Saturday Road Test – 2016 Honda Accord Sport

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2016 Honda Accord Sport

Still an MVP

By Ron Amadon

DAMASCUS, MD. – When you are good, really good, your record speaks for itself.

Such is the case for the nation’s third best selling sedan, the Honda Accord. A total of 29 times, including 2016, it has been on Car & Driver’s 10 Best Cars List. Edmunds.com gave it an “A” rating, and road testers across the country continue to say that it’s a winner. I agree!

A refresh for the New Year brings a revised suspension, a more rigid body, and upsized wheels and tires.

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This weekend’s test car was a Sport model, the second in the four trim Honda line up. It adds four more horsepower over the base model to 189 with 182 lb-ft of torque thanks to a less restrictive exhaust that also helped produce a sweet, sweet sound when the 6,800 rpm redline is kissed. Zero to 60 in less than eight seconds, by the way, aided by one of the better CVT’s on the market.

Sport buyers also get 19” x 8” inch slick looking alloy wheels, rear deck spoiler, LED daytime running lights, fog lights, and fast acting paddle shifts.

Those seeking more power can opt for the 3.5-liter, 278 horsepower six with 252 lb-ft of torque. The six is a smooth and wonderful power plant, but the four produces enough acceleration to meet most needs.

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Inside, Sport owners will find a more elegant interior than one might expect in a sub $30K vehicle. New for 2016 is glossy piano black interior trim and carbon fiber style dashboard trim.

The “Sport Combination” cloth seats were comfortable with drivers getting an eight-way power adjustable seat with two-way lumbar adjustments and a leather wrapped steering wheel. Two full grown adults will find more than adequate space in the 60/40 folding rear seat.

Trunk volume comes to 15.8 cubic feet, or about what one would expect in a midsize sedan.

Sound wise the base AM/FM/CD/MP3 Audio System produced some good notes, but I still miss an old fashioned knob for volume control. The hard to grasp sliding control is at least somewhat offset by a volume control on the steering wheel. Standard was Bluetooth, a USB port, Pandora interface, and SMS messaging functionality. More upscale models get Honda’s first-ever application of available Apple Car Play and Android Auto.

The ride was a tad on the stiff side, but redemption came with better than expected handling. The Accord now sports high performance dampers, and a retuned electric power steering system plus a lighter weight aluminum hood replacing the steel cover used last year.

On the safety front, the test Accord came with “Honda Sensing” that brought forth Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist System, and Adaptive Cruise Control. Equipped with that package, the Accord received a Top Safety Pick + rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

And let’s hear it for Honda for making the rear view camera standard on all models. Missing from the test car was the LaneWatch blind spot system that gives drivers a view of what they can’t see on the right once the turn signal is engaged. It is standard on EX models and above.

Even with gas getting ever cheaper, you probably want to know about economy. Mine came to 26.1 mpg during a week’s test that included mostly small town and interstate driving. The EPA rates the Sport at 26 city, 35 highway for a combined 30 mpg.

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Now here is the best part, and here is something that I can’t always say about a test car. That big highlight is the price!

With delivery, the MSRP was $26,785. These days a well-built, nicely trimmed, high quality and long lasting car for under $30K is a rarity.

Given her Accord experience, Mrs. Auto Evaluator will tell one and all that at even at 100,000 miles the car is barely broken in.

FYI, a base LX model with a 6-speed stick can be had for $22,105 starting price. The top-of-the-line Touring model with the V6 starts at $34,580.

 

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Auto News for Jan. 22 – Blizzard Coming!

A growing awareness of safety defects and increased government enforcement led to a record number of vehicle recalls last year of more than 51 million, according to transportation experts. Yet, every year, 25 percent of recalled vehicles are left unrepaired. So the National Highway Safety Administration is launching a program to encourage more owners to bring their vehicles to dealers for the required repairs. “The campaign makes a simple point: Taking action on a safety recall keeps you and the people you love safe,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind.

Readers please note: The greater Washington, D.C. area is about to be hit with a possibly record setting blizzard that could leave behind 30 inches of a white stuff topped off by rather large snow drifts. This leaves open the question of whether connectivity and even electric power will be available here at the home office. So the Saturday Road Test feature will be filed later today, and the Auto News feature may be delayed next week depending on conditions. Sure wish I had made a bid on an old Army deuce and a half that I saw for sale last summer!

