Honda Motor Southern Africa’s display at the 2011 Johannesburg International Motor Show provides visitors with a unique insight into the world of Honda.
While the Southern Hemisphere debut of the all-new Honda Civic in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback guises is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the stand, the two spectacular newcomers are by no means the only attraction.
The line-up of new Honda models includes the recently launched Ballade sedan, the recently updated Honda Jazz range and the improved Honda Accord range.
Honda’s complete line-up of hybrid cars, comprising the sporty and unique CR-Z hybrid sports coupé, the sleek Insight people carrier, and the cheeky Jazz hybrid, are showcasing Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist hybrid technology.
For the petrol heads, a specially modified version of the Honda CR-Z proves that eco-friendly cars can be exciting, too. The eye-catching CR-Z has not only been accessorised, but also features a supercharged 150 kW petrol engine, combined with the IMA system.
The attractions on the Honda stand aren’t restricted to wheeled machines, however. Honda’s humanoid robot, ASIMO, makes its second visit to South Africa and is set to wow visitors with its ability to interact with people.
Honda’s revolutionary Very Light Jet, the HondaJet, is also represented on the Honda stand in the form of a detailed scale model.
“The world of Honda is an exciting, multi-faceted universe that contains many innovative products and technologies,” says Yoshimura Nakamura, managing director of Honda Motor Southern Africa.
“It also presents the perfect forum for the SA motoring public to be introduced to some of our newest products, some of which will only go on sale next year. Our new Honda Civic range, in particular, should prove to be a major drawcard.”
NEW HONDA CIVIC
New from the ground up, the all-new, 2012 Honda Civic is the ninth generation of one of the marque’s most popular and globally recognised products. It will again be offered in both four-door sedan and five-door hatchback configurations.
The nameplate has become synonymous with stylish design, advanced technology and dynamic appeal. This latest generation not only builds on these virtues, but expresses a concept of futuristic distinction.
Key highlights include a smooth, streamlined design approach, a roomier and well equipped interior, an array of advanced safety systems, sophisticated engine technology in the interests of efficiency and reduced consumption and emissions, and enhanced dynamics.
The new-generation Civic has been engineered to deliver an involving, pleasurable driving experience, while the cockpit creates an intuitive interface between car and driver. Generously equipped across the range, the Civic also provides excellent comfort and convenience.
The drivetrain options span petrol and turbodiesel engines, linked to a choice of manual or automatic transmissions. The technical and equipment specifications of Civic models destined for the South African market will be finalised ahead of their launch in early 2012.
NEW HONDA BALLADE
The new Honda Ballade was launched to wide acclaim earlier this year as a worthy successor to the much-loved, highly regarded models which formed the core of Honda’s SA passenger car range between 1982 and 2000.
Offered in a choice of two specification levels, with a choice of manual or automatic transmissions, the Ballade continues to offer high standards of technology, performance and features in a high-value package.
Unmistakably Honda, the styling is clean and contemporary, with a wedged, aerodynamic profile, and a confident stance. Inside, the efficient use of space ensures class-leading levels of interior comfort.
Standard equipment levels are admirable across both variants. From a practicality perspective, the 506-litre boot is a major attraction, as are the many different storage binnacles and cup holders.
The strong, efficient body and chassis endow the Ballade with a supple ride that easily absorbs road surface imperfections, while also allowing top-notch handling and superior stability at speed.
Safety is out of the top drawer too. Front and side airbags are fitted across the range, with the high-spec Elegance derivative also benefitting from curtain airbags.
Honda’s Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) is standard, as are latest-generation ABS brakes with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA).
The Ballade employs the renowned 1,5-litre i-VTEC unit also found in the award-winning Jazz. It produces 88 kW of power at 6 600 r/min and an 145 Nm of torque at 4 800 r/min, the engine allows eager performance – around town and on the open road.
This is equally relevant in the case of the standard five-speed manual gearbox or the advanced new five-speed automatic transmission.
NEW HONDA CR-V 2.0 COMFORT
Honda’s CR-V compact SUV has been a perennial class leader almost since launch. Honda will be adding a more affordable, 2,0-litre derivative to the line-up, extending the CR-V ownership experience to a broader motoring audience.
