Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Honda Accord Hybrid and Civic Natural Gas Named to's 10 Best Green Cars of 2014 List

Industry experts at named the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid ( and the 2014 Honda Civic Natural Gas ( to their annual list of the 10 Best Green Cars. The editors at Kelley Blue Book were impressed by the Accord Hybrid's superb driving experience and class-leading fuel economy ratings and by the Civic Natural Gas' use of a domestically sourced, clean-burning fuel.
"For customers looking to purchase vehicles that have low CO2 emissions, Honda has two great options on's list—the fun-to-drive, fuel efficient Accord Hybrid and the Civic Natural Gas powered without a drop of gasoline," said Steven Center, vice president of the Environmental Business Development Office at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "This recognition from Kelley Blue Book validates the efforts of Honda engineers who for decades have continued to work towards our goal to leave 'Blue Skies for our Children.'"
The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid is designed to deliver outstanding fuel efficiency and fun-to-drive performance and, with a 50 miles per gallon EPA city fuel economy rating1, it has the highest city mpg rating of any four door sedan. The Accord Hybrid's two-motor hybrid system, part of an expanding lineup of Honda Earth Dreams Technology™ powertrains, seamlessly blends electric-only, hybrid and engine drive modes along with powerful regenerative braking to provide responsive and efficient performance in a wide range of driving situations.'s honor adds to the growing list of prestigious awards for the Honda Accord Hybrid that include being named's "Best New Cars of 2014" and Green Car Journal's Green Car of the Year. The Accord Hybrid also earned a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) (when equipped with the available Forward Collision Warning system) and a 5-star Overall Vehicle Score by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)2.
Also earning a spot on's list, the Honda Civic Natural Gas has a combined EPA fuel economy rating of 31 mpg1‡ and an estimated fuel cost savings of up to 40 percent compared to a typical gasoline-powered compact car. The Civic Natural Gas, powered 100 percent by natural gas, can be refueled in a matter of minutes, much like a conventional gasoline-powered car. New for 2014, the Civic Natural Gas Leather Navi model gains additional premium features such as leather seats, heated front seats, heated side mirrors and a six-speaker audio system. The Civic Natural Gas' standard interior has also been upgraded for 2014 with more premium seating materials and door panel trim.
For more information about's 10 Best Green Cars of 2014, please visit
Honda Environmental Leadership
Honda's diverse portfolio of alternative fuel vehicles has included numerous technologies to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions including the first EV leases in California (1997 Honda EV Plus), the retail introduction of America's first hybrid (1999 Honda Insight), delivery of the first fuel-cell electric vehicle in the U.S. (2002 Honda FCX), five generations of the Civic Natural Gas (first introduced in 1998) and the first gasoline-powered vehicles in the hands of consumers to meet stricter emissions standards. Honda also has led the Union of Concerned Scientists' (UCS) rankings of overall vehicle environmental performance since 2000, and a Honda vehicle has been included on the list of America's greenest vehicles from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) for the past 16 years.

# # #
1 Based on 2014 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Actual fuel mileage will vary depending on driving conditions, how the vehicle is driven and maintained, lithium-ion battery age/condition, and other factors.
2 Government 5-Star Safety Ratings are part of NHTSA's New Car Assessment Program ( Model tested with standard side airbags (SABs).
Gasoline Gallon Equivalent (GGE)

Source: Honda Media Newsroom

Monday, April 28, 2014

Watch Obama kick the ball around with Honda's latest ASIMO

Bend it like Obama. The Commander-In-Chief was just in Japan for a state visit, and his trip took him to a science expo, where he played a bit of soccer with Honda's latest ASIMO robot. The entire scene was captured on video, and showed the innovative robot as it ran, hopped and kicked a soccer ball to a bemused President Obama. ASIMO had a number of upgrades ahead of its meeting with the president, which were originally shown off to the crowds at the 2014 New York Auto Show. These tweaks to the 110-pound robot included a number of changes in both its upper and lower body to improve stability, speed and balance. Although not shown in this video, Honda claims the lower-body upgrades allow ASIMO to climb faster and more smoothly than ever before. Its hands are more dexterous and expressive, as well, while new sensors give it an even better sense of touch. Before ASIMO smoothly and effortlessly jogged across the stage, the robot and the President had a brief chat. According to The Wall Street Journal, Obama later told students at the Miraikan Science Expo in Tokyo that ASIMO and the other robots at the fair "were a little scary. They were too lifelike."

