Posts Tagged ‘honda’

Japanese Car Icons: The Honda CR-V

Posted by Stephen On Friday, April 1st, 2016

You may not think of the CR-V as a Japanese car icon, but when it was introduced in Japan back in 1995, it was a pioneer of the compact SUV segment.

Few cars combine everything you’re looking for into one package, but the Honda CR-V has always been one such car. As a family-friendly small SUV with appealing features at an affordable price, it can be summed up in two words: versatile and varied.

Read on to learn more about what characterizes the Honda CR-V and what makes it stand out.

History of the Honda CR-V

The car was first introduced in Japan in 1995 as Honda’s first in-house designed SUV. In fact, it can probably lay claim to being one of the first compact SUVs – a leader in a segment that seems to be ubiquitous in many markets.

Hiroyuki Kawase designed the first model of this car, which Honda began manufacturing in 1997. Since then, several theories have come about to explain what the “CR-V” stands for. “Comfortable Runabout Vehicle” is what you see in early promotional materials, but also “Compact Recreational Vehicle”, and “Civic Recreational Vehicle” have all been suggested. Whatever its official title, the Honda CR-V is currently on its fourth generation, with a new model released each year and major changes made every several years.

The first generation of Honda CR-Vs featured two types of trim levels: LX and EX, with the major difference being that the EX trim offered anti-lock brakes and larger wheels while LX did not. Furthermore, the design included rear seats that could be folded down and a picnic table that was stowed in the rear floor area. The Honda CR-V received a facelift between 1999 and 2001, which boosted the engine’s power and introduced new safety features such as an improved front bumper.

The second generation CR-V was fully redesigned from the first, and based its model off of the seventh generation Honda Civic. A new engine and chassis formed the bulk of the changes from the first generation, as well as an overall more streamlined appearance. As a result, Car and Driver magazine named the second generation Honda CR-V the Best Small SUV for 2002 and 2003. A 2005 facelift changed the appearance of the grille and added enlarged wheels, and introduced XM Satellite Radio to the interior of the car.

The third generation CR-V, launched in 2006, was designed to be lower, wider, and shorter than the previous CR-V models. To make this happen, this generation stowed the spare tire inside instead of attaching it to the back, decreasing the overall length of the vehicle. A newer, five-speed automatic transmission was introduced and mandatory transmission was completely phased out in order to implement a better MPG rating and smoother shifting. Internal features of the third generation CR-V included integrated navigation, voice activated control, a six-disc CD player, a rear backup camera, and an iPod dock. As a result, the Honda CR-V became one of the ten best selling vehicles of 2007. Style, powertrain, and equipment changes were introduced in 2009 for the 2010 model year as well.

The fourth and current generation was introduced at the Orange County International Auto Show and the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2011, and went on sale later that year. The new redesign features devices such as continuously variable transmission (CVT), suspension shock absorbers, springs, anti-roll bars and lower control arms to improve smoothness and decrease the chances of having an accident while driving. During Super Bowl XLVI, Honda promoted the new CR-V with an endorsement from actor Matthew Broderick of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off fame.

Features of the Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V is known for having the following features and benefits:

1. Size

As a “compact SUV”, the CR-V is both large enough to meet the needs of a family and small enough to be driven and parked comfortably. The car can seat up to five people and thus works whether your family includes one, two, three or more other people; it also has plenty of storage space to fit in everyone’s belongings. At the same time, you’ll never have trouble fitting into a parking space or feel like the vehicle is too cumbersome.

2. Price

The CR-V is reasonably priced and as a compact SUV you will find you get more car for your money (as well as 4WD safety) for the kind of money you used to have to pay for a family sedan.

Where Honda has been overtaken in the compact SUV segment is in the areas of style and exclusivity. Land Rover’s Range Rover Evoque and Porsche’s Macan easily beat the bland CR-V in this department, illustrating a problem bedeviling many Japanese manufacturers – how to translate underlying quality into the surface style and panache that commands premium prices.

Early Grade 4 RD-1 CR-V at auction in Japan

Let’s take a look at one of those early first generation RD1-type CR-Vs and see what you can get for your money at auction in Japan.

