the Odyssey and the Jazz. It is slightly larger than your average hatchback, but significantly smaller than the American Honda Odyssey, so the final production name is up in the air. Keep in mind that the Odyssey in some Asian markets has a much lower-slung roof and a shallower windshield rake than the American version, so therein lays the possibility that it could become the new Odyssey.
Of course, production of the Concept S was never a guarantee, as with nearly every concept car. However, when an automaker produces a video on a specific concept car, you can pretty much rest assured that it will hit production in some form or fashion. That is exactly what Honda has done with the above video.
Seeing the video and people actually sitting in the seats, the Concept S really seems to have more of an MPV type of setup. All of that headroom and the spacious rear seats nearly eliminate it as a replacement for the Jazz, which is closely related to the Fit in the States. Then again, maybe Honda is trying to gain an edge by making the Jazz slightly larger than your typical 5-door hatchback.
Either way, we can say that the Concept S’s style is unmistakably awesome and its potential for release just increased 10-fold by Honda releasing this video.
Hopefully we’ll have an announcement on a production model soon. Those in the U.S., you’ll have to sit this one out, as the Concept S looks like it will be an Asian-market model only.
Driving up alongside the 2013 Accord in Honda’s line-up is the new 2014 Accord Plug-in Hybrid Sedan, a model which, according to Honda, will serve as the basis for a conventional hybrid version of the Accord Sedan. The new Accord PHEV will go on sale in early 2013 and will be produced in Sayama, Japan.
The Accord PHEV is powered by a 2.0-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine that delivers a total of 137 HP combined with a powerful 124-kilowatt (kW) electric motor for a total output of 196 HP. The model can drive in pure electric mode for 10 to 15 miles and delivers a total driving range of over 500 miles.
The new hybrid version is based on the Touring trim level of standard Accord Sedan and will be distinguished by a weight-saving aluminum hood, 17-inch forged alloy wheels, and a unique front bumper.
Hit the jump to read more about the new 2014 Honda Accord PHEV. Full story
There are two staples in Honda’s lineup that have seemingly been a part its production line forever. Those cars are the Honda Civic and Accord. The Accord has seen many changes over its lifespan, some simple and others very extreme. As we approach the 2013 model year, we know the the Accord is being redesigned, but so far we only know the specifics of the Accord Coupe.
As of now, we officially know the specifics behind the Accord sedan, thus completing the 2013 Accord lineup. Honda’s goal with the new Accord sedan was to make it better, but not bigger. One area that Honda needed to improve upon, in order to keep pace with the CAFE regulations, was fuel economy. It’s not that the 2012 Accord got poor fuel economy – 23 mpg city and 34 mpg highway with a 4-cylinder – it just needs to constantly improve to hit the corporate lineup average of 54.5 mpg by 2025.
What exactly could Honda have done to make the 2013 Accord any better than the 2012 Accord, which is pretty nice itself?
To find out what Honda did and if it met its goal of making the Accord better, click past the jump. Full story
Leaky pipes in the automotive industry are at it again, as a poster named “dutchboy” over at Temple of Vtec decided to leak some images of the only part of the redesigned Accord we have yet to see, the interior. Sure, the images look as if they were taken with a 1940s-era camera, or maybe just a 0.3 MP camera phone, scanned through a 400 DPI scanner, printed by a dot-matrix printer, scanned again by a 400 DPI printer, then finally uploaded after being compressed enough to make it through the user’s 28.8 Kb/second internet connection in less than a day and a half, but they’re still telling images.
From these images, we can see that the driver’s side of the Accord looks good. The clock-face gauges boast a large, center-mounted speedometer flanked by the tachometer on one side and the fuel and temperature gauges on the other. The steering wheel boasts a clean setup of buttons that don’t look too overwhelming. You also get the “Start/Stop” button, an “Econ” button, and what looks to be a TPMS reset button (tire mounters of the world will rejoice over this one).
The center stack, on the other hand, looks like a blind man with a touch screen and button obsession. It’s way overloaded with two screens – one for navigation and one for HondaLink – a series of climate-control buttons and a group of audio-control buttons.
Seriously, with two touch screens, why in the world would the Accord need that many audio and HVAC controls? Shouldn’t those all use the touch screen interface? Also, the middle two sections of the center stack are nicely styled, but they come down to meet a plain-Jane center console shape. It is definitely an awkward transition.
Hopefully, the graininess of this picture is hiding some transitioning piece between the center stack and center console, or Honda is still revising it. As it stands right now, that center part of the cabin is a real eyesore.
We’ll keep a look out for better images to surface on the interior and pass them on as we find them.
When Honda introduced ASIMO back in 2000 as a humanoid robot, it marked a landmark achievement in technological robotics. Recently, the Japanese automaker launched their follow-up with their first offering to the fast-growing European robotic lawn mower market with the introduction of Honda Miimo, the company’s first commercial robotic product for domestic use.
For all intents and purposes, Honda Miimo is a lawn mower, except that its more than just that. As a robotic lawn mower, Miimo operates what Honda is calling a ’continuous cutting’ system, typically mowing just 2-3mm of grass at a time, several times each week.
Whereas a traditional lawn mower needs to collect cuttings, Miimo creates clippings that are so small that they are dispersed into the lawn root system, which, in turn, breaks down quickly to act as a natural fertilizer, improving the health and quality of the grass that few lawn mowers in its market can replicate. Miimo also delivers excellent environmental benefits, including the fact that it doesn’t produce CO2 and is quieter than most gas models.
Suffice to say, Miimo takes the way robotic lawn mowers do their business in an entirely different light. Once installed, it needs minimal human interaction when it’s doing its job, which means that all of us can enjoy the rest of our day without having to worry about cutting our lawns.
