In recapping Honda and Acura news for June 2016, besides the market roll out of several 2017 Honda and Acura car, light truck and crossover models, RACING was the buzz in Honda news.
Coming off of an unprecedented winning streak for Honda powered Indycar, the co-sponsor and safety arm of the 100th running of the Broadmoor Pikes Peak Hill Climb classic came to the annual race to the clouds with three 2017 Acura NSX supercar variants. Catch my latest Acura racing article here.
From what I read
One 4-motor electric and torque monster modified NSX platform racer running in “Electric Modified,” one near stock NSX running in “Time Attack 2,” and the third? I can’t find any news on it. Here’s my read on Pikes Peak.
The short story here is that 2017 Acura NSX in its first official competition of any kind, drove away with a first place finish in its class, as did the all electric modified NSX.
Getting real with Realtime Racing
In other news we find our friends at “RealTime Racing” taking the podium in Pirelli World Challenge round 12 and 13 at Road America in owner Peter Cunningham’s home state of Wisconsin.
With driver of the #43 TLX-GT car Ryan Eversley taking 1st place in both races and Peter #42
taking 2nd and 4th place respectively, Acura, Honda Performance Development and RealTime Racing just ran their best race in 2 years. Love it! Catch my latest article on Acura racing here. Wishing you a safe and sane 4th of July weekend.
Although my news beat is the world of Honda car, light truck and motorcycle development, most if not all drivers could financially benefit from improved fuel efficiency.
In my latest Honda-Torque News article, I address the concerns of 10th generation, 2016 Honda Civic coupe and sedan drivers — they want more! More fuel efficiency, more horsepower and torque, more interior utility and room, and in short — more Civic for the dollar spent.
2016 Honda Civic Sedan is “North American Car of the Year”
Civic didn’t achieve that lofty accolade by remaining simply a “good” compact sedan. Honda’s 10th generation Civic, designed in California and built in America is constructed on Honda’s ” World Compact Car Chassis,” and is arguably one of if not the greatest visually compelling compact car value found in the segment today.
2016 Civic proves that greater fuel efficiency and power can go hand in hand
There was a time when greater horsepower and torque meant lower MPG (miles per gallon,” that was a given and consumers looking for greater sport were willing to lose fuel efficiency in a quest for high output engine performance.
2016 Honda Civic presents a near premium, measurable performance drive and ride package at an attainable price point through the technical advancements of low friction engine components, direct fuel injection, turbocharging and computer controlled CVT (continuous variable transmission) no shift transmission technology. It’s astounding.
This week further finds the dealership release of the 2nd generation 2017 Honda Ridgeline Pickup. Arguably the most unique light truck offering in the midsize pickup truck segment. Ridgeline is sure to be a sales winner. Check out my latest article on Honda’s unibody pickup truck here.
The adventure that is Volvo S90 begins with one’s first sitting behind the wheel of this very premium sedan on arguably the most comfortable, infinitely adjustable, ergonomically correct drivers seat in the midsize premium segment.
For me, as I hesitantly enter the 6th decade of this stay on planet earth, frankly, nothing in the drive and ride experience overshadows the importance of a well constructed, comfortable seat, Volvo sports the best fit for me in the midsize premium segment.
At 6 ft 5 inches tall, 2017 Volvo S90 presents ample “knees off the dash” driver and front passenger seat legroom, with seemingly yards of headroom. Yet visually and physically, S90 profiles close to the pavement for ease of ingress and egress. Featuring 10-way power adjusted seats, lumbar support, extended or retractable leg support, and adjustable steering wheel, S90 sedan affords the perfect seating position for most if not all drivers.
Volvo’s driver’s seat is therapeutically designed to form fit the architecture of the human frame — think $5,000 office chair on 4 wheels — cooled, heated, perforated Napa leather, infinitely adjustable and well worn driving glove soft. And yet the seat does hold you in prime position while driving aggressively–without the employment of restrictive bench and seat back bolstering.
A Scandinavian Sanctuary
Encapsulating the environs of what Volvo design refers to as “a Scandinavian Sanctuary,” is an understated, uncluttered compilation of real wood grain accents, leather covered steering wheel, arm rests, door panels, dash pad and instrument cluster.
Complimented by muted chrome-like accents, generously padded carpeting, luxurious trunk lining, plated and optionally lit door kicker panels, 2017 Volvo S90 presents a rolling Scandia Design-like drive and ride environment with unparalleled rivals in North America’s midsize premium sedan segment. I discovered nothing lacking here as to precision fitment and material integration, nothing!
