2016 Honda HR-V 5DR AWD EX-L Review

Tuesday January 12th, 2016 at 9:11 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2016 Honda HR-V 5DR AWD EX-L

By David Colman

Hypes: Brilliant Interior Packaging
Gripes: Underpowered

Honda introduced the 2016 HR-V only 4 months into the 2015 model year. Thus, the earliest releases are nearing 8 months old before their proper 2016 model year clock even begins to count down. This is a great way to stave off the unavoidable depreciation that bedevils new cars the instant they drive off the dealer’s lot.

The HR-V is in many ways – especially size and price – what the CR-V once was before it got fat and expensive. HR-V is a crossover sports utility body appended to a stretched Honda Fit chassis. At 169 inches in length, it’s 9 inches longer than the sub-compact Fit. It’s also 4 inches longer in wheelbase, which allows three adults to fit into the back seat with more leg room than greets them in the Fit.

2016 Honda HR-V 5DR AWD EX-L

By comparison to the HR-V, the current CR-V seems huge, with its 10 extra inches of length and 500 extra pounds of curb weight. At 3,045 pounds, the HR-V itself is fully 400 pounds heavier than the Fit sedan upon which it is based. To compensate for that, Honda upgraded the HR-V’s inline 4 from the Fit’s 130hp and 1.5 liters to 141hp and 1.8 liters. It’s not enough of a boost, however, to prevent the HR-V from being one of the slowest accelerating new rigs on the road. The problem stems from the fact that its power-to-weight ratio stands at a lethargic 21.6 pounds for each horse to move. By contrast, the Fit figure is 20.1 lb/hp, and the 185hp CR-V tops them all at 19.0 lb/hp.

2016 Honda HR-V 5DR AWD EX-L

The fact that Honda equips the HR-V with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) exacerbates the problem. Unlike a gearbox with fixed ratios, the CVT takes longer to spool the engine up, with more noise accompanying each demand for more power. While this is not the vehicle of choice for freeway merges or two lane passes, it offers other attributes that almost make you forget about its power shortfall. Compared to the Fit, the HR-V carries almost twice the amount of cargo: 32 cubic feet vs. 17 for the Fit. Even better, Honda has configured the interior so the 60/40 split second row “Magic Seats” fold virtually flat, allowing maximum utilization of all that generous interior space.

The HR-V is a lot of fun to drive on a two-lane back road. In that sense, it emulates the Fit, with sensitive and accurate electric power assisted rack and pinion steering. The EX-L’s standard issue 7.5 inch x 17 inch five spoke alloy rims not only look rugged, but plant a solid footprint on the pavement, with all season Michelin rubber measuring 215/55R17 at each corner. The HR-V is stiffly sprung, so it’s quick to change direction at the flick of your wrist. It’s easy to set up a nice rhythm with this petite sports utility when you’re flinging it through a succession of curves. The drawback to this suspension calibration is a choppy ride over imperfect pavement. As a passenger trying to read a newspaper, I found it all but impossible to follow a line of print as my head constantly bobbed.

2016 Honda HR-V 5DR AWD EX-L

The HR-V is loaded with comfort and communication features not generally found in a vehicle with a base price of $25,840. For example, standard Smart Entry makes life much easier when your hands are full of grocery bags. The door locking/unlocking sequence is custom programmable. The communication system includes Bluetooth Audio, Hands Free operation, and Next Generation HondaLink with smart phone applications. XM Satellite and HD Radio are standard, with HD traffic reports available in select markets. The EX-L HR-V comes with standard navigation which plays through a 7 inch central display screen. This screen also carries a camera feed while backing up and a second feed from the Lane Watch camera mounted in the right side rear view mirror. Unfortunately, the display screen receives commands only through taps on its graphic user interface since Honda has seen fit to eliminate control knobs. Thus it takes way too much concentration to do something as simple as turn the radio volume up or down.

2016 Honda HR-V 5DR AWD EX-L

If you are in the market for an affordable, space efficient mini SUV, with exceptional gas economy and lots of built-in smart phone features, the newest member of the Honda family may offer just the right combination of sensible features at an irresistible price.

2016 Honda HR-V 5DR AWD EX-L

  • Engine: 1.8 liter inline 4, SOHC, 16 valve
  • Horsepower: 141hp
  • Torque: N/A
  • Fuel Consumption: 27 MPG City/32 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $26,720
  • Star Rating: 7 out of 10 Stars

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2016 Honda Odyssey SE Review

Friday January 8th, 2016 at 2:11 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

2016 Honda Odyssey SE

By David Colman

Hypes: Excellent Power and Handling
Gripes: Door Lock/Unlock Procedure Cumbersome

Looking at it, you’d never guess this big salami of a minivan will handle any road course in America with surprising competence. When Honda first introduced the Odyssey ten years ago, I had the opportunity to drive it on the very challenging road course at Barber Motorsports Park, near the Honda plant in Lincoln, Alabama where it is built. Although most journalists that day were intimidated by the sheer size and bulk of the Odyssey, it quickly became apparent to me that this minivan would be more than happy to cut a fast lap time without any drama at all. The fully independent suspension of the Odyssey is responsible for its precision behavior: MacPherson struts front and double wishbones rear. In the years since introduction, the Odyssey has retained its basic balance and controlled ride quality, If anything, its handling has improved with the addition of Michelin’s latest MXV4 Primacy tires (235/65/R17) which stick well when pressed, but also afford a plush ride thanks to their tall sidewalls.

