Tag Archives: Honda

Honda Stream RSZ review RN6 1.8


Introduction

Well first and foremost this is the car i drive, but it does not mean biased, my style is to be direct regardless of if its my drive or not!

So what is a Stream, reason i am stating this is that the Stream is a rather rare vehicle in Sri Lanka, specially the cool RN6 version.  The Stream is based the FD-series Civic with an extended wheelbase, and what is categorically defined as the MPV version of the Civic, though in today’s term its more a “crossover” vehicle.  While Honda marketed the RE series as a MPV, the RN series marketing was more sporty, and it said Family coupe.. and you know what, i think that might be a correct definition, coz it definitely looks cool to be called that.

UPDATE (2-Feb-2014):  When i came to part replacement is when i noticed that the Stream and the Crossroad are identical, which makes sense since they are identical vehicles with the same chassis, except that the Crossroad is designed to look like and SUV, while the Stream more car like in design.  The Stream is also more spacious in that it has a longer overall length (hence you actually have a small boot when all seats are up, in the Crossroad there is zero boot space with all seats up), and the Stream also has more head and leg room in the second set of rear seats!  So from a family point of view i can see why the Stream was more popular and continued to sell for many more years unlike the Crossover which was discontinued in just 2+ years in Japan.

Exterior and Design

The design to me is really the key part of the RN6 Stream, as the older generation vehicle looked far too van like.  The RN6 Stream nose is aggressively and masculine, and also very different from the rest of the Honda range.  Initially it looks very different from the FD Civic that its based on, however when you park the car beside one you see both have the same side flanks, and its just the headlights and front grill that makes the cars look drastically different.  See http://specs.cars-directory.net/~compare?ids=NDMwMjEsNTQyOTQ= for a comparison with the equivalent FD series Civic.

The side profile is also very neat and hides the fact that its an MPV.  Loads of my mates mentioned that they don’ t mind owning a MPV if it looks cool as this.  In comparison vehicles such as the rival the Toyota Wish,and the more common Kia Carens.

The rear has some design elements lifted from the RD series CRV, and is less unique than the front design.  But still a very nice job specially when you compare it against most other MPVs and estates.

Interior and Space

The Stream amazes many by the very efficient interior space.  The car though having a 40mm stretch in wheelbase over the FD Civic, has shorter overhangs, so remains nearly the same in length but has vastly greater space.

The vehicle can easily seat someone as tall as 5′ 8″ in the 2nd set of rear seats in comfort!  The middle seats also have very good legroom, and are also very nicely contoured.  However a design element Honda has missed is that they have maintained the same door control layout for the rear, which means you have a 3″ jut in from these handles which reduces the interior width of the car.  With most Japanese cars having to constraint themselves to 1695mm in width, the designers should try to maximize the interior width for the middle seat so that that 3 adults can sit in reasonable comfort, or be able to allow an adult to sit with two car seats which can be a challenge with the Steam (and many other cars).  Making the middle seat controls on the door leaner to say 1″ thick, or placing the on the door would have made this an awesome fully capable 7-seater.  For now i would say its more a 6-seater unless you have 3 kids seated in the middle row seats.

Boot space with the last row folders is good, but once the seats are up the boot space is very minimal.  However i was surprised when i saw the Kia Sorento and the Mitsubishi Montero Sport, two popular 7-seaters in Sri lanka, also have the same volume of boot space when the second set of rear seats is up.  This shows how efficient Honda has been with the interior design, since the vehicle has a much shorter wheelbase than the two other vehicles.

Surprisingly for Honda, the method of getting into the 2nd rear seat can be a challenge as you have to bend and climb, and i would have preferred the fold and drag front style (as done in the Kia Sorento) which is way more easy.  Mazda opted for the sliding door with their Stream competitor the Premacy, but this makes the Mazda look more like van in design, which would put off most sporty crossover owners (like me!).

Performance and Drive

The car definitely is heavier than the FD civic due to the extra bulk, but still the engine has enough zist to keep the smaller 1.5liter engines at bay.  The RSZ spec seems to have a different gearbox to the standard auto, which helps on the performance end.   The paddle shift is an useful addition, and is definitely needed since like any single cam VTEC engines, the low end grunt is lacking, and you need to shift through your gears to get the vehicle moving, though once it is into the 3rd gear there is more grunt especially in S mode.

