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Driven: 2018 Buick Regal Sportback Essence 2.0t
(the original review is in this post. Revised reviews are further down, in this post, and in this other post)
-Nice understated shape conceals a cleverly integrated hatchback design
-'Decent' propulsion from 2.0t engine
-Nicely shaped upper dash with touchsreen oriented slightly to driver. Interesting at least from a design standpoint.
-Sporting driving position and good room in both rows, mostly, plus the biggest benefit being improved leg room over previous model
-Really nice cargo space, with seats up, or seats down, the cargo area of this vehicle and the flexibility of it in a car like this IMO is a major draw
-View outside of this vehicle is improved over its platform mate (Malibu, my daily driver) due to the rear door glass being longer and taller. View out the front and rear is essentially the same.
-AWD availability is a nice plus, thanks Buick.
-I can't recall any of the GM vehicles I have driven with this ubiquitous 2.0t engine, where i have actually been wowed or impressed by it. It has decent thrust, but honestly you gotta spool it up a bit, the tranny doesn't respond instantly, it's not a five star smooth tranny, and it's kind of rough and noisy overall as a powertrain (AT LEAST FOR IT'S PRICE / CLASS). I was hoping the 2.0 would make the car match the near luxury description but I don't think it's overall a smooth enough powertrain to meet that claim. It's neither smooth, nor sporting or exciting. And this is with front wheel drive. I will reserve final judgment until i get in the GS with the v6, which is the engine I think most people will really end up liking in this car.
-Heavier than it's Malibu platform mate. No doubt acceptable due to the larger engine, but the benefit of the extra weight doesn't manifest itself in any real tangible way anywhere in the ride and drive of the car.
-Not really any quieter inside than my Malibu. Strange, because this Buick is supposed to have quiet tuning, and goo in the tires to help make it quieter. The ride isn't really any more plush, either.
-Steering is sort of dead and mushy. That's not GERMANIC now, is it.
-NEED TO BE ABLE TO TURN OFF THE AUTOSTOP WHEN YOU WANT TO.
-Not really much nicer inside than in my Malibu. The lower dash is the same 'less expensive' plastic you see in cheap Chevy's. The door panels are a little nicer, but not that much more. Many switches and buttons are the same. The console is nicer (I don't like the shifter centered in the console now actually, it's quite a reach) I guess...except for cupholders in front of the climate controls. The upper dash material is an upgrade over the Malibu, but it's not a PREMIUM dash material either.
-I can't really tell for sure if the seats are better. My Malibu seats are poor. The Regal seats seemed to hug me more, but they still felt thin and insubstantial. The leather quality was slightly better, but still nothing to write home about.
-Rear head room suffers a bit with the hatch design. I don't mind the tradeoff personally, but the Malibu retains a bit more headroom, and the Regal TourX really has much more....so get the wagon if rear head room matters.
-Sunroof was nice to have considering how bunkerlike the Malibu can feel....but again the hatch design limits the size of the sunroof here compared to the Malibu's BAMR. I can live with the compromise here myself, and again, the wagon will satisfy your urge for BAMR if you need it. I would encourage GM to develop a way to integrate a larger moonroof with the hatch design. I think it could be done, but would require time and money on a redesign effort.
-Options / packages on this car are, simply put, stupid. But that merits its own post. At least in this car, the heated steering wheel and leather heated seats were both included. You can actually get this car with heated steering wheel but without heated seats. How f-cked up is that? In 2019, Fusion, Toyota, and others will have things like blind spot and cross path detection as standard equipment. And those are not 'premium' makes.
-I'll let others decide if they think the styling is too tepid. I don't mind the understated styling but do admit that the color selections that are available on this car leave me wanting. I like the red on the GS, and the smoked pearl metallic is nice. And Buick seems to think they should charge extra for paint colors when they don't make the ride and drive anything special.
