Hybrid Review: 2021 Honda Accord

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Jun 062021
 

By Andy Stonehouse

I managed, somewhat accidentally, to provide perhaps the most harsh real-world test for one of Honda’s two new hybrids, the 2021 Accord: a bone-chilling -11 degree F snap we experienced out in Colorado in February, part of the system that walloped Texas and much of the South and Southeast. One would not think that an amply-sized, electrically-enhanced, Ohio-made family hybrid sedan such as the Accord would respond well to that kind of thing, but it did, with aplomb.

After a night in actually sub-zero temperatures, it started right up and continued doing what it had been doing before the cold, getting 48 miles per gallon (MPG) both in city and highway driving. Overall, the hybrid variant of the new Accord boasts a 600-mile range between fill-ups.

That’s a pretty impressive figure for a $37,435 vehicle (as-tested price in the top-of-the-line Touring trim level) I felt had more physically in common with an old Ford Crown Victoria than Accords I remember from the past.  Redesigned in 2018, the tenth-generation Accord is indeed a large and comfortable cruiser, and despite producing just 212 horsepower from its electrical setup, it climbed hills and even offered some sporty-lite careening capabilities.

For the most part, the hybrid aspect remains absolutely invisible, with absolutely no complicated power handoffs when the car switches between generator and engine power. Its system uses a clutch to enable a direct transmission link when the gasoline motor kicks in.

Handling feels tangibly solid with slightly heavy steering. The suspension is also exceptionally stiff and the vehicle rolls very flat and smooth.

You can play with the amount of regenerative braking using control buttons, especially while headed downhill; oddly, the Accord is only configured to offer a single mile’s range in all-electric mode, as that is apparently not a priority for Honda customers right now.

That’s maybe a slightly odd move, given every other manufacturer’s ambitious attempts to offer longer-range, plug-in hybrid options, but Honda is still pushing hydrogen power as its Moon Shot technology. At 48 MPG, the Accord already sort of seems like it’s running on electricity, so why mess around with expensive and complicated batteries, for now?

There’s also a bit of juxtaposition in design as the Accord offers increasingly sporty lines and an overall look that borders on flashy. The gleaming samurai sword on the grille, swept headlamps and open-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels, plus chrome-edged lower body bulges for better aerodynamics. Inside, however, you won’t find the glitz and glow of an Acura, but you’ll still be impressed by the somewhat sedate, soft-touch interior and broad seating. There are acres of legroom in the back.

I also managed to finally sit down and pre-configure the large Display Audio infotainment screen for easier use while driving; during other drives I was unable to even find the digital XM Radio controls, and spent a lot of dangerous time poking the screen. Set up all of that before you drive and it’s really seamless and easy to use.

Hybrid data geeks (with families to cart around) will appreciate what seemed to be about 25 different system metrics and readouts in the left bezel of the instrument display.

Pricing for the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid starts at $27,565.

Sí: Wow, the mileage. Mileage other hybrids only dream about, 48 MPG, almost consistently, in a very large and comfortable vehicle, not a weird little econo-box.

No: While it’s really flashy outside, the new Accord remains pretty boring indoors. There is not an ounce of drama in the dash and cabin design. But, as one of America’s best-selling cars of all time, maybe that’s the plan.

Andy Stonehouse is a guest contributor to Latino Traffic Report and a freelance automotive journalist based in Golden, Colorado.

Honda Recalls Certain Pilot and Passport Models

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Nov 142019
 
2019 Honda Passport

Latino Traffic Report has learned that Honda (American Honda Motor Co.) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Pilot and 2019 Passport vehicles. The front frame left and right side upper members may not have been welded completely to the unibody. As such, these vehicles may fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) numbers 208, “Occupant Crash Protection” and 219, “Windshield Zone Intrusion.”

2020 Honda Pilot

In the event of a crash, incomplete body welding may provide inadequate protection to occupants, increasing the risk of an injury.

Honda will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the vehicle for missing welds, free of charge. If the vehicle is identified as missing welds, the dealer will offer to repurchase the vehicle or provide a similar replacement vehicle. Owner notification will begin 12/13/2019. Owners may contact Honda customer service at 1-888-234-2138. Honda’s number for this recall is X6J.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

2020 Honda Pilot

Car Review: 2018 Honda Civic Hatchback

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Sep 182018
 

Traditionally, efficiency and affordability attracted buyers to the compact car segment, but advances in styling and technology have made many models much handsomer and much more fun to drive. The 2018 Honda Civic Hatchback is the latest example.

