Ultimele articole din presa straina referitoare la Honda

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    18 January 2010 - 12:00

    Coolest race car ever?

    It’s not often we use the phrase ‘Is this the coolest race car ever? It just might be…’. But in this instance, we think it’s justified.

    This is the Honda HSV-010, a V8-powered monster that’s set to take on Nissan’s terrifying GT-R in Japan’s GT500 series this year.

    It looks astonishing. Based on the chassis of Honda’s stillborn NSX revival, the HSV-010 (HSV, by the way, stands for Honda Sports Velocity, not Holden Special Vehicles) weighs in at 1100kg and packs a 3.4-litre V8 hoofing out around 500bhp. As per GT500 regulations, a sequential manual gearbox channels all that power to the rear wheels.

    The HSV-010 will race for the first time at the GT500 season opener at Suzuka on 20-21 March. We’d expect it to gain a whole bunch of decals and sponsors and stuff by that time, but Honda, please, we beseech you: leave the HSV-010 exactly as it is: naked and matte and carbon-fibrous and generally amazing.

    Once more: is this the coolest race car ever? It just might be.

    But if you’re not yet convinced, have a listen to this...

    YouTube - HONDA HSV-010 GT 鈴鹿TEST

    Partea a doua:

    YouTube - HONDA HSV-010 GT 鈴鹿TEST Part2

    Last edited by tokyodream; 20-01-10, 15:26.
    CR-V RE6

    Ex: Civic FD1
    Ex: RDX TB1

    Ex - JAZZ GD1
    Ex - ACCORD Type-R
    Ex - DEL SOL EH6


    • mie imi suna a motor de Formula 1 ala ceea ce m-a facut sa ma gandesc la faptul ca ar futea fi contrafacut sunetul din video.
      '08 Civic 5D 1,8 Sport Champagne Silver: Vicky



      • este topic separat despre model aici:


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        Honda to build China factory !

        TOKYO - JAPANESE auto giant Honda Motor said on Wednesday that it would build a new factory in China to meet brisk demand in the fast-growing Asian nation.
        Dongfeng Honda Automobile, the Japanese company's joint venture, will build a second factory in Wuhan, Hubei Province, aiming to start operations in the second half of 2012, the Japanese firm said.
        The venture will initially spend 1.15 billion yuan (S$237 million), to build the new plant, which will gradually increase its production capacity to as many as 240,000 vehicles a year, Honda said.
        China's auto sales surged past those in the United States in 2009 to make it the world's biggest car market, and Japanese makers are competing for a slice of the pie to offset weak domestic sales.
        Dongfeng Honda, which currently builds CR-V, the Civic and the Spirior, also plans to increase the annual production capacity of its existing plant by 40,000 vehicles to 240,000 units, the Japanese company said. Dongfeng Honda has enjoyed robust sales, selling 211,000 vehicles in 2009, up 28.2 percent from 2008 and logging record sales for five straight years.
        When Dongfeng Honda's second plant begins production, Honda's overall annual vehicle production capacity in China will reach 710,000 units, it said. -- AFP


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        12 Greenest Cars of 2010 !


        Looks like even though we’re out of the 2000’s, we’re not going to be able to get away from the word “green.”

        The American Council for Energy Efficient Economy has released their list of the 12 Greenest Cars of 2010. You can view pictures of each of the models listed below by clicking here.

        For the sake of brevity, here’s the list of cars, as well as a breakdown of each model’s gas mileage:

        1. Honda Civic GX – The cool thing about the Civic GX is that it runs on Natural gas, and gets an equivalent of 36 MPG highway

        2. Toyota Prius – Most well known Hybrid on the road, gets 48 MPG highway, 51 MPG city

        3. Honda Civic Hybrid – The hybrid version of one of the best selling cars in the U.S. gets 45 MPG highway, 40 MPG city

        4. Smart ForTwo – Has tiny 1.0 liter, 3-cylinder engine which allows it to get 41 MPG highway (I’d be afraid to take this out on an interstate), 33 MPG city

        5. Honda Insight – Honda’s equivalent of the Prius gets 43 MPG highway, 40 MPG city

        6. Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan Hybrids – first American car on the list, and the Detroit Auto Show 2010 Car of the Year, gets 36 MPG highway, 41 MPG city

        7. Toyota Yaris – Tiny and cheap, and gets 36 MPG highway, 29 MPG city

        8. Nissan Altima Hybrid – Just another hybrid on the list. 33 MPG highway, 35 MPG city

        9. Mini Cooper – Fun, zippy car gets 37 MPG highway, 28 MPG city

        10. Chevy Cobalt XFE – Small, 2.2 liter, 4-cylinder engine gets 37 MPG highway, 25 MPG city

        11. Hyundai Accent Blue – A new car under $10 grand that gets 36 MPG highway, 27 MPG city?

        12. Honda Fit – 33 MPG highway, 27 MPG city. Really nothing much else to say.

        So, if you’re in the market for a new car, be sure to check out all of the cars listed above!

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        Party for minivans not over yet!

        2010 may be key year for minivan sales !


        When it comes to the future of the minivan, Stephen Beatty is a contrarian.
        Despite a decade-long slide in sales, Beatty, managing director of Toyota Canada, predicts the minivan is poised for a comeback.
        "Don't count out the minivan," Beatty said. "It's just too practical to go away."
        As proof of Toyota's confidence in the vehicle, the automaker has provided ample space for renditions of its redesigned, third generation 2011 Sienna at its display at the 2010 North American International Auto Show.
        Unlike General Motors and Ford Motor Co., which discontinued their models, Toyota, along with Honda, chose to stick with the segment, invented and long dominated by Chrysler Group LLC.
        "It really is a mainstay of the North American marketplace," said Beatty. "The fact that others have walked away from the segment is a mistake. But we, as manufacturers, have to work very hard to bring back the cool factor that's been missing for a while. And that's what we hope to do with the Sienna."
        The Sienna makes up about three per cent of Toyota's overall sales in Canada. But the automaker is hoping to attract new buyers with fuel-economy features such as a four-cylinder engine, as well as amenities including reclining bucket seats with built-in foot rests. Options, such as Toyota's Dual View Entertainment Centre, which offers a wide-screen display that can either act as a wide-screen movie screen or split into two for two occupants, will help restore "the cool factor," said Beatty.
        "As other people have abandoned the minivan in favour of SUVs and crossovers, we think there's an opportunity here to speak to consumers and say, 'We know you've tried three-row SUVs, but the reality of it is, when you fill up that third row of people, there's no room for things.' And nothing beats a minivan for that overall versatility of being able to haul the family and everything that belongs to them and get out on the road."
        Auto analyst Bill Pochiluk agrees minivan sales will likely grow as the industry recovers, but the segment will continue to decline in the face of competition from crossover vehicles.
        "Crossover utilities have many of the same properties as a minivan," said Pochiluk. "They bring a lot of the utility, they have all of the entertainment options. The only downside -- they have fewer cupholders and they don't have a sliding door."
        GM and Ford "made the correct decision to get out of the traditional minivan segment and go toward a family concept of a crossover vehicle, like the Ford Edge and Chevrolet Traverse," he added.
        Over the last 10 years, the drop in Canadian minivan sales has been steady and precipitous. At the start of the decade, minivans accounted for 15.8 per cent of the market or 244,000 units, according to figures compiled by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc. By the end of decade, volume had dropped to only 87,000 units and only 5.9 per cent of the market. "The minivan segment still hasn't bottomed out from a share perspective," said auto analyst Dennis Des-Rosiers.

        Chrysler, Toyota and Honda, which is slated to launch a redesigned Odyssey this fall, will be fighting over a smaller slice of the pie, said analyst Erich Merkle.
        The Sienna and Odyssey have traditionally occupied the pricier, higher end of the segment, although Beatty said the new Sienna will narrow the price gap with the Chrysler product.
        "Note that Chrysler has moved away from the aggressive, short-wheel base price point that was selling in such big numbers in fleets not so long ago," he said. "Their vehicle has moved upscale -- it is a full-size van product. So the price point between a Chrysler and Toyota is not that different. It starts at about $30,000 and it's falling in that sweet spot of the average transaction price in the market place for all vehicles in Canada. So, it's an affordable alternative."
        At Chrysler Canada, which commands between 75 per cent and 80 per cent of the minivan market, CEO Reid Bigland said the automaker is not about to relinquish its crown.
        "There's no question, that in the minivan market we need to be sharp and we need to be prepared to come to play every single day or we're going to have our heads kicked in so we need to keep our guards up for sure," said Bigland.
        Both the Windsor-built Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravan models are set to undergo a "refresh" by the third quarter of this year, he said.
        "We'll be doing a substantial refresh of both our Town and Country as well as our Dodge Grand Caravan, making exterior, interior and powertrain improvements. So, we realize in being the leader for 26 years in a row in the minivan segment, we can't rest on our laurels. We need to continue to change and adapt and be prepared to take on all competitors."
        Beating Chrysler at its own game will be tough, agreed Merkle. "They (Toyota Sienna) don't have the 'swivel n' go and the stow n' go seating," he said. "Toyota has the reclining back seats. My take is that feature, while it looks really nice for adults, most people are carting kids around, they're not carting adults."

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        Acura Hybrid In the Works, FCX Clarity Fuel Cell Vehicle Ready Now!


