Jul 062017

Honda Odyssey

Latino Traffic Report (LTR) has just learned that Insure.com’s annual ranking of the least and most expensive vehicles to insure named the Honda Odyssey as the least expensive for the second year in a row, while Jeep set a new record with its models taking up a whopping 50 percent of the top 10. On the high side, the Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG convertible was the most expensive. The rankings were compiled from a recent review of insurance rates in every single state for more than 2,800 different vehicle models.

Insure.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to calculate average auto insurance rates for 2017 models. Averages were calculated using data from six large carriers, such as Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm, in ten zip codes per state. Not all models were available, especially exotic cars.

Least expensive rankings were based on the best-performing trim line of each model. The worst performing trim line of each model determined most expensive rankings.

Least Expensive Vehicles to Insure

Jeep Renegade Sport

When it comes to cheap vehicles to insure, nothing has changed with the Honda Odyssey LX remaining at the top of the list. According to Insure.com: “Minivans have always been popular on our inexpensive to insure list. In 2011, all four of the top spots were minivans and every year since at least one minivan has been in the top five, with the exception of 2013.

What minivans lack in sex appeal, they make up for in safety and for a family vehicle, that’s where the emphasis should be. Safety features, a great safety rating, and extra cautious drivers lead to fewer accidents, claims, and lower rates. The Odyssey has received an overall five-star crash rating from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Second place goes to the Jeep Renegade Sport, the Jeep Wrangler Black Bear ranks No. 3 with the Honda CR-V LX earning the number four spot and the Jeep Compass Sport rounding out the top five.

While some may be surprised to see Jeep included so heavily in the list—in addition to the ones listed above, the Jeep Cherokee Sport took the No. 7 spot and the Patriot Sport tied for eighth place—it’s not so odd, according to Penny Gusner, consumer analyst for Insure.com.

“When people think of Jeeps, they typically think about ruggedness, not bells and whistles. The Jeeps on the list are the entry-level and thus would cost less to repair or replace than a car that comes with lots of expensive luxury features,” notes Gusner.

Top 10 Cheapest Cars to Insure

Rank Make\Model Average annual premium
1 Honda Odyssey LX $1,112
2 Jeep Renegade Sport $1,138
3 Jeep Wrangler Black Bear $1,148
4 Honda CR-V LX $1,170
5 Jeep Compass $1,183
6 Subaru Outback 2.5l $1,187
7 Jeep Cherokee Sport $1,188
8 Buick Encore (tie) $1,190
8 Jeep Patriot Sport (tie) $1,190
10 Subaru Forester 2.5l $1,196


Most Expensive Vehicles to Insure

Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG cabriolet

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the most expensive cars to insure list is mainly made up of sports cars that are designed to be driven fast, or high-end luxury cars.

As usual, Mercedes-Benz dominates the most expensive to insure category with nine vehicles in the top 20. The Dodge Viper drops from No. 1 to 2 and Maserati breaks into the top 10 for the first time as the Quattroporte GTS slips into the fourth spot.

While most of the cars on the list are out of the average person’s price range, sticker price is not always a reliable indicator of insurance costs. In many cases, less expensive but higher performance cars cost more to insure.

Dodge Viper GTS

As an example, the most expensive car to insure (Mercedes S65 AMG convertible) is indeed the most expensive car on the list with an MSRP of $247,900. However, the second most expensive car to insure (Dodge GTS Viper) is a relative bargain with an MSRP of $87,895.

Six of the nine Mercedes models on the most expensive to insure list are convertibles. Prone to more theft and break-ins, a convertible’s insurance rates will typically also be higher, plus convertibles, as a body style, can cost more than their siblings.

It’s not just high performance that jacks up the rates though, a sky-high sticker price and the accompanying repair costs also impact premiums. “It’s no coincidence that many of the vehicles on the most expensive insurance list are more than just Mercedes models—they’re among the most expensive versions of those models, and consequently the most expensive to replace and possibly to repair,” points out Joe Wisenfelder, executive editor with Cars.com.

