SEMA 2019

Honda celebrates 60 years in the U.S. with 15 builds at SEMA (including one Chevy)

Honda is celebrating its 60th year selling vehicles in the U.S. with a big display at SEMA that includes this motorcycle.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

SUVs, trucks, and powersports machines are all on display as Honda stages its enthusiast-centric display at SEMA in a bid to show that the automaker is about more than just mundane mommy-centric mobility.

Here's what Honda has brought to SEMA this year.

1968 Honda S800 Coupe “Outlaw”

1968 Honda S800 Coupe \u201cOutlaw\u201d

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

Producer and actor Daniel Wu, most famous for playing Sunny in "Into the Badlands" built this custom 1968 Honda S800 Coupe "Outlaw". The vehicle is based on one of the first production cars Honda ever made. Instead of doing an engine swap, Wu had the original engine completely rebuilt, adding a custom exhaust system made by GReddy. There's a custom body kit by Pandem's Kei Miura that features custom flares, a custom air dam, and a 2-inch lower suspension. Its fender flares make the vehicle 4-inches wider and support widened wheels wrapped in Toyota R888R tires. The vehicle has a custom interior with red leather seating.

Proctor Racing Talon 1000R

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

Proctor Race Group has given the Talon design and equipment touches that are meant to reflect Honda's racing routes. It as Sparco seats mounted with Jsport SXS aluminum seat mounts, Mastercraft cam-lock harnesses, a custom MPI Innovations steering wheel, KMC "Grenade" bead-lock wheels, 32-inch EFX Motohammer tires, Jsport SXS front and rear bumpers, a Jsport SXS intrusion bumper, and a strut-mounted spare tire carrier.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid “Do” Build by Jsport Performance Accessories

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

The 2020 CR-V Hybrid "Do" was created for weekend warriors that need to everyday practicality that the CR-V offers but also the capability to get them to a trailhead with all their equipment. It features a 1.5-inch lift kit, side steps, and roof basket from Jsport, 17-inch KMC off-road wheels with Nitto Terra Grappler all-terrain tires, and a Cannondale mountain bike mounted to the roof basket.

Ridgeline HFP Concept with Lifestyle Accessories

Ridgeline HFP Concept with Lifestyle Accessories

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

Honda Factory Performance is exploring a more rugged Ridgeline with this build, which features a lift, widened track, and all-terrain tires on 18-inch bronze-finished HFP alloy wheels. The truck's bed holds custom Fuji mountain bikes that are standing in Thule bed bike fork mounts. There's also a Thule Xsportser bed rack and Kukenam 3 tent on the Ridgeline.

City Slicker 2019 Super Cub 125

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

Steady Garage built the City Slicker Super Club, chopping and shortening its front and rear fenders, and retrofitting the front suspension with aftermarket parts designed for the Honda Ruckus. It has custom hubs with three-piece front and rear wheels. It has a custom two-tone green and off-white paint job that was done by Midnight Garage/Advance Auto Group and custom seats by Rogelio's Auto Upholstery. It gets its deep, throaty roar from the Yoshimura Magnum GP exhaust system.

Heritage Chevy Truck with Vintage Cub and CB160

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

Honda has faithfully recreated a 1961 Chevrolet half-ton pickup that was used by American Honda Motor Co. Inc. shortly after the company opened for business in 1959. It's modeled after the one used in the 1961 photo that was originally in front of Honda's first office in Los Angeles. The truck features hand-painted lettering and period-correct trim. In the truck's bed are two motorcycles that played a big role in the creation of the company's U.S. presence, a 1965 Honda 50 and a 1965 Honda CB160.

2019 CRF1000L Africa Twin Adventure Sports

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

With this display, Honda expands the story of the CRF1000L Africa Twin to include a new family member, the CRF1000L2 Africa Twin Adventure Sports. The new model is even more off-roading ready and comes equipped with features designed for camping including more off-road friendly tires and gear for sleeping under the stars.

Rally Passport

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

This model was built by Honda R&D as a private, after-hours showcase of the off-roading potential of the 2019 Honda Passport. It is designed to compete in a stage rally competition in the Limited 4WD class of the American Rally Association. The vehicle placed second in its class and 12th overall out of 75 competitors in the Southern Ohio Forest Rally. Modifications made to the model for the rave include a roll cage and safety equipment, Maxxis RAZR MT Tires on Braid Wheels, Carbotech brake pads, front and rear skid plates, and a hand-operated hydraulic brake.

