New-generation Honda Beat coming in 2013

June 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Theres been some rumours flying round that Honda was going to revive its diminutive Beat convertible and now according to reports the rumours could be true.

The Beat was originally produced for the Japanese domestic market in its kei class from 1991 to 1996. Only 33,600 Beats were produced in total with a few even making it here to NZ. The orignal Beat used a three-cylinder engine that produced just 47kW but with a kerb weight of 760kg, mid mounted engine and a rear-wheel drive format it was still a bit of fun.

Now it would appear that Honda are at working on a new Beat with the model expected to debut as early as 2013. It will be offered in a roadster form based on the CR-Z platform and feature styling based on Honda’s OSM concept car (pictured). Continue reading “New-generation Honda Beat coming in 2013” »

2011 Honda Civic Type R Euro heads to Japan

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.

Honda Jazz Sport 1.5 VTEC 2007 Review

September 26th, 2007 by Darren Cottingham

Honda Jazz Sport VTEC 2007 fq

It’s been 5 years since Honda launched the Jazz and it’s remained pretty much at the top of its class, especially in terms of load space and versatility, but with a new model around the corner we thought we should take a last look at the Jazz. We roadtested a Jazz Sport in Blaze Orange.

Blaze Orange is a colour that you don’t lose in a car park. It’s instantly recognisable amongst the whites, silvers, reds and blues of the car world, like Ford’s range of colours on its Falcon. The Jazz Sport is a pumped-up version of the 1.3-litre Jazz and comes with side skirts, sports exhaust tip, mesh lower grille, roof spoiler and front fog lamps and reversing sensors in the bumper. Fifteen-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 185/55 profile tyres set the car off, concealing ventilated disc brakes up front.

It’s the Jazz’s ability to swallow up luggage that belies its dimensions — only 3.85m long and 1.68m wide. The Jazz extends its corners as far as possible without looking like a box, and you’ll appreciate the height that gives a respectable 380 litres of luggage space even with the rear seats up. Fold them forward and the flat floor gives you 1321 litres.

A seven-speed gearbox is something you wouldn’t expect to find in a car in this class, and with all those ratios matched to CVT there’s barely any break in the acceleration. Use the button on the steering wheel to change it to sequential manual, and you can play with the gears using the paddles just behind the steering wheel. The 81kW from the 1.5-litre VTEC engine isn’t brisk (even when highly revved), but is usable enough around town. The Jazz also feels the most accomplished in its class when travelling at motorway speeds, its slightly firmer suspension giving more precise handling and better feel of the road. A Macpherson strut up front and trailing arm with torsion beam, both with anti-roll bars, coupled with a low kerb weight of 1065kg means hurling the Jazz into the corners is fun and reliably consistent.

You sit fairly upright and high up in the Jazz, though it is possible to adjust the seat to a more laid back position. Good visibility all around is like sitting in an MPV and it is complemented by tiny turning circle making manoeuvring simple. An attractive and well-planned cabin features large buttons and dials for the stereo and air conditioning. Stereo controls are duplicated on the leather steering wheel for the in-dash single-CD player. A convenient under-dash parcel shelf is welcome cabin storage.

The Jazz achieved 5.59l/100km in the EnergyWise Rally in 2006, and its quoted fuel consumption on the combined rate is 6.1l/100km. It has a LEV II low emission vehicle rating.

The usual trio of ABS, EBD (electronic brake distribution) and EBA (emergency brake assist) are present, along with driver and passenger front and side airbags, and seatbelt pretensioners.

The Jazz has won plenty of accolades and its easy to see why. It would be an easy car to live with, and one that even after five successful years on the market is still showing the way.

Price: from $24,600

What we like

  • All that space
  • Handling
  • Fuel economy

What we don’t like

  • Showing its age

Words and photos Darren Cottingham