So what is the Ropot… Well, it’s part of Honda Safety For All campaign that targeted small children to notify them to be careful about crossing roads. Daisuke Kiryu, Japan Honda engineer came out with the idea for a safety device for Japanese children that walks to school. The device came with GPS, and milimeter wave radar that is equipped on Honda SENSING level 2 autonomous driving aid system.
The concept couldn’t be simpler. In Japan, many elementary children walks to school. However, children at elementary grade age have two problems, their small stature makes them hard to be noticed on the road and children limited vision does not allow full range of view compared to adults. As such road accidents involving children as young as 7 years old is prevalent in Japan. Daisuke Kiryu, having a child about the same age thinking out of the box on how he can apply his engineering skill with the full force of Honda engineering on his back to provide safety for children.
Daisuke Kiryu himself is engineer for exhaust system, and as such does not have the required knowledge of systems to create the safety device. Helping him was Satoshi Fujii, involved in the development of Honda SENSING that literally change the simple concept from a device that only alerts children about crossing the road safely using location service, into one that have the ability to detect incoming traffic.
Honda have no information whether to mass produce the Ropot and sell it to the public globally, but this is the kind of engineering exercise that allows engineers to flex their creativity and come up with fresh ideas.
It’s so refreshing that Honda product line as of late is exciting once again. The BR-V comes with Honda Sensing tech and now we have the WR-V, Honda first ever entry level SUV also with Sensing tech.
My infatuation with Honda Sensing might be weird for some but considering that Honda pushes a lot of safety feature only to be overshadowed by performance and efficiency is unwarranted. Honda at its core also care for safety for all and Honda is even running a global “Safety for Everyone” campaign. Honda pursuit in safety is another topic altogether, but including Honda Sensing option on the WR-V is not just a right decision, but also a part of proper decisions that built the WR-V.
Let’s see what other thing Honda (technically) got WR-V right the first time around.
The proven engine
Obviously, heritage brings about credibility. Lots of establishments proudly stated their year of founding in bold letters because including the year it was established shows success, and has been around for awhile. Yes, first generation product does not necessarily means it will always fail, but there is some degree of uncertainty. The WR-V name, now a second generation product means that Honda is aware of the first generation shortcomings, and most likely address any issues with the second generation. Sure there are people who complaint about the name… Yes, there are…. Because W is the annoying only three syllable letter in alphabet. From A to Z, every letter is one syllable word, only W that required its speakers to pronounce DOUBLE-U. For Indonesian, some people have difficulty saying the WR-V name. Some people who have good English say it with English phonetic, WR-V or double-u-are-vee. However, a lot of people say the name using Indonesian phonetic which omits the double-u and replaces it with W in Indonesian phonetic which is only just 1 syllable. Is it a deal breaker? Luckily no, the car is just that good.
The Proven Engine
When Toyota/Daihatsu small SUV twins came out with a 1.0L turbo engine, everybody and their grandmother deduce that the Honda small SUV (then SUV RS concept) will carry the same engine. After all, Honda own 1.0L turbo (P10A) have been used on the Civic FK and City GN. Honda and Toyota/Daihatsu engine even share the same characteristic, being a three cylinder single scroll turbo. To everyone and their grandmother (and some of their neighbor’s) surprise, Honda WR-V actually came with the L15Z, the same engine installed on the HR-V, BR-V, and City/City Hatchback. This is quite a surprise because everybody (okay, proper term, the media and users) are expecting the same engine combo as Toyota/Daihatsu. Sure, the engine gives the WR-V a class leading figure, but it’s not just about power, buying a WR-V guarantees that any engine issues can be addressed immediately as it is the same engine shared by 4 other cars in the country. On another but still related point, Honda Indonesia mechanics only needs to maintain currently 4+1 engines, the L15B, the L15Z, the L12B, the R20A, and the K20C. The +1 obviously is the K20C, but since it’s only used on the Civic Type R, a boutique specialty car, we can actually omit that, so Honda mechanics mainly only need to maintain 4 types of engine currently. Compared to let’s say Toyota that have more than 10 engines to maintain, suffice to say that buying a WR-V also comes with a peace of mind about engine maintenance.
