The News for July 31st, 2020

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Honda updates the Odyssey to help you remember if you have kids or not, GMC shows us more of the Hummer EV, Mercedes-Benz is reportedly going to trim its coupe and convertible lineup, Acura confirms TLX Type S specs, and your automotive news for the week.

2021 Honda Odyssey

2021 Honda Odyssey

The Honda Odyssey is getting a hefty refresh this year with some new styling tweaks with upgraded tech and safety features. It’s about as much as they could have done without making an entirely new van, but it didn’t really need all that much to stay competitive. It’s been America’s best-selling minivan in the retail market for 10 years for a good reason. The Odyssey has been consistently competitive in its market and has been one of the more innovative offerings. They hope to continue that streak with the updated 2021 model.

Some of the more noticeable exterior updates are on its face. There’s a restyled blackout grille with a chrome strip accent, a new front bumper with redesigned fog light housings, plus revised LED headlights. The remaining updates include a black trim piece under the rear window with its own chrome accent plus new 19″ wheel designs. Interior updates consist of various materials and trim updates that vary depending on the trim. But every Odyssey regardless of trim will benefit from the same updates to the second row seating which allows it to fold nearly flat now and make it easier to remove.

2021 Honda Odyssey

The comprehensive suite of safety systems on board receive updated versions on the new model, but it also adds Traffic Sign Recognition and Rear Seat Reminder. When the van is turned off, a chime sounds and a message is displayed on the instrument panel to remind people that they have children. Odysseys that have the CabinWatch rear-seat camera system will also have that camera switched on automatically when they park, just to drive that point home. The goal is to prevent tragic deaths associated with people forgetting they have children and leaving them in the car. Honda is adding this feature to every model in the lineup by 2025 and expects to have it in most by 2022.

MSRP for the base model will start at $31,790 and go up to $47,820 for the Elite model. It goes on sale August 3rd.

[Source: Honda]

GMC Hummer will be revealed this fall

GMC wanted to remind us that the Hummer EV is still a thing that’s happening and will be revealed sometime this fall. They posted a teaser video featuring a basketball man, a motorcycle, the cosmos, and crabs. But crucially they gave us a timeline of its release window and the clearest glimpse we’ve gotten of it yet. We get a full silhouette and some clay model goodness that shows a good amount of detail. But watch the teaser all the way through and we get a bit of a bombshell…. the Hummer EV will be more than just a pickup.

It’ll be shown sometime in the next couple months, reservations will likely open simultaneously or soon thereafter, and production begins in fall 2021. Soon we’ll be living in a world where you can buy a new Hummer, Bronco, Supra, Ranger, Blazer (sorta counts), and a Mach 1. The 90s and 00s are back.

[Source: Hummer]

Report: Mercedes-Benz will kill off multiple coupes and convertibles

 

merc e class

Time for another “crossovers are killing cars” post. This time though it may actually be for the right reasons. Automotive News is reporting that Mercedes-Benz is starting to re-evaluate their lineup, at least for the US market. It’s no secret that Mercedes has taken the old “same sausage, different lengths” philosophy to the extreme lately. Many of their cars are hard to distinguish from one another unless you can compare their length side by side. With American buyer preferences continuing to shift away from that sort of stuff, it’s a no brainer to trim some of the fat. The report from AN reads:

The luxury automaker plans to jettison seven car models from the U.S. market, Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Nicholas Speeks told dealers during a webinar in late June. Speeks did not identify the models or offer a timeline, according to retailers who heard the presentation.

But according to a source familiar with the plans, there could be more than seven models. Those under consideration are the coupe and convertible versions of the S-, C- and E-Class nameplates, as well as the CLS coupe and one of the brand’s GT models, according to the source.

We’ve seen plenty of cars and coupes killed off for seemingly no good reason, like Ford deciding that hundreds of thousands of Focus and Fiesta sales per year were no longer worth it. This doesn’t seem like that kind of scenario. The Mercedes lineup is kind of a mess and has been for as long as I’ve been covering the industry. The shifting market was finally just too much of a factor to ignore.