It’s been more than 25 years since the Civic offered a hatchback version but in 2017, one joined the tenth generation of the coupe and sedan (redesigned in 2016). Available in five trims, the top-of-the-line Sport Touring made its way to Austin for testing by Latino Traffic Report.

The five-door hatch offers more versatility than a coupe or sedan, including a cargo capacity of 46.2 cubic feet of room and an innovative cargo cover that retracts to the side rather than from the top for added convenience.

A 1.5-liter in-line four-cylinder turbo engine powered the test model. The horsepower jumps from 174 to 180 on the Sport and Sport Touring trims, as does the torque, from 167 to 180 lbs.–ft., on models equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. The test model, however, came with a Continuously Variable Transmission that normally offers the best city/highway fuel economy of 31/40 miles per gallon (mpg). Because the Sport Touring trim is specially tuned, the EPA estimated fuel economy for the test model dropped slightly to 30 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. It earned an average of 34.4 mpg on the test drive. Paddle shifters, standard on the Sport Touring model, enhanced its performance.

As the top-of-the-line trim, the test model included upgrades like Honda Sensing, a suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies like the Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Forward Collision Warning integrated with the CMBS, and Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, plus 18-inch blackened alloy wheels.

The test model also included Honda’s version of a blind spot monitor or LaneWatch, standard on the EX trim and above, that displayed a live view of traffic on the seven-inch touch screen when I engaged the right turn signal. However, a traditional blind spot warning system, with audio and illuminated alerts on the side mirrors or A-pillars, is less distracting and as such, possibly more effective.

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

Creature comforts on the test model included heated front and outboard rear seats, a moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, a leather trimmed interior, Apple Carplay/Android Audio, and navigation.

Pricing for the 2018 Civic Hatchback starts at $21,045. The as-tested price, with no optional features or packages, came to $29,645.

Sí: The new Civic’s super sporty styling and competitive fuel efficiency increase its appeal.

No: While its interior styling reflects improved fit and finish, the knobless touchscreen added to driving distraction and a conventional blind spot monitor would be preferable to LaneWatch.

Hybrid Launch: 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid

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Apr 082018
 

2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

By Lyndon Conrad Bell

Completing the trifecta that is Honda’s Clarity lineup, the 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid joins the Clarity Fuel Cell and Clarity Electric Vehicle (EV). Latino Traffic Report recently attended the launch in Calistoga, CA.

If it looks suspiciously like Honda is angling to get a foothold in the electrification business, this is indeed the case. The company predicts electrified passenger cars will comprise two-thirds of global sales by 2030. Like its Clarity siblings, the Plug-in Hybrid version of the five-passenger sedan delivers premium appointments, an exceptionally quiet and smooth demeanor, and outstanding fuel economy.

For an automobile with a footprint similar to Honda’s flagship Accord sedan, the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid has an EPA estimated fuel economy of 42 miles per gallon and 47 miles on electricity alone. Even better, you can see this kind of range driving perfectly normally. The powertrain produces a total system output of 212 horsepower and 232 lb.–ft. of torque.

You also have the flexibility of choosing to cruise around town on electrons, while only burning dino juice out on the highway. This, in fact is the most efficient use of the powertrain. Gasoline engines deliver their best fuel economy at cruising speed on the highway and fall down when forced to deal with stop-and-go city driving. Electric motors have no such qualms. You can also set the powertrain to recharge the battery when you’re on the highway, so you have full charge with which to negotiate city streets when you arrive in town.

 

With seating for five adults, the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid (as does the entire Clarity family) falls firmly into the mid-sized sedan category. Yes, the rear middle passenger will be in hip contact with seatmates, but there’s more than adequate leg and headroom. Ingress and egress are easy too. What’s more, trunk space solidly approaches generous.

As impressive as all the above is, Clarity’s quiet will absolutely blow you away. Even when the gasoline engine is powered up, you’ll be hard-pressed to tell it’s running.

With all of that said, let’s address the 400-pound gorilla that is Clarity’s styling. Yes, it’s solidly inline with the contemporary Honda family, but regardless of the angle from which you view the sedan, this is one frumpy-looking car. Yes, we understand those rear fender skirts improve the aerodynamics, and yes, we know all of those slots and vents in the body are functional too. But this is an exterior design very few people (if any) will characterize as lovely.