2016 Honda Odyssey SE

Driving the Odyssey is more akin to piloting a yacht than driving a car. You sit tall on the bridge with a wide ranging view of surroundings. Honda has thoughtfully provided wind- wing style triangular windows behind the exterior rear view mirrors. These little panes of glass go a long way to improving peripheral vision from the driver’s seat. Also simplifying your evaluation of adjacent traffic is a marvelous standard feature called LaneWatch, which uses a camera embedded in the right side mirror to display side traffic when you signal a lane change or right turn. You can elect to display this view all the time by depressing a button on the tip of the turn signal stalk.

2016 Honda Odyssey SE

With 248hp, the Odyssey’s 3.5 liter V6 drives through a proper 6-speed automatic transmission (no CVT here). This efficient source of power is more than adequate to propel the 4,530lb. van when you need to match speed with faster traffic in freeway merges. The V6 is quite highly tuned, with double overhead cams, 24 valves, and variable cylinder management that reduces output by cancelling cylinders when cruising. As a result, the Odyssey manages 28 MPG on the freeway. It will also tow a 3,500lb. trailer. This economy is quite surprising in view of the its generous proportions: 202 inch overall length, 118 inch wheelbase. These dimensions are comparable to Chevy’s Suburban or GMC’s Yukon. And with its 61.5 cubic feet of cargo room, this Honda puts to shame those jumbo SUVs, with their 47.5 cubic feet of volume.

Our test Odyssey represents a substantial value at its base price of $34,425. The bottom line swells by an extra $1,050 to cover installation of a DVD rear entertainment system with a 9 inch display screen. This unit is normally a $2,000 value, but if you elect to buy the SE Odyssey, Honda will cut you a $950 price break. The interior of the van is lso teeming with yacht-like indulgences. The driver gets a 10-way power seat, the front passenger a 4-way power throne. Standard is 3 zone climate control, with a thermostat like device mounted on the B pillar that looks like the one you set in your house. To accommodate passengers in each of three rows, Odyssey gives you 41 inches of legroom up front, 32 inches in row two and 29 inches in row three. This is a true 7 passenger bus. Both rear sliding doors are handle actuated to open and shut automatically. These work great as long as you have first gone to the trouble of hitting the unlock button on either the keyfob or the front door armrests. Otherwise you can tug all you want and the doors won’t open, which proves rather annoying. Also missing from the specification sheet is automatic actuation for the rear cargo door, and heated front seats. The Odyssey is otherwise so fully equipped that both features are conspicuous by their absence. If Honda can include heated seats standard on their $21,000 Fit, they should certainly provide them on this $34,000 van.

2016 Honda Odyssey SE

If you need to transport a team, or seek a heavy cargo mover, you will be pleasantly surprised by the efficiency of this Honda. While Honda never uses the word “sport” in any description of the Odyssey, its fine handling nevertheless merits your attention. You don’t have to sacrifice precision steering, or tenacious cornering grip to achieve purposeful packaging of people, pets and parcels.

2016 Honda Odyssey SE

2016 Honda Odyssey SE

  • Engine: 3.5 Liter V6, DOHC, 24 Valves, i-VTEC, Variable Cylinder Management
  • Horsepower: 248hp
  • Torque: N/A
  • Fuel Consumption: 19 MPG City/28 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $34,255
  • Star Rating: 9 out of 10 Stars

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2016 Honda Fit EX-L NAVI Review

Thursday January 7th, 2016 at 1:11 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

2016 Honda Fit EX-L NAVI

By David Colman

Hypes: Fuel Efficient but Fun
Gripes: Knob less Radio, Droning CVT

When Honda redrafted the Fit for 2015, they increased its dimensions and improved its appearance without losing its subcompact dexterity. The 2016 version continues the refinement with a new CVT transmission fitted with paddle shifters. The infinitely variable ratio transmission extracts maximum performance from the Fit’s 130hp, 1.5 liter inline 4 cylinder engine. While you won’t be confusing this Honda’s straight line acceleration with that of a sports sedan, neither will you be ashamed of the speed it generates when merging onto a freeway. In fact, the diminutive four under the hood, which Honda proudly displays without a hide-all modesty shield, is quite a strong performer in this lightweight (2,625 lb.) package. With double overhead camshafts controlling variable valve timing (i-VTEC), and with direct injection of fuel maximizing combustion economy, the “Earth Dreams Technology” motor makes 32 MPG in city driving, and 38 MPG on the highway for a combined EPA estimate of 35 MPG.