This one has only 61,654 KM on the clock, even though was first put on the road in 1997. Let’s have a look at the translation of the auction inspection report:

“Grade 4, interior grade C, first registered 1997 (month not stated), two litre engine, four-wheel-drive, AT, AAC, original alloy wheels, power steering, power windows, interior grime and yellowing, scratches and dents, marks as per map”

As you can see, this CR-V may be almost 20 years old, but it is in remarkably good condition. (Although this kind of condition and mileage even lower than this is not at all uncommon among cars that are being auctioned in Japan.) According to our online system, the estimated market value of this car at auction here in Japan is around 60,000 JPY.

Interested in getting a CR-V like this one, or a later model? We can help you source them from Japan’s car auctions and ship them to you. Why not sign up for 14 days of guest access through our website here to see the cars that are available?

RD1 Honda CR-V auction in Japan - auction inspection report

RD1 Honda CR-V auction in Japan - rear

RD1 Honda CR-V auction in Japan - interior

RD1 Honda CR-V auction in Japan - front

Insane 6-Wheel Kei Truck Acty Crawler At Auction In Japan

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

OK, so it may not have the street presence of an Mercedes-Benz G 63 AMG 6X6, but you have to admire the engineering that has gone into making this Acty Crawler.

Despite what you may think, this is not some crazy custom job, but was engineered by Honda and introduced in 1994. They are also designed to have tracks on the rear wheels, hence the “crawler” part of the name.

Honda Acty Crawler at auction in Japan (1)

Honda Acty Crawler at auction in Japan (2)

Honda Acty Crawler at auction in Japan (3)

Original listing

Android Phone to Replace Head Unit in Honda Navigation Systems

Posted by Stephen On Friday, February 26th, 2016

It has long been a source of puzzlement to drivers around the world that a cheap smart phone or tablet can easily out-perform and be far more intuitive than the expensive systems installed in cars. Only Tesla’s gigantic touchscreen and BMW’s system have come anywhere near replicating that experience. But perhaps things are about to change.

It appears that Honda is avidly listening to its consumers and has pulled an item from their wish list to deliver an innovative concept in partnership with Drivemode. This new concept vehicle will completely replace the head unit with an Android phone that will be integrated with the car’s control. So simple. So obvious. So … why has no one done this before? (Hint: The car makers make a bunch of money off expensive control system upgrades.)

This single-button interface will use audio cues, finger taps, and display-wide swipes for functionality to ensure that you don’t take your eyes off the road to activate commands. The app has received an overwhelming 400,000 downloads already from automakers and drivers who are eager to try it out. Amongst the automakers who downloaded auto-centric Android app created by founders Yo Koga and HK Ueda was none other than Honda.

Drive Mode Android App

This new concept is not just about shoving a phone in the car’s dashboard; it’s more about integrating it with the vehicle’s controls. For example, the convenient buttons on the steering wheel that consumers love so much to control the radio will now control the app as well.

In addition, the back and right-side blind spot cameras will now display on the phone as well. Honda and Drivemode stated that this is still just a concept and possibly some years away from coming to fruition. However, it is part of an even bigger plan to build an app for automakers that replaces the old in-dash system. In the meantime, Drivemode is looking for other ways to make the new model a bit safer for consumers.

For example, Ueda says the app will eventually support aftermarket Bluetooth backup and blind spot cameras. So, drivers can buy the cameras and mount them to their cars, allowing them to have an additional safety feature, even if their vehicle didn’t have that option when purchased new from the car dealership.
For drivers who are unable to afford the trim levels that offer the smartphone-integrating options (or are are not looking to upgrade their vehicle), they will still have the ability to enjoy a more unified driving experience without weaving all over the busy road trying to launch Pandora. Regrettably, the app is only available for Android devices right now, but Drivemode is looking for extra funding to build the iOS version. Given Apple’s dominance in the smartphone market, this seems to be a no-brainer.

On the other hand, perhaps this is what the much rumoured Apple Car project is really all about….