Huge 12.3 inch digital instrument cluster/ i-MID/ 4 panel center stack and more
Rivaling a “King Air” glass screen aviation cluster, Volvo engineering and design incorporates what is arguably the most advanced and easy to manipulated 4-segment thermal touch (it will activate with gloves on) high resolution monitors in the industry today. There is actually a selection on the screen for Video and Television, I didn’t activate it.
I appreciate the balance of Volvo’s dash layout. The instrument cluster and center stack is well lit, easily viewed, and mostly intuitive as to its operation. I found Volvo’s voice prompted navigation to work better than some, although we did encounter a directive glitch or two as to pre-programmed directions on the roads of Malaga, Spain.
Volvo S90 does feature Apple Carplay connectivity, USB hub, multiple charging ports and a 12 volt accessory outlet in its spacious trunk. It works!
While Volvo’s “smart wheel” does duplicate several functions accessible through the monitor, such as stereo mode, volume and station settings, it’s primarily function is for steering the S90 and cruise control.
The steering wheel is available as an option throughout the trim range leather covered and heated. Paddle shifting? Not yet, although Volvo engineering promises shifting options in the near future.
On a personal note: I did find the electric power assisted steering to be a bit on the heavy side — although the ‘feel” can be adjusted out a bit by “personalizing” the drive dynamic through Volvo’s inclusive IDS roller toggle drive mode select. In my case I found that adjusting the shift response and suspension to sport mode and the wheel to comfort mode did ‘loosen’ up the wheel a bit.
Active safety features, personal electronic connectivity, and entertainment first and foremost
The aforementioned is what sells cars today, and Volvo runs just a bit ahead of the trend with what I believe to be the best working active safety features suite available in the segment today.
Volvo continues its historical emphasis on driver and passenger safety by presents a standard feature active safety suite on all S90 trim levels — including Pilot Assist, a semi autonomous assist driving technology — Collision Avoidance by City Safety ™ — Low and high speed collision mitigation — Pedestrian, Cyclist, Large Animal recognition and auto brake engagement — Run off Road Mitigation, Road departure warning, lane watch and more.
2017 S90 self driving characteristics
S90 will assist in driving up to 80 mph, but the driver’s hand is required to stay on the wheel in 15 second intervals. Yes. I did test this option, it worked flawlessly with near dead center lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, brake mitigation and parking assist. Take my word for it. In heavy small town traffic the collision avoidance feature is very effective
Drive performance: Are 4 cylinders enough? As my co driver John stated: “One would have to look under the hood of the S90 T6 to discover the 4 cylinder,” source of exceptional power and seamless torque.
In all truth this aluminum 2.0 Liter twin cam, direct injected, supercharged and turbocharged 4 cylinder gasoline engine produces seamless torque, with ZERO turbo lag noted up to the red line — is fuel efficient,and works seamlessly in tandem with the 8 speed Alson Warner automatic transmission.
Producing 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft torque in the mid-range, Volvo 90S T6 achieves a respectable 5.7 second standing start 0 to 60 mph sprint time — quick enough for the majority of drivers in the midsize premium/ luxury sedan segment.
Note: A 2.0 liter inline 4 cylinder gasoline turbocharged rendition of the same mill will come available in the Momentum trim package producing a respectable 250 horsepower/ 258 lb-ft torque @ 2200 rpm, rivaling many 6 cylinder engines on the market today.
Scheduled to arrive first in the U.S. July 2016, will be the S90 T6 AWD (all-wheel-drive) followed by the FWD (front wheel drive,) S90 T5 and the Volvo V90 estate wagon in early 2017.
With a stated MSRP of $46,950 T5 Momentum FWD to the top of the line S90 T6 Inscription MSRP $56,250 + destination charge, options sales tax and fees if applicable, Volvo S90 may be in actuality the bargain of the midsize luxury sedan segment.
As a first generation S80 T6 owner and driver, I hold an innate fondness for Volvo going back to the 4 cylinder, manual transmission duck-tails of my youth. My current personal ride is a twin turbocharged straight 6 generating around 250 horsepower. Torque steer and turbo lag? Yes. However, I love driving my near vintage Volvo and looked forward to experiencing the latest manifestation of the sedan, I wasn’t disappointed.
2017 Volvo S90 T6 delivers as promised. The sedan has been developed and produced to enable a comfortable, safe and quiet near luxury sedan drive and ride experience. It does that in spades! While not an AMG optioned Mercedes E63 S, it doesn’t claim to be, nor does it carry a 3 figure MSRP.
What Volvo presents here is a well optioned, visually appealing executive/family sedan that eagerly doubles as a measurable performance sedan when coaxed to do so. This car screams sustainable financial affluence with a dash of Swedish conservative sensibility, design and panache.