        According to Edmunds Green Car Advisor, Honda announced that its Acura brand will add a hybrid model to its lineup soon and the fuel cell powered FCX Clarity "is ready now."
        Green Car Advisor noted that the words above came from Honda Chief Executive Takanobu Ito, who spoke to a large audience at the 2010 NAIAS in Detroit. According to the report, Ito said, ""Now, I'm pleased to say that we will be adding hybrids to the Acura brand."
        Due to the economic downturn last year, the company changed some of its future plans and reallocated funds. This change coincided with the company's goal to reduce CO2 emissions across their lineup of vehicles. Funds were allocated to speed development of fuel efficient vehicles and one of the products resulting is an Acura hybrid.
        As for the FCX Clarity, Ito said, "But make no mistake. As a vehicle, the Honda FCX Clarity is ready now." Ito did note that their are issues surrounding the real world usage of fuel cell vehicles. He noted that costs associated with developing and producing such vehicles must come down for profitability to be seen. He also noted that this nation lacks the infrastructure need to support the vehicle. But the vehicle itself is ready.
        Honda remains committed to fuel cell vehicles. The company firmly believes that they will provide the ultimate solution to eliminating emissions in the future. However, that future goal may be decades away and the company must also focus on near future with an expansion in the hybrid vehicle segment.
        Source: Edmunds.com

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        Hybrid Owners Howl As California HOV-Lane Access Ends in December!


        All good things must come to an end, and it's the same with the wildwood weed ... err, with California's HOV-Lane access perk for owners of three hybrids: the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, and Honda Insight. They are set to expire on December 31 of this year.
        Originally passed in 2005, the law opened California's high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, restricted to carpools, to a limited number of very low-emission vehicles even if there was just a single person in the car.
        THe law's goal was to give buyers an incentive to trade in their old cars for a far more fuel-efficient Toyota Prius (any year), Honda Civic Hybrid (any year), or original Honda Insight (1999-2006).

        2010 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show
        Enlarge Photo

        2011 Nissan LEAF prototype
        Enlarge Photo

        2011 Chevrolet Volt pre-production prototype, January 2010
        Enlarge Photo

        85,000 stickers only
        And it worked. California set the number of stickers at 75,000, and they were all allocated in less than a year. A further allotment of 10,000 was similarly snapped up at the start of 2007. Though the process was cumbersome, the stickers cost just $8 apiece.
        Last year, Audatex (which automates insurance-claim processing) calculated that a used hybrid with a permit was worth $1,200 to $1,500 more than one without. With the end in sight, we expect that value would be substantially lower today.
        No longer for sale
        But several hybrid owners told San Jose's popular Roadshow editor Gary Richards that they'd spend $500 to hang onto their stickers past the expiration. (He reports on Bay Area transportation news.) That's an unlikely scenario, though.
        Federal highway officials says congestion in carpool lanes is increasing throughout California, Richards writes. Ending access for single-occupancy vehicles would speed the ride for more people--trading off incremental gains in fuel efficiency and air quality for moving more bodies.
        Other Prius perks in peril?
        HOV-Lane access is one of a number of so-called Prius Perks offered to drivers of high-mileage hybrids. As we noted last summer, in what became the single best-read article of our entire year's most popular posts, those perks are now also in peril from technology change.
        In years to come, such privileges may be transferred from increasingly common hybrids to the newer class of plug-in vehicles, which run some of their miles using grid power rather than any gasoline at all. Examples are the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, and the 2012 Nissan Leaf.
        [San Jose Mercury-News]

        Last edited by tokyodream; 21-01-10, 09:18. Reason: completari azi
        Iubesc masinile japoneze. Ele nu mint, nu inseala !
        ACURA & HONDA SUV FAN CLUB ROMANIA - http://daimyo.ro/index.php?action=forum


        • Honda Dreams Fund Scholarship programme is open for applications!

          Honda Malaysia and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have announced the opening of new applications for the Honda Dreams Fund (HDF) Scholarship programme. The submission window is from now till March 31.
          For the past three years, HDF has sent 60 young people towards achieving their dreams by providing tertiary education, which they would not have been able to afford. For 2010, 20 more students will benefit from this goodwill. HDF is a full and non-binding scholarship which aims to provide underprivileged but determined students education or skills training.

          In 2008 and 2009, HDF reached out to communities in rural areas and visited schools in Sabah, Sarawak, Pahang, Perak and Kedah to garner applications. This year, HDF plans to visit Kelantan and Terengganu as well. Honda Malaysia has allocated RM1 million for this year’s HDF and UNDP will manage and oversee the awarding of the scholarships.

          To be eligible, one must be Malaysian, between 17-24 years of age, completed and passed SPM/STPM, and have a combined household income of less than RM1,500 per month. Do spread the news and assist anyone you know who is deserving of help. To learn more about HDF or to apply, go to www.honda.com.my/hdf


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          Honda Tops 'Greenest' Cars List, Group Says!

          Japanese Automaker Places 4 Cars Among Top 12 'Greenest Vehicles'


          When it comes to being green and saving on gas, it's hard to beat a Honda and even harder to beat out an import.

          At least, that's the findings from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's Green Book Online, an environmental guide to cars and trucks released earlier this week.

          The 13th annual rankings once again single out the 12 "greenest vehicles," with Honda models capturing four of spots. Only two American automakers placed vehicles on the list, with Japanese automakers domination the list, including two for Toyota and one for Nissan along with Honda's total.

          The title of "greenest vehicle" went to Honda's natural gas-powered Civic GX for the second straight year. The ranking marked the 10th year in a row that Honda claimed the top spot and the ninth consecutive year that Honda vehicles held at least three positions in the top 12.

          The full "greenest" list includes:
          1. Honda Civic GX
          2. Toyota Prius
          3. Honda Civic Hybrid
          4. Smart Fortwo convertible/coupe
          5. Honda Insight
          6. Ford Fusion Hybrid/Mercury Milan Hybrid
          7. Toyota Yaris
          8. Nissan Altima Hybrid
          9. Mini Cooper
          10. Chevrolet Cobalt XFE/Pontiac G5 XFE
          11. Hyundai Accent Blue
          12. Honda Fit
          The ACEEE's ranking system uses a singular measure that incorporates fuel economy, health-related pollution impacts, and global warming emissions. All vehicles are analyzed and given a "Green Score" which is used to rank a vehicle's total environmental performance, including a list of the 12 "greenest" and 12 "meanest" vehicles.

          Just missing out on inclusion in the top-12 "greenest" again this year are the diesel-powered Volkswagen Jetta and Jetta Sportwagen, part of a crop of "clean diesels" introduced in the United States last year.

          "While clean diesels once again perform well on our annual ranking, high prices both for the vehicles and for diesel fuel have kept them from really catching on thus far," said ACEEE vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan. "They're not having the impact in the U.S. that they have had in Europe, and as a result, manufacturers are scaling back production and promotion of diesels."

          The group's "meanest" list remained largely unchanged from 2009 and is comprised largely of a variety of heavy-duty trucks, SUVs and luxury European vehicles.

          The "meanest" list in full:
          1. Lamborghini Murcielago/Murcielago Roadster
          2. Bugatti Veyron
          3. Bentley Azure/Brooklands
          4. Maybach 57S
          5. Dodge Ram 2500 Mega Cab
          6. Ford F-250
          7. Bentley Continental GTC/Continental Flying Spur
          8. Ferrari 612 Scaglietti
          9. Mercedes-Benz ML 63 AMG
          10. Chevrolet Suburban K2500
          11. GMC Yukon K2500
          12. Mercedes-Benz G550
          The Green Book Web site also identifies a "Greener Choices" list, which is a selection of top, widely-available models in each vehicle class. The list includes trucks and SUVs such as the Ford Escape Hybrid, GMC Canyon, Chevrolet Equinox, and the Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid. Cars such as the Honda Fit and Hyundai Sonata top their respective classes.

          ================================================== ==================

          Civic still leads the pack!

          Bob McHugh and David Chao, Special To North Shore News

          Published: Friday, January 22, 2010

          The eighth-generation Honda Civic has been a phenomenal success.
          Introduced as a 2006 model and built in Canada, it was the Canadian Car of the Year (2006) and has been the top-selling car both here and in the United States. Sold as both a four-door sedan and two-door coupe, it received a minor redesign and interior refit for the 2009 model year.
          More than 1.2 million have been sold in Canada since 1973, and many of those were undoubtedly repeat Civic owners.

          THE Canadian-built Honda Civic Coupe still looks fresh and edgy even though it is in its eighth generation and only a year or two away from entering its ninth. It is available at Pacific Honda in the Northshore Auto Mall.

          If Honda sticks to its normal five-year generation cycle, the current Civic is heading into its final year (2010) of production. And you can be sure that Honda is already doing final grooming on a ninth-generation Civic somewhere, behind closed doors.
          In addition to a proven track record for great reliability and resale value retention, the forward-thinking contemporary styling of the current Civic still looks fresh and edgy. That's especially true for the Civic Coupe, the subject of this review.
          The fresh face of the 2009 Civic Coupe was made possible with a new bumper, grille and headlights. The Coupe comes in six trim levels and the up-level models come with new alloy wheel designs.
          The base trim Coupe is the LX, with a great start price of just $17,190. Moving up the trim levels, there's DX-A ($18,490), DX-G ($19,780), LX ($21,580), my test coupe the EX-L ($23,780) and the top line Si ($26,680).

