Honda To Build Two High-Tech Hybrid Systems, More Fuel-Efficient Standard Engines

Honda 2.4-liter four-cylinder
Honda’s powertrain lineup is starting to look stale tech-wise compared to the competition. Despite the fuel-economy increases, the recently redesigned Honda Civic and CR-V essentially have carryover technology underneath their hoods. Under Honda’s just-announced three-year powertrain plan, that landscape is about to change … quickly.

In real-world testing, the Civic has outperformed 40 mpg cars from Ford and Hyundai. Honda’s updates will help reposition it as the most fuel-efficient automaker, overtaking Hyundai, according to the carmaker’s plans.

By Colin Bird | December 1, 2011 | Comments (12)

Recall Alert: 833,000 Honda and Acura Vehicles

2003 Acura 3.2 CLHonda is expanding an earlier recall for a faulty airbag inflator that could deploy with too much pressure, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is a serious defect that has resulted in one fatality since the recall was announced in 2008; it was expanded in July 2009 and again in February 2010.

The fatality prompted the company to investigate more models, and today Honda added some 2001-03 Honda and Acura models that need to be checked.

Although the newly added models weren’t originally equipped with the defective airbag sensor, some of the vehicles may have inadvertently received it during collision repairs or other vehicle service repairs.

Recalled models now include the 2001 and 2002 Honda Accord and Civic; 2002 Honda Odyssey; 2002 and 2003 Honda CR-V; selected 2002 and 2003 Acura 3.2 TL; and 2003 Acura 3.2 CL vehicles. This raises the total number of recalled vehicles to about 833,000.

Honda will notify owners later this month. Owners can bring their vehicles to dealers for repairs as soon as they receive the letter. Dealers will replace the airbag inflator for free. Owners may contact Honda at 800-999-1009, or Acura at 800-382-2238, or NHTSA’s vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236. Honda also has a recall website for owners and so does Acura.

By Colin Bird | May 3, 2011 | Comments (0)

Hybrids, Luxury Cars Top Search for April

2012 Infiniti M

Fuel-efficient cars and some luxury models topped our 15 biggest gainers in search traffic for April. After analyzing the last 30 days of search data, the recently launched Infiniti M35h, Fiat 500, Ford Focus and the Lexus CT 200h saw significant gains on our site.

Increased search demand for more fuel-efficient options lead to a surge in compact and hybrid car traffic on when gas surpassed the $4 a gallon mark for the first time in 2008. As we near $4 a gallon once again, it looks like the same trend is shaping up this time around; the only difference is this time more automakers are prepared with fuel-efficient options, including luxury players.

By Colin Bird | April 19, 2011 | Comments (0)

2012 Acura TL Priced at $35,605, On Sale Next Week

2012 Acura TLThe refreshed 2012 Acura TL goes on sale March 18 with an entry-level price of $35,605, excluding $860 for destination. That’s $300 more than last year’s model, but it includes extensive improvements.

For 2012, Acura addressed the controversial looks of the TL by revising the front end – new headlights, a revised grille and a new front bumper. The rear also gets some minor updates. Inside, there’s a new gauge cluster and new surface finishes. The cabin should also be quieter; Acura says it beefed up the weatherstripping to reduce outside noise.

The standard Bluetooth system also gets some upgrades, including dial-by-number, and the USB port provides a faster connection.

The 2012 TL gets better mileage — up 3 mpg on the highway, to 29 mpg — thanks to a new six-speed automatic transmission. That transmission also is now standard on the all-wheel-drive performance trim, the TL SH-AWD, along with the larger 3.7-liter V-6 making 305 horsepower. That combination will cost about $3,500 more than the base front-wheel-drive trim. You can still get a six-speed manual transmission on the SH-AWD for the same price as the automatic transmission model with the Technology Package ($42,585).

For 2012, there’s a new package for either drivetrain, called the Advance Package. It includes ventilated cooled seats and a blind spot monitoring system; both are new features for the TL. The package also comes with 18- or 19-inch (AWD) cast-aluminum wheels. The package starts at $41,535 for front-wheel drive-models.

Check out detail pricing information below, along with comparisons to last year’s pricing.