Update (Jan-2015): The gearbox I am getting the feeling is actually sourced from an Accord, which may explain why its smooth and quite advanced.  Also unlike the FD Civic, this has a normal auto gearbox. The FD Civic 1.8 and 2.0 vehicles have the CVT gearbox that has problems, the normal gearbox on the stream means no such issues as long as you change the oils at the said intervals.

However after test driving my colleagues FD civic, one area the Stream definitely has an edge is that ride and composure.  The ride is more compliant even though the RSZ comes with a more sporty suspension, and also handles rutty gutted roads a lot better.  The additional weight and extended wheelbase also helps in the area of handling, where its more resolved than its sedan counterpart.

Update (Dec-2013): The car has very good acceleration up to around 140-160kmph but after this you notice the vehicle acceleration drops dramatically and its up to the stretch of the road to get more speeds, though if you step on the pedal it is quite capable of picking speeds well above 170kmph.

Update (Feb-2014): I finally found a site that had done some performance test of the Stream, the car is rated at 9.8-10 seconds to 0-100kmph.   This makes it quite nippy for a car carrying a fair amount of weight. The performance of 0-140kmph is also the more important benchmark, as that’s where the more power and larger capacity engine outperforms the 1.5 liter cars that all offer decent 0-100kmph performance, but then trail off.

Fuel Economy

The impact of the additional weight of the vehicle is felt in city driving.  The key reason i noted is that the eco mode of the engine is over 10oorpm and under 1800rpm, a range which is hard to maintain in city conditions.  The engine power and torque graphs i got from another blog site gives you the idea.  Max torque is only at a rather high 4300rpm, which might seem comparable since the Toyota 1.8 VVTi engine also has a max torque at 4400rpm.  But the difference is that the Toyota engine is able to provide a more flatter (less revvy) torque distribution at the lower end that helps it maintain attain the economies while delivery near similar performance.

stream_1

Surprisingly the fuel economies of the Stream are pretty identical to the 150kg lighter 1.8L FD-series Civic, indicating that its engine performance impacting city driving fuel economies more than anything else! Come on Honda, lets have the dohc engines on the range shall we if not the city driving economies of the Honda’s are definitely not going to match the Toyota’s which seems to have oozes of pulling power with minimal RPM that helps them achieve those great fuel economies.

The vehicle performs very well in the highways where it feels more at home, but while the acceleration between 100-140 is superb, the acceleration beyond 160kmph is not great, and a 6-speed gearbox could have improved this.  I took my first drive on the “Southern Express” and had an overall average economy of over 12+ kmpl.  The vehicle was driven in peak day with full AC, and a full load with average speeds around 100+ kmph with a “brief” excursion to 155kmph on the tail of a Suburu Legacy 3.0 (which of course easily sustained and went ahead of the RSZ and seemingly doing well over 180kmph as it blazed ahead)

Update (Dec-2013): If i drove the vehicle around 110-120kmph which seems to its optimal speeds i clocked an indicated 14-18kmpl.

Update (Oct-2014): Drove on the southern express on a very rainy day, and I was mighty impressed on the stability of the vehicle in wet weather.  I had managed to keep up with many cars that were more powerful, and only gave way for a Freelander LR2 SD4, BMW E90 320d and a 520d.  However i found both bimmers and the Freelander slowing down as the weather got rainy, and i had no problems driving on these conditions.  Needless to say i left the bimmers and the Freelander behind as i kept my phase on the wet weather.

Update (Jan-2015): Took another trip on the Southern highway, and this time with 5 adults and 2 kids, and the car did 170kmph, indicating it still has the legs.

City / Urban – Peak Hours 7-8kmpl
City / Urban – Non Peak Hours 8-9kmpl
Outstation / Highway – Narrow roads 9-10kmpl
Outstation / Highway –Wide roads 10-12.5kmpl
Sri Lankan new (proper) highways 14-18kmpl

Cost of ownership

I have now owned this vehicle for almost 2 years, and the vehicle had been run in Japan for 3 years prior to my ownership.  The vehicle has over 80,000km on the odometer, and is still running with the original shocks which are in good condition.

I changed the original Yokohoma tires which seemingly had lasted almost 70,000km which is impressive, but sadly i could not find the identical tires here locally.  I had opt for the Kumho tires and that too a 215/55/17 as opposed to a 205/55/17 which was the original spec on the car.