          All except the Si come with the same 1.8-litre, 16-valve, SOHC, i-VTEC engine. It can produce 140 horsepower and helps the Civic Coupe achieve ultra-low-emission vehicle status.
          Fuel economy is excellent -- with the manual transmission it achieves a 7.4/5.4 litre/100 kilometre city/highway rating on regular fuel.
          Performance features of the Civic Coupe Si include a two-litre i-VTEC, 197 horsepower engine, a sport-tuned suspension system, a close-ratio, six-speed manual transmission (no auto option), a limited-slip differential, four-wheel-disc brakes and sport seats.
          My test EX-L came with the optional five-speed automatic transmission. A grade-logic feature in this transmission downshifts it on an incline to provide engine braking.
          The EX-L trim adds most of what you get in the Si, including leather upholstery, a 350-watt sound system, steering wheel controls, a power moon roof and (my favourite) electronic-stability control -- without the performance upgrades.

          THE LOOKS:

          Not sure why a car with two doors almost always looks better than a car with four, but it does. The Civic Coupe certainly follows that rule as it has an attractive aerodynamic design with a nice profile and rounded clean lines.
          It doesn't share any body panels with the Civic Sedan. The Coupe's cab-forward design is lower and it has a more steeply raked windshield. Short front and rear body overhangs, a wide stance and a more radical slope on the trunk give it a dramatically different look.

          THE INSIDE:

          There's a price to pay for that shapely coupe styling on the inside. The rear seat head- and leg-room is limited, if you're above average height.
          Getting in and out of the rear seat also involves some extra dexterity, but a single-lever release feature on the front passenger seat makes this task much easier.

          My test Civic Coupe came with a tilt and telescoping steering column, a manually adjustable-height seat cushion and an adjustable centre armrest.
          All this helped to make a comfortable driving position easy to find. The rear seats also had a 60/40 split fold-down feature.
          The two-tier instrument panel is a clever idea that places important gauges (fuel/engine temperature and speed) above the steering wheel and a little farther away, to make it easier for your eyes to scan back and forth from the road ahead. The speedometer is a digital readout that can be switched from kilometres to miles at the press of a switch, which is very handy when travelling in the U.S.

          Trunk space in the Civic Coupe (at 327 litres) is decent, yet less than the sedan, which offers 340.


          The Civic Coupe comes with standard side-impact airbags and other good safety features, but it didn't do as well as the Civic sedan in side impact tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
          Vehicle Stability Assist, which is Honda's name for electronic-stability control, is standard on the EX-L and Si versions of the Coupe, but not on the other trim levels.

          THE DRIVE:

          A shorter wheelbase gives the Civic Coupe more agile handling characteristics than the sedan. It also benefits from a tight, rigid chassis and a double-wishbone rear suspension, which is unusual in a car at this price point.
          Cars in this class are built with a close eye on costs, but Honda is a master at injecting fun and performance into everything it builds. The 1.8-litre engine is a willing worker that revs freely and offers a nice blend of both performance and fuel economy. A driver's car with a firm suspension that still offers good ride quality, the Civic Coupe has a solid and planted feel on the highway, for a small car.
          Like all front-drive vehicles, there's a degree of under-steer when pushed into corners, but it's controlled better than most and the stability-control system helps out.
          Driver vision is particularly good and the extra large windshield has unique overlapping wipers with outboard pivots near the base to the A-pillars. They do a particularly good job of clearing water off almost all of the glass area -- a bonus in the rain capital of Canada.

          THE SCORE:

          Attractively styled and fun to drive, the Honda Civic Coupe also offers excellent fuel economy and great reliability at a reasonable price.


          Chevrolet Cobalt: $15,495-$27,995.
          Ford Focus Coupe: $17,999-$20,199.
          Kia Koup: $18,495-$22,695.
          Mini Cooper: $22,800-$38,390.
          Volkswagen New Beetle: $24,175-$25,515.
          Volvo C30: $27,695-$42,195.

          Last edited by tokyodream; 26-01-10, 09:57. Reason: completari
          Iubesc masinile japoneze. Ele nu mint, nu inseala !
          ACURA & HONDA SUV FAN CLUB ROMANIA - http://daimyo.ro/index.php?action=forum


          • 2009 Honda Civic: A Car for Everyone!


            The 2009 Honda Civic is Honda's golden boy. It is fuel efficient, high performing and very fashionable. With so much competition out there Honda definitely had to introduce something wonderful. The 2009 Honda Civic is the answer to the intense competition. With its new style mirroring the 2006 Honda Civic, this car is destined for success. The interior and exterior are full of features ready to take Honda into the next era. Classic, yet innovative is what makes this model different from the others as well as different from its rivals. The headlights,taillights and grille have taken on a new design. The steering wheel now has a new design sleek and sporty enough to spark up a conversation as soon as your passenger enters the car.

            The 2009 Honda Civic also has great fuel economy like many Honda models. The performance for this Honda Civic is a a high level with a lot of horsepower from a much smaller engine. If you were more interested in a Hybrid, the upgrade would be no problem and would save you even more money as well as fuel. You would be upgraded to a Continuously Variable Transmission. Your horsepower would not change and you will still get the most power from your car. The new design inside and out gives you a low total of maintenance for the car over its lifetime. Blutooth navigation is also included in the 2009 Honda Civic. A hands free program is also available allowing you to control various aspects of the car through Blutooth capability.

            The comfort of the 2009 Civic is something to pay attention too as well. With heated leather seats and LCD dashboard monitors, luxury is available at an affordable price. Comfortable, plush seating and redesigned magazine holders are also featured in this model. The rear doors are oversized for easier access to the backseat, perfect for those car owners with children. The new redesigned Honda Civic is filled with new and exciting changes and installments as well as classic Honda design mirroring the 2006 Honda Civic which was a best-seller. The trunk is spacious and the interior well designed and spacious as well. This an affordable luxury perfect for families and and upwardly mobile professionals also. When you upgrade to Hybrid model, you are receiving luxury and eco responsibility. Another important aspect to the Hybrid is how much money you will be saving on costly fuel. In the Hybrid model, the dashboard has all the system's functions and information about the status of the car's energy. This version is excellent for commuting around the city and traveling out of town. Any model of the 2009 Honda Civic will provide exactly what the owner desires whether it is speed, performance, eco-friendliness, fuel efficiency, luxury and family friendliness.

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            Honda Begins Operation of New Solar Hydrogen Station!

            Date: January 27, 2010 07:32
            Submitted by: Jeff
            Source: Honda Press Release
            Credibility Rating: Not Specified

            Los Angeles-based Station to Re-fuel Honda Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle !

            01/27/2010 - TORRANCE, Calif. -

            Honda today began operation of a next generation solar hydrogen station prototype at the Los Angeles Center of Honda R&D Americas, Inc., intended for ultimate use as a home refueling appliance capable of an overnight refill of fuel cell electric vehicles.

            Designed as a single, integrated unit to fit in the user's garage, Honda's next generation Solar Hydrogen Station reduces the size of the system, while producing enough hydrogen (0.5kg) via an 8-hour overnight fill for daily commuting (10,000 miles per year) for a fuel cell electric vehicle.

            The previous solar hydrogen station system required both an electrolyzer and a separate compressor unit to create high pressure hydrogen. The compressor was the largest and most expensive component and reduced system efficiency. By creating a new high differential pressure electrolyzer, Honda engineers were able to eliminate the compressor entirely - a world's first for a home use system. This innovation also reduces the size of other key components to make the new station the world's most compact system, while improving system efficiency by more than 25% (value calculated based on simulations) compared to the solar hydrogen station system it replaces.

            Compatible with a "Smart Grid" energy system, the Honda Solar Hydrogen Station would enable users to refill their vehicle overnight without the requirement of hydrogen storage, which would lower CO2 emissions by using less expensive off-peak electrical power. During daytime peak power times, the Solar Hydrogen Station can export renewable electricity to the grid, providing a cost benefit to the customer, while remaining energy neutral.

            Designed for simple, user-friendly operation, the intuitive system layout enables the user to easily lift and remove the fuel hose, with no hose coiling when the hose is returned to the dispenser unit.

            Engineered for an 8-hour, slow fill for overnight refilling of a fuel cell electric vehicle, the home-use Solar Hydrogen Station would replenish the hydrogen for a typical daily driving, meeting the commuting requirements of many drivers. As with the previous generation system, the hydrogen purity from the new station meets the highest SAE (J2719) and ISO (14687) specifications.

            Installed at the Los Angeles Center of Honda R&D Americas, the new Solar Hydrogen Station will employ the same 48-panel, 6.0kW solar array that powered the previous system. The array utilizes thin film solar cells composed of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS) produced by Honda Soltec Co., Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Honda that was established for the mass production and sales of solar cells capable of efficient renewable electricity generation. Honda's unique solar cells reduce the amount of CO2 generated during production as compared to conventional solar cells.