[Source: Automotive News via Jalopnik]

Acura TLX Type S Specs Revealed

Acura_Pikes Peak 2020

In a press release that was showing off their arsenal for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Acura casually snuck in some long-awaited TLX Type S specs. Our guy William did a whole writeup on the race cars over here, but the big news is what’s going into the Type S, which will be used that weekend as a pace car.

The Type S gets Acura’s newest 3.0-liter V6 Turbo engine which is expected to produce a very healthy 355 horsepower and 354 lb.-ft. of torque. That puts it a bit behind BMW’s 6-cylinder M340i but ahead of the Audi S4. They may not win on power but can still win on dynamics. Acura’s brilliant SH-AWD system will certainly give it the kind of edge that BMW lost years ago. So once again, the TLX Type S looks like a winner and we can’t wait to try it out.

[Source: Acura]

What’s your automotive news?

hooniverse

That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.

Have a good weekend.

I'm the guy that spoiled the site with all the new car stuff. Hooniverse News Editor since 2011, amateur motorsport photographer, sim racer, and mountain road enthusiast.

30 Comments

    1. Looks like something that would come out of Cleveland Cykle Werks. Where you have a really interesting design but the mechanical bits tend to leave you wanting.

  1. I got to take a wonderful trip down memory lane.
    Back in 1987, my father treated me to possibly the greatest day in my entire life (better than my wedding day? Kids’ births? Yeah, I think so) when he took me to BIR and the Northstar Nationals. Even though I was only 12, I lived and breathed drag racing (courtesy of The Nashville Network and my subscription to Hot Rod magazine). I can still remember almost everything about that day – the gorgeous, black ’63 Avanti that was for sale right outside the gate (even though it’s his dream car, Dad decided $7k was asking way too much). The first cackle of a Keith Black Hemi on open headers. The smell of nitro. The first time I’d seen a falling down drunk, and the first set of boobs in the flesh. It was incredible. He sprang for the extra $10 to get pit passes, and I bet we spent more time wandering around there than in the grandstand. I’m not sure if it’s the same today, but then you could get RIGHT UP TO THE ACTION. Merely separated by a thin rope barricade. The best part, is that the drivers’ would sit and sign autographs while the crew tore down and built up motors 3 feet away. I got a ton of autographs that day. Somehow, in the ensuing 33 years, I lost all those glossy pics – until now. My folks were cleaning out the storeroom in their house and forced on me a half dozen boxes of old school work, and newspaper clippings and whatever else they decided was important enough to save. Lo and behold I found the missing manilla envelope! Unbelievable the names – Big Daddy, Shirley Muldowny, Joe Amato, Darrell Gwynn, “The Professor” WJ, Bob Glidden, Ed “The Ace”, I even found an autograph from some also-ran joker I’d never really heard of named John Force (wonder what happened to that guy ;)). I wish I had a cell phone to show you guys some pics.

    1. Boobs at racing…I was at a National NHRA meet with a friend who recently used his part-time-job earnings to buy a SLR camera + lens, back when that was practically professional gear. During some down time between rounds, he focused his lens on a very attractive and buxom young blonde in an adjacent section of grandstands. All of a sudden, her male companion noticed my friend, turned the young woman directly towards the camera, and lifted her shirt. This brought lots of applause from other spectators in the section. The woman gaining all the attention then found another well-endowed woman a few rows away, and convinced her to have a flash-off, which brought even more applause. Eventually, an off-duty cop working security led both women away. They returned about 15 minutes later, and my friend apologized for any trouble he caused, but they told him it was fun and there were no real consequences, so not to worry.

      1. I wonder if it isn’t a NHRA thing? I’ve been to a good handful of NASCAR and WoO races and have never had that same experience.

      2. At the 1979 Michigan 400 in the infield, on the way out of the gate, after watching Richard Petty win one of his last NASCAR wins, since things were going slowly, it was a party. If you had a motorhome in the infield, you watched the race from the roof. As we’re heading out, a wildly bearded idiot and his significant extra were making out on the roof of their motorhome. They decided to turn it into a show.