Top 10 Most Expensive Cars to Insure

Rank Make/Model Average annual premium
1 Mercedes S65 AMG (convertible) $3,835
2 Dodge GTS Viper $3,779
3 Mercedes S63 AMG 4Matic (convertible) $3,624
4 Maserati Quattroporte GTS $3,547
5 Mercedes S550 (convertible) $3,502
6 Mercedes C43 4Matic (convertible) $3,418
7 Mercedes Maybach S600 $3,355
8 Mercedes SL65 AMG (convertible) $3,322
9 Nissan GT-R Nismo $3,313
10 Audi R8 5.2L V10 Quattro $3,267

What Affects Insurance Rates

According to Insure.com, the three factors that most affect insurance costs are repair costs, claim rates, and vehicle type. Accident avoidance features, like airbags and restraint systems all impact rates. Anything that reduces the risk of damage to the vehicle and injury to the people inside, results in less expensive insurance.

The good news is that affordable insurance no longer exists only in the compact or family sedan category. It’s now possible to affordably insure minivans, SUVs, and pick-ups.

The common dominator in the least expensive to insure category is safe drivers. “Notice that all of these are essentially family vehicles that, overwhelmingly, will be subjected to normal driving in the hands of responsible parental types,” observes Wiesenfelder.

While SUVs had their problems in the past, mainly with rollovers, the safety ratings of SUVs have improved dramatically over the years. Safety features and accident rates have made a big impact on rates. Still, average rates are for comparative purposes only. Your own rate will depend on personal factors.

Mar 282017

Honda had a brilliant start to the 2017 Moto3 Word Championship, taking the top five places at the end of a typically thrilling multi-rider battle. The top eight finishers passed the checkered flag separated by less than nine tenths of a second! Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V, #93) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) finished tonight’s season-opening Qatar Grand Prix in fourth and fifth positions, just four tenths of a second apart at the finish line.

The race started 45 minutes later after the freakish desert weather that has dominated much of this weekend threatened to soak the track once again. A brief shower as riders lined up on the grid caused the nerve-wracking delay, but in the end none of that mattered as the world’s greatest riders laid on a battle royal under the floodlights. Then, as riders returned to their pits after the race, the heavens properly opened.

Marc Marquez

Reigning World Champion Marquez started the race from the front row of the grid but he never expected an easy race, because this is not one of his favorite racetracks. The night’s tricky conditions complicated matters further, with the track surface cooling rapidly and dew forming in some areas.

“I think we worked well over the weekend, and we had everything clear for today,” Marquez shared.  “Our plan was to use the harder front compound, but the chaotic situation with the rain and the continuous delays created many doubts. In the end we decided to go with the medium front, aiming to reduce the risk of crashing, but this turned out to be our biggest mistake of the weekend.”

The 24-year-old Spaniard was in the lead group from the very beginning, chasing early leader and rookie Johann Zarco (Yamaha), who crashed out after-one third distance, highlighting the delicate grip situation. In the later stages Marquez slipped back a few seconds to finish fourth, six seconds behind winner Maverick Vinales (Yamaha).

His issue was the cooling conditions that prompted him to change his front tire on the grid, from the usual hard compound to the medium compound, in the hope that this tire would retain its temperature more efficiently in the cool conditions. In fact Marquez used up

Dani Pedrosa

much of the tire’s performance in the first few laps, which meant he could not maintain his usual hard-charging style in the later laps.

“We were aware that we struggle a bit at this track, but as always we kept a positive attitude, as we also knew that if everything was in place, we could have fought for the podium or even the victory,” said Marquez.

Pedrosa had a great race, fighting his way through from the third row of the grid to move forward as the shortened 20-lap race went on. The 31-year-old former 125cc and 250cc World Champion also used the medium front and was happy with his performance at a track that has never been really kind to him. Like all the other riders, the Spaniard did superbly to maintain his focus in the run-up to the race, despite the delays.

In the final laps the main interest focused on Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) who showed a fine turn of speed. After getting the better of Morbidelli’s team-mate Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) the Portuguese closed the gap on Nakagami, but wasn’t quite close enough to attack on the final lap. Marquez finished a strong fifth, well clear of Luca Marini (Forward Team Kalex), who got to the checkered flag just two tenths ahead of impressive Moto2 rookie Fabio Quartararo (Pons HP 40 Kalex).

