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Honda Civic Type R Concept is the shape of hot things to come

Thu, 02 Oct 2014 05:31:00 EST

Soon, kids. Soon. The next-generation Honda Civic Type R is finally coming, and we're getting another preview of the hot hatch here at the Paris Motor Show. Of course, this one probably won't be headed to the United States (boo!), but it doesn't mean we can't get excited. After all, we're big fans of little turbo hatches, and from what we know right now, this one sure sounds sweet.
Underneath that new blue paint and red decals is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four, reportedly good for 276 horsepower. Honda tells us there's a "steer axis" system with adaptive dampers, and with the push of its +R button, the suspension, steering and torque mapping are all altered to make this Type R even more Type R-ier than before. In fact, Honda says this Civic will surpass every Type R that came before it - that means every Integra, Accord, Civic and even the NSX. Hot diggity.
We've got a fresh batch of images of the Type R Concept up top, and Honda's press release is available below. Hopefully it won't be long before the production car is finally revealed.

British Honda CR-V looks tough, gets diesel and 9-speed auto

Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:31:00 EST

Honda just took the wraps off of its thoroughly updated 2015 CR-V for the US, with a touch more style and improved powertrain to provide more torque and better fuel economy. In our First Drive, we found that all of the changes really focused the CUV even more towards the desires of its audience of mostly families. European crossover shoppers don't have to wait too long to see these tweaks for themselves and get a few exclusive upgrades of their own.
While US models get a torquier gasoline engine, Europe loves its diesels. Therefore, the CR-V over there benefits from a more powerful 1.6-liter i-DTEC oil-burner that produces 158 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This new addition is only available on the four-wheel drive version, and it replaces the previous 2.2-liter diesel in the lineup. Also as opposed to the CVT here, there's now an optional nine-speed automatic gearbox across the pond.
According to Honda, the new diesel with a six-speed manual drops emissions by 11 percent compared to its predecessor. Opting for the nine-speed auto makes things 20 percent cleaner in contrast to the previous 2.2-liter CR-V with an auto.

Honda Civic Type R on track to smash 'Ring record, eclipse NSX

Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:31:00 EST

Honda has made some serious performance machinery over the course of its history, but few products have been as hotly anticipated as the upcoming new Civic Type R. Following a deep and proud history of Type R Hondas, the latest Japanese hot hatch is continuing its long striptease at the Paris Motor Show this week. But before it does, Honda has released this video clip featuring project leader Suehiro Hasshi - and he has some bold claims to make.
For one, he says it'll be the best Type R yet - and that's quite a statement considering some of its predecessors, including the almighty NSX Type R. Hasshi-san also reiterates Honda's aim of snatching the front-drive lap record at the Nürburgring away from the likes of Renault and Seat, and reports that the Honda team is on track to chew every bit it's biting off. In short, the new Civic Type R ought to be sensational.

2015 Honda CR-V

Tue, 30 Sep 2014 11:57:00 EST

Predicting the future direction of Honda's compact CR-V would have been difficult based on the Civic-derived model that first arrived on our shores for the 1997 model year. The newcomer, selling alongside the body-on-frame Passport (a hastily rebadged Isuzu Rodeo), was a cute compact crossover with four doors and an awkward curb-side hinged tailgate thanks to its Japanese home-market design. The five-passenger CUV offered generous interior room, but its wheezy 2.0-liter four-cylinder, with an output of just 126 horsepower and 133 pound-feet of torque, required 11.7 seconds to bring the 3,153-pound vehicle to 60 miles per hour. Rear drum brakes didn't help much in the stopping department, but Honda offered safety-minded consumers optional anti-lock brakes on the premium trim.
Nearly two decades after its introduction, the CR-V has matured in spectacular manner. The refreshed 2015 Honda CR-V, now in its fourth generation, is dimensionally within two inches of its ancestor in overall length and nearly identical in height and wheelbase. That consistency of dimension is impressive in this age of size and segment creep, and it stands as a testament to how 'right' Honda engineers got the model's original packaging. Of course, the CR-V hasn't stood still - nearly everything else about the best-selling compact CUV has improved in leaps and bounds.
But Honda is not the only player in this hotly contested segment today, so the automaker has taken the unusual step of updating its fourth-generation model just a few years after its introduction in an effort to keep it seated on the podium. To learn more about the automaker's improvements, and form our own impressions, we spent a day driving the CR-V in sunny Southern California.

Honda reveals more with Civic Type R concept bound for Paris

Mon, 29 Sep 2014 18:00:00 EST

The reveal of the next-generation Honda Civic Type R has been a gradual one. First Honda showed us a camouflaged prototype, then let us drive one at its Japanese proving ground and followed up with a concept at the Geneva Motor Show. Now with the Paris Motor Show looming on the horizon, it has revealed yet another concept to keep hot-hatch enthusiasts on their toes.
The second Civic Type R concept appears almost identical to the first one - right down to the aggressive aero kit, quad exhaust tips, oversized wheels and ultra-low-profile rubber - but wears a new coat of Superman blue with go-fast decals. With its release, however, Honda has confirmed some of the salient details set for the production version.
In the nose sits a 2.0-liter turbo four with 276 horsepower and a 7,000-rpm redline, mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Adaptive dampers and a "steer axis" system promise to keep the power under control, while a push of the +R button tightens up the suspension, steering and torque mapping.

