2014 Honda CR-Z HPD
While we were at the Honda camp testdriving the new '14 Civic coupe we got to check out and drive a custom 2014 Honda CR-Z that they had built with all of the new HPD accessories, including a new supercharger. Yes, you read that right. Honda . . . supercharger. We all know Honda rarely does forced induction so we were pretty excited to test this out. There's only been a few turbo cars from Honda before, mainly in Japan with the exception of the Acura RDX, but this is the first time we've seen a supercharged car at the dealership.
Being the first manual transmission hybrid car, Honda took their little peppy CR-Z to another level by offering the optional Honda Performance Development (HPD) supercharger upgrade. This no longer feels like a hybrid; it wasn't sluggish or slow by any means. We wouldn't say that it's a rocket and you break out a rollcage but if you enjoy driving the normal CR-Z, or you're considering one, we highly suggest getting the HPD supercharger.
Other HPD accessories for the 2014 Honda CR-Z include a sport tuned suspension, exhaust and diffuser kit, 18-inch alloy wheels, four-piston aluminum front calipers with larger slotted rotors, limited-slip differential, high-performance clutch, front lip, rear spoiler, and a decal/emblem kit. That lip kit is a must even if you don't do the supercharger!
2014 Honda CR-Z HPD with Supercharger
Power: 187 hp/171 lb-ft
Engine: 1.5L supercharged inline four-cylinder hybrid, HPD exhaust
Drivetrain: FWD, HPD helical LSD
Chassis: HPD sport suspension kit
Weight: estimated 2,700 pounds
Wheels/Tires: HPD 18-inch wheels
Brakes: HPD four-piston front calipers and 11.8-inch slotted rotors
Exterior: HPD lip spoiler kit
2014 Toyota Corolla
This year offers the next generation of the Toyota Corolla. And which generation is this? I can't even keep track. I feel like this car has been made since the inception of the company. Even though the Corolla hasn't been popular with the aftermarket tuning crowd since it was made in FWD configuration, it's still probably the most common car, or should be, for the general population.
A Wiki search on Corolla revealed that this is the 11th generation of the car. For 47 years the car has been sold in 154 countries. There's only about 200 countries in the world too! In 1997 the Corolla surpassed the Volkswagen Beetle for the number-one car sold in the world. Just last year the 40 millionth Corolla was built. With that being said it's no wonder why the Corolla is always recommended to people looking for a car to buy and drive rather than turn into some race monster.
The 2014 Toyota Corolla comes in four versions: L, LE, S, and LE Eco (from inexpensive to most expensive). Comparing these newer models to last year's, these are cheaper and offer a higher, newer quality. Cars are like technology; they increase at a rapid rate. You don't want to compare a computer from four years ago to one of today's standards, and it's a similar situation with cars. So for Toyota to be able to reduce the price yet add more features is pretty cool.
The 2014 Toyota Corolla S is the sporty version that we'd suggest. It has the foglights, a different gauge cluster, leather-wrapped steering wheel, 16-inch wheels, and rear spoiler. The S and the L version are the only ones that are available in a six-speed manual too. The LE and LE Eco come with an automatic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVTi-S). Now if we were into automatic transmissions we wouldn't mind the CVTi-S—but we need that shifting fun, even in a Corolla.
Widening the track and extending the wheelbase the '14 Corolla has even more interior room than any previous year. Other new features include a 6.1-inch touchscreen monitor, backup monitor, Smart key, push-button start, LED headlights, and SofTex seats. This is a sound car with just as many bells and whistles as any modern car. Get in, turn on your apps via Bluetooth, and enjoy the ride.
2014 Toyota Corolla
Power: 132 hp/128 lb-ft (L, LE, S), 140 hp/126 lb-ft (LE Eco)
MPG: 29/37/32 (L, LE, S), 30/40/34 (LE Eco)
Engine: 1.8L, four-cylinder VVT-I
Drivetrain: FWD, six-speed manual or CVTi-S automatic
Weight: 2,820-2,875 pounds
Wheels/Tires: 16-inch wheels with 17-inch option
Brakes: 10.8-inch front disc, 9-inch rear drum (L, LE)/10.2-inch rear disc (S)
Exterior: LED headlights, foglights, and trunk spoiler
Interior: SofTex seats, 60/40 folding rear seats, heated seats
Electronics: Smart Key, push-button start, EntuneTM audio, backup camera
2014 Acura RLX and RLX Sport Hybrid
What is the Acura RLX? We know manufacturers' nomenclature of cars can get really confusing when they start using letters and numbers. Here's a quick history lesson so you know what the RLX is and where it stands in the Acura lineup.
Back in 1986 Acura launched its first car, the Legend. The Legend was Honda's halo car at the time and really became a legend. A decade later in 1996, the third-generation Legend was re-branded as the Acura RL for North America (still Honda Legend in Japan). This year, the RL is being superseded by the RLX. There's a new halo car for Acura, and at 377 hp it's Honda's most powerful production engine.
So why add the X to RL? No, it's not to emphasize the AWD system. The RL had the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) for years. We can only assume the X was added to RL to emphasize the new Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS). Yes, this is something like the 4WS (4-Wheel Steer) we remember on the old third-generation '88-91 Honda Preludes—only the new P-AWS is a million times better than ever before. Imagine decades more of technology advancement. The Acura RLX is the company's flagship car targeting other luxury cars like the Lexus GS, BMW 5-Series, Infiniti M, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. But when you drive the RLX, things like P-AWS give you that realization that Acura still has that racing heritage in their DNA. Handling was tight and surprisingly great from a luxury car.
If you can afford it, and you want a luxury hybrid, the Acura RLX comes in a Sport Hybrid version. Before you start on that hybrid-hater nonsense, don't think of it as a hybrid car that is luxurious. Think of it as a luxury car that has the added hybrid feature to gain better fuel economy. With just about every fullsize luxury car guzzling gasoline, why not have a perfect blend of hybrid mpg and luxury? Driving the RLX Sport Hybrid you would never know it was hybrid unless someone told you. With 377 hp in a 3.5-liter, this is Honda's largest and most potent engine. This is not your typical hybrid. It feels more like a V-8. We can't wait to see someone VIP this thing. Just look at those headlights.
2014 Acura RLX
Power: 268 hp/258 lb-ft
MPG: 21/28/24 (six-speed manual), 19/25/21 (Sport Lineartronic automatic)
Engine: 2.0L, 16-valve, flat four-cylinder engine, 10.6:1 compression, Direct Injection; twin-scroll turbocharger with intercooler, 86x86mm bore stroke
Drivetrain: AWD, Active Torque Vectoring with SI-Drive, Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC)
Chassis: aluminum lower control arms, pillow-ball mount bushings
Weight: 3,267 pounds
Wheels/Tires: 17x8 with 235/45-17 tires
Brakes: four-wheel disc brakes, two-piston front caliper, single-piston rear caliper, 12.4-inch front rotors with 11.3-inch rear rotors.
Exterior: aluminum hood with top scoop, foglights, LED exterior lights, shark fin antenna, trunk lip spoiler
Interior: electronic seats, cloth or leather seat option, red stitching accent, carbon-fiber accent, push-start button
Electronics: 4.3-inch GPS sc