Design is always subjective, as beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. Don’t believe me? Please, ask your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/mother if you’re not the most beautiful/handsome person in the world… Well for those people whose partner says “I choose you because you’re rich”, I truly pity you. Well, looks will always be subjective but to me, damn, the WR-V is truly stunning. The WR-V is technically a shortened BR-V, and it is (that’s why it can fit the L15Z), but design wise, the BR-V is simple and plain while the WR-V is oozing charm and class. The BR-V front fascia with its huge DRL looks proper but lacking character while WR-V RS split DRL looks stunning. I could drone on and on with the WR-V design but the best part of the WR-V for me is the rear. The hidden rear door handle, the aggressive C pillar kink, the windshield wiper that’s integrated with the rear glass, and the thicker rear combination light design simply combine into a more aggressive looking design.
Again, I’m stressing that I’m not dissing the BR-V. The BR-V is designed to meet all sort of buyer demographics, it needs to look “safe” as such most likely the design was intended to cater to everybody as much as it doesn’t offend anybody either. The WR-V as it is intended for the young and the young at heart simply have more daring design.
As a big fan of Honda, it really is surprising and refreshing that the Honda I like now is something reasonably priced.
What a proud moment as Indonesian that following Honda engineering guidance, the Indonesian made WR-V is awarded ASEAN NCAP five star award for safety.
The WR-V RS variant scores positively on all aspect of testing thanks to Honda advance driving aid system (SENSING) and 6 airbags. Even without the extra airbags, as you can see from the video above, the car structural integrity is not too compromise that first responder can access the interior of the car safely and swiftly.
As of this writing at least in early 2023, Honda WR-V is still being sold in Indonesia exclusively. However, historically, the WR-V is sold in Brazil and India as well. I expect the WR-V will go global at the end of 2023, with ASEAN market receiving the car at earlier date to slot below the BR-V. With the market demand shifting towards SUV, the BR-V is the perfect car to spearhead the entry level segment.
Ah turbo engine, I still remember in the 90s, where everybody and their grandmother in the car modding scene wants to turbocharge their cars. It was truly a wild time with many Japanese sports cars of the era are using turbochargers such as Lancer Evo, WRX, RX-7, Supra, GT-R and many others. Seems like if you don’t have turbocharger, then you’re not a sports car (well, the NSX begs to differ, but NSX is an exotic car rather than a pure sports car). Fast forward 3 decades today, turbocharged engines are everywhere in cars. Many European brand cars are turbocharged, and mostly they are small cars too, so what happened? Are all of those small cars are sports cars? Well no.
Turbochargers today is no longer in the domain of performance cars and more into the domain of efficiency booster. As government all around the world tries to curb green house emission, they introduce more and more stringent emission law that require engineers to utilize turbochargers on 4 wheel automotive products. Turbocharged engine works by forcing air into the engine to produce more power. As most cars operates at low engine speed, in reality cars do not need big engine. However, speed is not just the domain of making shorter time to a destination, but also a safety feature for example to pass a slower car. As speed necessitate the use of power, thus bigger engine, automotive engineers uses turbocharger to increase power. As traditional internal combustion engine relies on burning air and fuel mixture, forcing more air in is the easiest way to produce more power. As performance booster, turbocharged engine can extract more power from a smaller displacement engine that rivals or even exceed bigger displacement engine. The forcing of air however is not without risk, as the keyword here is forcing.
To produce more power than the same engine of the same displacement, turbocharged engine produces more temperature and pressure inside the engine, and one typical result from this is knocking. Knocking happens when pressure inside the cylinder is so great, it combust the air fuel mixture before the spark plug (for gasoline powered engine) can fire. This is why turbocharge engine mandate the use of higher octane fuel to minimize or even eliminate knocking from pressure. In modern engine, onboard computers have the ability to detect and prevent knocking by decreasing efficiency by retarding the ignition timing which also makes the engine produces less power. The one thing about engine knocking, especially on turbocharged engine is that with increased engine rotation, as power is demanded by the user, the temperature and pressure inside the engine increases. One way to alleviate this issue is to enriching air fuel mixture, by simply adding more fuel into the cylinder that acts partly as coolant to reduce temperature. For naturally aspirated engine, simply by having lower pressure and temperature inside the cylinder, they can rev higher, produce more power at the higher rotation engine speed and with using less fuel than turbocharged engine.