UPDATE (Dec-2013): The Kumho tires were about 85% wasted (and i had done 28K on the tires) when the tire shop mechanic noted during the tire rotation that there was an unusual split on both the tires in the middle and he advised to replace them.  I then went to the dealer i brought it from (U&H Tire shop) and the sales chap who knew me when said lets ask the agent and see if they can provide you a replacement.  I was then routed to DIMO, who initially said nothing was wrong, and that i could drive safely until the tire wasted.  However i responded back saying the tire dealer had said this is a danger, and if they can vouch for the safety. They promptly then said they will check with the overseas branch and a week later they provide me a full 50-60% discount on top of the discounted rate and sent me two NEW Kumo tires (newer version of what i had).  While initially not impressed by the service, i must say that its good to see them honoring the warranty that we normally take for granted!

Brake pads in the front were changed at 70,000km and i am not sure when the previous owner had replaced the brakes, but i am now into around 10,000km an the brake pads are in good condition.  However i see a tendency for the rear brakes to be used a lot, not sure why.

The air filters required regular replacement mainly due to the very dusty conditions in my my area, where the vehicle is regularly soaked in dust and this causes the air filter to get dirty very quickly, and the impact of a dirty air filter is easily noticed on the pulling of the vehicle and the fuel economy.

One thing that has annoyed me with my Honda Fit and the Stream is that the front head lights start to pick a slight yellow hue, even though they are on stock bulbs, and this ruins the appearance of the car.  In addition with the Stream i noticed some scratch like marks which are internal appearing in the front lights, i am not sure if this is a problem due to the higher temperatures and humidity in Sri Lanka compared to Japan. However with the Stream sold in other Asian countries i am sure Honda should have designed for these challenges.

UPDATE (2-Feb-2014):  The odometer reading is now 105,000km, and the car is still solid.  From maintenance cost, i finally changed the shocks, since this car is not brought down by the dealer i had to get the shocks down.  The cost quoted by Stafford the agent was “crazy” and they wanted 3+ months even to get it by air freight, and i got the same original shocks down through the popular TechMotors for much less. However though i felt the shocks were wasted, the mechanics when replacing indicated that i could have run more (i guess what they say wasted is not to my standard)!  However i proceeded with the replacement since they had removed the units.

UPDATE (NOV-2014): The rattling front rack was driving me nuts, and finally ordered it and replaced it as well as the stabilizer links. I feel the agents diagnosis of the shocks being bad were wrong, it was actually the stabilizer links as the car now feels like new, and with the new rack its really like a new car.

UPDATE (Mar-2015): The odometer is now reading 114,000km, so a light year as i have done just over 9,000km only for an year, and mainly in cursed Colombo traffic 😦  I started getting a bit of humming noise, and the check with the agents mentioned that it was the wheel bearings.  I have ordered them ,and hope to replace them shortly.

Other Reviews

Reviews of this vehicle is harder to find, since the RN6 was not sold outside the Asian market unlike the RE series Stream.  Main reason being not to cannibalize their Civic and CRV sales, as the Stream and Fit together effectively took the Civic out of the Japanese domestic market!

Hence formal reviews are hard to but since i purchased this car without having a single vehicle to test drive (the RN6 had not been imported until then into Sri Lanka), I had to go by the reviews.  I did test drive the Wish and found it very bland (AE121 corolla with an extended un-seductive body!)

Here are links to reviews online on the car for anyone who is looking for a sporty yet practical vehicle that can seat 7 adults when required! and on any other day take it as a sporty sedan with a larger boot 🙂

A magazine article i found on the net to add to the knowledge base. TORQUE-August07-Civic-Shuttle-Service-Honda-Stream

UPDATE (10-Oct-2014): Found this great link that has the original brochures for Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong in scanned high res JPEGs https://www.flickr.com/photos/63416089@N06/collections/72157631864295137/

Advertisements

Honda Sri Lanka has (unofficial) expertise to support Hybrids cars


A friend of mine, a long time Honda owner who moved away from Nissan, decided to upgrade his car and could not digest any car other than a CVT gearbox due to the rather revvy nature that is rather addictive (the very feel that the Toyota engineers invested so much to hide as they felt the Toyota client based wanted the normal auto feel).  As a past owner of a CVT Honda Fit GD1, i can assure you that i really miss the Honda CVT revvy nature now that i am running a normal Honda auto gearbox equipped car.