The MotoGP circus leaves Qatar tomorrow, making its way to Argentina for the second round of the 2017 MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 World Championships on April 9.

Feb 132017

The reasons why the CR-V and Civic have been top sellers for Honda are many. Offering families the versatility they need as well as value they seek explains how the CR-V became the best-selling SUV in America for the past 20 years, selling nearly four million models in the United States since it was introduced in 1997. For its part, the Civic offers an affordable and fuel-efficient option for a daily driver. Honda chose to introduce the all-new 2017 version of the CR-V in Monterey, California, a fitting backdrop for its popular compact sport utility vehicle (SUV). For the Civic, also a favorite among Latinos, Honda marked the return of a body style that has been anticipated for years, the hatchback. Latino Traffic Report attended the launch of both, beginning with the 2017 Civic Hatchback in San Francisco.

Honda Civic Hatchback

It’s been more than 25 years since the Civic offered a hatchback version, some would say its return has been long overdue. Available in five trims: LX, Sport, EX, EX-L Navi, and Sport Touring, the body style will be added to the tenth generation of the Civic, joining the sedan and coupe.

As a five-door hatch it offers more versatility than a coupe or sedan, including a best-in-class cargo capacity of 25.7 cubic feet of room and an innovative cargo cover that retracts to the side rather than from the top for added convenience.

Happily, it comes with a six-speed manual transmission, as well as a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Both are both matched to the same 1.5-liter in-line four cylinder turbo with 174 horses (horsepower jumps to 180 on the Sport and Sport Touring trims) that also powers certain CR-V trim levels.

The best fuel economy comes from the CVT matched to the turbo with an EPA estimated fuel economy of 31 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. The base model manual should achieve one mpg less. The Sport and Sport Touring versions will achieve a little less than that. The model I drove, however, achieved an average fuel efficiency of 39.3 mpg.

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback

The six-speed manual, however, really ramps up the fun-to-drive experience of the hatchback, but what’s even better is that it’s available on two trim levels, the base (LX) and the Sport. That means that while one version may be fairly basic, the second can be upgraded with more technology and options, like Honda Sensing on the LX, a suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies that includes the Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Forward Collision Warning integrated with the CMBS, and Adaptive Cruise Control  with Low-Speed Follow or steering wheel paddle shifters and 18-inch alloy wheels on the Sport. Honda’s version of a blind spot monitor, LaneWatch, is standard on the EX trim and above, which excludes the LX and Sport.

Still, standard features on all hatchbacks include the Eco Assist system to improve fuel economy, a multi-angle rearview camera, cruise control, and a 60/40 split rear seat that folds down, among other features.

Pricing for the 2017 Civic Hatchback starts at $20,575.

Honda CR-V

For 2017, Honda designers opted to sharpen design cues on the CR-V’s extrerior rather than take a radical approach, starting with the headlamps. The hood is also longer while the rear receives a shorter overhang, elongated LED taillights, and new dual exhaust outlets. Its wheelbase also grows by 1.6-inches.

No family vehicle is complete without a discussion of safety features and the CR-V has a story to tell. For the first time it will offer (except on the base model) both Road Departure Mitigation and Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow. Additional new available driver-assistive features that could be considered must-haves include a Rear Cross Traffic Monitor, Blind Spot Information System, Auto High-Beam and the all-new Driver Attention Monitor.

Adding convenience, the available Hands Free Access Power Tailgate that automatically opens and closes the tailgate by simply swiping your foot to activate a sensor under the rear of the vehicle is a Honda-first. Hauling is made easier with the new one-motion dive-down 60/40-split rear seat that falls softly when deployed rather than slamming down like so many others.