General Motors global sales totaled 9.8 million vehicles last year, the company’s third consecutive year of record sales. North American deliveries were up six percent while sales in China came to a record 3.6 million vehicles.

With gas prices nationwide now under $2 a gallon, comes word that Toyota Prius sales fell nearly 11 percent last year. Sales of the Ford C-Max were also lower as people shun hybrids.

Ford announced it will put automatic stop-start technology on thousands of its F-150 trucks to increase their gas mileage. Starting in 2017, it will be standard equipment on trucks with the turbocharged EcoBoost engines.

Want to wow ‘em around the coffee pot at work this morning? Tell them about a new study that concluded that the global automotive rubber hose market will grow 4.2 percent by the year 2020.

 

Auto News for Jan. 21 – Uber for Dinner?

Uber will soon make sure that you have a nice dinner even when the cupboard is bare. In ten cities, it will offer a meal delivery service in the near future via a new UberEats app. The full menus of dozens of restaurants will be offered in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Washington, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Seattle, Dallas, and Austin.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into complaints that doors do not latch properly on 400,000 Ford Focus models. Involved are model years 2012 and 2013. The Detroit News said there have been reports of the doors opening while the cars were in motion. NHTSA could seek a recall.

Audi RS10

Audi announced that its fastest and most powerful production model, the R8 V10, will carrying an MSRP of $162,900 with the R8 V10 plus selling for $189,900. The plus model’s V10 generates 610 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque and can reach a top speed of 2015 mph on the track with a zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds. That new model sports racing shell seats, carbon ceramic brakes, carbon fiber rear diffuser, front lip spoiler, exterior mirror housings and fixed rear wing spoiler. The base, if one can call it that, has a V10 with 540 horsepower, 398 lb-ft of torque and a 0-60 in 3.5 seconds. Both offer a seven speed dual-clutch transmission, and of course, all wheel drive.

 

Auto News for Jan. 20 – New Mini Coming

McLaren is opening four new dealerships in the U.S. expanding its network to 22 outlets. The new retailers are in Bergen County, N.J., Boston, Houston and Palm Beach, FL.

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Just as the greater Washington, D.C. area and on up the East Coast braces for what could be a major snowstorm, comes word from Mini about a new all-wheel drive Clubman. The distribution of torque between the front and rear wheels can be achieved “instantly” optimizing “traction and driving stability in all weather and road conditions, but also enhances agility during acceleration and when taking bends at speed,” Mini said. Both three cylinder and four cylinder engines will be offered with the 189 horsepower four mated to either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic as an option. The Clubman ALL4 will go on sale in April.

Leno

Jay Leno will auction off his one of a kind 2000 Harley-Davidson F-150 pickup at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Arizona on Jan. 29. The proceeds will benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The truck is the only one that features the SVT Lightning powertrain, with a 5.4-liter Triton V8 cranking out about 360 horsepower and a single-inlet dual-outlet exhaust “for a more robust sound.”

 

Auto News for Jan. 19

Rant Day!

Popped open the hatch and guess what was missing? The spare tire. All that was there was a Tire Repair Kit that its maker wants us to believe will get us to a garage that can fix the flat. That is slim consolation if you are in the middle of the Arizona desert. (Perhaps that is how they populate the area.) That got me to thinking about features on cars that we once took for granted, but now have gone away.

Like a manually adjustable inside rear view mirror. Yes, they are still available on base models, but the automatic mirrors dominate more upscale wheels. The problem is that the manually adjustable mirrors actually do the job of reducing the glare from the vehicle following you and many of the automatic ones do not.

And let’s mount a campaign for the return of knobs. Those wonderful inventions that you used to turn on the radio, adjust the volume, and select a station. In too many cars, you are required to do all this on a touch screen with tiny icons – not a simple task when you are driving along in fast moving interstate traffic.

For sure, there are many innovations such as the rear view, cross traffic cameras and alerts, blind spot detection, traction control, and stability control that are more than worthwhile. And cars are safer now than ever before, it should be noted.