He was set on the Airwave, but found that the car was discontinued in late 2008, and there was a gap before the Fit Shuttle was released in 2011.  But unlike the rather classy looking Airwave that looked so different from the GD Fit, the GE6 based Fit Shuttle has the same front end, but with the extended shell looks rather dull and boring (=ugly).   Local car dealers always smart to pick such opportunities have boosted the prices of Airwave cars that they have in their inventory since the recent updated import rules meant only cars older than 2 years from present can be imported stops any further Airwaves coming into the market.  Prices for a fully loaded Airwave (with the lovely moon roof) has sky rocketed that a Civic Hybrid is cheaper!   He then decided to go with an Honda Civic Hybrid since it too has CVT gearbox and also has luxury touch (not only in its looks, but also the Hybrid has the Alcantra seat covers even in the basic version) something which the Insight lacks.

He was fearful of the Hybrid support in Sri Lanka and had gone and spoken to the head of the technical division at Stafford, who introduced him to a new hire, an Hybrid expert (graduate!) from the States working for Stafford, and also indicated that they had sent a technician to Japan and got him versed on Honda Hybrids.

So it looks like Honda hybrids though not officially supported (that will only happen when they start selling Hybrids through the company!), has trained people at the agents.  Should be positive news for Honda Insight and Civic IMA Hybrid owners (and the lucky few who have got down the new Fit Hybrid).  Hopefully the next would the official importing of Hybrid Honda cars ………

Honda Civic no longer to be made in the Japanese market!


The classy and sporty option for the Corolla, Sunny users has always been the Civic.  Aided by the uber cool Type-R and the somewhat simmered down but yet sporty SiR the Civic has always captured the hearts of motorist.  The local motorist here also got access to the JDM only RS version which was a standard Civic with a bit more sporty suspension and external kit which though disappeared after the 7th generation Civic. The current (8th) generation Civic had such a futuristic design that it had Toyota delaying the launch of the Corolla to do some design tweaks, though that hardly made a difference as the Civic was a class on its own on the visual impact.

However it seems that in its homeland the Civic has been loosing out, not to competitors but to its own siblings, and based on the reports the nearly similar sized Honda Fit, and the Civic based Stream being the major causes.

However the Civic model will live on, as it still is a very popular car in other markets, and the new (9th) generation will be produced in the new Honda plant in Argentina.  The question remains though is what will happen to the highly acclaimed Type-R sedan.  While the European arm of Honda will surely develop a new Type-R hatch, the Japanese division were always one step ahead with an even more sharper and sporty sedan version.   Hopefully Honda will retain a team to make this car and keep the sporty Civic sedan image alive.

The links on this are many – one for instance http://www.dailytech.com/Report+Honda+Civic+Getting+Kicked+Out+of+Japan/article20165.htm

The small story of the two R’s, the Honda Civic Mugen RR vs the Honda Stream RSZ


Just had to add this to blog !

After years of some spirited driving, i have had to sizzle down my rather aggressive and speed/thrill crazy driving style with marriage and now father-hood!  While the regular drives are still very much greater than the normal folks, I usually control my desire to take on that occasional spirited fellow drivers with my aging maturity 🙂

However last evening i had this KL- registered Red Civic, with the RR badging which came alongside (I had it place as Type-R, but today my expert friend on local sport car imports confirmed that it was the Mugen RR – http://www.autoblog.com/2007/06/28/official-japan-gets-honda-civic-mugen-rr/, the ultimate front wheel drive sport car).  Seems the owner of the car was keen to find out what my Stream RSZ was all about.  Anyways this got me triggered and off we went on rather congested roads, the RR on the left and me on the right (or wrong, if you consider driving on the opposite side wrong) down bauddhaloka mawatha.  I got the advantage of having the opportunity to weave through the traffic more easily than the RR, and kept clear two color lights thanks traffic and some “casual” overtaking.