Volvo believes that buyers will reward themselves for hard work driven success with this car, it is rewarding to drive.
While I found the S90 quite capable as to handling an aggressively driven country 2-lane roads, were this sedan truly shines is in long-range highway driving. When one settles into the drive environment afforded by Volvo’s latest sedan, comfort overtakes fatigue as driver meshes seamlessly with arguably the finest near autonomous driving technology available in any segment today.
Surprisingly, I found Volvo’s therapeutic seat to require no break in time. Ours was equipped with cooling, heating and message.
One’s attention to the road was further ensured by a well positioned “heads up “ display, where one’s current speed, engine temp, etc, can be monitored while keeping one’s eye on the road.
2017 Volvo S90’s quality of ride, thanks to Volvo’s option available rear air suspension, superior hydraulic dampening and active electronic noise cancellation, rates with the best in the industry, while facilitating a split personality sport-like-driving capability required by today’s all inclusive consumer mindset.
Some back seat time
Again, I discovered a superior , comfortable seating surface in S90’s second row. With center pull down armrest extended, I “kicked it” in the back for a few miles while co-driver John put the S90 through its paces.
Visibility to the front was very good from the slightly elevated 40/ 60 split bench with access to the trunk for those longer items. Cooling and heating is accomplished by a passenger adjusted center council heating grid and touch panel control interface.
With the optional 19 speaker stereo system tuned into one’s favorite music source, and the rear passenger window screen employed, near limousine comfort is enjoyed by second row passengers in the S90.
Ingress and egress is effortless through Volvo’s rather wide rear side door. However, there is just a tad more tire to the road noise generated in the rear, however it is minor. Although a large car by midsize sedan standards, S90 remains nimble while maneuvering in town thanks to superior suspension logic, automated parking assist, and optional 360 view camera technology.
A closing thought of two
Volvo is on track to reinvent their entire car and SUV lineup within the next 24 months. Furthermore, in view of “Diesel Gate,” Volvo is committed to across the car brand integration of small displacement, clean burning high output 4 and 3 cylinder gasoline fueled engines for the North America markets.
Although the initial introduction of the S90 does not present a gasoline hybrid or plug in alternative, according to Volvo engineering, it will come.
Looking to the engineering, technology rich marvel that is the 2017 S90, Volvo is well on its way to not only sustaining sales growth in North America, but returning to prominence if not dominance in some automotive segments.
When one looks closely to standard and optional active safety and near autonomous driving features presented through S90, it’s not a “how” but when we will safely transition into an automotive age of self driving cars.
Volvo holds autonomous driving technology and implementation sophistication in their arsenal now. It’s a question of corporate liability and the timing of municipality and public acceptance. Reading between the lines, Volvo is ready to pull the trigger.
I could have just as easily substituted “continues to elevate” for “carries American Honda Motors through” a tough transitional May 2016 sales month. With all major automotive brand sales slumping a bit in May. 2016 Honda Civic continued to buck the SUV trend with yet another near record sales month. Read my latest Honda Civic market recap here.
With Civic up no less than 20% for the year, when compared to May of 2015, AHMC looks to Civic Sedan, Coupe and the soon to arrive built in England 5-door hatchback to push the maker to new found segment dominance in North America.
While it may be a bit down the road before North American Honda Type-R fans realize the arrival of the long awaited Type-R hatchback, recent spy photos indicate a fast-track (no pun intended) R&D and subsequent road trials for Honda’s “hot hatch” in Canada and the U.S..
Why Civic continues to sell so well in a crossover/SUV obsessed market
It’s the “Art of the Line,” and when it comes to the compact sedan and coupe, no other maker at this time in North America builds a better looking, higher performing, near-premium compact car than Honda does.
While not the cheapest offering the compact segment, when one weighs the initial MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) against offerings from Chevrolet, Chrysler, Hyundai, KIA, Nissan, Toyota, Mazda and others, 2016 Civic, even in its 2.0 Liter, 6 speed manual transmission base trim presents the greatest long-term lease or purchase value — that’s why 2016 Honda Civic was voted “Best Car of the Year” and “Best Car for Families” in 2016.
In risk of reading like yet another Honda advertisement
Don’t read me wrong here, McCants Auto News has driven all competitors in the compact segment. The aforementioned auto brands ALL manufacturer a very decent car. BUT, some are more refined, offer greater initial quality, higher crash test ratings, greater fuel economy and quieter interiors than other.
It takes more than good looks to sell a car theses days. Honda engineering and design tells m McCants Auto News that Civic is purpose designed to go after the compact premium sports sedan segment, and takes on Audi and BMW.