2016 Honda Fit EX-L NAVI

In fact, the Fit power plant is so efficient and powerful for its size that the Sports Car Club of America chose it as the specification engine for its Formula Fit series of open wheel race cars. This very competitive class had gone by the name Formula Ford for over 30 years until the affordable Fit hit the market. While the EX-L doesn’t quite handle like a Formula Fit, it’s still quick to change direction, and proves nimble on back roads. Credit 185/55R16 Firestone FR740 tires, and electrically power assisted rack and pinion steering for its well bred behavior.

One of the compelling beauties of this car is its utter lack of tack-on amenities. The base price lists at $21,065. Aside from a pre-delivery inspection from your dealer ($820), this Honda is Fit to go, without extras, for $21,885. By selecting the EX-L trim level, you eliminate the need for any pricey additions to the basic sticker price. You say you want navigation? The Fit EX-L comes standard with a 7 inch screen displaying Honda’s satellite-linked navigation program with voice recognition. The same screen does double duty as an audio touch pad for the included AM/FM/CD/MP3, 6 speaker infotainment center. However, Honda designers have succumbed to the fad for touch pad control in lieu of knob control. Touch pads work fine at your desk, but very poorly when multi-tasking while driving. The simple act of raising the volume on your Fit’s radio could easily distract you from driving. To circumvent the problem, Honda has fitted the steering wheel with an audio volume control, but your first inclination will always be to address the faceplate of the unit for manipulation.

2016 Honda Fit EX-L NAVI

For such a small vehicle, the Fit is remarkably efficient and adaptive. Four full size doors facilitate use of the back seat for both passengers and parcels. The fifth door, which pops up with just a slight assist from your hand, opens the rear cargo area for 17 cubic feet of carrying capacity. With the rear seats folded flat, this interior space jumps to double that number with the simple flick of a lever controlling seat back position. As an added benefit, the second row seats stow two ways: with backs flat or bottom cushions upraised. Another nicety is the fact that the rear seat backs can be adjusted for angle. Up front, both seats benefit from standard 3 position heating controls. These are invaluable on cold fall mornings. Also easing inclement weather driving is a standard rear window wiper which quickly clears the heated rear window pane. The Fit’s climate conditioning system is exemplary. Despite the fact that the windshield is huge and relatively flat, the demisting operation takes but seconds, even on the wettest of days.

2016 Honda Fit EX-L NAVI

Thanks to its low belt line and abundance of glass, vision from the driver’s seat is exceptional. Assisting in this regard is Honda’s innovative LaneWatch camera which is embedded in the passenger side mirror. This device activates each time you signal a right hand lane change, transmitting a real time image of following traffic on the passenger side of the Fit. Once you have completed your lane change, the picture disappears. However, you can activate the screen image full time by depressing a button on the end of the turn signal stalk. This allows you to watch the world go by in reverse and proves fascinating and helpful at analyzing traffic patterns. Plus it’s a lot of fun. The only item marring a perfect rear view record is the back seat’s center shoulder harness, which dangles like an unlaced shoe from the roof of the vehicle.

Honda has continuously upgraded the Fit since its introduction. The 2016 model has matured into one of the best and most useful subcompacts you can buy for bargain money.

2016 Honda Fit EX-L NAVI

2016 Honda Fit EX-L NAVI

  • Engine: 1.5 liter DOHC 16-Valve inline 4 with i-VTEC, and Direct Injection
  • Horsepower: 130hp
  • Torque: N/A
  • Fuel Consumption: 32 MPG City/38 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $21,885
  • Star Rating: 8 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2015 Honda Fit EX-L

Friday March 27th, 2015 at 1:33 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

2015 Honda Fit EX-L

By David Colman

Hypes: Revamped Styling and Interior Packaging
Gripes: CVT

This Honda will fit into your plans if you need an affordable and dependable sedan with enough interior room to belie its modest exterior dimensions. Honda has repackaged the Fit for 2015, extending space inside while retaining sub-compact length (160″), height (60″) and width (67″). Because wheelbase (99″) has grown by an inch, there’s more legroom for rear seat passengers. The rear seats are also notable for the fact that their bases are open, allowing you to store parcels or shopping bags beneath them. The Fit’s aft cargo area benefits from hatchback access, and its flat floor extends into the passenger compartment when you drop the rear seats flat. Doing so maximizes use of the Fit’s generous 24 cubic feet of storage space.

2015 Honda Fit EX-L

Inside the cockpit, you’ll immediately notice that Honda has upped the Fit’s finish, with leather trimmed seats and a leather wrapped steering wheel. That steering wheel also offers easy to use cruise controls on the right spoke, and equally intuitive radio selection and volume buttons on the left spoke. In the case of volume control, the spoke-mounted unit is particularly welcome since the alternative is a display-screen mounted virtual slide adjuster that’s both hard to find and slow to react to your input.