2016 Honda Civic Coupe Review

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

The most recent Honda study suggest that customers that favor coupes over sedans seem to be mostly seduced by the image and style, feeling that the absent second set of doors pushed the idea that the driver and car have a sporty identity. While that’s not always the case, the vibrant character of the new Civic coupe justifies the sporty part of the suggestion. I mean just looking at it makes it really hard not to believe that this shape won’t be what first attracts its buyer.

Check it out …

Honda Civic Coupe 2016

The 2016 Honda Civic Coupe’s sheet metal alone is even sexier than the sedan’s, with more sculpting, neater dimensions, and wheels that fill the wheel wells right to the very edge of the fenders.

Now what the coupe does share is the sedan’s 106.3-inch wheelbase, which is a sizable 3.1-inch stretch as opposed to the previous generation. However, at 176.9 inches, this new coupe is about an inch shorter than its predecessor, 1.8 inches wider at 70.8 inches, and a drop (0.1 inches) lower at 54.9 inches. Additionally, it has much wider tracks: 60.9 inches at the front and 61.5 rear. Although the overall length has shortened, the overhangs have reduced even more, and matched with the new sedan, the coupe falls 5.4 inches shorter. The rest is a coupe that looks compact in a sporty way.

Power Over Weight

While it would make sense that smaller dimensions and widespread use of high-strength and ultra-high strength steel in the body shell should equate to reduced mass, the official provisions are a little foggy on this score. Honda’s registered curb weights for the older coupe vary from 2754 to 2916 pounds. Depending on the trim level, the 2016 coupes will weigh anywhere from 2735 and 2896 pounds, as per Honda. As usual, equipment and new safety requirements seem to have trounced any attempts at genuine weightloss.

Nonetheless, the new coupe seems to have a performance edge over the previous generation, which is due to its new engines—a naturally aspirated 158-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder (in LX and LX-P models) and a 174-hp 1.5-liter turbo four (EX-T, EX-L, and Touring). 

US-Market Pricing

Just like several other components of the ongoing Honda Civic saga, pricing is still unclear until at least mid-March 2016 when this model goes on sale. There is some speculation on pricing, but that’s tricky to predict because of the upgraded trim levels. There are currently five culminating in the new Touring model. Then again this much is certain: The new 2016 Honda Civic coupe makes the retiring version as easily forgettable as last year’s curling-tournament results. While the body of the Civic coupe is quite sporty in its appearance, the sportiness goes above and beyond the appearance.

And The Winning Japanese Car Maker Of 2015 Is …

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

The results are in. And it’s clear that a lot of things happened in 2015. Toyota kept its crown as the largest automaker in the world. Recalls from the faulty Takata air bags reached an all-time high – especially in the United States. Honda, a Japanese a carmaker that’s not nearly as big as Toyota, reached a record year. Here’s your 2015 auto recap.

Toyota logo

Toyota Reaches the Top Again

Despite the fact that Toyota’s global production declined 2 percent last year, they still managed to sell 10,083,783 cars last year, beating both of Volkswagen and General Motors for the fourth year in a row. Volkswagen came in second place with their global sales number reaching 9.93 million. It wasn’t any surprise that their sales fell 2 percent in 2015 because of the emissions scandal in the first half of the year. General Motors was in third place with 9.8 million vehicles sold.

Toyota’s decline was due to 4.2 percent reduction in production in Japan, ending up with 4,035,434 units within the country borders, and a 0.4 percent production cut outside Japan, which brings their numbers to 6,048,349 foreign units sold.

The Takata Air Bags

Before every automaker cut ties with Takata, they were the largest air bag manufacturer in the world, serving both Japanese, German and U.S. automakers. A lawsuit those filed in Florida initiated a series of massive recalls. In the United States, 51.26 million cars were recalled due to the defective airbags.

The automakers, altogether announced almost 900 recalls, recalling over 50.99 million vehicles. Due to the strict safety regulations in the United States, this country had it the worst. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration raised the recall of vehicles installed with the defective Takata airbags by an additional 5 million units. Initially, it was 28 million units in 24 million cars.

Japanese cars were not the only ones affected by Takata. A new fatality, this time involving a Ford vehicle, raised this number by another 1 million recalls. Additional testing increased it by another 4 million. The thing is that since “Takata” sounds Japanese and is a Japanese company, the stain of its misdeeds has tended to disproportionately affect Japanese car makers.

