Archive for September, 2008|Monthly archive page

Honda CRZ Update

In Honda on September 30, 2008 at 4:55 pm

Considered to be the spiritual successor to Honda`s legendary CRX of the eighties and nineties the hotly anticipated CRZ will have a lot to live up to when it finally makes it into production at the end of next year. 

The exterior design is predicted to be very similar to the concept released at last years Geneva Motor Show although some modifications will be made, largely to the front bumper section.  I hope that means they’re going to have another look at the nose as its looking a little too snoutish for me.

As is widely known the car is to be a hybrid and lightweight and this will pretty sharply represent Honda’s outlook for other models in the near future. 

it looks increasingly probable that the CRZ will receive the same 1.3 litre VTEC engine as the upcoming new Honda Insight.  This will be combined with Honda’s hybrid (IMA) system to produce a likely output of  94 + 20 PS.

Honda have made a big noise about this car being designed for the REAL drivers market and combined with making it super fuel efficient must be quite a challenge.  However with those rather low power figures it will be interesting to see how that can be balanced by the cars lightweight.  

Honda will be targeting about 35km/L for fuel consumption, which is pretty damn good.

The final version of the wonderful original CRX was able to put out 172 ps from its little 1.6 litre naturally aspirated VTEC so we can hope and expect that the CRZ will receive power hikes during the course of its production life.


Lexus LF-A Update

In Lexus on September 29, 2008 at 4:20 pm

Testing still continues on the Lexus LF-A supercar due to receive its Japanese debut in the autumn of 2010. 

Lexus have been busy at the Nurburgring for a long time trying to whittle away seconds to compete with its domestic and foreign rivals and it looks as if they still have a way to go before hitting their target. 

Although it seems that Toyotas target is not to blow the GTR out of the water but rather offer around the same performance, as they have probably sensibly decided that gran turismo style time attack glory will not be the dominant influence on sales. 

On the other hand, Honda with their new NSX  will be trying for absolute ascendancy in the sports car market and can occasionally be found at the Nurburgring nailing their prototype around the road course until it at least equals the upcoming Nissan GTR V Spec performance. 

The LF-A is an undeniably beautiful car and with such a ravishing body will come a hefty fee of reputedly 25 million yen. 

That should by my calculation make it the most expensive Japanese car ever to be put on the market. 

Some people will say that is too much and it clearly is but then so is a Ferrari 430 or any Lamborghini and this is the kind of market that the Lexus will be competing in. 

Its clear that Japan’s premium manufacturer has now matured and is not shy about its pricing even with the perceived lack of heritage  that always dogs any special offering from Japan.  particularly in the prestigious European market where the LF-A will be looking to take advantage of the continents huge appetite for sports cars .   


Lexus IS F Racing

In Lexus on September 28, 2008 at 4:09 pm

It has come to light that in a further challenge to BMW’s M3, Lexus will be producing a hotter version of its High performance IS F. Designated as the IS F/R ( the R presumably standing for racing), the new model will feature several new developments and should debut in its home market in the autumn of 2009

Rumour suggests that the car will be 100kg lighter than the standard IS F, achieved through an all carbon roof and the use of thinner exotic materials in the body.

Attention has also been focused on the 5 litre V8 to produce a 12ps increase in power.

Expected selling price in Japan should be in the region of 10 million yen.

I’m afraid the image below is of the standard IS F ( lovely as it is ) as i can`t get an image of the IS F/R but if you just try to imagine a black carbony roof and maybe a bit more carbon round the front wing then that should be about right.

2011 Diesel Mitsubishi GTO

In Mitsubishi on September 27, 2008 at 12:04 pm

Further details have emerged of the Mitsubishi GTO concept first unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show earlier this year. 

The gullwing doors have been dropped but as thought an all new 2.2 litre 4 cylinder clean diesel engine is being developed for this model. 

Set up will be the same Super All Wheel Control System as features in the current generation EVO X.

New active steering and dampers are now in development.

The GTO will receive the same Twin Clutch SST as used in the EVO X.  

If you fancy one of these and you live in Japan then you may need to be patient because current rumours suggest that Mitsubishi don’t plan on introducing it until spring 2011. 

Diesel still suffers from something of an image problem in Japan and none of the european spec Japanese diesel engines appear in their home market, in fact not since 2003.

However of recent, several of the large manufacturers have announced their intention to introduce clean diesel technology into the home market.

First of these is Nissan which this month launch the diesel version of the X Trail SUV in Japan and most likely others will follow. 

Although Mitsubishi will probably need until 2011 to prepare the market to swallow the Idea of a diesel sports car. 

