Honda Hotness Is Coming Back?

2008 was a great year for Honda fans and maybe even for automotive scene in general. Just imagine this, Honda, a conservative company who swears on sensibility and quality is throwing those notions away for a V8 rear wheel luxury sedan and a V10 powered super car. The automotive scene roars with high expectations. Spy photos of the rear wheel sedan test car is everywhere and the super car already making runs on a race track. Alas, comes 2009 and demand for automotive products dwindles as most sought after cars are econoboxes. Honda new President, Takanobu Ito back then changed his tune about the new cars and tells the fans and the scene to go “enjoy yourself” (there’s a new profanity filter in effect). So everything was scrapped, and all hopes out the window.

Denied luxury: The canceled mule of the FR Luxury Sedan

Rumors from inside automotive industry said that the V8 rear wheel luxury sedan which was destined to go to Acura division was a great car one that should put Honda luxury division on par with tier 1 luxury marque. While the super car lives on as a special fielded race car on Japan’s most prestigious racing event, the Super GT and won it. So as you can read, it’s very unfortunate for Honda to cancels both of these cars altogether.

Denied performance: Reportedly, this car doesn’t even consider GT-R and LF-A as competition

But this morning, birds are chirping beautifully on my front porch, the wind blows softly and the sun rose with a hint of blue and orange altogether. While I browsed Autoblog and Temple of VTEC the next minute, I was shocked out of my pants that Takanobu Ito in a way hints a little hope of a super car comeback after Honda discontinued the NSX. Apparently, Takanobu Ito was interviewed in Japan and some reporters asked if Honda would make a road going version of the super car that won the Super GT.

Ito’s answer for the question was “I have something in mind”. Now for those who don’t know Takanobu Ito, this guy is all straight as an arrow kind of leader. He always answers question in a definite way, yes or no and that’s that. For Ito to answer “having something in mind” well, it’s still ambiguous but having something is better than nothing right?

Such a tease: “I have something in mind”

Okay, so the news came from a French auto news site, which might make some little mistranslation (from Japanese to French to English). However, according to Temple of VTEC news section;Yahoo Japan and Asahi Shimbun also confirms and clearly stated that Takanobu Ito greenlight the project once again. Asahi Shimbun which post the news in English also mentions that Ito hints at making two sports car, the affordable and high performance… *faints*…

For those who don’t know, this is actually earth shattering news. Honda currently has no true performance sports car in its lineup, well, sure there’s the Civic Type R, but it’s more of a pedestrian car with souped up engine. Honda Prelude ends its production in 2001, Honda NSX ended in 2005, Honda Integra ended in 2007 and finally Honda S2000 ended in 2009. What came from the demise of those cars? Hybrids and lots of it. Civic Hybrid, Insight 2.0, CR-Z, and Fit Hybrid, not to mention Freed Hybrid and next generation Accord with Honda next generation hybrid system.

The shift from hardcore to green for some was considered too rough as there are no transition product in between. It’s quite understandable actually, as technology to produce performance with fuel economy wasn’t available yet. The  2010 CR-Z was Honda answer to this and although the blend of performance and fuel economy is good enough, as usual,  some consumers demand more… Well, to be fair… This particular consumer is too accustomed to huge ass performance gas guzzler 2 door sports car that’s bigger than a Honda Fit. Still, the CR-Z receives acclaims and accolades in a place where sensibility is praised.

But remember folks, Honda has set its sight straight in the green line and we’re not talking about money. Ever since the green revolution in the late 00′ Honda has been making fuel sipper as priority. So when you think about Takanobu Ito statement, don’t forget to add the green juice. Honda has fielded NSX with KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System, a form of hardcore hybrid system for racing) as a test bed for SuperGT 2012 rule change that mandates smaller engine and a hybrid system. It’s unclear whether this will be applied to Honda super car but you can be sure Honda will put every single piece of technology in its super car.

Front engine – KERS NSX test car: notice the exhaust tip on the side skirt?

