autojaponica

Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

Honda CRZ Update

In Honda on February 27, 2009 at 5:05 pm

With Takeo Fukui now packing his pencils away and fellow engineer Takanobu Ito now readying himself to take the helm of the big Hall eyes will be on the company to see if they can regain some of their lost passion for sports models following the cancellation of the NSX and the postponement of the next generation S2000.

Apparently Mr Ito feels that future sports models are essential and integral to Honda’s future. 

The first new model to carry at least sporting pretensions that is set to arise from the new leaner Honda will be the much mooted CRZ.

Currently due to be launched at the beginning of next year, Honda plan to introduce the car as an exceptionally handling sporty car rather than a pure sports car as such.

Although some perhaps erroneous reports of late suggest the CRZ will be receiving a 1.8 litre engine, it still appears more likely that the car is going to launch with a tuned version of the Insight’s 1.3 litre VTEC connected to the same IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) system to complete its hybrid credentials.  With the combined power of the engine and motor, the CRZ should be able to output 120 ps.  

Speculation is rife that the CRZ wil only weigh 1100kg which these days is pretty trim.  Honda hope that the light weight will help the car to achieve sprightly performance whilst still making 30 km/l fuel efficiency.

Honda are set to build the car on the same basic platform as the Insight however the CRZ will be both shorter and wider.

Another note of interest is that the worlds first potential drivers hybrid is now thought likely to be released with its old namesake of CRX instead of the development code CRZ in order to truly show its spiritual link to the legendary 80’s predecessor.

Honda’s mini sports hybrid is expected to go on sale at between 2 to 2.5 million JPY bringing it in line with current Insight pricing.

Sounds rather promising but here’s hoping that the rumours of a bigger more powerful 1.8 litre unit serve true to really give the car the balls it will need to compete against Europe’s finest.

  

Honda CR-Z

Honda CR-Z

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Honda Nsx Memorial

In Honda on February 11, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Honda now resigns itself to surviving the utter crapness of today by flogging cheap hybrids and some other rather bland cars (for the enthusiast, you understand) in their current line up just to keep the company afloat.

Ironically Honda were on the brink of unleashing onto the world probably the fastest normalish sports car ever seen, by normalish i mean to discount silly irrelevant cars that any manufacturer with the cash and will could produce because the buyer has to pay as much as a private jet to own one, a Bugatti Veyron for example.

As everybody knows, Honda’s supercar prototype was cancelled abruptly.

Although Honda have now ruled the car out for the foreseeable future it is worth knowing a few things about what a stunning proposition the new NSX was.

Firstly and sadly it was not going to be cheap, over 20 million JPY was mooted which would have sat it nicely between the Nissan G-TR Spec V and the still confirmed Lexus L-FA.

Weighing in at only 1600 kg and featuring a 90 degree angle,550 ps, v10 front engine connected to a 4×4 chassis it would have been no tortoise. 

Indeed Honda reputedly posted a Nurburgring lap time of under 7 min 20 seconds and at a November 2008 official but secret test session at Suzuka Circuit unceremoniously pulled both Porsche’s 911 and Ferrari’s 430 pants down in quick succession.

The car was apparently almost production ready and it’s hard to believe that Honda have now just stuck the design up one of their engineer’s arses.  If they did, they surely used a little Colombian inspiration and at least put it in an XL condom.

When and if Obama goes nuts like his predecessor and decides to invade Canada, Honda will be donning the white gloves and putting a call through to that engineer no doubt.

Honda Insight

In Honda on February 9, 2009 at 6:30 pm

It finally arrived.

The new Honda Insight made its Japanese sales debut last week.

Honda’s hugely anticipated Eco warrior is now available to sit in, stroke, tyre kick, suspension push or even buy at showrooms across the country.

The little hybrid was widely reported on for months so we all know that it features a 1.3 litre Vtec engine matched to a nickel metal hybride battery in similar style a current Prius.

This results in a very impressive 30km/l which will certainly be less than the upcoming Prius 2 but then that car will be considerably more expensive than the lead in 1,890,000 JPY for the Insight.

A way that Honda has been able to keep the cost of the car down is by utilising basic parts from other existing models.

The insight receives an unremarkable CVT automatic transmission already employed on other lines

Except an exceptionally aerodynamic body and some paddle shifters mounted behind the steering wheel for when you’re feeling a bit frisky, the Insight doesn’t seem to differ tremendously from Honda’s previous hybrid Civic sedan which already featured their IMA battery.

What does warrant mention though are some of the useful and sometimes hilarious eco assist technologies that come as standard.

With the touch of a button you are able to engage ECON mode that rather cleverly adjusts engine output, extends the duration of idle stop, increases regenerative charging during deceleration and achieves energy saving control of the air conditioning.

The  guidance function assesses driving style for fuel efficiency and changes the colour of the speedometer display accordingly.  Presumably green when you’re driving like Jesus would and red for when you drive like a dickhead.  Worst of all is that all your passengers including the dreaded pots and pans will be able to comment on your hybridness.

The best bit is the scoring function.

An information display shows a score in which the number of leaves displayed indicates the level of your cumulative fuel efficiency.

Apparently if you’re a complete twat you can access your personal score on the Internet to compare against other insighters.

it’s easy to imagine the scene.

After feeling pretty smug about the small forest that you’ve been nurturing on your instrument panel, you’ll be seeing red and preparing hate mail when you discover that you’ve been knocked down the order by user 941 from Kawasaki City whose got a fucking herd of deer running through his as well as some previously extinct flora and fauna making a comeback.

I thought that i might have bought one of these cars.

Why?

It’s cheap motoring and i really do care about the environment, honestly!!!!!

The concept looked stunning and i thought that it was something that it isn’t, a genuinely stylish alternative to a Prius.

I thought it was bigger.

I wanted to buy one to antagonise the weird hybrid despising militants in my home country.  Plans were already afoot to post pictures of me licking my Insight exhaust with my family around me clapping with huge smiles on our faces to various anti hybrid motoring forums.

I had visions of meeting up with other insighters drinking cabbage juice and telling tall tales of driving from Tokyo to Osaka for the same price as a box of surgical masks.

However Honda won’t be receiving my custom yet, largley because i haven’t got any money to give them but also because i found myself disappointed at the car.

With all of  Honda’s public scrimping they seem to have come out with a car that is no more upmarket than a current Fit model.

It seems that the increased price is to cover the hybrid tech only.

The design is neither particularly attractive or indeed ugly like most people.

No doubt though that it will sell well.  It is a very sensible buy and is perfect representation of Honda’s current mindset which is to produce cars that are cheap, fuel efficient, unpolarising and will turn a profit.

Good luck Honda.  You won’t need it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honda Insight

Honda Insight