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Honda asking used-car buyers to sign liability document [w/poll]

Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:30:00 EST



New cars under recall must be repaired before a dealer can sell them but used cars are under no such mandate.
When it comes to informing the car-buying public about potential safety hazards on used vehicles, there are two emerging schools of thought among used-car dealers.

Honda Civic Tourer sports forbidden facelift

Tue, 29 Jul 2014 08:30:00 EST

Following up on a sextet of spy photos from June, we now have another batch of images of the facelifted Euro-spec Honda Civic undergoing testing in the United Kingdom. There's a bit more sheetmetal to this particular prototype, though, as our spy photographers have caught the upcoming Tourer model (pronounced "wagon" among us Yanks).
Like the hatchback we showed you last month, the new Tourer benefits from the same set of styling tweaks inspired by the Civic Type R Concept from March's Geneva Motor Show. That means it boasts a revised front fascia, albeit with a more heavily camouflaged version of the grille shown in last month's photos. It's a similar story below, where the intakes on this long-roof model wear more disguise, yet look to be virtually identical to what we've already seen.
While the headlights still look to be a straight lift from last month's car, the more upright nature of the Tourer's tailgate demands a more subdued character. Gone are the thin, curvy LED taillights, and in their place sit significantly more substantial units (with conventional bulbs), although they boast none of the design chutzpah shown on our last round of spy photos. Our spies claim LED taillights will be available, noting that they simply aren't fitted to this particular prototype, a distinction that suggests this is a lower-end model.

The cars that won't live to see 2015 [w/video]

Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:57:00 EST

Every year in the fast-paced automotive industry brings new models, but it also spells the end for some that have been less successful. This year will be no exception.
Japan's automakers make up the bulk of the list of discontinued models for the 2015 model year: Acura is replacing the TL and TSX with the new TLX sedan, Honda is bidding farewell to the Fit EV as the new Fit hatchback takes its place, and Nissan is saying goodbye to both the Cube and Murano CrossCabriolet. Both the Nissan Maxima and Mazda2 exit stage left before their upcoming replacements arrive, while Toyota is terminating the RAV4 EV and FJ Cruiser as well as the Scion xD, and Lexus IS C and IS F that are being effectively replaced by the new RC. Meanwhile Infiniti is finally discontinuing the G37 that was already replaced by the newer Q50.
From our own domestic automakers, Cadillac discontinues the CTS-V sedan and wagon as the new CTS rolls in, Chevy is canceling the mild-hybrid Eco versions of the Malibu and Impala sedans, and Chrysler is killing off the 200 convertible as the new 200 sedan arrives.

Meet the Kanjozoku, Osaka's infamous street racers

Thu, 17 Jul 2014 19:58:00 EST

Street racing is obviously illegal and incredibly dangerous, but that has never stopped people from doing it. While we don't hear nearly as much about the scourge of Japanese tuner cars as when The Fast and the Furious first hit theaters over a decade ago, illegal street racing is still bubbling under the surface all over the island nation. An excellent new documentary short from Bowls Films takes a look at the Kanjozoku from Osaka, Japan; a group that claims to be partially responsible for the tuning style known as JDM.
The group gets their name from their preferred route known as the Kanjo. It's a 4.77-mile long loop of connected highways running right through the city of Osaka. You might expect a hardcore group of illegal Japanese racers to show up with highly tuned Nissan GT-R and Toyota Supra coupes, but the Kanjozoku evidently eschew all of the others in favor of one particular car that they love: the Honda Civic.
According to the video, that vehicle of choice came in part from the city's location. Osaka was relatively near the one-make Civic races held at Japan's legendary Suzuka racetrack. The hatchbacks thus became the default weapons for the Kanjozoku's street battles.

Leno meets the nicest people on his bored-out Honda CB750

Tue, 08 Jul 2014 20:00:00 EST

Jay Leno's Garage is back to its tried-and-true formula this week with Jay taking a close look at a seriously cool vehicle with a guest. This time he invites in Adam Gaspic from Gasser Custom to take a look at a highly customized 1975 Honda CB750.
The bike is really an amalgam of styles from different eras and various Honda parts. Its looks are inspired by '50s hot rods with its white-wall tires and satin, metallic fuel tank, but there is a little British café racer in there, as well. A digital instrument panel and LED turn signals lend an air of modernity to it, too. Mechanically, the bike rides on a modified '75 frame with the front and rear suspension from an '80s Honda. However, the pièce de résistance is its engine, bored out to 836cc with additional head work and a custom exhaust.
Once on the road, the bike really sings. It sounds just the way a classic Japanese motorcycle should with a mix of whine at high-revs with rumble down low. A cycle that mixes this many styles should probably be a mess, but this fuses it all together perfectly. Scroll down to take a look at this motorcycle mixing classic and modern in Jay Leno's Garage.

