Tag Archives: honda


GM and Honda turn the ignition on hydrogen fuel cell production at Michigan plant

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs) may become a significant part of the zero-emissions vehicle ecosystem in the near future, but for now, the tech is obscure and only available to a pocket of consumers in California. Toyota and Hyundai are the only automakers offering vehicles using the propulsion system, but General Motors and Honda have been quietly working together to develop fuel cell systems for several years, and the pair are ready to begin commercial production.

The GM-Honda joint venture is the first to yield large-scale fuel cell manufacturing, and the pair said their project created 80 jobs at the 70,000-square-foot facility in Michigan. It’s unclear where or how the automakers plan to implement fuel cell technologies, but they noted that the cells can be used across both companies in several business ventures.

Interestingly, the two companies have worked together since 2013 on the project. The collaboration yielded improvements to Honda’s FCEV, the Clarity, in 2019, but the vehicle is no longer on sale. Honda and GM said the partnership helps lower costs with greater economies of scale, and the two have come up with a range of industry firsts along the way. 

Even if the partnership doesn’t end up with a new fuel cell vehicle on the roads, the automakers could utilize hydrogen technologies to power manufacturing facilities or reduce emissions generated from logistics and shipping activities. That said, both automakers said they plan to build future FCEVs, so we’ll likely see a mix of products going forward.

While many automakers have gone all-in on EVs, this sort of partnership and the technologies behind it are likely the best path toward a zero- or lower-emissions motoring future. Toyota has taken flak for years over its stance that hybrids and FCEVs are viable alternatives to EVs, but the position is now looking quite smart, given that consumer demand for EVs is volatile, at best. 

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Sony x Honda AFEELA CES booth

CES 2024 recap: New cars, concepts, and other automotive tech at the show

CES 2024 has fallen upon Las Vegas, drawing an international audience to come and see all the latest and greatest in techy goodness and electronic nerdery. Nowadays, much of that includes cars and mobility, especially as the former evolves more into supercomputers with every passing day and as the latter becomes a growing concern in a densely populated world. Poised as the next great car show for its showcase of future tech and mobility solutions, we owe CES our attention as motorists to see just what it has to offer us, and we’re happy to report CES 2024 didn’t disappoint. In fact, we’re actually quite bummed we didn’t take it that seriously if we’re being honest!

But we made it. We covered it. We shot it on our socials and on camera. So here’s our round-up of all the innovative future rides on display at CES, including some of the pens we unfortunately missed–and I’ll say this again: they really got to put up more signs in more places. I couldn’t find squat half the time!

Sony Honda Mobility Afeela – New ADAS and specs announced

Ah, how refreshing it is to see a fancy new EV launch with relatively normal styling inside and out. The Afeela is as relatable and familiar as it is innovative and cutting-edge, and that’s why this is arguably the biggest star of CES 2024. The lovechild of Sony and Honda, the Afeela is poised to be one of the market’s hottest new EVs when it launches next year.

The Afeela isn’t totally a new thing, as it’s been circulating around headlines and internet discussions since its debut at last year’s CES. But now, the car takes the stage once again, sporting some updated tech and a fresh laundry list of specs. Boilerplate items? How about standard dual motor AWD with a 241-horsepower motor on each axle (combined output TBA)? Or what about a comprehensive ADAS system backed by lidar, radar, and cameras for added safety and better visualization of its environment in a variety of conditions?

On top of all that, go back to the styling and just look at it. The Afeela is a beauty, which is ironic, given how smooth and plain it is. But in an age where it seems companies try too hard to stand out with their design languages, it’s the Afeela’s inoffensiveness that makes it one of the more visually attractive choices.

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XPENG AeroHT eVTOL Flying Car – The mobility solution for those whose net worths are measured in billions

Riiight. Because this will solve all of our problems. But man, it sure is cool!

If anyone remembers XPENG from that one earnable car from the Forza Horizon 5 playlists, well, they also built this in 2022, and it’s been making rounds around the world ever since. Go figure. With zero attempts at subtlety, this is exactly what it looks like: a freaking flying car… literally called “Flying Car.” 

Designed and built from XPENG’s AeroHT spin-off, it’s merely another one of their efforts at normalizing flight as an optional mode of transportation. Among other offerings include the X2 and X1 eVTOLS. However, the Flying Car differs by serving a dual purpose as a semi-practical supercar for shuttling oneself from the mansion to the country club before deploying the retractable quad rotors and departing for the office in the city.

Will it be a practical mobility solution should they ever put this into mass production? Ha. Not for us, it’s not.

VinFast Wild Concept – Vietnam’s take on cyberpunk Americarna

“Get in, choom. We’re going mud-bogging. Sound nova to you?”

Okay, so no one is really going mudding in an electric mid-size pickup, but the VinFast Wild Concept certainly looks the part. Bulging body lines and squared-off edges scream macho pickup, and the large wheels with all-terrain tires carry implications that it’s ready for overlanding excursions (within its range, of course). It’s mid-size, too. This means you waste no less space on the road as a Tacoma, Ranger, or Colorado

However, this is merely a concept and a vision of what to expect from a VinFast entry, so certain things definitely did not scream production-ready. There were no visible backup cameras or parking sensors. The seats were bolstered aggressively in a way you’d usually only see at Tokyo Auto Salon. And the pillarless suicide doors, while incredibly fun to adore, seemed a bit far-fetched for a company that prides itself on affordable, accessible EVs.

Should the Wild make it to production, expect it to challenge the lower tungs of Fisker Alaska and Rivian R1T, with anywhere between 230 to 321 miles as those trucks do. Dual motor all-wheel drive ought to be standard, as will street and off-road-oriented packages. If anything, don’t be surprised if production variants just rehash powertrains from the VF8 and VF9.

