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Can Honda get its mojo back?

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  • Civic taking a commanding lead for November by almost 7500 units

    Also looks like the Civic was #3 for monthly sales of everything, only missing the Silverado by about 600 units!

    Top 10 Best-Selling Vehicles in November 2012
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,680
    IIHS Ratings
    Rated good:
    -- Honda Accord, four-door
    -- Suzuki Kizashi

    Rated acceptable:
    -- Ford Fusion
    -- Honda Accord, two-door
    -- Kia Optima
    -- Nissan Altima, four-door
    -- Nissan Maxima
    -- Subaru Legacy
    -- Subaru Outback
    -- Dodge Avenger
    -- Chrysler 200, four-door
    -- Mazda 6
    -- Volkswagen Passat

    Rated marginal:
    -- Hyundai Sonata
    -- Chevrolet Malibu
    -- Volkswagen Jetta sedan

    Rated poor:
    -- Toyota Camry
    -- Toyota Prius v

    Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20121220/OEM11/121219849#ixzz2FacNoTlN
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,680
    Video and full story at link:

    http://www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr122012.html

    "The Accord sedan shows how safety belts and airbags work together to provide exemplary protection. The dummy stayed engaged with the Accord's front airbag, and the steering wheel remained relatively stable because there was only moderate intrusion into the occupant compartment. That meant that the driver airbag was in the right position to cushion the dummy's head and chest. The side curtain airbag extended far enough forward to prevent the dummy's head from hitting interior components."

    "Toyota falls short

    Shoppers looking for a midprice family car will recognize some perennial bestsellers on the TOP
    SAFETY PICK+ winners' list, including the Accord, Altima and Fusion.

    One nameplate they won't find is Toyota. The Camry, which is the top-selling midsize car in the United States, and the Prius v, a 4-door hybrid wagon, earn poor ratings for small overlap protection and are the worst performers of the midsize group. The Camry was redesigned for 2012, and the Prius v was an all-new model for 2012.

    The Camry and Prius v illustrate what can go wrong in a small overlap crash...

    In the Camry, the force of the impact shoved the front wheel back into the footwell, bending the windshield pillar and pushing the parking brake pedal and the left outer edge of the instrument panel rearward into the driver's survival space. Likewise, there was significant intrusion in the Prius v, along with high forces on the dummy's legs and feet. The Prius v is the only car in the midsize test group to earn a poor rating for hip and thigh protection.

    The Camry's driver airbag and side curtain airbag deployed, but the steering wheel moved so far to the right that the dummy's head made only minimal contact with the front airbag. The side curtain airbag didn't extend far enough forward to help prevent the dummy's head from hitting the instrument panel. In the Prius v, the side curtain airbag deployed too late in the crash to offer protection.

    "Toyota engineers have a lot of work to do to match the performance of their competitors," Lund says.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,680
    edited December 2012
    names the Accord their best rated midsize sedan. A few quotes:

    "....The new Accord is roomy, nice to drive, well equipped, and very fuel efficient.

    Its 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, when matched with the smooth continuously variable transmission, squeezes out an excellent 30 mpg overall and 40 on the highway. That’s as good as a tiny Honda Fit and better than most compact cars. The 3.5-liter  V6 is super-smooth and quite powerful, snapping off a 6.3-second 0-to-60 mph time that is competitive with some sports cars. And its 26 mpg overall is among the best in its class.

    Inside, you are treated to one of the best driving positions available, comfortable seats, and terrific visibility. All Accords have a standard backup camera, rare among family sedans. Uplevel models include advanced safety features seldom found in this category, including forward-collision and lane-departure warning systems, and Honda’s new Lane Watch blind-spot camera system....

    In the final tally, the four-cylinder Accord jumped 10 points in our Ratings to take over the top spot among entry-level sedans...

    Based on its history, we expect above-average reliability for the Accord.

    The Accord is one of the more agile family sedans, with subdued body lean and decent steering feedback....

    Honda has finally solved the Accord’s longtime problem with road noise; road and wind noise are nicely muted....

    The CVT is smooth, quick, and unobtrusive, marking a new benchmark for that type of transmission. You’d be hard pressed to tell that it isn’t a conventional automatic, high praise indeed....