Affected automakers included BMW, Honda, Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Ford, General Motors, Daimler Trucks North America and Daimler Vans USA LLC.

Honda Had a Record Year

Let’s not forget the great year Honda has had.

Honda’s auto production in Japan was down by 23.8 percent, selling a total of 730,493 units. However, they did raise production by a record 3,813,345 units elsewhere, outside of Japan. This equates to a 7.2 percent increase beyond Japan’s borders. Globally, the Japanese automaker produced 4,543,838 vehicles, giving them a record sales year for 2015. Comparing the numbers, Honda grew by 0.7 percent from 2014 to 2015.

Honda Fit versus Hyundai Accent

Posted by Stephen On Monday, January 25th, 2016

This time, we’re pairing up the Honda Fit versus the Hyundai Accent. They’re both economy cars. They’re both competitors – which one ends up on top?

Each one of them comes in its own hatchback model, but the Fit does not come in a sedan model – something the Accent clearly does. Honda completely redesigned their Fit from the ground up, while the Accent hasn’t had a significant change since 2012.

That means we’ll be comparing the hatchback models. When you set them side-by-side, they’re both tall, five-door cars that look almost identical.

The Honda looks a little more fun while the Accent looks to be a bit more generic. Each vehicle may not be a luxury vehicle, but they do have enough features inside to make the experience pleasant.

As far as the seating arrangement goes, Honda is a clear winner. The seats are a little more comfortable, Honda does better on long trips and has what it calls a “Magic” seat arrangement. The rear seats do this flip and fold type motion, which really opens up the cargo area. On top of that, you take the front seats and fold them all the way back. For such a small car, the Honda Fit really provides a tremendous amount of cargo space. At this rate, the Hyundai Accent doesn’t even stand a chance. In fact, the Honda has more flexibility in the front seat than most cars.

Hyundai provides a 1.6 L, four-cylinder, 138 hp engine, which is the best in its class for a manual transmission, clearly beating out Honda. The Hyundai Accent makes 0 to 60 in 10 seconds flat. For an economy car, this is decent. For any other type of car, this is slow. Hyundai does offer a Sport Mode, but if you really want to take advantage of it, the engine has to be revved up to 3500 RPM. When you put just two people in the car, the engine feels taxed. The manual transmission model of the Accent provides 31 miles per gallon – the automatic version provides 30 miles per gallon.

The Honda is a bit weaker with a 1.5 L, four-cylinder 130 hp engine. Most people who own this car will be using the CVT transmission (continuously variable transmission), which will do far better gas mileage than Accent can ever hope for. The US EPA rating for the Honda Fit is 36 mpg. Despite its awkward shape, the Honda Fit does a fantastic job of making sure that the exterior noises didn’t find their way inside the vehicle at speeds well above typical speed limits.

The US Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) scored the Honda Fit very well, earning it a Top Safety Pick. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave it five stars. Furthermore, the Fit achieves Good ratings in all the categories with the IIHS except one – the new small-overlap front crash test. In this test, it was rated as Acceptable.

The Accent, on the other hand, did not rate well with either the IIHS or the NHTSA. The federal government scored it at four stars, with some concerns about the Accent’s performance on side crashes. The IIHS rated the Accent as Poor on the new small-overlap front crash test.

In the end, you can clearly see why Honda – the famed Japanese automaker, wins out. On the outside, they look very similar. On the inside, they are very different. Fit wins on safety, convenience, and a premium on the top-of-the-line model that’s finally worth the money! You know – the automatic transmission on the Fit doesn’t hurt either.

Honda Active Life Concept at UK Triathalon Show

Posted by Stephen On Friday, January 22nd, 2016

The UK Triathlon Auto Show will take place at ExCel in London this year. It is a three-day event that will be held Feb. 11 through Feb. 14. This is where Honda plans on using this event to debut their Active Life Concept.

Honda Civic Active Life Tourer Concept Car

What appears to be a hatchback Honda Civic Sport Type R plans on having enough room to accommodate two bicycles in its trunk. It had to sacrifice a second seat to do it, but it’s also intended for a targeted audience – which I’m guessing is not families – but is those “active life” triathletes.