            Designed to support the needs of the future owners of fuel cell electric vehicles, the Honda Solar Hydrogen Station was also designed to complement a public network of fast fill hydrogen stations. The Honda FCX Clarity electric vehicle is fast fill capable and offers an EPA-estimated driving range of 240 miles. With fast fill public stations providing 5-minute fueling time for longer trips, and the opportunity of convenient nighttime slow filling at home using a solar station with a Smart Grid connection, the Honda FCX Clarity can cover a wide range of driving demands from the daily commute to weekend trips.

            A key strategy in creating a solar hydrogen station for home-use was to create a new lifestyle with convenient, clean, energy-efficient and sustainable home refueling, by addressing the need for refueling infrastructure that can advance the wider use of fuel cell electric vehicles by consumers.

            The combination of a fuel cell electric vehicle and the solar hydrogen station could help lead to the establishment of a hydrogen society based on renewable energy, resulting in a major reduction of CO2 emissions and greater energy sustainability.

            Honda began operation of its first Solar Hydrogen Station at the Los Angeles Center of Honda R&D Americas in 2001:

            July 2001: 3-unit system with hydrogen storage begins operation.
            • October 2003: new 2-unit system with an original Honda electrolyzer and a new solar array utilizing prototype Honda CIGS solar cells offers improved system efficiency.

            August 2008: solar array fitted with mass production CIGS cells from Honda Soltec Co., reducing the size of the array by 20% and further improving photo voltaic (PV) energy efficiency.
            • January 2010: new single-unit station begins operation, improving to world's best system efficiency - increasing the efficiency by more than 25% (value calculated based on simulations) compared to the previous solar hydrogen station system, for a world's highest system efficiency.
            About Honda R&D Americas, Inc.

            Honda R&D Americas, Inc. (HRA) is responsible for creating advanced technologies and products in the U.S. that provide new value to Honda and Acura customers. HRA began R&D operations in the U.S. in 1975 with market research activities in California, and has steadily grown its capabilities over the past 35 years to include all aspects of new vehicle design and development, as well as taking a leading role in the advancement of leading-edge safety and environmental technologies.

            Today, Honda operates 15 major R&D facilities in the U.S. with more than 1,300 designers, engineers and support personnel engaged in the development of automobiles, motorcycles and power equipment products for North America and global markets.

            HRA's major centers include the Los Angeles Center (Torrance, CA), responsible for market research, concept development and styling design; the Ohio Center (Raymond, OH) responsible for complete product development, testing and support of North American supplier development; and a dynamic test facility in Ohio; and the North Carolina Center (Swepsonville, NC) responsible for power equipment R&D.


            ================================================== ================

            Ford Announces New Incentive Program for Toyota, Honda Owners!


            In a similar move to a promotion announced by General Motors yesterday, Ford has initiated a sales incentive program of its own targeting not just Toyota owners, but Honda owners as well.

            While GM hopes to target owners of Toyota and Lexus vehicles affected by the current rash of recalls, Ford's program is open to any owner of a Toyota, Lexus, Scion, Honda, and Acura vehicle, so long as it was manufactured during or after 1995. These customers will be eligible for an extra $1000 off the purchase of any new Ford, Lincoln, or Mercury vehicle.



            "GM made a move yesterday, and we're remaining competitive with what's going on in the marketplace," said Robert Parker, a Ford spokesman.

            Ford, like GM, is hoping to benefit from Toyota's recent rash of bad luck. Toyota has legally been forced to cease production and sales of eight of the vehicles included in the 2.3 million vehicle recall, which may help Ford gain customers who would otherwise shop Toyota showrooms.

            "It depends on how this all plays out and how fast Toyota gets this behind them," said Alan Mulally, Ford CEO, when asked during a conference call if Ford saw an opportunity to capitalize on Toyota's position. "But with people needing vehicles, there is an opportunity that they will be looking at Ford products."

            Ford's incentives program runs through March 1, and can be added to any other incentive currently offered on any Ford product.

            Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)
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            • http://automobiles.honda.com/future-cars/

              The Odyssey Concept will be unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show on February 10, 2010. Until then, just use your imagination.

              ================================================== ======================

              Honda Takes the High Road on Toyota Recall !


              TORRANCE, California — In stark contrast to the tactics of General Motors and Ford in the aftermath of Toyota's massive recall, Honda on Thursday said it "will not react in a predatory way toward either Toyota or Toyota customers."

              General Motors and Ford launched incentive programs this week aimed squarely at enticing disgruntled Toyota customers away from the brand as it struggles with a major image problem as a result of the recall. The domestic automakers' tactic of luring customers away from Toyota was criticized by some bloggers and even one other automaker — Hyundai — who likened the two to "vultures."

              Honda also addressed customer concerns about how it is affected — if at all — by the Toyota recall for faulty accelerator pedals. The letter, to Honda and Acura dealers from John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor, is a tutorial on how to handle questions from the media and consumers.

              "The recently announced Toyota recall has prompted some customer questions to you, our Honda and Acura dealers," said Mendel in the letter. "In fact, Toyota's recall, while serious, has no impact whatsoever on Honda or Acura customers. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., is not aware of any reports for either Honda or Acura vehicles, regarding the type of failure Toyota is citing as the cause for its recall. Additionally, while we use the same supplier as Toyota for some of our products (as do other manufacturers), we do not use the same components."

              Inside Line says: No Honda or Acura incentives are in the works for Toyota customers. And only time will tell which automakers had the correct response to the crisis. — Anita Lienert, Correspondent

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              Good used car picks !

              Looking for a good used car? Here are four top picks from Kiplinger's Personal Finance.

              The 2006 Pontiac Vibe: A small wagon with a lot of style. It's based on the Toyota Corolla. The editors say a the Vibe delivers "great gas mileage in a small package."

              The 2007 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Kiplinger's says the Sonata is a "budget friendly family car" that "competes with the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry," but at a lower price tag. Hyundai redesigned the Sonata in 2006. It got a more powerful engine and some important safety equipment: electronic stability control and curtain air bags.

              The 2006 Acura TL: It's luxury at an affordable price. The TL is Acura reliable, and the editors say it offers "stellar resale values, standard safety features and fuel-efficient performance."

              The 2005 Toyota RAV4: gets the nod for top crossover SUV. Kiplinger's says it offers a mix of "functionality, fuel-friendliness and value." The RAV4 is also one of Consumer Reports top rated small SUVs.

              For more information

              10 best values in used cars for 2009

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              • Japanese cars 3 times more costly to repair !


                The costs of repairing Japanese vehicles in Korea may run as high as three times that of domestic vehicles, industry data showed yesterday.

                According to the Korea Insurance Development Institute, the cost of replacing a front door, front bumper cover, headlight and the hood for a Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord 2.4 are 370 percent and 320 percent, respectively, more expensive than having the same work done on the Hyundai Sonata.
                The cost of replacing the four parts in the discontinued Sonata is 673,800 won ($576), while 2.498 million won is required for the Camry and 2.14 million won for the Accord 2.4.

                The figures are for 2010 model Camry, which is priced at 34.9 million won, and the figures for the Accord 2.4 and the Sonata are for the 2009 models.

                The 2009 Sonata is the fifth generation of the mid-sized sedan that was replaced with the current model in September. The Accord 2.4 is priced at 35.9 million won and the Sonata 2.4 is priced at 29.43 million won on the local market.
                The main reason for the disparity between the Sonata and Japanese mid-sized sedans' repair costs is the differences in the price of parts used in the vehicles, which in some cases can be as much as a six fold difference.
                According to the Korea Insurance Development Institute's data, headlights used in the Sonata costs 100,000 won, while the same part for the Camry costs 596,600 won in Korea.

                The same component fitted in the Accord is priced at 392,000 won. The price of the other three parts listed by the Korea Insurance Development Institute also showed large differences between local and imported cars, with Camry parts being priced up to 200,000 won more than those found in the Accord.
                Importers say that the price gap between imported and domestic car parts is caused mainly due to the fact that parts for imported vehicles are not produced locally.
                "It is unavoidable because we have to bring them in from overseas according to demand," a Honda Korea official said.
                "Importing parts rather than producing them locally raises additional costs such as shipping and storage."

                However, the data also showed that the hourly rates charged at service centers operated by Toyota and Honda dealers were double or more than that of the rates at local garages.
                At Toyota service centers, an hourly rate of 42,000 won is charged while Honda service centers charge 40,000 won per hour. The average for local garages was 20,000 won per hour.


                By Choi He-suk

                ================================================== ========

                American Honda Reports January Sales
                Date: February 02, 2010 13:29
                Submitted by: Jeff
                Source: Honda Press Release
                Credibility Rating: Not Specified

                Accord, Civic and Acura MDX sales improve

                02/02/2010 - TORRANCE, Calif. -

                American Honda Motor Co., Inc., posted total January vehicle sales of 67,479, an increase of 2.9 percent compared to January 2009, based on the daily selling rate,* which involved two fewer selling days. Honda Division posted January sales of 60,347, an increase of 3.5 percent versus January 2009.

                Leading Honda January total car sales of 37,736 were Accord, up 35.6 percent to 20,759, and Civic, up 12.1 percent to 14,693. Honda light-truck sales decreased 11.2 percent to 22,611.

                "We're off to a steady start for 2010 and we're optimistic that we can build momentum," said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda. "We look forward to launching the all-new CR-Z sport hybrid coupe later this year, and next week, we'll give everyone their first look at the exciting new Odyssey Concept at the Chicago Auto Show."