Source: autoblog

Friday, April 25, 2014

Honda to be Partnering Sponsor in 2014 Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

As a further extension of its growing commitment to grassroots racing in North America, Honda announced today that it is making a major commitment to the 2014 running of the legendary Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, as both a sponsor and race participant, with plans to field products in seven distinct race classes. In addition, Honda will be working with the AMA and the Pikes Peak sanctioning body on  improvements which will provide new levels of safety to the Motorcycle / ATV / UTV / Sidecar competitors.
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. will return as the Partnering Sponsor for the 2014 Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the second time the company has participated as a corporate sponsor of the legendary race event. The 92nd running of the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will take place on Sunday, June 29.
In addition, Honda Power Sports will be the official ATV / UTV of the event, showcasing its latest products to support the sanctioning body.
"Pikes Peak presents us with a unique opportunity to showcase Honda's diverse product lineup and to energize Honda fans around the world, as we work to further strengthen Honda's presence in racing at all levels," said Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development, the racing arm of American Honda. "Our associates will be working hard between now and Race Day to prepare this diverse field of race vehicles and showcase the Honda Racing Spirit."
This year also represents the first time a competitor at Pikes Peak has worked with the sanctioning body to improve overall safety at the historic event. Showcasing its global commitment to safety, Honda has worked with the AMA and the Pikes Peak sanctioning body to implement the race-proven technology of AirFence Provided by RoadRacing World Action Fund on key corners of the course. The AirFence has been successfully used in professional motorcycle racing worldwide and promises to enhance the 92nd running of the Pikes Peak hill climb.
With support from Honda's North American R&D and motorsports companies – Honda R&D Americas, Inc. and Honda Performance Development, Inc. – the company will campaign a broad range of Honda and Acura vehicles, as well as Honda motorcycles and ATVs. Honda will showcase its diverse range of fun-to-drive/ride products and will field products in seven race classes, building upon the unprecedented level of involvement in 2013.
Along with vehicles developed and piloted by Honda's North American associates under the banners of Honda Performance Development (HPD) and Team-Honda Research (THR), Honda is also supporting 2011 Pikes Peak Rookie of the Year and second-place overall finisher Romain Dumas in his own entry of a Honda-powered Norma RD Limited prototype chassis in the Unlimited class.
As a further extension of Honda's sponsorship effort, Honda Power Equipment will be supporting race operations, with Honda generators providing electricity and light to the pits and staging area. Honda Power Sports will also be providing Honda ATV / UTV products to support the sanctioning body during race week.
Honda 2014 Pikes Peak entries:
Category Class Vehicle Driver / Rider Honda Company
Car Unlimited Norma [Honda Powered] Romain Dumas -
Pikes Peak Open Acura NSX [1st gen. NSX] James Robinson Honda R&D
Time Attack Honda S3700   Sage Marie Honda North America
Exhibition Honda Fit [B-Spec] Corey Taguchi Honda R&D
EV Honda Fit EV Roy Richards Honda R&D
Motorcycle Middleweight Honda CBR600RR Zach Jacobs Honda R&D
ATV 450 ATV  Honda TRX450 Keith Steidl Honda R&D
Honda has competed in the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on a less ambitious scale in the recent past. In 2011, Honda campaigned a Fit hatchback that was built and piloted by Honda engineers from North America. In 2012, the company fielded an Acura NSX powered by an ALMS P2 twin-turbo V-6 engine supplied by Honda Performance Development (HPD), and outfitted with an ex-Le Mans body and wide-body kit, with support from members of the Ohio-based Honda of America Race Team (HART). Prior to that, Honda set records in EV class in 1994 and 1999 with the Honda EV Plus. In 2013, Honda competed in 10 distinct racing classes with 11 vehicles – the most of any single O.E.M. in the history of Pikes Peak. At this event, Honda is continuing its efforts to showcase its racing spirit and its commitment to safety. This year also marks the first time Honda will be supporting Romain Dumas with Honda power to challenge the Unlimited class.
About Honda
Honda established operations in America in 1959, and now employs more than 26,000 associates in its U.S. sales, R&D and manufacturing operations with a capital investment of more than $12.5 billion.
Based on its longstanding commitment to "build products close to the customer", Honda operates 14 major manufacturing facilities in North America, producing a wide range of Honda and Acura automobiles, automobile engines and transmissions, Honda all-terrain vehicles, and power equipment products such as lawn mowers, mini-tillers and general purpose engines, using domestic and globally sourced parts.
Seven Honda auto plants in the region, including four in the U.S., have the capacity to produce 1.92 million automobiles each year. In 2013, nearly 95 percent of the Honda and Acura automobiles sold in the U.S. were produced in North America.
Honda operates major research and development centers in the U.S. that fully design, develop and engineer many of the products Honda produces in North America.
About Honda Performance Development, Inc.
HPD was founded in 1993 as the performance arm of American Honda, to spearhead the company's entry into Indy car racing. No other manufacturer has matched Honda's success in Indy cars, which includes 205 race victories, 15 drivers' championships, six manufacturers' championships and nine consecutive Indianapolis 500 victories (2004-2012).
In 2013, Honda powered veteran Scott Dixon to four race wins and the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series championship; and Tristan Vautier to series Rookie of the Year honors.
HPD's prototype racing efforts have resulted in more than 60 victories and multiple American Le Mans Series championships. The company's sports-car racing debut in 2007 at the 12 Hours of Sebring marked the first win for HPD's LM-V8 engine and the first for a Honda racing engine designed and developed outside of Japan. HPD won the LMP2 title in the inaugural 2012 World Endurance Championship and has twice won the LMP2 category at the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 2010.
In 2013, HPD and Honda again swept the LMP1 and LMP2 manufacturers', engine, team and drivers' championships in the American Le Mans Series; while HPD-equipped Strakka Racing claimed the LMP1 class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for private team entries.
HPD participates in competition on both two wheels and four. The company offers a complete line of race engines for cars from grass roots to pinnacle; for professional, amateur and entry-level racers. For more information about HPD and the company's racing and Street Performance product lines, please visit
About Honda Power Equipment
Honda Power Equipment, a division of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., markets a complete range of outdoor power equipment, including generators, lawnmowers, tillers, trimmers, pumps, snowblowers, outboard marine engines, and general purpose engines for commercial, rental and residential applications. Its comprehensive product line is powered exclusively by 4-stroke engines.
About Team Honda Research
Founded in 1996 and covering both Ohio and Los Angeles, THR has a record of success racing Honda and Acura products in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), NASA, and Rally-America competition, with more than 50 race victories in a variety of classes.