The next big question is: Will the Wild rectify the VinFast’s past controversies and missteps or perpetuate them?

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Volkswagen ID.7 and Mk8 Golf GTI – ChatGPT voice commands

I’m not quite sure how to feel about this, really. On one hand, the kid in me thinks, “Wow, cool gizmos! Just like the sci-fi movies.” On the other hand, the cynical adult thinks, “Is that it? Is that really it? Alright then.” But who cares what I think because this entry will certainly enthrall legions of consumers all over the world, regardless if it serves them any practical use or not.

Partnered with Cerence, Volkswagen delivers ChatGPT-based voice controls for most of their ID electric cars, as well as the Golf, Tiguan, and Passat. That’s right. Volkswagen storms onto the scene at CES 2024 with… an AI chatbot-based voice command system for most of their future cars. Not the most groundbreaking thing at this year’s show, but whether you love or hate the idea, it’s certainly interesting enough to talk about it. 

As a traditional system does, you can use it to assist with infotainment functions and navigation, but the system can also be used to control in-car functions like the radio, climate controls, or ambient lighting. It can also be used to provide vehicle status updates, weather reports, general knowledge questions, assist with conversations, and more. Being an AI system, it could be capable of learning over time to better meet the needs of owners as their ownership tenure carries on, which one could infer from VW’s claims of its “continuously expanding abilities.”

Cool or gimmick? I’ll let you decide. But one can easily call it a fun, innovative evolution of a familiar, age-old convenience feature. 

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Kia PBV Prototypes – Mix n’ match electric vans

I can see the SEMA maniacs clamoring for one to slam on its battery pack and turn it into an art van or a parts runner for their shop. And you know what? They’d have a hell of a van to do it in. Say hello to Kia’s “Platform Beyond Vehicle” concepts and peek at what they intend to be a production line of modular, customizable urban haulers.

The idea is fairly simple, and it’s an idea hinted at in previous EV concepts from auto shows of years past. Take a skateboard EV platform and make it do many things. In Kia’s case, their idea of “many things” is having niche cargo and people movers with swappable bodies that can be changed to suit a variety of tasks, from handicap-accessible transport to taxis to moving goods for small businesses. The driver’s cab would remain mostly the same, but the space behind the driver can be interchangeable for whatever purpose. 

Kia aims to launch their Transit-sized PV5 in 2025, followed by the larger, extended-wheelbase PV7, and the diminutive PV1. The latter is unique, positioned as an autonomous grunt intended for finishing those last-mile stints to the final destination, complete with four-wheel steering and a crab-walking mode for maximum urban mobility.

Brilliant idea for Kia to possibly steal shares of the market from Rivian or whoever makes those new postal service vans, but one can only imagine the potential and practicality of a privately-owned PV5. Party van or camper, anyone?

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Hyundai’s Ease The Way plan – Revitalizing interest in hydrogen cars 

Kia packed the van. Hyundai has the plan. 

Although Hyundai had little vehicular presence outside of an Ioniq demo car here and there, they still managed to make waves for their bold and optimistic plan to revitalize interest in hydrogen power as the first half of their Ease The Way plan. The latter half focuses on software and connectivity to improve mobility, but for the sake of not making this a whole essay, we’ll focus on their hydrogen game plan. 

Key boilerplate items for the hydrogen half? Deploy the means of generating hydrogen, not only from the traditional method of electrolysis but also through recycling waste. Any waste. From sewage slop to plastics and garbage. From there, they aim to build an abundance of regional hydrogen production and distribution plants around the world, including several across the United States and with Georgia plants already under construction. Such a move would give us the much-needed infrastructure boost to adopt more clean energy for not only our cities and homes but also our vehicles, as Hyundai was also eager to tease its upcoming NEXO fuel cell car, due in 2025, and mention its XCIENT fuel cell semi-trucks.

No, this CES announcement was not related to any specific car. But it is related to a clean, green future, where commuters can potentially fuel themselves on clean energy, and gearheads can feel a little less guilty about installing high-flow cats on their two-decade-old muscle car. So, hats off to Hyundai for reinvigorating interest in something other than your traditional battery electric vehicle. 

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This gargantuan John Deere tractor thing – I got a little sidetracked

I don’t know why this was here. There was no panel or spec sheet anywhere detailing what it was or what new-fangled tech it was sporting. Apparently, John Deere was present to showcase autonomous farming equipment and remote-controlled tractors. But I didn’t know that at the time. My small ape brain sees big giant machine. My big monkey brain says climb inside of big giant machine.

To our agricultural trade workers who get to whip these suckers on a regular basis, I envy you. 

Honorable mentions we missed out on…

Honda 0 Series

Separate from the Sony Afeela collab, Honda launches their own headline-grabbing EV pucked straight from video game and sci-fi fantasies. Enter the 0 Series of EVs, wildly outlandish and alien-looking electric cars that Honda insists will enter production within the next few years. Seriously, these concepts look like they belong in Blade Runner

The Saloon flagship and the Space Hub minivan thingamajig are mere concepts, and it’s too early to hit anyone with any sort of range estimates, power figures, or powertrain details. Honda does promise superb aerodynamics, a new generation of ADAS, and great battery efficiency. We’re willing to bet a company like that could make it happen. Honda states that a production Saloon based on the concept should debut in 2026, so by then, perhaps we can expect 800V architecture and 400 miles of range as standard. Maybe. Expect the Space Hub to follow not long after.

In addition to these hot new concepts, Honda has also announced a simplified “H” logo for all EVs going forward, reminiscent of old Honda logos without the squared surround. Certainly, these cars can earn that callback to CVCCs of old if they turn out just as innovative today as that car was back then. 

