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Honda announces 2015 Pilot Special Edition

Tue, 03 Jun 2014 15:57:00 EST

Honda doesn't have any exciting new mechanical or aesthetic changes for the 2015 Pilot eight-passenger crossover, but it is adding a new trim level to give families a compromise between the EX and EX-L models.
The new Special Edition trim is available on either the front-wheel or all-wheel drive versions of the Pilot, and it adds Pewter Gray aluminum wheels, a power moonroof, a rear seat entertainment DVD system and Sirius XM radio. Prices come to $33,950 for the two-wheel drive version, after the $830 destination charge, or $35,550 for all-wheel drive after destination.
Prices for the rest of the trims are up $200 over last year, and they all still come standard with remote entry, a rearview camera and Class III trailer hitch. Power is still provided by a 3.5-liter V6 with 250 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque with a five-speed automatic. Fuel economy is unchanged as expected with front-wheel drive models rated at 18 miles per gallon city, 25 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined, and four-wheel drive models make 1 mpg less at 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined. Scroll down to read the official release.

Honda Super Cub first vehicle to receive 3D trademark in Japan

Tue, 03 Jun 2014 08:45:00 EST

The term "iconic" gets thrown around a lot, but if there was ever a design worthy of the honorific, surely it's the Honda Super Cub. That's not just our opinion, though: it's the official word from the Japanese Patent Office, which has recognized the classic scooter's shape with a three-dimensional trademark.
The category was introduced in Japan back in 1997 to immortalize distinctive designs, and is subject to very strict criteria. In fact, this marks the first time it has been applied to a vehicle - and one of the few industrial products to be awarded the recognition.
Little wonder it was applied to this little wonder, too. With over 87 million units made since its introduction in 1958, Honda claims the Super Cub to be "the world's largest selling vehicle," with production taking place at 15 factories in 14 countries and sales in 160 markets around the world.

Honda Accord Hybrid falls well short of 47 mpg, says Consumer Reports [w/video]

Thu, 29 May 2014 11:29:00 EST

Do not poke Consumer Reports with the hybrid fuel economy stick. That seems to be the lesson illustrated here yet again. The Honda Accord Hybrid is the latest to arouse the ratings bear, returning "just" 40 combined mpg in CR testing. Even so, that makes it "a class leader for fuel economy among midsized sedans," besting even the Civic Hybrid in CR testing, but that's still a lucky roll of the dice short of its EPA rating of 47 mpg. Remember, it was back in December 2012 that CR knocked the Ford Fusion and C-Max hybrid models for the exact same failing: certified with an EPA-rated 47 mpg but delivering "just" 40 mpg.
Beyond that, while the Accord Hybrid earned a lower overall score than the traditional gasoline Accord because of its ride, handling and refinement issues, it gets unqualified applause from the institute for its "very impressive hybrid system."
It will be interesting to see if CR's findings will negatively impact the model's sales, which to this point have been impressive enough that demand is outstripping supply. In the meantime, you can check out CR's brief video review of the Accord Hybrid below, and check out the magazine's press release chiding its mpg rating.

Toyota, Honda, Nissan and more collaborating to increase fuel efficiency

Sun, 25 May 2014 16:31:00 EST

Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Daihatsu have announced an alliance that will see a push to improve fuel economy from both gas-powered and diesel-powered engines by as much as 30 percent before the end of the decade.
The newly assembled Research Association of Automotive Internal Combustion Engines put the roughly $20-million project together, with the Japanese government committing to half the cost while the eight manufacturers will chip in the rest.
According to Automotive News, the automakers will team up and share basic research on internal-combustion engines in a bid to cut costs. Eventually, the results of the research will find its way into a production vehicle, although it's unclear just when we'll see the fruits of this partnership on the road.

2015 Honda Fit delayed until June for quality checks

Fri, 23 May 2014 15:43:00 EST

If you are looking forward to the launch of the 2015 Honda Fit and can't wait to buy one, we have some bad news. Honda is holding off on sales a little longer to make sure everything is just right. The brand's latest subcompact was originally scheduled to start arriving at dealers this spring, but the introduction was delayed due to issues at Honda's new factory in Celaya, Mexico.
Consumer Reports learned of the delayed launch when the Fit it ordered didn't arrive on time. It contacted Honda and was told that the problem had to do with a "shipping delay nationally." The company was taking "a measured approach" to getting the new models out of the new factory, thus delaying shipment to dealers until June.
Honda spokesperson Steve Kinkade gave a few more details about the situation to Autoblog. He indicated that the factory in Mexico is new and is producing these vehicles for the first time. Therefore, the company is taking the extra time "to do a final verification on quality," said Kinkade. He also confirmed the delay until the second week of June.

