Honda: 2015 CR-Z Sport review

December 22nd, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

The Honda CR-Z is a hybrid sports hatchback that harks back to the original CR-X which was built from 1983-91. The flat back and split rear windscreen are the signature elements, and it retains its two-door design with rear seats simply there for show as opposed to being able to fit anyone in them. Continue reading “Honda: 2015 CR-Z Sport review” »

Honda: 2014 Civic LN review

December 2nd, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

Back in the day I was a composer for TV and games and things, and one of the first things you learn is that it’s not about you. Your music is not there to distract from the visuals, it’s there to support it. Sure, certain themes stand alone, but in the whole mix of elements of a TV show, computer game or film, your music supports the scene. If the audience notices your music, you might just have overdone it. In a metaphorical sense that’s what the Honda Civic LN does for your journey. Continue reading “Honda: 2014 Civic LN review” »

Honda: 2014 Jazz S review

October 15th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

The Jazz has always been Tardis-like. You take a look from the outside and think there’s no way you’d easily fit a couple of six-footers in the rear passenger seats, but it can be done quite comfortable. Even the boot capacity is good at 363 litres (better than the Ford EcoSport compact SUV we had last week, and miles more than the perennial small car favourite, the Suzuki Swift). Continue reading “Honda: 2014 Jazz S review” »

Honda: 2014 Jazz RS Sport review

October 8th, 2014 by Ian Ferguson

You know the advertising campaign for a new Honda model works when you wake up in the dead of night having just dreamed about that particular car.

In the case of the new Honda Jazz range it seems to be advertised in every newspaper, magazine and billboard, plus every man and his dog also seems to be reviewing it including us. With the appearance of a stylish shoebox many light car punters would discount the all-new Jazz before taking one out for a test drive, which is a a big mistake from where we sit. Continue reading “Honda: 2014 Jazz RS Sport review” »

Honda Accord V6NT 2013 Review

November 9th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

The Accord V6 takes the NT and makes it better by putting a 206kW, six-cylinder motor under the bonnet. Now it’s got some overtaking credentials and doesn’t have the thin, strained engine sound that the NT has when you push it. In fact, it’s a pleasant, muffled V6 roar that’s accompanied by smooth, but not raging, acceleration.

honda-accord-v6-2013-rear-quarterThe 3.5-litre i-VTEC engine is hardly strained, and the 339Nm of torque is delivered in a progressive manner through a six-speed automatic transmission. The engine has VCM (Variable Cylinder Management) which shuts down cylinders that aren’t needed when you only require low power, thus reducing fuel consumption. Consequently the combined urban/extra urban fuel consumption is quoted at 9.2l/100km and that’s not far off what we achieved.

honda-accord-v6-2013-front-interiorWhile the NT gets a 5-speed ‘box, the V6’s six-speed is extremely smooth and well-matched to the engine. It learns your driving style so if you are aggressive with the throttle it will give you the lower gears earlier than if you’re just cruising.

Other than the engine and gearbox there’s very little that’s different in the V6, except that the passenger seat is now 8-way electronically adjustable as opposed to 4-way, you get a couple of chrome finishers on the exhaust at the back of the car as opposed to just one, and it’s a little heavier at 1667kg vs. 1572kg.

So let’s recap on the main points (and cover off some different information, so it’s a good idea to also read this review of the four-cylinder NT which will open in a new tab).

The three main safety features are:

  • Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) which monitors what’s ahead and will brake for you if it thinks you’re about to have an accident
  • Adaptive Cruise Control, which uses the same system as the CMBS to detect if you are approaching a slower vehicle ahead of you when using cruise control. If so, it will slow the car down to match their speed, keeping a safe distance, then can resume at the predefined speed once it’s out of the way. This is particularly useful in the rush hour crawl.
  • Lane Keep Assist System which uses a camera (LaneWatch Camera) to monitor the lanes and will provide gentle steering input back into the centre of the lane if it detects you are wandering out of the lane. This really is the first step towards having a driverless car because the system is good enough to keep you in a motorway lane for quite long distances with no steering input whatsoever, as long as the turns aren’t too sharp or the lines aren’t clear.