However the RR driver whoever it was, was a spirited chap and decide to follow the RSZ and show the true power of the RR.   Turned into Stanley Wijesundra Mw, and though i had switched to sports mode and 1st gear, the RSZ was shown the power of the RR as it just burst past, and kept moving.  The RR driver was still game as he definitely must have taken the foot of the accelerator as i started to close the gap at the end of the road as he turned into Reid avenue.  I decided that i needed one more view of the RR and took the turn at full throttle, and went through traffic (again in a very “Casual” manner) catching the RR driver a bit off guard as he then floored to catch up.  Somehow the RSZ remained ahead at the end of the road, as we turned into Thurstan road.

However this time around the RR driver had decided that enough was enough, and must have worked out that the RSZ was not in the same power league, and was also an automatic 🙂   Once into Thurstan road, not just 20m in the RR just burst through and showed me a clean pair of heels, and with my destination being Thurstan Road, i gracefully turned to the lane with my brakes and mechanicals having more than a dose of burning rubber aroma!

Two positives from that, one that the RSZ seems to catch the eye of even sporty drivers such as the RR, and that I was able to see the RR in its full glory, and had me wishing for an immediate change to a manual gearbox sporty sedan once more….

Message to myself – wake up, get back to the mature mode 🙂 To the RR driver good to see that RR (and a Honda) being driven the way it should be 🙂 and to see that buyers in Sri Lanka have taste and bring interesting vehicles, not just Allions, bulky SUVs and luxury sedans.

CVT gearboxes, how are they different from normal automatic gearboxes


With CVT gearboxes becoming a common feature on most cars that are being imported into Sri Lanka, specially after Toyota Japan has made it standard for all the common models (Axio, Allion, Premio, RAV4, etc).  However a lot seem unclear what is different from the CVT, specially since Toyota went to great lengths making many changes to the implementation of the CVT in Toyota’s to make it look and feel like a normal auto, hiding some of the characteristics that easily enabled a driver to know if the car had a CVT or not.

This tweaking has made many feel that CVT gearboxes are just like auto boxes, when in reality they are engineered very differently. A simple and quick guide that i would like to point out to people is http://cars.about.com/od/thingsyouneedtoknow/a/CVT.htm.  Hits the key points straight on such as the characteristics of a true CVT gearbox, and how manufacturers tweak it to hide the characteristics since most automatic users feel not comfortable with the normal jerky revy nature of the CVT gear ratio changes.

Important to note in CVT’s are,

1. There is no physical gear ratios, which in some ways makes it feel like a manual

2. The tiptronic buttons that say 5-speed, 7-speed simply are programing (software) implementation of ratios that gets applied as you change them, unlike in a true auto where it shifts into a different gear ratio

3. Though ATF oil was used in the past, issues faced by Honda with their CVT gearboxes and by Nissan in recent times have made auto makers develop a different gearbox / transmission fluid for CVT implementation.  However the gearbox itself has gone through changes, such as torque converters which were not used in early CVT gearboxes to reduce the loss in efficiency (some say 10%) were reintroduced, and the findings that the CVT gearboxes generated more heat has seen coolers being installed to maintain temperatures.  Hence the continued need for a higher cost CVT fluid maybe more marketing than fact, but with gearbox prices being high nobody wants to skimp to prove this 🙂

4. Implementations of the CVT gearboxes differ from manufacturer to manufacture, both in the physical as well as software.  Honda implementations seem to favor retaining the revvy nature of the CVT, as Honda owners feel they are driving something sporty.  However Toyota findings that their buyers preferred the automatics more smoother controlled changes has seen Toyota invest greatly to make the CVT gearbox mimic an auto.  Nissan one of the pioneer CVT implementers and a company that actually started using it in larger cars has never got much of the spotlight though they have many different variations of CVT.

However with the emergence of the dual clutch automatic gearboxes, which has shown that cars equipped with it could shift faster than a manual gearbox has made the CVT the second best auto implementation compared to the manual.  Dual clutch implementations are featured in many European cars, with VW group even having it on their cheap small cars such as the Polo. Sadly not seen much on this from the usual Japanese cars and companies.

Hybrids the good and the bad


A good site that hybrid buyers might want to checkout is http://www.greenhybrid.com as these provide rich discussions on most of the popular hybrids, and you can find some interesting issues.

While real life fuel efficiencies are definitely great in city driving conditions, the gains on open roads are less evident.  A common finding in UK is that the latest Turbo diesels return better or equal fuel efficiencies with less complexities than hybrids, however local taxes on diesels means we can’t import these great turbo diesels at low prices.