2015 Honda Fit EX-L

The Fit has molted for 2015, losing its chubby face and cute baby curves in favor of a more mature and assertive bullet-nosed look. The difference is especially noticeable from the front, where a wraparound intake-cum-headlight fascia replaces the previous model’s doe-eyed innocence with a snarkier squint. Sharply chiseled beltline and rocker panel air channels now impart movement missing in the bland styling of its predecessor. The 2,450 pound Fit is so light it requires minimal foot ware: 185/55R16 Bridgestone Turanza EL470 tires mounted on standard 16 x 6 inch alloys do the job at each corner. But even the tiny Fit dwarfs this minimalist wheel/tire combination. Cornering hard will convince you that an upgrade in tire size or wheel width would improve adhesion under duress.

The 1.5 liter engine now produces 130hp, 13 more than the previous Fit. This engine benefits from all the latest technology tweaks such as direct very high pressure fuel injection, and i-VTEC variable valve timing actuation of its twin overhead camshafts to produce both acceptable horsepower and torque (114 lb.-ft.) along with outstanding gas economy (35 MPG overall).

2015 Honda Fit EX-L

Our test Fit was equipped with a no-extra-cost automatic transmission, a CVT unit with a Sport Mode and paddle shifters on the steering wheel. The CVT’s stick is mounted on the floor console, between the front seats. Next to it is a gear indicator panel that fails to illuminate when you have made a selection. For confirmation of that information, you need to refocus on the left quadrant of the instrument binnacle for a digital gear display. This poor correlation between stick and display is annoying.

Most of your driving time will pass without giving much thought to the CVT. Only when accelerating hard will you become aware of its tendency to spool the engine high into the rpm range for maximum thrust. This tendency results in lots of noise without much in the way of acceleration. Do yourself a big favor and order your Fit with Honda’s excellent 6-speed manual gearbox, which instantly converts this grocery getter into a sports sedan.
Then you will have a finely crafted, fun to drive, lightweight package that is economical to buy as well as to operate.

2015 Honda Fit EX-L

2015 Honda Fit EX-L

  • Engine: 1.5 liter inline 4, DOHC, i-VTECH, 16 valves, direct injection
  • Horsepower: 130hp
  • Torque: 117lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 32 MPG City/38 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $21,590
  • Star Rating: 7 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2013 Honda Civic Si

Thursday October 24th, 2013 at 12:1010 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Scalpel Sharp Sports Sedan
Gripes: Confusing Bi-Level Dash

The Si is a remarkably adept sports sedan beset by a few niggling ergonomic problems. Its good points, however, far outweigh its shortcomings. The Si, first introduced to the Civic model lineup in 1987, has long been Honda’s street fighter, relying on peaky horsepower and splendid handling to embarrass cars costing more than twice the Si’s $28,000 sticker price. Under that abbreviated hood, you’ll find a ferociously competent 2.4 liter inline 4, with variable valve timing (i-VTEC) contributing exceptional top end power. At a screaming 7,500rpm, the Si makes 201hp and 170lb.-ft. of torque. When you zing the engine to redline, a warning light indicates i-VTEC actuation, followed by a quartet of yellow and red bulbs which illuminate sequentially as redline is reached. This is the kind of light display NHRA Pro Stock drivers use to win quarter mile drag races. The effect is mesmerizing, informative, and emblematic of the Si’s serious driving orientation.

There are 6 well-spaced cogs in the manual transmission to keep this mini dynamo on full boil. If you enjoy shifting manually, you’ll have a blast operating the Si’s crackerjack unit. Adding to the joy is the diminutive alloy golf ball that tops the stubby stick. It makes you feel like a surgeon in an operating room. Throws from gate to gate are so precise, and clutch actuation so linear and predictable, that the Si will instantly make a better driver out of you.

Chucking it around turns is another delicious pleasure. Fist, you benefit from the well padded high backed sports seats that keep your butt fastened to the chassis. Next, you’ll appreciate Honda’s taken the trouble to supply the Si’s 6.5″ x 17″ alloy rims with the latest high performance rubber from Michelin: 215/45R18 Pilot Sport 3 tires at each corner. The suspension system of the Si is decidedly stiff, with chunky swaybars and taut springs affording track ready ride firmness and mid corner stability. Few cars at any price provide the instant feedback and unalloyed joy of pushing the Si to the limit.

