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?” »
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“Environmental pressures mean naturally aspirated engines are rapidly being superseded by other engine architectures and technologies,” Mugen Euro president Hiro Toyota said.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” »
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” »
August 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Honda has released details on its planned updates for the 2012 model Jazz hatchback. While the changes are subtle the Jazz sport receives styling tweaks and all models have interior changes and new standard features.
The 2012 Jazz Sport, will be updated cosmetically with a revised front grille and bumper, black headlight bezels and a darker, machined silver finish for the alloy rims.
In the cabin, a dark metallic dashboard trim replaces the previous gray and black themes, there’s now chrome accents around the instrumentation, plus standard steering wheel-mounted audio controls and new seat fabrics.
The entry-model Jazz gains colour-coded exterior mirror caps and freshly-styled wheel covers. All models in the range get new console-mounted center beverage holders along with new interior lighting, and added sound insulation. Continue reading “Honda updates Jazz for 2012 with styling tweaks” »
July 26th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
After leaked photos of Honda’s 2012 CR-V concept car reached the online world, Honda has now released official details and an image of its next-generation CR-V.
The new crossover will debut at a California show this September and be on sale in North America by the end of the year and in global markets by mid 2012.
The 2012 CR-V Concept is a pre-production model with flashy details like gloss black mouldings, but gives a clear idea of the upcoming production car.
“The 2012 CR-V Concept introduces the exterior styling for the more sophisticated and dynamic design of the upcoming production model,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda.
Rear styling is hard to judge, but Honda has said the current CR-V model’s vertical rear taillights will be retained but with a more three-dimensional style. Inside, the CR-V will feature an all-new interior with a more spacious design and lower cargo floor. Continue reading “Honda reveals 2012 CR-V preview concept car” »
July 25th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
It was a few weeks back that we brought you news of Honda unveiling its latest concept car – the CR-Z Mugen at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
This hybrid-powered spiritual successor to the iconic CR-X sports coupe was built to make up for the shortcomings of the standard model with an injection of extra power and style from Mugen. This special CR-Z has retained the regular model’s mechanical hardware including the IMA electric motor and the 1.5-litre gasoline engine. But its internals have been upgraded and a supercharger introduced, there result is a power increase of more than 50% over the regular CR-Z.
Dynamic ability has also been improved by a widened track and a limited slip diff, there’s also 5-step adjustable dampers and larger stoppers. Continue reading “Fifth Gear gets first thrash in Mugen CR-Z (+video)” »
July 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
The Honda Civic has at some time been a part of most our lives, whether we owned one or rode shotgun with friends or family. We all have some sort of Civic story. Honda is preparing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its most famous model, next year, but before then it has released a video titled “Heritage” that looks back at this automotive icon.
The video features a soundtrack from British house music trio Dirty Vegas and provides a glimpse at the history of this model. Since it debuted in 1973 more than 19 million Civics have been sold, it’s no wonder everyone has a Honda Civic story.
Check out the video below. Continue reading “Honda Civic celebrates 39 years and 19 million vehicles (+video)” »
June 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Since the late 1970s the Honda Accord has been a bit of an institution on New Zealand roads. We have seen various numbers and variations of all eight generations of the Accord with the fifth instalment even being assembled locally in Nelson. But things have changed for the Accord over the years; it got larger, more powerful and is no longer the cost-conscious option it once was. Honda also doubled down with the Accord and split the model line into the more American market focused Accord V6 and the smaller, sharply packaged Accord Euro. So where does that leave NZ’s long serving Honda? Well it’s in good shape, sure it’s become a higher-priced mid/large luxury cruiser but it’s got loads of kit, an intelligent powertrain and for 2011 – an enhancing facelift. Car and SUV got reacquainted with the 2011 Accord V6 VL Sport to see exactly how far this mainstay has come.
Visually, the Accord’s athletic design has received a modest refresh. Changes include a new thickly chromed grille, restyled front bumper and modernised headlights. At the rear the two-piece taillights are also new and there’s some fresh detailing around the boot. Design and packaging are strengths of the Accord V6, and in tested Sport form it is one handsome devil. The Sport upgrade includes deeper front, rear and side skirting which really brings out the Accord’s aggressive, sleek lines and renders it long and low. The chrome work around the window line and through the grille is just enough bling to draw the eye, but not enough to spoil the low-key aesthetic. Finishing the look is chrome-tipped twin exhaust outlets and new 10-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels shod in 225/50 rubber. Continue reading “Honda Accord V6 2011 Review” »