Source: Honda Media Newsroom

Thursday, April 24, 2014

GoPro Learned to Hoop from Meadowlark Lemon

Wait, wait, wait. We promise that there's something to do with cars in this story. Really, there is. It also, though, features some basketball antics. And the entire thing is possible thanks to the magic that is the GoPro. Strategically situated, the little cameras capture David Kalb, a master when it comes to making trick basketball shots. This time, he's showing just what he can do when launching balls through the sunroof of a Honda Civic. That includes dribbling and sinking a layup (although we think he may have traveled when driving to the net).

Source: Autoblog

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid, Civic Natural Gas Among Greenest Cars

With plenty of vehicles that sit atop several lists and rankings of the most fuel efficient cars and SUVs in the auto industry, Honda has let it be known that they hope to be a leader among green automakers, particularly in an era where there is increased concern both for rising gas prices and the well-being of the environment.

Some of the vehicles that we sell here at Pacific Honda, however, go above and beyond in terms of their green efforts, so we were very happy to see that two of Kelley Blue Book’s “10 Best Green Cars” this year were Honda models: the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid and the 2014 Honda Civic Natural Gas.

Monday, April 21, 2014

2015 Honda HR-V Looks Fit for the Urban Jungle

By: Chris Bruce

Honda has been teasing us with the looks of its Fit-based compact crossover for months. Now the production version, dubbed the HR-V in the US, has finally been unveiled – in photographic form, at any rate – at the 2014 New York Auto Show. The CUV will slot into the brand's range this winter, and at the moment the company is keeping mum on many details about the new model.

The HR-V looks almost identical to the Urban SUV Concept unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show. The concept wore some nifty LED headlights and bigger wheels, but the rest of the styling has carried over to production. The handsome CUV sports diamond-shaped headlights, and a center bar splits the grille into two tiers. It has the same swoosh down the side running to the C-pillar, but it appears slightly less pronounced than in Detroit. The rear door handles are also hidden in the back pillar.

The compact crossover rides on the same platform as the new Fit. That allows it to take full advantage of the compact's highly versatile interior. The HR-V comes with Honda's Magic Seat that allows the back row to fold flat into the floor when needed.

Honda has given no indication about which powertrains the HR-V is going be to offered with. It's expected that the 1.5-liter direct injected four-cylinder and CVT is going to be one option, but the possibility of also offering a turbocharged version of the four has also been rumored. The automaker says more details are coming closer to launch.

The HR-V will slot in below the CR-V in terms of size and price when it goes on sale. All models are being built at Honda's new factory in Celaya, Mexico, that also builds the new Fit for North America. Scroll down to read the details in the release.

Honda HR-V Compact SUV to Join All-New 2015 Fit as Honda Expands Small Car Lineup

• All-new HR-V will launch this winter with sleek and expressive styling

• 2015 Fit resets segment benchmark with class-leading interior space, top fuel economy ratings and standard features

• Next-generation ASIMO also makes appearance at New York Auto Show

NEW YORK, April 17, 2014 – Honda will continue to expand its lineup of small cars aimed at the next generation of buyers with the launch of the 2015 Fit subcompact car ( and the all-new compact SUV, the Honda HR-V ( that will come to market this winter. Together the Fit and HR-V will represent a significant growth opportunity for Honda in the U.S., with both models produced at the automaker's newest North American manufacturing facility located in Celaya, Mexico, which allows for production flexibility to meet market demand.

"Both Fit and HR-V demonstrate how great things can come in small packages, and no one does this better than Honda," said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of the Honda automobile division for American Honda. "Together these models also represent Honda's step-by-step expansion of our production in the region, which has been key to our success in America for more than 30 years."

All-New HR-V Compact SUV

Honda released the first official photos of the U.S.-bound HR-V today at the New York International Auto Show. With sleek styling and expressive character lines, the HR-V is anticipated to launch this winter. Built on the same global compact platform that underpins the Fit, the HR-V will feature a versatile and spacious interior thanks to a unique center tank layout. The HR-V will be equipped with the Honda-exclusive Magic Seat®, which allows for multiple seating configurations and the ability to fold the second row seat completely flat for added cargo space. The HR-V will serve as the entry point to the Honda light truck lineup, positioned below the CR-V in both price and size. Additional details about the HR-V will be announced later this year.