Honda China struggling with high-end Accord because Chinese covet German cars, too

Sun, 06 Jul 2014 09:01:00 EST

It's not particularly unusual to see cheap cars in China, or those with designs stolen from foreign competitors, but increasingly the best-selling vehicles there would be very recognizable to just about any auto enthusiast. There appears to be one fact of life whether looking at car buyers in Sacramento, Stuttgart or Shanghai: People who can afford to buy premium cars often look first at the Germans.
Honda recently thought that it could challenge this perceived wisdom by including a premium Accord in the ninth-generation sedan's Chinese launch last year. The market-exclusive version was priced against the Audi A4. The venture failed, miserably.
According to Automotive News China, sales for the new Accord in China are down 37 percent through May of this year. Honda's overall sales are actually up by about 11 percent there on the strength of smaller, less profitable models. However, the company is still off its forecast 19-percent rise.

Honda's first production jet takes off from North Carolina

Mon, 30 Jun 2014 09:27:00 EST

Plenty of automakers have backgrounds in aircraft manufacturing. BMW, Bristol, Mitsubishi, Saab and Spyker all started out in the airplane business. But Honda is going the opposite direction, expanding its automotive (not to mention motorcycle, ATV, marine engine and power equipment) business with the launch of the HondaJet. And that project has just taken a big step forward.
After starting production a year and a half ago, the Japanese industrial giant recently completed its first customer HondaJet, and has now taken that initial production aircraft to the skies for its landmark first flight. The aircraft left the production facility in Greensboro and took off on Friday morning from Piedmont Triad International Airport in North Carolina - the same state where the Wright Brothers undertook their first flight over a century ago.
The HondaJet undertook an 84-minute test flight, climbing to 15,500 feet and reaching a speed of 348 knots. That works out to 400 miles per hour - assuredly faster than any Honda (save for maybe a prototype for the same aircraft) has traveled before. The aircraft is designed to cruise at a maximum of 420 knots (483 mph) and reach a maximum altitude of 43,000 feet.

Google's new Android Autos OS unveiled, will be in cars this year [w/video]

Wed, 25 Jun 2014 17:59:00 EST

Connected cars are coming en-masse. We know this much. How, though, remains something of an open question, especially as two of the world's largest tech companies are preparing to battle for control of your car's dashboard. On the one hand, we have Apple and its CarPlay system. And now, we know what Google has been working on with Auto Link.
Its new name is Android Auto, and yes, it's based off the Android architecture that is the primary challenger to Apple's iOS mobile operating system. Announced at Google's I/O conference today, Android Auto functions similarly to CarPlay - owners will need to plug their smartphones into their cars to access the full breadth of capability.
In Android Auto's case, that means a wealth of voice controls to limit distracted driving. Google's marquee apps will be available when the interface arrives in production models later this year, including Google Play Music, Google Maps and voice-activated texting and text playback. Meanwhile, developers will be able to begin designing custom apps for the new system via an upcoming software development kit.

Honda gets weirdly R-Rated with new Civic Type-R launch video

Wed, 25 Jun 2014 12:43:00 EST

Honda is still about a year away from bringing back the Civic Type R to challenge Europe's hot hatch ranks, but the wait isn't stopping the brand from starting its promotion in the UK with a truly strange ad campaign.
Titled R-Rated, the marketing plays with the idea of Honda's Type R badge not being something for every driver, and its 60-second short film Disruption definitely isn't for everyone. The teaser video is meant to personify the spirit of the hot Civic by combining aggressively weird imagery with a glimpse of the new model. It cycles through things like a pack of wolves, androgynous models, a lady with a samurai sword and a flaming speed camera before getting to what we all want to see - the car. It's a weird, by turns creepy, video that feels like it's trying to be outlandish without always showing there's much thought behind the madness.
Perhaps the most frightening thing about the Civic Type R is that there are still major doubts about whether its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with an estimated 280 horsepower will make it to North Ameircan showrooms. We understand the business case may be tough, especially when the CTR's hatchback bodystyle isn't sold in America at all, but we think Honda's North American showrooms could use a bit more performance edge, and an affordable halo car like the Type R could do just that.

Airbag recall widens to include BMW, Chrysler, Ford and Toyota

Mon, 23 Jun 2014 15:45:00 EST

The recall of faulty airbag inflators supplied by Takata has exploded today to grow to seven automakers. In most cases, only models in certain high-humidity regions were affected because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found in its investigation that moisture played a roll in determining whether there would be a problem. However, some companies opted for national campaigns. The exact number of affected models for these campaigns isn't yet known at this time.
BMW is recalling an undisclosed number of 325i, 325Xi, 330i and 330Xi models from the 2001 through 2005 model years and the 2001-2006 model year versions of the 325Ci and 330Ci for the driver side and passenger side inflators. Only vehicles currently registered in Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands are covered under this recall.
Neither Chrysler's filing with NHTSA nor its press release list the specific models affected, but a company spokesperson told Autoblog that at this time it only covers the driver and passenger side inflators for the 2006 Dodge Charger in Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands