Tag Archives: Honda Fit

2014 Scion xD

Now in its seventh year, the Scion xD has stayed the same while newer subcompacts have improved by leaps and bounds. In 2007, there was no Ford Fiesta, the Honda Fit was in its previous generation, and the unloved Chevrolet Aveo did little to thrill buyers of the smallest cars. Against that competition, Scion’s five-door hatchback… …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at The Car Connection

Official: Honda reveals next-gen Fit Hybrid

By Chris Paukert

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Psst! Remember late last month when we showed you those Japanese magazine scans purporting to show the next Honda Fit? The ones with the markedly more aggressive snout and Cuisinart-blade alloys? Yup, they were the real deal, but they weren’t the standard model, they were images of the new Hybrid. We know this because Honda has just released a handful of images and some details on its forthcoming gas-electric hatchback, and the images line up perfectly.

The big story for the third-generation Fit Hybrid will be the fuel economy, naturally (Honda says it has achieved economy ratings of 36.4 kilometers per liter – 86 miles per gallon – on its home-market cycle, highest among all hybrid models in Japan and a 35-percent improvement over the current Fit Hybrid, a model not sold in the US.

Interestingly, the Fit brooms the company’s underwhelming Integrated Motor Assist system in favor of a new single-motor e-assist system dubbed Sport Hybrid i-DCD, and it eschews a CVT like most hybrids in favor of a “dual clutch drive” (i-DCD) with seven speeds. The architecture can completely uncouple the 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine and the i-DCD’s 22-kilowatt electric motor. The motor itself is backed by a lithium-ion battery that’s integrated into the power unit, and Honda is also touting a new servo brake system and electric compressor that increases the efficacy of the regenerative braking while curbing engine load. The Fit Hybrid will be able to putter along at speeds of up to 31 mph in pure electric mode for 1.9 miles.

Automotive News reports that while the Fit Hybrid seen here isn’t expected to be sold in the US, the technology will come to America in the form of a subcompact sedan and crossover based on the Fit’s architecture as early as next year. The conventionally powered five-door Fit will be built in North America for the first time, and should hit dealers in the third quarter of next year. Built in Honda’s new Ceyala, Mexico plant, the US car is likely to be offered with a 1.5-liter direct-injection engine paired to a CVT, both new components in Honda’s Earth Dreams arsenal. A 1.3-liter port-injected powerplant is also expected to be fitted elsewhere in the world.

Continue reading Honda reveals next-gen Fit Hybrid

Honda reveals next-gen Fit Hybrid originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 19 Jul 2013 08:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

A Quarter-Century of Volkswagen’s California

By Jens Meiners

A quarter-century ago, Volkswagen discovered the motorhome. Before then, conversions of its rear-engined T2 and T3 buses—the latter known in the U.S. as the Vanagon—were handled by aftermarket companies such as Westfalia or yacht-maker Dehler. But these elaborate, if compact, motorhomes became unaffordable, and VW moved to fill the niche. Based on the T3, the first-generation California hit the market. It was succeeded by a California version of the T4, and the current T5 also is available as a California model—a perfect companion to explore the roads far from the beaten path.

The naming of the California models was and is no coincidence. VW’s affordable motorhomes are a nod to the incredible popularity the T2 and the T3 enjoyed in America’s West Coast—particularly among the surfer and hippie communities, where it was sometimes fondly referred to as the “Love Bus.” Today’s California is about love as much as it is about leading the segment—with diesel engines of up to 180 horsepower and an available gasoline engine with 204 horsepower. The gallery below provides a look of the California’s evolution from T3 through today’s T5.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/caranddriver/blog/~3/YlCcPEI5VFU/

Honda Fit

Despite its age–the current generation was launched in 2008 as a 2009 model–the Honda Fit remains both known and praised for a design with unrivaled space efficiency and flexibility. The five-door subcompact hatchback competes with the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent, Toyota Yaris, and perhaps the sportier but iow-volume Mazda…
Source: FULL ARTICLE at The Car Connection

2014 Mini Clubman Bond Street: You’re Probably Better Off with a Used Goodwood Edition

By Justin Berkowitz

Mini Clubman Bond Street

Even after a decade of business under German management, Mini is still beating away at the “We’re Cheeky Brits” drum. Beyond Union Jack decals and London Olympics sponsorship, the company has offered such a flood of London-inspired special editions that one assumes they were the product of a weeklong pub crawl. (Ja, I vill have ze fish und chips!) The latest is the Clubman Bond Street, named for a posh shopping neighborhood best described as a rainier, colder, less-silicon-implanted Rodeo Drive.

The standard Clubman—with either the 121-hp Cooper engine or the 181-Cooper S unit—is sprayed in a metallic black paint, while the roof, C-pillars, and trim are done in a gold color called Cool Champagne. Seats, armrests, and the instrument panel are all trimmed in black leather with contrasting stitching. Mini is including a number of options as standard kit for the Clubman Bond Street, including chrome exterior trim, automatic climate control, and rain-sensing automatic headlights.

It’s an appealing package for a small number of buyers, many of whom, we suspect, will only learn the Clubman Bond Street exists when they fall in love with one at the dealer. For people who want a particularly special Mini, though, the real action is with a leftover or slightly used Mini Inspired by Goodwood, the brand’s we-won’t-say-Rolls-Royce homage to Rolls-Royce. There are unsold cars with delivery miles advertised for $40,000—that’s 23 percent off the original price—and used ones ring in for even less. Pricing for the Clubman Bond Street will be cheap as chips in comparison; the exact number will be released closer to the car’s arrival at dealers this March.

Mini Clubman Bond Street

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Scion Shows Off Latest xD Rally Car for Rally America

By John Lamm

2013 Scion xD Rally Car

High-speed rallying never really seems to catch on in the U.S., but the sport is filled with slick cars, many of them created from pretty humble roots.

Take Scion’s xD rally car as an example. The workaday model is a point-A-to-point-B econobox that utterly fails to deliver on Scion’s supposed mission of youthful awesomeness. (Its name also looks like the emoticon for belly laughs.) But jack it up, beef up the dirty bits, and slap some sponsor stickers on the thing, and—bam!—instant coolness.

The machine you see here will be competing in the 2013 Rally America National Championship in the two-wheel-drive class. It’s powered by a 1.8-liter four of unspecified output that’s force-fed by a GReddy turbo. Now in its second year of competition, the Scion has been upgraded for this year with a new suspension, better weight distribution, a bit more horsepower, and the transmission is now a dog box. The car will be driven again this year by Californian Andrew Comrie-Picard, who will aim to improve on last year’s second-place 2WD class finish.

2013 Scion xD Rally Car

Scion xD Rally Car at 2012 Rally America Sno*Drift Rally

The picture above is last year’s car at the 2012 Sno*Drift Rally; if you want to see the latest one compete, here’s the 2013 Rally America schedule:

Sno*Drift Rally: January 25–26 in Atlanta, Michigan
100 Acre Wood Rally:
February 22–23 in Salem, Missouri
Oregon Trail Rally:
May 3–5 in Portland, Oregon
Susquehannock Trail Rally:
May 31–June 1 in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania
New England Forest Rally:
July 26–27 in Newry, Maine
Ojibwe Forests Rally:
Aug. 23–24 in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota
Lake Superior Performance Rally: Oct. 18–19 in Houghton, Michigan

And have some Scion xD rally videos:

2013 Scion xD rally car photo gallery

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Detroit: Honda Urban SUV concept previews Fit-based crossover

By Jeffrey N. Ross

Filed under: , , , , ,

We’ve been hearing a lot of rumblings this year about a new crossover based on the Honda Fit, and now we finally get to see what this B-segment CUV might look like. Called the Urban SUV Concept, Honda’s new small crossover has made its debut at the Detroit Auto Show, but we’ll have to wait until 2014 to see the production version on sale in the US. Honda says the production version of this concept, whatever it will be called, will slot below the CR-V in terms of size and price.

In terms of this concept’s styling, there is plenty of the new Honda Accord in its face, and it looks like a more rugged version of the Nissan Juke, as well as a more practical alternative to the Hyundai Veloster. With its short overhangs, the concept measures 169.3 inches in length, making it about eight inches longer than a Fit hatchback and nine inches shorter than the CR-V. Honda confirmed that its new crossover will debut a telematics system for Honda, and it will use one of Honda’s new Earth Dreams engines; we previously reported that this engine would be a 1.5-liter I4 paired with a continuously variable transmission.

The next-generation Fit is expected to debut before this new crossover model, and both models will be built at Honda’s Celaya, Mexico assembly plant, which is scheduled to open early next year. A new sedan is also expected to round out the lineup of Fit-based products. For more information about this new Urban SUV Concept, scroll down for Honda’s official press release.

Continue reading Honda Urban SUV concept previews Fit-based crossover

Honda Urban SUV concept previews Fit-based crossover originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 14 Jan 2013 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Report: Honda Urban SUV Concept leaks out ahead of Detroit debut

By Steven J. Ewing

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Next up on the 2013 Detroit Auto Show embargo-break-a-palooza: the Honda Urban SUV Concept. Thanks to Indian Autos Blog, we now have the first press shots of the small crossover concept – a vehicle that will someday make it to production, riding on the Honda Fit platform.

It may have some big features – namely, the large headlamps, big wheels, and bold body lines – but the Urban SUV Concept will compete with smaller vehicles like the Nissan Juke or Fiat 500L. Indian Autos Blog reports that both 1.6- an 1.8-liter four-cylinder engines are being speculated for use in the production model, as well as a diesel powerplant for foreign markets.

That’s all we know for now, but stay tuned to see the full smattering of official images and details as part of this week’s Detroit coverage.

Honda Urban SUV Concept leaks out ahead of Detroit debut originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 13 Jan 2013 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

2013 Smart ForTwo “Tough” Commercial: What You See Is What You Get, Sort Of [The Ad Section]

By Don Klein

2013 Smart ForTwo “Tough” Commercial: What You See Is What You Get, Sort Of [The Ad Section]

Award-winning ad man-cum-auto journalist Don Klein knows a good (or bad) car commercial when he sees one; the Ad Section is his space to tell you what he thinks of the latest spots. The ad’s rating is depicted via the shift pattern at the bottom, but everyone has an opinion when it comes to advertising, so hit Backfires below and tell us what you think, too.

Welcome to the strange and wonderful world of TV commercial demos, wherein advertisers use impressive “visual proof” to dramatically showcase their products’ superiority. But be forewarned—what you see isn’t always exactly what you get. Because even though product demos are subject to FTC approval, what happens under contrived conditions doesn’t always replicate the real world, which might explain why demos are so often used in infomercials.

Against that background, let’s look at Smart’s new ForTwo commercial. We open on what appears to be a parked ForTwo with a giant Ford Excursion on its roof. But when the little car drives away, we see that in fact the multi-ton SUV is perched atop a Smart Tridion safety cell, which, we are told, “can withstand over three and a half tons.” Even with the sound turned off we would get the message: Smart is small in size, big on safety.

So what’s misleading about that? Strictly speaking, nothing. They really did lower an Excursion onto a Tridion cell. True, it was a specially rigged Tridion cell, but it points that out in type across the bottom. You noticed that, right? Of course, the demo doesn’t prove that Smarts are safe, but it certainly does leave that impression, just as a four-pound brick spanning a 12-ounce drinking tumbler might leave the impression that the glass is strong. But drop the brick on the tumbler—or the Excursion on the Smart—and the result likely will be different, especially if you don’t use a weight distribution platform like the one in the commercial and factor in things that happen in real accidents, like speed and motion. Although I’m not a physicist, I’ve got to believe that three-plus tons of mass randomly plunked down on suspension and tires designed to support an 1800-pound car is going to cause some serious damage, even if the cute little critter is parked at the time of impact. And if I’m wrong, at least it would be a demo to remember, right?

But like most TV commercial demos, this one is more about general perception than strict reality. Will anyone seeing this commercial think you can really tote a giant SUV around town on a Smart’s roof? Of course not. All Smart wants us to get from this spot is that its cars are safe. So are they? In the IIHS’s 2013 ratings, Smart earned top marks in every test it was subjected to, and the body’s construction probably had a lot to do with that, although in fairness, the 2013 versions of the Fiat 500, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent, Honda Fit, Mazda 2, Nissan Versa sedan, and Toyota Yaris hatchback all earned the same top rollover rating (the test that measures roof strength) without having “the world’s only Tridion safety cell.” But that still doesn’t make the ForTwo spot misleading: It never said Smart is making the only safe microcar.

Given the rules of engagement that apply to demos, I think this commercial does a good job. The FTC doesn’t require safety demos to literally replicate real-world accidents, and unlike the infamous Volvo “Bigfoot” commercial of 1990 where the roof of a 240 wagon was bolstered to avoid being crushed, this commercial didn’t cheat to make the honest point that Smarts have strong bodies. It’s merely a dramatic presentation of a true product attribute. It’s up to you to decide its relevance.