Some quick findings on hybrid batteries

  • Agent support seems very important, as unlike normal cars, these cars seem to need software upgrades, as this impact the battery usage efficiencies and the vehicle functionality as a hybrid
  • The battery depletion rate is impacted by the weather conditions, usage patterns.  Hotter weather conditions, regular idling seems to have impact on the battery life and efficiencies.
  • Battery efficiencies and lifetime is impacted by the batch and manufacture year.

More to come…

Hybrid cars in the Japanese market 2010


Hybrids are fast becoming popular solution, and the most awaited talked about in this market is the GM products that have taken so many years to get into production state. The first platform being the Chevrolet Volt, with Vauxhall have a re-badged version Ampera.  The key difference is unlike most hybrids where the electric motor is the secondary power source, the Volt/Ampera run purely on the electric motor, and the petrol engine does not power the car, but charges the battery.  Hence the car is actually marketed as an Electric car as opposed to an Hybrid. (Checkout – http://www.gm.com/vehicles/hybrids-and-electric/electric/)

However this car is planned for release in 2011, and possibly we might also see similar implementations from other vendors but considering the challenges GM faced in getting this implemented, its not going to happen soon.

So back to earth, what are the options that we have in the Japanese market since the Sri Lankan industry is driven by used cars coming out from that market.  The other new option that is starting to get popular is the new generation products from Hyundai/Kia.

MODEL TYPE PRODUCTION YEAR JAPAN CHASSIS CODE PETROL CC NOTES
TOYOTA HARRIER HYBRID SUV 2005 – current DAA-MHU38 (4WD) 

DAA-MHU33 (FF)

 

3310 Sold in the US as the RX400H
Toyota SAI Sedan 2009 – current DAA-AZK10 2362 LEXUS HS250 with Toyota badging
Toyota PRIUS 3rd generation Hatchback 2009 – current DAA-ZVW30 1797
Toyota PRIUS 2nd generation Hatchback 2003 – 2009 / current DAA-NHW20 1496 Seems the production of this continues parallel to the newer model
TOYOTA ALPHARD HYBRID 4WD Minivan 2003 – 2008 DAA-ATH10W 2362
HONDA INSIGHT 2nd generation Hatchback 2009 – current DAA-ZE2 1,339
Honda CRZ 3dr Hatchback 2010 – current DAA-ZF1 1,496
HONDA CIVIC HYBRID Sedan 2005 – current DAA-FD3 1339
Honda FIT HYBRID Hatchback 2010 – current DAA-GP1 1339 Honda GE6 hybrid version

Taxes reduced further for car imports to Sri Lanka


Contradictory to all industry expectations, and comments made by members handling policies, the taxes have been revised further to the astonishment of many.  While definitely good for car buyers, i am sure many who brought cars recently, or were waiting to sell and buy new would be a bit disturbed by the massive changes.

The only link i have found for now is http://lbo.lk/fullstory.php?nid=349762860

Based on this the reduction in prices will come from

1. Reduction in VAT from 20% to 12%

2. Aging/depreciation percentages have been increased that means less tax.  E.g. 3-3.5 year was 75%, now its 55%, 2-3 years was 80%, now its 60%.

3. Social responsibility levy(SRL) of 2% has been removed

4. Nation building tax (NBT) reduced by 1%

5. Regional infrastructure development (RDL) of 5% removed

However excise duties have been increased, details of which have not been mentioned (one mention being that it had been doubled), would be nice to see as this might level out any benefits from the VAT and aging/depreciation.   In the case the excise duty has been doubled, then even with the VAT and aging, prices potentially could go up for some cars!

But the big saving comes for hybrids and electric cars where the following exceptions are given it seems,

1. No VAT, so that means compared to old taxes its a 20% decrease in taxes, and compared to other cars 12% less in the revised taxing

2. Excise duty is not null for all it seems.  Its null for some, and reduced depending on the category, precise impact maybe model based.  The drop categories stated say 30 to 15%, 15, 15 to 5% and 5 to 0%.  We will need to wait for a more definitive tables to see how this gets applicable.

So looks like hybrid cars such as Honda Civic Hybrid, Toyota Prius, Toyota Harrier Hybrid, Honda Fit Hybrid etc are going to be hot cars.

