Honda Recalls 1.2 Million Accords Over Fire-Prone Batteries

According to MSN Auto News Honda is recalling 1.2 million accords whose batteries might catch fire. Owners of Accord midsize sedans from model years 2013-2016 should call Honda customer service at 1 (888) 946-6329.

The issue is with sensors on the battery’s negative terminal that were not properly sealed to resist moisture. Road salt can cause corrosion and possibly a short, which in turn creates heat and potentially fire. Honda has already reported four incidents of engine fires from exposed battery sensors. Thankfully none of these incidents caused injury or death. All incidents happened in the U.S. during winter months when road salt was being used.

As is the routine, owners will be notified and dealers will replace faulty sensors free of charge. Sensors that show no signs of corrosion will still receive an adhesive sealant and will be replaced once parts become available.

Honda May Face 35 Million Dollar Fine

Although automakers are required to report deaths and injury claims involving their vehicles to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, automaker Honda failed to report 1,729 serious accidents that involved death or injury between 2003 and 2014. Honda blames computer programming and data entry errors.

This under-reporting could cost this automaker tens of millions of dollars.

Honda finds itself in a turbulent ocean – as the news of the under-reporting comes upon them as they deal with the recall of some 6 million cars world wide that contain the Takata airbags. Airbags that can explode and hit passengers with shrapnel. Honda has acknowledged four deaths involving the Takata airbags. Eight of the unreported seventeen hundred some accidents involved the Takata airbags.

The mistakes have come to light after NHTSA asked Honda to conduct an internal review of its reporting process.

NHTSA has not yet announced if it will fine Honda, but could fine them a maximum of 35 million dollars—a hit GM had to take for a decade long delay in reporting faulty ignition switches that were tied to at least 35 deaths. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has stated that the 35 million dollar limit amounts to little more than a “rounding error” for an Automaker like Honda who makes billions of dollars a year. His department is petitioning Congress to raise the limit to 300 million.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2014/11/24/news/companies/honda-underreport-deaths-injuries/index.html?iid=HP_LN

Joe Victor

For the economy-minded: Here are the 10 Coolest Cars under $18,000

Kelly Blue Book has a list of the 10 Coolest cars under $18,000.

  1. 2013 Chevrolet Spark
  2. 2013 Honda Civic
  3. 2013 Volkswagen Jetta
  4. 2013 Fiat 500
  5. 2013 Mazda MAZDA3
  6. 2013 Dodge Dart
  7. 2013 Honda Fit
  8. 2013 Kia Soul
  9. 2013 Ford Focus
  10. 2013 Hyundai Veloster

(When you go the Kelly Blue Book site (link above) you will be asked for your zip code so you will get the current pricing for your area.)

~ The Victor crew

Joe asks Jody Victor: 10 Best Values In Used Cars, 2012

If you are in the market for a used car, you may have trouble finding one. Here’s Jody Victor® telling us about it from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger.

Jody Victor®: Hey, Joe, sometimes a used car is the way to go, no matter what kind of vehicle you are looking for. But since the Great Recession, used cars have not been around – people are hanging on to their older cars longer. Here’s a list, in two parts, from msn.com  that will give you something to go on.

2008 Hyundai Sonata GLS

Price when new: $19,545 (automatic)
Dealer used price: $9,902
Private-party price: $8,731
Certified used price: $11,480
MPG (city/hwy): 21/30

Hyundai’s Sonata offers a thrifty 2.4-liter engine, standard stability control and six airbags. Plus, it keeps ownership costs low — the brand’s 5-year/60,000-miles new-car warranty and five-year no-charge roadside assistance transfer to new owners (they get the remainder of both). The famed 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, however, doesn’t transfer.

2009 Subaru Impreza 2.5i sedan

Price when new: $18,190
Dealer used price: $12,191
Private-party price: $10,967
Certified used price: $12,859
MPG (city/hwy): 20/27

Engaging driving dynamics and Subaru’s always-standard all-wheel drive are only part of the Impreza’s appeal. It garnered a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS and has side and side-curtain airbags. If a collision causes the front airbags to deploy, smart technology protects the driver and front-seat passenger. Sensors measure the driver’s proximity to the steering wheel, as well as the passenger’s weight (to determine whether a child or an adult is occupying the seat), and adjust the airbags’ force accordingly.

