Spring Cleaning: An Early Glimpse at MY 2007
Date: April 25, 2006 09:16
Honda's first 2007 model began trickling into showrooms last week, kicking off a season of new hardware from our favorite asian automaker. It's been a while since we've consolidated the latest info on everything and while we patiently wait for some new spy shots we figured we'd take this opportunity to purge our database.
Acura Clearly the big news under the calipers this year is the double barreled launch of the RDX and MDX sport-crossovers, but there is other stuff to talk about.
- MDX Acura's 7-passenger family truckster gets a much needed redesign this year. At this point, here's what we know: It will be powered by a V6, said to be the most powerful V6 yet sold in an Acura (so that means >290hp); Much time was spent tuning the MDX at the Nürburgring - the product team swears by its performance credentials; While they were in Germany, they must have spent a lot of time looking at Audis, because the MDX seems to have borrowed some Audi styling components; The MDX is said to be trimmed out on an equivalent level with the RL, which would seem to substantiate the rumors that the MDX would be moving upmarket and would also seem to indicate pricing at least in the high 40's (if not more). That's pretty much the extent of what we know about the MDX. Now, we've heard a few other things but we don't have a high degree of certainty on these. First of all, we've heard that the "all-new" motor is really an evolution of the J-series. We've also heard that while horsepower and torque are going up, displacement will not increase much, if at all. Now that last part throws up a big red flag for me. I'll be surprised if this MDX comes in at under 4500lbs, and if we're to believe all this hype about the MDX's performance credentials, I have my doubts that a 3.5L V6 will be able to get the job done. And before you suggest it, the possibility of seeing a factory turbocharged or supercharged V6 in the MDX is next to nil. So there must be more to the story. (you know my e-mail address if you have inside dirt on the story). According to the Acura people with whom we spoke in New York, expect to see the MDX in showrooms in mid to late October. For those who aspire to be automotive spy photographers, be sure to pack a camera in your car because you will see MDXs on the streets undergoing final testing over the next few months. We want to see these pics and if you manage to get some and send them in to us, depending upon the quality of the pics will reward you with TOV Merchandise and immense fame.
- NSX I wish they'd hurry up on this thing. We need something to get really excited about around here, particularly given Honda F1's results thus far in the 2006 season. Of course, the V10 is a given. There had been some rumors that the NSX would be shifting towards more of a GT car to go up against something like an Aston Martin DB9 or Bentley Continental GT, but we've been recently assured this is not the case. There are running prototypes being driven at HGT in Japan and apparently it's getting pretty close to production trim, though there are said to be some styling tweaks that remain. We have been holding candelight vigils with prayers that the car will remain pure and be spared from SH-AWD, but the odds may be against us.
- RL Not much news here except rumors persist (again, from the sales side) that Acura will introduce a lower priced version of its underloved flagship. So much for building brand image and value. What's next - an Acura factory outlet store in Pigeon Forge?
- RDX Hey, the cat's out of the bag already. You should know about as much about the RDX as we do. The exact price hasn't been set and we still haven't driven one, so we don't yet know how well it's going to compete with the disturbingly similar Mazda CX-7. Expect to find the RDX in showrooms in late July.
- RSX We don't like bearing bad news but we've been telling folks for quite a while that the RSX/Integra program was essentially dead. Early indications had been that '06 would be the last year for the RSX and Integra, but we felt that the possibility existed that the car could soldier on if sales warranted. But the key was that there was no development work being done on a true successor to the RSX. Now it's official. In a communique that just breezed across the Acura Interactive Network, Dick Colliver has officially announced "In our quest to provide you and our customers with the very best and most appropriate Acura models, we have decided to eliminate the RSX from the 2007 line-up, thus streamlining our product offering to better fit with Acura’s evolving and more upscale image." It's a shame we never got the chance to buy a DC5 Type R over here.
- TL The TL is due for its MMC this year. Within the past month I've heard that there's a Type S version in the works. We don't know what that means but I would think Acura is smarting a bit from the fact that the TL "lost" 12hp on paper for 2006 and I'm sure they have taken notice of the 306hp Lexus IS350 and the 298hp Infiniti G35. Spotting the competition 40-50hp is often bad for business. So is stepping on the toes of your "flagship" big brother, but Acura may decide the RL can't swirl much further down the bowl of the sales crapper. The TL's replacement is due in model year 2009. By then I would expect for Acura to have a full blown case of SH-AWD and the TL may be one of the last models to contract it.