                The Acura Division posted sales of 7,132, a decline of 1.7 percent compared to January 2009. The MDX was the brand's best-selling vehicle with 2,358 units sold, up 20.3 percent.

                *The daily selling rate is calculated with 24 days for January 2010 and 26 days for January 2009. The year-to-date daily selling rate is calculated with 24 days for 2010 and 26 days for 2009. All percentages reflect the daily selling rate.

                TABEL: => http://www.vtec.net/news/news-item?news_item_id=878295

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                ‘Forced Features’ Drive Up Hybrid Prices!


                Anyone looking for a hybrid these days can choose from 31 models, from tiny econoboxes to hulking SUVs and even a pickup or two. The best of these vehicles top 50 mpg, but even the underachievers hit the low 20s. Trouble is, most of them are packed with high-end features that inflate the sticker price.
                So says the Union of Concerned Scientists in its inaugural “Hybrid Scorecard,” a rundown of the gas-electric rides currently available in the United States. Although the union praises automakers for offering hybrids with excellent fuel economy and low emissions, it faults them for stuffing those vehicles with DVD players, keyless entry systems, heated power mirrors and other pricey gadgets. These features are standard equipment, not options, and add an average of $3,000 to the bottom line. That’s on top of the “hybrid premium” that typically adds three to four grand to cover the cost of the electric motor and battery pack.
                “Consumers shouldn’t be forced to take features on the hybrids and pay thousands of dollars more because manufacturers don’t want to offer them a choice,” said Don Anair, a senior analyst in the vehicles program at the union. “People are looking for fuel-efficient vehicles, and they shouldn’t be forced to pay thousands more for them.”
                The auto industry says there’s a simple reason hybrids are packed with features: economics.

                Although hybrids have enjoyed growing popularity, they’re still a tiny niche. Of the 10.5 million vehicles sold in the United States last year, 290,232 were hybrids — and almost half of them were Prius hybrids (.pdf). To put that in perspective, Toyota sold 356,824 Camrys in the United States last year, while Ford sold 413,625 F-series pickups. Given the relatively small number of hybrids, automakers can’t offer a smorgasbord of options, said Charley Territo, a spokesman for the Auto Alliance. The trade group represents 11 automakers, including the Big 3 and Toyota.
                “Because of the volume of hybrid-electric vehicles being sold, they have to provide a vehicle that appeals to the widest number of consumers possible,” he said. And that means offering an array of features consumers expect, even if that means not everyone wants every one.
                The Union of Concerned Scientists singled out two cars it says illustrate the problem of “forced features,” which it defines as features as options on the gasoline model but standard equipment on the hybrid. Those cars are the Ford Fusion Hybrid (pictured) and the Honda Civic Hybrid. Although the union hailed the two cars as excellent environmental performers — each emits 31 percent fewer greenhouse gases than their conventional counterparts — the “forced features” cost almost as much as the hybrid drivetrains propelling the cars.
                For the Fusion, which gets 39 mpg combined, that comes to almost $4,000. The extra cash buys you things like 17-inch aluminum wheels, power heated mirrors, an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, a back-up camera, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated audio controls and, of course, the Sync in-car infotainment system.
                Ford said it includes those features on the car because consumers want them.
                “Our Fusion Hybrid starts at $28,350, which includes destination and delivery, and is nicely equipped,” said spokesman Said Deep. “What we are seeing is that 87 percent of our customers are buying vehicles that are equipped well above the base model. To put it another way, just 13 percent of all Fusion Hybrids are sold as base models. That is what our customers are ordering. As the market for hybrids matures in the coming years we could see demand increase for lower-specification hybrid vehicles. We are prepared to make that transition once it shows in the marketplace. Until that time, we will continue to build the vehicles demanded by our customers.”
                The Civic Hybrid (42 mpg combined) includes more than $3,000 in goodies including a security system, a deck-lid spoiler, power windows and locks, steering wheel mounted audio controls and a six-speaker audio system. But Honda got props from the Union for the Insight hybrid, a bare-bones gas-electric car with a bargain-basement (for a hybrid) starting price of $19,400. The thrifty car gets 41 mpg combined, making it a great value, according to the union.
                Honda spokesman Chris Martin said the Civic Hybrid has a list price of $23,800 and has won several awards for its high resale value, something he said proves “even second-hand buyers are happy with its content for the price.”
                “And,” he added, “consider that many features added to the Civic Hybrid over the Civic LX are either safety related, such as traction control and vehicle stability control, or provide improvements to fuel economy such as lighter alloy wheels, aerodynamic body parts, and an automatic climate control system that works with the hybrid auto-stop feature.”
                The union also called the 2010 Toyota Prius a great value, noting that it gets 50 mpg (combined) and includes just $1,600 in “forced features” like heated mirrors, remote keyless entry and 15-inch alloy wheels. Because the Prius is a dedicated hybrid, the union compared it to the Toyota Matrix. Anair said that was the car most like the Prius in terms of size, horsepower and functionality.
                The scorecard ranked 31 hybrids available in the United States according to environmental impact and value. To determine the environmental impact, the union compared the fuel economy and emissions of the hybrid against its gasoline counterpart and gave it a score of 0 to 10. The top scorers were:
                • Toyota Prius. 9.8
                • Honda Civic Hybrid. 7.8
                • Mercury Milan Hybrid. 7.8
                • Ford Fusion Hybrid. 7.8
                • Lexus HS 250h. 7.6
                “The Prius came out on top with a reduction of 44 percent in greenhouse gases over the Toyota Matrix,” Anair said. “And the next three top performers all had a reduction of more than 30 percent over their gasoline counterparts.”
                To judge a hybrids’ value, the union divided the estimated cost of the hybrid technology in the car by the percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the vehicle’s gasoline counterpart. The top scores were:
                • Lexus HS 250h
                • Toyota Prius
                • Cadillac Escalade Hybrid
                • Ford Fusion Hybrid
                • Honda Civic Hybrid
                Pricing concerns aside, the union praised the auto industry for the wide range of hybrids it offers and the environmental performance the cars deliver. Even a behemoth like the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid delivers 22 mpg combined, an improvement of 37.5 percent over the gas-burner.
                “That was one of the most interesting findings,” Anair said. “Looking at these, you might say the smaller vehicles have the advantage so that’s where you’ll see the biggest benefit in a hybrid. But we found some larger vehicles and even SUVs that see significant improvements.”
                UPDATED: Jan. 28 to include comment from Honda, which came after our deadline.

                Photo: 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid Jim Merithew/Wired.com

                Read More http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/01/hybrid-scorecard/#ixzz0eRvIMLTE
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                • Honda's quarterly profit rises more than sixfold!

                  Forecast-trouncing results mostly due to cost cutting.

                  LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Honda Motor Co. said Wednesday its October-December profit jumped by a factor of six, as aggressive cost cutting and improved Asian car sales overcame a strong yen and slumping business in Europe and North America.

                  Toyota Dealers Go Into Overdrive to Fix Pedals

                  Some Toyota dealerships are working around the clock to assist Toyota drivers with cars on the recall list. Courtesy Fox News.

                  Honda reported after the market close that its fiscal third-quarter profit rose sharply to 134.6 billion yen ($1.46 billion), or 74.19 yen a share, from 20.2 billion yen, or 11.16 yen a share, in the same quarter a year before.
                  The results easily beat expectations of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters for a 73.5 billion yen profit.
                  However, operating revenue for the quarter slipped to 2.24 trillion yen compared to 2.53 trillion yen in the year-ago period.

                  Honda attributed the fall of 11.5% to "unfavorable currency translation effects and decreased sales in the automobile business," though even on a constant-currency basis, revenue would have still fallen about 6%.
                  Auto sales flagged 2.8% from the year-earlier quarter, despite increases in China and India, as well as a 31% increase in Japanese sales "due mainly to sales of Insight, Fit and Step WGN, together with tax breaks and subsidies for fuel-efficient vehicles."
                  Car sales in North America and Europe were responsible for much of the overall drop, Honda said.

                  But operating income still managed to increase almost 73%, "due primarily to decreased SG&A [selling, general and administrative] expenses and R&D [research and development] expenses and continuing cost-reduction efforts."
                  For the full fiscal year ending March 31, Japan's No. 2 auto maker expects a profit of 265 billion yen, up from a previous forecast of 155 billion yen. It also predicted sales of 8.53 trillion yen.

                  Shares of Honda (JP:7267 3,070, +71.00, +2.37%) (HMC 34.26, +0.48, +1.42%) ended trading in Tokyo up 2.3%, ahead of the announcement.

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                  • Made in Canada: 2010 Toyota Corolla LE and Honda Civic DX-G, Part two

                    2010 Honda Civic DX-G (top); 2010 Toyota Corolla LE . Click image to enlargeRelated articles on CanadianDriver

                    Made in Canada: Civic and Corolla

                    When it comes to comparing the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla, the question isn’t simply, “Which is better?” The question is, “Which is better for you?”
                    Both cars are Canadian-built; together they hold the majority of the Canadian compact car market (with the Honda emerging as the top-selling compact car by a few percentage points each year), they’re close in price, and they both have great resale value.
                    Where they differ is in character. The Corolla is familiar and conservative in its appearance and operation; the Civic is more agile, more modern in its conception.
                    You simply have to look at the two cars for the difference to become apparent. The Honda’s front design is both dynamic and aerodynamic; the angle of the huge windshield continues almost in a straight line from the bumper to the cowl to the leading edge of the roof. The back of the vehicle is trim and chiselled. It’s a sharp-looking car.