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Mercedes-Benz CLA Concept

Nothing too earth-shattering here, although it is exciting to see a legacy automaker like Mercedes dive into the realm of 800V architectures. This vision of a next-generation CLA-Class rides on a rear-drive, single-motor, 800V platform with faux-Maybach styling and a proposed 466-mile range. More specifically, it’s Mercedes Modular Architecture or MMA. Should such a vehicle make it into production with the same specs, it’d handily keep up with the very best in the market and blow most rival EVs way out of the water, all with the efficiency of an 800V system. 

The CLA Concept is not all that new, having debuted in the Fall of last year, but it’s nice to see it making rounds at auto and tech shows like CES. Following the lukewarm reception to the EQ family, something like a production CLA Concept could be just what Mercedes needs to launch the brand right towards the front of the pack for dependable, high-performing, far-driving luxury EVs. Perhaps this concept serves as a test bed for future EQs, which will reportedly upgrade to 800V architectures starting in 2025.

Indy Autonomous Challenge

AV-24 CES show car
Image credit: Indy Autonomous Challenge

For Sheilah, if she was a robot.

The Indy Autonomous Challenge is exactly what it sounds like. Take Indy cars, or scaled-down clones of them in this case, and tell them to drive themselves around a track and compete to see who’s the fastest Level-4-autonomous supercomputer. It’s a program for colleges to assemble teams of young brainiacs to see who can develop the fastest robo-racer AI.
CES 2024 marks the debut of a faster race car, the AV-24, complete with radar by Continental and lidar by Luminar, the same company that demoed their lidar systems on the Polestar 3 and AMG GT Black Series from our social media. And while it currently sits as a test bed for college students’ brains, it’d be a whimsical spectacle to see OEMs get in on the fun. After all, they say competition improves the breed.

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Honda 0 series Saloon Concept

CES 2024: Seize astro-vibes with the Honda 0 Series EVs

Reinvention. This concept is almost standard for Honda. The Honda 0 Series will be a new chapter in the Honda story and a very fruitful one from our CES 2024 eyes.

Let’s start with philosophy. Honda calls the design concept for this vehicle “The Art of Resonance.” It means that future designs should align with the world and its people. It should resonate with society.

The joy of driving is a concept that Honda has never strayed away from. The Honda 0 Series will combine modern electric power with classic Honda aero and driving dynamics. The sleek profile of the Honda saloon concept combined with steer-by-wire embodies this.

Like the AFEELA electric car, the Honda 0 series will integrate the internet and AI with the philosophy of “fun to drive, fun to use, and be connected.” For example, the car will learn your favorite music and driving behavior (hopefully, without being too judgemental about the former).

The ADAS is based on Honda’s “human-centric” safety concept. This Level 2 and sometimes Level 3 system will sometimes deliver risk-prediction and preventative action.

Honda’s hybrid and electric technology development seems to culminate in the 0 Series, although it’s still too early to have any concrete power specs, range estimates, or charging rates. All we know is that the 0 Series is coming. E-axles and light high-density battery packs already exist in Honda Motorsport and consumer vehicles. More interesting is Honda’s claim that future cars will charge from 15% to 80% in 15 minutes and achieve a 10-year battery degradation of 10%.

Honda 0 Saloon

Honda 0 Series Saloon
Image Credit: Honda

Finally, we get to fawn over the spaceship-looking car. The Saloon is the flagship concept of the Honda 0 Series. It doesn’t look like any current EV on the market, and the sloping front can only help for aero and visibility. An intuitive human-machine interface adds to the driving experience. 

It will feature a motion management system and posture control. The aim is to combine Honda’s robotics development knowledge to augment your driving experience. In most cases, steer-by-wire would take away from the driving feel, but in this case, we know Honda will deliver.

Sustainable exterior and interior materials feature as well, although specifics are not known yet, 

Honda 0 Space Hub 

Honda 0 Series Space Hub
Image Credit: Honda

It’s got the new Honda logo, and it has a boxy van-shaped frame. That’s pretty much all we know now, but it will carry the same design language and philosophy as the Saloon. Similar to the Kia PBV, it will cater to the needs of ordinary citizens, connecting people and augmenting their lives.

Honda H mark Logo

As far as logos go, this one might take the cake. We love the original Honda logo, and it’s essentially the same thing. This logo will be used on all future Honda EVs and Honda 0 series models.

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Ferrari F355 Berlinetta
FeaturesHot Takes

Here are three of the most reliable and least reliable cars you can buy

Overall mechanical reliability is a crucial aspect of car ownership. Owning a vehicle that will get you from point A to point B without issue over the course of several years and thousands—scratch that, hundreds of thousands—of miles is important, and ensures a relatively stress-free and financially stable future. This isn’t a depending on who you ask scenario, either, it’s what pretty much all reasonable folks seek in their rides.

But there are those among us who are less than reasonable: They could care less about overall assumed reliability for several reasons. Maybe they enjoy the challenge of a project, it might be a second or third car that could sit in the shop for a while, or the juice may be worth the squeeze—meaning, it’s either fun enough to drive or nice enough to look at that, so they simply don’t care. It’s all about expectations.

Let’s outline three of the most reliable cars and three of the least reliable cars, and explain why each achieves its respective title. There are thousands of cars that could fit under either column, but here are six total that are worth looking into as your next faithful (or unfaithful) steed nonetheless. Some may surprise you, too, so buckle up.

Most reliable: Toyota Corolla (duh!)

Image credit: Toyota

This may be the shock of the century (kidding), but the wholesome, modest Toyota Corolla has belonged on this list for the better part of 25 years. Well, before that as well, but it’s a little tough finding clean examples made before the ninth generation debuted in 2000.

The top reason why they’re so reliable is there’s simply not much to ‘em. Sturdy, naturally aspirated Toyota four-cylinder, a conventional automatic, CVT, or manual gearbox, front-wheel drive, econobox amenities, traction control, ABS … and not much else. There have been a few higher-performance variants here and there, but even those are plenty sturdy in their own right.

