Honda – Tue, 13 Aug 2019 13:21:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 AutoGuide.comHonda – Top 12 Cheapest Pickup Trucks – The Short List Tue, 16 Jul 2019 20:05:51 +0000 Top 12 Cheapest Pickup Trucks – The Short List Top 12 Cheapest Pickup Trucks – The Short List
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What are the most affordable new pickup trucks you can buy today? Keep reading and you’ll find out.

It’s funny, America’s most popular cars these days are actually trucks, with millions of them finding new homes every year. It seems in the 21st century, four-by-four crew-cab pickups have become the new family sedan.

But not everyone needs a truck for domestic duties. Some people use them to, you know, work. Fleet customers, contractors and bargain hunters alike don’t care about massaging leather seats, multi-panel sunroofs or the latest tech. They want a rugged vehicle with the lowest price. So, here are a dozen – YES, A DOZEN – of the most affordable new 2019 model year pickup trucks available today.

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12. Ford F-250 XL

$34,745, including $1,595 in delivery fees

ford f-250

Kicking this list off is the popular Ford F-250, Dearborn’s entry-level Super Duty truck. In base XL trim with a regular-cab body, eight-foot bed and two-wheel drive it starts around 35 grand. At that price, you get a standard 6.2-liter gasoline V8 with 385 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. This engine is matched to a six-speed automatic transmission, which routes twist to a set of stylish 17-inch painted steel wheels!

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Maintenance Tips Every Driver Should Know – The Short List

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11. Toyota Tundra SR

$33,015, including $1,495 in delivery fees

Toyota’s Tundra is not the newest full-size pickup on the market today – not by a longshot – but it’s probably the most reliable. When it comes to value, you can pick up an entry-level SR model for roughly $33,000 including delivery charges. That gets you an extended-cab body with a six-and-a-half-foot bed. Under the hood resides a 4.6-liter V8 that’s good for 310 horsepower and 327 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed auto-box and two-wheel drive round out this truck’s powertrain.

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10. Nissan Titan S

$32,085, including $1,395 in delivery fees


But undercutting the Tundra by nearly a grand is Nissan’s Titan. The most-affordable version you can get features a regular-cab body and two-wheel drive. In entry-level S trim it comes with features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and even air conditioning. Power is provided by a standard 5.6-liter V8 with 390 horses and 394 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic does the shiftin’.

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9. Honda Ridgeline RT

$31,035, including $1,045 in delivery fees

Honda Ridgeline

Next up, a truck that’s not a truck, because it’s kind of a minivan, the Honda Ridgeline. Rather than having a heavy, separate, ladder-style frame, this rig is based on a unibody architecture, sharing key components with other large Hondas like the Pilot, Passport and, yes, even the Odyssey.

A base, front-wheel-drive RT model can be yours for 31 grand and change. That gets you a 3.5-liter V6, a concealed in-bed trunk and a tailgate that both drops down and swings to the side. NEAT-O!

The Ridgeline is graced with 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, plus cylinder deactivation for enhanced fuel economy. A six-speed automatic is the only gearbox offered.

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8. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 WT

$29,895, including $1,595 in delivery fees

But if you want something more traditional, and with greater capability, Chevrolet will happily sell you an all-new Silverado 1500. A bare-bones Work Truck model can be had for less than $30,000 including delivery fees. That gets you a three-person bench seat and an eight-foot bed. A 4.3-liter V6 delivers the goods, 285 horsepower. Its 305 pound-feet of peak torque are routed through a six-speed automatic transmission spinning just the rear wheels, which happen to span 17 inches and be made of steel.

SEE ALSO: 8 Great V8 Swaps – The Short List

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7. Ford F-150 XL

$29,750, including $1,595 in delivery fees

Undercutting its crosstown rival by the price of a fancy steak dinner is the aluminum-bodied Ford F-150. In stripped-down XL trim it comes with a regular-cab body and a six-and-a-half-foot bed. At that price, you also get a 3.3-liter V6 augmented by both port and direct fuel injection, so it delivers more horsepower and torque than you might expect for a naturally aspirated unit of this displacement: 290 ponies and 265 pound-feet. Rounding out this powertrain is a six-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive.

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6. Ram 1500 Classic Tradesman

$29,090, including $1,695 in destination fees

Now, for the best value in the full-size pickup segment, the Ram 1500 Classic! Even though FCA introduced an all-new light-duty Ram a year or so ago, they’ve kept the previous generation in production to offer customers more choice and even better value. You can take one home in Tradesman trim with a regular-cab and two-wheel drive for about $29,000. That also gets you a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard.

Get Ram 1500 Classic Prices

5. Ford Ranger XL

$25,495, including $1,195 in delivery fees

ford ranger review

Dropping down to the MIDSIZE truck segment, let’s talk Ford Ranger. The most affordable version of this smart-sized pickup goes for less than $25,500 including delivery. That gets you an XL model powered by a muscular 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-banger matched to a 10-speed automatic transmission. This combo gives you 270 horsepower with 310 torques. Those figures enable a maximum payload rating of 1,860 pounds and the ability to tow up to 7,500 pounds.

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4. Toyota Tacoma

$25,080, including $1,095 in delivery fees

For even less than the Ranger you can nab a Toyota Tacoma, which sets the standard in midsize-pickup longevity. A few Andrew Jacksons more than 25 large gets you an SR grade with the Access Cab body and a six-foot bed. Up front resides a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine with 159 horsepower. Its 180 pound-feet of torque is routed to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. This rig’s signature on-the-floor seating position is included free of charge.

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3. GMC Canyon

$23,295, including $1,095 in delivery fees

2016 GMC Canyon All Terrain Diesel

Next, we go professional grade with the GMC Canyon. In entry-level SL trim, you get an extended-cab body for a bit of extra interior room plus a 74-inch-long bed that will haul plenty of stuff. Between the front fenders is a fire-breathing 2.5-liter four-cylinder that’s rated at 200 horses and 191 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is standard. You get all this for around $23,295 including destination.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Ugliest Cars of 2019 – The Short List

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2. Chevrolet Colorado

$22,395, including $1,095 in delivery fees

2018 Chevrolet Colorado Diesel

But undercutting its corporate sibling by around 900 bucks is the Chevrolet Colorado. In Base trim – seriously, that’s what they call it, Work Truck is a step up – you get the same cab, bed and powertrain as the GMC we just talked about. In the Colorado a manual transmission used to be offered but, sadly, it’s since been discontinued due to low sales. SHAME ON Y’ALL FOR NOT BUYING ONE! And you wonder why we can’t have nice things…

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1. Nissan Frontier

$20,135, including $1,045 in delivery fees

Nissan Frontier

But now for the most affordable new pickup truck in America, the Nissan Frontier. For a mere $23,135 including 1,045 bucks in delivery fees you can drive home in an extended cab S model of this popular-if-antiquated pickup. This gets you rear-wheel drive, a row-your-own five-speed manual gearbox and even a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Output is modest, clocking in at 152 horses and 171 pound-feet, but for the price it’s easy to look past some of the Frontier’s shortcomings.