                    2010 Honda Civic DX-G. Click image to enlarge

                    Inside, the driver and front-seat passenger are greeted by a sweeping, futuristic dashboard whose instruments and controls are nonetheless simple to use and easy to read. Even the steering wheel is surprising, with its compact yet substantial and appealing design.
                    The 140-horsepower, four-cylinder Civic engine is plenty powerful in all normal driving conditions, and the optional five-speed automatic transmission is smooth in operation (a five-speed manual is standard). The throttle is responsive and the Civic feels very light on its feet as you pilot it through city traffic. Handling is sharp and braking is sure and straight on its standard anti-lock system.
                    However, the 2010 Honda Civic DX-G does not offer traction control and electronic stability control (as found in the closely priced 2010 Toyota Corolla LE), and these are technologies that we would rather have, no matter how sure-footed the vehicle.
                    That said, the Civic on a good set of winter tires is easy to manage due to its inherent balance and excellent driver feedback. Even though conditions were severe during this sub-zero test drive, the Civic felt secure and performed as requested. Likewise, on dry pavement, the Civic handling proved precise and nimble.

                    2010 Honda Civic DX-G. Click image to enlarge

                    The big windshield means big windshield wipers, and these were effective in snow and freezing rain, as was the heating/ventilation system. Visibility is blocked somewhat by the large A-pillars, even though there are small windows inserted up-front to help. It’s the price you pay for that sleek exterior and aerodynamic design.
                    Major instruments are prominently displayed, with the large digital speedometer positioned front-and-centre, almost like a Head-Up Display. A quick glance is all you need for a precise reading.
                    A somewhat annoying feature of the Civic is that while both front doors auto-lock when you get underway, only the driver’s door auto-unlocks when you stop and put the car in “Park.” That’s the default, and for adult passengers it’s always frustrating (although if you’ve a child in the passenger seat, it makes sense). The good news is that this default is owner-selectable. Simply find the relevant section in your manual, and you’ll see how to easily reprogram the auto-lock feature to best suit your needs.

                    2010 Honda Civic DX-G. Click image to enlarge

                    The seats are comfortable and supportive, even on a long drive, and our test car drove without the slightest rattle or squeak, regardless of the road conditions. The trunk is competitive in size for a compact car, but the trunk lid is fitted with large, exposed hinges that rob space (same with the Corolla), rather than the more sophisticated and compact strut-type hinges.
                    No heated seats, unfortunately, and no USB port, but there is an auxiliary jack for your personal entertainment device. Other small things that are not part of the DX-G specification are an exterior temperature gauge, auto up/down power windows, 60/40 rear folding seats and variable intermittent windshield wipers (two-speed is what you get).
                    Cruise control, air conditioning and a tilt-telescoping steering column are present and appreciated, however.
                    After over 20-years of Civic manufacture in Canada, Honda has pretty much nailed the compact car ideal. But if ESC and traction control are high on your list of desired features, you’ll have to wait for the 2012 model, by which time you’ll see an all-new Civic with government-mandated electronic stability systems.

                    2010 Toyota Corolla LE

                    2010 Toyota Corolla LE. Click image to enlarge

                    Back in 1970, the year the Toyota Corolla first went on sale in Canada small cars like the Corolla were known as “economy” cars. That was in the days when big sedans ruled the highways and rather than draw attention to their diminutive size, marketers emphasized the fuel efficiency and lower cost of ownership of compact cars. But most people didn’t view “economy” as such a great thing – it was regarded more like “cheap” as in “economy class”.
                    Today, low cost of ownership and fuel efficiency are still important selling attributes for the Corolla, but step inside and you would hesitate to brand this compact as an “economy” car. With wood grain trim, automatic climate control, keyless push button entry and push button start, as well as ample seating for four adults or a family of five, our top-of-the-line Corolla LE felt anything but economy. Like the first five rows of a modern aircraft, the Corolla LE feels more like business class than the cramped accommodations in “economy” where most everyone else sits.
                    But the price of admission – $20,865 – is hardly a business class premium over the $15,160 entry fee for a base Toyota Corolla CE, and unlike business class, well worth the additional funds. Compare its price to any mid-sized sedan and the well-equipped Corolla LE looks pretty darn good.

                    2010 Toyota Corolla LE. Click image to enlarge

                    Add in some desirable standard features, like traction control and stability control, and you have a very comfortable, very predictable and very safe small car. We found that heavy snow and slick streets were easily managed with the high tech assists, which worked very well in combination with the Pirelli Sottozero Winter 210 winter tires.
                    Power from the 132 horsepower 1.8-litre inline four cylinder is enough power for the kind of driving this car will usually see, but if power is an issue, there is always the Corolla XRS with its more potent 158 hp 2.4-litre engine. If this is your choice, you can also check off heated leather seats, an option not available for the LE. Heated seats are about the only winter option I would like that the Corolla LE doesn’t offer. Leather or cloth, a heated seat really helps out on a cold morning. It is surprising that so few manufacturers offer heated cloth seats as an option in Canada.
                    Surprisingly, the mid-level, mid-market LE trim line comes equipped with a smart key and push button start. No need to fiddle for the key, just touch the door handle and the car unlocks. Push a button on the dash and the car starts. Push it again and the engine stops. Push a small button on the door handle and the car locks. The key never leaves your pocket. What could be simpler?

                    2010 Toyota Corolla LE. Click image to enlarge

                    Also a surprise at this price level is the single zone automatic climate control. Set your temperature and never touch the temperature controls again.
                    Even more surprising, neither of these features is available on the more expensive Corolla S and XRS. The LE is also the only trim level that has an optional eight-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support – a must-have in my opinion.
                    Naturally, power windows with one-touch-down on the driver’s side, cruise control, tilt and telescopic steering, Toyota’s premium Optitron gauges, variable intermittent wipers, fog lights and 16-inch alloy wheels are all standard LE equipment.
                    For comfort and convenience, the Cambridge, Ontario built Corolla LE looks like a best buy. Only optional leather and heated seating (and maybe that XRS engine) could make it better.

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                    • No one ever forgets their first car. I am still driving mine. I have a 1996 Honda Accord with almost 500,000 miles and I love it to death! I hardly ever had problems with it and when I did it was very little things like a muffler needing to be replaced. It is starting to rust just a very, very little bit on the back driver's side wheel, but that is the side effect of harsh Cleveland winters. Even at that all my friends thought that the car was new - it still drives that way. My fiancée plans on buying a Honda for his next car because of how great my Honda has been to me. (This is really something since he is from the FORD family!!!!!!) You cannot go wrong with Honda! 2,000 more miles until half a million! (Oh, did I mention the gas mileage is great??? I get 36 mpg on the freeway!)


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                      Honda and Scion Struggle Seeking Small-Hybrid Sweet Spot!

                      Before either car launched, the 2010 Toyota Prius and 2010 Honda Insight were viewed as natural rivals. Would the third generation of Toyota's definitive hybrid be threatened by Honda's "least expensive hybrid", which too offered five doors and good gas mileage?
                      What a difference a year makes.

                      The 2010 Toyota Prius
                      Enlarge Photo

                      2011 Honda CR-Z launch, Detroit Auto Show, January 2010
                      Enlarge Photo

                      2011 Honda CR-Z
                      Enlarge Photo

                      2010 scion iq concept 026
                      Enlarge Photo

                      Ford's Nancy Gioia at 2008 Detroit Auto Show
                      Enlarge Photo

                      2009 Ford Escape Hybrid
                      Enlarge Photo

                      Prius romps, Insight craters:

                      The 2010 Prius was a smash hit. Its global sales success strained Toyota and caused shortages of nickel-metal-hydride battery packs. Of 270,000 sales to date, about 140,000 came from the United States. Its nemesis proved to be not Honda, but high-tech braking software.
                      The 2010 Insight, meanwhile, fell woefully short. Reviewers who wanted to like it were put off by its lack of power, tinny feel, and cramped rear seat. Looking at 2009's green-car winners and losers, the Insight falls into the "Loser" column.
                      Honda hoped to sell more than 50,000 Insights in the U.S., but sales from March through December 2009 were a mere 20,500. Globally, sales of the 2010 Honda Insight totaled 130,000 during 2009, substantially less than its early goal of 200,000.

                      Honda: Just too small:

                      Now Honda Executive Vice President Koichi Kondo has admitted to Bloomberg, "I think we compromised too much on size in pursuing fuel efficiency" in its first dedicated four-seat hybrid for the U.S. market.
                      Honda just launched its 2011 CR-Z hybrid sports coupe at last month's Detroit Auto Show, a tiny two-seater built on the Insight platform but using a larger 1.5-liter engine with the Insight's 10-hp electric motor, for combined peak output of 122 horsepower.
                      But the CR-Z is not top of the heap either in fuel economy (36 mpg city, 38 mpg highway projected with the CVT) or performance (a Japanese road test achieved 0 to 62 mph in 9.7 seconds).