Then, regular maintenance is cheap, as everything’s small for its respective measurements: common small tire sizes, modest brake dimensions, and small fluid capacities. Then, if any of this maintenance is performed DIY, these economy-level standbys are even cheaper to own. Outside of regular maintenance, there isn’t much to look out for. Just read the owner’s manual, follow the modest, factory-recommended service intervals, and enjoy a pious life of thrift.

Most reliable: E39 BMW 5 Series

Image credit: BMW

Did you think all I was going to outline was Japanese econoboxes? Think again! Life’s too short to make a list of all the usual suspects—Corolla, Civic, Accord, Camry, Mazda 3—as it’d not only be boring to write, but also perhaps not open one’s eyes to something new and different, and even make them into a connoisseur of sorts. Not that the aforementioned Japanese fare wouldn’t, I love ‘em as much as anybody. But the BMW E39 is special.

It’s a Bimmer (sidenote: not Beamer, that’s for BMW motorcycles) chassis that’s widely loved for its looks, interior amenities, ride quality, torquey inline-six engine, and fun-to-drive qualities. It’s also firmly cemented in the era of German cars that were better screwed together, had fewer squeaks and rattles, as well as an overall solid feeling in the way it rolled down the road. Fun fact: Its brilliance is also considered to be a bit of a measuring stick.

But there are still some things to look out for. Since it’s a BMW, oil and power steering leaks are a thing and could run up a shop repair bill, or be a little tricky to attempt to remedy on your own. But really, naturally aspirated inline-six Bimmers are easy to wrench on in the grand scheme of European cars. Other gaskets, as well as suspension arms and bushings, are also things to look out for, but those should be considered normal maintenance for any car. The key to reliable BMW service is regular maintenance—as long as it’s been kept up, the car’s various systems will continue to operate happily. But when something does give up the ghost, all parts are still widely available and for reasonable money.

Most reliable: Ferrari F355

Image credit: Ferrari

OK, hear me out! Let’s say you’re in the income bracket that could consider this legendary ‘90s exotic icon as a fun car to rip around in every day, on the weekends between Cars N’ Coffee events, or some combination of the two. Maybe you just hit it big in your career, or perhaps you selected the right lottery numbers. Or, you simply have earned enough of an income over the years to stash away for such a treat. The Ferrari F355 could be a very rewarding ownership experience, and, weirdly, more reliable than other exotics.

Its heart is a high-revving, 3.5-liter V8 that puts out 375 horsepower, which, when paired with a six-speed manual gearbox, will lunge to 60 mph in less than five seconds. Do yourself a favor and skip the clunky F1 automated manual gearbox, too, just stick with the stick if you’re able to. Redline is 8,500 rpm—nobody would ever call its soundtrack lacking. It’s also well-regarded for excellent, sporty handling, better ergonomics than other high-end fare of the era, and a drop-dead gorgeous exterior and interior.

Which means it could be worth putting up with the higher maintenance costs. It’s all about context, in that if you could afford a $100,000-or-so Italian sports car, these might not be too shocking. The Ferrari parts and fluid tax is a thing, but independent shops or attempting to do-it-yourself would save a lot of scratch over any dealer. Some trouble areas are faulty exhaust headers and catalytic converters on earlier models, valvetrains that need a little more attention than usual, and a timing belt service. That requires removing the engine from the car. OK, that’s not so ideal, but if you expect and plan for it, everything else is fairly modest for a Ferrari. Wait, one more: there’s also the electronic retractable roof on Spider and GTS variants—opt for a hardtop Berlinetta or have the retractable roof converted to manual to save a potential headache. 

Otherwise, these cars love to be driven and will reward regular miles with a very even-keeled temper. Stashing them away in the garage on a battery tender for weeks or months at a time makes them annoyed, and forces them to develop leaks and shorter service intervals.

Least reliable: B5 Audi S4

Image credit: Peter Nelson

From here, it’s all downhill: let’s kick off the least-reliable list right with an infamously complex and moody German car: the twin-turbo V6-powered Audi S4. These things are difficult to work on and incredibly complex, and did I mention they’re difficult to work on? And as a proud (and often frustrated) B5 S4 owner, it’s still a very worthwhile car to own if you know what to expect.

Since this is the list of bad cars, let’s start out with the negative aspects that impact reliability: Vacuum leaks caused by fragile materials, fluid leaks, no room to work in the engine bay, expensive servicing because of said lack of room, its stupid auxiliary water pump under the intake manifold, tiny/weak turbos that eventually die, sensors that give up the ghost quicker than other cars, plenty of areas for double the boost leaks—because double the amount of turbos—to occur, too many suspension bushings that are hard to replace, and more. It’s a challenge, to say the least.

However, there are still some big positives to discuss. While the S4’s engine sits entirely in front of its front shock towers—and therefore affects overall handling—it can still be set up to handle very well with a little tuning. The reason for the engine being so far forward is due to its massive, Quattro all-wheel drive system, which gives the S phenomenal overall grip in all road conditions. When that twin-turbo V6 is running happily and without boost leaks, it’s a very entertaining engine to rev out and can make a massive amount of power reliably with minimal modification.

Though, big caveat to the B5 S4’s infamous status: Regular maintenance. If you follow the factory-recommended service intervals, use quality fluids, are aware of and look out for trouble areas, and drive them reasonably responsibly, they’re tanks. And by reasonably responsibly, I mean letting the engine and transmission oil/fluid warm up before launching them off the line every chance you get. So, if you happen upon one for a nice price and with a good service history, don’t be scared, just be prepared.

Least reliable: Jeep Wrangler

Image credit: Jeep

Some may call this one an easy target, others may be triggered and never read Accelera Mota ever again. Whichever it is, let the record state that the Jeep Wrangler is still one of the best factory off-road-ready trucks that money can buy.