With such a great package on offer, it’s disappointing to encounter a handful of faults Honda should have corrected long ago. For example, access to the rear seats on this 2 door is decidedly poor. That problem would be tolerable if you could easily slide the front seatbacks forward, then restore them to their prior backrest rake setting. But no, every time you flip the seatback forward to toss something in the back, you must readjust your backrest manually to your preferred setting. This procedure was irritating 26 years ago, when I bought my first Civic Si, and Honda hasn’t done a thing to ameliorate the problem in a quarter century. Also on the quibble list is the absence of an exterior trunk release, which inconveniently forces you to use either the key fob remote button or the under dash release switch to gain access. The final problem concerns the in-dash navigation/entertainment screen which is virtually illegible in daylight because it inexplicably superimposes red letters on a gray background. The navigation’s bit-mapped video display looks more like Pac Man than HDTV.

But are these minor snafus serious enough to deter you from buying this Honda? Not in the least. With the possible exception of the Mazda MX5, there is nothing remotely comparable in sports motoring to the Civic Si for this kind of money. And the Mazda will barely carry two and their toothbrushes, while the Civic is a spacious, practical, everyday conveyance. If you cherish the art of driving, you owe it to yourself to take this Honda for a ripping test drive.

2013 Honda Civic Si

  • Engine: 2.4 liter inline 4, DOHC and VTEC
  • Horsepower: 201hp
  • Torque: 170lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 22 MPG City/31 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $27,805
  • Star Rating: 9.5 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2013 Honda Crosstour EX FWD

Tuesday October 1st, 2013 at 1:1010 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Stands Out In A Crowd, Utilitarian
Gripes: Inelegant Back Road Handling

Honda revamped its Crosstour for 2013 by supplying it with mock skid plates front and rear. These fluted aluminum shelves convert this crossover’s appearance from benign to purposeful. Suddenly, the Accord-based product looks more like an SUV than a station wagon on stilts. The new fascias hide the fact that the Crosstour is based on the previous generation Accord chassis, so if you seek the latest underpinnings, you’ll have to opt for the 2013 Accord sedan. But bear in mind that the sedan stores 16 cubic feet of baggage compared to the Crosstour’s 22 cubic foot capacity.

New for 2013 is an uprated 3.5 liter V-6 engine producing 278hp and 254 lb.-ft. of torque. Though the FWD chassis will only tow 1,500 lbs., it’s got more than enough grunt to run like the wind on the freeway. Despite its substantial 4,030 lb. weight., the quiet and efficient Crosstour requires careful minding because it always wants to run at 80MPH. The interior is eerily silent at freeway speed, and because Honda has equipped its new 6-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifts, you can easily kick down a gear or two for lane change spurts. Rear vision is surprisingly good given the bifurcated rear window, and long slabs of heavily tinted side glass. Helping in this regard are 3 perfectly placed and sized rear view mirrors, and the ingenious rear view camera which displays continuous images on the dashboard screen. You can activate this camera by depressing the end of the light control stalk, or turning on your right turn blinker.

The flowing roof lines of the Crosstour diminish rear seat headroom, and inhibit carriage of tall cargo. But the trim lines distinguish this Honda from any other shape on the road. Think of it as a bargain priced Audi A7. If interstate cruising is high on your requirement list, the V-6 Crosstour is a perfect match. But if you spend significant drive time on twisty back roads, this tall, softly sprung Accord adaptation will force you to take turns at a glacial pace. The new-for-2013 18 inch alloys look aggressive, with five split and machined spokes, but the tires Honda has chosen – Michelin 225/60R18 Latitudes – break traction early and squeal disconcertingly. The Crosstour’s traction control complex also kicks in at disarmingly low speeds to usher you cautiously through turns. If you live in the snow belt, you can order your Crosstour with all-wheel-drive, but you’ll pay $1,450 for the upgrade.

The interior of this Honda features the company’s typical multi-level, horizontal dashboard arrangement which requires you to scan various strata of gauges and displays to find the information you seek. On occasion, this effort requires averting your eyes too long from the road. The individual climate settings, for example, occupy a niche of their own separate from any other read-out on the panel. However, the large central display screen, which is new this year, does a terrific job of keeping track of music supplied via SIRIUS XM or MP3 sources. The screen alternately serves as a navigational map when needed. The front seats are reasonably comfortable, but the backrest angle adjustment is via a crude manual ratchet lever. What you will appreciate most of all about the Crosstour’s accommodations is the width and spaciousness of the cabin. The 75 inch wide Crosstour enjoys a 2 inch advantage over the 73 inch wide Accord. and a 6 inch advantage in length. This extended stance, coupled to the elevated ride height produced by the 60 series tires, imbues the Crosstour with an airy, commanding driving position that makes it perfect for long interstate commutes.

2013 Honda Crosstour EX FWD

  • Engine: 3.5 liter SOHC, 24 Valve V-6
  • Horsepower: 278hp
  • Torque: 254 lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 22 MPG City/33 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $36,470
  • Star Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Stars

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Tested: 2013 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite

Wednesday September 4th, 2013 at 12:99 PM
Posted by: Francois

Description

The Honda Odyssey is a the latest in a series of minivans from Honda. The Odyssey has changed with the times as it has grown bigger and bigger and then it toned down to be lower and sleeker. It grew in abilities but then it toned down and became easier to drive and live with. The electronics have aged quite a bit as it is not up to par with the latest integrated navigation screens from Europe and Korea. But the driving experience still remains as one of the most comfortable, responsive and easy to drive in its class.