The really sweet thing about this car is that it has a retractable arm that will allow you to perform bike repair from the trunk. The toolbox, bottle holder, front wheel holder and the water take all integrated into the side lining.

It comes with a box in the roof – aerodynamically designed and sized perfectly for helmets and shoes – vital accessories for the avid mountain biker.

In photos, the concept car is blue and fades into a silver lining. Although suede and leather are found on the front seats, the Japanese automaker has continued the blue theme on the interior by adding blue stitching to the gearshift and the steering wheel – and then they touched it up with blue piping running through the center and upper outer areas of the two seats and directly into the suede door lining. The black roof interior is typical of a Honda Civic.

They may not be debuting this concept at the auto show, but is not the first time that this design has been presented. It made its first appearance at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. The entire vehicle receives its inspiration from the Honda Civic Tourer estate – the same vehicle that is able to swallow up to 1668 liters of trunk space when the rear seats are folded down.

And not one to miss a chance to push their brand on the younger audience, Honda plans on affording children ages 5 to 11 the opportunity to try their hand at a motorcycle for the first time. The bike will be a standard 50cc bike and will be supervised by experienced trainers. After all, even youngsters need to learn the basics in a controlled and safe environment.

Honda, Mazda and Toyota All Drop Takata As A Premier Air Bag Supplier

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, January 9th, 2016

It’s not exactly industry news that Takata has been accused of altering air bag test data, but The New York Times has some new data to add to the story. Accordingly, The New York Times claims that they have gotten their hands on series of emails that shows that Takata employees joked around about altering air bag data, going as far as to doctor the results.

These messages were added to an incriminating lawsuit against Takata and Florida wherein of the airbags deployed, leaving her in a paraplegic state. She was paralyzed.
The emails were noted as having “gone beyond all reasonable bounds and now most likely constitutes fraud.”

Takata argues back

Takata was quick to argue back, saying that these emails were talking about the formatting of a presentation. In other words, they were taken completely out of context and had nothing to do with the current trend of recalling all the cars that carried Takata’s airbags.

This is not the first allegation of altered data

The New York Times gave Takata a rebuttal, claiming that this is not the first time that Takata has been accused of changing the test results of their airbags. They quote a Wall Street Journal investigation that took place in 2015 that revealed, at the very least, concerned that Takata might have been guilty of data alteration.
Honda was the first to drop Takata as an air bag supplier once they got a hold of the “faulty statistics.”

The $70 million (or $200 million) fine

In conjunction with the lawsuit in Florida, The United States Department of Transportation slaps Takata with a $70 million fine and is not done there. The penalty could be increased to up to $200 million. Following Honda, Toyota, Mazda and Ford all dropped Takata as their premier air bag supplier. At the very least, they were cited for refusing to use inflators powered by Takata signature ammonium nitrate propellant, now and in the future.

Frankly, given the billions of fines that VW is being targeted with, this looks like a paltry amount. Yes, pollution damages and kills, but not in quite the same instat and shocking way that these defective airbags do. One would have expected a much higher fine to be levied.

In the United States alone, over 19 million vehicles have been recalled because of the quality of the Takata airbags. Even still, these airbags may pose a danger. At the moment, nine deaths have been confirmed globally by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration relating to Takata’s airbags. The latest happened when a 13-year-old boy died while driving a 2001 Honda Accord coupe in December 2015.

Honda CR-V Touring: Econ to Sport Mode – How Much Does it Matter?

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

The 2015 Honda CR-V Touring came with two extra modes: the Econ mode and the Sport mode. Most people might enjoy the settings of the set-it-and-forget-it mindset in Econ mode while other situations call for the Sport mode. When placed side-by-side, do they really make all that much of a difference?