You just have to, you know, put up with some occasional annoyances. When it comes to outlining issues that more than a few consumers have aired their grievances over, Repair Pal is a great resource for quick reference. One of the big issues outlined here is known as the death wobble, which is a very strong vibration caused by prematurely worn suspension and steering components. Then, ignition switch issues, leaky door seals, worn-out exhaust components, various fluid leaks, and various electrical gremlins are discussed as well. Some of these seem to be a thing since the early ‘90s, but others are a little more recent.

I don’t want to sell the Wrangler short, though. Preventative and regular maintenance, and being aware of these issues could help provide a more trouble-free ownership experience, even if the comments sections and forum posts love to make it a punchline. They’re seriously fun trucks, have such a unique driving experience, and can overcome so much out on the trail, either right off the showroom floor or after a few choice modifications. Plus, Jeep’s doing the Lord’s work by still offering certain trims with a manual transmission for the 2024 model year—good on ‘em.

(Editor’s note: As much as I adore Jeeps to death, we can never ignore the damn Stellantis/Fiat-Chrysler electrical gremlins in the newer JL models, many ranging from mildly annoying to downright comical. To my Jeep friends, I wish you luck in your everlasting war with JL reliability.)

Least reliable: Honda Civic

Image credit: Honda

Talk about shots fired! “What on earth is he on?” they’ll probably say of the ramblings I’ve put on screen here. For the record, It’s just a lot of coffee on an empty stomach. But the Honda Civic has experienced some interesting little reliability issues over the past two decades or so. They’re not exactly life-and-death, but will result in a visit to the shop to remedy, and could rain on anybody’s Japanese-econobox-opinion parade.

Once again, according to Repair Pal, folks have reported a myriad of annoyances that their own Honda Civics have experienced. The top five are prematurely worn engine mounts, power window switch failure, broken hood release cables, a shift control solenoid fault, and windshield wiper motor failure. An occupancy sensor failure, too, which results in an airbag light, but that’s a pretty minimal one.

It must be said that a couple of these are specific to a certain generation, such as the broken hood release cable being a thing on pre-2007 models. And, for the most part, these are all relatively cheap parts that don’t require many labor hours to perform at the dealer or an independent shop. Or, once again, perform on your own with the proper tools and safety protocols. More costly jobs, like head gasket replacements, are reported on as well, though those seem rare—to the point of not being on par with basically any other car.

But really, here’s the thing

Image credit: Lotus

Outlining the Honda Civic as a lesser-reliable option is more of an exercise in showing that all cars have their little foibles, and may not always meet peoples’ expectations for bomb-proof reliability. To not anger too many car opinions out there: They’re plenty reliable.

But all this goes to show that overall reliability is a very subjective topic, and Lord knows people fight each other in comments day in and day out over many cars’ reputations. We’ve all seen some version of “What do you mean the 2003 Lotus Esprit V8 is unreliable? I’ve fed mine nothing but conventional diesel oil since day one, 150,000 miles ago, and launch it cold every chance I get! It’s more faithful than a Prius!” Well, that may be a bit hyperbolic, but you know what I mean.

However, one overarching theme to all of it is regular maintenance. Maintain. Your. Cars. Oh, and letting fluids warm up before any hard driving, that’s important, too. Even for something as wholesome as a Honda Civic. Doing so will not only guarantee efficient and reliable operation but also help extinguish the chance of developing trouble areas and help it retain value.

Moral of the story: If you dig a certain car for whatever purpose, become very familiar with it, know what to expect, budget accordingly, and take good care of it. Also, it’ll be much cheaper to commute day in and day out in a Honda Civic than in a Ferrari F355.

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Ariel Atom 4
Buying GuidesFeatures

10 lightweight sports cars you can buy today

Anyone looking for pure, svelte driver’s cars that are fun to whip around on weekend trips up and down PCH should look no further.  The beautiful idea of well-balanced power-to-weight ratios is usually best represented in lightweight sports cars. From 2+2s to roadsters, they provide a lightweight chassis, balanced handling, and a thrilling driving experience. Every day driving through crowded intersections, windy roads, or the track on weekends, the versatility of these modern machines offers a unique fun-to-drive factor. 

Nowadays, many lightweight sports cars provide approachable driving characteristics and price points that won’t absolutely break the bank. However, there are some that will push your driving skills and bank accounts to new limits. Anyone interested in the lightest sports cars that can be purchased this year should look no further. 

Mazda MX-5 Miata (ND)

Weight: 2,341 pounds

What’s hot?

  • Undoubtedly the most nimble drive on sale
  • Impressive fuel efficiency

What’s not?

  • A bit cramped for the average American
  • Can get expensive as you climb the trim ladder

The Mazda MX-5 Miata has spent decades maintaining its reputation for giving nothing less than a spirited driving experience. For those who can fit comfortably within its front mid-engine layout, there’s so much to appreciate with the classic yet modern feel. Top-down in the convertible option or closed in, there’s nothing like Mazda’s little roadster.

“ND2” variants and newer pack a 2.0-liter engine with about 181 horsepower and deliver a zippy yet smooth ride. The recently revealed ND3 adds updated tech and a retuned steering rack geared for improved precision and feel. Its manual or automatic transmission options ensure quick acceleration in approximately six seconds from 0 to 60 mph, although magazines have extracted even better test numbers from such a spritely car. Built for rear-wheel drive and agile handling, it promises overwhelmingly enjoyable driving.

Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86

Weight: 2,815 pounds

What’s hot?

  • Powerful engine for the price 
  • Awesome, track-capable handling 

What’s not?