The new CR-V 2.0 Comfort is powered by a 1 997 cc petrol engine fitted with Honda’s i-VTEC intelligent variable valve timing system. Featuring twin camshafts, 16 valves and programmed fuel injection, the four-cylinder unit is credited with 110 kW of maximum power at 6 200 r/min. The torque peak of 192 Nm is reached at 4 200 r/min.
This latest CR-V derivative is available with either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic gearbox. The drivetrain defaults to front-wheel drive during normal operation, but benefits from the added traction of all-wheel drive when conditions require.
Now in its third generation, the CR-V mixes car and SUV characteristics, and fulfils the motoring and leisure needs of a wide range of motorists. The 2.0 Comfort continues this tradition.
Its spacious, well-appointed cabin can be configured to suit various cargo and passenger load combinations, while the comprehensive list of safety equipment includes front, side and curtain airbags, ABS anti-lock brakes, VSA vehicle stability assistance, TSA trailer stability assistance, and a tyre deflation warning system.
Externally, the CR-V 2.0 reflects the same ‘cab-forward’ design as the other models in the range, and also rides on 17-inch alloy wheels shod with low-profile rubber. The partly colour-coded bumpers add a rugged touch to the Honda’s personality.
At 556 litres with the rear seats in place, the cargo bay is generous, and expands to 955 litres with the rear seat tumbled forward.
The cabin blends efficient ergonomics and clever storage integration with contemporary architecture and premium materials, including Alcantara cloth seat trim. Comprehensive instruments employ a mix of analogue dials and digital readouts. Generous glass areas make for a bright and airy ambience, while allowing good, all-round visibility.
THREE HONDA HYBRIDS ON DISPLAY
As one of the leaders in hybrid-powered passenger cars, Honda is displaying three models currently employing the company’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA).
IMA is a compact, highly efficient system that adds a slim electric motor to the drivetrain, between the engine and the gearbox. It’s driven by a compact, rechargeable battery pack.
The electric motor boosts performance by contributing additional power and torque under hard acceleration. The battery pack is automatically charged under trailing throttle, or when braking.
Honda currently offers three models employing IMA technology: the trend-setting CR-Z hybrid sports coupé, the Insight 1.3 Hybrid and the compact Jazz Hybrid.
The CR-Z is the world’s first sporty hybrid coupé. It features a 1,5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine, coupled with the IMA system and a six-speed manual gearbox.
A taut, responsive chassis, aerodynamic styling and a sporty interior with form-hugging bucket seats add to appeal of the driving experience.
The CR-Z on display is a special concept vehicle, intended to emphasise the CR-Z sporty driving characteristics and styling. Engine output has been increased to 150 kW through the addition of a supercharger.
An uprated suspension, brakes, wheels and tyres ensure that the chassis is capable of handling the additional performance. Styling has also been enhanced by fitting revised front and rear bumpers, more pronounced side skirts and a rear spoiler. An upgraded interior provides the finishing touch.
The 1.3 Insight is a five-door family hatchback that combines space and versatility with low fuel consumption and emissions. Its hybrid drivetrain links a 1,3-litre i-VTEC petrol engine to the IMA system, achieving frugal fuel consumption figures and ultra-low emissions in real-world driving conditions.
The Jazz Hybrid looks almost identical to the hugely popular Jazz hatchback, but swaps its more conventional petrol powertrain for an IMA-assisted hybrid drivetrain. A Continuously Variable Transmission is standard.
Like the other IMA-assisted Honda cars, the Jazz Hybrid gets a power boost from the electric motor when required, and achieves very low fuel consumption figures. An Eco mode optimises operation for reduced consumption and CO2 emissions.
HONDA JAZZ RANGE
Honda’s Jazz range recently underwent a series of styling and detail changes to enhance its already compelling credentials.
The focus of the changes is on maintaining key customer benefits such as versatility, practicality and reliability, while also enhancing fuel economy, emissions, ride comfort and style.
The latest Jazz range features enhancements to ride comfort and flexibility and also heralds the return of the highly regarded CVT gearbox. The suspension and steering have been fine-tuned to improve ride refinement, stability and handling.