YouTube Preview Image Video: Review by Kelley Blue Book

Pros:

  • Massive, highly usable interior
  • Seating for up to eight
  • Quick acceleration
  • Exceptional driving comfort

Cons:

  • Lower than expected fuel economy
  • Polarizing body design

Price

Odyssey Touring Elite ($43,675) is a Touring model with blind-spot warning system, HID headlamps, and a dual-input 16.2-inch widescreen rear entertainment system linked to a 650-watt, 12-speaker 5.1 surround sound system.

What’s New

Backup camera, Bluetooth handsfree, 8-inch information display and USB input now standard on base LX model.

Although the 2013 Honda Odyssey arrives mostly unchanged from the previous model year, the popular minivan has come a long way from the 5-door hatchback that first hit the market in 1995. Instead of sliding doors like a regular minivan, that first Odyssey had front-hinged doors that opened like the doors on a sedan. It wasn’t until the 1999 introduction of the second generation model that the Odyssey got the traditional minivan sliding doors.

Honda launched the current, fourth-generation Odyssey in 2010 with updated body lines and a new overall design. What was once a banal body with a flat window line was transformed into a more bulbous and modern-looking family hauler. Although some have applauded Honda for taking a design risk with the new Odyssey, others have derided the current model’s looks.

The 2013 Odyssey is available in LX, EX, EX-L (which has available rear entertainment system or navigation options), Touring and Touring Elite versions. The LX includes new standard features like Bluetooth handsfree, a backup camera, an 8-inch information display and a USB input. The rest of the lineup is unchanged. The 2013 Odyssey starts at $28,575 and tops out at $43,925.

Comfort & Utility

The Odyssey’s interior and features are much like those of nearly every other minivan on the market. The most notable difference between the Odyssey and its competitors is its interior build quality. The seats, dash, storage compartments and trim in the Odyssey are all surprisingly well constructed. Every surface in the Odyssey looks and feels sturdy.

The interior of the 2013 Odyssey is cavernous, with 172.6 cu-ft of total passenger volume and 148.5 cu-ft of cargo volume behind the front seats. With comfortable and flexible seating configurations, numerous storage bins and pockets and up to 15 beverage holders, the Odyssey is ready for whatever a family can ask of it.

The third row, which Honda calls a Magic Seat, is 60/40 split folding and enables the Odyssey to quickly and easily adapt between passenger and cargo hauling. It can accommodate three passengers and still provide 38.4 cu-ft of cargo volume behind the seats, or it can fold completely flat into the floor, creating 93.1 cu-ft of cargo volume behind the second row. Maximizing the Odyssey’s cargo space requires removing the second-row seats. Total interior volume, with passenger and cargo volume combined, measures 210.0 cu-ft.

Technology

The 2013 Odyssey is available with most every modern technological treat a customer could desire from a minivan. The Odyssey can be optioned with satellite navigation, a rear-seat DVD screen that folds down from the headliner and a “cool box” for chilling drinks.

All models now include an improved multi-information display with on-screen custom programming of functions like interior lighting and door locking, Bluetooth handsfree, USB inputs and a backup camera.

Performance & Fuel Economy

The Odyssey is powered by a a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 248 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque, and there are two transmission choices. On the LX, EX and EX-L, Honda offers a 5-speed automatic transmission. On the Touring and Touring Elite models, the Odyssey is fitted with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The EPA estimates the Odyssey LX’s fuel economy at 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The Odyssey Touring, thanks to its 6-speed automatic transmission, does slightly better at 19 mpg city/28 mpg hwy.

Safety

The 2013 Odyssey features dual-stage, multiple-threshold front, side curtain and dual-chamber front and side airbags with Honda’s passenger-side occupant position detection system. A vehicle stability assist system, active front-seat head restraints and pedestrian injury mitigation are all standard. So is Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure. It helps the Odyssey better absorb collision energy, especially in a front-end crash. That structure is now in its second generation in the Odyssey.

Driving Impressions

Many people promise themselves they’ll never own a minivan. But for millions of Americans, family life necessitates owning one. Should they climb behind the wheel of the Odyssey, they’ll be pleasantly surprised by its excellent driving characteristics. Most impressive is the power output from the 3.5-liter V6.

When a driver puts his or her foot to the floor in the Odyssey, it doesn’t rocket forward in a jerk of power. Instead, it builds like a force of nature beneath the driver, sending the vehicle smoothly forward across the landscape. Power delivery is linear, intense and quite satisfying.

During hard off-the-line acceleration, the Odyssey does suffer from some front-wheel slippage. But that is to be expected from a 248-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine wedged into the front end of a big family vehicle.