The use of turbocharged engine in modern cars for efficiency involves the dual nature of the engine equipped with turbochargers. In the simplest term, turbocharged engine feels like two engine in one, a small displacement engine, and a bigger one. Turbocharged engine does not force air all the time, instead it operates in two scenario just like traditional combustion engine, low load and high load. At low load scenario, for example driving at cruising legal speed on highway, the engine literally operates close to naturally aspirated engine with the turbocharger working in an off boost fashion . For example in our topic is Toyota Raize engine, at low load scenario it operates like any three cylinder 1.0L engine. Compared to Honda WR-V engine at low load scenario as it is a four cylinder 1.5L engine, the Toyota engine offers technical efficiency based on physics alone.
However, one does not simply drive a car only on low load scenario, which is cruising speed unobstructed on highway alone. The combination of low and high load scenario like stop and go driving in city, complete with traffic jam and having to speed up to pass another driver means that turbocharged engine is always on boost at any typical driving condition. The ideal way to drive small displacement turbo engine cars like Raize is to drive slow, with the occasional half open throttle to pass a car only. This is how small turbocharged engine is intended to be used, as the engineers wants the user to revert to off boost and low load scenario immediately to reap the benefit of efficiency from a small displacement turbo.
I can already imagine if I post this content on youtube, every Raize owner probably already typing angry about how their car makes more power early and everything well… Thing is…
Yes, Toyota Raize makes torque early but that’s during on boost condition at high load scenario. At off boost low load scenario, Raize engine still needs to spin up and makes torque similar to Honda’s larger engine. Also, at the end of the day, Honda WR-V engine simply makes higher power. The debate for horsepower vs torque is tale as old of time. Yes horsepower figure is calculated from torque x RPM divided by a constant, or simply power is the function of applying torque. So both is important, one cannot do without the other. The only thing that matters is application of torque and horsepower. You want to move things a lot? Then look for high torque figure, you want to go fast? Look for power figure.
At the end of the day, Honda WR-V and Toyota Raize are both good cars on their own right. A compact SUV that delivers results in a different way. Honda going traditional with naturally aspirated “large” internal combustion engine and Toyota going with turbocharged small block internal combustion engine. The use of turbocharge engine allows for Toyota Raize to offer slightly gusty performance on slow to medium speed, and when somebody can utilize hypermiling technique, potentially delivers a more efficient fuel consumption. Honda WR-V simply decimates Toyota Raize at all driving condition but at higher fuel consumption as it makes more power. Can I get good fuel consumption from WR-V, possibly, but it will be easier to do so on Raize. Just pick what you like, nobody dictates your life.
Starting 2024, Honda will replace the NSX-GT Type S with Civic Type-R GT as an entry on the top GT500 class of SuperGT. The change is in response to Honda discontinuing the NSX globally and currently the Civic Type-R sits at the top of Honda performance car offering that is sold publicly. Civic Type-R GT will still be powered by Honda own 2.0L turbocharged engine per the FIA Class One rule that Super GT adopts.
The Civic Type-R GT as a sedan will surely draw quite a chatter on the paddock as the source car is a sedan, a far cry from the typical performance car that is usually a two seater or at maximum a 2+2 (basically still a 2 seater but with kind of acceptable back seats for kids or small statured people), for example any Porsche 911 or Mazda RX-8. Typical sports cars are compact to reduce weight and easier to manage aerodynamics which is not always the case for a sedan.
Japan Super GT is no stranger to odd car entries, after all, Toyota Prius and Subaru Impreza was fielded and both a 4 door car. However, both cars runs on the lower end GT300 class while Honda Civic Type-R GT will run against Toyota and Nissan best sports cars, the Supra and the Z. Japan Super GT obviously is not a production based race as it’s a silhouette racer series, meaning that the car raced on the series is only based off the physique of a production car with standardized components. For example, Toyota Supra being raced on Super GT is not the same Toyota Supra being sold on the market. The publicly sold Toyota Supra is using a 2.0L turbo engine made by BMW, while the Super GT Supra is using a 2.0L turbo engine made by Toyota. Same goes to the transmission and suspension system which is using standardized components for all participants.