Honda offers two available engines on the 2017 CR-V beginning with its first ever turbocharged, 1.5-liter in-line four-cylinder engine with an EPA estimated fuel economy of 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway when equipped with front wheel drive (FWD). The second engine option, a 2.4-liter direct-injected i-VTEC with Variable Timing Control powers the base model and should earn an EPA city/highway estimated fuel economy of 26/32 mpg when equipped with FWD. Both engines are mated to a CVT with Honda G-Shift control logic. The Active Shutter Grille system that lowers aerodynamic drag and helps improve fuel economy is another Honda-first. We averaged 31.3 mpg on the test drive.

Like the Civic hatchback, every 2017 CR-V is equipped with a green ECON button located on the center console near the shift lever. Activating the ECON mode helps improve fuel efficiency by modifying throttle mapping and HVAC operation.

All-wheel-drive (AWD) models feature an upgraded Real Time AWD system with a significant increase in maximum rear-wheel torque delivery.

Pricing for the 2017 CR-V starts at $24,985.

The redesigned CR-V and all-new Civic hatchback will please their enthusiastic and loyal customers as well as appeal to new fans.

Jan 302017

As gas prices begin to creep up, consumers needn’t worry. No matter who heads the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the current administration, California, the number-one car market in the country according to the National Automobile Dealers Association, will require carmakers to reduce emissions, which means hybrids will continue to offer fuel-saving options for years to come. While they still make up just a fraction of new car sales, hybrids have grown in availability and configurations, from compacts to luxury sport utility vehicles. Latino Traffic Report will spend the next three months with one in particular, the all-new 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring.

It arrived in December and on a first impression, the Accord Hybrid is a looker. Honda redesigned the Accord for 2016 and the all-new hybrid, introduced last year, shares its sheet metal, plus it also benefits from its reputation. The top-selling car for the last three years in the United States, the Accord was just named “10 Best” for the thirty-first time by Car and Driver, an unprecedented honor for any vehicle. But as the name implies, the model I’m driving is a hybrid and its fuel-saving powertrain is its centerpiece.

The Accord Hybrid’s two-motor hybrid system combined with an ultra-efficient 2.0-liter i-VTEC Atkinson Cycle engine is matched to an electric continuously variable transmission. It achieves a peak-combined output of 212 horsepower, the highest of any midsize hybrid sedan.

Like many hybrids, it performs better in city traffic than on the highway—it has an EPA fuel economy rating of 49 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 47 mpg on the highway. I’m averaging about 47 mpg so far—I actually gained mileage on the highway once heading north on IH35.

To maximize fuel efficiency, there’s an Econ button that can be used at all times, as well as an EV button that when engaged, operates the hybrid on electric power only for small distances. When I need more power, I push the Sport mode button to give the hybrid a noticeable amount of giddy-up.

While the fuel economy will undoubtedly be its best feature, the Accord Hybrid also sits at the top of the Accord lineup, and the Touring trim is the top-of-the-line. As such, it comes very well-equipped, starting with Honda Sensing, a suite of safety features with advanced technology like adaptive cruise control that allows the driver to set and maintain certain a distance behind a vehicle,  forward collision warning, and lane keep assist.

Multiview back-up camera

Honda’s innovative LaneWatch camera can be engaged with the turn signal for views of the blind spot when changing lanes to the right. The picture isn’t that clear, however, and focusing can make it distracting. Though currently not available, a blind spot monitor would be preferable.

Creature comforts on this model include leather seats, with heated seats in the front and back, a touch sensitive seven-inch display screen with an additional display screen on top of that, navigation, a moonroof, and a multiview back-up camera. I’m getting used to the lack of knobs for volume control and tuning and while this model should come with SiriusXM satellite radio, it isn’t activated. It does, however, include a CD player—a happy surprise. I’ve put it and the MP3 USB port to use on road trips to San Antonio, Bryan, Houston, and Dallas.

Pricing for the Accord starts at $30,480. Pricing for the as-tested 2017 Accord Hybrid is $36,790.

Stay tuned for a final review later in the year.

Oct 062016


More trucks are sold in Texas than in any other state in the country so it’s no wonder that Honda chose San Antonio, TX for the launch of its all-new 2017 Ridgeline. This redesign is not in name only; it’s a true reconstruction of the midsize pickup from the top down. As a result, the Ridgeline looks more truck-like and offers greater versatility and capability.

