Honda CRZ 2012 Review

January 18th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

To date, hybrid vehicles have certainly been rather dull automobiles that have failed miserably to excite anyone with the need for speed. Just when you thought all was lost for anyone wanting to save the planet one kilometre at a time, Honda’s new CRZ hybrid has come to the rescue.  Billed as the long awaited replacement for the CRX, Honda has managed to capture that same youthful enthusiasm the CRX delivered those 26 years ago.

Everywhere you look the CRZ has taken styling cues from the CRX. From the bodylines to the classic split rear window, it’s instantly recognisable as its predecessor.

That CRX feel is carried on into the interior, with the instrument cluster featuring wings like the original 1986 model. A large central analogue rev counter dominates the display with a digital speedo inside. Everything can be controlled right at your fingertips on the steering wheel, including shift paddles if you elect for the CVVT auto transmission model. As with decent modern stereos there is both an aux and USB input for MP3 player or iPod. The USB cord is hidden in a small smart device sized compartment in the centre console, keeping the device out of sight and out of harm’s way.

Continue reading “Honda CRZ 2012 Review” »

Honda Accord Euro L 2012 Review

October 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It would be a difficult task tracking down a kiwi that has never driven or been a passenger in a Honda Accord. There are few models of car as entrenched in our land as the humble Accord, almost 900 are for sale right now on the Trade Me website. So after 35 years and eight generations how can Honda keep the Accord fresh and appealing? Splitting the model line into the Accord V6 and Accord Euro has gone some way to adapting to different tastes. But true success can only be found by continuing the Accord’s traditional strengths of style, affordability and all-rounder ability. Car and SUV spent some time with the facelifted 2012 Honda Accord Euro to see what’s new and what has stayed the same.

The Accord Euro has received fresh styling tweaks that include a new two-bar chrome grille, re-sculptured front bumper, foglight surrounds and reworked headlights. The taillights have also been replaced and there’s a splash of chrome detailing on the boot grab point. Our tested high-spec Euro L model was elegantly finished with twin chrome exhaust outlets, silver door handles and newly designed 17-inch 5-spoke wheels. All up, it’s a fairly tame facelift but the Accord Euro remains one of the more stylish entries in the mid-size sedan segment. Its clean lines and wide, athletic stance continue to have broad appeal. Continue reading “Honda Accord Euro L 2012 Review” »

Honda Jazz 1.3S Sport 2011 Review

October 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Although it still seems like a new model line for Honda, the popular Jazz has been around for 10 years already. To keep things fresh for Jazz fans, Honda has refreshed its sub-compact hatch with styling tweaks, new colours and extra equipment. When the second-generation Jazz reached NZ shores in early 2008 it had mums nationwide swooning and quite a few Grandmas too. The Jazz was affordable, practical and cute – healthy sales followed. But that was 2008, since then the Jazz has come up against some tough competition like updated version of the Ford Fiesta, VW Polo and the rampaging Suzuki Swift.  Will the 2011 facelift be able to maintain the Jazz’s place within the affections of NZ mums? Car and SUV belted into a 2011 Jazz 1.3S Sport to find out the answers.

While Honda’s facelifts are sometimes criticized for being too subtle the Jazz receives visual updates in a few key areas. At the front there’s a more modern bumper and a replacement grille that joins new headlights. It’s a similar situation at the rear where restyled taillights sit above a new bumper. The result of the changes is a hatch that not only looks sleeker but also is also more aerodynamic. Our 1.3S Sport model received some striking extra features like a sportier grille, rear hatch spoiler and a full body kit with deeper side skirting. 15-inch alloy wheels are standard and door handles and mirror caps are nicely colour-matched. Continue reading “Honda Jazz 1.3S Sport 2011 Review” »

Next Honda Civic Type R may be turbocharged

October 6th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Civic Type-R has a loyal fan following. mostly by admirers of it’s naturally aspirated VTEC engine. So it will be with mixed feelings that fans receive reports that the next-generation of the hottest Civic will use a turbocharged engine for the first time ever.