Honda Super Tuner Legends Series Winner: N600

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

This head-turner was built by Dean Williams and is now owned by Stephen Mines. If features a Honda VFR 800cc V4 motorcycle engine under its hood, which drives the rear wheels on a modified Mazda MX-5 Miata suspension system. It has a 12,000 RPM redline and a deep growl coming from the exhaust. The hot rod came out on top at the Honda Super Tuner Legends Series competition this year.

2020 CR-V “Dream” Build by Jsport Performance Accessories

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

The "Dream" kicks it up a notch from the "Do." The model was designed for overlanding adventurers who don't need a high level of capability but still want a properly equipped vehicle for their journey. The mods list for the CR-V is extensive and includes a 1.5-inch lift kit, side steps, front bumper, rear tire gate, and Plateau modular roof rack from Jsport, 17-inch KMC off-road wheels with Nitto Ridge Grappler all-terrain tires, and a Roofnest Falcon clamshell-style rooftop tent. An organization cabinet and a slide-out refrigerator are located in the CR-V's cavernous cargo area.

Honda Tuning 2018 Civic Si Project by Super Street Magazine

Honda Tuning 2018 Civic Si Project by Super Street Magazine

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

This Civic Si was designed to test multiple aftermarket products and put the Civic Si through its performance paces. Modifications include an intake and intercooler kit, an ECU re-flash, complete front-to-rear exhaust system, a complete turbo kit with a new downpipe, lower-positioned seats with more pronounced thigh and side bolsters, an adjustable length and height shifter, and adjustable gas pedal spacer. All the mods are completely reversible.

Jeanneret Racing and Olson Kustom Works Civic Si Drift Car

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

The modifications to this Civic Si change it from sporty commuter to a full blown drift car. It has extensive chassis modifications that change it from a front-wheel drive car to a rear-wheel drive one and engine transformations that reorient the K24 engine and bring its ability up to a competition-spec 926 horsepower. Chassis, engine and body modifications to the Formula Drift vehicle were performed in-house in conjunction with Jeanneret Racing and Olson Kustom Works.

Super Street 2000 Civic Si Challenge Winner

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

In 2000, this 1999 Honda Civic Si was modified by Super Street magazine then preserved by American Honda as a showpiece of early 21st century innovation. All of its modifications were completed with just a $10,000 budget. After winning, the Super Street Honda Civic Si was duplicated by Mattel as a 1:18-scale model.

2019 Monkey 125 “SARU with Love”

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

This model, built by Arthur Yang, features a whopping 125 aftermarket enhancements including forged aluminum wheels, a titanium exhaust system, aluminum swing arm, CNC side-plate covers, and an Over Racing handlebar system. Over Racing has given the vehicle a refitted suspension using Ohilns components with a Chimera Engineering ram intake. There's also a Kitaco seat and an Asia-spec light conversion.

Custom CRF450L “Grey Area”

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

If you've tuned in to see Honda Supercross and Motocross racer Cole Seely's vlogs, you know that he's outfitted this Custom CRF450L "Grey Area" with a number of modifications. Working with Bleach Design Werks, Seely added black Dubya wheels and Throttle Jockey helped design the vehicle's graphics. Its suspension has been upgraded for supercross duty.

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The CX-5's styling is sharp and clean.

Mazda

Crossovers have clearly become the family vehicle of choice. Minivans and large sedans are far less common than they used to be as buyers opt for the relative plushness and more generous space offered by utility vehicles. That's not a bad thing, but many people will find the increasing levels of sameness in the crossover market to be off-putting.

Thankfully, Mazda is here to help keep things interesting. Its CX-5 takes a different approach than its rivals. Where vehicles like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V focus on comfort and efficiency over almost everything else, Mazda managed to jam in loads of vehicle feedback and engagement. Behind the wheel, the crossover feels and sounds much more alive and responsive than its competition. Jumping out of a larger vehicle and into the CX-5 felt like a shock at first, as the Mazda's steering wheel delivers real, actual feedback and transmits a picture of what's going on underneath the vehicle, which is something not often seen outside of expensive performance vehicles.


2021 Mazda CX-5 The CX-5's cabin is more upscale than its rivals. Mazda


Engaging Powertrains

The CX-5's base four-cylinder engine is fine, but the turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is where things start to get interesting. It bumps the standard mill's 187 horsepower to 250 and gives off a pleasing turbo whine under heavy throttle. It pairs almost perfectly with the six-speed automatic transmission and delivers surprising power and torque. My test vehicle's all-wheel drive gave the CX-5 a surefooted feel, and from experience I can say that it's worth the added cost if you live anywhere with legitimate winter weather.