    Drivers will find plenty of space in the cabin. The cloth front seats are wide and supportive, although the LX model lacks power seats and lumbar adjustment. The powered leather seats provide better support and more adjustments and have two-position seat memory, a unique feature in this class. The rear has a supportive bench that’s comfortable for two adults but tight for three.

    Fit and finish is generally very good....

    The Accord’s gauges are a model of clarity, and most controls are easy to use....

    All Accords come with standard dual-zone automatic climate control, a nice touch....

    The trunk is large and nicely trimmed...."
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,168
    based on all the glowing reports on the new Accord, and how well received the refreshed Civic is (and based on sales) I would say they are doing just fine. And the CRV sells like hotcakes too. Even the Odyssey, as ugly as it is, moves units.

    That is a solid base of core vehicles, though they could use some freshening with the niche ones (like the Fit).

    I surprised myself by replacing a Honda with an Acura (Odyssey to RDX) recently. I thought as my fleet turned over, I would be done with the brand (I did replace my Accord with a Volvo for my daughter to use). I did buy an older Integra last week as a spare runabout car, but I don't think that revisiting 2000 counts as getting Mojo back.

    actually though, it is a glimpse into what Honda/Acura used to be. Relatively simple, incredibly well made, light and nimble. And the quality of the interior materials blows away a new model.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    I hear the Fit gets its update next year. Wouldn't it be wonderful if they introduced an SI trim line for the Fit? THAT would bring back a little of the mojo for me....

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 2,626
    Just saw the back end of what appears to be a 2013 Civic LX and all I can say is wow! I thought it was a Lexus until I focused on the word Civic. With the new Accord and now this, I think Honda has finally found it's way back. Very impressive looking!!

    The Sandman :) :sick: :shades:

    2014 Hyundai Tuscon SE/2005 Mazda 3s/2008 Hyundai Accent GLS/2009 Nissan Versa SL hatch

  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,173
    Looks like Honda's goal of making up the lost sales from the tsunami was successful to say the least.

    Up 24%, for the year, an additional 275k units over last year. Even Acura managed to capture another 32 thousand units this year over last. With a new MDX coming, things look good for 2013.

    We'll see how the RLX does...
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    For the RLX, I predict at least 500% more than the 2 per month that have sold in the past year :shades:
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    It'll be interesting to see how the RLX compares with the competition. I'd guess the 2014 TLX will be a slightly smaller and less expensive RLX. Both models, but especially the TLX, will be critical for Acura.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    edited January 2013
    TL seems to be the non-CUV bread and butter for the brand, it has to succeed.

    RL/RLX...current one has virtually disappeared the past few years. New one looks quite boring styling-wise, maybe they aren't depending on it.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    The previous three generations of the TL were very competitive. While they weren't outstanding in any particular area, they were good overall, and were excellent values. The current generation, by contrast, is a styling disaster in my eyes, and just an okay value. I'm hoping that Acura can restore the TL to its former standing in the near-luxury segment.

    I used to think that RWD and a V8 option would be required to compete well in the luxury market, but Acura was wise not to invest in the latter. As for RWD, Audi seems to be doing just fine with FWD architecture.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    No V8 is fine, but some styling differentiation is needed. That's the RL/RLX's problem - invisbile. TL can get away with being a fancy Accord, but can the RLX get away with being a really fancy Accord, now that the mid lux segment is so competitive? Might be a reason the brand doesn't really exist outside of NA and maybe China.

    TL really needs a styling redo. Even de-beaked, it is not a pretty car. Such a dramatic change from the prior model, which had very clean styling.

    I wonder what percentage of Audi sales are Quattro. I bet in the US, it is huge.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    edited January 2013
    Good points! Indeed, while the TL can get away with being a premium Accord, as the Lexus ES has proven, the RLX needs to be more.

    Acura seems to have recognized that it needs to differentiate its most premium sedan more from the Accord, because the RLX has moved more upscale, size and engineering wise, than the RL. "All-Wheel Steer" independently controls the toe angle of the rear wheels, and the all-wheel drive option will feature hybrid electric assist power to the rear wheels. It remains to be seen how significant these enhancements are in competitive comparisons.