The 2011 Jazz line-up now starts with the all-new, manual-transmission Trend model. One notch up is the Jazz Comfort, available with a choice of five-speed manual or stepless CVT gearboxes. CVT-equipped models are fitted with shift paddles behind the steering wheel to allow manual shifting.
Five-speed manual and automatic transmission options are offered on the remaining petrol Jazz models. These include the Elegance, which slots in above the Comfort, and offers an even more comprehensive list of standard features.
The new Jazz range is headlined by the Executive model, which features exclusive extras such as a panoramic roof with electrically retractable sunshade, auto wipers with rain sensors, auto headlights and 16-inch alloy wheels.
HONDA ACCORD RANGE
The new Honda Accord range, launched locally only a few months ago, retains the key ingredients responsible for the nameplate’s success in SA, but adds several new features and improvements.
This latest version ups the ante in several important respects. Enhanced efficiency has been a consistent theme applied throughout the upgrade package, which has benefited aspects such as fuel efficiency and exhaust emissions.
But the new model also looks fresher, rides better and continues to build on an extensive array of active safety features. A high output version of the 2,2-litre i-DTEC engine also debuts on manual-transmission models.
In addition, the standard features list has been augmented. A new derivative, the 2.4 Exclusive, which boasts a package of advanced driver assistance systems, has been added, while the range nomenclature has been adapted, too.
A highlight of the latest Accord is Honda’s Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS) – which is available on the new 2.4 Exclusive models. It comprises three separate technologies: Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).
Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS)
CMBS is a pre-crash system which improves the car’s response to critical situations.
It employs a millimetre-wave radar sensor in the Accord’s front grille, and recognises when a collision is imminent. It then reacts in three steps.
Firstly, the driver receives an audio and a visual brake warning. If no action is taken, the alarm is sounded again, a pre-tensioner lightly tugs at the driver’s seatbelt, and light braking is applied.
If there’s still no response, and the system senses that a collision is unavoidable, the brakes are forcefully applied, while the seatbelts is retracted equally incisively.
CMBS will not bring the car to a complete stop, but it will aid the driver to avoid a collision, or lessen the severity of an accident if it does occur.
Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS)
LKAS operates within a speed range of between 70 km/h and 180 km/h, and uses images from a camera mounted inside the upper front windscreen to recognise which lane the car is travelling in.
If the car begins to cross the lane markings without driver input on the steering wheel or the indicators, it provides the optimum steering torque to keep the car in the centre of the lane.
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
Using the same millimetre-wave radar as CMBS, ACC measures the time (thus distance) to the vehicle ahead, while vehicle speed and yaw rate sensors detect the vehicle’s driving parameters.
ACC can maintain a set speed like conventional cruise control, but in addition it can also automatically control vehicle speed and distance relative to the car in front, travelling in the same lane.
When the distance to the car in front falls below a predetermined value, the system instantly decelerates the car through throttle control, and if necessary by braking. ACC operates at speeds between 30 and 180 km/h.
Visitors to the Honda stand can have their photograph taken with ASIMO, widely regarded as the world’s most famous (and most advanced) humanoid robot.
ASIMO is able to perform key tasks in real-life environments such as homes or offices. Using multiple sensors, and an eye camera, the robot displays an advanced level of physical capability.
Much of Honda’s development focus has been on enhancing ASIMO’s interaction with people, while a high degree of automation allows the robot to fulfil multiple roles, such as a acting as a receptionist, or delivering goods.
This latest version of is able to walk at speeds of 2,7 km/h, run at speeds of up to 6 km/h, and can carry and hand over objects. Its advanced mobility is best illustrated by an ability to run in a perfect circle.
Honda’s advanced light business jet, know as the HondaJet, is nearing final certification in the US before being delivered to eager customers around the world.
Boasting a number of innovative features, including an unusual over-the-wing engine mount design, natural laminar flow wings and an all-composite fuselage, the HondaJet is not only a showcase of Honda’s engineering prowess, but also represents a big step forward in light jet aircraft design.
The Honda stand at JIMS affords visitors the opportunity of getting to know more about this highly advanced jet aircraft through an innovative display that will provide a compelling insight to the world of HondaJet.