2009 Chevrolet Malibu 1LT

Price when new: $23,225
Dealer used price: $13,114
Private-party price: $11,937
Certified used price: $14,141
MPG (city/hwy): 22/33

With its 2008 redesign, the Malibu garnered a lot of accolades: Kiplinger’s Best New Car and Best in Class awards were just a cherry topping to the industry’s prestigious North American Car of the Year award. But to play it safe, we recommend buying a redesigned vehicle in the second year of production — the first year’s examples often have kinks to work out. For 2009, stability control became standard across the trim lineup, along with side and side-curtain airbags.

2009 Nissan Rogue S

Price when new: $21,020
Dealer used price: $14,971
Private-party price: $13,435
Certified used price: $16,123
MPG (city/hwy): 22/27

After a 2008 redesign, when we named it Best New Small Crossover, the Rogue ascended to Kiplinger’s Best in Class award for 2009. Its stylish exterior complements the value it holds inside — including a peppy 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, stability and traction control, and six airbags. Plus, it was rated a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.

2008 Honda CR-V LX

Price when new: $21,370
Dealer used price: $15,135
Private-party price: $14,089
Certified used price: $16,402
MPG (city/hwy): 20/27

A perennial Kiplinger’s Best New and Best Used pick, the CR-V keeps its value throughout its lifespan. It boasts fuel economy on par with a midsize sedan, but it has more than twice the cargo capacity (36 cubic feet behind the rear seats). Its standard stability control and six airbags helped win it a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS.

Thanks, Jody! More next time.

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: Best Quality Cars III

Well, we’ve gone through quite a list, but coming up are some of my favorites. Here’s Jody Victor®  with the next installment of the best quality cars for 2012.

Jody Victor®: Hey Joe, some of these are my favorites too. Installment number 3 from an article by Cliffor Atiyeh of msn.com.

Top Premium Sport Car: Porsche 911

Somehow, Porsche ends up having fewer problems than Honda or Mercedes (we’ll chalk it up to lower production volume and fewer miles traveled). Whatever the reason, the 911 is a fantastic way to spend upwards of $80,000. It’s practical, conservative-looking, yet altogether badass when the time comes to push it on a favorite back road. Among sports cars, the 911 is an indisputable legend that’s been going strong for five decades.

Top Compact Crossover/SUV: Honda CR-V

In 1997, the CR-V was one of the few compact crossovers, and Honda got it right from the start. With its slim proportions, all-wheel drive and generous cargo room, the CR-V is about as utilitarian as anyone really needs. The 4-cylinder engines are snappy and good on fuel, and while the interiors need some improvement and the doors feel flimsy, there’s a lot of well-engineered car here.

Top Compact MPV: Kia Soul

While hip-hop hamsters drive it on TV, in real life the Kia Soul is driven by all sorts of people, much like how Scion has attracted buyers beyond its original “youth” demographic. The boxy Soul, with its pulsing speaker lights and oddball cloth textures, is fun to drive and invites stares. Generous cargo space, simple controls and Kia’s impressive powertrain warranty seal the deal.

Top Entry Premium Crossover/SUV: Infiniti EX

The EX crossover is essentially a G sedan with more headroom and a hatch. Therefore, it nearly matches the G’s aggressive attitude, with crisp handling and powerful acceleration that’s livelier than an Audi Q5. The interior is feeling a little old next to Infiniti’s other models, and the ride can be rough at times. But it’s nice to have a crossover exhibiting some old-fashioned soul.

Top Midsize Crossover/SUV: Buick Enclave

Among three-row SUVs, this Buick outsells them all. It’s a stylish, ultraquiet family hauler with all the trimmings — and unlike previous Buick SUVs, it’s not a carbon copy of a cheaper Chevrolet. For 2013, the Enclave gets a mild refresh with more soft-touch interior materials and other moderate improvements. If you can stand minivans, you won’t do much better for the price than this Buick.