Meanwhile, the interior is one of the nicest we’ve ever seen in a Honda. In fact, they could’ve badged Clarity an Acura and we would’ve been just as impressed. High quality finishes abound. Handsome shapes please the eye and the ergonomics are outstanding. Well, except for the audio system. Honda still insists on going knob-less in that regard and we’re solidly in the, “Oh, no not again,” camp. Would it kill them to give us rotating dial for the volume and tuning controls?

However, this is the only real issue we could find inside the beautifully turned out sedan. What’s more, you can feel good about it, because 80 percent of the materials are either recycled or originate from sustainable sources. When Honda says its down for doing its best to ensure blue skies for our children, moves like these leave us believing they’re serious about it.

Pricing for the 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid starts at $33,400

 

Jury Names North American Car, Truck, and Utility for 2018

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Jan 152018
 

Henio Arcangeli, senior vice president of the Automobile Division of American Honda Motor Co., accepts the award for 2018 North American Car of the Year for the Honda Accord at the 2018 North American International Auto Show on 1/15/18.

DETROIT (January 15, 2018) – Latino Traffic Report (LTR) has learned that the Honda Accord, Volvo XC60, and Lincoln Navigator were crowned as the winners of the 2018 North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY) awards today at the North American International Auto Show.

The awards are among the most prestigious in the industry because they are chosen by a panel of more than 60 jurors from print, online and broadcast media across the United States and Canada. Votes were tallied confidentially by Deloitte LLP and remained sealed until they were announced today by NACTOY officers, president Mark Phelan, vice president Matt DeLorenzo and secretary-treasurer Lauren Fix at Cobo Center in Detroit.

The three winners each stood out in their segments for different reasons.

“Honda seems to have executed some sort of magic trick—not only is this tenth generation Accord far sleeker and more decisively styled than its predecessor, it’s somehow roomier inside, too,” said Chris Paukert, a NACTOY juror and managing editor of Road Show by CNET. “Even in low-end trims, it drives well and offers a strong amount of standard equipment.”

According to Henio Arcangeli, Jr., senior vice president of the Automobile Division and general manager of Honda Sales, American Honda Motor Co., Inc, “Honda took a clean-sheet approach to reinventing America’s most popular car, and we couldn’t be prouder to receive this honor for Accord as the North American Car of the Year,” he said. “We’re especially proud for the production associates in Ohio where Accord has been built to the highest quality standards for over 35 years.”

Standing next to the all-new Volvo XC60, Anders Gustafsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars USA holds the award for 2018 North American Utility of the Year won by the 2018 XC60.

The XC60 is the second Volvo in three years to win the coveted award after the XC90 won in 2016. “Like the XC90, the XC60 offers Volvo’s distinct brand of luxury and it may even be more appealing than its bigger brother. The ride is exemplary, and when smartly equipped, it is a fine value,” said NACTOY juror and freelance auto writer Kirk Bell.

“We are so proud the XC60 has won this prestigious award,” said Anders Gustafsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars USA. “It is a very tough competition and we thank all the judges for recognizing the great style, technology, and engineering in the XC60.

Kumar Galhotra, president, The Lincoln Motor Company holds the 2018 Truck of the Year award for the all-new Lincoln Navigator.

NACTOY Juror Ron Sessions of the New York Daily News said, “The 2018 Navigator received a more dramatic update than its Ford Expedition sibling and its impact for the brand will be stronger as a result. With its design now aligned with the Continental, the Navigator becomes an even more important image—and the profit-maker for Lincoln.”

Accepting the award for Lincoln was Kumar Galhotra, president, The Lincoln Motor Company. “Lincoln is honored to be named the best among such a strong field of competitors,” he said. “The entire Lincoln team is very proud of the work that was done to create a truly differentiated, luxury Lincoln experience in our all-new Navigator.”

Chosen from dozens of new vehicles, jurors evaluated the finalists based on segment leadership, innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar. The process started in June 2017 by determining vehicle eligibility and includes three rounds of voting. LTR attended the launches of the XC60 and Accord last year and can attest that these vehicles are class leaders.

Now in their twenty-fourth year, the awards are selected by a group of respected automotive journals with lifetime appointments to the jury, distinguishing them from other industry awards distributed by a single publication, website, radio,  or television station. For a list of all the nominees go to For more about NACTOY and its history: http://northamericancaroftheyear.org/.

Car Launch: 2018 Honda Accord

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Dec 112017
 

If you produced America’s best-selling car for over 41 years, you might tread lightly with a redesign. If ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Happily, Honda didn’t play it safe with the all-new 2018 Honda Accord and Latino Traffic Report was at the launch in Vermont for a chance to drive it.

