Spent Last Week in Miami with Honda

Honda invited my blog to South Beach to test their all-new HR-V.

Kind’ve a big deal really, since that’s the same invite as the newspapers and magazines get #proud

Here’s your first look at their all-new vehicle: 
the 2016 Honda HR-V Compact Crossover

Ran into a chunk of Team Autonet down there.

Top right middle is Frederic Mercier, the French side of the newspaper’s newest addition.

And bottom left is Eddie; if you prefer to read car reviews in Mandarin, read his.

Close as I ever make it to the beach #HideFromTheSunAlways

Here’s a good shot of the HR-V until I get a proper post built about it.

See those long vents in the dash on the right?  Slick eh.  As is the open cavern beneath the gear shift where all ports are, that’s good ergonomics.

My driving partner was my editor at the paper, Dan Barron.

You’ve met before, and any clever headline of anything I write is all him.

When you drive an HR-V, this is what happens to your head.

The driving impressions of this vehicle are embargoed until end of April, so until then, I’ll roll out more about the car, then tell you how it handled after that.

(what’s an embargo? Here)

Short review – this car is going to crush it.

Honda managed to design seemingly-opposite features and functions into one vehicle, and I predict this HR-V will take over the compact crossover segment when it arrives this summer 2015.

Now a plane photo so if you’re scrolling, you know I was out-of-country.



The All-New 2015 Honda Fit

The all-new 2015 Honda Fit

This model year was refreshed from the ground up.

Starting at $14,495
This one $22, 968 (fully loaded, top trim: EX-L Navi)

It’s a 1.5 L 4-cylinder engine, outputting 130 hp and 114 lb.fts.

When you read reviews, the Fit is often called “fun to drive”, because it is.  Easy to toss around, small turning radius, does a good job keeping up on the highway, shines in a busy downtown, and get it in manual, it will help with the pep.

My tester was the top trim, EX-L Navi, but really, this car excels in the lower 2 trims, DX & LX.

Adding leather seats, automatic climate control and a moonroof is nice, but sends the price up too high and defeats the purpose of this vehicle, which is good value-for-money.

The refreshed exterior is its same, good-looking self…

… while the interior sees the most change.

Lots of new tech.

1 – a colour, 7″ screen, and the climate control panel is now all touch
2 – when you drive more fuel efficiently, those blue lights change to green
3 – power plugs and USB ports everywhere

And despite the double glovebox being deleted, there’s still plenty of storage, especially for a small car.

Notice it?

That’s not a backup camera, that’s the side-mirror camera. It’s Honda LaneWatch, a blind spot display.

When you signal to turn right, the camera mounted beneath the passenger mirror comes on, and is displayed on the dash screen. I found it a bit distracting at night.

What remained the same through the refresh, and this is good, is that the backseat is still massive.

The rear seat is actually a bench, and see how flat it folds? Massive cargo will slide right in, a rarity in a small car.  The proper name is Honda’s “60/40 2nd-Row Magic Seat”, okay that’s funny.

See, I’m seated with my legs crossed, and there’s still ample room.

Compare this all-new Fit with older models: 

2013 Fit here

2014 Fit here

This F2000 is powered by a stock Fit engine here




Powered by a Stock Honda Fit Engine

It’s an F2000, like a starter Indy Car.

And it’s powered by the same engine as Honda’s Fit.

Not modified either, total stock. Really!

It’s a 1.5-litre 4-cylinder engine outputting 130 hp and 114 lbs.ft. 

(my review for the above 2014 Honda Fit, and a few Fit animated gifs)

Got to go around the DDT track at Mosport 3 times.

Arrow – went off, twice.  Too aggressive into the corners + queen of the late-brakers here.

So they kindly let me go around one more time. Got it.



My First Track Time

First ever!

I’ve driven a gokart on a car track, a car on a gokart track, and plenty of autocross courses in parking lots. But this was my first proper time, in a car around a car track.

It was done in a 2014 Honda Civic Si at Mosport.
It’s a 2.4L outputting 205 hp and 174 ft-lbs.
Starting at $26,710
Manual, obviously. It’s a good, short throw.

I documented the occasion.

My two biggest mistakes are: I brake way too late, and into the corners I’m, wait for it, too aggressive.

Who you hear coaching me is this guy, Honda IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe.

Liked your coaching style, thanks James! Best of luck this season.

I interviewed him for a ‘Keri on Drivingcolumn about concentration, here. Because really, without concentration, everything else, all the tech, tires and money, are for not.

Thank you Honda, for giving me my first track time.

And it’s rather appropriate, because Honda was one of the first manufacturers to bet on my blog. Here’s our history.



Put a Monk in a Race Car

Can’t concentrate? Can’t race.

Because really, all the tech, tires and money are for not if the driver drops their focus for one fast moment. Because that moment turns into seconds lost.

I’m speaking with Honda IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe. He’d just coached me around the DDT at Mosport (watch here)

We talk about his mind while racing, how he stays hyper-focused for 2 straight hours. It’s an almost-meditative state, he says.

That’s why my idea to put a monk in a race car –
their concentration is outstanding.

Read it online at Autonet.

Favourite line:

If winning comes down to a driver’s level of concentration, how about putting a monk behind the wheel?  Trophies ahoy!


Thanks for taking the time James! Best of luck this season.

Watch James coach me around my first track time here.

How he fared in this years Toronto Indy here.

Blog tag = the Mind (13)

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