Top Large Crossover/SUV: Ford Expedition

This is a weird choice, considering that the Expedition has been long forgotten in the Ford lineup in favor of smaller, more fuel-efficient SUVs. For its sheer towing capacity, living-room size and brute strength, it’s hard to argue with an Expedition or its luxury cousin, the Lincoln Navigator. We’d like to think that better, more modern V8-powered 3-row SUVs are available.

Thanks, Jody! More next time!

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: Best Quality Cars, 2012 III

I’m hoping this part of the list has some of my favorites. Here’s Jody Victor® with the third installment of J.D. Power and Associates’ best quality cars for 2012.

Jody Victor®: Joe, I think your favorites might be in this part. Here you go, part 3, from an article by Cliffor Atiyeh of msn.com.

Top Premium Sport Car: Porsche 911

Somehow, Porsche ends up having fewer problems than Honda or Mercedes (we’ll chalk it up to lower production volume and fewer miles traveled). Whatever the reason, the 911 is a fantastic way to spend upwards of $80,000. It’s practical, conservative-looking, yet altogether badass when the time comes to push it on a favorite back road. Among sports cars, the 911 is an indisputable legend that’s been going strong for five decades.

Top Compact Crossover/SUV: Honda CR-V

In 1997, the CR-V was one of the few compact crossovers, and Honda got it right from the start. With its slim proportions, all-wheel drive and generous cargo room, the CR-V is about as utilitarian as anyone really needs. The 4-cylinder engines are snappy and good on fuel, and while the interiors need some improvement and the doors feel flimsy, there’s a lot of well-engineered car here.

Top Compact MPV: Kia Soul

While hip-hop hamsters drive it on TV, in real life the Kia Soul is driven by all sorts of people, much like how Scion has attracted buyers beyond its original “youth” demographic. The boxy Soul, with its pulsing speaker lights and oddball cloth textures, is fun to drive and invites stares. Generous cargo space, simple controls and Kia’s impressive powertrain warranty seal the deal.

Top Entry Premium Crossover/SUV: Infiniti EX

The EX crossover is essentially a G sedan with more headroom and a hatch. Therefore, it nearly matches the G’s aggressive attitude, with crisp handling and powerful acceleration that’s livelier than an Audi Q5. The interior is feeling a little old next to Infiniti’s other models, and the ride can be rough at times. But it’s nice to have a crossover exhibiting some old-fashioned soul.

Top Midsize Crossover/SUV: Buick Enclave

Among three-row SUVs, this Buick outsells them all. It’s a stylish, ultraquiet family hauler with all the trimmings — and unlike previous Buick SUVs, it’s not a carbon copy of a cheaper Chevrolet. For 2013, the Enclave gets a mild refresh with more soft-touch interior materials and other moderate improvements. If you can stand minivans, you won’t do much better for the price than this Buick.

Thanks, Jody! Can’t wait until the last bunch.

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: Best Quality Cars, 2012 Part III

So far, we’ve seen about what you would expect in the choices for best vehicles. I asked Jody Victor® to continue with the third installment from an article by Clifford Atiyeh of MSN Autos and msn.com.

Jody Victor®: Hey Joe, this next segment will be a refreshing change-up. Some of our favorites are included. So here we go.

Top Premium Sport Car: Porsche 911

Somehow, Porsche ends up having fewer problems than Honda or Mercedes (we’ll chalk it up to lower production volume and fewer miles traveled). Whatever the reason, the 911 is a fantastic way to spend upwards of $80,000. It’s practical, conservative-looking, yet altogether badass when the time comes to push it on a favorite back road. Among sports cars, the 911 is an indisputable legend that’s been going strong for five decades.

Top Compact Crossover/SUV: Honda CR-V

In 1997, the CR-V was one of the few compact crossovers, and Honda got it right from the start. With its slim proportions, all-wheel drive and generous cargo room, the CR-V is about as utilitarian as anyone really needs. The 4-cylinder engines are snappy and good on fuel, and while the interiors need some improvement and the doors feel flimsy, there’s a lot of well-engineered car here.