        Dude whips down woman friends shorts and swings her around wildly flashing an enormous bush. Many horns were honked. This of course, encouraged the two, so they kept it up for a few minutes. The local police were directing traffic so, no interference happened. No harm, no foul. I was in my very early teens.

        That was eye opening, having been to biker bars previously and not having seen nothing like that. That was a hell of a day.

  2. When the van is turned off, a chime sounds and a message is displayed on the instrument panel to remind people that they have children.

    I thought that mere presence in the driver’s seat of a Honda Odyssey* would be adequate to remind people that they have children.

    * excludes Odysseys built before 1989.
    https://i.redd.it/oe294y9zs39y.jpg

      1. Well, it had 4 wheels and a rollbar, so at least it made it farther into the future than the 3-wheel ATC (shut down after 1986 by the Consumer Product Safety Commission).

        1. Do you remember how dangerous those were? I do from when they were new. Oh and a friend managed to get one again a couple years ago and reminded me how dangerous they were again. Back in the day you’d ride them up steep hills and come rolling back down them. Miserable things. Now I just rode it around a yard and could barely hold on.

          1. Yep. I had a friend who had a 9-second drag car, and some crotch rockets that were quicker than that, but he was taking an ATC across a field when he had the wipeout that changed his life.

          2. We used to rent them out from the U-Haul center I worked in as a teenager. That didn’t last long! The insurance claims from chainsaws and 2-man power augurs combined couldn’t keep up with the bloodbath that was the Honda ATC. A chainsaw might take your leg off, and a power augur might break your arm, but a Honda trike will do both and then run away down the trail by itself looking for more mayhem.
            I rode one once, in the U-Haul lot, straight into the side of a 24 foot truck. After that I just pushed them wherever they needed to go.

          3. Where these really that much more dangerous compared to a similar vintage four wheeler? The only three wheeler I’ve been around never ran.

          4. Cousins had one on the farm, it rolled over more often than the Blue Angels, luckily I don’t think any serious injuries resulted.

        2. Ahh memories. I’m just the right age that I remember being small enough to sit on the front of the seat (or maybe on the gas tank), while my dad was sitting behind me and piloting that borrowed-from-his-friend Honda 3-wheeler up & down the lakeshore road where I grew up, just before three wheels bad.

    1. Maybe instead of a chime, a little message that says, if you’d used protection, you might still have that S2000. *Wah Wah sound*

    2. Maybe instead of a chime, a little message that says, if you’d used protection, you might still have that S2000. *Wah Wah sound*

  3. Those upgrades to the Odyssey are nice and all but you neglected one thing. Does it still have a vacuum? For nearly $50k it really should have kept its central vacuum system that it had in the previous models. The owners have expectations from their vans.

  4. I think my Econoline might be becoming a ‘rolling restoration’ (hah! just like the Laverda I’ve been ‘fixing up to sell’ for 10 years.)
    I just put 4 new shocks in it, and they said the alignment numbers were spot on. A couple months ago I had a new twerk converter put in to stop the shuddering. Before that the engine got a spruce up to pass SMOG, which resulted in a 50% improvement in gas mileage. I had to have the brakes overhauled when I got it 2 years ago. I’ve even cleaned the interior, which I doubt the Post Office did in the 30 years they had it.

    I think the next move will be to have the windshield replaced and ask if the rust situation under there is hopeless. If that part’s okay I’ll initiate my assault on the rusty drip rails (why the hell do vans even have those?)

    People want stupid money for vans out here, and about half as much up in Portland and Seattle. I could conceivably sell mine here and get a nicer one from up there, but that’s a whole new can of worms*. Best to just plug away at improving stabilizing this one, I think.

    *There’s no sales tax in Oregon, but you have to pay California’s tax to transfer the registration. Feckless coprophages.