The 2017 Honda Ridgeline In-Bed Trunk

The class-exclusive In-Bed Trunk on the 2017 Honda Ridgeline

For starters, Honda designers gave the Ridgeline a truck profile, replacing the previous side panel with one that has an integrated truss, while retaining its unibody construction and smooth ride. There’s actually a seam down the side between the cabin and the bed that gives the appearance that the two are separate, but they’re not.

The new Ridgeline also retains certain innovations from the inaugural model that launched in 2006, namely a dual-action tailgate that opens to the side, as well as drops down, and a locking in-bed trunk that can hold wet or dry cargo. New for 2017 is the available in-bed audio system, perfect for Latinos who love to picnic or tailgate. Another first is the availability of two-wheel or four-wheel drive (2WD or 4WD) configurations.

Powered by a more powerful and efficient direct-injected 3.5-liter V6 engine (280 horses and 262 lb.-ft. of torque) matched to a new six-speed automatic transmission with a wider ratio spread, the Ridgeline 2WD has an EPA estimated fuel economy of 19 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

2016-05-05-14-59-50Those equipped with AWD add the new Intelligent Variable Torque Management torque-vectoring system to achieve a class-leading city/highway EPA fuel economy rating of 18/25 mpg, plus improved all-weather traction and handling capability. I averaged 23.4 mpg on the test drive.

We also tested the Ridgeline’s Intelligent Traction Management System that enhances off-road capability with drive modes for different conditions— Normal, Snow, Mud and Sand on the AWD and Normal and Snow for the 2WD. Towing maxes out at 5,000 lbs.

With a bed that has been stretched to 64 inches in length and 60 inches in width, it’s longer than its main competitors, and with the afore mentioned in-bed trunk that can double as an 82 qt. cooler, the Ridgeline offers a best-in-class payload of 1,584 lbs. It’s the only bed in the midsize class that can flat haul four-foot-wide items, like drywall. It also has best-in-class cargo volume inside, under the rear seat and with the rear seats flipped up.2016-05-05-14-44-27

New available technology includes an eight-inch Display Audio touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, a new generation of the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System, Smart Entry, and Remote Engine Start.

While the multi-angle rearview camera is standard, advanced safety features like a blind spot monitor or rear cross traffic alert only come with the top trim levels.

Standard convenience features include push button start, a Class III towing hitch, fold-up rear seats, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, cruise control, illuminated steering wheel-mounted controls, and AM/FM stereo with an MP3 auxiliary jack and Windows Playback capability, USB audio interface, Bluetooth phone, and streaming audio.

2016-05-04-20-32-06In the ten years since it was introduced, I never got to meet the original Honda Ridgeline. I have met the next generation, however, and the pleasure was all mine. It’s pricey but competitive with comparably equipped versions in the segment.

Built at the Honda manufacturing plant in Alabama and available in seven trim levels, the 2017 Ridgeline has a base price of $30,375 with destination fees. You’ll have to spend $42,270 on the RTL-E trim to get cool features like the in-bed audio system.



Jun 032016
Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas to Headline Fifteenth Anniversary Honda Civic Tour This Summer

Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas to Headline Fifteenth Anniversary Honda Civic Tour This Summer

Latino Traffic Report has learned that multi-platinum selling music artists, Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas will headline the 2016 Honda Civic Tour that launches June 24, 2016 in the Miami area. Demi and Nick will take their highly anticipated tour to 37 cities throughout the United States including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, and more.

“We want our fans to step into our worlds and to feel like they’re a part of  Honda Civic Tour: Future Now from the moment they enter the venue ’til the moment they leave,” says Lovato.

Adds Jonas: “We’re looking forward to creating an unforgettable experience that’s unlike anything else.”

2016 Honda Civic TourThe Honda Civic Tour also invites fans to power up their concert experience with The Power of Dreams sweepstakes. Starting March 22 through August 27, one lucky ticket holder and a guest at each show along the tour will be selected for the ultimate backstage VIP experience, including an arena tour, a look inside Demi’s and Nick’s tour bus, a chance to walk on stage prior to the show and a private meet and greet with Demi and Nick. Fans can enter for their chance to win at Honda.us/tix.