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Top 10 Best Family Cars – The Short List Tue, 09 Jul 2019 21:58:01 +0000 Top 10 Best Family Cars – The Short List Top 10 Best Family Cars – The Short List
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Got a litter of kiddies and can’t figure out what vehicle to buy? We’ve some recommendations for you!

So, what are the best vehicles for families? Well, that depends on what kind of family you’ve got. There are big families and small ones, fashion-forward families and eco-friendly families. Rather than, like, recommending 10 of the 18 million crossover vehicles available right now, we mixed things up a little by selecting the best vehicles for different kinds of families.

For Everyday Families: Honda Accord

Honda Accord

For your typical, everyday family that can live with a four-door car, Honda’s Accord cannot be beat. It’s probably our favorite model in the sedan segment. The Accord has a roomy and high-quality interior, TONS of standard equipment including Honda Sensing, (the automaker’s suite of advanced driver aids) and it also offers a pair of refined turbocharged engines, not to mention a fuel-efficient hybrid model as well. The Accord is safe, efficient and reasonably fun to drive. For a sedan, it just about does everything.

SEE ALSO: 2018 Honda Accord Review – VIDEO


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For Fancy Families: Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon

But for all its virtues, that Honda is still a mass-market model. Certain families demand more luxury, an extra slathering of prestige. For them, we wholeheartedly endorse the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon. It’s far more versatile than your typical four-door and it seats up to seven (yay jumpseats!) Beyond that, it’s beautifully finished inside and out. Oh, and it even comes with standard all-wheel drive. The entry-level version features a twin-turbocharged V6 that delivers 362 horsepower, but you can also get a super-sporty AMG version with 603 ponies and an advertised zero-to-60 time of 3.4 seconds! Now that’ll haul some groceries!


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For Outdoorsy Families: Ram 1500

2019 Ram 1500 eTorque Review

Of course, certain families eschew life’s finer trappings. They love nothing more than getting down and dirty in the great outdoors. And for these sorts, there’s the new Ram 1500, currently our favorite full-size pickup. Rugged, capable and astonishingly premium across the range, this truck is more versatile than a proverbial Swiss Army Knife, and A LOT less neutral. With a maximum payload of some 2,300 pounds and the ability to tow up to 12,750, this Ram has no trouble hauling four-wheelers, loads of gravel, kayaks, you name it. And of course, it can drag massive campers without breaking a sweat.

SEE ALSO: 2019 Ram 1500 eTorque Review – VIDEO


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For Eco-Friendly Families: Hyundai Kona Electric

Families that want to minimize their carbon footprint, driving a big, burly, Hemi-powered truck isn’t going to cut it. For them, we endorse the Hyundai Kona Electric. This vehicle offers all the benefits of a small crossover, like easy maneuverability, decent interior space and energetic styling with zero tailpipe emissions and sprightly performance. The Kona Electric is more than capable of roasting its tires if you get too enthusiastic with the accelerator. A standard 64-kWh lithium-ion battery pack juices a 201-horsepower motor and provides an electric driving range of up to 258 miles. All around, this vehicle is a fine choice.


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For Urban Families: Honda Fit

2019 honda fit

But in some instances, even the little Hyundai Kona might be too much vehicle. An ideal option for families that live in densely packed cities is the Honda Fit. You’d be hard pressed to find a vehicle twice its size that’s more versatile than this little runabout. With a wheelbase measuring under 100 inches and an overall length of around 161, it’s a snap to parallel park, maneuver in underground garages or dart in and out of traffic. A 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine provides up to 130 horsepower, while the second-row Magic Seat flips and folds to transform this subcompact hatch into a tractor-trailer-rivaling hauler.


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For BIG Families: Ford Expedition

The all-new Ford Expedition is the smartest, most capable and most adaptable Expedition ever, the ultimate full-size SUV to carry families through life’s adventures.

And at the complete opposite end of the spectrum from Honda’s Fit is the Ford Expedition. This massive body-on-frame SUV is ideal for BIG families that love BIG adventures. This is one of the few vehicles on the road today that offers a truly usable third-row seat. In fact, way back there it’s roomy enough for six-foot-tall adults to be comfortable all day long. For EVEN MORE space, you can step up the Expedition MAX, which is about a foot longer overall and offers commensurately more cargo space. No matter the version, you get a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 tuned to deliver 375 horsepower with a walloping 470 pound-feet of torque, all of which gets sent through a 10-speed transmission.


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For Fashion-Forward Families: Kia Stinger

Stinger GTS

Serving fashionable families is the dramatic Kia Stinger. This fastback five-door features sporty styling and an upscale, Audi-esque interior. Add in pleasant driving dynamics with reasonable practicality and you have a vehicle that checks all the right boxes for those that appreciate seeing and being seen. A 2.0-liter turbo-four is standard, delivering 255 horsepower, but if you’re really in a hurry, opt for the silky-smooth 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6. It’s rated at 365 ponies. An eight-speed automatic is used to great advantage across the board, though all-wheel drive is offered for an additional $2,200.


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For Crossover-y Families: Subaru Ascent

Families that can’t live without a crossover should check out the Subaru Ascent, an excellent all-around choice. With three rows of seats and room for seven or eight passengers, this utility can haul copious quantities of both kiddos and cargo. Naturally, all-wheel drive is standard, as is an invigorating 2.4-liter turbocharged engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission. Horsepower clocks in at 260, torque 277 pound-feet. Not only is Ascent the largest Subaru ever built, but it’s also one of the best vehicles in its crowded segment. Base price is right around $33,000.

SEE ALSO: 2019 Subaru Ascent Review – VIDEO


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For Sensible Families: Ford Transit Connect

2019 Ford Transit Connect

One option that’s sure to appeal to families that don’t care about having the fanciest or most-stylish vehicle, is Ford’s Transit Connect Passenger Wagon, our Wild Card pick. This commercial-van-turned people-hauler features a tall and highly versatile interior with seating for up to seven people. The standard engine is a highly efficient 2.0-liter four-cylinder delivering 150 horsepower. It’s matched to a resourceful eight-speed automatic transmission. A 2.5-liter gasser and a one-five turbo-diesel should also be available for extra powertrain choice. Providing added versatility, you can get either a single, top-hinged rear door or barn-style double doors. It’s up to you!


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For Road-Tripping Families: Chrysler Pacifica

7 Things to Know About the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Rounding things out, our final selection on this top-10 list is the perfect vehicle for road-tripping families, families that love to get out and explore. Hands down, the Chrysler Pacifica one of our favorite minivans. It offers style, a premium interior, plenty of passenger comfort and loads of room for cargo, all in one very versatile package.  The standard engine is a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that provides 287 horsepower. It’s teamed to a nine-speed automatic transmission. But if maximum efficiency is a top priority, FCA also offers a plug-in hybrid powertrain, one that delivers 32 miles of electric-only range and an efficiency rating of up to 82 MPGe. Comfortable, quiet, smooth and graceful, the Pacifica will happily devour as many interstate miles as you care to feed it.


