Japanese Honda Accord gets Mugen treatment

New Honda Accord Mugen

Last week, the new Honda Accord made its official debut in Japan and only a few days later, Honda specialist Mugen already presented the first details regarding the upcoming package for the car, both sedan and wagon versions. The Accord Mugen will a full new bodykit, with new front and rear spoilers, 'aero' bumpers, side sills and a huge rear wing, plus four alloy wheel designs available in 18 and 19 inches size. Performance upgrades include a new sport suspension kit, high-performance brake pads and rotors, plus a new sport exhaust system. No word wether the 2.4 liter engine or the 5-speed automatic transmission received any upgrades.

Photo Gallery: New Honda Accord by Mugen

New Honda Accord Mugen

New Honda Accord Mugen

New Honda Accord Mugen

New Honda Accord Mugen


Production Honda Insight shown in new official image

Today we've given another glimpse of the production Honda Insight before it debuts next month at the Detroit Auto Show. Aside from the minor details (e.g., door handles and exterior mirrors) that go from concept stylized to production practical, the official photo reveals an Insight that looks nearly identical to the concept that was shown at the Paris Motor Show in October, and the Los Angeles Show two weeks ago. Honda is expecting to sell about 100,000 copies of the Priu... err, Insight in North America once it goes on sale in the spring of 2009 with a base price expected to come in below $20,000.

Gallery: Honda Insight Concept


Gallery: Honda Insight LIVE



Honda V8 coming... in 2015

"You've got to have the right tool for the job." "You can't bring a knife to a gun-fight." Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. We've heard it all before. Honda makes some excellent engines, there's no doubt about that, from small displacement four-pots that rev through the roof to gloriously smooth and reliable V6 units. Unfortunately, the fun stops there, as the Japanese automaker has steadfastly stuck to its guns, not building an eight-cylinder engine when it can do just as well with fewer pistons.

Regardless of how competent its six may be, nearly all of Honda's competitors offer V8 engines in their top-level models, and Acura fanatics have been begging for a range-topper to compete with the likes of Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz for years. They may soon get their wish, as Honda's CEO Takeo Fukui has stated once and for all that Acura will indeed be getting an eight for its next top-level sedan.

What good is a beefy engine if you can't get the power to the ground? A big, heavy V8 engine over the front tires is a recipe for a horribly unbalanced front-driver, and Honda realizes this. So expect the aforementioned sedan to get rear-wheel-drive to go along with its newfound infusion of displacement. When? Not until 2015 according to some industry sources. That's a veritable eternity in the auto biz, so we have to wonder if Fukui has let the cat out of the bag a bit prematurely.

[Source: Auto Observer]


Spy Shots: Honda Accord crossover/wagon caught

Spy pics of a new Honda CUV have surfaced, wearing the U.S-market Accord nose, the Euro Accord Tourer's hatch and a AllRoad-esque ride height. The wagon is rumored to be a development mule, but despite the taped-on fender flares and added length, the body doesn't look half-bad.

This new model could fit in between the CR-V and Pilot in the Honda lineup, and although there's no word on powerplants, the test mule had a rear differential, so AWD is almost a certainty. It is believed that this new AllRoad-challenger will go into production late next year at the Marysville or East Liberty plant and we're expecting to see the vehicle in concept form at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, even though Honda won't have a press conference to show it off. We'll keep you posted, but for now, follow the link to see the pics.

[Source: Auto123]


Honda will be in Detroit, sans press conference

The latest sign that the 2009 Detroit Auto Show could quite possibly suck is Honda's decision not to throw any press conferences. The Japanese automaker still plans to unveil the production Insight hybrid, but will do so by simply adding its Prius-killer to the show floor with the rest of its line-up.

The move comes one day after Nissan and Infiniti pulled out of Detroit all-together, which followed dropouts by Porsche, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Ferrari, Land Rover and Rolls-Royce. Honda doesn't want to spend big bucks on live introductions with special effects and big-time travel budgets when the U.S. auto market is in the crapper. The Japanese brand won't roll out any press conferences in Chicago, either. If Detroit is going to be slow, Chicago is shaping up to be a ghost town.

The question now is, who's next? The Detroit Auto Show has traditionally been the event where our Domestics bring out the big guns. With all the negative attention surrounding the financial woes of Detroit automakers, we're beginning to wonder it they too will drop the glitz and glitter. If they're getting grilled for taking a private jet to Washington, imagine the field day that would be had over big money productions that only benefit journalists.

[Source: Automotive News, subs. req'd]


Big Surprise: Honda and Acura have best residual values

The residual value of a car or truck can be a tricky proposition. The age, mileage, general condition and segment of of the vehicle makes a big difference in determining its value, and so does its brand. If you want a car with strong residual value, it wouldn't hurt to buy a Honda, as the Japanese automaker has won it's sixth consecutive Automotive Lease Guide residual award. Honda's Acura division joined its less expensive sibling for the first time by taking the top spot for luxury vehicles, too, making it a clean sweep for team H-badge.

Toyota finished fourth overall in the voting, but the Japanese Juggernaut managed to win the most overall segment awards. Subaru has to be very pleased with its second place overall finish in residual values. Ford's F-150 scored big with the best residuals in the light pickup truck market. Japanese automakers won 11 of the 18 overall segment awards, while U.S. automakers won or shared three segments. Hit the jump to view all the segment leaders in the ALG residuals listing.

