2020 Hyundai Sonata shows fresh shape among competitors

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The Hyundai Sonata received a refresh for the 2018 model year, but it seems that version won’t be around for long, because a 2020 Hyundai Sonata midsize family sedan has been spied testing. The new car was spotted in Las Vegas testing alongside the competition. This new Sonata also appears to be a complete redesign, since nothing appears to be shared with the current model.

Up front, the new Sonata looks much wider than the current model. Part of this is due to the headlights being moved to sit inline with the top of the grille, as opposed to slightly above on the current model. And while we can’t see it clearly, the grille will likely have a similar shape to that of the current model and other Hyundais. The fenders also wrap around the top of the car more, further contributing to the car’s wide stance.

The profile of this new Sonata is different, too. It’s a bit more traditional in how the engine compartment area doesn’t blend into windshield as much. The current Sonata blends the engine, passenger and trunk compartments more. There’s also a curve to the bottom of the greenhouse on the new car that lends the car a more graceful, less upright appearance. There is still a fastback look to the rear of the Sonata, but it’s stretched out more, again helping the car look less upright.

This is the first time we’ve seen the next-generation Hyundai Sonata, but it does look as though it’s pretty far in development. What we can see of it appears to be production ready. As such, we probably won’t have long to wait to see the car revealed. It will probably show up sometime next year in time for the 2020 model year.

Source: Autoblog

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Watch as Honda Civic Type R sets lap record at Spa-Francorchamps

In February, we reported on Honda’s plans to set front-wheel-drive production lap records this year on several European circuits, using the current generation Civic Type R. Last month, the first of five planned lap records was set at Magny Cours, with WTCR driver Esteban Guerrieri lapping the French track in just 2:01.51. Now, LMP2 class world champion and NSX-GT driver Bertrand Baguette has set a record time at the Spa-Francorchamps track in Belgium.

The just over seven-kilometer (4.35 miles) long, legendary Belgian track was lapped in two minutes, 53.72 seconds, and the Type R used was again a standard production vehicle with road tires. The earlier production front-wheel-drive record time was set in a previous-generation Type R in 2016. Honda says the Spa record is the third one set with the current generation Type R, after the Magny Cours record and a 7 minute, 43.8 second Nürburgring Nordschleife lap time set in April 2017.

This summer, there are three tracks left for the Type R campaign to visit, and they are Silverstone in the UK, Estoril in Portugal and Hungaroring in, well, Hungary. The drivers for those will be F1 champion Jenson Button, WTCR driver Tiago Monteiro and BTCC driver Matt Neal.

[Source: Autoblog]

2018 Honda Ridgeline Review | Don’t waste your money on something else

What we want and what we need are usually pretty far apart. We need shelter, food, water, transportation, and if you asked 98 percent of truck owners in this country, they’d say they need a body-on-frame pickup truck equipped with nothing less than a V8 and solid axles. Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. You don’t.

Enter, the Ridgeline, Honda’s entry into the mid-size pickup market, and Autoblog‘s latest long-term test vehicle.

The first-gen Ridgeline debuted back in the 2006 model year. Like this model, it shared its unibody platform with the Honda Pilot, had four-wheel independent suspension, a transversely-mounted V6 and is available in front-wheel drive. The original model also didn’t look like any other truck on the market. Though the new Ridgeline has a much more traditional appearance this time around, everything else is pretty much the same.

Our truck is a 2018 Ridgeline RTL-E in Deep Scarlet. The RTL-E trim is second only to the Black Edition trim, meaning our truck’s price tag is pretty steep, almost $12 grand higher than base at $42,695. There is only one powertrain available on the Ridgeline, a 280 horsepower 3.5 liter V6 paired with a 6 speed automatic. On the RTL-E, all wheel drive is standard. Our fully loaded truck features every creature comfort imaginable, including leather, heated and powered front seats, a heated steering wheel, keyless ignition with remote start, navigation, a moonroof, LED headlights, parking sensors, the truck bed audio system, a class III trailer hitch and the Honda Sensing safety suite. This seems like a good time to remind everyone that the F-150 I drove last week that cost $10 grand more didn’t include keyless entry. Moving on.

With a smaller truck comes better gas mileage. Or at least that was the idea. The Ridgeline is rated at 18 city, 25 highway mpg, which isn’t great, and over the last 2000 or so miles we’ve averaged just above 22 mpg. For the size I’d hoped for more.

The comfort of the Ridgeline is where this truck truly shines. I’ve put quite a few miles on this truck and the seats are supportive and comfortable, as is the ride quality. Dirt roads are no match for the Ridgeline, which keeps the ride quiet and comfortable, pavement or no. The six-speed transmission is miles better than the transmission in the Tacoma TRD Pro, which seems to like hunting more than most pickup owners themselves.

The bed is 5.3 feet long, which isn’t terrible, but it’s the hidden features that really stand out. Aside from the truck bed speaker, which in the six months we’ve had the truck hasn’t been used outside of seeing if it actually works, there is an additional truck space under the bed, which not only houses a spare tire, but is large enough to fit a human body in. The tailgate also has some voodoo trickery, with the ability to open traditionally as well as swing open like a door. These two features are by far my favorite of this truck.

Let’s talk looks. This truck isn’t the best looking out there, but it seems like all of the mid-size pickups out there today seem to be suffering from some growing pains, short of the top tier trims like the ZR2, TRD Pro and Ranger Raptor. That being said of the four trucks I just mentioned, the Ridgeline looks the worst.