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Patent Filing Reveals Another Stylish Honda Two-Door Mon, 01 Jul 2019 20:58:22 +0000 Patent Filing Reveals Another Stylish Honda Two-Door Patent Filing Reveals Another Stylish Honda Two-Door
It appears Honda has filed a patent for yet another stylish electric vehicle. In the attached images, this two-door car bears a striking resemblance to the brand’s Urban EV and Sports EV concepts. Both were unveiled in 2017, the former at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the latter in Tokyo. These vehicles won critical acclaim from... more]]>
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It appears Honda has filed a patent for yet another stylish electric vehicle.

In the attached images, this two-door car bears a striking resemblance to the brand’s Urban EV and Sports EV concepts. Both were unveiled in 2017, the former at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the latter in Tokyo. These vehicles won critical acclaim from the press; their clean, understated looks are a clear break with current styling trends.

SEE ALSO: Honda’s Retro-Styled Urban EV Concept is Totes Adorbs

Looking like another member of this electrified family, this latest design study has smooth, flowing bodywork and dramatic proportions including a swooping roofline and a passenger compartment pushed extremely forward. The five-spoke wheels depicted in the drawings are massive and pushed out to the machine’s corners, giving it an aggressive stance.

Unlike those other design studies, this one looks decidedly like a supercar, thanks to that passenger compartment placement and the tapering roofline. Based on the images, it looks like quite a stylish vehicle and one that would provide pretty excellent performance.

SEE ALSO: Honda Does it Again: Sports EV Concept is Another Stunning, Retro Concept

Our patent sleuth uncovered this filing, which was made with the Japan Patent Office in late December 2018 but finally published today, July 1, 2019. What do you think of this vehicle? Is the patent in question foreshadowing a car Honda will actually produce? If they do make this vehicle, will it be all electric? We have so many questions but would love to see this go into production.

Discuss this story on our Honda Forum

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Top 10 Cheapest Cars to Insure in 2019 – The Short List Tue, 04 Jun 2019 14:38:44 +0000 Top 10 Cheapest Cars to Insure in 2019 – The Short List Top 10 Cheapest Cars to Insure in 2019 – The Short List
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Cars and trucks aren’t getting any cheaper, and neither is insurance.

According to analysts at Kelley Blue Book, during April 2019 the estimated average new-vehicle transaction price in the U.S. was nearly $37,000! You can blame added safety features and technology, the proliferation of luxury amenities and more for this ever-growing figure.

If new-vehicle sticker shock isn’t enough to make you convulse, you’ve also got to budget for fuel or electricity, plus maintenance and possible repairs. Oh, and you’re definitely going to need insurance.

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Most Reliable Cars

Now, this is one area where you could save significant amounts of cash if you’re smart. As they have for nearly a decade, the website has compiled a list of the cheapest vehicles to get insurance for. Supposedly they compared rates in every state of the union for some 3,000 different models and trim levels, shopping prices from six major providers and then averaging them out.

So, what are the best insurance bargains out there? Well, here are 10 of the most affordable 2019-model-year vehicles to insure.

10. Jeep Compass Sport, $1,349

2018 jeep compass

And we start with the Jeep Compass Sport, a handsome off-roadable compact crossover that looks like a baby Grand Cherokee. Insurance for this little mountain goat will supposedly set you back $1,349. Not too shabby. Base price for most-affordable Compass is likewise budget-friendly at 23 grand and change including delivery.

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SEE ALSO: 12 Things to Know About Alfa Romeo – The Short List

9. Subaru Forester 2.5i, $1,347

2019 Subaru Forester

Undercutting that Jeep by a single two-dollar bill – for insurance coverage, of course – is the Subaru Forester 2.5i. Keeping costs down, this Japanese utility vehicle comes with loads of standard equipment including all-wheel drive, the automaker’s EyeSight suite of advanced safety equipment and even unbeatable crash-test scores, all things insurance companies love!

Get Subaru Forester Prices

8. Ford Escape S, $1,344

In position No. 8 on this list is the Ford Escape S, the most affordable version of this compact utility vehicle. In this configuration, it comes with a 2.5-liter engine, a phalanx of airbags and not much else. Plan on spending around $1,344 for insurance. Base price is about $25,000 to park one in your garage.

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ALSO SEE: Top 10 Best Cars for Teens – The Short List

7. Jeep Renegade Sport, $1,338

Next up, another Jeep! Slightly cheaper to insure than its bigger brother is the diminutive Renegade Sport. According to, the average cost of coverage for this petite SUV is $1,338. Grab a front-wheel-drive model with a manual transmission and standard 1.4-liter turbocharged engine and it will set you back about 20 grand.

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6. Honda CR-V LX, $1,333

2018 honda cr-v

Coming in sixth place is the Honda CR-V LX, the first of three vehicles from the Japanese automaker that made it in this top-10 list. Coverage will cost you around $1,333, one solitary Abraham Lincoln less than the Renegade. Shielding passengers from harm should the unthinkable happen, it’s earned a Top Safety Pick score from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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5. Honda HR-V LX, $1,325

The subcompact Honda HR-V utility vehicle is another insurance bargain, averaging just $1,325 for coverage. Even this entry-level model comes with a flipping and folding second-row Magic Seat plus standard front-wheel drive and a 141-horsepower 1.8-liter engine, all for less than $22,000.

Get Honda HR-V Prices

SEE ALSO: 8 Great V8 Swaps – The Short List

4. Mazda CX-3 Sport, $1,307

Moving along, in spot No. 4 is the Mazda CX-3 Sport, yet another subcompact crossover. In stripped-down form, it comes with a 148-horsepower engine, front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic gearbox, all for 21-grand and change. The national average to insure this vehicle is a paltry $1,307.

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3. Subaru Outback 2.5i, $1,306

But even cheaper than that is the Subaru Outback 2.5i, which clocks in at $1,306. Of course, insurance companies love Subarus because they come with lots of safety equipment and are relatively inexpensive. This base Outback starts around $27,000.

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2. Jeep Wrangler Sport, $1,304

Why the Four-Cylinder Hybrid is the Best Powertrain in the Jeep Wrangler

Wowzers, a third Jeep! The off-road brand’s Wrangler also made this list, in Sport form. Insurance companies must love these rugged and often fairly bare-bones vehicles. Sturdiness and mechanical simplicity, in theory, keep them out of trouble. Coverage for this flavor of Wrangler averages $1,304. Base price for one is less than $30,000.

Get Jeep Wrangler Prices

1. Honda Odyssey, $1,298

And now for the vehicle that, on average has the lowest insurance rates! Drumroll, please… It’s the Honda Odyssey minivan! Yes, this family hauler will cost you just $1,298 to cover. They say that’s $514 less than the national average of $1,812.

SEE ALSO: Car Maintenance, 10 Things Every Car Owner Should Know – The Short List

Interestingly, the Odyssey has always been an insurance bargain. For eight of the 10 years they’ve been compiling this list, it has made it in the top five. And back in 2010 when they started ranking new models this van cost $1,095 to insure, which means over the last nine years the cost has only increased by $203.

