Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mitsubishi Eclipse 2011 Vehicle Overview

The 2011 Mitsubishi Eclipse coupe, however, just can't keep up with the latest sport coupes and hot hatches. Pros, Avant-garde styling, one of the few convertibles in its price range, powerful V6 in GT, comfortable front seats, relatively roomy cargo area. Cons, Poor outward visibility with convertible, sluggish acceleration with GS models, torque steer with GT, small backseat, no telescoping wheel, lackluster interior quality.

The dearth of similarly priced convertibles makes the Eclipse Spyder worth a look. The base 2011 Mitsubishi Eclipse gets a price reduction for 2011 and standard alloy wheels. Heated leather front seats and a power driver seat are now standard on the GS Sport. The GT can no longer be had with a manual transmission. All Eclipse coupes get a blacked-out roof.

Powertrains and Performance
Every 2011 Mitsubishi Eclipse is front-wheel drive. GS models are powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 162 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. The GS comes standard with a five-speed manual, while a four-speed automatic is optional on the GS and standard on the GS Sport. Estimated fuel economy with the automatic is 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined.

The Eclipse GT gets a 3.6-liter V6 good for 265 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic is standard. This engine requires premium fuel and its estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined.

The 2011 Eclipse comes standard with four-wheel antilock brakes, stability control and front seat side airbags. The coupe features front side curtain airbags and the Spyder gets taller side airbags that cover occupants' heads. There are no rear head restraints. The Eclipse Spyder received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's top rating of "Good" in both the frontal-offset and side crash tests.

Driving Impressions
For many drivers, the 2011 Mitsubishi Eclipse's driving dynamics may be a bit of a disappointment. The GT's V6 produces plenty of power, but getting all those horses to the pavement can often result in a large dose of wheelspin and torque steer. In contrast to the V6, the four-cylinder struggles with the Eclipse's heavy curb weight -- acceleration with the smaller engine could best be described as anemic.

Another item of contention would be the large turning circle, which necessitates many more multiple-point turns than with other vehicles. Overall handling should satisfy most drivers, but those with an appetite for performance would likely find inspiration in any number of competing sport coupes or hatchbacks. The Spyder exhibits a little more chassis flex over bumps than we'd like, but it's not enough to spoil an otherwise enjoyable driving experience.

Honda CR-Z 2011 Review

A sporty hybrid? At first glance, the 2011 Honda CR-Z might seem a bit oxymoronic. After all, Americans expect their hybrid cars to be purely about fuel economy, with flowers, rainbows and unicorns coming out of the tailpipe. But Honda is hoping that people are ready for a car that not only gets very good fuel economy but also happens to be fun to drive -- a hybrid without the drive-induced narcolepsy, if you will.

Hard-core enthusiasts will likely be disappointed, but somebody just looking for a sporty two-door with good fuel economy will likely be pleased with the 2011 Honda CR-Z.

Pros, Nimble size and handling, quick steering, good fuel economy, sporty looks. Cons, Poor rearward visibility, most competitors have backseats, missing a few upscale features.

Honda Odyssey 2011 Vehicle Overview

The all-new 2011 Honda Odyssey looks poised to pick up from where its class-leading predecessor left off. The Honda Odyssey is completely redesigned for 2011.

The minivan isn't as popular as it once was, but it remains the quintessential form of transportation for families big and small. No other vehicle offers the type of versatility and space for kids and the copious amount of stuff that invariably comes along with them. The 2011 Honda Odyssey is a completely redesigned entry among this dwindling number of minivans, replacing a model that was widely considered to be the best in its class for a decade. In other words, it has some very big shoes to fill.

The 2011 Odyssey is an inch-plus shorter in height than before, but has gained an inch-plus in width, creating a slightly sleeker appearance aided by a wedge-shaped front fascia and unique "lightning-bolt" character line. Aside from being a design flourish, this character line also improves visibility for passengers in the third row of seats, who will also enjoy a greater amount of knee and shoulder room. Honda says three adults can sit back there, but we're thinking the middle spot's fold-down armrest will be utilized more frequently.

Minivans are renowned for setting themselves apart with never-before-seen features. Some, like the Odyssey's flip-and-fold third-row seat became an industry standard, while others, like the last Odyssey's middle-row Lazy Susan storage bin have been quickly forgotten. This time around, the Odyssey introduces a small refrigerated storage compartment beneath the center stack controls, a trash bag holder, second-row seats that shift laterally to make room for child seats and a wide-screen entertainment system with an HDMI input. The new Odyssey also improves upon previously introduced features, like a simplified process for lowering the third-row seat and an enlarged second-row removable middle seat.

Honda has not yet released full details about the 2011 Odyssey's powertrain, but we do know it will continue to only be available with front-wheel drive and a 3.5-liter V6. Honda's cylinder deactivation system is now standard on every Odyssey and fuel economy is estimated to be 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. This is a significant improvement versus the last Odyssey (especially those trims without cylinder deactivation) and better than the new Toyota Sienna's four- and six-cylinder engines.

More details about the 2011 Honda Odyssey will be coming soon, including available trims and equipment, as well as exact dimensions and specifications. Check back for a full review of how this new Odyssey stacks up against its minivan competitors before it hits dealerships in the fall.
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