There are a number of other features that help with safety, too:

  • Active cornering lights – when you turn, additional bulbs illuminate in the direction you are turning. This makes it much easier to turn into darker driveways or parking spots.
  • Driver and passenger front i-SRS airbags, side airbags in the front seats with OPDS (Occupant Position Detection System) on the passenger seat, and full length side-curtain airbags
  • The full complement of Honda’s Vehicle Stability Assist (Electronic Stability Control plus Traction Control), ABS, Emergency Stop Signal (hazard light activation), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Emergency Brake Assist
  • Trailer Stability Assist
  • Tyre Deflation Warning System
  • Wing mirror-mount camera for blind spot monitoring. This is not as much use as you might think, and is bound to cost a lot if you break it.

honda-accord-v6-2013-sideAt the risk of this turning into some kind of features list, which you can get on Honda’s website, I’d better tell you how it drives. It’s smooth. And quiet. At any speed there’s really quite minimal road noise from the 235-width tyres, and even though they’re wrapped around 18-inch wheels there seems to be a good balance between it looking sharp, but not being bumpy.

honda-accord-v6-2013-screens

In the cabin the entertainment and vehicle parameters are centred around two screens, one of which is a touchscreen, and various functions can be controlled from it, such as the audio on your phone (if connected via USB or Bluetooth). The larger screen is used to display the reversing camera image which has three viewing modes, and the satellite navigation which, now I’ve got used to using Google Maps on my iPhone, seems very clunky (like most cars’ in-built sat nav systems). There’s a kind of joystick/jog wheel to control functions on this.

honda-accord-v6-2013-rear-seatsDriver and passenger comfort is excellent. There is plenty of legroom in the back, and in the front, both seats are heated and have 8-way adjustment. Instruments are easy to read and well laid out, and there are numerous cubbyholes for storage.

The design of the Honda is very ‘executive’, and the white pearl paint of our test car attracted some positive comments from passengers. From the side the look is very sleek with two strong forward-sloping lines forming a visual channel along the door.

Is there anything wrong with the Accord? Only really the ridiculous wing mirror camera. It’s not as useful as conventional blind spot monitoring system which would show an orange light in the wing mirror if a vehicle is in your blind spot. As soon as you indicate left the image takes over the large screen and it’s all just a bit distracting.

Other than that, though, it’s very difficult to fault. You get a three-year unlimited kilometre warranty so that’s going to suit those that like to rack up the travel. The design is inoffensive and well-proportioned, and the performance is pleasing.

Price: $60,000

Pros

  • Executive looks
  • Comfortable
  • Lots of room
  • Plenty of performance

Cons

  • Wing mirror camera will be expensive to replace, and doesn’t work as well as standard blind spot monitoring

Main specifications and features

  • Engine Type: 3.5 litre, 24 valve, SOHC, i-VTEC
  • Maximum Power (kW @ rpm): 206kW @ 6,200rpm
  • Maximum Torque (Nm @ rpm): 339Nm @ 4,900rpm
  • VCM (Variable Cylinder Management) for optimising power and efficiency
  • ACM (Active Control Engine Mounts) for smooth operation under VCM
  • Compression Ratio: 10.5
  • Bore x Stroke (mm): 89 x 93
  • 6-speed automatic transmission
  • Honda Genuine Navigation System with USB audio integration
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
  • Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS)
  • Collision Mitigation Brake System (CMBS)
  • G-CON (G-Force Control) Collision Compatibility body design
  • Seatbelts: 3-point ELR seatbelts (front and rear). E-pretensioners and height adjustable anchor points for front seatbelts
  • Smart Entry with push-button start
  • Combined – Australian Design Rules (ADR) L/100kms : 9.2
  • Urban – Australian Design Rules (ADR) L/100kms : 13.9
  • Extra Urban – Australian Design Rules (ADR) L/100kms : 6.4
  • Combined – Australian Design Rules (ADR) CO2 (g/km): 217
  • Weight (kg): 1667
  • Max Weight (kg): 2130
  • Boot capacity seats up (litres, VDA method): 457
  • Wheels: 18″ x 8″ Pewter Grey alloy wheels with 235/45 R18 98W tyres.
  • Twin exhaust pipes with chrome finish
  • Active cornering lights (ACL)
  • 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat with Memory and lumbar support
  • 8-way power adjustable front passenger seat
  • Heated front seats with two heat settings
  • Cargo luggage floor hooks: 4
  • Leather upholstery
  • Independent driver and passenger climate control air conditioning with i-Dual zone
  • Electric glass sunroof with tilt/slide function and integrated sliding shade, with onetouch open/close function and anti-trap
  • Auto dimming rear view mirror

