Cars Coming Soon: Updates for Honda Crosstour, a Better Civic and a New Lexus Stunner

December 22nd, 2011

Lexus LF-LC concept

Lexus: The Car Company for Stodgy Old People.

There was a time when that could have been the slogan for the Japanese luxury brand. The popular LS 400 is what the “in” crowd of 60+ year-olds had to be seen driving. The era of comfortable cruising cars continued with the LS 460, and Lexus’ reputation for offering “Toyotas with a spit shine” continued with its ES and GS cars. The RX, GX and LX SUVs were, and are, popular among moms in upper-class suburbia.

What Lexus never stood for before was sexy performance.

But then something incredible happened.

Lexus LF-LC conceptLexus went and built what just might be the sexiest and most exhilarating supercar ever: the LFA. Now the LFA’s DNA will begin filtering down the model line, starting with the company’s still mostly secret LF-LC.

The LF-LC concept will debut at the Detroit Auto Show next month, so we don’t have long to wait. All we know so far is what Lexus says:

Crafted from a clean sheet of paper at the request of Lexus headquarters in Japan, the LF-LC blends both high technology and organic shapes to connect the driver to the machine.

Right. But here’s what we really want to know: What is it, and will it be produced? For that answer, we wait till Detroit.

Less exciting but still interesting is news from Honda, which is reeling from poor reviews of the latest Civic. The 2012 Civic has been on the market for less than a year and is already getting a once-over for the 2013 model year. The current version suffers from poor ride quality, a cheap interior and epic road noise, all contributing to the Civic’s getting beaten by competition from Chevrolet, Ford, Kia and Hyundai.

John Mendel, Honda’s executive vice president of sales in the U.S. said,

Building a good car isn’t enough for us, we have to build a great car.

And that is what sums up the troubles at Honda recently. “Good enough” cars have become good enough, while the competition has churned out greatness. We’ll see if the improved 2013 Civic can return to greatness.

A car that’s never been great is the Honda Accord Crosstour. For the 2012 edition, the bulky crossover/wagon gets a 4-cylinder option for the first time. The 2.4-liter inline-four will be offered in EX and EX-L FWD trims. Rated at 192 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, the 4-cylinder Crosstour is good for up to 29 miles per gallon on the highway.

Slow and ugly hasn’t made the Crosstour a success, so maybe even slower and ugly will.

Which company is on the right path to success: Lexus or Honda?

-tgriffith

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Used Lexus LS 400
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Used Lexus LX 570
Used Honda Accord Crosstour
Used Honda Civic

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  1. Jim Redd
    December 22nd, 2011 at 13:18 | #1

    Judging from this alone, Lexus is on the right path while Honda struggles to get back on its successful path. Adding some excitement, performance and attractive design to the traditionally “stodgy” brand will help compete with BMW and Mercedes. That’s something Lexus has to do.

  2. Randy
    December 22nd, 2011 at 08:08 | #2

    I remember the good old days when we looked at torn-down Honda engines and they were more like hand-built racing engines inside. The engines really looked different than the other brands and the quality and attention to detail was legendary. I can’t say the same for the drive lines or bodies that Honda wrapped the engines with. Earlier Hondas tended to have corrosion problems, with such things as door and window mechanisms freezing up, radiators and A/C coils rotting, rust and holes. In the past ten years I’ve looked at Hondas several times and always walked away when I could not get basic safety features like ABS without buying expensive upper level models, which told me the Honda folks were more interested in boosting their profits than helping their customers stay safe.

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