On Friday July 14th Honda announced they would be recalling 2.1 million Honda Accords worldwide. Of the 2.1 million Accords being recalled 1.15 million are in North America of which 51,995 are in Canada.…
On Friday July 14th Honda announced they would be recalling 2.1 million Honda Accords worldwide. Of the 2.1 million Accords being recalled 1.15 million are in North America of which 51,995 are in Canada. The Honda Accord models, built from 2013-2016, are being recalled due to a malfunctioning 12-volt sensor that monitors the battery state of charge.
According to Honda “the battery sensor may have been improperly manufactured with gaps that could allow for moisture intrusion.” Honda says that it affects the negative terminal on the battery. If moisture or road salt enter the gaps it could then cause the sensor to malfunction and potentially cause an electrical short. This increases the risk of the battery catching fire.
Honda says that there have been four reports of engine compartment fires however, no injuries have been confirmed. Honda says the risk of the battery sensor malfunctioning is higher in places that use road salt during the winter.
Honda dealerships will inspect the sensors and replace them if they are corroded. Those sensors that are found to be in working order will receive an adhesive sealant and the sensors will be replaced when parts become available.
Honda says they will start contacting owners of the affected Accords later this month. The battery sensors will be replaced free of charge at Honda dealerships.
If you want a compact SUV make Honda your first or last stop, as they don’t come any better than the CR-V. The world’s bestselling SUV is new from the ground up for 2017, with standard features including…
Can you guess the question I get asked most often? Sure I get plenty of queries about best supercars ever driven and safest cars for university-aged daughters, but more often than not people want to know which compact SUV they should buy. Whether I'm at home in Canada, across the Pacific at my second home in the Philippines, or traveling somewhere else, the theme never changes. Compact SUVs are popular everywhere, and making life easier the answer given most often is found on every continent too, Honda's CR-V.
The CR-V was the most popular SUV in the world last year, selling a total of 752,670 units compared to 711,571 in 2015, which represented growth of 5.8 percent and a new all-time high for the SUV sector.
Of course, as good as the CR-V is I'm not going to recommend it to an off-road enthusiast, Jeep's Cherokee (good for 295,081 global sales last year) a better bet within the directly competitive mainstream volume sector (hardcore Wrangler fans don't need to ask-they Read Full Story
True to my predictions when reviewing the all-new 2017 Honda Ridgeline Black Edition, it’s selling reasonably well during its honeymoon period, albeit with 2,096 year-to-date Canadian sales (as of April…
True to my predictions when reviewing the all-new 2017 Honda Ridgeline Black Edition, it’s selling reasonably well during its honeymoon period, albeit with 2,096 year-to-date Canadian sales (as of April 30, 2017) it probably won’t exceed the previous model’s 2006 calendar year high of 4,988 units. The question remains whether Honda will be able to build upon this growth let alone hang on to it moving forward.
To be clear, after peaking in 2006 the model’s sales numbers steadily dropped to a low of 1,713 units in 2011, after which it climbed just above the 2k mark for a couple of years before falling to 1,803 deliveries in 2014, its last full year of availability before Honda started winding down production of the first-generation model to prepare for this second-gen version (2015 saw just 229 sales).
The new 2017 Ridgeline is better than the outgoing version in most respects, so it makes sense that it should find more buyers, but as most people are very aware the pickup truck sector is a fickle beast that’s filled with enviably loyal clientele (you need to completely forget that you even have a pickup truck like Nissan has done with its long-in-tooth Frontier in order to push owners over to another brand, or even worse cancel a once bestselling model like Dodge did with its Dakota or Ford with its Ranger), so the Ridgeline’s continued success is anyone’s guess.
Honda is trying to sell a very refined truck to a market that normally buys rough and tough manliness over intelligently thought-out sophistication, with the former most often touting over-the-top styling, performance, off-road capability, load hauling and towing specs, etcetera.