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8 Great V8 Swaps – The Short List Sun, 12 May 2019 02:18:55 +0000 8 Great V8 Swaps – The Short List 8 Great V8 Swaps – The Short List
A V8 swap isn't for the faint of heart. more]]>
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How can you transform your ride into something truly special while drastically improving its performance at the same time? Just swap in a V8 engine!

Welcome to another installment of The Short List! It’s hard to argue with the smooth, responsive performance of an engine with two banks for four cylinders. I think we can all agree, the addition of a V8 can improve practically any car.

SEE ALSO: Winners and Losers from the 2019 New York Auto Show – The Short List

This engine configuration provides maximum displacement in a relatively small package, meaning you can shoehorn one into a space normally occupied by something as small a malnourished four-cylinder.

Now, on this list, we’ve focused on realistic V8 swaps, ones you could do yourself using readily available kits. This means there are no crazy one-off builds from SEMA or anything, as much as I’d like to see a Rolls-Royce Merlin swapped into an original Mini, but I digress.

8. Jeep Wrangler (Hemi)

Starting things off, who wouldn’t want a V8-powered Jeep Wrangler? If you’re a JK owner and are unhappy with Pentastar power, or worse, that breathless, old 3.8-liter pushrod V6, the folks over at Quadratec will happily sell you a kit that allows a 5.7-liter Hemi to mount under this off-roader’s hood. Making it worth the $5,800, this kit also includes things like a new wiring harness, an updated transmission crossmember and high-flow catalytic converters. Engine not included.

Of course, there are other companies that will sell you kits allowing you to drop a GM LS V8 into your Wrangler, but c’mon, a Chrysler product should really feature a Mopar powertrain.

7. E46 BMW 3 Series (GM LS)

Love the E46 3 Series? Who doesn’t? All these years later, it’s still my favorite BMW. But if you’re unsatisfied with the performance provided by this generation 3er’s inline-six, fear not, there’s room for an LS ahead of the firewall. Vorshlag Motorsports sells a variety of brackets and bolts that allow this legendary V8 to securely mount inside the bowels of your favorite 3 Series where it can provide stupid-fast acceleration with plenty of rumbling sounds.

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Best BMW Accessories

6. Ford Focus (Small-block Ford or Modular)

The Ford Focus has always been a scrappy little car, funky and fun to drive, but it’s never been the fastest thing on four wheels, especially the first-generation model. That changes if you grab the V8 conversion kit from Kugel Komponents. It allows you to drop a small-block Ford or modular V8 into your Focus. Best of all, this kit is completely bolt-on, requiring zero welding, however, it ain’t cheap, costing roughly $8,000, which doesn’t include an appropriate engine, transmission or rear end. Still, the idea of a rear-drive Focus with V8 power is tantalizing…

SEE ALSO: Why the Four-Cylinder Hybrid is the Best Powertrain in the Jeep Wrangler – The Short List

5. Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 (GM LS)

The Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 family of sports coupes is a blast to drive, sharp, light and plenty engaging. But the major complaint about these cars is a relative lack of power. Their 2.0-liter boxer four maxes out at about 205 ponies, though this is nothing a little LS can’t correct. For a mere $3,200, Weapons-Grade Performance will sell you a kit that allows one of these V8s to fit into the engine bay of your BRZ-family vehicle. Opt for the $7,500 complete kit, which comes with extra goodies like cooling components, upgraded wiring, a new instrument cluster and more, and you’re well on your way to roasting the tires, just provide the LS engine and transmission of your choice.

4. Nissan 350Z (GM LS)

Nissan’s Z car is a legend. For decades, it’s provided performance and driving dynamics in spades. Now, if you own a 350Z, the acceleration it offers is more than adequate, but who wants to settle for good enough when you could have astounding? Rectifying this, Sikky Manufacturing offers a little something that – surprise, surprise – lets you enjoy the smooth giddy-up of a GM LS V8. Base price is around $2,250 and it goes up from there depending on what goodies you want.

Interestingly, with this kit, no modifications to the factory crossmember or subframe are required. And that’s an important word of warning; V8 conversions are generally neither easy nor cheap. Lots of heavy wrenching is involved, and many require welding. While they can be SERIOUSLY COOL, swaps like these are NOT for the faint of heart.

3. Honda S2000 (GM LS)

Unquestionably, one of the greatest sports cars of the last 20 years is Honda’s S2000. Light and nimble, its naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine revved to the heavens above to deliver exhilarating performance. But for all its virtues, this two-seater had one serious flaw: a complete lack of torque. You had to wring its neck or else it wouldn’t move. But solving this issue is as easy as signing your name; just cut a check for a suspiciously inexpensive $1,650 and you’ve got most of what you’re going to need in order to fit an eight-cylinder fire-breather between the S2000’s front fenders. Yes, yet again, it accepts another LS, which you have to provide…

2. Subaru WRX (GM LS)

With standard all-wheel drive and unusual-sounding boxer engines, Subarus are not afraid to be different. But let’s say you want something a little more mainstream, to make your WRX sound like a muscle car. Well, now you can do that thanks to a bunch of components offered by the website Buy their subframe kit, oil pan and more and you’ll be well on your way to LS-ifying your favorite Subaru.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Best Diesel-Powered Cars You Can Buy in the U.S. – The Short List

1. Mazda MX-5 Miata (GM LS)

Miata Is Always The Answer, right? Sure, unless you’ve got to haul sheets of plywood. Anyway, if you want an absolutely INSANE MX-5, get in touch with the fine folks at Flyin’ Miata out in Colorado, because they’ve figured out how to fit a V8 into each generation of this legendary Mazda car: NA, NB, NC and even the new ND. This swap is sure to transform a light and nimble vehicle into something absolutely insane, a car that’s fast enough to outrun some supercars. Because don’t forget, the Miata has always been a featherweight.

It’s amazing how popular GM’s LS engine is. It’s taken over the world, trouncing both the Chrysler Hemi family and Ford’s various V8 offerings. And why shouldn’t it? They’re reliable, GM’s built untold millions of them meaning they’re affordable, they support huge displacements with very compact external dimensions. This puts it right in the sweet spot of the Venn diagram, making it an ideal engine for V8 swaps.

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Top 10 Best Cars for Teens – The Short List Tue, 07 May 2019 13:00:39 +0000 Top 10 Best Cars for Teens – The Short List Top 10 Best Cars for Teens – The Short List
Our picks are affordable, reliable, safe, and even a bit cool. more]]>
best cars for teens

Are you a young driver in need of a new car or the parent of one that will be making the monthly payments? 

If so, you’re probably wondering what are the best new cars for teenage motorists. Well, any recommendations need to be safe, so we picked cars with Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick + ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Affordability is also critical, as is reliability, efficiency, and even coolness. Anything we recommend can’t be a total snooze. Keeping all those important factors in mind, here are our picks for the best cars for teens.

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Honda Fit

2019 honda fit

The Honda Fit is a snap to maneuver, exceptionally efficient, and more versatile than some vehicles twice its size, thanks to that hatchback body and second-row Magic Seat. With a base price around $17,000, up to 40 miles per gallon highway, and good crash-test scores across the board from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, this car is a no-brainer. Oh, and for extra fun, they can even be had with a six-speed manual gearbox, which is great because we think it will help curb distracted driving.

