We’ve covered Nissan and Infiniti, we’ve covered Toyota and Lexus, and today we’re going to keep moving right along into the third largest Japanese automaker, Honda and Acura.
Interestingly enough, Honda followed a similar pattern to Toyota in that they showcased two cars we already knew a lot about, but then gave us some juicy details about a car that’s coming-soon. The difference is that where Toyota deliberately did NOT confirm their new GT86 Hybrid, Honda deliberately DID confirm details about a new upcoming Civic, which we’ll talk more about below.
First, though, let’s start with the two primary Japanese cars being showcased by Honda/Acura.
Honda Civic Tourer
It’s a bit surprising to string these words together in a sentence, but Honda’s new Civic Tourer is actually very appealing. Maybe it’s just the context that the Japanese-made wagon was shown in at this particular motor show, but everything about it seems so well-refined. Adrian Killham, the Civic Tourer’s project leader, really hit the nail on the head when he said, “Recently launched cars have tended to follow a similar style. The Civic Tourer has a different balance and appeal.”
In other words, look at the Lexus LF-NX Concept. Look at the Infiniti Q30 Concept. Look at the Suzuki iV-4 Concept (which we’ll cover tomorrow). These are what the Civic Tourer was shown next to, and compared to the above, the Tourer just seems so… polished. Granted, the other cars listed here are concepts and not production models, but still, the point stands.
The Civic Tourer features a design that is seamless and sleek, muscular and subtle, and natural but not uncomfortable. In short, it’s a nice break from the over-aggressive styling that we’ve seen from a lot of new cars as of late. But, there’s more to the Honda Civic Tourer than just looks.
For starters, the Tourer has a metric ton of cargo space with 59 cubic feet available when the rear seats are folded down. Depending on where you are, you’ll have access to a Civic Tourer with either a 1.8L four-cylinder i-VTEC gas engine or a 1.6L i-DTEC Earth Dreams diesel engine.
Unfortunately, we still have no idea whether the new Honda Civic Tourer will ever be sold on U.S. shores. But, we shouldn’t have to wait long to find out. It’ll be sold in Europe early next year, so if the wagon is going to be sold In the U.S., we should know by the end of 2013.
Acura NSX Q&A
We weren’t actually expecting to learn anything new about the upcoming Acura NSX hybrid, but Honda surprised us. While we’ve seen the same NSX that was shown at Frankfurt several times before, this time around Honda/Acura put together a brief Q&A with the new NSX’s Chief Engineer, Ted Klaus. You’re free to watch the video below for the full scoop, but here are a few of the most important questions answered:
“What was your favorite Type R model and why?”
This isn’t directly relevant, but it’s interesting because Klaus says his favorite Type R ever was the ’98 – ’01 version. Why? According to him, it “peeled” exceptionally well, as in “peeling the onion,” not, “peeling out”. In other words, it was a car with multiple layers and attributes that could only be fully appreciated through time spent behind the wheel. The more you drove it, the more you liked it. He says that’s one of the biggest things he’s looking to achieve with the new NSX.
“Why create a hybrid NSX?”
Klaus says the new NSX is intended to fully embody the original idea behind NSX, which apparently stands for New Sports Experimental. So, it’s going to be a hybrid because that’s the technology that Honda feels it would benefit most from experimenting with. Perhaps because their competitors are doing the same?
But, there are other factors besides sheer “newness” at play in the NSX hybrid. Ted says that a hybrid powertrain allows for a lower center of gravity, more intelligent design, and an overall higher response for the driver.
“How will you keep the character of the original NSX?”
Apparently, Klaus and his team actually sat down with the original development team to discuss what the first creators thought were the most important elements of the original car. Those elements were vivid response, a good power to weight ratio, and a human-focused driving experience.
These are just three of the five or six questions Klaus answered in the video, so you can learn more by watching the whole thing below:
Honda Civic Type R
Finally, we have the first piece of actual news from Honda’s presence at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. Honda has officially pledged that the 2015 Honda Civic Type R will become the fastest front-wheel drive car to lap the Nürburgring. The new Civic Type-R will beat the current record of 8 minutes and 7.97 seconds with a brand-new 276 bhp 2.0L direct injection engine with turbocharge. They’re also enlisting the help of championship-winning driver Gabriele Tarquini, a man who certainly knows what it takes to compete on Germany’s most infamous circuit.
Of course, Honda still has two more years until they’ve promised us the Civic Type R, so even though the lap record could change between now and then, Tarquini has plenty of time to help them push their new engine to its limits.
We weren’t expecting much from Honda and Acura at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show; they certainly didn’t generate much fanfare ahead of time. But, the Civic Touring was pleasantly impressive, the new information about the NSX was greatly appreciated, and we’re more excited than ever to see the Civic Type R whenever Honda feels ready to share it with us.
Thanks for reading, and come back tomorrow for our bits and pieces wrap up of any Japanese cars you might’ve missed at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.