By using Honda Civic Type-R gen V chassis, Honda racing engineers have quite a handful issues to tackle. First thing first, sports cars are low slung short cars for weight and aerodynamic reasons mentioned above. The Civic Type-R as it is based off a 4 door family hatchback is well, quite big. The production Civic Type-R has 1,890 mm width, 4,595 mm length, and 1,404 mm height. For size comparison, the production Toyota Supra has 1,865 mm width, 4,380 mm length and 1,290 mm height. Aerodynamic wise, Honda racing engineers needs to deploy every trick they have learned from decades of racing experience. As a spectator of the sport, I don’t know how to tackle the height of the car, but I do sure know that Honda engineers can take advantage of the extra length of the car to maximize ground effect just like current Formula 1 cars.
So sayonara NSX, thank you for the dreams, konnichiwa Civic Type-R, I’m expecting great things.
Dubbed as the “SUV RS concept”, Honda finally unveiled its Toyota/Daihatsu Raize/Rocky compact SUV challenger at Indonesia GIIAS auto show.
The design of the SUV RS concept showcases a compact SUV with full character and premium looking SUV. The checkered mark intake grill motive and the thick LED DRL gives a very premium look to the car, while the flowing lines and the floating roof and bedazzled rear light cluster screams youthful design.
Honda called the car as a concept, and unlike the N7x concept before it which basically the production form of the second generation BR-V but with minor touch, the SUV RS concept do feels like a mismash of concept and production parts. The front bumper which houses the checkered mark grill seems like it’s printed on the plastic surface and the rear is devoid of rear wiper. There’s also the peculiar higher than regular floor to ground height of the rear hatch with very small opening for lever operation.
The car design is quite daring for Honda, and eschew many utilitarianism that old Honda products exhibit. For one, the rakish rear hatch limits the height of its cargo bay, making a very swoopy looking car at the expense of cargo bay usefulness.
There’s no word about when the car it will be based on will be announced, but strong indication that this will be the ZR-V that will slotted below the BR-V to fight Hyundai Creta, and Toyota/Daihatsu Raize/Rocky twin in South East Asia and even India. Honda should be aware of the compact SUV trend, or else they can just fire whoever is responsible on the product planning division. Honda has the WR-V, a ruggedized and SUV’d (if that’s a word) Honda Fit/Jazz being sold in India and south America since 2017, so the product planning division knows the market is there. If the SUV RS concept is going to be made available in late 2022 or even 2023, Honda will lose a significant amount of potential sales to Toyota/Daihatsu and Hyundai in Indonesia for the compact SUV category. Yet, maybe the delay means something more serious work needed to be done for the car?
The world is starting to enter transitional period to electrification in effort to curb greenhouse gas and the South East Asian region is following suit. Various tax exempts are being written to law for electric cars and other form of fuel sipping technology. Does Honda need time to rework the platform so eventually it can be fitted with hybrid or even electric motor? After all, strong indication that this car is based off the second generation BR-V, itself based from the (true) second generation of the (Brio) Amaze sedan. The Brio platform was never intended to house multiple drivetrain except for the 1.2L/1.5L (gas/diesel) engine because it’s simply built first and foremost as an economic solution to personal transportation in the targeted region. This is in stark contrast to Toyota/Daihatsu Next Generation Architecture that is built to fit traditional internal combustion engine and hybrid components. On T/DNGA, piping, tunneling, ducting and other structural components are built with hybridization in mind. Toyota/Daihatsu Raize/Rocky comes with internal combustion engine or hybrid system in Japan. When the regional government made clear about the tax exempts, Toyota/Daihatsu can just easily provide the hybrid version and stealing the spotlight from everybody.
So Honda, are you all in with the SUV RS concept? Take your time really, and better come out swinging.
Another out of nowhere news! After revealing the electric future of the brand, Honda biggest reveal so far in 2021 is not only that the Integra nameplate coming back in the United States, it will also be offered in Manual transmission.
The Acura Integra will be a heavily redesigned 11th generation Civic, starkly different than the guised up Civic of the Chinese domestic market Integra model that’s just recently announced this year as well.
The Chinese domestic market Integra is simply a slightly redesigned 11th generation Civic with revised front end and slight change on the rear end. The Acura Integra however will be a clean design with zero similarity with the Civic. First of all, the Acura Integra will be a lift back and it will adopt Acura diamond pentagon grille design with aggressive headlight.