Get New & Used Honda Fit Prices

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Least Reliable Cars

Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Nine Things to Know About the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

What is it that Toyota does better than practically any other automaker? Oh, that’s right, they make vehicles that last forever. With luck, the new Toyota Corolla Hatchback will provide decades of reliable service with minimal repairs. Versatile, stylish, and economical with a starting price around $20,000, this five-door just about does it all. And with 168 horsepower on tap, its performance isn’t too bad, either. Another bonus? It’s an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

Get New & Used Toyota Corolla Prices

Nissan Kicks

2019 Nissan Kicks SV Pros and Cons

Next up, a crossover, Nissan’s subcompact Kicks. One of this vehicle’s main advantages is its bargain-basement price, starting off around $19,000. But even though it’s exceedingly affordable, nothing about it feels flagrantly chintzy. The interior is reasonably nice, there’s plenty of cargo space and of course, the fuel economy is stellar, topping out at 36 MPG highway. Throw in good crash test scores and just 122 horsepower so no one can go too fast and it’s an ideal choice for teenage drivers.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Cheap AWD Cars and Crossovers


Get New & Used Nissan Kicks Prices

Hyundai Veloster

But if young motorists want something with a little more visual pizzazz than provided by the Kicks, Hyundai’s Veloster delivers. This asymmetrical hatchback looks cool yet is still reasonably practical. Three powertrains are offered, including a base 2.0-liter engine with 147 ponies, though a 1.6L turbo with much more giddy-up is also available, as is a high-performance N model with up to 275 horsepower. We’re going to recommend the base version, which starts at right around $19,500 with a six-speed manual transmission. Yes, an automatic is offered for an extra $1,000.

Get New & Used Hyundai Veloster Prices

Kia Forte

The Kia Forte is another excellent choice for youthful drivers. Not only does this compact sedan look great, but it also comes with an upscale interior and starts at right around $18,000. At that price, you get a standard eight-inch touchscreen, support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and much more. The Forte even earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS, meaning it should perform well in practically every type of crash.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Most Reliable Cars


Get New & Used Kia Forte Prices

Mazda CX-3

2019 mazda cx-3

Our next recommendation is the Mazda CX-3, one of the most stylish and upscale small crossovers available today. Not only does it look and feel far more expensive than anything that starts at less than $22,000 should, but it’s also great to drive and is extremely safe. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine provides the motivation, delivering 148 horsepower. It’s matched to a six-speed automatic gearbox and standard front-wheel drive. Of course, for extra grip, four-corner traction is also on the menu.

ALSO SEE: Top 5 Best AWD Hatchbacks

Get New & Used Mazda CX-3 Prices

Subaru Impreza

The Subaru Impreza’s biggest selling feature is standard all-wheel drive, but that’s not all this small sedan or five-door hatch has going for it. An IIHS Top Safety Pick+ thanks to its superior front-crash prevention technology, excellent headlights, and all-around structural integrity, this Subaru is a jack-of-all-trades. A 2.0-liter boxer-four provides 152 ponies, while an available continuously variable transmission helps deliver up to 38 miles per gallon on the highway.

SEE ALSO: Why the Four-Cylinder Hybrid is the Best Powertrain in the Jeep Wrangler


Get New & Used Subaru Impreza Prices

Kia Soul

Another top choice for young drivers is the Kia Soul. A style-focused hatchback-crossover-thing, this segment-blurring icon has been totally redesigned for the 2020 model year. Not only does it look cool, but it’s also versatile, well-built, and offers loads of technology, like standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Most models of the Soul feature a 147-horsepower 2.0-liter engine, but you can also get a 1.6-liter turbo with 201 ponies. No matter what’s under the hood, this Kia is an excellent choice for teens.

Get New & Used Kia Soul Prices

Volkswagen Golf

The Volkswagen Golf has always been popular with young motorists, likely because it has cachet thanks to its buttoned-down looks and no-nonsense interior. Starting at around $22,000, this versatile VW gives you a lot for your money, like a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine with 147 horsepower. There’s also standard blind-spot monitoring and even forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. But perhaps best of all, the Golf comes with a standard six-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. It may not be as reliable as a Toyota, but that guarantee is tough to top.

SEE ALSO: 5 Fun, Low-Horsepower Cars


Get New & Used VW Golf Prices

Honda Civic

2019 Honda Civic Sedan Touring

But perhaps the best new car for young drivers is the Honda Civic. This nameplate has a long track record of dependable and economical service, providing transportation to millions of people around the world. It’s super safe, starts at about $20,000, sips fuel, drives well, offers lots of tech, and is even available in a wide range of flavors. You can get sedan, coupe, hatchback, sporty Si and ultra-high-performance Type R versions of the Civic, meaning there’s something there for practically everyone, even teens.

Get New & Used Honda Civic Prices

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Top 10 Most Unreliable Cars – The Short List Tue, 19 Mar 2019 19:02:02 +0000 Top 10 Most Unreliable Cars – The Short List Top 10 Most Unreliable Cars – The Short List
If vehicle dependability matters, you should probably avoid the following 10 models. more]]>
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If vehicle dependability matters, you should probably avoid the following 10 models.

Recently, Consumer Reports published the results of its 2018 Annual Auto Reliability Survey. Far and away dependability is the No. 1 purchase consideration of new-vehicle shoppers. That’s at least according to the influential watchdog organization. In fact, it beats out performance, price and even fuel economy.

Moving on, here are some of the most problem-prone vehicles you can buy right now.

10. Honda Odyssey

2018 honda odyssey

Landing in 10th place is the Honda Odyssey. Wait, WHAT? A Honda on a list of MOST UNRELIABLE VEHICLES? That’s just hard to believe. But according to Consumer Reports, body hardware and interior electronics proved to be major trouble spots. Somewhat offsetting these deficits, this minivan is comfortable, refined and economical.

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Most Reliable Cars

9. Volkswagen Atlas

Next on this list of underachieving autos is the Volkswagen Atlas. Despite offering respectable driving dynamics, a hushed cabin and even a third-row seat that adults can actually fit in, this three-row utility vehicle was savaged for its cantankerous climate-control system and troublesome transmission, among other minor issues.

ALSO SEE: Volkswagen Atlas V6 Review

8. Buick Enclave

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir

Edging out the Atlas in projected unreliability is the Buick Enclave. Also a three-row crossover, Consumer Reports liked its quiet and spacious interior, easy-to-use infotainment system and comfortable ride. But minor transmission issues, as well as problematic climate-control and emissions systems, really hurt it.

SEE ALSO: Is Tesla’s Elon Musk Crazy or a Genius? – The Short List

7. Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Heavy Duty

Falling below these also-rans is the Chevy Silverado 2500 HD. It’s kind of weird seeing a big, tough truck on this list, but apparently, Consumer Reports subscribers said they’ve had major engine issues with these pickups as well as noises and leaks, plus troublesome in-vehicle electronics, a recurring theme on this list.