                      "Struggling" with Fit Hybrid:

                      And Kondo said his engineers are "really struggling" with the upcoming 2012 Honda Fit Hybrid, the third in what was expected to be a trio of new Honda hybrids. That car is expected to launch late this year.
                      The similarly sized 2010 Insight starts at $19,800, but the versatile five-door 2010 Fit, which starts at $14,900, is already rated to 27 mpg city, 33 mpg highway. How much more could a hybrid add--and at what cost?

                      Hybrids not about mileage?

                      This all points out the anomaly of hybrid sales in the U.S.: While they're bought because of their gas mileage, that's far from the sole reason drivers want them. And price apparently isn't much of an issue; studies show the Prius is often bought instead of a luxury car.
                      So did Honda aim at the wrong target by building the Insight specifically to be the lowest-priced hybrid? Or is a small car just a more challenging package in which to pack a battery pack, an electric motor, a slew of extra electronics, and so forth?

                      Too pricey for Scion:

                      One answer can be found in Scion, Toyota's smallest, youngest, and hippest U.S. brand, which aims to keep its base prices well below $20,000. Scion vice president Jack Hollis told Ward's Auto that hybrids were simply too expensive for that brand's buyers.
                      While he expects hybrids to arrive in the Scion lineup over the longer term, he dismissed notions that a recent smaller hybrid concept car--Toyota's FT-CH--would become a Scion. Instead, it's likely to become a smaller entry in an expanded family of Prius models.
                      Instead, the brand's next model is likely to be the 2011 Scion iQ mini-car, a far less expensive entry with a conventional gasoline engine.

                      Hybrid = electric running?

                      In the end, it may be that buyers agree with Ford's global electrification director, Nancy Gioia, who told GreenCarReports.com the company believes, "Consumers place a premium on the ability to drive at least a little bit in all-electric mode."
                      In other words, hybrid buyers love the high gas mileage, but many aren't buying them for the payback but for the statement they make. And, they want--and can afford--bigger, better-equipped hybrids that include features like all-electric running as differentiating factors.

                      Tell us what you think!

                      If you're a hybrid owner already, or thinking of buying one, why buy a hybrid? What kind of car are you looking for?
                      Tell us what you think in the comments below.
                      [Bloomberg via Autoblog, Inside Line, Ward's Auto]

                      Last edited by tokyodream; 07-02-10, 07:43. Reason: completari azi
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                      • Curtain call: Honda hopes soon-to-be unveiled new Odyssey will have motorists applauding!


                        (Birmingham News staff illustration / Napo Monasterio)

                        Respect the van.

                        That tag line from the 2009 ad campaign touting the Alabama-built Honda Odyssey is taking on greater significance this year, as the Japanese automaker prepares to unveil a redesign of its popular minivan.
                        This week, Honda will lift the curtain on a concept version of the 2011 Odyssey at the Chicago Auto Show, and hopes are high that buyers will revere the next-generation vehicle as much as the current one.
                        For the past two years, the Odyssey has been the best-selling minivan in the U.S., despite declining sales and a shrinking segment.
                        But the minivan market could get a jolt of energy this year, as Honda's new Odyssey goes up against a redesigned Toyota Sienna.
                        Toyota took the wraps off its new Sienna at the Los Angeles Auto Show in December, while Honda has said little about the updated Odyssey.
                        Even on Wednesday, when the concept version is revealed, there still could be plenty of mystery about what the final production model will look like. Honda hasn't pinpointed a launch date, but it's widely expected to hit dealer lots in the fall.
                        Stephanie Brinley, an auto industry analyst for market researcher AutoPacific, expects the redesigned Odyssey to be fairly conservative, considering the type of vehicle it is.
                        "It's a box meant to move people, and you can only get so creative with that box," she said.

                        Changing the contours of the Odyssey can compromise space, she added, "which of course can compromise the entire function of the vehicle."
                        What Honda can do is work with the headlights and grille and taillights to give the Odyssey more style and elegance. Consumers also should expect new storage options and other clever ways to use interior space, which is especially relevant in a minivan.
                        There is some speculation that Honda might introduce a hybrid version of the Odyssey, but Brinley doesn't think that will happen anytime soon. What is likely, however, is improved fuel economy.

                        Meanwhile, the Odyssey won't become a part of the emerging compact minivan trend, Brinley said. Such vehicles, which have been popular for years in Europe and Japan as a way to cope with high gas prices and narrow streets, are starting to gain more traction in the U.S. market.
                        The Mazda5, for example, is smaller than other minivans yet still provides seating for six. Mazda plans to debut a redesigned version of the vehicle at the Geneva Auto Show in March.

                        Brinley said the Odyssey will remain a full-size minivan, but Honda is not ignoring the trend. The automaker is expected to bring a separate entry in the compact minivan category to the U.S. in a couple of years.
                        Built at Honda's $1.4 billion, 4,000-worker Lincoln factory, the Odyssey accounted for nearly half of the facility's output last year. The plant's assembly lines also turn out Pilot sport utilities, Ridgeline pickups and Accord V-6 sedans.
                        The launch of the new Odyssey has kept the plant's workers busy, as they are involved in trial builds and test runs. They also have worked closely with Honda's research-and-development staff.
                        Vehicles typically get a minor facelift each year, but a full model change is an extensive process. Honda's Lincoln workers launched the current version of the Odyssey when they started building it in 2004 as a 2005 model.

                        The Odyssey's annual sales hovered between 170,000 and 180,000 for three years following its launch. But then the global auto sales slump, which was particularly hard on minivans, SUVs and other light trucks, took hold.

                        Steep fall; still No. 1

                        Odyssey sales tumbled more than 20 percent in both 2008 and 2009, but the totals were enough to keep it ahead of its competitors.
                        The overall segment has been shrinking for years, according to market researcher IHS Global Insight. In 2000, minivan sales comprised 7.9 percent of total automotive sales, but that market share plunged to 4 percent in 2009.
                        Ivan Drury, an analyst for the auto site Edmunds.com, said the minivan market share isn't expected to rise in the foreseeable future. One might even assume that the slumping economy could cause people to not have as many children, thus limiting the minivan's core customer base of large families, he said.

                        But Honda and others in the minivan-making business think the market is primed for a rebound. Large families will always need the utility of a minivan, while the vehicle also appeals to other types of drivers, they say.
                        Toyota's new Sienna, for instance, is more sporty and sedan-like than its predecessor, with luxury touches inside -- a package that appeals to empty-nesters who like to travel.
                        Since some manufacturers have exited the minivan market, the three main automakers in it now are Honda, Toyota and Chrysler, which makes both the Town & Country and the Dodge Caravan, Brinley said.
                        With launches of the new Odyssey and new Sienna, this year should be a showdown between Honda and Toyota, she added, although Toyota's mass recall could affect the matchup.

                        The Sienna is not included in the recall, but the continuing problems with sticking accelerators and brakes on some Toyota models are casting a pall across the automaker's entire lineup, Brinley said.
                        "Odyssey and Sienna are going to have a good race this year, depending on how the recall stuff shakes out," she said.

                        WHAT'S POSSIBLE FOR THE NEXT ODYSSEY:

                        >> Modest styling changes to contours.
                        >> Modifications to grille or headlights to add elegance.
                        >> New storage options.
                        >> New uses of interior space.
                        >> Improved fuel economy.
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                        • Dongfeng offering own-brand sedans!

                          Dongfeng Motor Corp, China's third-largest automaker, almost doubled its profit last year as China became the largest vehicle market in the world and domestic sales boomed.

                          The parent company of Hong Kong-listed Dongfeng Motor Group Co Ltd sold a total of 1.9 million vehicles last year, a 43.6 percent surge from 2008, generating revenues that rose 30 percent to 256.4 billion yuan.

                          With government incentives extended into 2010 and Dongfeng's potential in lower-tier cities, the company has set a sales goal of 2.22 million units this year, up 17 percent from 2009.

                          Dongfeng Motor Corp has long been the leading domestic truck maker. Its two commercial vehicle subsidiaries had combined sales of more than 400,000 units last year to rank No 1 nationally in the heavy, medium-duty and pickup truck segments.

                          Self-developed cars

                          Yet the company had no self-developed sedans until last year, when it launched the Dongfeng Fengshen S30, a mid-class model that sold a total of 22,000 units from July to December.

                          "That's one small step for the Fengshen S30, one giant leap for the whole enterprise," said Xu Ping, president of Dongfeng Motor Corp.

                          Following the encouraging start, the company recently rolled out a second new model, the Dongfeng Fengshen H30 hatchback, using the same undercarriage as the S30.

                          The company expects combined sales of the two models to reach 60,000 units in 2010. It also plans to offer a hybrid model as well as a crossover this year, according to earlier media reports.

                          Joint ventures

                          The vast majority of Dongfeng's passenger vehicle sales are from its four joint ventures with foreign partners.

                          Its joint venture with Nissan Motor posted the biggest sales volume among the four as its 2009 sales jumped 48 percent to 518,000 units. Four models - the Teana, Sylphy, Tiida and Livina - proved to be especially successful last year, each seeing monthly sales of over 10,000 units.

                          The Sino-Japanese partnership now has two passenger car plants in China with combined capacity of about 460,000 units. It also has a 240,000-unit facility under construction that will be completed by 2012.

                          Aiming to move 600,000 cars this year, the company maximizing capacity at its existing plants by working three shifts a day and modernizing equipment.