[Source: Automotive Lease Guide]


Automobile names Takeo Fukui MOTY

Honda is one of the few automakers that's demonstrated studied restraint during the recent SUV boom. There is the Pilot, which is a big ol' thing, but it's also as efficient as something that size can be, with unit-body construction, and an engine that shuts off three of its six cylinders whenever possible. The company also has a long history of making small cars that aren't penalty boxes, and amazingly clever engineering. It should be little surprise, then, that the man at the helm is an engineer by trade, deftly maneuvering the automaker into whatever endeavors hold promise, popular fashion be damned. Takeo Fukui worked on the company's CVCC engines early on in his tenure, and his respect for the vision of Soichiro Honda has netted him the title of Man Of The Year from Automobile magazine. The new focus on fuel efficiency (though today, oil is under $50/barrel for the first time in three years) has made Honda seem oddly prescient for its steadfast manner. Cheers!

[Source: Automobile]


LA 2008: Honda shows off Insight's Eco Assist dashboard

There's more to driving green than just the car you choose. The way you pilot the vehicle makes a huge impact on your fuel mileage, and automakers are now beginning to endow their new wares with technology that teaches you how to drive green. Honda's upcoming Insight is a perfect example, with its new Eco Assist dashboard that keeps tabs on the driver's right foot and relays information back via a color-changing speedometer and and "economy scoring function." Honda aims to make "the hybrid experience more fun and rewarding" with these technologies -- kinda like a video game -- that are activated by a green ECON button on the dash. When pressed, the CVT transmission changes modes and computers adjust the operation of the A/C, stop the engine from idling sooner and increases regenerative braking capabilities.

With this announcement, Honda joins Ford in the eco-dash wars. The Blue Oval recently revealed its LCD gauge cluster called SmartGauge with EcoGuide, which will debut in the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid. The tech wars are heating up fast and new innovations such as these green gauge clusters may make driving a rewarding experience for a completely new reason. Progress?

Gallery: LA 2008: Honda Insight Eco Assist

[Source: Honda]


LA 2008: Honda surprises with FC Sport fuel cell sports car concept

The first real surprise at the LA Auto Show today came from Honda in the form of its FC Sport fuel cell design study. The designers at Honda's advanced design studio in Pasadena decided to take advantage of the packaging flexibility afforded by a fuel cell powertrain and mounted it mid-ship driving the rear wheels. Using the vertical flow fuel stack mounted behind the driver and an electric motor between the rear wheels, the FC Sport is a three-seater in the style of the McLaren F1 where the driver sits in the middle of the car with the two passenger seats on either side and further back. The FC Sport is strictly a styling study right now, but we wouldn't be surprised to see a fully functional version at some point. Check out Honda's official press release after the jump and our high-res image galleries below.

Gallery: Honda FC Sport Design Study


Gallery: LA 2008: Honda FC Sport live reveal


Honda offers Michael Schumacher a ride in World Superbike Championship

Formula One champ Michael Schumacher has been enjoying his new gigs working with Ferrari's development team and hooning Honda Fireblades in various Superbike racing events, and he's proven to beabout as adept racing around on two wheels as he is on four. The seven-time F1 champion from Germany has been extended an open invitation by Honda racing officials to pilot one of its factory-prepped literbikes on the world stage. For his part, Schumacher has stated that he has no intentions to make a second career out of racing motorcycles, but his actions often seem to indicate otherwise, and he's apparently scheduled to take part in the German championship for 2009. We can only hope that our "retirement" is half as much fun as Michael Schumacher's.
Thanks for the tip, Chris!



Honda unveils supplemental robot legs for humans

Those who have difficulty walking may not be bound to a Segway for like thanks to Honda. The Japanese automaker is developing a new technology called the experimental walking assist device. These accessory legs have been designed as a means to offer a helping, um... leg to those who have difficult supporting themselves in day-to-day life but are capable of walking without assistance. Ongoing research for Honda's humanoid Asimo project spurred the robotic leg development, which began in earnest way back in 1999. Honda is now testing the legs at one of its Japanese factories in Sayama, Saitama.

To use the legs, the wearer slips on the special (and extremely stylish) shoes and adjusts the seat so that it supports their weight. Two motors move the frame and seat position while lithium-ion batteries keep the system powered for about two hours on a full charge. Are we the only ones who think Honda's new toy looks like the lower half of a Star Wars droid? OK, just checking.

Gallery: Honda Walking Assist Device

[Source: Honda]


SEMA 2008: Galpin Accord Concept is loud outside and in

The Galpin Accord Concept is actually pretty tasteful for a Galpin Auto Sports vehicle, and even if the bright blue paint job doesn't get you more attention on the street than you can handle, the two tunnel-sized exhausts out back will do the trick. The carbon fiber roof and plinth for a rear wing will also get you all kinds of cred in certain parts of town. And while information is scarce, the Stoptech brakes up front will help you come back from the edge when the car's actual limits are exceeded. We don't what's hiding under that carbon fiber hood, but we'll take it on faith that the intercooler up front isn't just for show and that something turbo'd lies within. And then, because apparently racers can't hear the stereo when they're hard on the gas, the back seat has been replaced with a speaker array. You just can't be the fastest man on the planet without tunes, now can you? Ah, SEMA... Check it out the gallery of high-res photos below.

Gallery: SEMA 2008: Galpin Honda Accord Racer


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