Ever wonder how to really pronounce Japanese automaker names?

Thu, 25 Sep 2014 20:01:00 EST

People tend to get very set in their ways when it comes to the pronunciation of words. Just look at the endless debates over whether or not to say the final 'e' in Porsche (which you should in terms of correct German enunciation). Or the argument about whether to follow the British convention and give the 'u' in Jaguar a special delivery or to say the 'ua' diphthong as more of a 'w' sound, as usually happens in the US.
This short video doesn't answer either of those automotive questions, but it does allow a native Japanese speaker to demonstrate the accepted pronunciations for several, major automakers from the country. One benefit is that it clears up the occasional debate over whether Nissan should be said with a long or short 'i' sound. Also, listen closely to how the female host says Mazda as Matsuda, the way it's actually said in the language. Even if this doesn't change the way you enunciate these brands, at least now you know the accurate way in Japanese.

Is today's Honda Accord cheaper than it was back in 1989?

Wed, 24 Sep 2014 17:59:00 EST

Whether you're shopping at the grocery story or on a car lot, everything seems to be getting more expensive these days. However, when all the factors are considered, that might be more an issue of perception than of fact. The American Public Media radio show Marketplace recently tackled the question whether modern vehicles were actually more expensive once you factored in important variables like inflation and cost of ownership. The result was pretty surprising.
For its example, Marketplace chose the Honda Accord, because in August, it was one of the bestselling vehicles in the US, with 51,075 of them sold. Winding back the clock 25 years to 1989, Honda's cheapest Accord cost $11,770, and that money bought you a stripped-out car with 98 horsepower, a manual gearbox, no air conditioning and hand-crank windows.
Fast-forward to present day, and a basic Accord starts at around $22,000 and gives buyers significantly more features, including a 185-hp engine, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, cruise control, more space, refinement and much better safety. By Marketplace's math, when just figuring for inflation, that modern Honda would cost about $11,500 a quarter century ago, despite all of that extra equipment. But that's just one factor. Scroll down to listen to the full report for an explanation of how cost of ownership figures into the mix, and whether it throws all of the calculations off.

Sales incentive growth clustered around brands with few CUVs, trucks

Wed, 24 Sep 2014 14:31:00 EST

While it's arguably been around the longest, the dominance of the four-door sedan has been under threat for many years. As a further sign of the hurtin' that SUVs and crossovers have put on today's four-doors, a new report from Automotive News points to the increasing use of incentives by brands reliant on cars and light on CUVs and pickups.
Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen and Kia have all been stung by double-digit increases in their incentives-to-transaction price ratio, according to AN, which cites data from TrueCar. Honda's ratio is up 14 percent, while Toyota, VW and Kia are up 18, 15 and 19 percent, respectively.
"Most of the incentive growth we have seen is in product segments with low demand - midsized or large sedans," TrueCar CEO John Krafcik told AN. "As this trend goes on, the brands with three-sedan strategies are going to be in worse shape on incentive spending than the crossover brands."

Honda shows facelifted Euro Civic hatch with new Sport variant

Wed, 24 Sep 2014 13:29:00 EST

Honda has released the details on its freshened Euro-spec Civic ahead of its debut at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, whose media days are set to open next week. Aside from a fairly pleasant visual upgrade for both the standard Civic as well as the Civic Tourer, Paris will also see the arrival of a new Civic Sport model.
The new Civic wears a sportier front fascia, while the rear end is home to a new, stylish set of LED taillights. Honda has also revised the rear bumper, side skirts and spoiler. In the cabin, a new, Android-powered infotainment system called Honda Connect takes its place in the center stack, providing typical functions like radio, media, navigation and Bluetooth, as well as the ability to browse the Internet. The entire system is confined by a seven-inch display that offers pinch, swipe and tap functions that should be familiar to smartphone owners.
The big news, though, is the new Sport model (shown above). While this isn't a Civic Type R - with its 1.8-liter, 140-horsepower engine, it's not even a decaf Type R - it does deliver some more aggressive looks to the Civic line. There are standard 17-inch wheels, as well as a new, sportier Type R-inspired front fascia and a color-coded rear spoiler. Alongside that 1.8-liter gas engine is a 118-hp diesel mill that displaces 1.6 liters.

Honda CR-V updated for 2015

Mon, 22 Sep 2014 09:28:00 EST

The CR-V was first introduced way back in the mid-90s, but Honda has done a good job of keeping it fresh. Now four generations in, the CR-V has been replaced every four or five years. And though the latest version just arrived on the scene a couple of years ago, Honda's giving it a refresh for the 2015 model year.
We've already spied these changes, but now, the Japanese automaker has officially released the image you see above, showing the updated 2015 CR-V with some cosmetic enhancements. The chrome bar at the bottom of the grille integrates smartly with the LEDs outlining the projector-beam headlights, capping a reshaped front bumper with new fog lamps.
Of course, the wheels and mirror caps have been redone as well, but we'll have to wait until Honda releases the full monte to see what the new CR-V looks like around back, inside and under the hood. All Honda is confirming at the moment is that the revised styling "portends the significant enhancements made to the 2015 CR-V" and that it will release further information on September 30 before the updated model goes on sale October 1, so watch this space for more.