-pricing. I think the average nature of this car would be easily forgiven if the pricing were in line with being an average car; not priced for a premium marque. Like the LaCrosse and Envision, it is best to wait out the model year if you are buying and wait for the inevitable 7,000-10,000 or more in discounts...which might bring the pricing in line with what the vehicle really is. You can't say this vehicle is appealing at the prices it is at now.
This probably seems like a negative review, but you should consider it more of underwhelmed and let down. This car as I drove it just doesn't have any kind of endearing personality to speak of! At the end of the day, it took Buick two extra years to bring to the US it's own Malibu clone, which doesn't have much more to show for it.... apart from the clever hatch and base 2.0 engine upgrade over the 1.5. I actually am very curious now to be among the first to try the 2019 Malibu 1.5t + CVT combo. But that's an aside for another discussion. The 2.0 that general motors puts in so many vehicles has never impressed me, and that's due more to it's character than anything. I had hopes this would be the ONE CAR that it would feel sporting in; one that would make the car feel at least a little, like a SPORTS SEDAN. Nope. I will wait with baited breath to someday find a v6 GS to test, as i think it will be the only Regal worth anything. At least worth anything more than just being another option in the midsize, genericar class. And I hope Buick is working on a twin turbo six option as well for the GS (GSX?). I tend to think this car won't move the needle in marketplace excitement until it has a tire shredder under the hood to brag about...The v6 will promise smoother revs and deeper lungs at least......... Still, as a replacement in the bottom end of the Buick lineup for the Verano, I am ok with this. Just please, sex it up!
Honda and GM have partnered up to develop the next generation of high density extreme fast charging battery packs. Honda and GM have already partnered on Hydrogen cell and motor technology development. Now they sign a multiyear agreement to develop batteries for the next generation of auto's.
To quote the news release:
"General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and Honda (NYSE: HMC) announced an agreement for new advanced chemistry battery components, including the cell and module, to accelerate both companies’ plans for all-electric vehicles. The next-generation battery will deliver higher energy density, smaller packaging and faster charging capabilities for both companies’ future products, mainly for the North American market."
By William Maley
Trucks Records Set as Core Products Deliver American Honda May Sales Gains
Jun 1, 2018
New May sales records for American Honda trucks (up 9.2%), Honda trucks (up 11.6%), Pilot (up 36%), and CR-V (up 11.6%) Core Honda products Accord, Civic and Odyssey post strong retail sales despite industry trends Pilot is biggest mover in Honda lineup, jumping 36.1% in May and 40.8% year to date Acura sales remain strong with all-new 2019 RDX arriving today at dealers nationwide Honda Sales Highlights:
Trucks and core products delivered major gains for Honda in May: Trucks set a new May record, Accord sales gained significant momentum, and strong performances from Civic, CR-V and Odyssey pushed all of these models to retail sales leadership in their respective segments. With Pilot and CR-V also adding record May sales, Honda brand gained a total of 4.3 percent for the month.
Accord sales continued to climb strongly since its launch last fall, posting more than 28,000 sales in May, up 29.3% versus last month. With 34,349 sold in May, Civic gained 7.4% for the month. Pilot sales jumped 36.1% in setting a new May record, its 9th consecutive gain, and CR-V sales climbed 11.6% on sales of 35,905, also a May record. Acura Sales Highlights:
With strong sales of the outgoing RDX helping Acura maintain a steady sales pace in May, the all-new 2019 RDX arrives in dealers today – the first in a new generation of Acura products completely designed around the brand’s Precision Crafted Performance brand direction.
Acura light truck sales remained strong with RDX topping 4,700 in May and MDX passing the 4,000 mark. ILX gained 28.3% on for the month and is up 16.2% year to date.
New Ring Drive adds AWD to Latest Honda Civic Type R
Posted to Youtube a video on a california start up that believes it can build a better mousetrap. What mousetrap would that be?
In wheel electric motors. According to the company's web, the average traditional hub motor is approximately 68lbs. The Orbis Ring Drive is 35lbs for a 70hp motor. The company does not state the torque but will give you full details if you sign an NDA. So adding AWD and 140 HP to the Type R basic 306HP FWD car brings you to a blistering 446hp AWD Type R Hybrid.
