December 1st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Honda has just dropped the sheets off its latest city-car prototype at this year’s Thailand International Motor Show. Named the Brio, the vehicle is targeted at the emerging markets in India and Thailand.
Honda has changed focus and now says it will develop unique models for various markets, noting that the Thai version will be more efficient than its Indian stablemate. The flip side is that the Indian market Brio will come with a greater focus on driving performance to suit customer demands. Honda didn’t announce what engine will power the Brio, but early speculation would suggest the Japanese automakers 1.2-liter four-cylinder mill.
The Brio should go a long way to helping Honda tap into the growing consumer interest in economical small cars in parts of Asia but competition is fierce. Honda will need to battle cheap metal from Suzuki, Hyundai and Kia among others.
Check out more images in the gallery below. Continue reading “Honda uncovers Brio city car prototype” »
November 16th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
If recent reports coming out of Japan are to be believed Honda will finish selling its Civic sedan in its home market as soon as existing inventories run out. Japanese customers have firmly shifted their focus towards MPVs and more compact vehicles, meaning the popularity of the Civic has sharply decreased with only 452 sales in the JDM last month.
Other markets tell a different story, however, and Honda is still committed to offering the Civic sedan in the United States and Europe, where sales numbers are much more encouraging. New versions of both the U.S.- and Euro-spec Civics are set to be released late next year. For now, Honda will continue to build Civic sedans at its Suzuka plant for export purposes. The future of the Civic sedan here in NZ is at this stage, unclear. Continue reading “Honda to cease selling Civic sedan in Japan” »
November 10th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Honda is preparing to officially unveil the production version of its new sub-compact concept at this year’s Thailand International Motor Expo. It was firstly spotted in concept guise at the New Delhi show earlier this year, now it’s ready to be unleashed in both the Indian and Thai markets with a $10,000 USD price tag and cute styling.
When Honda shows off a concept it is often little more than a production version of the car with some elaborate bodywork. So it seems likely that the production hatch will be nearly identical to the pictured show version.
More details on the concept will be released after the New Small Vehicle gets its full unveil. For now, little is known in terms of drivetrains or if any other global markets will see this budget beast.
November 5th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Despite some initial disapproval of Honda’s hybrid CR-Z as a spiritual successor to the old favourite CR-X many tuning companies are now getting into it. The SEMA show in Las Vegas has played host to a range of modified CR-Zs like the Mugen version (read news) but the most striking could be the two concept models created by Honda’s North American racing company, Honda Performance Development (HPD).
The CR-Z Hybrid R and CR-Z Racer studies were developed to demonstrate the potential for both street and racing applications for the CR-Z.
The two cars share most of the same performance enhancements including a turbocharger and upgraded IMA hybrid system, which result in an estimated combined output of 150kW and 237Nm of torque. Both models also get a performance clutch, limited-slip differential, retuned suspension, upgraded brakes and some aerodynamic pieces.
After those mods, the Hybrid R street-spec model was given some sport touches to the interior such as a red steering wheel rim and Recaro bucket seats.
The Racer was given the lightweight treatment and stripped of every part that was not required. It was also fitted with a range of racing accessories including a Sparco bucket seat and roll cage. Honda now plans to campaign the two HPD CR-Z Racers at an upcoming endurance race in the States to best show off the car’s racing capability.
November 4th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
The SEMA show in Las Vegas is where many car makers and vehicle tuners show off their latest creations and Honda has shown its not just there to play the pokies. The Japanese manufacturer has released a range of tuned versions of its CR-Z model in an attempt to gather interest for the hybrid model after its initial luke-warm reception with Honda fans.
One of the special CR-Z models on display is the fully accessorized Mugen version that will enter limited production next year. The package includes a full Mugen body kit, a front grille, rear wing spoiler, 17-inch “XJ” aluminum wheels, sport mats, a unique black aluminum shift knob and a billet aluminum oil-filler cap. The body kits look the part and will be available in all five CR-Z colours, so if the hybrid Honda makes it to NZ at least it can look hard even if it can’t go hard.
Check out more images of the Mugen CR-Z below.
November 4th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
The Honda booth at this year’s SEMA show in Las Vegas certainly has been a busy one. There’s been a total of twelve modified CR-Z sport hybrid coupes and also the HFP (Honda Factory Performance) prepared Accord Crosstour concept car.
This crossover version of the popular Accord is a demonstration concept only and comes fitted with a body kit and blacked out front grille, it sits on lowered HFP sport suspension and unique alloy wheels. Other special features include color-matched door handles and blacked out door sash trim.
Honda has released few details on the Accord Crosstour concept and may be simply gauging interest before it considers any form of production.
November 3rd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
In an interesting twist of fate Honda has introduced a new model year version of its hard-revving British-built Civic Type R Euro in Japan. The 2011MY vehicles will be the last of this model series to be exported to Japan as production of the current generation three-door Civic Type R was recently terminated in Europe because its 2.0-litre VTEC engine can’t meet the Euro V emissions regulations. So while European Honda fans now miss out, Japanese Honda enthusiasts benefit.
This isn’t the first time Honda has imported the Civic Type R Euro from Britain with over 1,850 examples coming across in late 2009. This time round, Honda will bring only 1,500 units of the 2011 Type R hot hatch to Japan. There are few changes over the previous model year but there is the addition of a new Crystal Black Pearl color, some trim updates such as the different finish of the fuel cap and some very minor cosmetic changes.
Technical specifications remain unchanged with the Type R keeps it’s high-revving, naturally aspirated inline four-cylinder 2.0 litre engine that pumps out 150kW at 7800 rpm and 193 Nm of torque available from 5600 rpm. Power is sent to the front wheels through the same 6-speed manual gearbox. Acceleration to 100 kph is done in 6.6 s and top speed is 235 km/h. The vehicles will be priced at 3,000,000 Yen or around $48k in NZ money.
Hopefully in the future some of these 2011 Type R Euro models will come to NZ in the form of used imports, allowing us the chance to gobble them up at bargain prices.
September 27th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Some heavy rumours hit the motoring world recently hinting that Honda may be intending on building a new droptop sports car to revive its sporty image for dedicated fans. Sources have suggested the new model is likely to be a convertible version of the CR-Z. To achieve this the platform would retain its front wheel drive layout, however a drivetrain with a bit more power would be needed to coincide with the extra weight needed to reinforce the convertible vehicle.
If this new convertible were to leave the workshop it would be up against established roadsters like the Mazda MX-5. Theoretically if this convertible were to be successful, Honda’s next step would be to build a more powerful rear wheel drive hybrid sports car. Now that’s something worth gossiping about.