                          Dongfeng Honda Automobile Co, a joint venture between Dongfeng Motor Corp and Japan's Honda Motor, is also straining to meet demand. Last year, it sold a record 210,600 cars made at its plant designed for an annual output of 200,000 units.

                          The joint venture began building a second plant last month and will put it into operation in 2012. Until then, it says the existing plant will be further streamlined to produce 240,000 cars this year.

                          The CR-V SUV was the star of Dongfeng Honda last year. Its sales of 105,233 units comprised almost half of the joint venture's total.

                          Another Dongfeng partnership, with French carmaker PSA Peugeot-Citroen, also enjoyed rapid growth last year, with sales surging 52 percent to 270,000 vehicles. The operation produces the Dongfeng Citroen and Dongfeng Peugeot, combined sales of which are projected to rise by more than one-third to 370,000 units this year as more new models are rolled out and dealer networks expanded.

                          Dongfeng Yueda Kia, a three-way joint venture between Dongfeng, China's Yueda Group and South Korea's Kia Motors Corp, saw sales skyrocket 70 percent to 240,000 units last year. The company will launch the SLc, an all-new SUV, in the second half of this year. Its full year sales goal is 330,000 units.

                          Source: China Daily


                          Dongfeng had no self-developed cars until last year, when it launched the Dongfeng Fengshen S30, a mid-class model that sold a total of 22,000 units from July to December. [China Daily]

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                          • TOV Video: 2010 Acura Winter Test Experience

                            Date: February 09, 2010 07:43
                            Submitted by: Jeff
                            Source: TOV News
                            Credibility Rating: Not Specified

                            If you were wondering what the twitter updates and teasers in our forum were about, last week I was fortunate enough to be attending Acura's Winter Test Experience at AET (Automotive Enviro Testing) in Baudette, MN. I will have a more detailed report on the experience later, but suffice it to say it was an amazingly enjoyable experience and it was the perfect setting for Acura to demonstrate the sophistication their SH-AWD and Vehicle Stability Assist systems relative to those offered by competitors. The Acuras we drove included the MDX, ZDX, and TL SH-AWD 6MT. The list of competing products included the 2010 Audi Q7, 2010 BMW 335xi, 2010 BMW X6 3.5 xDrive, 2010 Infiniti FX35, and 2010 Lexus RX350.

                            This video sequence shows a sample of our day's activities:

                            YouTube - 2010 Acura Winter Test Experience[/URL]

                            We are planning to bring you coverage of the Odyssey Concept reveal at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show tomorrow (weather permitting) so it will probably be several days before our full story on the Winter Driving Experience is released, so stay tuned...

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                            • 2010 Chicago Auto Show: Honda begins a dramatic, new Odyssey

                              Honda’s auto show cars are typically “concepts” in name only. When the production model appears a few months later, about 95 percent of it matches the exterior of that concept on the floor. So, we’re basically looking at the next-generation Honda Odyssey minivan - minus a few pie-in-the-sky auto-show-floor details.
                              It pains me to write this – given that my garage contains a 2005 Odyssey EX-L – but minivans aren’t considered cool by most shoppers. Practical and versatile, sure, but not cool. That’s why we’ve seen Toyota and now Honda move towards the “longer, lower, wider” school of design for their latest generation vans. The Odyssey concept has an interesting kink in the beltline; it also looks like glass area has shrunk from the current greenhouse-like, er, greenhouse.

                              Honda is claiming increased fuel economy from the next-generation Odyssey. We’d expect the six-speed automatic that is featured on the Acura MDX and ZDX to make its way into the Honda line-up. Since I’m a very happy owner of the current-generation van, I have to express a few concerns. Recent Honda designs are no longer paradigms of steering feel; current Acura sedans and the Accord Crosstour have left us unimpressed at the track. Honda is claiming to have retained the Odyssey’s fun-to-drive characteristics; hopefully they pulled that off.
                              Also, looking at Honda’s very vague Odyssey interior drawings, the new dashboard looks a lot like the Acura MDX. Honda’s latest dashboard designs, the MDX included, have moved from the simple buttons and knobs of previous models to being a button-laden homage to a Star Trek Enterprise cockpit set. (Not that my Odyssey couldn’t use improvement – some controls are quite a reach.)
                              The minvan market will see a flurry of activity in the next 12 months. Toyota is rolling out their new Sienna, the redesigned 2011 Odyssey will be out this fall, and Chrysler is working on major upgrades for the once-dominant but now disappointing Town & Country/Grand Caravan.
                              Family and cargo haulers will soon have fresh choices, but are they cool? That’s up to you. We’ll report our track findings once we purchase these new boxes.
                              See our 2010 Chicago Auto Show coverage.

                              Tom Mutchler

                              <A href="http://blogs.consumerreports.org/cars/2010/02/2010-chicago-auto-show-2011-honda-odyssey.html" target=_blank>http://blogs.consumerreports.org/car...a-odyssey.html

                              ================================================== ===========

                              Odyssey Concept Reveals Stylish, Dynamic Image for All-New Honda Minivan


                              Date: February 10, 2010 12:00
                              Submitted by: Jeff
                              Source: Honda Press Release
                              Credibility Rating: Not Specified

                              The next-generation Odyssey adds sleek styling, new functionality and higher fuel economy to best-selling minivan

                              CHICAGO, Feb. 10, 2010 – The Honda Odyssey Concept, on display at the Chicago Auto Show, introduces a sleek and distinctive exterior styling direction for the next generation of the industry’s best-selling minivan, set to debut this fall, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced today.
                              The Odyssey Concept dramatically departs from conventional minivan styling with its low and wide stance, highlighted by a “lightning-bolt” beltline that further distinguishes the vehicle’s profile. Compared to the current Odyssey, the Concept’s slightly lower roofline (-1.0 inch) and wider stance (+1.4 inch) contribute to a sleeker, stronger and more dynamic presence with improved aerodynamics that help increase fuel economy. Forthcoming improvements to the production Odyssey’s interior are designed to further enhance the current model’s accommodating space for people and cargo.

                              “The Odyssey established its reputation by providing families with what they most want in a minivan – great functionality, an emphasis on safety and good fuel economy,” said Vicki Poponi, assistant vice president of American Honda product planning. “Odyssey then further delighted customers with its surprisingly engaging, fun-to-drive and dynamic nature. The next-generation Odyssey promises to take these strengths to a higher level while adding more style and personality.”

                              The steeply raked front and rear roof pillars, unique side-glass profile, chamfered roof line, and tapered rear cabin shape combine to create a dynamic and distinctive appearance from any perspective. The lightning-bolt beltline dives toward the rear of the vehicle emphasizing the new Odyssey’s sporty appearance while enhancing outward visibility for third-row passengers. Aggressive body-to-wheel proportions reduce the perception of vertical height common to most minivan designs. Fender flares further accent the vehicle’s securely planted and stylish persona. The concept vehicle’s projector beam headlights, LED taillights and form-fit fog lights further heighten the sophisticated quality of the design.
                              Enhanced aerodynamics and advanced powertrain technologies will contribute to the next-generation Odyssey’s increased fuel efficiency. The all-new 2011 Odyssey is expected to achieve an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating1 of 19 city/28 highway miles-per gallon on select models (preliminary estimate determined by Honda).

                              Currently in its third generation, the Odyssey's unique array of features, including its superior driving dynamics, 3rd-Row Magic Seat® and efficient i-VTEC™ V-6 engine with three-mode Variable Cylinder Management™ (available) all combine to offer a sophisticated environment with room for up to eight people (seven on Odyssey LX). The Odyssey has been America’s best-selling minivan2 since 2008 and is produced exclusively in Alabama by Honda Manufacturing of Alabama (using domestic and globally sourced parts). Both the concept and production vehicles, along with all development activity for the 2011 Odyssey, are being designed at Honda R&D Americas in Torrance, California, and Raymond, Ohio.

                              The Odyssey has won numerous awards and critical acclaim. Recent accolades include the Edmunds.com 2010 “Top Recommended” minivan award, U.S. News and World Report 2010 “Best Minivan for the Money” award, Automotive Lease Guide 2010 “Best Minivan for the Money,” the Kelley Blue Book award as one of the ten "Best New Family Vehicles of 2009" and "2009 Best Resale Value Award" in the van category, which recognizes vehicles that are expected to have segment-leading resale value after five years of ownership.

                              Odyssey Concept Basic Dimensions :

                              Length (inches)202.8
                              Width (inches)78.5
                              Height (inches)68.3
                              Wheelbase (inches)118.1
                              Last edited by tokyodream; 11-02-10, 09:29.
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                              • TOV Video: 2010 Chicago Auto Show Press Conference

                                Date: February 11, 2010 09:36
                                Submitted by: Jeff
                                Source: TOV News
                                Credibility Rating: Not Specified

                                Below is footage of yesterday's press conference for the Odyssey Concept. These were edited in a very rushed environment yesterday afternoon, so I see a few things in Part 2 that require further refinement. I am currently re-encoding part 2, but for now you can go ahead and watch the "rough edit" version.


                                YouTube - TOV Video: Honda Odyssey Concept Press Conference at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show (Part 1 of 2)[/URL]

                                YouTube - TOV Video: Honda Odyssey Concept Press Conference at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show (Part 2 of 2)

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