2015 Fit Sets Subcompact Benchmark

On-sale at Honda dealerships nationwide this month, the all-new 2015 Fit establishes a new benchmark in the subcompact segment. The Fit delivers a class-leading combination of interior space, feature content, fuel efficiency and value. With a long list of new standard and available features including a multi-angle rearview camera, Bluetooth® connectivity, Expanded View Drivers Mirror, 7-inch Display Audio with HondaLink™ connectivity and LaneWatch™ display, the Fit is an unparalleled value with an MSRP starting at $15,5251, representing an increase of only $100 over the model it replaces.

The new Fit is equipped with a more efficient and powerful Earth Dreams Technology™ 1.5-liter direct injected 4-cylinder engine. Available with either a new Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) or 6-speed manual, the 2015 Fit earns class-leading2 EPA fuel economy ratings of 33/41/36 (city/hwy/combined)3 when equipped with the CVT in LX trim.

Retaining a similar exterior footprint to the outgoing model, the new Fit is slightly shorter (-1.6 in.) and wider (+0.3 in.) with a longer wheelbase (+1.2 in.), resulting in improved handling and stability. Inside, the Fit delivers class-leading passenger space measuring 95.7 cubic feet, an increase of 4.9 cubic feet compared to the previous model. Passengers sitting in the backseat will appreciate the Fit's abundant rear legroom, which increases by 4.8 inches to a best-in-class 39.3 inches. With the Honda-exclusive Magic Seat® offering multiple seating configurations, the Fit provides an unrivaled 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space when the second row seats are folded flat.

Next-Generation ASIMO Makes Appearance

Showcasing Honda's commitment to advancing mobility of all forms, the new version of ASIMO ( made a special demonstration at the New York Auto Show, as a part of a week of activity in New York City.

ASIMO - which stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility - features enhanced hand dexterity, including the ability to sign in both Japanese and American sign language, as well as the ability to run faster than previously, climb stairs more smoothly, hop, jump, balance on one foot, and transition seamlessly between walking and running, among other new and unique capabilities.

1 Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) excluding tax, license, registration, $790 destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
2 Among subcompact class vehicles equipped with standard engine and automatic transmission
3 Fuel economy rating for 2015 Fit LX equipped with CVT. Ratings determined by EPA. Use for comparison purposes only. Your MPG will vary depending on driving conditions, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, and other factors.

Source: Autoblog

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Honda Introduces New HR-V Crossover

If the overwhelming success of the 2014 Honda CR-V has taught us anything, it’s that American consumers really love a good crossover utility vehicle. And why shouldn’t they? No other segment of vehicle in the industry offers quite the same combination of efficiency, maneuverability, and practicality, so it’s easy to see how drivers could fall in love with a vehicle that wears so many different hats so well.

What Makes a Honda Is Who Makes a Honda: Eddie's Story

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Honda Readying Veloster-Rivaling Concept for Beijing?

Maybe the rumors of the CR-Z's death have been exaggerated. Honda has just released the first teaser of a new concept that it plans to debut at the Beijing Motor Show at the end of April. It shows off a sporty looking coupe that looks like the child of a CR-Z and Hyundai Veloster. However, the concept looks to be for the Chinese market, as it's a joint proposal with one of its domestic partners there, Guangqi Honda Automobile.

Unfortunately, we don't have any other details about the concept yet – not even a name. The teaser also doesn't give a very good indication of the car's size. It appears to be roughly the size of a small coupe, and if Honda hadn't already tried the idea with the CR-Z, you could almost see it as a modern CRX, but it could be a little bit larger, too.

In addition to the coupe concept at the Beijing show, Dongfeng Honda will premiere the concept for the next Spirior, which is the foreign version of the Accord. Guangqi Honda will also bring a mid-size SUV and the third-generation Fit. Acura will also be there and will have both the NSX Concept and a model of its powertrain. Scroll down for the full release about everything Honda will show in China.

Official Press Release

BEIJING, China, April 8, 2014 - Honda Motor (China) Investment Co., Ltd., a wholly-owned Honda subsidiary in China, today announced plans to exhibit the world premiere of two new concept models as well as new production models for the Honda and Acura brands at the 13th Beijing International Automotive Exhibition (Auto China 2014, press day: April 20, 2014, public days: April 21-29, 2014).

Overview of Honda exhibit
Jointly with Guangqi Honda Automobile Co., Ltd. and Dongfeng Honda Automobile Co., Ltd., Honda will exhibit the world premiere of a concept model for a new model exclusively developed for the Chinese market. Also on display will be the world premiere of a concept model for the all-new Spirior, a product of Dongfeng Honda, as well as the China premiere of a new middle-class SUV and the third-generation Fit, which will be sold by Guangqi Honda.