- TSX. The TSX got an early MMC for the '06 model year. If our info is correct, '07 should be the last chance to pick up one of these beauties as the next generation should be debuting in model year '08. The Sports4 concept that debuted in Tokyo last October is supposedly a strong hint at what's in store. Now there were no real details given on the Sports4, and this may be dimestore detective work, but in the past when automakers have stuck a 4 at the end of a model name, it usually indicates that 4 is a pervasive theme in the vehicle. 4 as in 4-wheel drive, 4-cylinder, 4 valves per cylinder, 4 vanity mirrors, etc... Our guess is that SH-AWD will continue to infect the Acura lineup and we'll have a TSX running a version of the RDX's drivetrain, likely retuning the turbo motor for around 250hp and 250lb-ft. Hopefully it will also be offered with your choice of 6AT or 6MT transmission, though the 6AT part is purely wishful thinking. We've heard nothing about any development work on any 6AT transmissions but we really think Honda shouldn't be lagging in this area.
- New Coupes Coming? An interesting rumor that we keep hearing from Acura's sales side is that to fill the gap left by the RSX, Acura has a coupe under development, most likely based upon the RSX's larger brother, the TSX. We have heard about this coupe for quite some time but so far this rumor has only been circulating within the sales side. While it seems like a logical move for Acura, this information has not been "triangulated" so at this point we don't have a high degree of certainty on this information. As soon as we do, we'll be sure to let you know. Beyond the TSX-based coupe, there are reports in the media that Acura may also be preparing a higher-end sport coupe as well, something that would be positioned to slot between the RL and NSX. Outside of these media reports, we've heard little on that front except for some rumblings from the dealers about a "sub NSX" sportscar. It's possible that this vehicle could be where the (apparently incorrect) rumors about the NSX moving towards the GT class came from but we are well into the realm of rampant speculation with this. We try to avoid recklessly exploiting our staggering sphere of influence* at the highest corporate ranks of Honda, but if we're going to send a message up the flagpole it is this: The brand could use a high performance coupe that could go toe to toe with the G35 and new (twin turbo) 3-series coupe. Ambitious single people who like to think that they make a lot of money want these types of cars. And of course, other types of people want them too. To be a credible effort, it should start out with a perfectly balanced FR setup, starting in the low $30k range with at least 250hp. SH-AWD and a more powerful motor should be offered on upper trim levels. A "sub NSX" sport coupe would be super cool, but it would need to be something a bit more exclusive - something with the style and class of a 911 Carrera or Cayman S but the performance of a C6 Corvette, and a sticker price in the range of $50-60k. I imagine something like this is probably not a huge priority for Acura at this point.
Honda Now that the 2007 Fit is in showrooms, the focus can shift to the all-new 2007 CR-V.
- Accord For 2006, the Accord received its MMC. It was a bit more involved than usual with some pretty significant sheetmetal changes in the rear. I'm not sure it's an improvement from a styling perspective, but that's another matter. Interestingly, Honda started offering the V6 sedan model with a 6MT transmission. Better late than never, but maybe in this case it's too little, too late. Too little style, too little marketing. We still think an Accord Si would have been a better idea. As for 2007, don't expect to see much except the typical trim and color changes. While we haven't heard much, we expect the drivetrains (which were revised for '06) to also stand pat. The big news for the Accord happens in 2008, when the FMC (full model change) comes. Until then, I won't say it's going to be limping home, but suffice it to say that this might be the best car money can easily buy for invoice or less.
- Civic Launched last September, the 8th generation 2006 Civic has been selling like hotcakes. The only news for 2007 is that you will now be able to go to your Honda dealer and find Civic Si sedans with inflated sticker prices. If we're to believe what we read on the internet (a habit that is generally frowned upon), the sticker price of the Sedan version will come in somewhere around $22k. Thanks to a helpful member of our forums, we also have some color information available on the '07 Civics:
|2007 Civic Si Sedan Colors
- Alabaster Silver Metallic/Black
- Galaxy Gray Metallic/Black
- Habanero Red Pearl/Black
- Nighthawk Black Pearl/Black
- Rallye Red/Black
- Taffeta White/Black
Standard Civics Also benefit from interior changes
Royal Blue pearl is only offered with Gray interior
Nighthawk Black is offered only with a Gray interior
Alabaster Silver Civic Coupe EX is available in either Gray or Black interior.
