One of the perks of being a Honda Brand-specific auto journalist is access to Honda management. 2015 was a record breaking year for me and American Honda Motor Company, and with it came the opportunity to meet many exceptional people connected to the Honda brand.
With the timely introduction of the Fit platformed built in Mexico HR-V crossover to North American markets, came the opportune invitation to attend Honda’s HR-V national press reveal in Miami Beach, Florida. There I would interview Mr. Jeff Conrad, executive vice president A.H.M.C, and Honda’s environmental officer Ms. Angie Nucci.
We would speak at length as to Honda’s ongoing commitment to preserving the environment, and near future plans for the development and delivery of affordable, attainable zero or near zero emissions electrified personal conveyance to the world’s largest auto market.
The short story: Honda promises the relaunch of a much improved 1 engine, two electric motor 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid delivering 50+ MPG in combined driving.
Personally, I believe market acceptance of electrified vehicles, and a measurable increase in the retail price of gasoline must occur prior to the successful retail expansion of alternatively fueled and powered personal conveyance in the U.S..
None the less, Honda remains committed to the ideology of environment protection through the small foot print manufacturing of low impact vehicles.
To say that American Honda Motor Company is on a roll,’ may be a gross understatement at this point. Coming off of record sales for 2015, the #4 best selling automotive brand in North America continues on an unprecedented reinvention of what may arguably be the most dynamic lineup in the maker’s history.
Civic, CR-V and Accord sell 1,000,000 + units for 2015
That’s a big number for any maker. But to have the North America’s #1 selling SUV, compact and midsize car (retail) under one brand may be unprecedented in a world of 200+ brand name plates.
Selling within 7,000 units of #1 Toyota Corolla in 2015, the newly platformed, redesigned and more powerful 2016 Civic is on course for surpassing Toyota Corolla with superior styling, standard featured active and passive safety features, greater fuel economy, horsepower and torque.
This week in the news we find 2016 Civic named “North America Car of the Year,” and earning the IIHS ( Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) “Top Safety Pick +”rating for combined superior standard and optional safety features, (“ACE Body Structure,” “Honda Sensing” enabled accident avoidance, and top rated slight overlap frontal impact crash test ratings.
What makes 2016 Civic superior in the compact sedan class for many may be those features that one doesn’t see and hopefully never needs. For us, the bonus here is Civic’s cutting edge good looks, new found interior quiet, refinement and uptick performance.
Civic’s body and interior design effectively takes on Audi and BMW, doing so with a fully loaded MSRP of well under $25,000, something the competition can’t or won’t do. You may catch my latest 2016 Honda Civic first impressions drive review here.
We already know that Ridgeline’s body design cue follows 2016 Pilot very closely. That next generation Ridgeline comes on to market with a more conventional pickup-truck look, greater horsepower, fuel economy and expanded rear seating area comfort. Will die hard Ridgeline fans like it?
As to mechanical and electronic upgrades and changes for 2017, your guess is as good as ours. Honda remains very tight lipped as to Ridgeline specifications. I speculated a bit here as to a hybrid, or diesel powered Ridgeline in 2015, it’s now doubtful.
But with Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado and Dodge Ram 1/2 ton pickups averaging better than 25 mpg highway, Nissan and Toyota compact pickups coming to market with diesel power, Honda must step up its fuel economy now to grab a measurable portion of the industries best selling segment. and do so at a comparable MSRP.
Historically Ridgeline has been a niche vehicle for Honda fans wishing to experience pickup utility while enjoying a car-like ride and drive environment.
looking to the latest Ridgeline teaser image from Honda, a major change or two is in store for Honda Ridgeline, we look to 2016 Pilot for a clue or two as to engine, power train, towing capability, dial-traction off road capability and superior personal device connectivity.
Although Honda has successfully introduced the first turbocharged Civic sedan in the history of the icon to North American buyers, 2017 Civic Type-R hype continues in North America.
The short story: On the engine performance side of things, Civic metric gear-heads want more!
My most read article for 2015 reported on a car that will never be marketed in the U.S., the 2015, 2016 Honda Civic Type-R.
With a stated 300 + horsepower engine, close throw manual 6-speed transmission, limited slip FWD differential, Brembo-like brakes, 18 inch cookie cutters, superior independent, reactive dampened suspension and more, Civic enthusiasts look to this 4th generation Civic Type-R to take on Ford Escort RS and Subaru WRZ, without the advantage of all -wheel-drive.
No worries, I’ve caught Civic Type-R in action on the track. it may have an advantage or two over AWD in dry driving conditions, I’ll leave that up to Honda engineering.