Unfortunately, the fuel mileage we observed wasn’t as good as advertised. We suspect it will take a soft-footed, Zen-like driver to get close to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s fuel economy estimates.

Other Cars to Consider

Toyota Sienna: Starting at $26,435, the base Sienna L is one of the cheapest minivans on the market. But it doesn’t beat the Odyssey by much. For 2013, the base 4-cylinder engine is discontinued, replaced by a standard V6. The Sienna can be equipped with all-wheel drive for those who need extra traction for winter weather or slippery roads.

Chrysler Town & Country: Starting at $29,995, the Town & Country is an old favorite among minivan buyers–with an emphasis on old; the Town & Country hasn’t been updated since 2007.

Nissan Quest: Starting at $25,990, the Quest comes standard with a 260-hp 3.5-liter V6 mated to a continuously variable transmission. We think the Quest is far and away the best competitor for the Odyssey, with comparable power, efficiency, utility and technology.

Bottom Line

We think even the base 2013 Honda Odyssey is fantastic at $28,575. But budget allowing, we’d definitely upgrade to the Odyssey Touring for $41,180. The Touring includes satellite navigation, rear entertainment and the 6-speed transmission. The 6-speed automatic makes the Odyssey not only more fuel-efficient but also more enjoyable to drive.

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2013 Honda Accord Coupe

Monday April 15th, 2013 at 12:44 PM
Posted by: Francois

Hypes: Dynamic driving experience, Honda Goes Green with “ Earth Dreams Technology”
Gripes: Sheeps clothing will disuade the ideal driver for this car

This car is fast. One could call it a BMW or INfiniti and the person behind the wheel will not be disappointed. It is just an exhilirating drivng experience in an unexpected package. The power and flexibility of this engine is impressive and the chassis can handle it. So color us impressed.

I spent most of my week in the new Accord driving around like a demented octogenarian with my right turn signal perpetually blinking to indicate a turn I never took. What, you may ask, prompted this bit of imbecility? Honda’s new feature called LaneWatch. If you flick your right turn signal on, an incredibly clear, continuous picture of the road adjacent and behind your Accord displays itself in full color on an 8 inch i-MID (Intelligent Multi Information Display) screen on the dash. The LaneWatch camera, mounted beneath the passenger side exterior rear view mirror, affords a mesmerizing view of the world gone by. It’s like watching a newsreel of your travel unfold at the instant it’s happening. Of course, Honda provides it, not as entertainment, but rather as a useful safety device to keep you informed of traffic patterns and help you avoid collisions when changing lanes.

What I didn’t realize until after my week in the Accord was nearly up: you can simply depress a button on the end of the turn signal stalk to activate LaneWatch without signaling for a right turn. I’m not sure why there was no provision for a left side LaneWatch, but as it stands the right side only monitor is one of the most udeful safety advances devised in the last decade. But it’s just one hors d’oervre in the tasty feast that Honda has whipped up for the 2013 Accord banquet. For a base price of $25,405, the EX offers a lot of family sedan for the money.

Starting under the hood, you’ll find a willing performer in the gas miser 2.4 liter inline four. Direct Injection is new for 2013, an improvement that ups horsepower to 185hp (from last year’s 178), and torque to 181 lb.-ft. (from 161). Even when saddled with the vagaries of the belted CVT automatic gearbox, the Accord jumps smartly to attention when prodded with the accelerator. If you select Sport Mode from the floor mounted CVT lever, the Accord picks up an instant 1000rpm which eases passing anxiety considerably. This velocity increase is unfortunately accompanied by a hellish racket from the intake and exhaust systems that underlines just how hard the four banger is straining to get the job done. You will be thrilled at the mileage, however, which pays off with an overall combined rating of 30MPG.

For a family sedan with four full-size doors, and a spacious and comfortable back seat, backroad handling is beyond respectable. Throw the EX into a series of bends, and you’ll be amazed at just how well balanced and competent the twin anti-roll bar equipped suspension system is. The new Accord corners flat. Information passed through the steering wheel is accurate and encyclopedic. To look at the wheel and tire fitment – which consists of 7.5” x 17” alloys rims mounting all-season Michelin MXMV4 215/55R17 tires – you wouldn’t give the EX much of a chance of success on a twisty road. The truth, however, is just the opposite. On a light traffic, mid-week run from Mill Valley to Point Reyes Station, this Honda proved itself to be agile, quick and confidence-inspiring. The steering wheel could do with a thicker rim, and the front seats are deficient in side bolstering. But the chassis dynamics are spot-on.

This is the 9th version of the Accord that Honda has offered in the 30 years they’ve been building this model in the USA. While it may look little different from version 8, it is deceptively improved. Lighter and dimensionally smaller on the outside, the new EX is inexplicably more spacious in terms of headroom and shoulder room on the inside. If you’re looking for a sedan in the mid-$20K range, you need to consider this latest Honda before making any final decision.

