Honda Civic Type R K20C1 turbocharged crate engine debuts at SEMA

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Honda pulled the covers off its K20C1 crate engine at SEMA today, greatly reducing the hassle for enterprising racers wishing to bolt 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque into their track-day weapons of choice. Details on how to apply for the right to purchase one of these powerplants can be found at Honda’s Racing Line site.

A purchase price of $6,519.87 (plus shipping) sounds downright reasonable for a factory-fresh, ready-to-run engine with this kind of reliability and power. Remember, this is the engine that powers the Civic Type R, which is capable of lapping the legendary Nürburgring in just 7 minutes and 43.8 seconds. But before you start dreaming up that perfect engine swap scenario, know that Honda won’t sell a crate engine to just anyone.

The Japanese automaker says these crate engines are available “to U.S. grassroots and professional racers for verified, closed-course racing applications,” which means these turbocharged beasts are not intended for the street. That said, we won’t be surprised at all the first time we see a K20C1-powered Integra at the local Cars and Coffee…

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Honda’s cutesy robot cooler keeps drinks within reach

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Honda didn’t just unveil a slick-looking EV coupe concept at the Tokyo Motor Show. It also had a robot… though it’s definitely not the kind of robot you’d expect from the company. Its RoboCas Concept is a super-cute cargo bot that can follow you around while hauling whatever you like in its large, customizable carrying space. Basically, it’s an autonomous cooler with giant eyes. Honda imagines people using it to open pop-up curry shops or haul pumpkins home from the farm. We could see this being incredibly helpful if you don’t have a car, or if you’d rather not drive just to haul some food and drinks to the park for a picnic. There’s just one problem: it’s not clear that RoboCas will move past the concept stage.

The transportation giant hasn’t said whether or not RoboCas will go into production, and The Verge notes that the prototype shown at the Tokyo Motor Show was stationary and had a Windows tablet unceremoniously stuck to its back. We don’t know the full capabilities of the robo-cooler, let alone whether or not it would be affordable as a production model. All the same, the idea is intriguing. Honda isn’t just planning for a transition to self-driving cars– it’s arguing that robotics can eliminate the need for any car in certain situations.

This story originally appeared on Engadget, your guide to this connected life.

Honda Sports EV Concept is exactly the EV sports car we want

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Hot on the heels of the Urban EV Concept shown at the Frankfurt show, Honda has another electric car, and it’s exactly what we as enthusiasts hoped for. It’s the Sports EV Concept (admittedly the name could be more inspired), and it hits every traditional sports car note. The whole car sits low, which is emphasized by a very low roof. It has a long, sleek nose, and a rakish fastback. The fenders are appropriately bulging, especially at the front where the arches rise above the top of the hood. In fact, the car looks like a modern interpretation of the AMC Javelin and AMX. That’s not a bad thing.

The Sports EV also owes much to the Urban EV. There are many styling cues shared with the little hatchback. Immediately obvious are the black panels that house the headlights and taillights, and imply a grille without actually having one. Though we can make out a small slit in the front. The lights are also similar in that they use simple circles up front and rounded squares in the back. The wrap-around windshield and black bars on the sides are also clear Urban EV cues.

It’s not just styling that the Sports EV shares with the Urban EV, though. According to Honda, it uses the same electric car platform as the economy car. This gives us some hope that this electric sports car could see the light of day. This is because Honda confirmed that a production version of the Urban EV would go on sale in Europe in 2019, and it announced at the Tokyo show that the same car will arrive in Japan in 2020.

Honda didn’t reveal many details about the mechanical parts of the Sports EV Concept, nor general features. It did, however, mention that the Sports EV has an AI system on-board. It’s called the Honda Automated Network Assistant, and all Honda said about it was that it’s supposed to “create communication that unites driver and car.” We’re not really sure what that’s supposed to do, but hopefully, since Honda also said it was focused on a “a one-ness between driver and car,” it has something to do with making the car nimble and fun. You know, like a certain little Mazda that’s philosophy, Jinba Ittai, means “horse and rider as one.”

Traffic fatalities at their highest since 2007

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The U.S. Department of Transportation has released its statistics on traffic fatalities for 2016, and they’re not good. Overall fatalities increased by 5.6 percent from 35,485 in 2015 to 37,461 in 2016. This means 2016 was the deadliest year on the road since 2007, when fatalities totaled 41,259. Some of the increase may be due in part to the greater number of miles driven, which jumped 2.2 percent from 2015 to 2016. But even with the increase in travel, 2016 came out worse with an increased number of deaths per million miles traveled, from 1.15 in 2015 to 1.18 in 2016.