Honda GE6 2008 Fit (CVT gearbox version) quick review


My brother got his GE6 2008 fit last week, the 1330cc version with the CVT gearbox. I was only able to do a quick test and hope to do a more thorough review shortly.  Here are my initial findings compared to the GD1 Fit i had.

  • The interior space is noticeably improved, the boot clearly a lot bigger
  • The seats are not a lot more supportive, something that you noticed if you were slightly larger or bulky in frame
  • The new honda steering wheel looks cool and so does the new console
  • The interior feels a lot more after market, but the quality of plastic is still low budget
  • The ride has definitely been improved, as the car is less jittery on rough surfaces, though humps are still an issue, but yes good improvement here
  • Road noise seems similar, so not much change there
  • I was expecting ground breaking changes in acceleration, but I did not notice any significant change in the urge, however i might now be corrupted after driving my Stream 1.8
  • The CVT gearbox seems to have been tuned now to behave more like a normal auto as its less frentic
  • The brakes in the GD1 use to give poor feedback though they worked well, and the same is there with the GE6
  • The crisp sharper front looks is definitely nicer, and the side profile makes the car a lot more larger than the GD1

My brother has been driving it mainly in the city, and the car is averaging 11-12kmpl, which is very good considering i was getting similar economies with the GD1, which was less powerful.  So the i-VTEC version though more powerful seems to be as good as the i-DSI version in fuel economy, impressive.

Fuel Economy

City / Urban – Peak Hours 10-11kmpl
City / Urban – Non Peak Hours 11-12kmpl
Outstation / Highway – Narrow roads 12-14kmpl
Outstation / Highway –Wide roads 16+ kmp

My bro had replaced the stock 14″ wheels with 15″, and had opted for a slightly higher profile, so the car now looks a bit jacked up, but does improve its ground clearance.  His initial feel was that increasing the wheel size had not impacted the vehicles dynamics and comfort.  Since he still retained the same sidewall size (65), i guess the comfort would not be impacted, though the tire roar may be greater (though that may depend on the tire as well).

Honda Stream 1.8 RSZ the first month


The vehicle got its first service at the agents, and the oil was changed as it was nearly time, and more importantly it had 0-20W oil which is not suited for local conditions. The agents recommended i save the cash and opt for normal oil due to my low mileage use, so it got 15-40W Havoline mineral oil.

A week later i noticed a screech in the brakes, and though Tek Motors had an OEM brake set for around 7K, i decided that will go with the originals even though they were price at 15K.  Since the car was new to SL the agents did not the parts manual in their systems, but i got the code from an Singapore Stream forum who were very helpful (Well they had the parts manual, but were as usual lazy to cross check what was compatible).  Though the codes are different it turns out the brakes are the same as the 1.8L FD1 civic.

The car had average fuel economy at 10.5 in the meter when i got it, but the first week it was doing only 7.5kmpl.  After the engine oil change the car is now doing around 8kmpl in colombo city traffic.  However if you can just control the foot it is able to return around 9.2kmpl but its very hard to control the temptation to step on the accelerator since the R18 engine comes to life only at the higher revs (unlike the GD1 fit which had all its power low down, and nothing much at the high ends).

Seems the car is still learning, and an ECU reset might be on call to make it fast track on learning.  However i doubt it i could get anything more than 9kmpl regardless of the fancy features the engine technology has, since its a heavy car (nearly 1400kg) and it has a standard auto.

The paddle-shift is proving to be useful, not just in the corners, but also when you need to get the car into cruise mode quickly, and also when you want to do that rapid overtaking. Unlike an manual or for comparison a CVT, the auto box has around a half second delay from the selection to engagement, but this is still okay compared to having nothing at all!

Honda Stream RN6 received


The car finally got cleared by customs and i picked it up last Thursday evening. I had to wait 2 hrs for the car to appear out from the customs gate, and it was also rather disheartening to see the Sri Lankan buyer being so traditional with the bulk of the cars coming out being Toyota’s (Vitz, Belta, Axio, Allion and Premio and a lone Camry). The only non-Toyota cars were a single nissan Qualis and two Honda’s, one an Airwave, and my Honda Stream.

The vehicle thus stood out in size and appearance and many a puzzled look wondering what this rather weird vehicle was! as it was not a traditional wagon in appearance, and neither was it a SUV considering its low ground clearance.