3rd GearAnother thing this commercial demonstrates is that it’s possible to effectively make a point in just 15 seconds (most commercials run for 30), and that will give Smart a lot more mileage from its ad budget. That said, I have to wonder about the tagline, which includes the term “uncar.” Smart’s not the first advertiser to use that concept to imply that its products are different. For years, 7-Up billed itself as the “Uncola” in an attempt to position the brand as an attractive alternative to Coke and Pepsi, and while that had some logic to it, I can’t imagine what “uncar” is supposed to mean. Are we to think of it as a four-wheeled motorcycle? A road-worthy golf cart or ATV? Even Smart’s website refers to its vehicles as “cars.” So why go to all the trouble to convince people that Smarts are strong, safe cars only to confuse them with a mysterious misnomer at the end? I’m not sure what that particular line of thinking is supposed to demonstrate.

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Report: <i>Consumer Reports</i> best value awards dominated by Toyota

By Jeffrey N. Ross

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Each year, Consumer Reports compiles a list of the vehicles it expects to be the best and worst when it comes to holding their original resale value, and the list of best values for 2012 is, not surprisingly, dominated by Toyota products. Overall, the best value for 2012 is the Toyota Prius, while the worst car for the money is the BMW 750Li, according to the magazine.

The Prius knocked the Honda Fit from the top spot, which was the best value four years running, and it did so despite costing $10,000 more as tested. As CR points out, a higher price does not equate to less value just as a lower price does not guarantee a higher value. A total of 15 Toyota, Scion and Lexus made the list with only one, the Lexus GS 350, having a lower-than-average resale value. Volkswagen and Subaru pulled in an impressive amount of cars on the list, too. On the opposite end of the stick, Chrysler was hit hard with all seven of the cars listed (across the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands) rated with a below-average resale value.

Scroll down to see the winners and losers for each category, but to view the full breakdown of the best and worst values on the market, a CR subscription is required.

Continue reading Consumer Reports best value awards dominated by Toyota

Consumer Reports best value awards dominated by Toyota originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 27 Dec 2012 15:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: Autoblog

Mitsubishi Mirage Confirmed for U.S. in Fall 2013—With 1.2-Liter Three-Cylinder!

By Justin Berkowitz

You should like three-cylinder engines. They’re cool. They’re different. They make thrummy little sounds. And come September, Mitsubishi will become the third automaker currently offering one in the U.S. After picking up some forms from the California Air Resources Board, we spoke to a Mitsubishi staffer, who confirmed that a 1.2-liter three will power the new “Global Small Car”—that’s the generic name for the Mirage—when it goes on sale this fall. Although Mitsu is being coy about the car’s name until its debut at the New York auto show in April, the CARB document also lists the name as Mirage. We don’t expect a change there.

If the engine isn’t changed from its naturally aspirated European setup, it’ll give the U.S. Mirage just 79 horsepower. And so the company that once shocked the world by squeezing as much as 400 hp from a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine will have the second-least-powerful car on the American market. The only car the Mirage will outgun is one of its three-cylinder brethren, the 70-hp Smart. With turbocharging, Ford’s new three-cylinder Fiesta packs 123 raging ponies.

Comparison Test: 2012 Chevrolet Sonic Turbo vs. 2011 Honda Fit, 2012 Hyundai Accent, 2012 Kia Rio5, 2012 Nissan Versa, 2012 Toyota Yaris
Prototype Drive: 2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0L EcoBoost
Comparison Test: 2012 Fiat 500 Sport vs. 2011 Mini Cooper

Unfortunately, this news doesn’t much relieve our urge to grab Mitsubishi and shake, while yelling “What the heck do you mean, no more Evo?” Nor is the Mirage likely to buoy Mitsubishi’s sinking ship in the States. Success for cars like the Ford Fiesta and the Honda Fit shows that the line of small-car acceptance has shifted, but there’s still a line. The Mazda 2 and the Chevy Spark are straddling it, and can look across to the Smart Fortwo and Scion iQ. The Mirage probably is too small and underpowered to score big sales here—but hey, we can always lobby Mitsu for a Ralliart version. Turbocharging really just makes inline-threes that much cooler.

Source: Car & Driver