180,000 new vehicles are sitting, derailed by lack of transport trains

Wed, 21 May 2014 11:00:00 EST

If you're planning on buying a new car in the next month or so, you might want to pick from what's on the lot, because there could be a long wait for new vehicles from the factory. Locomotives continue to be in short supply in North America, and that's causing major delays for automakers trying to move assembled cars.
According to The Detroit News, there are about 180,000 new vehicles waiting to be transported by rail in North America at the moment. In a normal year, it would be about 69,000. The complications have been industry-wide. Toyota, General Motors, Honda and Ford all reported experiencing some delays, and Chrysler recently had hundreds of minivans sitting on the Detroit waterfront waiting to be shipped out.
The problem is twofold for automakers. First, the fracking boom in the Bakken oil field in the Plains and Canada is monopolizing many locomotives. Second, the long, harsh winter is still causing major delays in freight train travel. The bad weather forced trains to slow down and carry less weight, which caused a backup of goods to transport. The auto companies resorted to moving some vehicles by truck, which was a less efficient but necessary option.

First production HondaJet nearly completed

Tue, 20 May 2014 14:29:00 EST

We may mention Honda around here mostly for its cars, but the Japanese industrial giant makes a whole lot more than that. The company builds motorcycles, ATVs, marine engines, power equipment and - soon enough - jet airplanes.
Honda has been working on its first private jet since before 2006, and after a good eight years or so of prototype testing, began building its first production version a bit over a year ago. And now it's almost ready for delivery.
The first production HondaJet is nearing completion and has had its GE Honda HF120 jet engines installed, after which it will conduct initial ground tests before taking its first flight this summer. The jet is painted in a new shade of pearl green with a gold stripe, added to the color catalog alongside the silver, red, yellow and blue options.

Honda to power new Formula Lites open-wheel racing series

Sun, 18 May 2014 16:18:00 EST

Open-wheel racing is almost always incredibly exciting to watch, whether it's the constant passing of the Indy 500 on an oval or the technological tour-de-force from Formula 1. However, both of those disciplines are essentially impossible for a normal person to enter. Of course, there are already cheaper, more amateur-friendly open-wheel competitions, like Formula Vee. A new SCCA Pro Racing series called Formula Lites aims to be a step in the ladder between those, offering a development opportunity to young drivers who want to be professionals.
The series already has some impressive backers. One of the biggest needs is now filled, as Honda has signed on as the engine supplier. All of the cars in Formula Lites will use the company's K24 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. The automaker didn't specify power output for the competition engine, but in production models the K24 has made in the neighborhood of 190-200 horsepower in many applications. That should make the racers plenty potent.
All of the cars are using the new carbon fiber FL15 chassis from Crawford Composites, and Pirelli is the series' tire supplier. The organizers' goal for the cars is to keep racing costs down, while offering a reliable platform. Formula Lites plans to start racing with a few events later in 2014, and the full calendar begins in 2015. Scroll down to read the full announcement about Honda's involvement.

Honda Civic Type R caught naked and frisky

Tue, 13 May 2014 19:15:00 EST

Honda's upcoming Civic Type R is one of our most anticipated models of the next year - and we probably won't even get it in North America. And yet, each time we see it, the five-door just seems so menacing and purposeful. An all-but-undisguised version has just been spotted by our photographers testing on the back roads in Germany. If this signals what to expect, then the project appears to be coming along nicely.
Compared to the concept shown at the Geneva Motor Show, this prototype looks even meaner. Check out those big, blistered front fender extensions, taller wing, deeply sculpted front air dam and 10-spoke gold wheels. The Type R certainly certainly isn't hiding its performance intentions, and it has no reason to. Under the hood, we know it packs Honda's new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder pumping out 276 horsepower, which is likely connected to a six-speed manual.
Now, if only Honda could find some way to get this machine across The Pond and into the our hot little hands. There has already been an online petition begging the Japanese automaker to find a way, and after recently enjoying an all-too-brief prototype drive, we're ready to sign up.

Honda planning sub-NSX S2000 successor

Tue, 13 May 2014 09:29:00 EST

Nine years separated the arrival of the original Acura NSX and the Honda S2000. By that time, the NSX was closer to the end of its fifteen-year production cycle than it was to its beginning. The latest word has it that not only is Honda planning a successor to the S2000, but it's not about to wait that long after the new NSX arrives before it's rolled out.
While the S2000 was a front-mid-engined roadster, its successor will, according to the latest from Auto Express (which we are taking with a grain of salt), be a mid-engined coupe - closer, in other words, to the NSX than the S2000. Power would come from a more potent version of the 2.0-liter turbo four developed for the upcoming new Civic Type R, possibly as part of a hybrid system derived from Honda's upcoming Formula One powertain to develop over 400 horsepower.
Whether the new sports car would revive the S2000 nameplate, and whether it would wear the Honda or Acura badge in the United States, remain to be seen. As does its potential production site: while the previous S2000 was built at the same Takanezawa plant in Tochigi as the original NSX, the new NSX will be built at the new Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio. The new S660 roadster, meanwhile, is set to be assembled at the same Yachiyo plant in Yokkaichi as the original Honda Beat.