Have yet to get any significant miles under its wheels, and the first local service to change the engine oil awaits. The vehicle has been serviced with Honda Ultra Oil 0W-20. However this oil is thin for local conditions, and will need to use a 10-30/40 when servicing.

The quality of the interior is very good, and very practical and simple as Honda goes. The RSZ wheel being a key attraction. The seats are comfortable but still not great compared to one of the older cars i had before (the subaru legacy), though definitely better in comfort and support to the seats in my Honda Fit GD1. The seats in some ways were similar to the Honda Accord CF4 i owned prior to the GD1 Fit.

The engine seems a bit short on power at low RPM’s, i am not sure if its due to the change in conditions, or if the air filter is not clean. Need to check this during the service. However once you hit higher RPMs you hear the VTEC and the thrust though not anything wild to make your passenger hold on to their seats!

The ride is decent and very similar to the ES3 Civic RS i owned before, and not as capable of handling the bouncy and rutty roads in Sri Lanka. The RSZ maybe coming with a more sport suspension setup than the standard 1.8X, and the larger 17″ wheels with low profile tires also maybe a reason. I also found that the air pressure was 36, while we commonly use 28-30 due to the local road conditions. However i need to work the best air pressure that balances comfort with economy and handling as i go along.

The space is pretty decent that 7 could seat in relative comfort, and you could in theory have 3 seated in the rearmost seat if they were kids. However the car seat i have for my small chap is from the US and seems its made for the large SUV type cars which are wider than the standard 1695mm width set by Japanese standards for most of the cars. So sitting 2 adults with the car seat seems not a possibility, and for this you need to go higher to the CRV which has a wider interior. Legroom for the rear passengers is good, and some commented that the rear seats were more comfortable than the front, which is a very unusual situation indeed!

The car is yet to get used to local conditions, but with octane 95 fuel, the car is returning arond 8.5-9kmpl in the city under varying driving conditions, as i try to get myself familiar with the engine and car with my driving style.

Honda Fit / Jazz GE6 Transmission Types


The good old times that the Honda Fit / Jazz came with just the CVT option globally along with the manual seems to have disappeared, partially due to CVT issues that mainly has become a problem in the Asian region.

Just for GD1 users the transmission types were the

  • 5-speed CVT (You only have the D, S, L gears on the transmission stick, no +/- buttons on the steering wheel)
  • 7-speed CVT (You get the +/- buttons on the steering wheel)
  • 5-speed standard auto
  • The standard auto for the GD1 was offered in the US which surprisingly did not get the more advanced CVT solution, one wonders if Honda was a bit worried over the issues faced in the Asian region with the gearboxes. Whatever the reason the choice worked fine, as the car sold very well in the US, a country where most folks just loved large cars, though times are changing now with more and more smaller and fuel efficient cars entering that market (Just like the iPhone, to most folks in the states these cars may seem knew but little do they know these are tried and tested models in other countries that are being sold with a new set of clothes to make them look new).

    So okay back to the subject, what about the GE6,

    Well seems like most Asian markets are now playing safe by only offering the manual, standard auto and the new I-SHIFT (supposedly a manual gearbox with automatic controls). Initial review comments suggests that the CVT seems to be a much more driver oriented gearbox with better fuel efficiencies than the I-SHIFT version though Honda marketing may otherwise.

    The Japanese market though continues to get a CVT version of coupled to the 1.3L I-VTEC engine. This variant seems to feature technology lifted from the FD1 Civic such as drive-by-wire throttle control, etc which means the vehicle for a 1.3L gives out quite a bit of juice and jazz in its performance while sipping fuel very thriftily.

    Honda definitely has no fear in using CVT in their bigger models even globally, so the issue with the Jazz/Fit (and the new City) seems purely due to the GD1 catastrophe. To this date I still am extremely disappointed that Honda never ever sold the CVT issues even in latter models of the GD-Series Fit/Fit Aria/Jazz/City. Considering the car toiled for over 7 years with remarkable sales due to its ahead of time space efficiencies and fuel efficiencies, and Honda a company renowned for innovation says a puzzling story. Maybe they just did not want to replace all gearboxes if they introduced a new gearbox in that serious to avoid legal repercussions, though extending the warranty in many advanced markets to 7-years was a way they wanted to show confidence in their gearbox. Speculation speculation 🙂