Honda NZ increases new car prices

October 23rd, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Honda NZ is increasing the price of new vehicles, the weak NZ dollar and an increase in the commodity price of steel are important factors in the decision.

The New Zealand dollar has fallen some 28 percent against the Yen when compared to the average rate over the past year, forcing Honda to embark on a price stepping regime that will see prices rise considerably over time should the New Zealand dollar fail to improve significantly. In the first step, effective from 22 October 2008, prices will increase by approximately 5 percent for all existing models. However savvy consumers can still purchase some existing stock at pre-increase prices.

“We will continue to work hard to keep our prices as sharp as possible for our customers, but it is inevitable that car prices in New Zealand will move up for all brands because of the twin pressures from the exchange rate fall and rising commodity prices,” says Honda NZ Managing Director Graeme Seymour.

Honda’s Price Promise will continue to apply to all new Honda cars sold in New Zealand. The Honda Price Promise ensures all customers receive the same price regardless of who they are or where they purchase their car. The strategy removes car distributor initiated depreciation, leaving only the natural market forces to determine the vehicle’s depreciation through wear and tear and market demand. The result is a double ended benefit for customers, a lower priced new car and, due to the lower depreciation cost on a new Honda, a higher price come trade-in time.

Honda JDM Odyssey pure minivan excitement

October 20th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Honda JDM Odyssey fq

Minivans are traditionally unexciting and bland people movers, the design team at Honda don’t believe that for a second. They have already created the Honda JDM Odyssey, which is known as one of the best handling minivans in Japan, and now for 2009 they are going even further. A new sleeker exterior will sit over a reworked chassis sporting double wishbones at all four corners, optional all-wheel-drive and a 2.4-liter four-cylinder i-VTEC powerplant putting out 171 hp in standard form and 203 hp in the range-topping Absolute model.

The interior comes with all manner of high tech tidbits including a sci-fi inspired dash and a new multi-positioned camera system that allows drivers to get a bird’s eye view of the vehicle. The seating is smart and can be arranged in a multitude of layouts including folding flat into a bed. Good times for new Odyssey owners everywhere.

Honda Legend launched in NZ

October 10th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Honda Legend fq

The newly launched 2009 Honda Legend has recently been launched here in NZ, but what can we expect from the latest version of this well known luxury model.

With a larger 3.7 litre V6 engine the 2009 Honda Legend delivers more power and more torque than the previous model. The 2009 Legend has undergone a redesign with the inclusion of new lights, bonnet, grille, front wings, boot lid, bumpers and the adoption of standard 18″ alloy wheels. Under the restyled bonnet the much bigger 3.7 litre engine provides 226kW of power at 6,300pm, up from 217kW at 6,200rpm, and 370Nm of torque at 5000rpm, up from 351Nm.

The Legend comes standard with satellite navigation and built in reversing camera, front seats feature 10-way power adjustability and the steering wheel has been redesigned for greater comfort. The 10-speaker Bose Sound System has been improved with the addition of a USB socket to enable the easy connection and control of an iPod or other MP3 device.

Driving performance is enhanced by the inclusion of Honda’s Super Handling-All Wheel Drive system (SH-AWD) that distributes torque between the front and rear wheels, up to 70 percent either way. When powered through a corner the Legend can send 100 percent of the rear torque to the outside rear wheel, to increase the turning precision and help steer the vehicle through the corner.

The Legend’s 5-speed automatic transmission now has wheel mounted paddle shifters to offer the driver more control. Live gear selection is available all the time in D-mode, reverting back to automatic selection after a short period of relaxed driving, while S-mode offers full manual operation.

The combined effects of the improved transmission and increase in torque mean that the new Honda Legend can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.1 seconds, 0.2 seconds quicker than previously. Fuel economy and CO2 emissions have also improved over the previous model, despite the increased acceleration performance.

The ergonomic placement of trip computer, audio and cruise controls on the steering wheel is designed to  minimise distraction. The main controls for the audio and air conditioning are available on the centre console and are enhanced through the centre control panel’s two-way selector. Functions available include trip computer, GPS positioning with compass, calendar with memo function, calculator and conversions. Trip details are also available on the dash display.

The Legend comes with dual stage, dual threshold front airbags, side airbags with occupant position detection system, side curtain airbags and front seat active head rests. Front seat pre-tensioners are present to take up the slack whilst driving and also pyrotechnic pre-tensioners in an accident. ABS, Electronic Brake Distribution and Emergency Brake Assist are also standard as is VSA to assist in avoiding any accident.

The 2009 Honda Legend is priced at $93,000 (plus on road costs) The Legend is available in Alberta White, Obsidian, Gunmetal, Tuscan Gold, Silver Jade, Royal Ruby Red, Super Platinum Silver and Opulent Blue.

Honda develops an even safer airbag

September 23rd, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Honda has developed an even safer airbag – the world’s first driver-side i-SRS airbag system – that continuously stages the volume of airbag-inflating gas, thereby combining enhanced occupant protection with reduced occupant impact. Honda plans to implement the new continuously staged inflation i-SRS airbag system on the driver’s side of the Life minicar to be released in Japan in November 2008.