Continuing in Honda Civic Tour tradition, also tarting March 22 through February 2017, fans will be able to enter to win a brand new 2016 Honda Civic Sedan designed and autographed by Lovato, a Honda Grom motorcycle customized and autographed by Jonas or (thanks to Honda Financial Services) a trip to the tour finale at The Forum in Los Angeles on September 17. More info and rules for all sweepstakes can be found on HondaCivicTour.com.

Singer/songwriter Lovato’s current album, CONFIDENT, is out now on Hollywood Records/Island Records/Safehouse Records and features the hit songs “Cool for The Summer,” and the title track “Confident.” Her newest single is the power ballad “Stone Cold.” In addition, Demi is playing Smurfette in the upcoming animated feature GET SMURFY.

2016 Honda Civic TourIsland Records/Safehouse Records artist,  Jonas introduced himself as a fully formed solo artist on his hit self-titled debut, released in November 2014. The critically acclaimed album includes hits “Jealous,” “Chains” and “Levels.” Currently in the studio working on his new album, he also stars in “Kingdom,” and will appear in the upcoming James Franco produced film GOAT, which premiered at Sundance to incredible reviews.

This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of the Honda Civic Tour. Over 4.2 million fans have attended the concert series since 2001 to see 68 artists including One Direction, Maroon 5, Linkin Park, Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, blink-182, The Black Eyed Peas, Incubus and more. For a list of dates and venues, go to http://civictour.honda.com.

May 062016

2015-07-27 pilot

A compact and midsize sedan sales leader among Latinos, Honda also competes handily in the sport utility (SUV) segment. For 2016, its biggest SUV, the Pilot, gets new looks and improved functionality, thanks, in part, to lots of buttons. Latino Traffic Report recently spent a week driving the top-of-the-line model, the Pilot Elite.

Manufactured exclusively by Honda Manufacturing in Lincoln, Alabama, this is the third generation of Honda’s popular SUV, considered a game changer when it was first introduced in 2003 for offering three rows of seating and being built on a car- rather than truck-like platform.

For 2016, it bears many improvements, starting with the shift knob, which is gone, replaced instead with a push-button PRNDL or shift-by-wire gear selector.

2016 Honda Pilot

Drivers engage Park, Drive, Neutral, and Sport functions by pushing a button while Reverse requires them to lift up on the tab. To avoid being engaged accidentally by a wandering pet or toddler, the brake pedal must be depressed to activate them.

The button-operated Intelligent Traction Management System offers different operating modes to improve performance. For the all-wheel-drive version, drivers can choose among Normal, Snow, Mud and Sand modes while the front-wheel-drive (FWD) model offers a choice between Normal and Snow.

Panoramic sunroof on the Pilot Elite.

Panoramic sunroof on the Pilot Elite.

SUVs in this segment with this kind of ride, handling, and versatility were built to appeal to families. For starters, it’s a people carrier with seating for up to eight passengers. A small but impressive innovation, the push button release to access and exit from the third row of seats, will save many fingernails.

With five available trim levels, the all-new Elite trim replaces the second row bench with captain’s chairs for easier pass-through to the back row. It also includes several new luxury features like a glass panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, and a heated steering wheel.

This SUV can carry cargo as well as people. More than three inches of added overall vehicle length expand the cargo length on the Pilot by 1.3 inches.

A direct-injected 3.5-liter V6 engine powers the midsize SUV. It can be matched to a choice of two available new advanced transmissions, a six-speed or a nine-speed. Technology like Variable Cylinder Management, a 300-pound reduction in vehicle weight on upper trim levels, and improved aerodynamics help the Pilot achieve the most fuel-efficiency offered in the midsize SUV segment—an EPA estimated 20 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 27 mpg on the highway with the FWD matched to the nine-speed transmission. Equipped with the all-new intelligent variable torque management all-wheel-drive system, the test model had a city/highway estimated fuel economy of 19/26 mpg. I averaged 22.5 mpg.