The increase in fatalities was generally across the board. All types of light-duty passenger vehicles, including motorcycles saw increases in deaths from as little as a 1.5-percent increase for pickup trucks to as high as 8.4 percent for vans. More pedestrians and cyclists died, too, with increases of 9 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively. Drunk driving-related deaths also rose by 1.7 percent, while fatal accidents involving senior drivers over the age of 65 increased by 8.2 percent.

There is some good news, though. Seat belt usage is at its highest ever, with 90.1 percent of vehicle occupants using them. And although drunk driving fatalities were up, distracted and drowsy driving deaths were down. The distracted driving number dropped by 2.2 percent while the drowsy driving number dipped 3.5 percent. Also, the increase in traffic deaths between 2015 and 2016 was notably less than the increase between 2014 and 2015, which was a jump of 8.6 percent For additional details from the DOT’s study, check out its official page where more documents breaking down all the statistics can be found.

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 dreaming up Civic Type R variants – with more power, AWD

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The Honda Civic Type R has gone on sale in the US, and it promises a lot of entertainment for its eager fan base. On our recent drive, we found it to be impressively stable for a front-drive car boasting 306 horsepower. Making this more impressive, as Jalopnik reports, the Type R makes 295 hp at the wheel according to a dyno test. Compared to many vehicles, that’s a rather small loss between the engine and the wheels.

If, for some reason, the Type R isn’t powerful enough for you, or you don’t like the front-drive layout, Hondamight still find a way to make you a Type R customer. According to Automotive News, Honda is planning a number of variants to broaden the appeal and extend sales once the first enthusiasts have already made their purchases.

The first candidate for a special Type R would be a sportier, more powerful version. Honda’s chief engineer for the Civic lineup, Hideki Matsumoto, told Automotive News that a more civilized grand touring version is also under consideration. Perhaps most interesting is the possibility of an all-wheel-drive Type R that would compete more directly with the likes of the Volkswagen Golf R, Subaru WRX STI, and Ford Focus RS. So, while the wait is over for the Type R’s arrival in the US, the slow burn of the rollout is just beginning as Honda works to give the model staying power in the marketplace.

Why the Honda Urban EV concept is a success, and how Honda could replicate it in America

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One of the big surprises at this year’s Frankfurt auto show is the Honda Urban EV concept. Not only was Honda able to keep the car under wraps right up to the reveal, but the styling was a significant departure from what we expected of a future electric car designed for Europe. Instead of a funky, one-box urban pod, Honda gave the Urban EV sporty, retro looks. It looks like a cross between a first-generation Honda Civic (the thick, raked C-pillar and front fascia), crossed with a classic Mini Cooper(the tiny size, low stance and flared fender arches).

This design is such a success because it both bucks the trend of EVs primarily being ultra-futuristic and aerodynamic machines, and it does that with classically attractive design cues. It allows the Urban EV to stand out from slippery-looking amalgam of Hyundai Ioniqs, Chevy Volts and Bolts, Teslas, Nissan Leafs(Leaves?), and even Honda’s own Clarity line. And it shows that traditionally appealing elements like wide fenders and a low, forward-leaning stance that have been successful on internal combustion cars for ages can work just as well on an electric car.

We love the design, and many of us would love to see the car in the United States. It’s very unlikely to happen though, and, as hard as it is to admit, that’s probably the right move for Honda. Americans seem to be uninterested in subcompact hatchbacks, unless they’re lifted with cladding or have a Mini badge. But the thing is, there’s no reason Honda can’t transfer what it’s learned with the Urban EV to something with a more American-friendly body style.

At the bare-minimum, Honda could scale up the Urban EV to be sized similarly to a Civic, add a couple doors, lift it an inch or two, and paint the fender flares in a matte black. Then they could call it a crossover, but retain most of the Urban EV’s slick, old-school looks. Honda could also create a sedan with some of the same, crisp, squared-off lines of the Urban EV. Keep the C-pillar raked forward, leave the body as straight and unadorned as possible save for some aggressive wheel arches, and emphasize width in the front and rear fascias. It could be Civic or Accord sized, or somewhere in-between, and would make for a lean, mean sedan.

In the end, Honda has something really sweet in the Urban EV. It would be a shame if Europe was the only beneficiary, and there are clearly ways Honda can bring the same aesthetic here, too.

[Source: Autoblog]