6. Kia Cadenza

2018 kia cadenza

In the No. 6 position on this Bottom-10 List is the Kia Cadenza sedan. It competes with larger four-doors like the Chevrolet Impala and Toyota Avalon. The Cadenza is roomy and quiet, with easy-to-use technology, though problematic climate control, fuel and emissions systems were its undoing.

5. Chevrolet Traverse

Moving along, the Chevrolet Traverse is also one of the most unreliable vehicles available today. Much like its sibling the Buick Enclave, minor transmission issues and problematic electronics landed it in the middle of this list, a pity, really, because it’s an attractive and highly functional vehicle.

4. Honda Clarity

2017 Honda Clarity FCV

Surprisingly, the No. 4 finisher here is another Honda, specifically the Japanese automaker’s cutting-edge Clarity sedan. This futuristic vehicle is offered as an electric, a plug-in hybrid and even with a hydrogen fuel-cell drivetrain. Can you say complexity? Issues that dragged it down in reliability rankings include weaknesses in the climate control, fuel and emissions systems as well as problems with body hardware.

SEE ALSO: 12 Facts About Alfa Romeo You Should Know – The Short List

3. Cadillac ATS

Nimble and sharp, the Cadillac ATS is an absolute driver’s car, with a buttoned-down ride and peppy turbocharged four-cylinder engine or smooth-running V6. A convoluted infotainment system and cramped interior detract from the overall experience, as do glitches with its climate controls, in-car electronics and driveline. Perhaps this is why Cadillac is killing off the ATS.

2. Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X Pros and Cons - Falcon Doors

Tesla’s Model X is the second-least reliable vehicle according to Consumer Reports. Despite its driving finesse, futuristic interior and respectable all-electric range, it was failed by issues with body hardware, noises and leaks as well as cantankerous interior electronics.

1. Ram 3500 Heavy Duty

Finally, we come to the most unreliable vehicle. Surprisingly, it’s another heavy-duty pickup, the Ram 3500 HD. Able to tow massive trailers and haul heaping loads without breaking a sweat, this tough truck is nonetheless undermined by issues with its steering, suspension, fuel, emissions and engine-cooling systems. It’s even dogged by various noises and leaks, again, at least according to Consumer Reports.

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Best Cars for Teens – The Short List

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Honda to Recall 1.1 Million Cars for Second Time to Fix Takata Airbag Issue Tue, 12 Mar 2019 15:56:15 +0000 Honda to Recall 1.1 Million Cars for Second Time to Fix Takata Airbag Issue Honda to Recall 1.1 Million Cars for Second Time to Fix Takata Airbag Issue
Find out here if your car is affected. more]]>
Honda has been forced to recall 1.1 million vehicles in the U.S. to re-replace a faulty Takata airbag inflator that may rupture upon deployment.

All vehicles involved in this recall were previously repaired using a certain Takata airbag inflator (model PSDI-5D). Honda says it became aware of a potential issue with the replacement inflator following a single-vehicle crash involving a 2004 Honda Odyssey, which saw the driver’s front airbag deployed violently and caused an injury to the driver’s arm.

SEE ALSO: 2019 Honda Passport Review and Video

An investigation revealed that these inflators experienced a manufacturing process error that allowed moisture to enter the inflators during the assembly – very similar to the problem that caused the Takata airbag recall in the first place.

The automaker is now encouraging all owners of affected vehicles to schedule a repair at an authorized Honda dealer ASAP. All repairs will be performed free of charge.

Affected vehicles include:

  • 2003 Acura 3.2CL
  • 2013-2016 Acura ILX
  • 2003-2006 Acura MDX
  • 2002-2003 Acura 3.2TL
  • 2004-2006 and 2009-2014 Acura TL
  • 2007-2016 Acura RDX
  • 2010-2013 Acura ZDX
  • 2001-2007 and 2009 Honda Accord
  • 2001-2005 Honda Civic
  • 2002-2007 and 2010-2011 Honda CR-V
  • 2003-2011 Honda Element
  • 2007 Honda Fit
  • 2002-2004 Honda Odyssey
  • 2003-2008 Honda Pilot
  • 2006-2014 Honda Ridgeline

With this recall, Honda says the total number of recalled Takata inflators is approximately 21 million units, with around 12.9 million Honda and Acura vehicles so far subject to recall in the United States.

Discuss this story on our Honda Civic Forum.

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Winners and Losers from the 2019 Geneva Motor Show – The Short List Mon, 11 Mar 2019 14:40:36 +0000 Winners and Losers from the 2019 Geneva Motor Show – The Short List Winners and Losers from the 2019 Geneva Motor Show – The Short List
Another Geneva Motor Show is in the rear-view mirror, which means it’s time for us to start making fun of all the stuff we didn’t like. Accordingly, here’s our obligatory list of winners and losers, a specially curated selection of vehicles hand picked by the staff. For a little extra balance, we’ve also included... more]]>
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Another Geneva Motor Show is in the rear-view mirror, which means it’s time for us to start making fun of all the stuff we didn’t like.

Accordingly, here’s our obligatory list of winners and losers, a specially curated selection of vehicles hand picked by the staff. For a little extra balance, we’ve also included a few undecided options.

SEE ALSO: 2019 Geneva Motor Coverage

WINNER: Vanquish Vision Concept


Aston Martin is firing on all cylinders, debuting a trio of design studies in Switzerland. Arguably the coolest of the bunch is this, the Vanquish Vision Concept. Despite the McLaren-esque proportions, it previews the British Brand’s first mid-engine production model. In typical fashion, it features an aluminum structure, but what’s not expected for Aston Martin is the power source, a turbocharged and hybridized V6.

ALSO SEE: Aston Martin Unveils Three Stunning New Concept Cars

WINNER: Honda e Prototype

Next up, something at the opposite end of the spectrum. Honda’s e Prototype hints at the Japanese brand’s first battery-electric production vehicle. An urban runabout, it offers a driving range of 200-kilometers – about 125 miles – and can be charged to 80 percent capacity in as little as 30 minutes. Unusual for a Honda, this car is rear-wheel drive. The production model is slated to debut later this year as a 2020 model, possibly at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

WINNER: Alfa Romeo Tonale

crossovers, Crossovers, CROSSOVERS! The world just can’t get enough of these things. Helping satiate demand, Alfa Romeo unveiled a new premium compact SUV in Geneva. Smaller than their acclaimed Stelvio, Tonale is the Italian brand’s first plug-in hybrid. Basically, zero details about its drivetrain have been shared at this time, but it promises best-in-segment dynamics, which we’d expect it to deliver. With classic styling and a sweeping interior, it at least looks like a winner.

WINNER: Bugatti La Voiture Noire

Bugatti la voiture noire

Now for what was perhaps the star of this year’s Geneva show, a mega-pricey, one-off creation from Bugatti. Called La Voiture Noire, which translates rather fittingly to “the black car,” this creation was clearly inspired by Darth Vader, or the legendary Type 57 SC Atlantic. Your pick…

Power is provided by a 16-cylinder engine that delivers about 1,500 horses. This one-of-one grand-tourer sold for nearly $13 million. Whoever bought it can sleep soundly at night knowing that nobody else is going to roll in in a La Voiture Noire at their local cars and coffee.