Some have pointed out that the Acura Integra will be an upmarket Civic Type R, with it, the expectation that the car will be automatic only. Apparently from Acura official reveal of the manual option video, the Integra will bring back the glorious family feud of the 1990’s where it will go head to head with the Civic.
Astute viewer will notice that the engine note from the video is similar to the current Civic Type R, lower redline than the old K24, K20 and B18. Apparently it will be using the same turbocharged engine as the Civic Type R. There are rumors that the Integra will have some sort of hybridization, with electric motor driving the rear wheels, well, apparently it is just that, a rumor. The Integra sounds like a legit driver’s car from the teaser video, perhaps the Integra Type-S will have more surprise coming down the line… But until then, Honda is bringing back the 1990s nostalgia hard!
In a strike out of nowhere (or maybe I’ve been out of the loop), Honda just released Honda e:N electric cars video showcase on youtube, headlined by e:N P1 and e:n S1.
Honda showcases the principle and story behind the new brand. e:N stands for electric/energize and next/new, headlining Honda future cars. The name is simple as is, well, it’s just two words, e and n, it likens to VW ID or Mercedes EQ electric car lineup, so Honda e:N doesn’t fall far from the weirdness of the future.
Honda China headlined the e:N series with the e:N P1 and e:N S1, obviously taking second generation Honda HR-V platform, replacing the whole fuel tank with battery pack and replacing the engine with electric motor. It is still under prototype form running testing, there’s no immediate release date, but safe to say it will be available in China around 2022.
The showcase of all is the announcement of three e:N concepts, the SUV, the GT and and the coupe concept all in glorious animation. All three will have a mix of e:N platform showing the scalability of the system. Honda called it the e:N architecture, with three variations, the e:N architecture F and e:N architecture W. The architecture F will be a front wheel drive system while the architecture W will have two variation, the two motors all wheel drive and the one motor rear wheel drive. The architecture F is probably the most common solution for Honda e:N products, while the architecture W AWD version for huge sedans and SUV. The architecture W RWD on the other hand is interesting. Honda could make a sports car with the architecture W RWD akin to Porsche as basically the system is a facsimile of a rear engine rear wheel drive car. Perhaps architecture W RWD will be powering the e:N coupe concept.
the e:N concepts all features angular lines that is very retro futuristic looking. It might have some design cues from Tesla truck, but it is distinctively unique. Honda China claims the design comes from the Chinese team, and I have to take my hats off to them, it is a simple, and guaranteed future classics. The clean lines differs from the organic lines from competing electric car brands such as Mercedes, Tesla, Lucid and VW. If the e:N concepts translates all the lines to production, it will be a stand out among its peers. To further emphasize the distinctness of the design, the headlights resembles a stylized H on all of the concepts.
Honda didn’t divulge further info as of this writing (it’s only 2 hours after the e:N Honda youtube video went live when I write this), but I’m very liking what I see so far. Honda is quite late to the electric car game, here’s hoping Honda will bring another option in the electric car market.
For more videos and details in Chinese, go to the link below.
So that was… Strange… After all the smoke has cleared, the N7X becomes… BR-V. Why not just say it from the get got? Why the parade across the country, teasing the car to potential buyers? It feels there are few unnecessary steps in introducing the second generation BR-V.
Or is it?
Obviously the confusion about the BR-V got a code name for its second generation reveal is weird, but in hindsight I understand the idea. The first generation BR-V was never received favorably everywhere it’s introduced. The link between the BR-V and Mobilio even though only skin deep, a lot of people think that both are the same car. Both cars are structurally different, they have separate problems. For example, the BR-V is notorious for eating CV joint, while the Mobilio is not.
The problem lies in Honda experimenting in economies of scope on creating their car. the Mobilio and BR-V has different face and rear, but they both shares the same front glass, the same door and window panes, the same dashboard and the same seat structure. Even though the body is similar the BR-V has higher ceiling thus larger interior space, overall, the car looks the same. Is it wrong for Honda to do that? Obviously not, Honda needs to make money, as the alternative is market domination by Toyota group and thus monopoly when they have achieved it, and that is very bad.