For a company that has been working in the development of robotics since 1986, Honda’s follow up to ASIMO represents the first step towards giving its customers with robotic solutions to their everyday chores, something that would ring music to the ears of a lot of people.
The Honda Accord has remained unchanged, pretty much, for the last five model years. We’re not saying that the current Accord is not a looker, but it has become a little bit aged. Early in 2012, Honda revealed the new Accord Concept and showed us a more aggressively styled vehicle with sharp body lines and an all-around sexy appearance.
When we see concept cars we always take them with a grain of salt, as they rarely, if ever, end up looking the same in production. For that reason, we held our tongue and made sure that you knew that was only a concept car being shown.
Now, however, Honda has released images of the production version of the Accord Coupe, and we are set to trickle some of this information to you. The official information for the 2013 Accord is still limited, so we are only going to focus on the officially released items and sprinkle in a little speculation on parts that Honda hasn’t yet made official.
Click past the jump to read our full review on the 2013 Honda Accord Coupe. Full story
When Honda was teasing us with the Honda CR-Z back in late-2009 and early-2010, the teaser commercials showed us a hybrid that provided the perfect balance of economy and sport. This made us all immediately think that we were about the get the performance-minded hybrid we had been hoping for.
Well, when we finally received the specs on the 2011 CR-Z, we were slightly disappointed with the 122 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque that its 1.5-liter 4-pot pumped out. We were even more distraught when we found out that it only got 31 mpg city and 37 mpg highway – both numbers are now eclipsed by gasoline-only cars. The lack of power translated out to an 8.3-second sprint to 60 mph, which was about 1.5 seconds slower than we all expected to see.
Well, it looks like Jackson Racing has finally come up with a solution for those disappointed CR-Z drivers, as it has released a supercharger that will add some excitement to the equation, but only for 6-speed models.
This supercharger is available in three stages: tune yourself for $3,995, factory tuned for $4,495, and tuner system for $4,995. The first option includes only the supercharger system, the second system includes the supercharger, Hondata ECU remap and high-flow injectors, and the final kit includes the supercharger, Hondata FlashPro, Jackson’s CR-Z FlashPro calibration and high-flow injectors.
The latter kit will push the CR-Z’s output up by up to 50 horsepower and 45 pound-feet of torque, which increases it to an acceptable 172 horsepower and 173 pound-feet of torque. This likely brings the CR-Z’s 0 to 60 time into its anticipated range of about 6.7 seconds.
According to Jackson, this kit will not affect the CR-Z’s fuel economy under regular driving. However, if you like to keep your foot in the cooling fan, you will likely see steep fuel economy drop off. Jackson is currently working on an option for those with the whiny CVT. We say step one of that process should include scrapping the transmission, but we may be a little biased...
Click past the jump to read the presser.
The new Honda Civic is getting its first taste of official racing in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. In preparation for its full entry in the 2013 season, the Civic WTCC race car is going to be thrown into the fire beginning at Suzuka in October. From there, it will enter three races and will be driven by Tiago Monteiro.
With October less than two months away, the Japanese automaker is giving its new racer one last test run at the Vallelunga circuit, near Rome, Italy. The car itself is based on the European Civic hatchback model where it carries a host of special aero packages, including an extended front and rear skirt, a large rear wing, and an interior that’s been fully customized to handle the rigors of full-fledged auto racing.
Most importantly, the Civic WTCC will not be carrying a standard engine, but rather a bespoke 1.6-liter 4 cylinder direct injection turbocharged HR-412E engine. No details on output have been released yet, although Daisuke Horiuchi, WTCC Development Project Leader at Honda R&D, has said that this particular engine could have a future in production models.
"We believe the innovations that have led to this revolutionary engine will also lead to benefits beyond the race track, helping us to further increase the efficiency of our road car engines," he said.
Looks like there’s more to the Honda Civic WTCC Race Car than meets the eye. Could it be that whatever lies under the hood of this race makes its way out of the track and into public streets in the future?
While it’s tempting to find that out now, it’s probably more important for Honda to give the race car the full shakedown first leading up to its racing debut at Suzuka this October.
UPDATE 09/27/12: The Civic WTCC Race Car made its auto show debut at the Paris Motor Show where Daisuke Horiuchi, the WTCC Development Project Leader at Honda R&D, had the following to say about the new HR-412E engine that will be powering the race car. “In the continuous technological development of an internal combustion engine, the thermal efficiency is the essential key for improvement," he said. "This HR412E was born from such thought process: aiming for higher efficiency."
To say that Honda has fallen behind the times in terms of automotive creativity is about as obvious as saying Fiat and Mini are overusing their respective flagship models. While nearly every other automaker is creating numerous ways to safely use your smartphone in the car and also using it to connect to cool things like Pandora radio, Facebook, and whatever other online stuff you love, Honda has been delivering the stats quo for years, sans adding light smartphone connectivity in the 2012 CR-V.
Finally, Honda has decided to get with the times and is introducing HondaLink, which is essentially a Ford Sync copycat. Then again, aren’t all of the modern connectivity systems just copying Ford’s innovative idea?
This new HondaLink system will debut in the 2013 Honda Accord and allows its user to do things like connect to Aha radio, tether and control a smartphone, listen to news, text message via speech, and even hear twitter and Facebook feeds over their audio system.
In reality, this system is actually using technology that Ford has been for the past half century, but the fact that Honda finally unburied its head and realized that it is sub-par is a miracle in itself. Maybe this new system can help Honda recoup some of the sales it has been losing to more innovative companies, like Hyundai and Kia, and earn some of its buyers back.
To help us better understand the system, Honda released a quick video describing its features, which you can see above. Click past the jump to check out Honda’s full presser on HondaLink.