Whatever it is Honda… We are awaiting with arms wide open, but until this car shows up in the real world, I’m putting a question mark on the title. We’ve been burned before Ito-san, and I won’t let my heart be broken the fourth time.


Temple of VTEC: Ito san changing his tune about NSX/HSV

Yahoo Japan: NSX development to resume (Japanese)

Asahi Shimbun: Honda to develop high performance sports car

SuperGT: 2012 KERS rule

The New Honda Insight Is Hout!


The new Honda Insight is out in Japan and it’s hot, yup, witty title and witty comments ensues. Honda little baby that we saw a couple years back that took shape of a franken last generation Fit with the body of Honda Airwave now took the new corporate face of Honda. With Honda halting all of its luxury and performance models, all hopes are literally in the trunk of the new Insight… But does it have what it takes? Well, some say okay, and some say hell yeah! Read on for a paper review and witty comments. Continue reading

Somewhat Confirmed, An Expensive Honda With Rear Wheel Drive has posted what seems to be an Acura test car that features a long bonnet signifying a longitudinal engine placement… Or in lament term, the engine is front to back, a typical engine placement for a rear wheel drive cars. This clear Acura Frankenstein car is predicted by crew to be the 2010 Acura RL. More witty comments and link to pictures after the click. Continue reading

Acura TSX 2009 Unleashed! (Updated with dyno result)

acura tsx headerAs Acura most successful and most selling product, the new 2009 TSX has a lot of ground to cover. Acura didn’t mess with success and designs the new TSX with similar cues as the out going generation. To satisfy the demands of its customers, Acura made the new TSX bigger and with a revised engine, producing slightly lower horsepower but more improved torque. More pictures and witty comments after the click. Continue reading

New Honda Car Sweats Luxury According To Edmunds

So the buzz is out! Well, at least according to a nameless source from, Honda will finally build a top of the line over the top luxury full size sedan featuring all of Honda’s latest technology and the first ever production V8. Under Honda’s own luxury brand, Acura, the car will carry on the RL moniker, which in turn was Honda Legend. Continue reading

Let’s Talk About The New Fit Engine

As I have noted previously on the new Fit engine, a recent review from has proved that I am dead wrong about the speculation of the new engine used in the new Fit. I mentioned about the Fit’s engine uses dual sequential ignition system coupled with VTEC cam changing mechanism… As it is reviewed… Apparently the new Fit engine make do with single ignition system.

My assumption was stemmed from the new Fit 1.3L engine torque curve which maxed out at 2800 rpm (the same as the outgoing 1.3L i-DSI engine), and flat lined with tendency to dip. However at 3200 rpm the torque shoots up again until it reaches 5100 rpm, most likely attributed to the change of hotter cam profile, a proof of VTEC mechanism applied. However, as I have noted, the engine uses a single ignition system… And I can only say… WHAT THE @#)(*&^%$! HONDA!! Why can’t you use this system since day 1??!! I’m upset because as an i-DSI Fit owner, the 1.3L I-VTEC is like a dream engine, high torque at low rpm but can spins high and produce more power. The outgoing 1.3L i-DSI engine only produces 86hp, 14hp less than the new engine with the same fuel consumption.

The new 1.3L I-VTEC achieves power and frugality similar to the outgoing engine because it employs valve deactivation system… I’ll quit the technical mumbo jumbo, and go straight to the point. When the 1.3L engine is cruising it runs on 12 valve, while running hot (accelerating), the full 16 valve goes into action. Just what VTEC was intended, frugal low speed and cruise speed, while power can be achieved at wide open throttle condition

The new 1.5L I-VTEC produces a good 120ps, the highest naturally aspirated production 1.5L power output on any car in Japan. This number I assumed came from a “chipped” 110ps old VTEC engine… And again I am dead wrong. The old 1.5L VTEC uses valve deactivation system that is now used on the new 1.3L I-VTEC. Replacing that system is a full 16 valve that unlike found on the 1.3L version is that the 1.5L changes the valve timing and it also employs a cam changing system. While the 1.3L valve deactivation system is intended for low speed/cruising speed as the engine allow it, the 1.5L is designed for all out performance. Because the 1.5L only changes the valve timing, it is faster at generating torque across the rpm range, no flat line or dip in the torque curve like the 1.3L engine because it takes a bit time in activating the valve.