By Colin Bird | March 9, 2011 | Comments (3)

2012 Acura TL Video

The Acura TL used to be the brand’s best-selling vehicle (emphasis on the past tense). While the 2009 redesign was a fine vehicle overall, its bold styling offended enough people to hurt the car’s popularity. For 2012, Acura has addressed those concerns with some carefully orchestrated cosmetic surgery. It’s surprising what a little rhinoplasty and a brow and rear-end lift have done to the 2012 Acura TL. The car is definitely easier on the eyes. Match that with a more fuel-efficient powertrain and some interior modifications and all of sudden there’s the potential for real success, according to senior editor Joe Wiesenfelder.
By Colin Bird | February 11, 2011 | Comments (1)

2011 Chicago Auto Show: Winners & Losers

As auto shows in Chicago go, 2011 brought a decent crop of announcements. Fast cars have been a pariah in recent years, so the gearheads in us like that they’re back — especially among mainstream nameplates. Editors Kelsey Mays, Mike Hanley, David Thomas and Joe Wiesenfelder weigh in on this week’s Windy City debuts.
2012 Acura TL
Kelsey Mays: Winner
The TL’s toned-down grille suits the car better, and I can abide (barely) by the lower-bumper openings, which mirror those on the ZDX crossover-thing. With a rear bumper that doesn’t protrude to quite such a hard point in the middle, the rear is a certain improvement. Last year’s TL “really sagged down” in back, an Acura spokesman said. I agree. Add to that the car’s gas mileage improvements — which are considerable with its base V-6 — and the TL rides high.

Mike Hanley: Winner
Give Acura credit for recognizing a problem with the design of the TL and doing something about it. The sedan's new face has removed the controversial elements of the car but in the process created one without much of a design identity. It's a clean look, but not particularly memorable. Still, I'm betting TL sales will increase.

By David Thomas | February 11, 2011 | Comments (22)

2012 Acura TL at 2011 Chicago Auto Show


  • Competes with: Lexus ES, Infiniti G37, Audi A4
  • Looks like: Less beak, more Ford Taurus
  • Drivetrain: 3.5-liter and 3.7-liter V-6 engines, six-speed automatic or manual transmission, front- or all-wheel drive
  • Hits dealerships: Spring 2011

It’s no secret that folks didn’t like the Acura TL’s beak-like grille when the sedan was redesigned for 2009. For 2012, that beak gets filed down, and overall the front end looks stubbier, thanks to a shorter front overhang. The car loses 1.5 inches in length overall.

More 2011 Chicago Auto Show Coverage

Will the changes win back fans of the once-popular premium sedan? We’re not sure. However, there are also updates under the hood. If the looks are dialed down enough to attract more buyers, the 3.5-liter V-6 base model with front-wheel drive will certainly hit other practical points. It gets improved mileage — up 3 mpg on the highway to 29 mpg — thanks to a new six-speed automatic transmission. That transmission also is now standard on the all-wheel-drive performance trim, the TL SH-AWD, along with the larger 3.7-liter V-6 making 305 horsepower; the base model generates 280 hp. You can still get a six-speed manual transmission on the SH-AWD.

By David Thomas | February 9, 2011 | Comments (15)

2012 Acura TL Tweaks to Debut at Chicago Auto Show

Has there been a redesign that’s as polarizing as the latest Acura TL? The car went from a contemporary style that made it the brand’s best-seller to a mess of angles that’s topped by a beak, which sent buyers heading for an Acura MDX.

It seems that Acura has heard the complaints. It will debut a “refined” TL at the Chicago Auto Show’s media days on Feb. 9. In terms of performance and the interior, we expect most of the car to remain similar to the current model shown above. 

By David Thomas | January 24, 2011 | Comments (9)

Reader Review of the Week: 2010 Acura TL

Reader Review

“JP2000” from Irvine, Calif., seems to be one of the few readers who genuinely appreciate the polarizing design of the 2010 Acura TL. Up until this point, he had stacked up 15 years owning and driving German-designed cars. Before he bought the TL, JP2000 looked closely at buying the Audis, BMWs, Mercedes and Volkswagens he has grown accustomed to. Only the Volkswagen CC came close to consideration, but ultimately this reader bought the TL and has been “absolutely delighted” ever since. Continue reading to find out why. Once you’re done with that, you can write about your own review here.

By Colin Bird | September 3, 2010 | Comments (2)

Reader Review of the Week: 2010 Acura TL

Reader Review “Disappointed Acura Owner” from Washington, D.C., has a few kind words for the 2010 Acura TL, but found it lacking overall. Read the full review to find out why the TL let this owner down, and why he thinks he’ll be trading it in for something else in the near future. There are plenty of competitive vehicles in this segment, including sport wagons that have more room. After getting the lowdown on the TL, write a review of your own car here.

By Stephen Markley | March 12, 2010 | Comments (8)

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