Shifting gears, let’s focus on a few of Geneva’s UNDECIDED reveals. And the new Mazda CX-30 crossover is a bit of a head-scratcher. Size-wise, it’s intended to slot between the CX-3 and CX-5 models. But this raises a couple questions: One, why do they need a vehicle sandwiched in the middle of these two offerings? And two, shouldn’t it just be called CX-4? On the plus side, this thing is beautifully styled and will likely be brilliant to drive.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Best Engines of 2019

UNDECIDED: Subaru Viziv Concept

The Subaru Viziv Adrenaline Concept is yet another installment of the automaker’s Viziv range of design studies. It showcases the bolder, more exciting direction Subaru styling is supposedly heading. While we certainly wouldn’t call it ugly, neither is it breathtaking. Of course, since this is a concept, powertrain, pricing and other details are unknown, but we’d still bet this is an early look at the next-generation Crosstrek. Your thoughts?


The last UNDECIDED vehicle on this list is the Volkswagen ID BUGGY concept. A battery-powered dune-hopper, it demonstrates what the company can do with its advanced MEB electric-vehicle architecture. This thing’s got a 62 kWh battery and a 201-horsepower motor, both of which can deliver 62 miles an hour in as little as 7.2 seconds. The ID BUGGY is kind of cool, and there are rumblings they’ll actually build it, but we shall see if it makes it to production without being completely watered down.

LOSER: Imagine by Kia

Moving on to the LOSERS, we start with the Imagine by Kia concept, which may have the worst name of the entire Geneva show. Predictably, it’s an all-electric design study that vaguely resembles a crossover. It’s got a six-layer paint job, 22-inch wheels and even a continuous piece of glass that forms both the windshield and roof. Upping the ridiculousness, it’s gussied up with 21 individual screens inside, like someone shuffled a stack of smartphones. According to the press release it’s “designed to get your pulse racing.” Yeah, OK.

SEE ALSO: 2019 Detroit Auto Show Winners and Losers — The Short List

LOSER: Ginetta Akula

With supercars, you expect certain design flair, but the Ginetta Akula is just too friggin’ weird. This thing’s got more gills than a school of sardines! Unsurprisingly for an exotic, it’s made of carbon fiber and features a mid-mounted engine. It also brandishes 600 horsepower and can hit 200 miles an hour. Aside from the design, there’s another BIG downside. It costs more than half-a-million dollars.

LOSER: Smart Forease+

And the last LOSER we’ve got here is the Smart Forease+, which made its official debut in Geneva. If you remember back to the Paris show last fall, the automaker revealed a concept called the Forease. Well, this is essentially the same thing but with a removable roof. It’s kind of like microwaving leftovers, right?

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Honda Patents Wacky, Radial, Variable Compression Engine Fri, 08 Mar 2019 17:08:37 +0000 Honda Patents Wacky, Radial, Variable Compression Engine Honda Patents Wacky, Radial, Variable Compression Engine
Here's a very nerdy explanation on how it might work and why it might be beneficial. more]]>
Honda might be looking back to early aeronautics in its latest bid to make variable compression engines simpler and sturdier.

The engine is designed to take advantage of the simple crank design of radial engines to make a robust and widely adjustable variable compression engine. By replacing one of the pistons in the engine with a moving lever, the compression can be easily changed, leading to more power or efficiency, depending on what is desired.

The engine works a lot like Infiniti’s VC Turbo, but the different cylinder layout means fewer moving parts, which the patent argues will make it more reliable.

Radial Engines

The radial engine has been described as a starfish doing a striptease because the engine surrounds its crankshaft in cylinders. That means that instead of having, say, five-cylinder arranged in a straight line above a long crankshaft, all five cylinders are arranged in a star pattern surrounding a very short crankshaft.

This is useful in airplanes because you can put a bunch of cylinders right at the nose of a plane and the air cools them all equally. In cars, it’s less useful, though, because it’s a big lump of engine to design around.

Back in April of 1969, Popular Mechanics wrote about a super secret Pontiac test car called the X-4 that used a radial engine to make 80 hp. That engine was slotted inside a 47-inch tall commuter car. Although the car was already quite small, Pontiac could only fit two sits in it because the giant 80-hp engine in the middle of it took up so much space.

Honda, though, has shown a couple of engine layouts — and that’s what has us particularly interested this patent — that shows how this could actually work in a car.

The drawings show the engine aligned transversely in a van and longitudinally in a car. The drawings also lean pretty heavily on the narrow-angle of the cylinder Vs. So unlike the X4, the cylinders are arranged like two Vs, rather than an X. >< not x.

ALSO SEE: Where Is Honda From and Where Are Hondas Made?

That could be important not just for packaging, but for repackaging. There’s only a brief mention of it, and the application has been translated from Japanese — so there’s the potential for miscommunications here — but it appears that Honda has designed this so that it could also run as a narrow-angle V-twin, which would be useful for motorcycles and even potentially hybrids.

For both of these ideas to work, though, the cylinders would have to be arranged in pairs, which raises some timing issues. Radial engines are traditionally made in odd numbers because the even numbers would to an unsmooth (four-stroke) engine.

However, while two drawings of cars buried deep in a patent application does not confirmation of intent make, it’s worth bearing in mind that variable compression has been a focus of automakers lately.

Why Vary Compression?

Variable compression is the latest engineering buzzword since Infiniti came out with its VC Turbo last year. That’s because the engine, according to Infiniti, has the power of a big displacement engine with the efficiency of a tiny engine.

And although they’re the first to make it to market with a VC engine, they weren’t the first to think of it.

At the turn of the millennium, SAAB was working on a VC engine that actually makes the concept of variable compression a little easier to understand.

The idea behind VC cars is, put simply, to actively change the size of the cylinder. SAAB achieved this by putting the cylinder head on hinges. That means that you can play with the amount of space where explosions can happen, which, in turn, affects how much power is generated. More space means bigger explosions. The downside, though, is that you’re also using more fuel.

If you have variable compression rates, though, you can essentially have a small, efficient engine when you need it and a big powerful engine when you want it.

Infiniti does this by moving where the piston extends to lower in the cylinder. More accurately, they twist the bottom of the con rod to change where it sits on the crankshaft, effectively increasing displacement.

ALSO SEE: Honda Accord vs Honda Civic: Which Sedan is Right For You?

Since the Infiniti engine is an inline 4, though, each piston needs its own twisting mechanism, all of which is heavy and complicated.

Honda’s system works similarly, but is simpler, because you only need one twisting mechanism for four pistons. Actually, you could more than that. Radial engines frequently have five, seven, and nine cylinders, but we’ll keep talking about four cylinders since that’s what the images show.

Radial engines* arrange their cylinders around a single common point. So all four pistons, in this case, are attached to one ring that fits onto the crankshaft. What Honda wants to do is attach a lever to that ring, which would twist the connecting rods and alter the size of the combustion chamber.

Theoretically, Honda could do what Infiniti is doing with four twisting mechanisms, with just one. The lever, explains the patent, can also be moved however much or little is needed.

