JDM Inspire/Global Accord Minor Facelift

Honda just recently tweak the styling of its domestic market luxury Inspire, or the more popular global Accord. The tweak is almost discernible especially in dark colors as Honda just change the bumper and grill design and add a little touch of chrome garnish at the rear.

Subtle design change gives more sculpted looks to the Inspire/Accord

The new bumper now features the same pronounced “V” lines from the recent Fit refresh, and apparently hinting that Honda is uniting its design creed. The grill portion of the car received a little bit of a sculpt and nudging the front part of the car just a wee bit. The grill lost one winglet but the two is a little bit bigger while retaining the same hexagonal shape of the original with a little more flair. The bumper design change is actually minimal, but the refreshed bumper is more pronounced and looks like an aggressive evolution of the original if you care to take a comparison note.

The original grill and bumper looked a bit soft compared to the refresh

Same design but more sculpted

The rear doesn’t have that aggressive sculpt change like the front bumper, Honda just added a chrome accent to the extra taillight… Extra? Yep, it’s an extra taillight and not just a garnish like USDM Accord. I don’t know much about JDM Inspire, but here in South East Asia, the faux taillight is actually a placeholder for a light bulb as you can actually make it usable. I’m thinking about rear fog lights, but somehow Honda take it out for some odd reason.

Faux taillights that actually can be made usable with ease

Way back when current generation Accord was launched, I loathed at the design with its blandness and utilitarianism. Although the design grew on me, I still think Honda could design a more upscale looking car for its Inspire/Accord name. Competitors like Nissan Teana and Toyota Camry have daring designs that screams upscale… But the Inspire is just too bland, too safe. I assume Honda management doesn’t want to take risks considering its target market, and Inspire/Accord target market might be bothered with radical design changes. However, I would like to see Honda management giving its product designer a little bit more freedom in the design department. Not Nissan and Mazda quirky, but a slightly edgier Toyota should fit Honda image.

Perhaps the new Civic which is due next year would have some more surprises, but the spy pictures tell the same tale , that Honda is playing safe again. We’ll see… I love Honda for its engineering, but a little bit of Tabasco or chili sauce with that Wagyu steak should be okay.


Honda of Japan Inspire website

JDM Fit Refresh: Angry Fit RS Cometh!

For its best selling JDM model, Honda finally breaks the mold and refreshed the Fit with flair and fireworks that almost eclipsed a new product launch. When usually a refresh just offers minor cosmetic changes, Honda did the almost unthinkable, expand the model portfolio. The result is tantalizing to say the least, a new hybrid trim line and tricked up performance trim line colors the refreshed Fit for a greater choice to consumers.

The info here are taken from Temple of VTEC member, DanielGR who lives in Japan and kindly scans the refreshed Fit brochure. For higher resolution pictures and more info please click here.

Let’s start with the baseline model first. The refreshed baseline Fit comes with a refreshed bumpers front and back with slightly remodeled turning light position in the headlight and LED taillights. Fuel consumption gets better by 0.5 Km/L according to the translation. The best IMHO addition is the optional inclusion of ECON mode and assisted parking system for the refreshed baseline Fit. The ECON mode when switched on affects the throttle reaction, making it mushier and slightly lethargic Aircon system. I don’t know much about ECON mode yet, but safe to assume it’s going to make the car drives a little bit more lazy and the aircon a little bit hotter.

The assisted parking system is like your cool uncle, he’s not your father so it’s a little bit hit or miss. The assisted parking system is not a full blown automatic parking system like Toyota’s version, but rather a combination of simple systems. First you need to manually line up the “parking sight” on the passenger door side, engage the assisted parking by selecting parallel parking or reverse parking, and then the car will automatically engage slowly and turns the wheel automatically. After a preset distance is achieved, the driver manually engages the reverse gear and the car will again automatically reverses slowly and turns the wheel automatically. A cheaper alternative to full blown camera assisted automated parking but it gets the job done.

Then comes the hybrid trim line, the jewel of Honda green movement for the masses; The Fit hybrid. You see, the car is special, not for its crazy fuel miser capability; at 30 Km/L or 70 MPG (US) it’s expected for a hybrid. Nor for its great design, which is basically an old model with a new engine. The Fit hybrid is special, because it will be the first cheapest hybrid ever, period, exclamation point. Starting at 1.59 Million Yen, the Fit Hybrid will undercut Toyota Prius that starts at 2.1 Million Yen.

The Fit hybrid is essentially a cheap Honda Insight with the same drivetrain and driving platform. Well, if this is a chicken or the egg question, the Jazz is actually the egg to Insight’s chicken because the Insight is actually a modified Jazz. You’ll find the same 1.3L i-VTEC IMA engine producing around 100ps with the same battery placement under the boot replacing the spare tire and with the same McPherson Strut – Torsion Beam combo suspension. Attractive pricing and respectable fuel consumption, my expectation of the car is that it will sell well, very well even.

Finally we came to Fit RS. Honda RS trim is not what you expect from competing Ford RS trim. Although I don’t know about Ford RS trim stands for… (but Rapid, Racing, Speed, comes to mind)… The RS trim on Honda means Road Sailing, it’s never meant to be a demon like fast or burn rubber at any moment notice kind of car, heck, the 1.5L engine 120ps not only just good enough, it’s available on the non RS trim. For people who want to drive the car at its limit, the baseline 1.5L 5MT is enough and cheaper to modify and tricked up. Honda seems to acknowledge it and finally comes out with a great enough reason for people to buy the RS trim line… Because it’s now a monster… Well, cookie monster cute, but still… A 6 gear manual should pique your curiosity.

The refreshed Fit RS now comes with an aggressive front and rear bumpers, complete with faux front and rear brake air ducts. I assume that these faux ducts can be made functional with just a little bit of tinkering. But the biggest addition of all is the 6 gear manual transmission which will make improving the engine’s power more freely with the extra gear. It’s been proven that with an Intake + Header + Exhaust upgrade, the Fit engine produces 139 ps easy (Indonesian Link), you can even break the 100ps/L barrier with a proper tuning. So a 6th gear will definitely help you gearheads getting the most out of this little gem.

It’s been a while since Honda mild model change tantalizes me. The late Stream model received significant face lift that warrants a Stream 1.5 moniker as it literally change the whole front of the car, making it much more modern. My brother still drives the first generation Stream refresh, and it doesn’t look old, it aged well, very well. Other refreshes from Honda doesn’t offer much in way of making the car stand the test of times, but the Fit refresh seems like it will stand its ground nicely.

What I’m expecting is the demise of Honda Keii cars with the Fit hybrid existence. Honda Keii’s small 0.6L engine and chassis means it will deliver good fuel economy but at the expense of power and interior space. The Fit hybrid starts at 1.59 Million Yen, yes, more than Honda Life that starts at 945 Thousand Yen, but rated fuel economy goes up from 22 Km/L (Life C) to 30 Km/L (Fit hybrid). Bigger interior space, better fuel economy… Does the Keii car relevant anymore?


Temple of VTEC DanielGR scans

Otomotifnet modified compact shootout (Bahasa Indonesia)