I really don’t know what I’m talking about here except for the 1.3L I-VTEC engine… After all, aside from marketing and general Honda stuff, I’m clueless… (Well, I have some more qualification but I don’t want to brag). More clear information can be read on website provided below.

Temple Of VTEC ASIA Fit Engine Overview

Honda Love Affair With Turbo And VTEC Heir

Anybody who likes Honda, can spell VTEC right and knows what VTEC stands for, knows that Honda is faithful for the longest time to naturally aspirated engine. Every known popular Honda cars are naturally aspirated, it can even be said that nowadays Honda is the purveyor and champion of naturally aspirated car engine maker. Honda S2000 F20 engine is considered to be the best 2.0L engine available in the world, producing 250ps (246hp) on the high spec Japanese Domestic Market. Honda newest K24 displacing 2.4L in America even produce 190 horsepower in the 8th generation Accord, using regular gas, the most powerful engine of its class. Moreover, Honda Fit RS produces 120ps from a 1.5L, and it is just a simple SOHC engine, wonder what number it can churn if the car uses DOHC type engine.

All Honda venerable Type R cars even have a trademark of using only naturally aspirated engine, from Integra, to Civic, to Accord Euro, and the everlasting NSX. None has ever needed a force induction to make the car go fast around the tracks. Sure sure people will mock Type R cars for having no torque and pit it with a forced induction engine cars and the Type Rs will go bye bye. But what naturally aspirated engine cars with displacement below 2 Liters can go toe to toe with the Type Rs? Answer… Only a few and most often than not they uses bigger displacement engine to win (hints: Nissan and BMW).

With all of this naturally aspirated engine affection, do you know that in the 80s Honda had a brief affair with turbo?

After the advent of CVCC engine that put Honda in the long road to fame, Soichiro Honda’s son Hirotoshi Honda decided that Honda needs a proper “enthusiast” car, one that can go fast but still showcase the spirit of Honda. Then, he took the unjustified tame looking Honda City and installed a turbo in it. So who is this snobby son of Soichiro who can decide what Honda needs? Well, he is after all the founder of Mugen, the-not-so-affiliated-but-actually-is Honda tuning division.

So after the turbo installation, Hirotoshi named the City appropriately as City Turbo, and the car was an instant classic. The engine now produce 100ps up from the measly 70ps, it seems small but consider this… The City Turbo only weighs around 700 Kilogram!! That gives it a power to weight ratio as good as today’s Civic Type R, and that car is fast. When Honda facelift the car, giving it the designation of City Turbo II, the power was upped a little to 110ps. However, according to many various resources, the boost pressure for the engine is limited to preserve engine life, and the car can be boosted easy to more than 150ps (I’m guessing, but being conservative). That’s just insane!

city turbo

The small car that could

Then, there is the thing about 1989 Honda Legend, the first ever 2L V6 with a variable geometry turbo. This variable geometry turbo that Honda created was aptly named the Wing Turbo as it uses some kind of a winglet inside a turbo that variably change the boost pressure depending on the engine load. This beats out conventional turbo concept because it can change boost on demand depending on the engine load, unlike the static boost single turbo charger and the “low-high” characteristic of twin turbo chargers. However, even though the engine was ground breaking, the price reportedly was “too much” for a car of that class back then. Furthermore, I personally suspect that the effect of force induction that is detrimental to the engine was one of the main cause Honda ditch turbo engine.

