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In the first part of the article we presented the Volkswagen Golf GTI, the Porsche Boxster / Cayman, Mazda 3, Mazda Miata and the Cadillac CTS / CTS-V. In the second part we will be reviewing the remaining five cars from our top. We start with the Ford Fusion Hybrid and see where the rest of the top takes us.

Ford Fusion Hybrid

Ford Fusion Hybrid

Although it might come as a surprise for many of you, the Fusion Hybrid from Ford is by far the most advanced car in our top 10. With the electric power engaged, the car is able to reach a respectable to speed of 47 mph. The powertrain of this hybrid is not only compact but very refined, you can barely hear it. As far as the in-car entertainment is concerned, the Fusion Hybrid is packed with the Sirius Travel Link that offers info regarding traffic, sports, and weather and movie times. The car was designed in order to keep the distraction level of the driver to a minimum as all the computer functions are voice controlled. The car is great fun to drive and something new in comparison to what you are accustomed to. The handling, the ride are all strong points of the Ford. The car is equipped with a 2.5-liter inline-4 DOHC 16-valve conventional engine that is capable of producing 156 hp and 136 lb-ft. Being a hybrid; it also features a AC permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor that offers 106 hp and 166 lb-ft. The transmission of the Fusion Hybrid is a continuously variable automatic type. The base price for the car is $28,350. According to the EPA ratings, the car will do 41 mpg city / 36 mpg highway, one of the best in its class as far as fuel efficiency.

Honda Accord

Honda Accord Sedan

Honda Accord Coupe

The 2.4-liter standard engine of the Accord is surprisingly very quick, offering plenty of performance for a car from this class. The automatic gearbox never draws attention to itself and works just as you might expected. If you don’t like the sedan version, maybe the coupe draws your attention with its sleek exterior looks and the powerful V6 engine capable of producing 271 hp, more than enough for most of us. With this engine, the Accord Coupe is able to do the 0-60 mph sprint in 5.6 seconds. The base price of the sedan version is $21,765 while the coupe can be yours for $30,015 with the entry-level trim. The transmissions available for the Accord include the 5 or 6-speed manual and the modern 5-speed automatic gearbox. According to the EPA ratings, the car will do 17-22 mpg city / 25-31 mpg highway.

Honda Fit

Honda Fit

Why another Honda? The Fit is very fun to drive, quite affordable and the cockpit will invade you with high quality materials that you will only find in more expensive cars of the upper segment. Not only it has a very reasonable price, but also it is very cheap to operate, making it a very wise decision for budget-minded drivers. The 117 hp 1.5-liter power unit isn’t something to brag about, but it is quite enough for the Fit. If you want a car from the upper segment and cannot afford it, the Honda Fit is the perfect “imitation” of a more expensive car. The 117 hp power unit can be fitted with the following transmissions: standard 5-speed manual, 5-speed automatic with manumatic shifting and 5-speed automatic for a more relaxing drive. According to the EPA ratings, the Honda Fit does 27-28 mpg city / 33-35 mpg highway.

Audi S4

Audi S4

A top without at least one car from Germany would not be fair, wouldn’t it? When it was first introduced in 2004, the Audi S4 was equipped with a V8 engine, but for the 2010 model, it lost 2 cylinders, however this does not mean that the car is underpowered. On the contrary, the supercharged V6 packs 333 hp which is only 7 hp less in comparison to the V8 power unit. If you want extreme driving pleasures, go for the $1100 torque-vectoring rear differential, which makes the Audi S4 an oversteering titan. In a recent test, the Audi S4 performed better than the BMW 335i, although it weighs about 400 pounds more and offers just about the same performance figures. The engine of the car is linked to a 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual or a standard 6-speed manual gearbox. The base price for the 2010 Audi S4 is $46,725. According to the EPA ratings, the S4 will do 18 mpg city / 27-28 mpg highway.

BMW 3-Series / M3

BMW 3-Series


Another German car, this time the BMW 3-Series / M3. You can go for the 328i model that packs 230 hp and will do 30+ mpg on the highway or for the more powerful M3 variant, a car that is equipped with a remarkable V8 engine that is capable of outputting 414 hp @ 8400 rpm. The M3 needs only about 4 seconds to do the 0-60 mph sprint. The 3-Series is a very comprehensive range, the car is offered with a coupe, sedan, wagon, four-door M3 configuration plus a folding-hardtop convertible for summer days. The base price for the 3-Series is $33,675 while the M3 has a starting price of $69,025. The engines can be fitted with one of the following transmissions: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic with manumatic shifting and a modern 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox. According to the EPA ratings, the BMW 3-Series will do 13-23 mpg city / 20-36 mpg highway.