While only a rumour at this stage, the unconfirmed reports claim that the 2013 Civic Type-R currently in development will use a Mugen-produced, 156kW 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine. That’s only a small increase over the 148kW of power in the current model Type-R (pictured). The Honda fan boys who are left wondering why, can thank the strict European emissions regulations for the shift to forced induction. To salt the wounds the next Type-R will likely receive a stop-start system to reduce fuel consumption even further.

The good news is that the next-gen Type-R will come packing some neat tricks like a six-speed manual box with short-throw shifter, track-ready suspension set-up and all manner of aerodynamic aids. Expect 0-100 km/h times in the low six second bracket and a top speed of around 240 km/h. Continue reading “Next Honda Civic Type R may be turbocharged” »

Honda reveals more info on Jazz electric concept

September 23rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Honda traveled fairly light to the recent 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show and didn’t unveil any ground-breaking performance concept cars. But it did use the event to show off some of its greener prototypes including the EV concept.

The EV concept hasn’t been given a production name yet, but uses a platform very similar to the Honda Jazz and is designed to meet the needs of the daily commuter.

When the production version of Honda’s EV Concept is released sometime next year, it will be powered by a lithium-ion battery and coaxial electric motor. Interestingly, the motor is derived from the unit found in Honda’s FCX Clarity fuel cell car. The unit is efficient and powerful while remaining quiet at motorway speeds. It can go as fast as 145km/h according to Honda.

Estimated driving range for the EV Concept is 160 km, and this can be maximised with the use of a clever three-mode electric drive system adapted from the Honda CR-Z. Continue reading “Honda reveals more info on Jazz electric concept” »

Honda busy developing next-generation NSX?

September 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The original Honda NSX was a fan favourite and it was a dark day for many in 2005 when Honda announced that the sports car would be discontinued. But now, six years later, those same fans have a glimmer of hope that one day soon this nameplate will rise up from the dead.

The NSX saviour comes in the form of new Honda president Takanobu Ito who is busy attempting to revive some of Honda’s performance image. And if his recent comments prove true the automaker will get a new flagship sports car.

Ito knows the NSX well from earlier in his career when he helped develop its aluminum body. He claims that the next Honda sports car won’t try to achieve Ferrari levels of grunt, but instead aim for an excellent power-to-weight ratio and high efficiency.

The original Honda NSX, sold from 1990 to 2005, weighed around 1350kg and produced 216kW – a power-to-weight ratio that still holds up well today. The NSX mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout also made it an enjoyable steer and gave it supercar-caliber dynamics combined with unrivaled reliability. Continue reading “Honda busy developing next-generation NSX?” »

Euro-market Honda Civic Type R Mugen gets 2.2-litre motor

September 12th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It was just last year that Honda tuner Mugen gave U.K hot hatch fans a limited run of the Honda Civic Type R. It was an exclusive machine with only 20 units produced and just 16 were sold to customers. Sales were low due to its hefty price tag of around NZ$77,000. Only hardcore fans could pay this much for a Civic.

For 2012, Mugen is back with a whole new engine for the Type R Civic and with the new model not due till next year, the tuner is going big on this final edition. The new motor is bored from 2.0 litres to 2.2 litres, with horsepower boosted 30% to 195kW and torque raised to 240Nm. Mugen views this special Civic as a tribute to Honda’s naturally-aspirated K20 engine, which has been at the heart of the company’s tuning efforts for years.

“Environmental pressures mean naturally aspirated engines are rapidly being superseded by other engine architectures and technologies,” Mugen Euro president Hiro Toyota said. “We may never see the like of the K20 in a mainstream production car again, so felt it only fitting we mark the occasion with this special 2.2 version of the Honda Civic Type R.” Continue reading “Euro-market Honda Civic Type R Mugen gets 2.2-litre motor” »

Honda teases new 2012 Euro Civic

September 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Honda has dropped a teaser image of its upcoming euro-spec 2012 Civic model before its official reveal at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.

The next-generation Civic will be offered only as a 5-door hatch in Europe and the image reveals much of the Civic’s rear styling. The shot shows a dual-purpose integrated spoiler and third brake light that Honda says helps manage the vehicle’s aerodynamics at speed. It’s a clever design element but just the sort of thing that polarizes opinion on Honda’s current design language. Continue reading “Honda teases new 2012 Euro Civic” »