The Ridgeline is the alternative pickup truck, totally unlike anything else on the market. It starts with unibody construction formed off the back of Japanese brand’s Pilot SUV, and even pulls many of that model’s styling elements into the mix, for a design that takes a softer and smoother approach to Honda’s current creased and angled origami-inspired styling. This was purposeful, as Honda isn’t trying to market to those wowed by the long-time bestselling Toyota Tacoma’s new military-spec style TRD Pro 4×4, or the rejuvenated Chevy Colorado’s latest ZR2 off-road replica racing truck.
I must admit the two performance trucks appeal to the weekend warrior side of my personality, having been raised by an outdoorsy dad who oftentimes had something rugged in the garage, a favourite being our ‘70s era Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40. Yet at the same time we took 2WD pickup trucks, camperized vans, and even the family’s ’61 Pontiac Strato Chief wagon and go-anywhere ’66 VW Beetle into areas that no sane motorist would dare to go (no offence dad), and came away mostly unscathed and a true believer in the power of “Come-A-Long” hand winches. In other words, just because a truck might ride lower to the ground and only offer all-wheel drive instead of part-time four-wheel drive with a bull low range doesn’t mean you’re forced to remain solely on paved roads and light-duty gravel surfaces.
Honda proved this during the introduction of the original Ridgeline, in which we scaled some fairly steep and untoward off-road terrain (but nothing that caused a pit in the stomach like a few hair-raising Jeep, Land Rover and Hummer launch programs). Opportunity to show how easy it is to load a Honda ATV via attachable ramps were part of that past event too, plus back-to-back 5,000-pound trailering sessions against the competition. The Ridgeline was better than its rivals at these tasks, and its other innovations left a gaggle of auto scribes mostly impressed.
I didn’t take part in this current Ridgeline’s press event, but I’m guessing it’s at least as capable of roughing it now as it was then, but this new iteration is substantially more refined, with a more SUV-like cabin filled featuring soft-touch surfaces, fancier trims, top-tier electronics, and more; plus it plays well to families due to the highest safety rating ever given to a pickup truck; it has a much more utile box on its backside that’s even capable of accepting a regular off-the-rack canopy; and it keeps its innovative cargo bed trunk as well as its ultra-useful dual-purpose swing-out and drop-down tailgate intact.
A shortlist of standard features includes a 280 horsepower V6, AWD, a fully independent suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED taillights, remote start, proximity keyless access with pushbutton ignition, a tilt and telescopic multifunction steering wheel, a 7.0-inch colour TFT multi-information display, heatable front seats, a multi-angle backup camera, an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, SMS- and email-reading capability, Siri Eyes Free, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, a 225-watt seven-speaker stereo, front collision warning with autonomous braking, lane departure alert with lane keeping assist, emergency responding telematics, and more for the Ridgeline’s base price of $36,790 plus freight and fees.
Additionally, available features in upper trims include more chromed exterior trim, LED headlights with auto high beams, fog lamps, power-folding side mirrors with memory and reverse tilt down, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers, a heatable steering wheel, a 10-way powered driver’s seat with memory, leather upholstery, cooled front and heated rear seats, a tri-zone auto climate control system, navigation, voice recognition, Wi-Fi, 540-watt eight-speaker audio, satellite and HD radio, an exclusive truck-bed audio system, front and rear parking sensors, dynamic cruise control, Honda LaneWatch that projects a camera view of the blindspot on the infotainment screen when applying the right turn signal, blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, and more, with all of the active safety features adding up to a class-exclusive IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus rating.
Of course, I’ll go into much more detail when I review the new Ridgeline for a second time, the occasion being a Touring trimmed version that Honda kindly loaned me (which I think looks much better in silver than my previous tester’s black), so stay tuned for a fair and impartial look at Honda’s evermore impressive pickup truck…
Two years ago Honda hadn’t even staked their claim in the burgeoning subcompact SUV category, but after its first seven months of availability the HR-V shot right up to the top of its class in the Canadian…
Two years ago Honda hadn’t even staked their claim in the burgeoning subcompact SUV category, but after its first seven months of availability the HR-V shot right up to the top of its class in the Canadian market with 8,959 sales compared to the next-best Chevy Trax that had 12 months to achieve its 8,156-unit final tally.