  • Most hot hatches are quicker nowadays
  • Not the most practical entry-level performance car

Behold a fan favorite here at Acceleramota and one our editor has recently had the opportunity of road-tripping. The Toyota and Subaru collaboration has left the BRZ as the surviving and thriving of the two, at least in the wake of the GR86’s reportedly out-of-wack markups. Its agile handling, rear-wheel-drive dynamics, and precise steering are becoming just as recognizable as its boxer engine. The 86’s and BRZ’s balanced performance, affordability, and enthusiast-focused design captivate drivers seeking a truly engaging ride.

The second-gen Toyobaru platform continues its legacy with a 2.4-liter naturally-aspirated boxer engine, producing 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Paired with a choice of a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission, it boasts rear-wheel drive, a lower center of gravity, improved handling, and a refined chassis for an exhilarating driving experience. 2024 BRZ models now launch with EyeSight safety assists and a hot new tS model, while GR86s gain their own suite of similar safety tech and an Initial D fanboy-spec Trueno model.

Honda CR-Z

Weight: 2,639 pounds

What’s hot?

  • Sporty look and handling 
  • Fantastic hybrid fuel economy 

What’s not?

  • Rear visibility is a bit poor
  • Tiny size means it’s not for hoarders or Ubers

Discontinued in 2016, the Honda CR-Z was a sporty hybrid coupe that blended efficiency with style.  Its innovative design featured a 1.5-liter engine paired with an electric motor, offering a modest 122 horsepower. The CR-Z is now appreciated in the used market for its unique hybrid concept and agile handling.

The 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine coupled with a hybrid electric motor generates a combined output of 122 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque (123 pound-feet in CVT cars). Inventive for its time, the Honda CR-Z was one of the rare hybrid sports cars to be equipped with a six-speed manual alongside its CVT transmission. They weren’t fast! But they were spritely enough. And to have a sporty, manual hybrid econobox that could zip to 60 in under ten seconds in the early 2010s was something to brag about. I guess. Maybe. Supercharged CR-Z HPD, anyone?

Alfa Romeo 4C

Weight: 2,487 pounds

What’s hot?

  • Efficient yet powerful engine 
  • Great mini-supercar handling 

What’s not?

  • Lacks good rear-view visibility and cargo room
  • What in the heck is that 2 Fast 2 Furious radio radio unit?

Lightweight design, turbocharged power, and exceptional agility make the Alfa Romeo 4C as legendary as it was divisive… Like, really divisive. Still cool, though! And still a featherweight worthy of this list. With striking aesthetics and racing DNA, it captivated enthusiasts. Offering a unique blend of performance, analog purity, and style, its departure leaves a void in the realm of iconic sports cars.

The Alfa Romeo 4C features a 1.7-liter turbocharged engine producing 237 horsepower, paired with a dual-clutch automatic transmission. With a carbon fiber monocoque chassis, it weighed merely 2,487 pounds. This mid-engine sports car could sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds, boasting impressive performance and agile handling, granted you can get to grips with that manual steering rack.

Lotus Exige

Weight: 2,593 pounds

What’s hot?

  • Top-tier sports car performance
  • Great fuel economy

What’s not?

  • May be difficult to get in and out of
  • The very definition of having a spartan interior

Discontinued in 2021, the final Lotus Exige epitomized automotive excellence. With its lightweight design, remarkable agility, and supercharged engine, the Exige offered an unmatched driving experience. Its aerodynamic finesse and track-focused precision made it a legendary icon among sports cars, capturing enthusiasts with its raw performance.

Before the end of its run, the final-generation Lotus Exige boasted impressive specs. It featured a supercharged Toyota-derived 3.5-liter V6 engine producing up to 345 horsepower. The Exige Cup 430 went even further, pushing roughly 430 horsepower. Weighing around 2,500 pounds, it sprinted from 0 to 60 mph in about 3.5 seconds, although earlier four-cylinder variants were even lighter than that, tipping in at a hair beneath one ton. Its aerodynamics, coupled with a six-speed manual gearbox, ensured exceptional handling and track performance.

Ariel Atom

Weight: 1,349 pounds

What’s hot?

  • Unique go-cart x Formula car design
  • Wicked fast and impossibly nimble, given its design

What’s not?

  • Not very practical for daily drivers… like, at all
  • Rare and expensive

The Ariel Atom’s thrill lies in its “no-frills” design, boasting crazy speed and handling. Its lightweight structure and powerful engine make it feel like driving a rocket. It’s an open-air, Formula 1-like experience, an adrenaline rush for anyone seeking pure, unadulterated driving joy or to show the Spec Miata club racers that it is not they who have been chosen to wield one of the UK’s finest.

Sourcing a Honda 2.0-liter i-VTEC or supercharged 2.4-liter mill, depending on the model, the Ariel Atom can hit 60 in under three seconds. However, should you yearn for more, the newly-minted Ariel Atom 4 sports a turbocharged Civic Type R motor, and yesteryear’s limited Ariel Atom 500 rocked a firebreathing 3.0-liter 500-horsepower V8. Other features include a six-speed gearbox and finely tuned suspension. Goggles or eyeglasses, not included, but you’ll need them.

McLaren 600LT

Weight: 3,099 pounds

What’s hot?

  • Blistering supercar speed
  • Agile handling

What’s not?

  • Questionable McLaren reliability 
  • Probably the most expensive car here

McLaren’s limited Longtail series production might have shifted focus recently, but the McLaren 600LT excels due to its potent 592-hp twin-turbo V8, track-focused Longtail design, and exceptional handling. Introduced in 2018, this model showcased McLaren’s racing heritage like no other in the form of a lighter, more ferocious iteration of its Sports Series 570S model.

The McLaren 600LT features a 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine producing 592 horsepower, enabling it to hit 60 mph in approximately 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 204 mph. Sporting a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, it flaunts a track-focused design with advanced aerodynamics, carbon fiber components, and precise handling.