○Concept model for a new model exclusive for the Chinese market (world premiere)
Design sketch for the concept model
Design sketch for the concept model

○Dongfeng Honda: Concept model for the all-new Spirior (world premiere)
○Guangqi Honda: New middle-class SUV (China premiere)
○Guangqi Honda: The third-generation Fit (China premiere)
○Other mass-production models
・ Guangqi Honda: Crosstour, Accord, Crider, Odyssey, City, CR-Z and Li Nian S1
・ Dongfeng Honda: CR-V, Civic, Elysion, Jade, Insight and CIIMO
○RC213V MotoGP champion machine, CTX700ND

Source: Autoblog

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Honda Tops KBB 2014 Brand Image Awards

Once a year, Kelley Blue Book puts out their Brand Image Awards, which recognize auto brands that American consumers consider to be both reliable and enjoyable to own. In other words, if all automakers got together and gave out superlatives in some sort of car yearbook, the 2014 award for “Most Popular” would go to Honda, as it was given the best scores from the 12,000 people that were polled in order to gather information for this year’s awards.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

2015 Honda Fit

1.5L I4
130 HP / 114 LB-FT
Front-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
2,642 LBS
52.7 CU-FT
32 City / 38 HWY
Base Price:
As-Tested Price:

The last time we left our subcompact hero, the plucky Honda Fit was getting a bit long in the tooth. But the second-generation model was still holding its own rather well, and for the enthusiast on a tight budget who wanted it all, it remained the car of record in its class. If you desired an endlessly practical and reliable little hatch that was fun to drive, it didn't get much better than the Fit. Even with nearly every competitor having been fully freshened since the model's introduction in 2009, the Honda managed to fight off also-ran status simply because of how incredibly functional and great to drive it was. Long story short: we loved this car.

Of course, there were a few caveats to the Fit's superhero status. It wasn't particularly fuel efficient, only mustering up, at best, 33 miles per gallon on the highway in a segment where 40-mpg quickly became the new benchmark. What's more, its onboard technology and infotainment was seriously showing its age. While we'd praise the Fit's behind-the-wheel goodness all day long, this shining beacon of great steering and suspension tuning never proved to be all that wonderful for long-distance highway cruising.

Now, say hello to the 2015 Fit, hitting dealerships this spring. Worry not – it's still clever as ever from a packaging standpoint, and comes fitted with lots of newness both inside and out. It's a far more competitive vehicle than its predecessor, and has everything it takes to fight even the toughest of classmates. But just as before, our recommendation doesn't come without a few caveats.

Visually, the 2015 Fit loses much of its cute-as-a-bug demeanor in favor of something decidedly more aggressive and modern, especially up front. By and large, we like the new look, but we aren't sold on the strong character line that rises dramatically on the front door, only to broaden from a point to a channel as it goes further up along the car's profile, finally dropping off over the wider rear fenders. It's an interesting design idea, but one we don't find particularly successful – it's especially hard to swallow from the rear three-quarter angle. From that same view, the Fit looks less like the two-box, upright hatchback it did before, taking on more of a small MPV shape. A quick poll of the Autoblog staff reveals that we like this new design better, but some of us still miss those large, wedge-shaped headlamps and cutesy cues of the previous car. We'll have to see how this new design ages, but it certainly falls more in line with the rest of Honda's restyled range.

The Fit hasn't grown much since we last saw it – in fact, certain dimensions have actually decreased. It rides on a 99.6-inch wheelbase – an increase of 1.2 inches versus the outgoing model – but its overall length has been shortened, now sitting at an even 160 inches compared to its predecessor's 161.6. Width is up by 0.3 inches and height remains unchanged at 60 inches. Extending the wheelbase and shortening the length means the front overhang – a particular point of issue on the old car – has been reduced, and the overall shape is less bulgy than before, despite the added curves.

Honda is offering a fresh crop of new colors that work well with the restyled shape, including Pikachu Yellow (okay, it's really Mystic Yellow Pearl). Base LX models roll on 15-inch steel wheels with drab plastic covers, but EX, EX-L and EX-L Navi trims use the handsome 16-inch alloy wheels seen on our test car. Halogen headlamps remain standard up front, but the Fit now uses LED taillamps out back. It's all pretty good looking, this Fit, and new darker colors like Passion Berry, Modern Steel and even the Aegean Blue do a lot to hide the character line that rounds out the rump. We do wish Honda would lose the chrome strip below the rear window, though. There's very little of the shiny stuff on the rest of the body, and a blacked-out panel like the one in the grille would likely look better.

Inside, there's a lot going on, and the dashboard and center stack designs lose a lot of the previous car's cleanliness. Chunky plastic moldings on the dash are met with aluminum accents and strips of faux-leather with unconvincing fake stitching, and the new center console has been canted to be more driver-focused, with the old car's vertical arrangement of heating/cooling controls now neatly organized below the radio (or new-generation infotainment system on higher-end models). What's in front of the driver is particularly clustered, with two-tier vents to the left of the redesigned steering wheel and gauges, and in redesigning the HVAC module, Honda has killed the volume control knob for the stereo – it's now annoyingly housed digitally in the touchscreen. Speaking of that screen, all Fit models now come standard with a rear-view camera. Sadly, the two-compartment glove box is gone, with usable storage space only found below the passenger's knees on the new car.