Last month we discussed the collectible status of arguably Honda’s rarest car-offering in better than a decade. If the paltry 750 car offering of Japan’s initial Civic Type-R release is any indication of North America availability, Civic Type-R will be a much coveted collector’s car on the day of its predicted release sometime in 2017.
With a rumored estimated MSRP of $39,999 U.S., ( I believe this to be too low.) Honda won’t have any difficulty selling out the initial “made in England” run of Civic Type-R in Canada and the U.S.. Check out my latest Civic Type-R article here
looking to the European specified 2016 Civic Type-R will give enthusiasts a hint as to what to anticipate in North American specified Civic Type-R’s future.
In the mean time, fans can anticipate the arrival of 2016 Civic Touring Coupe at a show room near you in March 2016. The 170 horsepower 1.5 liter turbocharged VTEC is a step above the competition as to horsepower, fuel economy and refinement. With a MSRP of under $25,000 U.S., it may well be worth your consideration.
In response to a recent Honda-Torque News article penned on the 3rd generation Honda Pilot, not only did a friendly argument ensue as to the vehicle classification of Pilot, but rather or not it was off-road worthy, could pull a decent load, and if in-fact, Pilot could pull a loose sand and gravel grade as demonstrated in a recent event video.
For me a life time truck owner and true 4-wheel drive enthusiasts, while 2016 Pilot as stated by a concerned detractor or two “is not a light truck” as categorized by the U.S. Government, not and SUV in the Chevy Suburban manifestation of the term. and in its factory trim, not the baddest rock-climber in the automotive industry, it remains truck-tough and highly versatile.
In practice 2016 Honda Pilot equipped with all-wheel-drive is a very capable family hauler presenting exceptional all weather and road condition traction capability, equipped to take on “light” off-road driving duties, while hauling family, friends and cargo in relative comfort, quiet and safety.
And that of course is what Honda engineering designed the all new 2016 Pilot to do. Me, I’d drive this very capable urbane assault vehicle just about anywhere on the planet. As to pre-manufacturing testing and development: Honda Pilot was put through severe cold weather testing in Siberia, extreme desert heat testing in Saudi Arabia, and sand-dune romping in Glamis, California, and kept up with or surpassed the best domestic and import manufactured offerings in the midsize SUV, crossover segment.
Disclosure: I’ve taken 2016 Pilot off road, but granted, not very far. The conditions were mostly dry, a bit dusty and questionable as to gravel-road tractability. looking to Pilot’s factory specified ground clearance kept me from romping Pilot on a forestry trail or two. But, I never felt or sensed a loss of traction or engine power while piloting 2016 Honda Pilot. It will do it!
1.5 million of our closest family and friends from around the globe read Honda-Torque News in 2015, that I know of. Perusing the world-wide-web I discover countless pirated, or legitimately shared article links, in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America. I am very grateful for the readership. Thank you all.
With that said: The most read Honda-Torque News article in the U.S. is credited to a car that will never be marketed in the states, the European based Civic Type-R. Civic Type-R excitement is driving Honda performance buzz into 2016 and beyond.
In speaking with my contacts at American Honda Motors, I don’t anticipate the arrival of the 10th generation Civic based Type-R prior to mid year 2017, as a 2018 model.
According to the online buzz, the U.S. specified 2017 or 2018 Civic Type-R ( Honda hasn’t committed to a production date) will be turbocharged, front-wheel-drive, shifted manually and produce north of 300 + b.h.p. Cost? Estimated to be close to $40,000 U.S..
That’s a bit conservative in my view when taking into consideration the current 2016 Honda Civic Touring price structure. But, if this Ford Focus ST, Subaru WRX killer comes to market as hot as anticipated, even priced at $50,000, Honda will sell as many Type-R as they can produce in North America. You may read my latest Civic Type-R article here.
In Honda Torque News today: With winter 2016 weather conditions coming on hard, a reader or two has come forward with a question as to “winterizing” their older Honda Civic. While Civics do take intermittent service cycles in stride, winter weather can take its toll on Civic and driver if not prepared for the seasonally inclement weather; specifically driving on icy, snow covered roads, frozen windshield washer fluid plastic wells and sometimes bursting plastic lines, Ts and clamps.
Living in the Pacific Northwest residents of Eugene and Portland Oregon rarely deal with the harsh winter weather conditions of eastern and northeastern North America.
But ice and snow does inundate the region on a yearly basis. I have a few tips for increasing your road visibility during cold, and sometimes foggy driving conditions.