The only logical thing that Honda Indonesia is doing all the charade for BR-V second generation is simply to relaunch the marque. Thinking back, registering a new name for an automotive product is difficult, and launching a campaign to familiarize the market for a new product is also difficult. The tease and code name is basically Honda Indonesia way of reintroducing BR-V to the market. In Europe and North America, renewing a marriage vow is common, it’s totally unnecessary, but it shows a commitment from both party. Some marriage vow renewal ceremony is even more festive than the original wedding party, and looks like Honda Indonesia is doing the same thing for BR-V. To let the market that Honda is serious and this time they will not repeat the same mistake.
Do remember though, Honda is not veering from the economy of scope, no no no no no no. They are still doing it, but it seems they are doing it right this time around. The N5X is coming, obviously a 2 row BR-V, which most likely be 2nd gen BR-V with its rear portion cut and different fascia (most likely cheaper headlight, different bumper) but retain everything from the overall shape, doors, and interior. Positioned exactly to fight Raize – Rocky duo.
Like in my previous post, Honda is doing it right this time around. The economy of scope experiment started with Brio, followed by Mobilio and finally BR-V. The similarity and timeline from those three cars created a correlation that all three cars are related, and although not wrong, it created story that BR-V comes from the Brio, a cheap car. This time, the N7X is the headliner, the causa prima, and every subsequent product is born from the line, a premium car.
I always teach my students about the importance of semantics and its relation to process. In our language, there’s two terms for ice tea, “teh es” (tea ice) and “es teh” (ice tea), we ask the drink with both term and it will be fine… But process wise saying the other will net different results. “teh es” is when you put tea first inside the glass and then you put the ice, making the tea thicker and less cold, especially if the tea is hot. “es teh” is when you fill the glass with ice then you put the tea, making a very cold drink but thinner tea. The same thing happened with second generation BR-V… Semantics.
Well, I hope one of my reader is an avid Japanese cartoon viewers back in the 90s, or the title will be weird.
According to GaadiWaadi.com, Honda India and Honda Indonesia will collaborate in making the next generation of the WR-V, the Jazz based SUV. Rumoured to be based off the Honda Amaze (Brio Sedan) chassis, the SUV will slot in the sub 4 meter car segment that received a favorable tax breaks than cars with longer size.
The Honda Amaze is Honda heavy hitter in India, carrying significant sales number out of all the Brio chassis (Brio, Mobilio, even BR-V). Building an SUV variant should be given as the Brio concept is Honda answer to same sausage different length platform sharing that offered high efficiency cost reduction.
My criticism for the Brio line has always been about what the car represents, cost savings, and nothing else. When the Brio and Mobilio debuted, it has borderline cheap interior, with uninspiring design and tachometer shade shroud that as useful as Donald Trump’s contribution to stopping climate change.
The collaboration between Honda India and Honda Indonesia SHOULD bear good results, since Honda is being beaten hard in Indonesia even though there’s so few automotive brands and models compared to what Honda India is facing. Honda Indonesia can learn a few thing or two from the Indian market, with the AMAZING success of the Amaze (… Get it? Get it?).
The original Amaze, still called the Brio Amaze when it was launched in 2013 is an oddball of a car, as it’s the Honda Brio hatch with an added trunk and extended wheelbase. The overall look, still retaining 3/4 look of a hatch with an added back end is just weird looking. Thanks for Honda brand cachet, the car still sells, although sellout drops constantly on yearly basis. Then in just 4 years time, one of the quickest full model change Honda ever pulled globally, Honda India revealed the second generation Amaze, dropping the Brio name and sales number skyrocketed. The car, now a properly designed sedan, looks great inside and out. The interior looks upscale enough, without all the weird textured plastic materials that unfortunately bestowed the first generation Brio/Mobilio and it’s competitively priced too.
Honda Indonesia have a similar fate with the Honda Mobilio, initially a wildly popular model in Indonesia, sales dropped to almost 1/3 today from its peak when the car was introduced. Increasing competition from Mitsubishi, Wuling, Suzuki, essentially makes the Mobilio a very bad value proposition. Honda Indonesia can learn a lot from Honda India for the next generation Mobilio, after all, MPV is still a very big market in Indonesia.
Here’s hoping the collaboration extends to the Mobilio.