Despite its busier visuals, the new Fit's interior is a far more premium space than before. The hatch now offers amenities like leather upholstery, heated front seats and a sunroof – all things you couldn't get on the outgoing model. The Fit remains a hugely functional machine, and Honda's executives proudly note that the car's packaging is its "single-greatest competitive advantage." Despite a minimally increased wheelbase, the Fit now offers a whopping 39.3 inches of rear legroom. That's a gain of 4.8 inches versus the previous Fit, imbuing the subcompact with more rear seat legroom than the larger Civic and Accord. Combine that with a more upright seating position, and you'll find the rear bench is extremely spacious, not a penalty box like other subcompacts. Regardless of cloth or leather upholstery, the seats are decently comfortable, and even though front legroom has grown by a tenth of an inch, the seats seem to be closer to the floor than before. That's not something your five-foot, seven-inch author really noticed, but taller passengers weren't pleased during our test drive.

That nifty rear Magic Seat is still the star of the show, able to be reconfigured many ways, all totaling a massive 52.7 cubic feet of storage space with the seats down. Oddly, that's 4.6 fewer cubes than before, but the Fit's cargo area is still far more capacious than anything else in the class. For comparison's sake, a Ford Fiesta hatchback can only muster 25.4 cubic feet, less than half the Honda's total. In fact, that's more cargo space than the much larger Hyundai Elantra GT yields, 51 cubes. Said another way, flip the seats up, fold them down, whatever – you won't even notice the loss of space versus the outgoing model. And considering you can lay the front seats nearly flat to accommodate longer items, it's still possible to, well, fit nearly anything you want inside this Honda. We recently heard a rival automaker's PR person describe the Fit as "the Sistine Chapel of packaging." Indeed.

Clever packaging and a spacious, airy interior will be the Fit's biggest selling points as it strives to have more mass-market appeal. Elsewhere, the powertrain has been updated with Honda's new Earth Dreams technology and two new transmissions that result in better economy and overall driving refinement. But with those improvements, this new Fit unfortunately loses some of its spunkiness.

A 1.5-liter Earth Dreams inline four-cylinder engine is nestled under that short hood, with 130 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque available, peaking at 6,600 rpm and 4,600 rpm, respectively – improvements of 13 hp and 8 lb-ft compared to the outgoing 1.5-liter engine. The Fit hasn't gained much weight in its overhaul, the base car tipping the scales at just 2,513 pounds (up from 2,496). Loaded to the gills, the top-spec Fit EX-L Navi comes in at a respectable 2,628 pounds.

The new, direct-injected powertrain means the 2015 Fit is quite a bit more fuel-efficient than before. With the continuously variable transmission, base models are estimated to achieve 33 miles per gallon in the city and 41 on the highway – large increases of 6 mpg city and 8 mpg highway versus the outgoing five-speed automatic-equipped car. For folks who like to row their own, a six-speed manual transmission is still available in LX and EX models, and fuel economy is rated at 29 mpg city and 37 mpg highway – gains of 2 and 4 mpg – over the old five-speed stick.

Now, don't freak out over the use of a CVT here – it's not a bad transmission, and Honda offers paddle shifters on so-equipped Fits with seven built-in "shift points." This unit is essentially the same CVT from the 2014 Civic – a more compact version of the transmission used in the Accord. We used the paddles briefly on our drive around San Diego, CA, but found that you're generally better off just leaving the transmission alone. It's one of the more nicely behaved continuously variable units out there.

Like the outgoing Fit, the new 1.5-liter engine is pretty gutless in the low end of its powerband, and you'll really be digging into the throttle under acceleration, especially uphill. With either transmission, that sort of order is met with an audibly buzzy engine soundtrack – in fact, despite Honda's efforts to quiet the cabin, the Fit feels louder in terms of powertrain, road and wind noise than many competitors. The benefit of the CVT's wide ratio spread, though, is that when you're cruising, the engine settles into lower revs. The manual, on the other hand, holds 'em high at cruising speeds – sixth gear uses the same ratio as fifth gear in the old car, and on the highway at 80 miles per hour, you're revving at some 4,000 rpm. And it doesn't sound great. That said, Honda's manual transmissions have always been nice to use, and that doesn't change here with the new six-speed unit – the clutch pedal is nicely weighted and the gearbox itself offers crisp action. Good stuff, despite the audible highway drone.

Honda admits that current Fit customers have complained about the car not being terribly pleasant to drive over long distances at highway speeds, and the new model does a lot to solve those problems. The suspension is more compliant for highway cruising than before, offering a more comfortable ride. While that's all well and good for the majority of Fit owners, we'd be remiss not to point out that this newfound composure has come at the expense some of the car's great-to-drive pleasantries on more interesting roads. Gone is the rear stabilizer bar from previous Fit Sport models, and the torsion-beam rear suspension loads weight oddly when cornering. Braking feel and power are fine, but the long and short of it is that this car doesn't instill as much driver confidence on winding roads, with noticeable understeer and a rear end that just doesn't feel as planted as in the previous model.

