Honda Unveils Cheapest Hybrid Car CR-Z

Major automakers in Japan are competing fiercely to get their share of the hybrid car market pie.  Competition between the leaders in hybrid cars – Toyota and its rival Honda – is now set to intensify as both the companies are preparing to launch their new hybrid car models next year.   This is going to lead to a price war which would help the help to increase popularity of hybrid cars in Japan.  As per the latest news from Nikkei Business Daily, Honda’s new two-seat hybrid car CR-Z will cost just around US$16,750 (1.5 million yen), which would make it the cheapest hybrid car in Japan.  CR-Z will be available in the market from autumn this year.

CR-Z — which stands for Compact Renaissance Zero — is a two-seater gasoline-electric hybrid car, which is lively and comfortable and comes with CVT (continuously variable tranmission) as well as manual transmission.  In spite of its low price tag, the Honda CR-Z doesn’t look or feel like a cheap, thrifty car.  The new hybrid from Honda has fuel efficiency of 30 km per liter (34 miles per gallon) of gasoline, compared with the Fit’s 24 km per liter.

The design of Honda’s new hybrid car CR-Z will be based on its gasoline powered compact car Fit, and will share core components of its hybrid model Insight – in order to reduce the development costs.  As a result, the new hybrid car will cost about US$4,400 (400,000 yen) less than Insight hybrid, and about US$2,200 ( 200,000 yen) more than Honda Fit.  With this move the  Honda CR-Z  will cost 20% less than the cheapest hybrid car in the Japanese auto market today.

honda hybrid car cr-z

This price war will put both the car makers – Toyota and Honda – at a disadvantage when profit margins are concerned.  However, when hybrid cars would be available in the normal price range of gasoline powered cars and can offer a performance better than the conventional cars powered by gasoline, hybrids are going to be popular even if the government offers no tax incentives.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

2010 Mazda Tribute Review

The 2010 Mazda Tribute for all intents and purposes seems the perfect SUV with its completely modern attributes.   The Tribute is labeled to be a cloned replica of the Ford Escape, and it purports the typical gamut of advantages and disadvantages of the Ford Escape.  Features to its advantage are the sleek bodyline and a uniquely styled exterior,  superior class V6 or four-cylinder engine as per choice and the surpassing the best in safety standards.  There are, however, a few flaws in the Mazda Tribute, which keep it from being the best among other SUVs in the same class.  You can find all the features of Mazda Tribute 2010 in this review.

mazda tribute suv 2010

The 2010 Mazda Tribute is available in two models – the i model available in Grand Touring, Touring and Sport levels having five speed manual transmission, a 2.5-liter four cylinder engine producing 171 hp with 171 lf-ft of torque, and the s model has a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine which is only available on a Grand Touring level and is paired to a six-speed automatic.  The V6 produces 240 hp with 233 lb-ft of torque.

The Touring is equipped with audio controls on the steering wheel, a power driver seat, tinted rear windows and a roof carrier.  The Sport is air-conditioned with all power accessories, CD player, cruise control, back-up audio jack, ambient temperature gauge and automatic headlamps.  The Grand Touring has an advanced audio system along with a rearview mirror that also supports a display for the back-up camera, leather upholstery, heated front seats and side mirrors and a sunroof.

The front seats of the Mazda Tribute are strongly supported and secure.  Though the rear seat is spacious for adults, it lacks adjustments to allow for recline.  To fold the seat down – one needs to remove the headrests, tip the bottom cushions and then lower the seatbacks.  There is only a 29 cu ft cargo space available with the second row seat up and when lowered offers 66 cu ft – less than what is offered by RAV4 from Toyota and the CR-V from Honda.  But the build quality and the control layout of the Mazda are impressive.

There are few weaknesses in the Mazda Tribute.  Its interior is behind the times; some fundamental features that are standard among the newer SUVs are lacking like the easily foldable and reclining-cum-sliding backseat and the vertically adjustable steering wheel.  The quality of the multimedia interface called “Sync” which is compatible with portable equipment like audio gadgets and cell phones allowing sound control and is the leading USP of the Mercury Mariner and the Ford Escape, is not all that good.

The unibody structure of the Mazda SUV Tribute gives it a firm and sportier feel making the handling and ride easier unlike other SUVs that have a body-on-chassis kind of frame that rattles and is tougher to handle.  The 2010 Mazda Tribute is well equipped in terms of safety with stability and traction control, antilock brakes and front-seat and side curtain airbags.

Technorati Tags: ,

Subaru Legacy – Japan’s Safest Car

The 2010 Subaru Legacy sedan from Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI) – the manufactures of Subaru vehicles, Japan has been given the tag of being the world’s safest car for the fiscal 2009.  This accolade has been bestowed upon it by the agency that assesses and reviews new car crash worthiness – the JNCAP – Japan’s New Car Assessment Program.

The highest award and title of “Grand Prix 09/10” was awarded to the Subaru Legacy after assessment by the JNCAP.  The Subaru Legacy is also the only car which has undergone very strict and stringent testing standards and to have emerged the winner among safe cars in Europe and Australia.  It ranks among the leading vehicles chosen by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the United States to be awarded the distinctive citation of the “Top Safety Pick”.  Several other independent test agencies too have certified the Legacy as one of the safest cars on the global market.

subaru legacy 2010

Taking the jury’s top tribute and being honoured with the coveted award, the Legacy is another Subaru vehicle to do so for the third year in success from among 17 other contenders.  The prior winners from the Subaru stable are the Forrester  winning the “Excellence” award in 2008 and the Impreza which was awarded the ‘GRAND PRIX’ in 2007.

In comparison with the smaller Impreza, though the Subaru Legacy is a bigger package, it is both sporty and very capable.  The Subaru Legacy was declared the outstanding winner after taking tests for collision safety performance for driver and co-passenger in the front and the head protection test for pedestrian.

This award follows other accolades and achievements received from other crash tests held internationally.  In the European NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme), the Subaru was rated with top five stars.  In the Australasian NCAP too it was bestowed the same award of five stars for occupant safety.

The Subaru Legacy is considered the safest and most desirable family car today due to its world class boxer engines, extraordinary interior space and sensibility, and the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, which is its permanent trademark.

The Subaru Legacy packs discretion, affordability, and the best in equipment, sleek body and is considered the family’s dream car. It is the safest vehicle to be in and the best buy among mid-size sedans.

The Legacy is kitted with advanced safety equipment like a gamut of standard safety features, offering protection against whiplash injuries with its high-strength front seat frames, side curtain airbags, front seat side impact airbags, dual-stage deployment head curtain airbags in the front and the rear, and torso airbags for the driver and front passenger.  It is also fitted with ESP, rollover sensor, ABS, traction control and Vehicle Dynamics Control.

Technorati Tags: ,