The Legend

A legend in its time

When VTEC was integrated into Honda product lineup starting from Integra back in 1990, suddenly turbo development was put into stasis, and nobody ever talk about it anymore. Like turbo, VTEC allows for a surge of extra power when the engine is forced to its limit however unlike turbo, VTEC allows daily driving to be efficient. This is because Honda introduce a cam profile changing system that allows “soft” cam to be used for slow driving and “hot” cam to be used for full throttle condition. Furthermore, unlike turbo, the engine is not forced to operate beyond its limit, giving that longevity trait of naturally aspirated engine compared to force induction engine. Now, Honda has this miracle engine that can be driven efficiently but can produce power at high RPMs and have a long life time. It’s a no brainer, turbo is dead! Until recently…

When Acura (Honda lux division) RDX, Acura answer to BMW X3 was launched, enthusiast and media gasps with what type of engine the car used. It is a factory spec turbo, a first for Honda after nearly 20 years! The K23 as it is called produces 240hp and 260 lbs-ft, the torquiest engine Honda ever made. As it code sign gives away, it is a K series engine, the engine that can be found anywhere in the Honda product line, ranging from Accord, Odyssey (JDM), Accord Euro, Civic, Civic Euro, Edix, Element, and others. However Honda engineers strengthened the engine block and added the turbo unit, a variable geometry turbo… The past has return, with a vengeance!

Acura RDX

Acura RDX: Variable geometry turbo in action

With this in mind, speculations about another engine used by Acura TSX replacement (Honda Accord Euro outside US), is a turbo engine producing at least 260hp are running rampant throughout the web. With Honda proprietary torque vectoring all wheel drive system (Super Handling All Wheel Drive, SH-AWD for short) will be adopted by every Acura cars, they need high power high torque engine, and what could give that kind of power except for turbo or large displacement engine? There is something else though, and it is called the A-VTEC.

In the late 80’s Honda ditch turbo for the favor of VTEC. From the looks of it, turbo seems to be a short answer to the long awaited completion of VTEC mechanism. Now does history is repeating itself? Honda new variable geometry turbo engine is faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr from complete. It doesn’t feature direct injection like many advanced engine featured in the Lexus (expensive Toyota) line. Therefore its performance can still be increased with the addition of this simple mechanism. However, 20 years and Honda only took an existing engine, lower its compression, strengthen its structural integrity and adding turbo… Skipping the important direct injection technology? I smell something fishy. I smell Honda is going to repeat history again, introducing stop gap turbo technology before the real “true” advanced engine to be introduced.

A-VTEC or Advanced Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control, is a more advanced version of I-VTEC (Intelligent VTEC), which itself is a more advanced version of VTEC. I won’t try to be a smart guy, you can check how VTEC works by clicking the links I provides at the end of the article.

Anywho, that’s that for now. Will Honda introduce direct injection or not is up to them, but one thing for sure, the existing K23 turbo engine is far from complete. Will Honda repeat history and introduce next generation of their venerable VTEC, or will they soldier on with turbo is still up in the air.

Honda A-VTEC dissected

Honda Wing Turbo

Honda City Turbo Forum

How VTEC works

Honda Very Own VTEC Documentation

Pictures are taken from,, wikipedia.

Suzuki, The Champion Of Rational Thinkers

Let’s make things straight here first okay… I love Honda, my passion is Honda, I dream of working for Honda, but I couldn’t help to fall to the tease of Suzuki and their offerings lately, especially the four wheel vehicles they are selling.

Growing up with Honda really makes it stick in my head for sooooooo many years, even though it does not erode until now, the thought of owning cars other than Honda just recently grew up on me. Suzuki never had a brand recognition as strong as Honda or Toyota here in Indonesia. What Suzuki is well known for here is the Suzuki Carry that is being used as a public transportation around “puncak” area. The Carry are well known because the fact that it is a 1 (one) liter/1000cc engine but carries a maximum of 7 passengers with relative ease on mountainous area (puncak means mountain in english). The reliability and the die hardness of the car puts Suzuki quite high in brand recognition… But alas, as a commuter/business vehicle.