On top of that, the newly electric power steering isn't as nice to use as the rack from the outgoing Fit. The ratio has been increased from 12.7 to 13.1 in the new car, with turn-in that lacks crispness and an overall level of feedback that isn't as rewarding as before. That's a bummer, especially since Honda – and particularly, the Fit – has long been known for excellent steering feel. But all is not lost – it's still near the front of the class. The toughest competition for the Fit in terms of driving dynamics is arguably the refreshed Ford Fiesta, with its dual-clutch transmission, nicely weighted steering and more engaging chassis tuning. Classmates like the Chevy Sonic, Nissan Versa Note and Toyota Yaris still lag somewhat behind in this regard. Even so, good as the last Fit was, the Mazda2 still felt more involving from the seat of our pants. But the old Fit's versatility, economy and interior refinement still made it a better daily choice than the entertainment-above-all Mazda.

This sounds like a long list of disappointments, but really, that isn't so. Sure, the 2015 Fit's less-involving driving dynamics are a step back from the outgoing car, but it's still better than the majority of its competitive set. It isn't the far-and-away-better, great-to-manhandle hatch that it used to be, but for daily use, we don't think the overwhelming majority of consumers will mind – most probably won't even notice. We even spoke to a couple of current Fit owners, who said they'd be willing to sacrifice some of that sharp handling for something that's a bit more at ease on imperfect pavement. So it goes.

It all comes back to the Fit needing to have more appeal to a greater range of buyers than before. After all, this hatch is Honda's fourth-best-selling model in the United States, behind the successful Accord, Civic and CR-V. And don't forget: the Fit's chassis will also underpin the upcoming small crossover (known as Vezel elsewhere, and rumored to be called HR-V when it lands here), meaning its basic architecture will have to accommodate a broader variety of priorities.

Pricing is still competitive, with the base Fit LX 6MT slotting at $15,525, not including $790 for destination – an increase of $100 compared to the outgoing model. From there, the volume-leading EX starts at $17,435, EX-L models command $19,800, and the top-notch EX-L Navi reaches to $20,800. The current top-shelf Fit Sport Navi starts at $19,790, and considering the new model adds things like leather, better tech, a sunroof and more, the extra coin seems absolutely worth it to us. For comparison, a comparably equipped Fiesta Titanium hatch comes in at $21,285, not including destination.

So, is the Fit still our subcompact hero? Yes and no. For us, that wishy-washy answer all comes down to it being less engaging from a driver's perspective. But its gains in interior refinement, onboard tech and the ever-excellent functionality and packaging go a long way toward making up for its less tossable and communicative nature. It may no longer be the clear driver's choice, but in a class where cars have to be everything to everyone, you could certainly do a lot worse than this capacious little Honda.

Source: Autoblog

Monday, April 7, 2014

Honda's Fit-Based Crossover to be Called HR-V in US

By: Noah Joseph

You may remember it as the Urban SUV (pictured above) from when it debuted in concept form at the Detroit Auto Show last year, or know it as the Vezel as the production version was unveiled for the Japanese Domestic Market at the 2014 Tokyo Motor Show. But when Honda starts exporting its new Fit-based crossover – or better yet, building it in Mexico for North American consumption – it will be called the HR-V.

This news comes courtesy of Honda enthusiast forum Temple of VTEC. When contacted by Autoblog, Honda spokesmen declined to comment on the veracity of the report, saying only that it would "announce the name in the near future," but the handle fits with what we know about Honda's history with compact crossovers. The previous HR-V (which was not available in the States) was a high-riding, squared-off crossover built between 1999 and 2006 and based on the Fit's predecessor, the Honda Logo.

While the HR-V moniker might not have name recognition in North America, it would in Europe where Honda also hopes its new crossover will find eager customers. It will also fit in nicely below the CR-V that will continue on as the HR-V's larger stablemate.

Source: Autoblog

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Honda Manufactures 20 Millionth Vehicle in U.S.

Twenty million of anything is a lot. Collect 20 million pennies and you’ve got yourself $200,000. Sell 20 million albums and you’ll find yourself among a very small group of legendary musicians. Stringing together 20 million days would take almost 55,000 years.

In short, it’s not a number to scoff at. In reality, it’s a number to celebrate, especially when it pertains to auto sales. Late last month, Honda actually manufactured its 20 millionth vehicle in the United States, a process that started over 30 years ago. Back in 1982, the first Honda Accord was manufactured in Marysville, Ohio, and that particular model hasn’t seen its momentum slow down since.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Honda's Mean Mower - Officially the World's Fastest Lawnmower!

