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- 2007 honda odyssey touring mini passenger van 4-door 3.5l(US $16,868.00)
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Auto blogMon, 14 Oct 2013 11:57:00 EST
Delivering On Promises
The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid should surprise no one. Its look is something we've seen since the non-hybrid versions went on sale last year. Its powertrain, mostly, we are familiar with from the already-on-sale Accord Plug-In model. And the overall vibe of the car? Well, it's an Accord, which has been a strong seller in the US for three decades, so much so that there's a very good chance you've been in one at some point, whether you noticed or not.
Honda's first attempt at an Accord Hybrid, released in 2005, put dynamic performance first, but it didn't match the public's maturing perception of what a hybrid is all about: fuel economy. The 2005 version was capable of a measly 28 miles per gallon combined, 25 in the city and 33 on the highway. Remember those numbers, and that the first-generation Accord Hybrid lasted all of three model years before being axed.
It wasn't so long ago that Honda was known for its sporty two-door models, with models ranging from the Civic del Sol to the Prelude and from the Acura Integra and RSX to the Honda S2000. But look at its range today and all you'll see are the Civic and Accord coupes. Honda has essentially let competitors like the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ and Nissan 370Z take the place it once claimed as its own. But if you were hoping Honda would fight back with a new coupe or convertible of its own, we're afraid you're going to have to downgrade those hopes to pipe dreams.
While in Japan ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show, Autoblog had a chance to sit down with American Honda CEO Tetsuo Iwamura (pictured at right). When we asked about the potential for a new sports coupe or convertible in the Honda or Acura lineup, he pointed to the current Civic and Accord coupes - not to mention the upcoming new NSX - but said that Honda has no replacement for any of the aforementioned models (or a rival for the FR-S or 370Z) in the pipeline, saying only that the company is monitoring potential demand.
What Iwamura-san did note was that he's a personal fan of the new S660 roadster (pictured above) set to be unveiled tomorrow, and he is pushing (or at least hoping) that it will come to North America. Given that he's head of both Honda's American office and its global automobile operations, one might think that the only person he would have to persuade is himself (well... himself, and potential buyers), but the sporty droptop looks to be about kei-sized, which sadly suggests that it may be too small for American tastes and perhaps not designed with US crash-test standards in mind anyway.
Honda has really taken its time in getting an aftermarket supercharger kit for the CR-Z to enthusiasts in the US. It's finally on sale, though, and it makes you wonder if the hybrid hatchback shouldn't have had it from the day it went on sale.
The supercharger kit developed by Honda Performance Development boosts output from the CR-Z's 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine to 197 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque, according to Honda spokesperson Jessica Howell, an improvement of 67 hp and 36 lb-ft. It also adds an air-to-air intercooler, high-flow fuel injectors, a recalibrated ECU and new air filter for $5,495, before installation. However, the setup only works for six-speed manual transmission models from the 2013 and 2014 model years. If you want to take things even further, HPD is also offering an optional limited slip differential for $1,375 and sport clutch for $640, according to Howell.
Development of the supercharger kit has been ongoing for years. We first saw it on the CR-Z Mugen RZ in 2012 in Japan, in which it barely bumped power to 153 hp. Later at SEMA, Honda improved things to a more respectable 185 hp. Then in 2013, we actually got to drive an early version boasting 190 hp and found it a solid improvement over the stock powertrain. It appears Honda had some further tweaks to get things to the current 197 ponies. More good news: assuming you get the package installed at a dealer, the car maintains the balance of its 5 year/ 60,000 mile Honda limited powertrain warranty.