    One of our cars is a '99 TL with 139,000 miles that's been satisfying and low maintenance. The latter characteristic has been a positive differentiator for a premium sedan, although our '07 A4, with 64,000, has been trouble free since the warranty expired. The engine was completely rebuilt under warranty, due to excessive oil consumption, but that problem was completely fixed. In addition, a leak in the back seat area (strange) was repaired, and the ignition switch was replaced under warranty. We've been very happy with our A4 since these things were taken care of, but we're keeping our fingers crossed.

    Audi has been making steady progress on quality, but from what I read it still doesn't equal Acura and Lexus. I'm willing to accept that in exchange for other attributes.

    The main reason we drive older cars is that we like the lower cost of ownership versus trading more frequently, and we don't worry as much about parking nicks and scratches. If they're more than minor, we get them repaired. Also, most of the new electronic features are of little value to us.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    edited January 2013
    RL/RLX is in a tough spot in a way. Bigger and more expensive than C/3er/A4/IS etc, cheaper yet not nearly as prestigious as E/5er/A6/GS etc. IMO, TL competes with the lower line lux, so the RL needs to aim higher if it is to exist at all. New one is bigger and surely full of tech, but time will tell if the market buys it. It's really bland looking, and that will be a handicap.

    My neighbor has a TL, maybe 2007 model, the loaded Type S version with bodykit etc. Seems like a really nice car. The 2005+ RL seems like a used car bargain, too.

    Even as someone who likes German cars, aging Audis scare me, as historically they are much more troublesome than aging MB/BMW, and parts availability can be marginal for older models. I suspect the newest of the breed will fare better.

    I drive slightly older cars because I can't afford the cars I like when new (I have expensive tastes), and I don't like huge depreciation. I am also not completely addicted to the latest tech - although I would like a new car to have nav and modern lighting, I still enjoy simply having power windows and AC, and the xenons/nav on my E55 seem downright modern to me. I daily drove the fintail for several years, it conditioned me to lack of gadgets.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    I periodically evaluate at what age/mileage to trade the A4 Quattro. Maybe at 85,000 miles, about the time it'll need a new timing belt, is reasonable. That's just a guess, though. In the meantime I'm maintaining it as though it's a long termer. For example, I had the coolant flushed and replaced with Audi coolant, even though according to the Owners Manual it's supposed to be life-time. I'll soon do the same with the transmission fluid. I don't think any coolant or fluid is life-time. Have you done these things with your E55?
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    Yes, I have done coolant by the book, and transmission at about 45K. The E55 also claimed "lifetime" transmission fluid, but it is a high torque application, and there are instances of failure around 100-150K without fluid changes. Any automatic car should probably have that fluid changed every 50K or so no matter what the maker claims - cheap insurance.

    Funny, this is on topic in a way, with the rash of Honda transmission failures starting about a decade ago. Friend of mine lost the unit in his 03 Accord V6, at 70K - luckily he had an extended factory warranty.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,680
    Honda has 3 of the top 7 selling vehicles in the US. Take out the pickups, and Honda has 3 of the top 4 selling non-truck vehicles for December.

    Ford F - Series PU 68,787
    Chevrolet Silverado PU 50,699
    Honda Civic 33,118
    Toyota Camry 31,407
    Dodge Ram PU 30,211
    Honda Accord 29,428
    Honda CR-V 25,733
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    Honda's 5-speed automatic, introduced for the 2000 model year in certain Acuras, and later in Hondas, was indeed problematic. The company was quite good about replacing bad transmissions, but they weren't good about coming clean with an explanation of what caused the problem, and exactly what the fix was. The company was also inconsistent regarding replacements. Some owners had more than one transmission replaced while others had to fight to get even one replaced.

    We dodged the bullet because our TL, which we bought new, has the older 4-speed. That transmission has generally been reliable. Mine has been trouble free. The 5-speed was introduced in the second year of the '99-'03 TL platform run.

    The '00s-'03s were the problematic ones. There was a high incidence of failure, but the majority didn't fail prematurely. Honda never disclosed the percentage of transmission failures. By the '04 model year the problem was pretty much solved.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,168
    one of the reasons I decided to get rid of my 2005 Odyssey a little early (75K on it I think) was not wanting to worry about the trans. Plus is was about to need some other stuff (tires, Tbelt). And of course, my wife was tired of having a minivan!

    Of course, I also have a 2000 3.2TL with the original tranny that has 167K on it, so what do I know!

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

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