Introduced to the United States in 1976, the Accord is the second-longest-running automotive nameplate in Honda’s history, after the Civic. Popular from the get-go, the Accord remains a top-seller in its segment. According to Honda: “Since its introduction, American car buyers have purchased more Accords than any other passenger car, with total U.S. sales exceeding 13 million vehicles.”

The classic midsize sedan’s groundbreaking redesign begins with an all-new body with a lower, wider stance, a lighter and more rigid unibody structure, new LED headlamps that sharply resemble those of Honda’s higher-end brand, Acura, a sweeping greenhouse, a bold front fascia, and a longer and lower hood. These features combine to create a more upscale appearance than the previous model.

The new body adds 1.9 inches of added rear legroom while overall passenger volume increases by 2.5 cubic feet and trunk space, grows to 16.7 cubic feet on all models.

Under the hood, the V6 is no longer an option, but the tenth generation Accord can be powered by three four-cylinder engines, including Accord’s two new turbos—a 1.5-liter direct-injected turbo with dual Variable Timing Control (VTC) 192 horses and 192 lb.–ft. of torque, and a 2.0-liter direct-injected turbo with dual VTC and 252 hp and 273 lb.–ft. of torque. Both can be matched to a six-speed manual transmission on the Sport trim. A Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) can be mated to the 1.5- liter and a new ten-speed automatic transmission is available to pair with the 2.0-liter. Both engines and configurations were available to drive at the launch as well as the third-generation 2018 Honda Accord hybrid. All models at the launch performed handily, including both engines, as did the hybrid.

As a staunch fan of manual transmissions, it’s a treat to have this option, especially in this segment much less on two trim levels. Most manual transmission remain available as a method of bringing the price point down but by offering the manual on two trims, enthusiasts like me can also get features like a blind spot monitor, standard on the 2.0-liter.

At the launch, only fuel economy figures for the 1.5-liter were available. Matched to the six-speed manual transmission, the Accord Sport should achieve 26 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. We achieved an average of 32 mpg at the launch. The CVT will achieve one mpg better than the manual in the city on the Sport trim but on other trims it earns four mpgs more in the city and three mpgs better on the highway.

Standard safety features, like Collision Mitigation and Adaptive Cruse Control, are included with Honda Sensing as well as the new Traffic Sign Recognition system that scans speed limit signs and updates the map display immediately.

Standard creature comforts on the Accord include dual zone climate control, push button start, a capless fuel filler, a customizable seven-inch TFT digital display in the gauge cluster, seven-inch audio display (with knobs), and USB audio interface. Higher-end features include an eight-inch audio display, heated leather seats (front and back), a power moonroof, Head-Up Display, wireless phone charging (Android only), and Honda satellite-linked navigation.

With manual transmissions available on two trims and a new sporty upscale exterior, the 2018 Accord should continue to dominate a crowded segment.

Built at Honda’s Marysville, Ohio auto plant since 1982, pricing for the 2018 Honda Accord starts at $24,445 with destination fees.

Honda, HSF Award Scholarships and Internships to Latino Students

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Aug 282017
 

Honda and Hispanic Scholarship Fund Honor Outstanding Latino Students with Scholarships and Internship Opportunities.

Latino Traffic Report offers congratulations to sixteen outstanding Latino undergraduate students from around the country were recently honored for academic excellence by Honda North America, Inc. and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) at the annual Scholar Awards Breakfast in Columbus, Ohio.

Each student is eligible to receive a scholarship up to $5,000 to help pay for tuition, books and living expenses, pending verification of fall enrollment. Recipients also had the opportunity to interview for Honda’s summer internship program.
“We are very excited to be able to maintain our relationship with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and these incredibly talented students,” said Yvette Hunsicker, assistant vice president of the Honda Office of Inclusion and Diversity. “Honda believes in the next generation of leaders and with the proper support, their ability to achieve a college education. My hope is that they will all be working here at Honda someday.”

The students, who qualified for the program by earning at least a 3.0 grade point average, also traveled to Marysville, Ohio, for an inside look at Honda’s manufacturing, research and development operations. This trip included a tour of the Honda Heritage Center Museum, which tells the story of Honda’s North American history through an array of historic and current products.

“HSF is proud of our partnership with Honda,” said Fidel A. Vargas, President & CEO, HSF. “When a company with Honda’s global reach invests in young scholars in this exemplary way, the whole world can see that Honda is deeply committed to higher education, the Hispanic American community, and the future of our country.”