- CR-V Since the 2007 CR-V is being developed overseas, we've not been able to tap our vast network of spies that infiltrate American Honda. (Just kidding, we don't have a vast network of spies within American Honda. If we so much as place a telephone call to anybody who works for Honda, the Dept. of Homeland Security will often pay us a "courtesy visit."). As you can see, fortunately somebody seems to have managed to snag a photo of one undergoing some testing in Australia (along with a lightly disguised RDX). We can make some guesses about the CR-V based upon what we already know about the RDX (a close relative). In terms of size, the CR-V should be pretty close to the current model, with a slightly longer wheelbase and perhaps an inch or two of additional width. We haven't heard anything about this yet but we don't think Honda will make the mistake of trying to match the RAV4 by cramming a useless 3rd row of seats into he rear of the vehicle. We also don't anticipate Honda seeing any need to match the RAV4's 269hp 3.5L V6. The only thing we have heard on the topic of the CR-V's drivetrain is that there may be two different motors available. Unless a bluebird comes along and spills the beans, we're not likely to know much more about the CR-V until we start getting spyshots from Brenda Priddy or some of our readers. For now all we have is a list of colors, again thanks to a helpful member of our forums:
|2007 CR-V Colors
- Barrego Beige/Ivory
- Glacier Blue/Grey
- Greentea Metallic/Ivory
- Formal Black/Ivory or Black
- Taffeta White/Grey
- Royal Blue/Black
- Element The Element's MMC is taking place this year. The motor's pretty much lifted from the Accord 2.4, so it makes perfect sense that the 2007 Element benefits from the 10hp bump that the Accord saw last year. There are reports that the brochure for the 2007 Fit features one photo that includes an Element with dual sunroofs (one up front, and the standard rear roof). We haven't seen this brochure yet so we can't confirm it. Honda announced several weeks ago at the New York Auto Show that a new trim level on the way. Badged the SC, it's sort of an "almost Si" version of the Element. While the drivetrain is the same as a 2WD Element, the suspension and interior have been heavily reworked. You can read all about the Element SC Prototype here and imagine it being about 95% of what you'll see in the production model.
- Fit In showrooms now. There's lots of stuff to read about it here including our First Drive
- Odyssey The best minivan available in America carries forth with few expected changes. We'd still like to see a revamp of the feature matrix, but the Odyssey is selling quite well so we're not expecting much in that regard. The one thing we have uncovered is that the Odyssey will benefit mechanically from something that will be transparent to the end user for the most part. We've learned that for 2007 the Odyssey's transmission will be upgraded from its current 3-shaft design to a beefier 4-shaft design. The 4-shaft design is based upon the Ridgeline's mission and should once and for all put to rest any concerns about Honda's V6 automatic transmissions.
- Pilot The Pilot saw its MMC last year. New for '06 was the availability of a 2WD model with VCM, revised headlights and taillights, and a freshened interior. Expect largely carryover for '07 and FMC in 2009, possibly 2008.
- Ridgeline Entering its second year of production, Honda's "break all the rules" pickup truck is largely unchanged. We hear that it will likely be gaining horsepower and torque at some point, but probably not until the '08 model year, providing the 2007 MDX at least a year of exclusivity. If the March 2006 sales figures are any indication, it seems that the Ridgeline has finally reached the desired sales pace. As more people learn of its virtues, we expect this to continue.
- S2000 Much to the dismay of speculators/would-be collectors, the S2000 soldiers on for another year. Mildly freshened last year with redesigned seats, a drive by wire throttle system, VSA, and a few other very minor "tweaks", the 2007 model carries over largely unchanged. In fact, the only changes that we're aware of are the colors. Drumroll please.... thanks to a helpful member of the TOV Forums, here is what's in store for 2007: Grand Prix White is only offered with a red and black interior. Suzuka Blue Metallic and Sebring Silver Metallic are gone. Everything else stays the same. As has been the case every year for about 4 or 5 years running, the S2000's future beyond the upcoming model year is uncertain. There are rumors that a successor is under development, but nothing is very solid at this point.
Last edited by JeffX on
May 01, 2006 09:32