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2006 NAIAS :: Reviews and Interviews
Honda offers a full line of hybrids
PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com
This is the all-new Honda Civic Hybrid.
Many automakers offer one or maybe two hybrids to choose from. Honda is a company that offers a full line -- the Civic, the Insight and the Accord. They are even planning on making a hybrid out of another vehicle. Just one of the reasons why they are called the "Greenest Automaker."
First, we will talk about the Civic Hybrid. It has been out for the past four years. It give you 50 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway. How often do you get the same fuel economy on both? It now comes in manual and automatic transmission.
The gasoline engine is a 110 horsepower, 1.3 liter, I-VTEC 4-cylinder engine. The battery is made of nickel-metal hydride. You don't have to plug it in to recharge. It also comes with continuously variable transmission and a dual-point sequential ignition system with immoblizer.
What other features does it offer? It comes with a 160-watt AM/FM/XM ready CD audio system with six speakers. There are blue backlit gauges with your battery's charge and assist indicators. There is an audio jack so you can plug in your MP3 player and listen through your car.
You can own the Honda Civic Hybrid for just $21,000. You will get a tax credit of $2,100 if you purchase the Civic Hybrid with automatic transmission or a $1,700 tax credit for a manual transmission from the federal government.
Honda Insight was the first hybrid to enter the market
Back in 1999, Honda debuted the Insight hybrid to the market. Other automakers didn't even know what a hybrid was at the time. Honda took a big step and said let's begin producing them now and get ahead of the competition.
The gasoline engine is a 1.0 liter, VTEC 3-cylinder engine with integrated motor assist. It also comes with a permanent magnet motor and a nickel-metal hydride battery. An added feature is the electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering.
The Insight comes with so many features it's unbelieveable. There is windshield wipers on the front and rear windows. On the inside there is a lockable glove compartment. There is a 12-volt power outlet so you can plug in stuff. This model does not come with XM satellite radio however.
The fuel economy is different based on the model that you choose. If you go with the 5-speed manual version, you can expect to get 60 mpg in the city and 66 mpg on the highway. If you prefer the automatic, look for 57 mpg in the city and 56 mpg on the highway.
You can own the Honda Insight for just around $22,000. The Federal Government will offer you a tax credit of $2,600 on the automatic version.
Honda also offers the Accord in a hybrid model
The Honda Accord hybrid is more about the performance. It comes with a new moonroof this year. It also comes with vehicle stability assist with traction control brake assist. Another safety feature is the electronic brake distribution.
The gasoline engine is a 253-horsepower, 3.0 liter, i-VTEC V-6 engine. It also comes with a permanent magnet motor and a nickel-metal hydride battery. An added feature is the double wishbone front suspension and the five-link double wishbone rear suspension.
The Accord Hybrid offers several more features than the other two hybrids mentioned above. There is a remote entry system. It comes with LED taillights. It comes with an AM/FM/XM 6-disc changer audio system. The front seats are also heated. There is leather on the steering wheel, door panels and on the trim of the seats. The arm rest can slide in different directions. Look for eight beverage holders.
The Accord hybrid only comes in manual transmission. It's fuel economy is 29 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. It was designed to have more horsepower than the other hybrids listed above.
You can own the Honda Accord hybrid for $29,000. The Federal Government will give you a tax credit of $650 if you purchase one new from your local dealer.
Honda announces they will begin production of the FCX
At the 2006 North American International Auto Show, you can see the FCX hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Honda has recently announced that they will begin producing the FCX in the next three or four years. They also said the actual production vehicle will look very simiar to the one that you will see at this year's auto show.
The Honda FCX will be capable of producing 100kW of power. There is actually three engines in the FCX. One 80kW engine in the front and two 25kW engines in each rear wheel. Honda has found a way to store all of the hydrogen needed to operate the vechicle. It can hold up to 5 kg of hydrogen at 5,000 PSA. That means you can get 350 miles on just one fill-up.
Honda is developing the Home Energy Station. Consumers will be able to fill-up their hydrogen vehicle at home. This is made possible by generating hydrogen from natural gas that is supplied for residental use. The same way you power your furnace or kitchen stove can one day be used to power your car. This HES system is expected to save fuel costs by up to 50%.
On another positive note, Honda entered the record books at the 2006 NAIAS. They were the first automaker to take home both the Car and Truck of the Year awards in the some year. The Honda Civic won best car and the Honda Ridgeline won best truck of the year. The awards were judged by the international media who attended the auto show during press week.
PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com
The Honda FCX is slated to go into production in 3 to 4 years.
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