Other cars that didn’t made it into our top include the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the beautiful Nissan 370Z, Chevrolet Camaro, Porsche 911 Carrera, Hyundai Genesis Coupe and the Lexus IS Convertible.

Picking out any of these cars from our top is a good idea as they all combine the most important ingredients of a car: fun to drive, comfy interior, a bundle of safety features and more than decent powertrains, especially for the sportier cars like the M3 or the S4.

Post tags: Tags: 3-series, accord, Audi, BMW, fit, Ford, fusion, Honda, Hybrid, m3, s5

Honda Accord CrossTour

Without any doubt, this year (at least the beginning of it) looked very promising for the Japanese automaker. Why? Take a closer look at Toyota which is drowning in hundreds of thousands of recalls on various models and two out of the Detroit 3 climbing out of the dark days of bankruptcy. But despite the fact that Honda had everything in its favor, things did not go as they expected, on the contrary. Honda’s United States sales and overall share went down this year. The brand sales in November are up only by 4% in comparison to the market’s 11% rise.

According to Lincoln Merrihew who is the managing director of a market research firm called Compete Automotive, it seems that “Honda is not riding the wave”. Some might say that this is because of bad timing as two of their most important models, the CR-V and the Civic are at their final year of product cycle and the Accord is following them, a fresh update is due in 18 months. The reasons for their low sales are not limited to these factors only, as the buyer consideration has also decreased; the outdated inventory system also caused serious losses. Add to this the various reputations among youngster, and the entire image does not look very pretty for Honda.

Some of these issues can be however easily repaired but Honda made another major mistake back in February when they held back production and inventory in the wrong moment when the economy was slowly gaining terrain, allowing other automakers to aggressively promote their new cars.

Things are not all bad for the Japanese car manufacturer as the repurchase loyalty rate among owners has been rising from a 42% back in 2001 to approximately 56% in 2009, according to the data published by R.L. Polk. The market’s industry is approximately 44%. Lonnie Miller, analyst at Polk said that “Typically you get a spike with your own customers when you have new-product launches, and Honda has been pretty quiet. With sales performance and repeat selling, your owners get rejuvenated with new products.”

Back in 2007, Honda posted an 11th consecutive year of record sales and it also managed to grab four awards of the 19 categories available (the most of any brand), in J.D. Power’s APEAL survey that measures how gratifying how an automobile is to own.

As far as the battle for the most popular hybrids are concerned, Toyota’s Prius model is outselling the Insight 8 to 1. The executives over at Honda United States planned to sell between 60,000 and 80,000 units of the Insight in 2010; by November they only managed to deliver 19,325 units. For this particular reason, Honda decided to introduce a cheaper Insight model that has less features, which is with $4,610 more affordable than the Prius. We will have to wait and see for a couple of months if this new more affordable Insight can get the attraction of more people that are looking for a hybrid car.

Another model that was outshined by Toyota is the Accord Crosstour which didn’t stand a chance against the Venza model manufactured by the rival Japanese carmaker. Toyota managed to sell 43,325 of the Venza by November, in comparison to just 25,927 Accord Crosstour. It seems that the Crosstour inventories and the discount necessary to sell them are larger in comparison to the Venza, according to TrueCar – an auto research company.

Honda Accord CrossTour

Back in July, Honda made a big case when they announced the CR-Z model, despite the fact that they have set a very modest 15,000 cars sales / year. Even worse than that is the fact they only were able to sell 4,373 cars in the first five months since it was introduced, and about 3,000 CR-Zs are resting in an inventory as of November 1st, waiting for their customers.

We mentioned before that Honda has problems with its inventory system. Dealers affirm that the sales target could be achieved if the system called MOVE – Market-Oriented Vehicle Environment will be updated as soon as possible. Both small and large dealers agree to the fact that Honda’s manufacturing, allocation and inventory are not properly aligned as they require a combination of math and luck in order to get the right models in stock.

To offer a relevant example to this problem, the Honda Odyssey has many pricey options like leather seats, power tailgate and rear-seat video, thus the model has many more trim levels and features. Most of the dealers consider that they are better judges of the local tastes in comparison to the factory representatives.