A Honda innovation, the new i-SRS airbag system features a spiral-shaped seam structure and gas release control valve to control airbag deployment and pressure for faster deployment, reduced occupant impact and a longer period of inflation and occupant protection. As a result, the new system accommodates a broad range of occupant positions and potential collision situations.

Honda first began fundamental airbag research in 1971, and in 1987 became the first to introduce a driver-side SRS airbag system in an automobile manufactured in Japan. In 1990, Honda was the first automaker to introduce a passenger-side SRS airbag system in a vehicle manufactured in Japan. In 1998, Honda introduced the world’s first inflator with a two-stage deployment system, as well as an i-side airbag system with an occupant position detection sensor. Continuing its tradition of innovation, Honda continues to be a world leader in researching, developing and introducing new automobile safety technologies.

Prius fighter: Honda shows its new Insight

September 5th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham


Honda will reveal a concept version of its new small hybrid vehicle, to be named Insight, at the 2008 Paris International Auto Show, October 2. The new Insight Concept shares styling cues with the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle and will provide an early look at the highly-anticipated five-passenger hybrid vehicle.

We don’t have a release date for New Zealand, but it will be on sale in the U.S. next spring most probably significantly below the price of current hybrids like the Toyota Prius.

The Insight Concept defines a new stage in the evolution of hybrid technology by utilising a more cost-efficient version of Honda’s Integrated Motor Assistâ„¢ (IMAâ„¢) hybrid technology. Evoking the innovative styling cues first seen in the FCX Clarity, the Insight Concept is designed with a low centre of gravity and a generous five-passenger cabin. Aerodynamic design assists its fuel efficiency, and by all accounts it should be reasonably roomy and practical with five doors, a hatchback and a folding rear seat.

Numerous technologies, including a function to assist customers in achieving more fuel efficient driving habits, will be applied to achieve a further improvement in real world fuel efficiency. Along with the Civic Hybrid, the new vehicle will be produced at an expanded hybrid vehicle production line at the Suzuka factory in Japan.

The Insight is expected to have annual global sales of 200,000 units per year – approximately 100,000 in North America. Following the launch of the new Insight, Honda also plans to introduce another unique sporty hybrid vehicle based on the CR-Z, first shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. All together, Honda’s global sales of hybrids should increase to approximately 500,000 units a year, or more than 10 percent of its total worldwide annual automobile sales.

The original Honda Insight was introduced in December 1999 as America’s first gas-electric hybrid car. The first vehicle to break the 70-mpg (3.36l/100km) fuel economy barrier, Insight was designed from the ground up to demonstrate the ultimate potential for fuel-economy in a two-seater subcompact automobile.

A leader in the development of cleaner, more fuel-efficient mobility products, Honda introduced the first low-emission gasoline vehicles; America’s first gas-electric hybrid car and the world’s first EPA-certified hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, the FCX. In 2007, Honda was named “greenest automaker” by the Union of Concerned Scientists for the fourth straight time.

Revised Honda Civic for 2009

August 22nd, 2008 by Darren Cottingham


Honda has unveiled a slightly facelifted Civic for 2009 with enhancements inside and out including new exterior styling, colours and features like Bluetooth, HandsFreeLink® and a USB Audio Interface 1. An exclusively-equipped Civic LX-S Sedan debuts with alloy wheels and sportier interior styling. A new Civic DX Value Package (DX-VP) Sedan builds on the Civic DX Sedan’s standard features by adding air conditioning and an audio system.

All 2009 Civic sedan and coupe models boast redesigned exterior styling features, including a new front bumper cover and grille design and new headlight and taillight color combinations, featuring clear turn indicator lenses with amber bulbs. New alloy wheel designs are introduced on the Civic EX, Civic EX-L and Civic Si models, along with the addition of fog lamps for the Civic Si model.

Interior enhancements come by way of technology-friendly additions. Bluetooth, HandsFreeLink is added to Navigation-equipped models and a USB Audio Interface added to Civic EX, EX-L, Hybrid and Si models. The Civic Hybrid gains the option of leather-trimmed seating surfaces with heated front seats and side mirrors. Additionally, new cloth materials and patterns on seats, door linings and armrests (when equipped) have been updated to further enhance the interior’s look and feel.

Jamie Lee Curtis has a moment of Honda Clarity

August 21st, 2008 by Darren Cottingham


The first Honda FCX Clarity customers have taken delivery of their zero emission cars in California. Up to 200 customers will begin leasing the fuel cell vehicles in the United States and Japan over the next three years.

Film director Ron Yerxa was the first customer to get the keys to an FCX Clarity, followed by actress Jamie Lee Curtis and her husband, Christopher Guest.

“I really wasn’t expecting it to be so luxurious,” said Curtis. “I love the interior layout, design and access to controls. It is user friendly and very modern.”