What about 2016? With a full year under its belt the little Honda SUV became the only segment challenger to break five figures with final sales of 12,371 units compared to 9,354 deliveries from the the next-bestselling Mazda CX-3.
The subcompact SUV segment almost doubled in 2015, thanks to two additional models added alongside the HR-V and CX-3. The all-American Jeep Renegade and its Italian Fiat 500X cousin haven’t fared as well as the two Japanese entries in Canada at least, ranking seventh and eighth respectively last year with sales of 3,962 and 766 units apiece, the third through sixth positions filled with the Trax (9,072), Mitsubishi RVR (6,196), Buick Encore (5,533), and Nissan Juke (4,442), with the final ninth spot in the category filled by Mini’s (arguably premium-level) Countryman (694).
Interestingly, things are very different in the U.S. where the Renegade was number one last year with 106,606 deliveries, the HR-V number two with 82,041, Trax a close third with 79,016, Encore an even closer fourth with 78,565, Outlander Sport (RVR) a distant fifth with 33,067, Juke even further away with 19,577, CX-3 unfairly relegated to the lower ranks with just 18,557 (for some reason Mazda sells poorly in the States), the Countryman with 12,706, and the 500X still getting no respect with a mere 11,712 sales. The common denominator? The HR-V rocks both sales charts.
So how is it doing now? With five months of 2017 down the road, the HR-V is so far ahead in Canada it could get quite embarrassing for the others, thanks to 6,627 sales compared to 3,867 for the CX-3, 3,379 for the Encore (a mid-cycle update is boosting its sales), 2,787 for the Trax, 2,687 for the RVR (it’s update wasn’t so well received), 1,645 for the Renegade (up one position), 1,103 for the Juke, 773 for the 500X, 690 for the new Toyota CH-R (after just one month no less), 411 for the Countryman, and 191 for the new Nissan Qashqai (also after its first month).
The two new entries make the subcompact SUV class 11 competitors deep, with the Ford EcoSport yet to make its North American debut. Consider for a moment that calendar year 2014 only found five in this category, while there were just three competing in 2011 and only two going head-to-head in 2010 (the Juke and RVR in case you were wondering). That a newcomer arrived on the scene and managed to steal most of the thunder is shocking, but it will all make sense to anyone who’s lived with the amazingly practical little runabout.
We Canadians are particularly practical when it comes to buying small vehicles, which we do more often than our friends to the south. Next to big Ford Series trucks (that derive much of their sales from the commercial market), our bestselling car is Honda’s Civic, which sold 64,552 units in 2016 and already found 30,450 buyers this year. The Honda CR-V fares well in the compact SUV segment too, in a constant battle with Toyota’s RAV4 that sees one ahead of the other depending on the month (the RAV4 took top sales honours last year and is slightly ahead again now), while the subcompact Honda Fit hatchback was second-most popular in its class last year, although has experienced an uncharacteristic plunge to sixth over the first five months of 2017.
This must have something to do with its availability at the dealer level, because the current third-generation Fit (second in our market) is three years younger than the segment’s long-in-tooth albeit bestselling Hyundai Accent, and by my experience remains one of the best in the class. On that note a mild refresh is expected later this year as a 2018 model, so it could be that Honda is slowly phasing out this 2017 version so that its dealers don’t end up with too many in stock when the new one arrives.
Then again it could be this very HR-V that’s cannibalizing the Fit’s sales. As you may already know, the HR-V is based on the Fit and is therefore similarly sized and equally efficient in its packaging. It’s quite a bit pricier with a base of $21,050 compared to $15,050, which puts it out of reach of price-sensitive first-time car buyers that normally shop in the subcompact car class, but some that come shopping for a Fit might very well be upsold to the HR-V. We’ll just have to see how the Fit story pans out as the year unfolds, but either way the really big story will be the HR-V and how it continues to dominate its class.