Top Compact MPV: Kia Soul

While hip-hop hamsters drive it on TV, in real life the Kia Soul is driven by all sorts of people, much like how Scion has attracted buyers beyond its original “youth” demographic. The boxy Soul, with its pulsing speaker lights and oddball cloth textures, is fun to drive and invites stares. Generous cargo space, simple controls and Kia’s impressive powertrain warranty seal the deal.

Top Entry Premium Crossover/SUV: Infiniti EX

The EX crossover is essentially a G sedan with more headroom and a hatch. Therefore, it nearly matches the G’s aggressive attitude, with crisp handling and powerful acceleration that’s livelier than an Audi Q5. The interior is feeling a little old next to Infiniti’s other models, and the ride can be rough at times. But it’s nice to have a crossover exhibiting some old-fashioned soul.

Top Midsize Crossover/SUV: Buick Enclave

Among three-row SUVs, this Buick outsells them all. It’s a stylish, ultraquiet family hauler with all the trimmings — and unlike previous Buick SUVs, it’s not a carbon copy of a cheaper Chevrolet. For 2013, the Enclave gets a mild refresh with more soft-touch interior materials and other moderate improvements. If you can stand minivans, you won’t do much better for the price than this Buick.

Thanks, Jody! More next time!

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: 12 Best in Class Car Values, 2012

There were some great vehicles in that last batch. So here we go again. Jody Victor will tell us the rest from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger and msn.com.

Jody Victor: As we saw in the first part, there were some great vehicles. Now, I’ll finish with the rest – equally great vehicles.

CARS $50,000 AND OVER: MERCEDES-BENZ E-CLASS BLUETEC

Sticker price: $52,565 (Luxury)
Invoice price: $48,947
TrueCar national average price: $48,997
3-year resale value: 56%, 5-year: 37%
City mpg: 21, Hwy: 32

Best in Class for the second year in a row, the E-Class diesel sedan proves it can go the distance on value. The BlueTec’s fuel economy — 32 miles per gallon on the highway — beats all except hybrid competitors in its class, and it sports higher resale values for 2012. Safety gets a boost with a standard driver’s knee airbag, Attention Assist drowsiness monitor and collision warning system.

SPORTS CARS: CHEVROLET CAMARO

Sticker price: $32,750 (1SS)
Invoice price: $31,476
TrueCar national average price: $32,546
3-year resale value: 59%, 5-year: 41%
City mpg: 16, Hwy: 24

Kiplinger’s Best New Car pick when it was reintroduced in 2010, Chevy’s Camaro SS sticks to its hot-rod roots. The brawny 6.2-liter V8 delivers 426 horses and is cloaked in a muscular exterior with styling cues from the pony car’s past. Plus, at just over $32,000, it won’t break the bank.

SMALL CROSSOVERS: SUBARU FORESTER

Sticker price: $30,670 (2.5XT Touring)
Invoice price: $28,767
TrueCar national average price: $29,259
3-year resale value: 60%, 5-year: 46%
City mpg: 19, Hwy: 24

Named Best in Class two years running, this baby ute also has sky-high resale values and picks up Best Resale plaudits. Subaru’s standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive sends power to the wheels with the best grip so you always stick to the road securely.

MIDSIZE AND LARGE CROSSOVERS: LEXUS RX 450H

Sticker price: $46,110
Invoice price: $42,039
TrueCar national average price: $44,965
3-year resale value: 60%, 5-year: 44%
City mpg: 32, Hwy: 28

A perennial Kiplinger’s favorite, the Lexus RX features top-notch safety in addition to luxury, and the hybrid RX 450h takes the cake for Most Fuel-Efficient. A ten-airbag tally includes knee airbags for front passengers and rear-seat side airbags, and an optional pre-collision system ($1,500) will tighten seat belts and make extra braking power available if it senses an accident is imminent.