Audi TT

Weight: 3,197 pounds

What’s hot?

  • Awesome, baby supercar design
  • Matches handling with true sports car acceleration

What’s not?

  • Back seats are pretty useless
  • Not as engaging as other cars in its class

Sleek style and turbocharged performance make the Audi TT an outstanding coupe. It’s a dandy little sports car with the look and handling of performance cars far more expensive. Baby R8, maybe? You’re right. Too far-fetched.

The 2024 Audi TT boasts a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, delivering around 228 horsepower. Its lightning-quick seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and all-wheel drive system offer superb handling. Hotted-up S variants turn up the wick further to 292 horsepower, while a 400-horsepower, turbo five-cylinder TT RS model sits atop the food chain as a bonafide baby supercar. 

Mini Cooper John Cooper Works

Weight: 2,892 pounds

What’s hot?

  • Punchy powertrain
  • Handling is top-tier

What’s not? 

  • Expensive for a hot hatch
  • Not so “mini” anymore

The 2024 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works epitomizes thrilling performance in a compact package. With its turbocharged engine, precise handling, and iconic design, this model offers an exhilarating driving experience. Its fusion of style, agility, and power makes it an outstanding choice for car enthusiasts seeking an extraordinary ride.

Boasting a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that produces around 228 horsepower, the Mini Cooper John Cooper Works is paired with a six-speed manual or optional automatic transmission. However, should you wish, older variants with a 1.6-liter supercharged four-banger deliver their own kind of raucous fun. The current model’s enhanced suspension, Brembo brakes, 18-inch wheels, and sport-tuned exhaust system ensure agile handling and a thrilling driving experience, granted you can live with the lofty price tag new Minis are capable of.

Porsche 911 S/T

Weight: 3,056 pounds

What’s hot?

  • Perhaps one of, if not the best, driver’s car on sale today
  • Delightfully premium interior 

What’s not?

  • Could still be too hardcore for some, despite its road-oriented bias
  • Forget what I said about the McLaren’s price. This will make the dreamers cry

The 2024 Porsche 911 S/T kills for many reasons, as the lightest model from the hallowed German company one can purchase today. Its sleek design, coupled with a robust twin-turbo engine, delivers unparalleled performance. Cutting-edge technology seamlessly integrates with luxurious comfort, making every drive an exhilarating experience, setting a new benchmark.

Based on the 911 GT3 and copying the homework of the acclaimed 911 R, the S/T boasts a naturally-aspirated 4.0-liter flat-six engine and pushes around 518 horsepower. It accelerates to 60 mph in approximately 3.5 seconds. Equipped with God’s gift, a wonderfully analog six-speed stick managing power to the rear wheels, it’s as pure as a modern sports car driving experience can be. Good luck getting your hands on one, even if you have the dough.

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Honda MotoCompacto
FeaturesNew Car Reviews

Honda Motocompacto: Maybe the best “EV” of 2023

Once upon a time in early-1980s Japan, Honda Motor Company sold a tiny gasoline-powered scooter as a factory add-on to the Honda Today and City hatchbacks. Dubbed the Motocompo, the tiny scooter featured an air-cooled, two-stroke single-cylinder and handlebars designed to fold into a square body, and in folded form, specifically snug into the City’s trunk.

The point was to offer last-mile transportation around crowded city centers where parking, even then, presented challenges. Honda sold 53,369 Motocompos over three years, many of which collectors in the United States now prize as fun, vintage toys. But then, earlier this year and seemingly out of nowhere, Honda announced a successor to the Motocompo that doubled down on efficient design with a lightweight electric powertrain that cut the original’s overall weight in half. Finished in flat white with even better packaging, the appropriately named “Motocompacto” now weighs only 41.3 pounds, offers up to 12 miles of electric range, and costs just $995.

Honda held media rides for the Motocompacto in late October, and the very next week, my friend picked up two from Airport Marina Honda in West Los Angeles—amazingly, with zero wait time and no markup. As soon as he unboxed and charged the little scooters, I jetted over to test out their power and range for last-mile commuting, plus, of course, the fun factor of what I immediately thought might be quite possibly the best EV of the year.

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Honda MotoCompacto
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

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Price and specs

Base price:$995 + tax
As-tested price: $995 + tax
Weight:41.3 pounds
Power:250 watts, 0.33 horsepower (peak of 490 watts, 0.66 horsepower)
Torque:11.8 pound-feet
Drivetrain:front-wheel drive
Top speed (claimed):15 mph
Top speed (observed):23 mph
Zero-to-15 mph:7 seconds
Zero-to-60 mph:No.
¼-mile:>1 minute
Range:12 miles
Battery capacity: 6.8 amp-hours
Full charge: 3.5 hours (claimed)

Exterior design

Where the Motocompo’s diminutive size still needed to house an internal combustion engine, the Motocompacto’s electric battery and motor afforded Honda much more creativity in the design process. The result looks somewhat akin to a large briefcase from the Disney-Pixar movie Wall-E, and when folded measures just 3.7 inches wide, 29.2 inches long, and 21.1 inches tall. Compare those numbers to the Motocompaco, which measures 9.4 inches wide, 46.7 inches long, and 21.3 inches tall when all folded up. 

At half the weight, stowing the new Motocompacto in the back of a tiny hatchback becomes infinitely easier—and no gasoline or oil to worry about spilling, either. Part of the impressive design comes down to how Honda packaged the wheels, seat, and handlebars to fold inside the tiny white rectangle. Each Motocompacto arrived fully folded, and learning the process to get ready to ride does, admittedly, take a minute. 