The FCX Clarity is Honda’s next generation, hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle. Driven by an electric motor that runs on electricity generated by a fuel cell, the car’s only emissions are heat and water. Its fuel efficiency is three times that of a modern petrol engine.

New Honda Jazz release scheduled for late 2008

July 30th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham


Honda will follow-up one of the most successful models in supermini history when its all-new Jazz goes on sale this Spring.

By enhancing its strongest qualities, Honda engineers have taken the innovative design and versatility of the current Jazz to the next stage. Greater flexibility, more interior space and lively, but economical engines raise the bar even further in a class that’s struggled to match the Jazz for customer satisfaction and reliability.

And the famous Honda Magic Seats are back — but now they dive down in one action, making carrying large loads even easier. Their versatility is equalled by a new Double-Trunk boot feature in the luggage bay that can be configured in four ways to accommodate different-sized loads. Total luggage space in 1.4 models (with Double Trunk) now measures 399 litres (VDA) — greater than some MPVs and bettering all in the B-sector.

Two new, low emission petrol engines are designed to appeal to customers who might be downsizing, as well as those looking to achieve fuel economy comparable to diesel models. Adopting Honda’s i-VTEC variable valve timing technology, the 90PS 1.2-litre and 100PS 1.4-litre engines deliver lively performance with exceptional economy.

The 1.2-litre engine achieves an exceptional 5.1L/100km (combined), while CO2 emissions are also improved, at 120g/km. It’s a similar story with the new 1.4-litre engine. Compared to the previous i-DSI unit which produced 83 PS and 119Nm, power is up to 100PS and torque is 127Nm with fuel economy from 5.2L/100km (combined) for the manual model. CO2 exhaust emissions are as low as 123g/km.

There’s also the option of Honda’s next-generation 6-speed i-SHIFT automated manual transmission on the 1.4-litre engine — a first in this class. The unit is a development of the system first fitted to the Civic, with improvements made including; reduced gear change times, smoother shifts and more intelligent automatic mode shift logic.

The new SIL (Shift Indicator Light) fitted to manual models, similar to that found on the new Accord, provides a visual prompt of the best gear shift points to maximise economy.

Ride comfort has been much improved through a number of suspension revisions, which contribute to the ‘big car feel’ of the new Jazz. Meanwhile, a longer wheelbase (by 50mm) and wider front track (by 35mm) give the car greater agility. Honda’s stability assist, VSA, is now available across the range.

Stopping ability has been increased with larger brake front callipers, and the brake pedal has been tweaked to improve feel. Front ventilated discs and rear discs are matched with ABS, EBD and Brake Assist.

The overall height of Jazz remains the same (1,525mm) but the length of the car has increased slightly by 55mm (to 3,900mm) and it is also slightly wider, by 20mm (to 1,695mm).

Getting in and out is now much easier, thanks to wider-opening rear doors which open in three steps — just like their front counterparts — for added convenience in tight parking spots.

Once inside, the cabin is now even more spacious for driver and passengers, with greater headroom and an improved driving position.

The slightly increased exterior length and width have helped improve passenger space, as has the ‘pushing forward’ of the windscreen. Rear seat passengers now have 37mm greater kneeroom, while the distance between front and rear passengers is up by 30mm. The slightly wider body also means shoulder room increases by 44mm in the front and 43mm in the rear.

Visibility gets a considerable boost, too. Reduced width A-pillars, a larger windscreen and quarter windows three times the size of those in the previous model make for more relaxed driving, while retractable rear headrests ensure the view out of the rear window is now totally unobscured.

Increasing the feeling of spaciousness and freedom, EX models are equipped with a panorama roof that extends over the rear seats for an expansive sky view. Heat absorbing glass and a power sun shade ensure a comfortable cabin environment.

Elsewhere, high quality materials, stylish design and tasteful colours give the cabin an upmarket feel. More comfortable front seats have been fitted, along with a height adjustable driver’s seat and a steering wheel that’s adjustable for reach and rake on 1.4 models.

A single CD/radio is integrated into the fascia, offering MP3/WMA playback and speed-dependent volume adjustment. In 1.4 EX models, a USB adapter is located in the centre console storage box, which enables fifth generation iPods and a variety of other portable music devices to be played via the Jazz’s audio system.

The new Jazz benefits from Honda’s ACE body structure, a concept that is being progressively rolled out across the Honda range. In particular a front polygonal main frame helps to prevent misalignment between vehicles of different sizes and construction and multiple energy absorbing pathways disperse impact energy to prevent cabin deformation.

Dual front and side airbags are standard on all models, as are full length side curtain airbags and three-point seatbelts in all five seating positions (those in the front have dual-stage pretensioners). The front passenger airbag can also be deactivated to allow a rear facing child seat to be fitted to the front seat and for the first time Jazz is equipped with seatbelt reminders for both the front and rear seats. Front seats are also fitted with active headrests to minimise the potential for whiplash injuries.