Honda new sub compact SUV makes world debut

SUV RS concept

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.

Source:

World Premiere at GIIAS 2021, Honda SUV :: Honda Indonesia (honda-indonesia.com)

Fifth Generation Acura Integra Will Have Manual Transmission

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.

This news is such a huge revelation because the US automotive market leans heavily on automatic transmission. According to carmax.com, a car retailer giant in the United States, they only sells 2.4% of cars with manual transmission in 2020, down from around 3% in 2019.

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.

Integra official teaser image
Integra official teaser image

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!

Honda e:N previews the future of Honda electric cars

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.

e:N SUV, GT, Coupe concepts

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 e:N P1

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.

Honda China Honda EN landing page

Honda EN Youtube video showcase

Honda F1 Boss got suddenly replaced

Whatttt… After a successful Barcelona F1 testing (well, McLaren-Honda manages a 35 lap, far better than only 6 the same day 1 year ago), Honda today announced a shocking development about the replacement of Honda F1 technical boss, Yasuhisa Arai effective March 1st.

Replacing Arai-san would be Yusuke Hasegawa, currently (taking deep breath to say it in one sentence) Honda Managing Officer and Director, Honda R&D Co., Ltd. Automobile R&D Center, Chief Operating Office, Advanced Research Division.

Hasegawa-san is not a stranger and if you think this guy is just another R&D guy, you are more than wrong, like wrong wrong. He’s been in many field of Honda research field, from applied technology, component, and most importantly, Asimo and hybrid development. He’s the one responsible for Honda groundbreaking Earth Dreams i-DCD hybrid system that put Honda (finally) at even ground with Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive system. Subjectively, the i-DCD dual clutch transmission offers more engagement and feel unlike Toyota CVT transmission.

Though some would fuss about the impending doom McLaren-Honda is going to face yet again in the recent personnel change, I see the positive side of this. I emphasize Hasegawa-san on Asimo development, why? Because Asimo is a complex thing, and you know what else is complex? F1 power unit…. No, not engine. Formula 1 new power unit is the reason Honda is back, because it offers a challenge that is currently inline with Honda future planning, to provide hybrid solution to the masses.

It looks like Hasegawa-san position as F1 technical boss is a match made in heaven. However the funny thing is, some argue that F1 development never translates to production car development… Looking back, Honda VTEC was never derived from F1 technology, because it is forbidden for F1 cars then and and now to have variable cam. Now with Hasegawa-san involvement, it seems like F1 car will get a taste of consumer grade development experience.

Godspeed Hasegawa-san, now bring back Honda legendary engineering back into that power unit.

Source:

Honda to get new F1 chief

Yuusuke Hasegawa profile on development of earth dreams hybrid