Start out by folding up the handlebars, then rotating the bars on the tube until a locking clip can secure them upright. Next, hold the bars and lock in the tube at the base. From here, reach down into the briefcase and pull out the seat, straighten the seat tube and lock it into place, then push a button to slide down into a clasping sleeve. Then, pull and twist out a handle on the right side that releases the rear wheel rearward, then lock it into place. Spin out the two foot pegs and flip down the world’s cutest kickstand before double-checking your work. I practiced unfolding and folding the Motocompacto twice, and the process felt simple enough.

Honda MotoCompacto
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle
What’s hot?– Nobody saw the Motocompo’s successor coming
– Crisp design, compact engineering
– Light enough to lift into the trunk, no problemo
– It’s a suitcase scooter!

Pricing breakdown

Honda and Acura dealers sell the Motocompacto for $995 plus tax, available only online via a dedicated website. Given the popularity on socials as soon as Honda revealed early imagery, plus supply chain issues still plaguing the automotive industry, a lack of wait lists and lead times surprised me when my friend picked up his two scooters with ease. (Whether that means $995 still sounds too high for a folding electric scooter remains a serious question.)

Motocompacto tech

The Motocompacto uses only one simple button for powering up, selecting between two ride modes, and powering down. The first mode, “Go Far,” prioritizes range and requires a kickoff to start rolling with the thumb throttle lever. The second mode, “Go Fast,” allows for pulling away with only throttle—an estimated range difference of one mile makes Go Fast the easy and obvious choice, though we all know that when it comes to EVs, that last mile can make all the difference in terms of range anxiety. And trust me, you’ll want top speed immediately!

I tried using the throttle without the rear wheel extended, and the Motocompacto is smart enough to prevent such shenanigans. Otherwise, the rest of the scooter’s data feeds to an impressive and intuitive smartphone app that displays the state of charge, location, lithium-ion battery temperature, and health, and offers the ability to lock the wheel (presumably to prevent theft, though the whole point of being able to carry the scooter like a briefcase makes this feature a bit silly).

Riding around town on the Motocompacto

After folding out the handlebars, seat, and rear wheel, the time quickly came to go for a ride around town. How far would we get before having to turn home? And how fast would we get there? Well, I can report that 15 miles per hour is not particularly fast compared to bicycles, e-bikes, and motorcycles. Smiles per hour, though, reach a maximum immediately. This little thing is fun! And everybody walking, driving, or riding by can’t help themselves either.

In terms of real speed, rider weight makes a big difference—Honda claims a maximum rider weight of 265 pounds, but my scooter accelerated noticeably slower, hauling me at 170 pounds versus my friend at 150 pounds. The 250 W motor (capable of a peak 490 W or just under 0.66 horsepower) powers the front wheel, too, which makes any additional heft while going uphill an even bigger struggle.

Honda MotoCompacto
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

Downhill, though, I gained the advantage and saw 23 miles per hour on the digital screen as I hunched over in a full tuck to minimize my aero drag. Because we’re racing, obviously. And on the Motocompacto, with tiny handlebars and a reverse-facing stem, 23 miles an hour feels very fast indeed. Rather than steering with my hands or leaning, I began simply wiggling my hips to turn and swerve. Eventually, I found a flow and wondered how the Motocompacto might perform really racing around a little coned-off course.

Honda’s decision to use solid rubber tires rather than tubed or tubeless tires explains at least partially why 23 miles per hour feels so fast. Every bump reverberates through the white plastic straight to the handlebars and seat. And the concept of grip flies right out the window. Simply leaning back or putting a foot down makes front-wheel burnouts easy. The single cable-operated rear brake also produces quick slides when yanked hard enough—luckily, a handlebar-mounted bell should alert any pedestrians, cars, or other riders while coming in hot.

What’s not?– Build quality not quite up to Honda’s high historical standards
– Zero suspension, solid tires
– Still kind of expensive for a toy

Functional Last-Mile Transportation or Fun Little Toy?

The original Motocompo’s function as a form of last-mile transportation thoroughly shines through in the Motocompacto’s design and engineering. Imagine parking more than a few blocks from work in busy Tokyo or Los Angeles, then pulling out a little scooter that takes up minimal trunk space, unfolding it quickly, and zipping along into the office. No more getting sweaty riding a bike, no Uber apps or dead batteries on rideshare scooters, and nothing to leave on the neighbor’s lawn or blocking someone’s garage door every… single… damned night in a row. I’m not mad. You’re mad.

For that purpose, the Motocompacto actually outshines its predecessor—no gas fumes, no whining two-stroke engine, and it can fully charge up at work on any standard 110-volt outlet in only 3.5 hours. And that’s when using all 12 miles of range rather than just a few blocks going here and there! 

If anything, I suspect that softer tires would go a long way towards making the Motocompacto feel more solidly built, just to reduce rattling while rolling down the road. But other little build quality issues cropped up, too. That flimsy pull-and-twist rear wheel release lever scraped and scratched one of my friend’s Motocompactos on the first few uses, and dirty shoes left marks on the folding picnic table-esque white plastic pretty quickly. 

Honda MotoCompacto
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

But throw in the style points, even if I wish it came with red graphics and Honda Performance Development decals, and this scooter starts to blur the line between a last-mile solution and a fun toy. All the better for Honda moving units, but at around a grand, many consumers may still find the Motocompacto something of a steep proposition for either use case. The e-bike industry keeps following Moore’s Law, as well—batteries and motors getting more powerful and cheaper simultaneously—but most still cost far more than a Motocompacto.

And no e-bike or scooter folds up quite as well, without a doubt. Maybe the biggest bummer? Honda still won’t sell the adorable E electric hatchback here in the States to perfectly match the Motocompacto in purpose and style. Instead, selling the Motocompacto as a separate unit, rather than a Honda Civic or CR-V add-on as with the original City and Today, leaves an obvious gap in the marketing plan. Come on, Honda, commit to the perfect combo for city-slickin’ EV owners here in the USA! Then, a Motocompacto at $995 would definitely make for a hell of a deal.

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