Founder and CEO Marcus Hays with Co-inventor Scott Streeter are the brains behind this Ring Drive motor. Hays was the principle lead for development at EV Global Motors by Lee Iacocca. He left the company and started up his own 5 years ago developing the Ring Drive technology that he believes will also offer gains to be used by Motorcycles, powered bicycles, ATVs and military off road applications.
ORBIS DRIVEN Web Site
“The company’s brochure explains “the technology divides a wheel or cog into two essential parts, a stationary hub and a rim or ‘ring.’ The ring rotates about the stationary hub, driven by a lightweight, high-speed motor.”
Hays says the ring drive is more efficient while reducing vehicle weight as much as 40% and driveline complexity by 75% compared to powertrains in which the electric motors (in-hub or in the driveline) power an axle.”
Wards Auto Story
By William Maley
If you happen to have a pre-production Honda Civic Type R just sitting around, what would you do with it? If you happen to an engineer in special projects division at Honda's Swindon plant in the U.K., you decide to make it into a pickup.
Codenamed ‘Project P’, the Type R pickup made its debut at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Test Day. To create this truck, the special projects division changed everything from the b-pillar to the back to install a bed with diamond-plate metal bed and a set of rollbars. The big rear wing is retained.
The rest of the vehicle is pretty much identical to the standard Type R with a turbocharged 2.0L inline-four producing 306 horsepower, six-speed manual transmission, and adaptive suspension. Honda says the truck can hit 60 mph in 6.5 seconds and hit a top speed of 165 mph - just 5 mph slower than the standard Civic Type R.
"We have a special projects division at the factory in Swindon and this project was a fantastic opportunity for the team to show just what their creative minds could do. The passion that our engineers have for Honda is shown in our latest creation and we are even considering taking it to the Nurburgring to see if we can take the record for the fastest front wheel drive pickup truck!” said Alyn James, project lead.
Before someone asks, Honda explicitly states in the press release "no plans to put the concept into production."
Honda Reveals Civic Type R Pickup Truck concept at SMMT Test Day
Created by the team behind Synchro Motorsport at the Swindon factory Potentially one of the fastest pickup trucks on UK roads No plans to put concept into production Honda UK has stolen the show at the annual SMMT Test Day this year by showcasing a Civic Type R Pickup Truck concept, almost a year after the launch of the standard road car.
Built by a specialist team from the Product Engineering department at the Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) factory in Swindon and codenamed ‘Project P’, the Civic Type R Pickup Truck has been modified and developed from the standard road car to create potentially one of the fastest pickup trucks on UK roads.
To create the Project P concept, the team used a pre-production version and adapted the design rearwards from the B-pillars of the car, with sweeping lines from the roofline to the back hiding a flatbed loading area in the centre of the car where the rear seats and boot space would normally be.
Finished in Rallye Red, the concept retains the iconic rear wing associated with both the FK2 and FK8 Civic Type R, which, in a clever piece of engineering, is movable to allow direct and unfettered access to the rear of the truck.
Using the same powertrain, suspension and gearbox as the standard road car, it is estimated Project P will complete the 0-62mph sprint in under six seconds and reach a top speed of over 165mph. It also possesses the same driving modes of comfort, Sport and +R, Project P offering both ride comfort as well as a unique racing capability on track.
Alyn James, project lead, commented: “We have a special projects division at the factory in Swindon and this project was a fantastic opportunity for the team to show just what their creative minds could do. The passion that our engineers have for Honda is shown in our latest creation and we are even considering taking it to the Nurburgring to see if we can take the record for the fastest front wheel drive pickup truck!”
Phil Webb, head of car at Honda UK, added: “This Civic Type R Pickup Truck concept by the special team at our Swindon-based plant demonstrates the passion and commitment of the team there – going above and beyond outside working hours to deliver the final product. There are no plans to put this in to production but we will be using it to transport our lawn and garden products as and when required!”
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