    1. Bargains on vans are few and far between in the NW these days, as well. It seems they’re just stupid expensive to purchase no matter where you live.

      I went through a similar process last year. In the end, I found I was far, far better off economically to fix what was needed on my Econoline over buying something else. I bit it and ended up with 5 new tires, a windshield and TWO new cats along with an exhaust. It’s ugly, but it’s quiet and rides really well now. Better the devil I know. FInishing up my camper conversion was on the menu this year, but I’ve put it off, as I won’t be doing much camping this year. : (

      1. I’ve seen a couple maybe good deals up there, but you’re right, few & far between. If you see anything with a tall fiberglass roof installed for less than 5 figures I’d suggest buying it and bringing it to Northern California. Can’t touch them here for less than $10K, even the ’80s Econolines. (I have a pal in Seattle who works for an airline and can get me up there cheap. I’ve thought about importing a van or two into Nor Cal, but it’s not worth flying during a pandemic for.)

        My wish list includes an Eaton electric locker for the diff, a sliding door with a window in it, and a tow hitch.

    2. Would drip rails be the easiest way to do body seams? That’s why the original Mini has external seams

    3. Good to hear that the MPG is back where it should be now that it got whatever was done to make it pass emissions. I knew there had to be problems with the MPG you had been reporting.

      The extended roof E-Series do bring a premium and aren’t easy to find and when you do they usually bring big bucks nowadays. Several years ago I thought I had the perfect candidate at the local County auction. It quickly went above my desired price range and apparently sold to a dealer. So I continued my search and one day I found a private party selling one on Craigslist. She had bought it to run a mobile dog grooming business, and did manage to get it full of dog hair and smell in the process. She did tell me that she had bought it at the dealer and paid over $9k for it. (I was out at 5 and hammer fell at ~7). Unfortunately she hurt her back and couldn’t continue her business.

      It was the same van and the ONLY thing that had been done to it in the intervening year is replace the battery, with one that did not fit. It still had the county garage oil change sticker on the windshield and the oil and filter it had when it was sold at auction. (County uses Baldwin filters). I picked it up for $3500, heck I was in at the $4000, it was listed at when I saw it Thursday but when I double checked the add Sat morning to set up a time to see it she had dropped the asking price.

      The one thing you have to keep in mind if you are going to import one, is that you can’t import a newly purchased vehicle that doesn’t meet CA emissions standards. The good thing is that here in WA and in OR they do also require CA emissions, for WA it is 2009 and later. I’m not sure what year OR adopted CA emissions.

      1. Forgot to mention, they did have to jump it at the auction and the battery that was installed with the cheapest one you could buy at Autozone, much smaller that the proper battery and just sliding around since the clamp wouldn’t work. I have since corrected that.

      2. The mileage problem went away when all the vacuum hoses were replaced. Evidently one of them acts as a load sensor and tells the fuel system how much to output. In my case it was just running full tilt boogie all the time. (I guess the equivalent of rolling coal in a diesel? Fuel injection confuses me.) That fouled the catalytic converter, so there’s a new one in there now. All in all it’s now passing SMOG with flying colors. I got 16 mpg this week running a 600 lb load on a 140 mile freeway trip.
        In the ’90s there was a SMOG Impact Fee if you had the gall to move to CA in your own 49 state car, but they said that violated interstate commerce laws and got rid of it. I guess now the ‘fee’ is paying a shop to get your engine up to spec?

        1. Yes the older Ford trucks used a MAP sensor (Manifold Absolute Pressure) that senses the load on the engine, so a vacuum leak in the line to it or any other significant vacuum leak will make it think the engine is ingesting more air than it actually is and also cause it to entry power enrichment mode earlier than it should. So yeah that makes sense on why it was using so much gas and would definitely explain a clogged cat.

          I bet it has more power now too.

  5. The lift is up and running, but it slides across the floor when I drive onto it (uphill into the garage, so not enough weight transferring early I believe). So, now in search of a hammer drill and concrete bits to mount it to the floor.

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