If it doesnt blow the Japanese away, it will definately be a big seller in Europe and a hopefully worthy alternative To the ubiquitous Audi TT.

Toyota FT HS Update

In Toyota on September 26, 2008 at 4:55 pm

The FT HS hybrid concept was introduced last year at the Detroit Motor Show as a rumoured Supra replacement. 

Recent rumblings suggest that the car is being developed further for potential manufacture next year with not one but two production models making an appearance at the Tokyo Motor Show this November.

One a Hybrid and the other carrying a standard engine.

Configuration is likely to be a a 2+2 set up and most certainly front engined, rear wheel drive. 

Power will be derived from a choice of a hybrid 3.5 litre or 3.7 litre normally aspirated V6 producing between 330 and 370 PS.

Because of Toyota’s desire to offer two models it has delayed release of the vehicle.

It’s possible that the hybrid and standard will be differentiated by two different body styles.

The situation remains unclear if the car will carry the iconic Supra name but if it doesnt it is surely a spiritual successor.

Toyota’s new sports coupe will slot in way below the Lexus LFA with a likely selling price of between 3.5 to over 5 million yen when on sale and will be considered to be a direct competitor to Nissans Fairlady Z.

Details are still sketchy.

New Honda Odyssey

In Honda on September 22, 2008 at 3:56 pm
New Odyssey

New Odyssey

A teaser image has been released of the all new Honda Odyssey to debut in Japan next month.  Few details have been released but it does appear that the new design is very much a natural evolution of the current model. 

Clear changes have been made to the rear haunches with some angled bodywork that adds some depth and what looks like a change to the front grill and headlights more reminiscent of the current Honda Stream.

The existing model released in 2003 is a polarising sort of design, some love it for its futuristic look and youthful image whilst others don’t for the same reasons.

An observation i can make is that you almost never see one driven slowly.

looking forward to see the finished product when it arrives.

Honda Multi-View

In Honda on September 22, 2008 at 3:21 pm

External camera technology has made another leap forward with Honda’s introduction of their highly advanced multiview camera system.

The system uses four cameras located on the front and rear of the vehicle and the right and left door mirrors.

Images are mixed together to create a broader picture for the driver when parking or during limited visibility. 

Take a look at the pics. 

Honda’s all new odyssey (due October) will be the first to benefit from the new system as an option and no doubt it will be employed across Hondas range in the near future. 

One would need to be a total moron to have a prang with this installed.


Toyota Traffic Safety

In Toyota on September 19, 2008 at 4:53 pm

Being the rather huge auto maker that it is and all the responsibility that entails, Toyota has announced that it will be distributing flyers in Japan to support road safety in line with the nations traffic safety campaign this autumn. 

Frankly preposterously for such a risk adverse society that Japan is, a law requiring rear seat passengers to wear seatrbelts was only passed this year in June.  Apart from the obvious safety improvements for the populace the new law has enabled foreigners who hail from more draconian shores from looking like total cowards when they buckle up in the back.

The Toyota safety advice flyers will focus on rear seatbelts and not hitting cyclists.

Caring Honda

In Honda on September 18, 2008 at 4:43 pm

Honda claims to have improved on the drivers side airbag by releasing a new design that continuously stages the level of infalting gas. 

The new airbag should be able to deploy faster and has a unique spiral structure that allows a protective surface to be formed sooner than previously and also maintains a constant pressure from the moment of deployment and resulting in immediate occupant protection.

Airbag Impact on the driver is also claimed to have been reduced by minimising the protrusion of the airbag. 

Interestingly Honda has announced that the new system will first be offered on one of their lead in models, the very basic 660cc Life minicar which perhaps relatedly is very popular with young and first time buyers

Airbag Comparison

Airbag Comparison


In Honda on September 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm

As a sign of increasing compassion to the pedestrians of the world, car makers have been increasing their research into reducing injury to us when outside the car. 

Honda was the first to develop a pedestrian crash test dummy when in 1998 they introduced the POLAR I to study what parts of the vehicle body cause the most injury in the event of a crash with a focus on reducing head injuries.  Later POLAR II was introduced to further research into kinematics and used embedded instruments to measure effects of collision on eight body areas including head and neck.

POLAR III now moves the injured pedestrian game on and should provide Honda with information focusing on the lower back and upper leg areas. 

Honda has tried very hard to match the dummy body shape as closely as possible to ours and judging by the picture it seems they have decided that most of us have fat ankles.

 Honda has been applying this technology to its road cars in Japan since 1998, starting with the HR-V, so if you must get run over then try to make sure its a Honda built in the last ten years.