Posts Tagged ‘ridgeline’

New Honda Pilot Teased Ahead of 2015 Chicago Auto Show

Posted by Stephen On Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Just as the 2015 Detroit Motor Show winds to a close, automakers everywhere are looking ahead to the next major automotive event – the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. Today Honda confirmed that we will see a redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot at the show next month. Here’s the teaser that accompanied the confirmation:

2016 Honda Pilot Teaser

To give you a hint about what this redesigned SUV may look like, we only have to look at the recently redesigned CR-V and the new Honda HR-V. We can expect the new Pilot to follow in those cars’ footsteps. With that in mind, you can almost fill in the teaser image above for yourself when you imagine a sleeker version of the current model year, shown further below.

We had a sneaking suspicion that Honda would bring the new Pilot to Chicago after their Executive VP, John Mendel, told us about their plans for 2015 in Detroit. “Shortly after [the HR-V], we’ll introduce an all-new Pilot SUV that will redefine what is possible with an eight-passenger midsize SUV.”

2015 Honda Pilot

Unfortunately, even though we know the roots for the new Pilot’s design, specific details are nearly nonexistent. We know it’ll go on sale sometime this summer, and that the exterior look will be significantly less boxy than the current generation’s. Most sources also seem to agree that the new mid-size SUV will continue with the same powertrain that’s in the current model. That’s a 3.5L V6 with 250hp, paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission.

We also know a bit about the new SUV’s development and production. The 2016 Pilot was designed solely by Honda R&D America, and it’ll be manufactured out of Honda’s Lincoln, Alabama plant.

Other Honda Nameplates Coming to Chicago

Along with the 2016 Honda Pilot, we’ve also been told to expect a new Acura RDX, although we have yet to see an official preview of the premium compact crossover. However, just about everything is said to have been improved in the new model – performance, style, luxury and safety.

Along with the Pilot and RDX, we’re expecting to see a design preview for the new Honda Ridgeline pickup truck, which will compete with the new Toyota Tacoma  we saw in Detroit when it to goes on sale sometime this fall.

Finally, Mendel also told us to keep an eye out for a new four-cylinder turbo powertrain to make a debut in at least one of their models by the end of the year. Will we see it in Chicago? We’ll just have to wait and see!

Stay tuned for the new 2016 Honda Pilot and more when the Chicago Auto Show’s doors open on February 12.


Next-Generation Toyota Tacoma Coming to Detroit Auto Show

Posted by Stephen On Friday, December 5th, 2014

The auto industry is so predictable sometimes. The 2014 LA Auto Show is barely out the door and we’re already getting news for the next major event in NA – the 2015 Detroit Auto Show in January. But, hey, we’re not complaining! Today we learned that Toyota’s first major premiere at the NAIAS will be the next-gen Toyota Tacoma.

2014 Toyota Tacoma

The current generation of the Toyota Tacoma has been on the market since 2004. So, it will be a full 11 years-old, which is veritably ancient in the automotive world. However, the first-generation lasted for nine years, so it seems that the Japanese automaker knows exactly how often they want to update their small pickup truck.

There’s no doubt that the current Tacoma needs an update, though. Even though it still leads the segment with a 66% market share, its growth has substantially slowed over the past few years to a 4.7% loss in 2014, although segment-wide sales aren’t much better. What’s more, Toyota isn’t just introducing a new Taco’ model; they’re also ramping up production of the pickup at their Baja California, Mexico manufacturing plant.

Toyota’s Senior VP of US Sales, Bob Carter, offered an explanation for the manufacturing increase to AN. He said that Toyota dealers all over the country have been requesting more of their small pickups, which leads him to believe that there is more to the market than the current segment sales would imply. He also believes that the cornucopia of new competitors coming to the niche in the form of the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado, along with a new Honda Ridgeline planned for next year, only spell success for their investment and the segment overall.

Unfortunately, with all this talk of the small pickup market and the state of the current Tacoma, Toyota didn’t say very much about the next-generation model. All we know is that it will be a very, very big overhaul. And we know that production of the Tacoma is set to increase in April 2015, so that’s probably about when the new model will hit dealership floors.

2014 Lexus LF-C2 Concept LA auto show

Along with the Toyota Tacoma announcement, executives also revealed that Lexus will bring two new performance models to the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Our guess is that at least one of them will be a second iteration of the Lexus LF-C2 Concept we saw last month, but Carter was adamantly silent on any possible hints.


Next-Gen Honda Ridgeline Coming in “Less than Two Years”

Posted by Stephen On Friday, December 13th, 2013

What’s the first name that pops into your mind when you think high-performance medium and small pickup trucks? Honda, right?

Oh… It’s not? You say that the Honda Ridgeline is one of the worst-selling pickups on the market?

Well, you just wait, because within two years Honda intends to release the next generation of their Ridgeline pickup truck; it will change your mind about Japanese-made pickup trucks, just as Toyota is aiming to do with their mid-size Tacoma and as Nissan is aiming to do with their full-size Titan.

While the current Honda Ridgeline may be a fine pickup truck, its lackluster sales certainly haven’t done anything to warrant praise. Somehow, driving a truck built from a minivan just doesn’t feel manly. Nothing against the Honda Odyssey, of course. There were even some rumors floating that Honda would nix the Ridgeline from their lineup if poor sales continued, but those rumors ring hollow with the release of this latest sketch.

So, do you want to see a detailed depiction of the next-gen Honda Ridgeline?

Too bad, because all we have is an extremely vague silhouette…

Despite the extremely vague teaser image, we actually have a several juicy details to share about the second-generation Honda Ridgeline pickup truck.

First, it seems very likely that the new Honda Ridgeline will be rebuilt from the ground up. Honda doesn’t want any more minivan underpinnings tarnishing the rugged image the Ridgeline needs to put forth. Furthermore, a complete overhaul makes sense from a marketing standpoint; it can be used to separate the old underperforming Ridgeline from the new one in the eyes of wary drivers.

The new Ridgeline may end up keeping a similar closed-box unibody platform, but rebuilt to better suit the unique needs of a pickup.

Second, we know that the new Honda Ridgeline will be designed, engineered and manufactured exclusively in the US. Not too surprising, given that the current Ridgeline is manufactured exclusively in the US as well.

Last, but not least, we know that Honda does not view the current Ridgeline as a failure. If anything, the 30% increase in sales the truck has enjoyed throughout 2013 (though sales still total a measly 16,160 units) are nothing but a firm foundation on which to launch the next generation of their compact pickup. Production of the current Honda Ridgeline will stop somewhere in mid-2014. It seems likely that we’ll see the next-gen Ridgeline sometime late next year, with an official launch for the 2015 model year.

All in all, it’s clear that Honda has very high hopes for the next iteration of their Ridgeline pickup truck. Senior VP of automobile operations, Michael Accavitti, says, “with a clear path forward, [the new] Ridgeline will play an even more important role in our future product portfolio and strengthen an already class-leading lineup of light trucks.”

In other words, you ain’t seen nothing yet.