Honda Strengthens Fuel Efficiency, Technology for 2012 Lineup

By Joel Arellano | August 01, 2011
In many Japanese movies, the main characters overcome their problems by refocusing on their strengths. In Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Volume 1 and 2, The Bride, played by Uma Thurman, focuses on her training to break free after being buried alive. Toyota and Honda, who dominated many automotive segments for decades, find themselves neck and neck with—surprise!—Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia. So what strengths are Toyota and Honda tapping to break free from the pack and move ahead to capture American pocketbooks? From the looks of it, Honda's looking to recapture its reputation from the 90s, when it was a fuel efficiency and technology leader. The automaker is building on those strengths for its 2012 models, with more than half of its models either completely redesigned (Civic and CR-V), or significantly refreshed (Fit, Insight, Pilot, and Ridgeline). The all-new 2012 Honda Civic exemplifies the automaker's focus. According to Honda, fuel economy from the available two 4-cylinder engines rose eight percent from last year, with the new Civic HF model getting an EPA-estimated 41 mpg on the highway, the best rating among non-hybrids. The 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid is the first Honda to get lithium-ion batteries, helping it get an EPA-estimated city, highway, and combined figure of 44 mpg. Stability control, an important safety feature, is now standard on all Civic models.
Owners can customize the five-inch screen of the Civic's intelligent Multi-Information Display with their own wallpaper, or view the titles of their music tracks. Civics equipped with navigation systems now receive FM traffic functionality as well. As for the rest of the Honda lineup: 2012 Honda Accord: After an extensive revision last year, the 2012 Honda Accord is largely carryover.
  • USB jacks standard on all Accord sedans this model year
2012 Honda Accord Crosstour: This five-door hatchback Accord debuted in 2009 as a 2010 model, and few changes are expected.
  • Rearview camera, Bluetooth hands-free link, USB audio jack, and automatic on/off headlights are now available on the 2012 Crosstour EX model.
  • Exterior colors Glacier Blue Metallic and Tango Red Pearl are replaced by Twilight Blue Metallic and Basque Red Pearl.
2012 Honda CR-V: On sale later this year, the 2012 Honda CR-V is all-new. Full specs haven't been released, but you can see more about it here.
2012 Honda Pilot: On sale this September, Honda has released few details on its eight-passenger SUV, which we covered previously. 2012 Honda CR-Z: Honda's two-seat sporty hybrid carries over largely unchanged.
  • Buyers opting for the Crystal Black Pearl paint job on Honda's smallest hybrid can now opt for black for their seat cover.
2012 Honda Fit: Honda's popular five-door compact gets refreshed inside and out for the new model year.
  • Exterior paint colors Blue Raspberry Metallic and Orangeburst Metallic replace Celestial Blue Metallic and Orange Revolution Metallic.
  • Base Fit models get a security system, while the Fit Sport model adds Bluetooth and steering wheel controls for the audio system.
2012 Honda Insight: Honda refreshes its hybrid-only brand, which is scheduled to go on sale in November.
  • Honda has refreshed the Insight's front and rear designs and expanded available wheel covers.
  • New paint color Truffle Pearl is now available. Colors Clear Sky Blue Metallic and Crimson Pearl are replaced by Frosted Silver Metallic and Milano Red.
2012 Honda Odyssey: All new last year, Honda's minivan carries over with few changes when going on sale in September.
  • The Odyssey EX model gets a revamped infotainment system which includes the addition of Bluetooth.
  • Exterior color Taffeta White is dropped and replaced by White Diamond Pearl.
2012 Honda Ridgeline: Except for the addition of the Ridgeline Sport trim, Honda's lone truck carries over with few significant changes going on sale in November.
  • Ridgeline models get a new front grill.
  • Ridgeline Sport trim adds large, 18-inch wheels, fog lights, and blackened front grill and light housing, mirrors, and door handles.
2012 Honda FCX Clarity: Honda's fuel cell-powered sedan is expected to carry over unchanged in the new model year.
What do you think of Honda's upcoming models? Will it be enough to overcome the Korean twosome or even rival Toyota? Let us know in the comments below. Source: Honda