But … recently drove a Mazda with one of the most, if not the most, annoying features in my more than a decade of testing cars. This synthetic female voice kept reminding me that a red light camera was present at an upcoming intersection. That a speed camera was ahead, so “reduce your speed.” Not just one warning, but mother-in-law like repetition until I was ready to scream. ARRRGH!!!!

The owner’s manual hints that this absolutely infuriating feature can be turned off, but who would ever think back at HQ or at Garmin, that someone would actually want to be hounded to death while driving?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Auto News for Jan. 18

What is it like to go all out with Lamborghini’s fastest car? See for yourself. If you love performance cars you must watch Henry Catchpole of EVO magazine drive the Aventador on the Isle of Man.

http://www.evo.co.uk/lamborghini/aventador-sv

I could not help but think: “And then the biggest cow in the world…”

You have seen numerous mentions here about gas selling for less than two dollars a gallon, but how about under a dollar a gallon?  It has happened at several stations in Houghton Lake, Michigan where a senior petroleum analyst has reported seeing prices as low as 47 cents a gallon on Sunday. The report said this is some kind of price war among several stations, and the lines are long to take advantage of the low, low prices before they go up again.

Chevy has reportedly cut the price on select 2015 Silverado pickups by up to $9,750 to clear out inventories for the 2016 models that are on the way. The biggest discount comes in the 1500 Crew Cab All Star 4WD model. As is the case in all of these matters, certain restrictions apply.

 

Mini claims the new John Cooper Works model features the most power engine ever installed in one of its convertibles. It is a 2.0-liter four with “TwinPower Turbo Technology” that generates max output of 228 horsepower with 236 lb-ft of torque and a 0-60 run of 6.3 seconds with the automatic and a tenth of a second longer with the manual transmission. Just in time for winter, the convertible will go on sale next month here in the states carrying a starting price of $35,600.

 

 

 

Saturday Special – My Detroit Auto Show Picks

The all-new 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCrew and SuperCab redefine high-performance off-roading in the toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 Raptor ever. F-150 Raptor goes on sale this fall.

Ford Raptor… With the DNA of a Baja race truck, the new SuperCrew model will haul more people, is 500 pounds lighter and gets a 3.5 liter engine & 10 speed tranny, all of which means you can get lost deeper into the desert.

Just as the all-new TITAN XD with its Cummins® 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel engine has bulked up the standards for customers shopping the light-duty pickup class, the TITAN Warrior Concept was created to take the production version to the extreme. The TITAN Warrior Concept builds on the recent Project Titan, a crowd-sourced customization of an original-generation Titan that sent two U.S. military veterans representing Wounded Warrior Project® on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in Alaska. The new concept truck also pays homage to Nissan’s heritage of off-road racing and adventuring, which goes back to the days of Baja “Hardbody” competition pickups and Paris-Dakar Rally treks.

Nissan Titan Warrior Concept … Nissan got mean with the front end design, and then popped in a Cummins 5.0 V8 diesel for tons of torque & 37 inch tall off-road tires. Apropos to the name, the paint is called “Thunder.”

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Lexus LC500… It “signals the dawn of a new era” design wise, Lexus said. A total of 467 horsepower from the 5.0-liter V8 with 389-lb ft of torque with a 10 speed transmission this should be an absolute blast to drive. It certainly meets Ako Toyoda’s challenge to his company to produce less boring cars and when the #1 guy speaks…

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Porsche 911 Turbo S … Think 580 hp and 523 lb-ft of torque from a company that really knows what to do with those numbers. Not to forget the 7,200 redline. All very breathtaking and how I would love to have a day on the Autobahn with one! Wouldn’t you?

Telluride

Kia Telluride … “Purely conceptual”, said Kia about this handsome full-size luxury SUV that looks market ready. It would be positioned above the Sorento with three row seven passenger seating. If Hyundai is moving upscale with Genesis, why not Kia with Telluride?

The new Volvo XC90 T6, exterior

Volvo XC90 .. The North American Truck/SUV of the Year award winner marks Volvo’s strong comeback in the U.S. market as it continues to rack up award after award. On an all-new platform, with new powertrain and semi-autonomous driving technologies, and oh, did I mention safety (!!!), Volvo’s seven passenger top of the line model deserves all the attention.