Specifications
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 2-door coupe
PRICE AS TESTED: $33,140 (base price: $31,140)
ENGINE TYPE: SOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
Displacement: 212 cu in, 3471 cc
Power: 278 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque: 252 lb-ft @ 4900 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
DIMENSIONS:
Wheelbase: 107.3 in
Length: 189.2 in
Width: 72.8 in Height: 56.5 in
Curb weight: 3399 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 5.6 sec

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2013 Honda CR-V EX-L AWD Review

Wednesday April 3rd, 2013 at 8:44 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Great Loading, Huge Cargo Area, Nice Finish
Gripes: Needs a V6 and 6 Speeds

Just because this SUV packs loads like a donkey doesn’t mean it has to look like a donkey. With this in mind, Honda last year revamped the uninspiring appearance of its CR-V, turning it into one of the most fetching compact SUVs in a crowded market that includes Chevy’s Equinox, Ford’s Escape, Hyundai’s Tucson, Nissan’s Rogue and Toyota’s RAV4. You can even ice the new cake by selecting the scintillating blue color of our test car – “Mountain Air Metallic.” But the CR-V’s appeal lies deeper than its shimmering paint, plunging side window line or pinched rocker panel. The real beauty of the CR-V is its utterly utilitarian configuration.

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2013 Honda Accord EX 4-DR Review

Friday January 11th, 2013 at 8:11 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Honda Goes Green with “ Earth Dreams Technology”
Gripes: Erratic RPM of CVT Gearbox

I spent most of my week in the new Accord driving around like a demented octogenarian with my right turn signal perpetually blinking to indicate a turn I never took. What, you may ask, prompted this bit of imbecility? Honda’s new feature called LaneWatch. If you flick your right turn signal on, an incredibly clear, continuous picture of the road adjacent and behind your Accord displays itself in full color on an 8 inch i-MID (Intelligent Multi Information Display) screen on the dash. The LaneWatch camera, mounted beneath the passenger side exterior rear view mirror, affords a mesmerizing view of the world gone by. It’s like watching a newsreel of your travel unfold at the instant it’s happening. Of course, Honda provides it, not as entertainment, but rather as a useful safety device to keep you informed of traffic patterns and help you avoid collisions when changing lanes.

What I didn’t realize until after my week in the Accord was nearly up: you can simply depress a button on the end of the turn signal stalk to activate LaneWatch without signaling for a right turn. I’m not sure why there was no provision for a left side LaneWatch, but as it stands the right side only monitor is one of the most udeful safety advances devised in the last decade. But it’s just one hors d’oervre in the tasty feast that Honda has whipped up for the 2013 Accord banquet. For a base price of $25,405, the EX offers a lot of family sedan for the money.

Starting under the hood, you’ll find a willing performer in the gas miser 2.4 liter inline four. Direct Injection is new for 2013, an improvement that ups horsepower to 185hp (from last year’s 178), and torque to 181 lb.-ft. (from 161). Even when saddled with the vagaries of the belted CVT automatic gearbox, the Accord jumps smartly to attention when prodded with the accelerator. If you select Sport Mode from the floor mounted CVT lever, the Accord picks up an instant 1000rpm which eases passing anxiety considerably. This velocity increase is unfortunately accompanied by a hellish racket from the intake and exhaust systems that underlines just how hard the four banger is straining to get the job done. You will be thrilled at the mileage, however, which pays off with an overall combined rating of 30MPG.

For a family sedan with four full-size doors, and a spacious and comfortable back seat, backroad handling is beyond respectable. Throw the EX into a series of bends, and you’ll be amazed at just how well balanced and competent the twin anti-roll bar equipped suspension system is. The new Accord corners flat. Information passed through the steering wheel is accurate and encyclopedic. To look at the wheel and tire fitment – which consists of 7.5” x 17” alloys rims mounting all-season Michelin MXMV4 215/55R17 tires – you wouldn’t give the EX much of a chance of success on a twisty road. The truth, however, is just the opposite. On a light traffic, mid-week run from Mill Valley to Point Reyes Station, this Honda proved itself to be agile, quick and confidence-inspiring. The steering wheel could do with a thicker rim, and the front seats are deficient in side bolstering. But the chassis dynamics are spot-on.

This is the 9th version of the Accord that Honda has offered in the 30 years they’ve been building this model in the USA. While it may look little different from version 8, it is deceptively improved. Lighter and dimensionally smaller on the outside, the new EX is inexplicably more spacious in terms of headroom and shoulder room on the inside. If you’re looking for a sedan in the mid-$20K range, you need to consider this latest Honda before making any final decision.

2013 Honda Accord EX 4-DR

  • Engine: 2.4 Liter DOHC, 16-Valve iVTEC Direct Injection Inline 4
  • Horsepower: 185hp
  • Torque: 181 lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 27 MPG City/36 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $26,195
  • Star Rating: 8.5 out of 10 Stars

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