There are a few tradeoffs that come along with the CX-5's level of driver engagement, largely related to interior space and noise levels. While the Mazda's cabin is comfortable and is in no way low-rent, a great deal of wind, road, and drivetrain noise make their way into the vehicle at all times. You could argue that this is just another expression of the CX-5's connection with its driver, and you'd be right in some cases. At many times, however, such as when taking the kids to school or just running to the grocery store, it gets tiresome. Your five-year-old won't care about how good the steering feel is when they have to keep asking you to crank up the volume on their podcast story. The noise level is most noticeable around town with the constant stop and go of traffic.

The other main drawback with the CX-5, at least for families (like mine) that don't travel lightly, is interior space. Thanks to its curves and beautifully sloped roof, the Mazda's cargo hold is not as spacious as some of its rivals, such as the Volkswagen Tiguan, Honda CR-V, or Toyota RAV4. That dramatic shape also makes the rear seat feel tighter than it reads on paper, but thanks to a friendly ride height and large rear door openings, parents will have no issues with loading kids in car seats.


2021 Mazda CX-5 A sloping roofline can make rear-seat headroom challenging for taller people.Mazda


Great Tech and Safety

Mazda bumped the CX-5's infotainment screen size from 7.0 to 10.3 inches across the board for 2021, but there's no touchscreen here. Instead, the system is controlled using a rotary dial and volume know that are mounted behind the gear shifter in the center console. It's a responsive and fairly straightforward process to use and control the system, but scrolling through long menus or trying to wade through several options using the rotary controller becomes tiresome and distracting at times.

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 was named a Top Safety Pick + by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). That award is due in part to the crossover's excellent performance in crash tests, but also comes thanks to its long list of standard advanced driver aids. All models get a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, lane departure warnings with lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, a smart brake support system, and high beam control. My top trim tester also got a driver attention alert system, front and rear parking sensors, and a 360-degree monitor.

It's hard to ignore the quality, value, and fun that the CX-5 brings to the table, even considering how good its competitors have gotten. With a price tag that maxes out under $40,000, the Mazda's driving experience and plush interior should put it at the top of shoppers' lists. Its few drawbacks don't spoil the overall package, and only really present a problem for families of four or more – like mine. Those people, myself included, should be shopping for a slightly larger vehicle, anyway, and for them, there's the Mazda CX-9.


2021 Mazda CX-5 The CX-5 is one of the most fun-to-drive crossovers on sale today.Mazda

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Friday auction find

Is this the cleanest Honda Prelude left?

This 22-year-old Honda looks almost new.

Cars and Bids

It's Friday, which means we're rounding out the week by obsessing over sales listings and car auctions. It's a good time to be looking, if only from a distance, because there are cars like this 1999 Honda Prelude Type-SH just waiting for us to take them home.

We hear it all the time, but this is likely one of the cleanest remaining fifth-generation Preludes around today. No modifications have been performed, which alone makes this car rare, but the mileage takes the exclusivity a step further. With just 28,700 miles on the clock, this Prelude is nearly new.

The Prelude's 2.2-liter inline-four made 200 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque when new, and this one's mileage is low enough that those numbers are likely still close to accurate. A five-speed manual is on board here, and despite the fact that the car is front-wheel drive, Honda made numerous upgrades to the car that gave it sharp handling.


1999 Honda Prelude Type SH Manual transmission and patterned cloth seats. Does it get much better?Cars and Bids


The Prelude Type-SH was better than its standard counterpart in nearly every measurable way. It rode on 16-inch alloy wheels and lowered suspension that set it an inch lower than the normal car. It also features an active torque transfer system, which could transfer as much as 80 percent of drive power to the outside wheel during cornering. Independent front and rear suspension rounded out the package to make the Prelude Type-SH a quick and nimble front-drive car.

It's easy to get wrapped up in the nostalgia of these cars. After all, for many of us they bring back fond memories of our school years, when cars like the Prelude were new and unobtainable by most young drivers. Even so, it's important to remember that a 20-plus-year-old Honda won't provide a modern driving experience and won't be as sharp as you probably think it will. That's not enough to stop many people (us included) from wanting one, but it's worth noting.


1999 Honda Prelude Type SH The Type SH features many upgrades over the standard Prelude.Cars and Bids

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