2015-07-27 pilot.displStandard convenience features on the Pilot include push button start, a multi-angle rearview camera, a 4.2-inch color display, five USB ports, and a 60/40 split third-row seat that folds flat.

The standard entertainment system begins with a five-inch (diagonal) display screen and conventional knobs and buttons to control the various functions on an AM/FM radio audio system and a USB port for other compatible devices. The system can play Pandora content from a compatible device via the USB port, or wirelessly, via Bluetooth.

The knobs disappeared on the test model entertainment system, replaced by an eight-inch capacitive touchscreen Display Audio connectivity interface. While it looked really slick, I found the constant need for tapping to tune the radio a bit distracting and the radio presets were limited to only twelve. I need at least 18 for XM satellite radio alone.

2015-07-27 20.pilotreearFamilies will appreciate the nine-inch rear entertainment system with DVD and new Blu-ray disc capability on the Elite.

Pricing for the all-new 2016 Pilot starts at $31,045. The as-tested price came to $47,300.

Sí: The Pilot’s new look is appealing as well as new innovations like the push button release for the second-row seat.

No: The entertainment system is a bit clunky and distracting without knobs.

Jan 292016

The Honda Accord and Honda CR-V were recognized for national sales leadership with women and ethnic Millennials in 2015. The Honda CR-V, America’s best-selling SUV, was named the “Top Women’s Vehicle” and the Honda Accord was named “Top Ethnic Millennial Vehicle.” The Honda Accord and Civic were also recognized as “Ethnic Volume Leaders” in the Mideast and Western regions, respectively.

2016 Honda HR-V

2016 Honda HR-V

“We are witnessing a massive demographic shift that is reshaping our marketplace,” said Marc Burt, assistant vice president of Honda North America, Inc. Office of Inclusion & Diversity. “These awards reflect our associates’ continued commitment to innovation and overall understanding of how our vehicle design, functionality and marketing relate to our increasingly diverse customers.”

The awards show, the only event of its kind, recognizes top-performing automotive brands that are driving sales with multicultural consumers. Awards were presented to brands whose vehicles had the highest number of new-vehicle registrations among African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian Pacific Islanders and Native Americans.

To learn more about Honda’s diversity efforts, visit http://csr.honda.com/diversity/

Mar 072015

2014-12-03 HondaFit

Stretching a dollar never goes out of style, even when gasoline prices drop to new lows. Still very much married to the economy car market, Honda redesigned its popular subcompact hatchback, the Fit, for 2015.

As it did when first introduced in 2006 as a 2007 model, the new Fit continues to offer versatility and fuel economy in a cute affordable package. On a recent weeklong test drive of the Fit EX-L in Austin, the nimble subcompact slipped into the urban lifestyle like a glove.

Economy cars tend to be light on style and heavy on value but the Fit elevates its class with flair as well as function. On the outside, a roofline spoiler, slimmer headlights, LED taillights, and a segment-exclusive rearview multi-angle camera are standard on all Fits for a starting price just $100 more than the outgoing model.2014-12-03 fit-rear

Enhanced versatility begins with a larger interior that includes seating for five and 60/40 split rear seats that expand to 52.7 cubic feet of cargo room when folded flat.

A 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 130 horsepower commands all Fits. It can be matched to two new transmissions—a six-speed manual (available on LX and EX models only) or a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with G-Shift Control for improved fuel economy.

With the combination of the new engine and transmissions, the Fit has an EPA estimated fuel-economy rating of 29 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 37 mpg on the highway with the manual transmission, 33/41 mpg for the LX trim with the CVT, and 32/38 mpg for the EX and EX-L trim with the CVT. During the one-week test drive, I averaged 34.6 mpg.

Blue backlit instrument dials that turn green to signal fuel-efficient driving via the Eco-Assist System, further enhance fuel economy and the driving experience.

The new Fit also achieved its goal of winning the highest available crash-safety ratings—a five-star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) New Car Assessment Program.

Standard safety features include Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, and anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist, and an expanded view driver’s mirror, among others.