And then there’s that ever present tire issue. We have a suggestion or two for Civic owners on a limited budget, including affordable All-Weather tires. Check my Honda-Torque News article and drive safely this Winter.
Today in Honda News we take a look at Honda’s Pioneer 1000 side by side.
I was first introduced to Honda’s latest side by side offering last summer in eastern San Diego, California at the Honda Dream Garage Event. Unfortunately for me and others looking to drive the Pioneer 1000, the displayed vehicle was what is referred to in the automotive world as a static display, not moving! My ride wasn’t going to happen on that day.
None the less Pilot 1000 did catch may attention, and I’d see it again at the SEMA Las Vegas Show, along with the H.P.D. prepared Baja Ridgeline Pickup. The Pioneer 1000 is Honda’s latest and most versatile offering in the utility-Ranch and off-road recreation side-by-side segment. The first thing that catches one’s eye is the size of this side-by-side.
It’s about the same size as an Asian micro pickup truck, offers a 2 passenger, dump bed or 5-passenger seating configuration, has a 1,000 lb hauling capacity, and will pull up to 2,000 lbs. That’s same capacity as many compact pickup trucks on the road today.
Segment topping engine performance
Pilot 1000 is powered by an all new 999 cc liquid cooled OHC Unicam parallel twin 4-stroke, fuel injected gasoline engine. According to Honda, this engine is a high-torque producing monster.
Although Honda doesn’t print horsepower ratings, looking to the specification, I estimate the engine output at around 70+., with torque approaching the same. Is Pioneer 1000 thirsty? probably. looking to Pilot’s specifications, a 7.9 gallon fuel tank comes standard including reserve.
How big is Pioneer 1000
Pioneer 1000 is a heavy weight in the side by side segment tipping the scales between 1500 and 1700 lbs, dry weight, depending on trim package options. To put pioneer 1000’s size into perspective, it’s a mere 800 lbs lighter than a 2016 Honda Fit, measures nearly 10 feet long, 5 feet 3 inches wide and 6 feet 4 inches tall, a full 18 inches taller than the aforementioned 2016 Honda Fit.
Pioneer 1000 isn’t going to fit in your pickup truck bed, but it could tow your pickup out of the mud and features a real-world 12.9 inch ground clearance Via a front and rear fully independent wishbone suspension. I like the 10 .9 inch front suspension travel.
What you get with this supersized side by side is real truck-like seating, safety features and tech options not common to the segment. Pilot’s “bad,” in a good way.
6 speed dual clutch transmission with paddle shift and variable terrain modes
Torque transfer to the 27 inch all terrain tires is accomplished via a state of the art fully automated dual clutched 6-speed transmission. For EPS trim levels or higher, there’s a steering wheel mounted paddle shift with sport-mode option. looking to the specifications, all trim levels come in 4WD standard with 2-range differential and 4-terrain-mode differential lock.
Suggested Sales Price
like all good things, Pilot 1000 pushes the price limitations of the side-by-side segment. ( Priced from $13,199 to $17,199 +) Yet looking to the size, versatility, frame toughness and performance afforded to the end user by Honda’s newest side by side offering, I believe that for anyone looking for the next step in a farm or ranch utility vehicle, hunting or working the golf course, Honda Pilot 1000 has earned your consideration.
On the tails of what is arguably the most successful Civic generational launch in decades, we learn from our friend HondaPro Jason, that as previously predicted, there will be no Civic Si released in any trim level or variant for 2016.
The reason here is one of world-wide production release
As earlier reported by Torque News, the first 2016 Civic to roll off of the assembly line is the all new 10th generation Civic Sedan in normally aspirated and turbocharged engine variants, with 6 speed manual transmission(entry level only) and CVT ( constant variable transmission) available throughout the lineup.
Civic sales up 8.5% for November, 2015
According to Jason Richmond of “HondaPro Jason Show” fame, the Civic Si sedan and coupe will arrive in North America sometime in 2017, along with the built in Surrey, England coupe and high performance Civic Type-R.
So what’s going on with Honda Fit sales? Granted, 2015 Honda Fit sales approach the 50,000 unit mark in North America as of November. But that’s far below what I’d predicted on the release of the redesigned Fit back in late 2014.
American Honda Motors had Fit penciled in for 75,000 units sold, or more, per year. I predicted that Fit sales would eventually outpace Civic. Boy was I wrong! And then came the introduction of the Fit platformed HR-V crossover, and – cheap, plentiful gasoline.