TRUCK-BASED SUVS: CHEVROLET SUBURBAN

Sticker price: $46,625 (1500 LT)
Invoice price: $43,428
TrueCar national average price: $43,703
3-year resale value: 49%, 5-year: 34%
City mpg: 15, Hwy: 21

The ultimate family hauler, the Suburban seats nine and has a whopping 90 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row and 46 cubic feet behind the third row. The 5.3-liter V8 puts out plenty of power, and the Suburban tows up to 5,000 pounds with ease. But (aside from SUV hybrids) fuel economy is better than any V8 in its segment.

MINIVANS: HONDA ODYSSEY

Sticker price: $29,035 (LX)
Invoice price: $26,390
TrueCar national average price: $27,498
3-year resale value: 55%, 5-year: 41%
City mpg: 18, Hwy: 27

Redesigned for 2011, when it swept Kiplinger’s minivan awards, Honda’s Odyssey still edges out the competition. Its bold exterior sets it apart from its peers, and improved driving dynamics and a more functional interior clinch its first-place status. For 2012, it picks up Most Fuel-Efficient plaudits, too.

Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to check them out!

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: Best Cars for Summer Sports

For every sport or outdoor adventure, there’s a perfect vehicle for ferrying your gear and getting you where you need to go, be it your favorite surf break, a new backpacking route or the ideal stretch of pavement for pedaling your road bike. But a kite surfer has different transportation criteria than a mountain biker, and a fisherman’s needs are not the same as those of an all-terrain-vehicle enthusiast. I asked Jody Victor  to tell us more about it from and article by Claire Martin of MSN Autos and msn.com.

Jody Victor: Sometimes you need all-wheel drive; other times, all you care about is whether your cooler will fit in the trunk. Here are the best cars for various outdoor sports, factoring in cargo capacity, hauling capability, horsepower, maneuverability and, of course, aesthetics, in 2 parts.

Surfing | Jeep Wrangler

The main benefit to the Wrangler is that your surfboard — long, short or anywhere in between — can fit in the vehicle when the top is off. If it hangs out a little bit, you’ll look all the more cool. When scoping out remote surf spots, the high ground clearance and 4-wheel drive come in handy. To keep valuables out of sight while you’re in the waves, the “add a trunk” feature creates a 3-cubic-foot mini trunk in the rear of the vehicle.

Mountain Biking | Honda Element

With enough space to fit three bikes and one rear-seat passenger, or two bikes and two friends in the back, the Element is ideal for mountain-bike outings. No need to hoist anything onto the roof of the car or to deal with a clunky rear-mounted bike rack. And you won’t have to remove your bikes’ front tires to fit them in, either. The vehicle’s all-wheel-drive capability helps get you to the trail. After your excursion, any dirt that collects on the Element’s urethane-coated floor is easy to sweep out.

Kite Surfing | Volvo XC70

This wagon’s minivan-size storage capacity lets you easily pack the bulky gear that kite surfing requires — boards, kites, harnesses and the like. But it’s also agile enough that you can negotiate winding coastal roads with power and ease. The XC70 is the longest of the Volvo models, making it easier to carry your quiver of boards inside the car without anything hanging out a window. Extra ground clearance and all-wheel drive keep you from getting stuck in any sand traps en route to the wind-whipped water. The optional plastic trunk liner keeps your wet gear from stinking up the car.

Road Cycling | Audi A3

If you’re a road cyclist, chances are you spend a lot of time on pavement that’s as fun to drive as it is to pedal, so you’ll want a car that handles well on twisting, curvy roads. The Audi A3 is turbocharged whether you buy the gasoline version or the diesel, and it has speed-sensitive power steering — helpful in hairpin turns. Roof rails make for easy installation of a bike rack, but because the A3 is a wagon, you could store your ride inside. Flip one seat down for one bike, or both to store two.

Backpacking | Ford Flex

To accommodate the bulky backpacks, tents and sleeping pads required for a backpacking trip, the Ford Flex has 83 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats down. If you’re taking a day hike, sans gear, the Flex is perfect for ferrying a group of friends to the trailhead; its three rows of seats accommodate seven passengers. Four skylights on the roof let you take in the beauty of your wilderness surroundings before you even get out of the car. Opt for bucket seats in the second row and you can also get a refrigerated console to keep your water supply cold.

Thanks, Jody! More next time.

Joe Victor