The HR-V rightly gets no significant changes for 2017, with only two items on the list. The first is the cancellation of the lovely Misty Green Pearl hue (a dark forest green) that coated the exterior of the 2016 HR-V AWD EX-L Navi I tested and reviewed last year (I reviewed the 2016 HR-V EX-2WD as well). Therefore, the only difference between this 2017 HR-V AWD EX-L Navi is its stealthy Modern Steel Metallic grey.
This means Honda now provides six exterior HR-V colours to choose from including this nice shade of grey, Crystal Black Pearl, White Orchid Pearl, Deep Ocean Pearl (a dark blue), Milano Red, and Mulberry Metallic (a dark aubergine purple).
The second change is another subtraction, the elimination of the six-speed manual on mid-grade EX trim. This might cause a small handful of HR-V fans to grimace, but if there were going to be a major outcry they wouldn’t have done it. As it is, only the base LX model gets the wonderful DIY gearbox for 2017, all other trims making do with Honda’s efficient continuously variable transmission (CVT).
From the outside it’s difficult to figure out exactly which trim level you’re driving, mostly because the HR-V is so nicely featured in base trim. All come with the same sizeable 17-inch five-spoke alloys on 215/55 all-seasons, body-coloured side mirrors, and body-coloured rear rooftop spoiler, while the headlights are multi-reflector halogens and taillights filled with LEDs. Lastly, matte-finish black plastic cladding trims out the lower front fascia, wheel arch edges, side skirts, and the bottom half of the rear bumper in typical SUV fashion. The move up to EX adds circular fog lamps up front and LED turn signals within the side mirror housings, while the top-line EX-L Navi gets a set of silver roof rails to make it stand out.
I could see would-be buyers loving or loathing the HR-V’s styling, a theme that I’ve witnessed firsthand while living with Honda’s latest designs. People are either enamoured with the modern, edgy, origami look or they won’t be caught dead in one, which is certainly a different strategy than the mainstream volume brand has played for most of its existence. I’ve always loved Honda’s engineering, but been lulled to sleep by its styling, so I can hardly complain after they’ve spiced things up. I can’t say I’m in the enamoured camp, but I’m hardly frothing at the mouth in rabid rage either.
For me the optimal looker in the segment is Mazda’s CX-3. It’s one of the best to drive too, but if forced to decide between styling and performance or overall practicality, I’d probably lean towards the latter.
I’ll get into what makes the HR-V best in class in my upcoming road test review, at which point I’ll run over more of its standard and optional features, performance, fuel economy, etcetera. As good as it is the HR-V is not perfect, so I’ll dissect these issues at length as well. Make sure to come back for all the sordid details soon…
Three years ago Honda introduced the midsize sedan segment’s best hybrid and they’ve done it once again with the advent of the 2017 Accord Hybrid, the updated model boasting class leading range and…
When you go to Honda's retail website and click on "Hybrids" you're presented with the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid. That's it. For the first automaker to ever produce a modern-day hybrid for consumer sale, not to mention a company that's created two different versions of that dedicated Insight compact hatchback (1999–2006 and 2009–2014), a long-running Civic Hybrid compact sedan (2002–2015), and another dedicated CR-Z hybrid sports model (2010–2016), it's strange to see just one electrified model in the current lineup.
Click on the "Hybrid" pull-down menu at Toyota Canada's site and you'll find six completely different HEVs, including three that wear Prius badges (subcompact, compact, and near full-size), two SUVs, and the Camry Hybrid that does battle with this Accord Hybrid, while Toyota's U.S. division offers two more including the Prius Prime plug-in and the full-size Avalon Hybrid, not to mention a Camry/Accord-sized hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle dubbed Read Full Story