 

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham

Honda Accord NT 2013 Review

August 27th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Some things get simpler in life while some things get more complex. In the case of the Honda Accord NT, it has got both simpler and more complex in this latest iteration.

honda-accord-nt-2013-rqIt’s more complex because there are just so many more features than the previous model, and you will need to sit down with the instruction manual to find them all. I could write a couple of thousand words just describing all the bells, whistles and jangly bits it has. It’s simpler to drive, though, because it has some features that mean you don’t need to think. Or even look where you are going.

honda-accord-nt-2013-steering-wheelI am not lying when I say that I drove the Accord NT from the top of the Bombays all the way to Mt Wellington off-ramp only touching the steering wheel four times. No, I don’t have telekinetic powers (although that would be useful), and I definitely didn’t trust the car enough to put my hands behind my head and kick back. However, if you are driving on a relatively straight motorway the Honda will steer itself, keeping the car between the white lines (albeit in a slightly meandering way) using Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS).

It deals with gentle curves with ease, and I only had to take control when it either lost the lane marking (it was missing on the right for a short stretch once), or the corner was too sharp for it to cope (three times). Each time this happens, you get an orange warning light on the dash telling you to steer. Convenient…unless you’ve fallen asleep. Continue reading “Honda Accord NT 2013 Review” »

Honda Jazz Hybrid 2013 Review

August 17th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

As a piano player I’ve often used the excuse of ‘play a mistake, play it again, call it jazz.’ In fact, Miles Davis said “If you’re not making a mistake, it’s a mistake.” So, will Jazz Hybrid ownership provide you a lilting and harmonious melody, or a seething pit of arrhythmic dissonance?

honda-jazz-hybrid-2013-instruments

You can only get the Jazz Hybrid with a 72kW 1.3-litre IMA i-VTEC engine. It’s full of ‘economy-enhancing technology’ like VCM (variable cylinder management) for optimising power and efficiency, and drive-by-wire electronic throttle control, according to Honda. And, of course, it’s connected to the hybrid-y electric bits.

honda-jazz-hybrid-2013-rq

The engine is accompanied by a CVT gearbox, as is becoming popular. This is quite noisy under full acceleration. The Jazz is destined to be a town car driven shorter distances, so a CVT is the sensible choice with its superior fuel economy on the urban runs. You can expect your fuel economy to sit in the 5-6l/100km range. I achieved 5.3l/100km driving from Ponsonby to Arkles Bay and back into Whangaparaoa (about 40km of urban and motorway driving), without trying to drive economically, and without having the eco switch turned on. That’s not bad, but Honda claims 4.5l/100km, so obviously I’m a leadfoot.

You can’t instruct it to drive under just battery power. Instead, the Jazz turns off the engine as you’re coasting to a stop, and thus saves petrol when you’d ordinarily be burning it at the lights, plus it will provide some power during cruising by managing the petrol engine. Continue reading “Honda Jazz Hybrid 2013 Review” »

Honda Euro Civic L Auto 2012 Review

November 13th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Take one Civic, replace 70% of it and inject some slightly more confronting design language and you have the Euro Civic. It’s a Civic-sized car with Civic sensibilities, but designed (and positioned) so that Italian playboys will buy one for their mistress.

Honda has struggled recently with its brand image, and the problems with supply that resulted from the Japanese tsunami didn’t help. This car is going to inject a bit more design excitement into the range – something that’s been carried recently only Continue reading “Honda Euro Civic L Auto 2012 Review” »

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