Honda’s vice president of sales and logistics planning, Dennis Manns, affirmed that the new allocation system “will provide dealers with an intuitive, more localized and market-focused way of managing their inventories.” It seems that the current inventory system used by the Japanese automaker is one of the important reasons why the dealer satisfaction scores have fallen.

On the good side, it seems that Honda’s sales in the North American truck market have gone up if we take into consideration the fact that in August they have increased production capacity. The officials over at Honda said that their CR-V, Pilot and Odyssey models are doing very good. Most of the executives as well as some Honda dealers are looking at a much more positive 2011. They are hoping for an economic recovery aided by the introduction of the new Civic and CR-V models that are due in 6 months, and with the launch of the Accord which will occur in mid-2012.

Post tags: Tags: accord, civic, Crosstour, Honda

The latest Honda model, the Crosstour, is an addition to the Accord line. The design isn’t bad, but it looks a bit more aggressive than the Accord. The Crosstour is wider, longer and taller. The thing that disliked about it is the back, the way the design compromise the utility of the wagon. It is quite a large car, and usually people with large cars want a lot of storage space. With the seats up, this design offers 25.7 cu-ft. and 51.3 cu-ft. with the seats down.

Honda Accord Crosstour

The engine of this Honda is unanimous loved. It has an energetic, consistent response ready throughout the power band. But you need to know that this is a 4,000 lb car, so it is better you have enough strength for it. It has 18-inch alloy wheels, and a big front grille.

The six cylinders bring the gas mileage up to 18/27 mpg city/highway or 17/25 mpg. The car transmission is five-speed automatic, with rev-matching downshifts. This rev-matching can be almost too quick for some people, but you’ll get used to it very quickly and the result will be very pleasant for most Honda owners. The four-wheel-disc antilock brakes are very firm and predictable.

As for the interior, the extra pieces of leather and wood make it very nice. Even the brushed metal looks good. The interior is very inviting, and the over-sized buttons are easy to press even in cold periods, when wearing gloves. And the trunk area is very interesting, with a bin with handles in the floor, making it easier to take it all out and wash it. Also, the lid flips, so you can keep that part of the carpet clean.

Honda Crosstour rear view

Thinking about the climate control, Honda Crosstour has a sophisticated dual-zone climate control system that allows the driver, as well as the front passenger to choose the temperature they want. Also, a single temperature can be chosen for the entire cabin. The Honda provides a Satellite-Linked Navigation System with voice recognition, with a huge database with many points of interest, including ratings and reviews for some places. The rearview camera has guidelines that will help you maneuver when you are in reverse position. Also, this model has a Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, so you can take any call you want and still being able to drive safely.

And because space is important, you can easily create the cargo space or seating configuration that you want with the easy fold-down 60/40 split rear seatback feature.

Post tags: Tags: accord, Crosstour, Honda, Honda 2010

At next week’s SEMA, Honda will present the Accord HF-S Concept, which is meant to give us an idea of how the upcoming Honda Accord Coupe can be customized. Also, another Accord coupe concept will be unveiled, concept which will be outfitted with parts from the Honda Factory Performance catalog. More details when SEMA begins.

Post tags: Tags: accord, concept-car, coupe, hf-s, Honda, Tuning

After the recent buzz created around the 2008 Honda Accord Coupe and Sedan, it looks like the Japanese company is preparing another new car for the Frankfurt Motor Show. The Honda Accord Tourer Concept, beside replacing the current Accord wagon generation, will also feature a new Honda’s upcoming low emission diesel engine. Other green initiatives will include Honda’s Small Hybrid Sports concept from the Geneva Show as well as FCX fuel-cell sedan concept that’s expected to go on sale in the US and Japan next year.

Post tags: Tags: accord, auto, automobile, car, cars, Honda, wagon

Did you get tired of all those 2008 Honda Accord news that came up lately. Well, I almost am. But here’s a nice video created by Carscoop of the car. Check it out!


Post tags: Tags: 2008, accord, auto, automobile, car, cars, coupe, Honda, sedan, Video

A few days ago we presented the 2008 Honda Accord Coupe caught completely undisguised in a supermarket parking lot in Ohio. What those spy shots were missing some clear interior photos. But don’t worry, we have some new photos taken from inside of the car. Enjoy!

Post tags: Tags: 2008, accord, auto, automobile, car, cars, coupe, Honda, interior, photos, Spy Shots