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Posts Tagged ‘honda’

Are Nissans Finally Better Than Hondas?

August 11th, 2014

2010 Nissan 370Z NISMO

“Whoa, what the heck was that!?”

The Nissan 370Z flew by us with only a flash of its grille, then the quickly disappearing rear tail lights.

“It’s not a Porsche. It’s not a BMW. What is that? It’s beautiful. Go faster so we can see the front again.”

I obeyed, stepped on the gas and waited as my wife discovered for herself that the object of her desire was a Nissan.

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Here Comes Tesla’s Competition

March 28th, 2014

Commuter Cars Tango and George Clooney

When you think of electric cars, the first maker to come to mind is probably Tesla. The company has done an amazing job branding itself as the leader in vehicles powered by electrons. With sexy car designs, lots of media coverage and a personable-yet-eccentric CEO, Tesla has become the gold standard in electric vehicles.

That doesn’t mean Tesla is alone, though.

Other carmakers build and sell vehicles that use alternative fuels, and there’s no way the legacy automakers are going to sit down and watch Tesla silently drive into the sunset with all the cash.

From the big boys to some small guys with big ideas, it seems EVs are here to stay. Keep reading for some interesting competitors Tesla may face.

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New Car Shortage! Real or Imagined?

September 5th, 2013

2014 Honda Accord

Remember when Twinkies went extinct? There was a mass panic, and stores sold out immediately when news broke that the spongy yellow cake was about to be gone forever.

Fast forward to last weekend and I’m at a convenience store somewhere in the middle of Oregon, and there’s a stack of Twinkies at the cash register, with a label on the packaging that said something like, “Best comeback story ever.”

Right. Anyone else think the Twinkie panic was nothing more than a marketing ploy to sell more Twinkies?

I feel something similar might be happening in the auto industry at this very moment.

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With New Odyssey, Honda’s Idea of Innovation Sucks

March 27th, 2013

2014 Honda Odyssey

Okay, maybe that’s a terribly cliche headline to use when a vacuum is the main subject matter of a story. While it’s certainly not a derogatory comment on Honda’s overall ability to innovate, I do have to wonder what’s going on at Honda when the biggest new feature of the 2014 Odyssey is an in-vehicle vacuum.

Now that Honda has mastered the equation of understated comfort, exceptional reliability and dependable resale values, the only place left to go is… well… vacuums. Okay, in truth, Honda could probably stand to update its powertrains, build even more efficient engines, explore turbocharging or diesel options, upgrade its transmissions or, heck, even invest in some shiny new wheels. Instead of all that, though, Honda went with the vacuum.

The industry’s first built-in vacuum, mind you, but still a vacuum.

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2013 Honda Civic Tries to Bring Back the Passion

November 13th, 2012
2013 Honda Civic

2013 Honda Civic

In its First Drive review of the 2012 Honda Civic, Car & Driver said,

The Civic lacks the passion, soul, and entertaining driving dynamics of its predecessor. Mainstream buyers may not care, but enthusiasts surely will.

That echoes the theme for the 2012 Civic from virtually all auto reviewers and even led to Consumer Reports revoking the car from its “Recommended” list. It’s a stumble from Honda that used to be unthinkable but seems to be more common with today’s models (specifically the Crosstour and Ridgeline).

To Honda’s credit, it’s been able to act fast and provide an “emergency refresh” for the 2013 Civic, pictures of which were released yesterday and posted on Facebook. Will the quick tweaks be enough to get that lost passion back?

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Buying Used: Beware the Secret Recall

October 9th, 2012

Honda recall

When shopping for used cars, people often look to a certain brand and take comfort in knowing the brand’s reputation for quality and reliability will mean a trouble-free ownership experience.

Honda certainly qualifies as one of those brands.

Smart car buyers know that any used car, regardless of brand, should never be brought home without a thorough history check. That research should include a close look at recalls issued for the model getting considered.

In the last week or so, Honda has reminded us that no brand is immune from a potentially dangerous fault that could result in an accident, with two separate recalls on three of its most popular vehicles.

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Cars Coming Soon: Honda Volt… Err… Accord Plug-In Hybrid

October 4th, 2012

2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle

I’ve waxed ecstatic about a lot of fun, fast and powerful cars lately. I perk up at the sound of a wailing V12 or the low gurgle of a V8. I could listen to the sound of an Aston Martin starting or a Maserati cruising all day long. These cars create a visceral reaction that releases floods of endorphins and just makes me smile.

Electric cars don’t have that effect.

It’s not that I don’t believe in the cause of the EV, I just don’t feel a passion for them. I get their purpose, and I respect it, but at the end of the day, there’s nothing there to grip me.

The Chevy Volt did nothing to change that. The Tesla Model S might, just because it’s so dang sexy. The Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle, due for the 2014 model year, has a chance to catch on… if it’s priced right. While it’s by no means passion-inducing, at least it seems to have everything the Volt does, plus a healthy dose of whatever it is Honda has that leads to customer obsession.

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Can Small Changes Save the Honda Crosstour and CR-Z?

September 21st, 2012

2013 Honda CR-Z

In all honesty, they should probably be discontinued.

Honda, though, remains loyal to its Crosstour and CR-Z, even though they remain two of the company’s slowest-selling models. Instead of letting them quietly fade into automotive history, Honda will give each some much-needed attention and hope car buyers like what they see.

When the Honda Accord Crosstour launched as a 2010 model, no one seemed to know what to make of it. Its odd styling and combination of space, size, pricing and fuel economy never really added up to a convincing value proposition. Car shoppers agreed, and never bit hard enough to help Honda meet its sales projections of 40,000 units per year. Or even come remotely close.

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Top Auto Brands in America Still Foreign

June 27th, 2012

Mercedes-Benz coupe concept

The success of a car brand is most often measured by the number of units its dealers move off their lots. There’s another piece of marketing at work, though, that’s often behind those sales numbers:

Brand perception.

An automaker’s brand goes way beyond the logo on the grille or the name attached to the trunk lid. The brand encompasses everything a consumer feels or thinks when he or she sees, hears or otherwise has an experience with anything the brand represents. That makes it sound complicated, and it is. So measuring the impact of a brand on consumers is not easy to measure.

Think about a car brand. Any brand. Does it instill feelings of trust in you, or send you into fits of laughter as you make jokes about its reliability? Does it intimidate you or fill you with confidence? Are you enveloped with thoughts of luxury and performance or practicality and cheap plastics?

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Will Going Eco Really Save You Any Money?

June 5th, 2012

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

The short answer:

No. No, it won’t.

The longer answer:

Unless you have up to 40 years to wait for your investment to pay off.

The full answer:

Keep reading for all the juicy details.

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