What bugs me the most though, other than the fuel economy are the rear doors. They are tiny! I was barely able to fit small end tables in the back of the truck when I was moving in the rain. Once I got them in the truck, there was plenty of space, but getting in was a pain.

The amount of people who think they need to harken back to some kind of rancher cowboy roots by spending $60 grand on a truck that they’ll only use to drive around the city is rising. Last year the average transaction price of a pickup was pushing $50 grand. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend your hard earned money like 2008 never happened. You can pickup a Ridgeline for less than $30 grand, and we promise it’ll be just as capable on the streets of Chicago, New York, or LA, as that Chevy Silverado.

[Source: Autoblog]

Honda partners with General Motors to co-develop batteries

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Honda and General Motors have announced a partnership to jointly develop battery cells and modules for electric vehicles. The companies want their next-generation batteries to have higher energy density in a smaller packaging, with faster charging, and to make them more viable to manufacture.

With the two companies joining forces, there are manufacturing efficiency benefits along with scaling benefits, according to the statement released by both GM and Honda. The companies have already partnered in fuel celltechnology, working with the commercialization of fuel cell and hydrogen storage systems. On the electric carfront, the collaboration is based on “next-generation” GM batteries sold to Honda and is mainly aimed for the development of North American market vehicles. The partnership appears to signify that despite its eager betting on fuel cell technology, Honda isn’t willing to neglect battery electric vehicles, even if it needs a large-scale companion like GM to make it affordable.

“This new, multiyear agreement with Honda further demonstrates General Motors’ capability to innovate toward a profitable electric portfolio,” said Mark Reuss, GM’s executive vice president of global product development.

“In addition to our ongoing joint development and production of fuel cells, this battery component collaboration will enable us to take a new step toward the realization of a sustainable society,” said Takashi Sekiguchi, Honda’s chief officer for automobile operations.

Honda Civic Type R not enough for you? Hondata’s Type R tune is here

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From time to time, we tell you about the latest tuning package from the folks at Hondata, such as the one that makes your turbo Civic more powerful than a Civic Si, or the one that shuts up critics who say the Si isn’t powerful enough, or the one that winds up your 2018 Accord with more torque than a Type R. We’ve told you what it’s like to drive these tunes. And all of that has been building up to this: Hondata on Thursday released its tune of the Honda Civic Type R itself.

For starters, a reminder that a stock Type R is specified as making 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.

Hondata’s FlashPro kit costs $695, and for that sum you get the following gains:

  • With 91 octane gasoline: 33 hp, 39 lb-ft.
  • With 93 octane: 47 hp, 72 lb-ft.
  • With E25 (25 percent ethanol): 58 hp, 78 lb-ft.

Here’s a dynamometer graph showing a stock Type R vs. a car programmed with the 93-octane tune. Note that the stock Type R’s output was better than advertised. So that puts total output of the Hondata-flashed car at 364 horsepower and 404 pound-feet.

[Source: Autoblog]

Cheaper Honda Civic Type R apparently revealed in NHTSA filings

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The Honda Civic Type R is one of the fastest and most capable hatchbacks around, but with a base MSRP of $34,775, it isn’t exactly the most affordable. The high base price is due in part to the mono-spec nature of the car: one trim with all the bells and whistles. That said, it seems that Honda may be working on a second model that ditches some equipment, presumably lowering the car’s price. This news was uncovered by The Truth About Cars.

TTAC was digging around in NHTSA filings when it discovered that Honda registered two Type Rs, one listed as a Touring model. Both cars use the same K20C1 turbocharged 2.0-liter and six speed manual, but the separate listing suggests less equipment. On most Hondas, the Touring package includes things like LED lighting, automatic climate control, premium audio and navigation. Expect the lesser Type R to ditch most or all of those features. Smaller wheels and less aggressive aero could be on the table, too.

There’s no official word yet from Honda, but as 2018 models roll onto dealer lots we’ll keep our ears to the ground.

[Source: Autoblog]

Honda Odyssey gets top safety ratings in insurance, government crash tests

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Honda’s redesigned 2018 Odyssey minivan picked up a Top Safety Pick+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and a five-star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Odyssey joins the Chrysler Pacifica as the only minivans to receive the IIHS’s coveted award.

Honda won the Top Safety Pick+ designation via the addition of its Sensing braking system and improved LED headlights to the 2018 model, its fifth generation. The Odyssey won “good” ratings across the five crashworthiness tests, including small overlap front, moderate overlap front and side impact. It also won a superior rating for front crash prevention and an acceptable rating for the LED reflector headlights that feature on Elite and Touring trim lines, which automatically switch between high and low beams, depending on the presence of other vehicles.

Honda has been integrating its Sensing advanced safety and driver-assist technologies, part of its quest to develop highly autonomous vehicles, into many of its new models. In IIHS track tests at 12 mph and 25 mph, the system helped the vehicle avoid collisions. The 2017 Odyssey earned a basic rating for front crash prevention because it came only with an optional forward collision warning.

The Odyssey also notched a 5-star Overall Vehicle Score in NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program by getting 5 stars in the frontal crash test for driver and passenger, 5 stars for side crash tests for both front and rear seats and pole, and 4 stars in the rollover test.

The IIHS also awarded a Top Safety Pick to the 2017 Kia Sedona, which missed out on the top award because of its “poor” headlights rating. The Sedona got a 5-star crash rating from NHTSA.