2017 Students Selected for Scholarship:

Ana Cervantes, Arizona State University, Chemical Engineering major

Ava Mauser, University of New Mexico, Chemical Engineering major

Bryce Gutierrez, Texas A&M University, Engineering, Chemical Engineering major

Christopher Casares, Brown University, Electrical Engineering major

Eglen Galindo, Stanford University, Industrial Engineering, Management major

Gabriel Rojas, Oregon State University, Mechanical Engineering major

Gerardo Valdes Bustamante, Colorado School of Mines, Mechanical Engineering major

Gustavo Salazar, University of California, Riverside, Economics, Chemical Engineering major

Isabel Perna, University of Miami, Industrial Engineering major

Joanna Rivero, University of Pittsburgh, Mechanical Engineering major

Junnior Rodriguez, Cypress College, Mechanical Engineering major

Manuel Lopez, University of Texas at Austin, Electrical Engineering major

Mario Macedo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mechanical Engineering major

Paige Esguerra, North Carolina State University, Engineering, Chemical Engineering major

Paulo Montoya, Texas A&M University, Industrial Engineering major

Robin Franklin, University of Texas at Austin, Electrical Engineering major

Car Review: 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid Long-term Part 2

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Jul 302017
 

Despite predictions to the contrary, gasoline-electric hybrids have carved a niche in the automotive industry. According to hybridcars.com, the first to market in the United States in this segment was Honda with the 1999 Insight. Since then, the Insight has come and gone, twice, but Honda continues to bring hybrids to the lineup. I spent three months in the 2017 Accord Hybrid Touring for Latino Traffic Report and the most important thing to know is that this hybrid saves gas, in fact it’s the best in the segment.

Long-term test drives beg for a car to be driven, so I did, more than 5,000 miles over Texas highways, to small towns, like Burnet and Bryan, and big cities, like Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. It’s a comfy ride over the long haul and nimble enough to scoot through traffic.

While its fuel economy is stellar, the hybrid’s styling also deserves a mention. Redesigned for 2016, the Accord took on a more sculpted, angular appearance, Marking the Accord’s fortieth anniversary, Honda introduced its sibling, the hybrid that benefits from the Accord’s new look while adding enhancements under the hood.

At the heart of its fuel saving ability is its two-motor hybrid system combined with an ultra-efficient 2.0-liter i-VTEC Atkinson Cycle engine and matched to an electric continuously variable transmission. It achieves a peak-combined output of 212 horsepower, the highest of any midsize hybrid sedan.

Initially, the test model proved to be more fuel efficient in cities than on highways, which is as is should be according to its EPA estimated fuel economy rating of 49 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 47 mpg on the highway. Over time, however, fuel economy on the highway also improved, especially with cruise control engaged. I averaged about 48.5 mpg in three months—city and highway combined. When it comes to cost, I spent more than $300 on gasoline.

I engaged the Econ button that can be used at all times, as well as an EV button that operates the hybrid on electric power for small distances, to maximize efficiency. For more power, I pushed the Sport mode button that gave the hybrid better acceleration.

Displays in the instrument cluster and center stack, including a seven-inch touchscreen, helped me maintain gas saving driving habits, like coasting and accelerating smoothly from a stop. While I found them to be helpful, they also raised a little anxiety when the fuel economy slipped.

All Accord Hybrids come with Honda Sensing, a suite of safety features with advanced technology like forward collision warning, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control that allows the driver to set a distance behind a vehicle that cruise control maintains, automatically.

I never grew accustomed to Honda’s LaneWatch camera, also standard, that can be engaged with the turn signal to view the blind spot on the right. The picture wasn’t that clear, especially at night, and focusing made it distracting. A blind spot monitor, available on other Honda models, would be preferable.

Creature comforts included Ivory leather seats, with heated seats in the front and back, navigation, dual-zone climate control (Honda seems to have addressed the air conditioning system’s habit of fading at stops in previous hybrids), a moonroof, and a multi-view back-up camera. I got used to the lack of knobs for volume control and put the CD player and the MP3 USB port to good use on several road trips.

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

Sí: The Accord Hybrid Touring achieved what’s expected of a hybrid, it saved gas, but it also came in a handsome package with nice creature comforts.

No: Honda LaneWatch just doesn’t have the intuitiveness of a blind spot warning system and the lack of clarity on the screen is distracting.

Top Ten Cheapest and Most Expensive Vehicles to Insure

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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.

Marquez and Pedrosa Fourth and Fifth in Tricky Qatar Grand Prix

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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.