It’s about What Buyers Want

It’s nice that Honda included these modes, but they don’t really have as much of an impact as they should have had if Honda had focused on the purposes behind these modes. When the 2015 vehicle is not in either these modes, it has an 185-hp, all-wheel-drive that reaches 60 mph in 8.9 seconds. However, most buyers of this vehicle don’t really care about specs like that. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter because most people will be in stop-and-go traffic anyway. Besides, if you wanted better acceleration, you would be better suited with the Subaru Forrester – it can do the same zero to 60 in 6.4 seconds. Even the Ford Escape does better, doing 0 to 60 in 6.8 seconds. No, this isn’t about acceleration – it’s about what buyers want.

What Econ Mode Does

In fact, most buyers will probably leave the Econ mode on all the time. With the Touring is used for intercity traffic, buyers will get the most from their money by leaving Econ mode alone. Econ mode does three major things: it will adjust the HVAC system, adjust the cruise control systems, and relax the throttle response. The slower response makes it so that the Touring isn’t as responsive, but it’s not so dulled out as to make Econ mode unresponsive. In Econ mode, the Touring will make 0 to 60 and 9.7 seconds. In terms of statistics, thats really slow. But remember, most buyers don’t care about that. Econ mode it makes the Touring 7 percent more efficient – something buyers do care about.

Sport Mode Is Still Useful

The only time that most customers will use the Sport mode is if they’re trying to get the bank on a Friday afternoon, right before they close. Sport mode doesn’t make a huge difference but is still changing its behavior in a meaningful way. In Sport mode, the touring will make 0 to 60 in 8.7 seconds – a 0.2-second improvement.
Econ mode is what Honda was going for. It provides for a more efficient, well-rounded vehicle. Although Sport mode does make a difference, Econ mode has the potential to save buyers money – something that buyers look for when shopping for a vehicle.

2016 Pinehurst to Include Japanese Collectibles

Posted by Stephen On Friday, December 4th, 2015

In a bold new move, the 2016 Pinehurst Concours Best in Show will include a brand-new category of vehicles: Japanese vehicles. The car show is young – it is only in its fourth year. However, it is attracting fellow car enthusiasts from around the world.

Breaking New Ground

According to the Pinehurst Chief Judge Nigel Matthews, nobody in the United States has featured Japanese classics, making Pinehurst one of the first. The highlight of the 2016 car show is the inclusion of Japanese cars, but some prewar French Curves as well. By adding the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupes and Roadsters (1954-63), they have one of the most interesting lineups any car enthusiast can hope for.

Some Japanese Cars Never Made It to the American Market

Collecting Japanese cars is a growing interest among the younger generation. Some cars, such as the Honda Coupe 9 and 7s were only made in limited quantities – about 35,000 were built. They were domestic vehicles that were kept within the Japan’s borders. A little over 1000 these vehicles ever made it outside the borders, with the majority of them going to Australia. Today, only 16 of these vehicles are said to be on record as still in existence – nine Coupe 7s and six Coupe 9s.
12 Announced Car Classes to Be Judged.

Pinehurst is promising an excellent show to be held this year April 30: Prewar American (Open & Closed Until 1942); Postwar American (Open & Closed Until 1974); Prewar European (Open & Closed Until 1942); Postwar European (Open & Closed Until 1974); Ferrari (Until 1975); Porsche (Air-Cooled Cars) Until 1988; Corvette (Until 1972); Prewar French Curves; Future Japanese Collectables; Racing Cars; Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupe & Roadster (1954-1963) and Indian Motorcycles.
If that’s not enough to get you excited, they also have live bands. As of right now, Pinehurst is expecting over 300 cars to be present at the show.

Tickets Are on Sale Now

Tickets will run you about $30. “There really is something for everybody, young and old,” Matthews said. “The Ferrari class will continue to be absolutely amazing with just multimillion dollar cars. That’s where the collector car market seems to be right now. And the interest in Porsches is really strong as they are commanding skyrocketing values now.”

The Pinehurst Concours Best in Show winners have included a 1919 bright purple Pierce-Arrow Model 66 A-4 Tourer (2015), a midnight blue 1931 Cadillac 452A (2014) and a rare 1938 Steyr 220 Glaser Roadster (2013). “They are pretty amazing champions for a concours that is only heading into its fourth year,” Matthews said.

Who knows? Perhaps the 4th year will see a Japanese car take the honors for the first time?