Honda has been working on its high-performance Mean Mower for a while now. In a recent attempt to take the top speed title, it didn't make its 130-miles-per-hour top speed target, but it still managed to set a new Guinness World Record has the world's fastest lawnmower at 116.57 mph. While the video certifying the run was uploaded to YouTube on April 1, this is no prank. The Guinness run was made on March 8 at the Idiafa Proving Ground in Tarragona, Spain.

To claim the record, the lawnmower had to run through a 100-meter speed trap, and it had to make two passes in opposite directions within an hour with the average taken between them. Guinness also specifies that to take the title the vehicle must still be able to cut grass and look like a lawnmower. The speed was still plenty to beat the previous record of 96.529-mph set by Bobby Cleveland on a Snapper race mower at the Bonneville Salt Flats in September 2010.

The Mean Mower is based on a Honda HF2620 Lawn Tractor that's been modified by British Touring Car Championship squad Team Dynamics. It has a newly fabricated chassis from 4130 chromoly steel and packs a 1.0-liter engine from a Honda VTR Firestorm motorcycle with a six-speed sequential gearbox. The engine produces 109 horsepower and 71 pound-feet of torque – enough power to reach 60 mph in around four seconds. The suspension and wheels come from an ATV, and the cutter deck has been remade in fiberglass. The grass bag holds the fuel tank, oil cooler and secondary radiator. The engine no longer actually cuts grass. Instead, the blade is driven by two electric motors.



It's official – Honda's 1000cc 109HP Mean Mower has broken a Guinness World Records™ title for the Fastest lawnmower!

Honda (UK)'s Mean Mower (#meanmower) has officially broken the GUINNESS WORLDs title for the Fastest lawnmower, averaging 116.57 mph to break the previous record by almost 30mph. See the video here:

The successful GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS attempt took place under the watchful eye of a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS Adjudicator at the IDIADA Proving Ground, in Tarragona, Spain, on Saturday 8th March 2014. Behind the wheel was Piers Ward of BBC TopGear Magazine, who had previously achieved a fastest speed on Mean Mower of 87mph. At around 4.20pm CET on the 2000km North Straight at IDIADA, Piers eclipsed the previous record of 87.83mph, set in May 2010.

The speed was measured through a 100 metre speed trap, overseen by official timers, Timing Solutions Limited. To meet Guinness World Records regulations the mower had to record the same run, in both directions, within an hour – with the average speed taken of these two runs. Additionally, to qualify for the record it needed to cut grass and to look like a lawnmower; both of which it did successfully. With all of these criteria met, the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS Adjudicator officially declared the success of the record attempt just before 6pm CET on Saturday 8th March.

Ellie Ostinelli, PR Communications Manager for Honda (UK) comments: "The original brief for Mean Mower was to create the world's fastest lawnmower – and now it officially is, by some distance! We are all delighted to hold a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title and we'd like to thank everyone who was involved in what has been a challenging yet incredibly exciting project."

The idea for Mean Mower was to demonstrate Honda's sprit of innovation, its motor sport heritage, and that it makes more than just cars. Mean Mower was designed and built in the UK by Honda (UK)'s British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) partner, Team Dynamics. The team re-engineered a Honda HF2620 Lawn Tractor from the ground-up, adding an all-new fabricated chassis, custom-made from 4130 chromoly, to provide a strong, safe but very light platform. A 1000cc engine from a Honda VTR Firestorm was used, along with a bespoke suspension and wheels from an ATV.

Every effort was made to retain as much of the look of the original mower as possible. The cutter deck was custom-made in fibre-glass, to reduce weight, while, in a stroke of pure genius, the grass bag provides a happy home for the fuel tank, a high capacity oil cooler and a secondary water cooling radiator.

The ability to still cut grass was also a key element of the brief, and the super-fast mower still can, admirably, thanks to two electric motors on the cutter deck, spinning 3mm steel cutting cable at an incredible 4000rpm. The mower can cut grass at around 15mph, more than double the flat-out speed of the original HF2620 from which it is derived.

Based on feedback from Honda Yuasa Racing drivers, three times BTCC champion Matt Neal and 2012 champion Gordon Shedden, the mower features a custom-made paddle shift six-speed gear system. Additionally it has a custom-made Cobra sports seat, a Scorpion exhaust system and a steering rack taken from a Morris Minor.

The result of this remarkable feat of engineering is a lawn mower set-up and geared to achieve a top speed in excess of 130mph, weighing just 140kg, producing 96Nm of torque, an incredible PTW ratio of 532bhp/tonne; and an estimated 0-60 of just four seconds.

Safety was paramount to the project, so every effort has been made to make the mower stable and secure. To achieve optimum balance ATV wheels have been used – ideal because ATV racing is held on rough off-road tracks. Super-soft tyres ensure optimum grip and excellent handling on the tarmac. Additionally, every effort was made to use Honda parts, where possible, including brakes and several motorcycle components. Almost everything else has been custom-made by Team Dynamics and its partners.

To read the full story, head to BBC TopGear Magazine, available in print, online and for iPad.

To keep up with #meanmower - before it goes breaking another record - and all other Honda activity, check out our Facebook and Twitter pages so you don't miss out.

Source: Autoblog