2014-12-03 Fit-display

Seven-inch touchscreen display with next generation Honda Link

The Honda LaneWatch display, that displays a camera view of the right passing lane when the blinker is engaged, is standard on EX and above trims. It’s neat to look at, but a little distracting and not as effective as a blind spot alert system.

Standard creature comforts include air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, a center storage console with an armrest, illuminated steering wheel controls, and an AM/FM/CD/ stereo with an MP3 auxiliary jack.

As the top-of-the-line model, the EX-L also includes the first-ever heated leather seating, a Smart Entry Push Button Start, a one-touch operated moonroof, and a seven-inch touchscreen Display Audio with next-generation HondaLink. While the touch-screen looks good, it’s not as intuitive as I would like—I still prefer knobs for volume and tuning control, which are available on the LX.

All Fits sold in the U.S. will be produced for the first time in North America at the all-new plant in Celaya, Mexico.

Pricing for the 2015 Honda Fit starts at $16,470. The as-tested price on the EX-L came to $20,5990.

Feb 252015
2002 Honda Civic

2002 Honda Civic

Honda will voluntarily expand a regional Safety Improvement Campaign initiated in June 2014 (NHTSA No. 14V-351) into a national Safety Improvement Campaign affecting certain 2001 through 2011 Honda and Acura vehicles in the United States to replace the driver frontal airbag inflator, free of charge. Honda is expanding this Safety Improvement Campaign to address concerns raised by its customers whose vehicles were not included in the regional campaign.  With this expansion, a total of approximately 5.4 million vehicles (including vehicles previously included in the regional action) will be covered by 14V-351. Vehicles already repaired pursuant to 14V-351 will not require further repair.

As part of an ongoing industry investigation, Honda has been working in cooperation with Takata, the supplier of the airbag inflators, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remove and test frontal airbag inflators installed in certain Honda and Acura vehicles in 11 U.S. states and territories (Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands). Honda has been participating in that investigation because of an apparent correlation between the long term exposure to high absolute humidity, which is common in most of those states and territories, and the possibility that a frontal airbag inflator produced by Takata could produce excessive internal pressure upon deployment and then rupture. If a driver frontal airbag inflator ruptures, metal fragments could pass through the airbag cushion material possibly causing serious injury or fatality to vehicle occupants.

2003 Honda Element

2003 Honda Element

To date, Takata’s testing of driver frontal airbag inflators removed from vehicles subject to 14V-351 has not yet resulted in any abnormal deployments. Honda is aware of a May 2014 rupture of a driver frontal airbag inflator in a vehicle in California that was not covered by any of the driver frontal airbag recalls initiated between 2008 and 2011. Neither Honda nor Takata has made a determination that a safety defect exists in the driver frontal airbag inflators that are installed in vehicles included in the expanded 14V-351. Honda hopes that the expansion of this action nationwide will both address customer concerns and further assist in the ongoing industry investigation of abnormal airbag deployments in the vehicles from all affected manufacturers.

Honda is announcing this action to encourage owners to take their vehicles to an authorized Honda or Acura dealer as soon as they receive notification from Honda or Acura. Mailed notification to customers in the original regional Safety Improvement Campaign began in September, and additional mailed notification letters will be sent to registered owners over time, prioritized by geographic area in the order of highest perceived risk.The most-updated available consumer information about this action is obtainable at www.recalls.honda.com and www.recalls.acura.com or by calling (800) 999-1009 for Honda owners or (800) 382-2238 for Acura owners, and selecting option 4.

Summary of Affected Models (Certain specific vehicles only):

  • 2001-2007 Honda Accord with 4-cylinder engines
  • 2001-2002 Honda Accord  with V6 engines
  • 2001-2005 Honda Civic
  • 2002-2006 Honda CR-V
  • 2003-2011 Honda Element
  • 2002-2004 Honda Odyssey
  • 2003-2007 Honda Pilot
  • 2006 Honda Ridgeline
  • 2003-2006 Acura MDX
  • 2002-2003 Acura TL
  • 2002 Acura CL