Rather than just being on or off, choosing between two compression ratios, the lever could move just a little to one side or the other, making it more precise.

But is it Worth It?

Unfortunately, the first production VC engine hasn’t exactly set the world on fire. While the improvements have been noticeable — the Altima gets about 3 mpg better than its competition — that might not be enough to warrant the changes needed to introduce a radial engine into the lineup.

The advantage of Infiniti’s more complicated set up is that the engine (as far as space within the engine bay is concerned) is pretty much the same as any other engine in Infiniti’s lineup. That means that the cars don’t have to change meaningful to fit the engine in them.

A radial engine would seriously affect packaging and it would be extremely difficult to fit this engine into, say, a Civic (it would be useful to show you a picture of the Pontiac X-4 here, but since we don’t own the rights to that pictures, you’ve got to click this link). That would make production very expensive.

To put it in perspective, radial engines were too big for tanks. In the Second World War, U.S. tank makers thought that the engines might be useful to put into tanks because of their high power to weight ratio, but found that the design made tanks tall and susceptible to attack.

So even in a vehicle famed for its size, the radial engine is difficult to package.

Even if you argue that the Honda engine can be smaller because it can do more; even if, despite the layout, it was roughly the size of a regular inline four, the position of the crankshaft — right in the middle of the engine — means that you can’t just slot it in where an I4 or a V6 would go. So Honda would probably have to design a whole separate car around this engine (if that is, indeed, what they have planned for it).

Some of the traditional arguments against radial engines probably aren’t as big a deal anymore, though.

ALSO SEE: Honda CR-V vs Honda HR-V: Which Crossover is Right for You?

Radial engines are often accused of being hard to work on. It’s just hard to reach all of the spark plugs. That might be less of a concern today, though, than it was a few years ago. Fewer and fewer people care to do their own work and engines are ever more complicated.

And despite it potentially requiring a whole chassis, Honda has shown that there are some ways of placing the engine that could work reasonably well.

Whether or not efficiency gains of 27% to 30% — that’s the amount that Infiniti says its VC system improves efficiency — are worth all of the packaging difficulties and production costs is a question only Honda can answer. But the engine described in the patent looks really neat, so we hope they say yes. We can’t help but wonder, though, if the electric car will cause this engine to suffer the same ignoble fate as the Pontiac X-4.

[Radial engine gif by Stoianovici [CC BY-SA 1.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

[SAAB engine photo by ReedhawkOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link]

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Next Honda Civic Type R Might be a Hybrid Thu, 07 Mar 2019 15:39:18 +0000 Next Honda Civic Type R Might be a Hybrid Next Honda Civic Type R Might be a Hybrid
Would you love or hate a Type R hybrid? more]]>
Honda’s hottest front-driver, the Civic Type R, may be homeless once the company’s Swindon, U.K., assembly plant closes in 2022, but its future will not end there.

Based on comments made at the Geneva Motor Show, it seems the next-generation model will likely tone down its appearance while accepting a helping hand from electrification.

The motivation for a hybrid Type R could lie in the automaker’s ambitious product plans for Europe. Lagging in that market, Honda believes low-emission driving is the key to unlocking sales. With this in mind, the company just announced that every Honda vehicle sold in that region in 2025 will host either a hybrid or electric powertrain.

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Cars the Honda Civic Type R Beats on the Nurburgring

Speaking to PistonHeads, Kohei Hitomi, project lead for Honda’s cute urban EV (previewed by the e Prototype), said a new Type R can (read: likely will) benefit from an electric motor or two.

2017 Honda Civic Type R Turbo Engine

“We think it’d be quite easy to achieve Type R performance with a full EV right now, but Type R isn’t just about performance,” he told the publication. “It’s also about handling, operation and driveability. We don’t think it’s as simple as replacing that with electric power. That’s not the right direction for Type R.”

Honda Civic: Everything You Need to Know

Hitomi suggested there’s early planning afoot to look at how the Type R experience could be improved by electrification.

“People complained when we said the Type R would use a turbocharger, but now they appreciate the new possibilities this has provided,” Hitomi said. “I believe it would be the same for electrified vehicles as well; people who love Type R will come to realize what it can add to the driving experience. We just need to find the best attributes that are relevant for the Type R, so as to enhance the experience without losing what makes a Type R.”

Hitomi’s remarks come as Europeans prepare to take ownership of Honda’s new CR-V Hybrid. Differing from conventional hybrids, the electrified CR-V uses a multi-mode setup combining two electric motors and a fixed-gear transmission. Three drive modes allow the driver to put power to the front or all four wheels in a variety of ways:

Honda Europe describes the modes here:

EV Drive, where the lithium-ion battery supplies power to the electric propulsion motor directly; Hybrid Drive, where the engine supplies power to an electric generator motor, which in turn supplies it to the electric propulsion motor; and Engine Drive, where the engine is connected directly to the wheels via a lock-up clutch

Doesn’t sound engaging enough for a Type R buyer, but Acura’s NSX provides another example of how to use electrification to a vehicle’s advantage. Three electric motors, a V6 engine, and a conventional transmission type combine to give the NSX all-wheel-drive potency. If Honda engineers do bestow electrification upon the Type R, it’s not unthinkable that the model might see its rear axle come alive.

As for where that model will come from, that’s another story. Honda said following the Swindon announcement that North America will draw its future Civic models from within the region, meaning the hot hatch will have to find a home at an American or Canadian plant.

This article originally appeared on

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Honda e: Automaker’s Compact EV Inches Closer to Production Wed, 27 Feb 2019 16:14:03 +0000 Honda e: Automaker’s Compact EV Inches Closer to Production Honda e: Automaker’s Compact EV Inches Closer to Production
An estimated range of 125 miles. more]]>
[See image gallery at]
The Honda Urban EV Concept is slowly moving closer to production, with the Japanese automaker today debuting the new Honda e Prototype.

The Honda e Prototype is an evolved version of the Urban EV Concept and is more representative of the production version of the electric hatchback that will enter production in Europe later this year.

SEE ALSO: Honda S2000 Definitely Never Coming Back, Honda Exec Says

Honda also dropped some details on the charging performance and estimated driving range of its new EV. The automaker says the prototype has a “a range of over 200km and a ‘fast charge’ functionality of 80% battery charge in 30 minutes,” which are fairly conservative specifications that seem indicative of what we can expect from the production car. With rear-wheel drive and a square stance, Honda promises its electric compact will be fun-to-drive as well.

The Honda e also features a more production-ready cabin with a “modern minimalist aesthetic.” A wide triple-screen display spans the width of the dashboard and is joined by warm wood trim and melange-style sofa fabric seats. A perfectly flat floor, enabled by the electric powertrain, allows for ‘walk-through’ access to the rear seats from the front, accentuating the overall feeling of spaciousness.

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Outside the look is mostly the same, although you have probably noticed that the Honda e has gained a set of doors over the Urban EV Concept. The concept’s side view cameras, which replace traditional rear-facing mirrors, have also been retained for the Honda e and are expected to appear on the production model as well.

More details on the production Honda e should come to light as its late 2019/early 2020 on-sale date approaches.

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