On the other side of the spectrum, on its passenger cars, Suzuki is not known for reliability or advance technology, unlike Toyota with its very well known reliability and Honda’s advance VTEC frugality. Subjectivity aside, the last generation small sedan from Suzuki (Baleno Next-G) even got beaten for its design and technological aspect by Toyota Vios and Honda City. All seemed pretty clear where Suzuki was heading, but suddenly Suzuki came up with a new slogan and Swift, the first of a slew changes that will define Suzuki in the near future.

Suzuki now has a new slogan, “Way of Life”, and with it came a complete revolution of how things are made by Suzuki. The Swift was Suzuki first try on completely change its approach on designing a car. Gone are the pudgy looks that haunts Suzuki products, in are the European go-kart look of a car, hinting at everybody who are looking it that a car can be attractive yet convey a sense of passion along the way. The Swift is by no means utilitarian like Honda Fit/Jazz, it has small boot at the back, and the second row seats are cramped for anybody taller than 160cm, but from the outside… It’s whole lot different story. While Honda design the Fit to look cute deliberately, Suzuki designs the Swift to look macho and very boy racer-ish. Then there is the new X-factor, or rather called the SX-4, another unique and category buster car from Suzuki. While the SX-4 took the same Swift chassis and making it a bit longer and giving second row seating a better leg room, it also bust the segment of city car by introducing crossover concept, combining SUV stance and city car altogether. The result? A strange city car that is smaller than the medium class cars but have stance like SUV… This actually makes the car looks like a half size MPV… Or something, it bust the segment and defines a new one anyway.

So what makes me wanting a Suzuki after all this year being a Honda fan boy? Well, the first thing is now I am more of a rational guy. The Suzuki SX-4 is priced at around Rp 165 Million (around US$16500), it has on board computer to calculate fuel consumption, steer mounted audio control, ABS+EBD, and a dual airbag. Its smaller brethren, the Swift came in at Rp 145 Million (around US$14500) with the same stuff available on the SX-4. Now let’s take an example of Honda Fit/Jazz; For a similarly equipped car, the Fit/Jazz came in at Rp 170 Million (around US$17000) minus on board computer to calculate fuel consumption and steer mounted audio control.

If I wanted to replace my Jazz, I might go for the Swift because I don’t need the extra boot space anyway and I don’t have a lot to spend… I think the latter is the appropriate reason. Yes Honda or Toyota products have better resale value, but down the line,the difference only hovers around 5-10% of 5 years depreciation, and by that time I will have enough money to upgrade to something more roomy (might be another Honda though).

For now, Suzuki trump card is just that, value for money. How they achieve that is just a no brainer… Everything that is inside the Swift and SX-4 is basically the same technology available since 5 years ago on the original Aerio/Aerio Sedan/Baleno. The M15A engine which features a cam changing VVT mechanism is just refined and the automatic transmission is still the same 4matic technology featured on the cars I mention earlier. Using the same technology is not incapability of Suzuki to offer a new one, but if you can refine an existing technology, making it more bulletproof, why use something new that is unproven? Most of all, by using tried and true technology, Suzuki does not have to incur investment cost to bottomline price of its products. This rational thinking of Suzuki really goes with my current disposition towards the world after all.

Anywho… If I do replace my car with a Suzuki, rest assured, you will know me for I will definitely place “do you have a Honda” sticker at the rear glass. Honda will always stay, for the better or for worse… Even if it’s just a sticker. Until I have enough money, the Power of Dreams will be my driving force, to be united again with the one (brand) I desire most. Why is there tears coming down from my eyes… Shoot… Sometimes I get sentimental too fast, but letting go of a dream is quite hard… I’ve always wanted a used 04′ Civic or even an 01′ CR-V, heck! A Honda City would be fine, but I have my priorities now, and my personal dreams are met with conditional real world demands.