Mojo Rising? Only if Honda can Find It

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Takanobu Ito, president of Honda Motors, answers questions during a press conference - photo courtesy of nydailynews

During the launch of the 2012 Civic Si (9th Generation Civic), a Honda executive told Car and Driver magazine off-the-record that “People have been saying that Honda’s lost its mojo, but that’s not true. We just put it in a closet for a while.” That may be true and perhaps Honda is working on reinvigorating its line-up to build and establish the next supercar benchmark.

While the 2012 Civic Si is mostly a cosmetic upgrade to the 8th Generation car and is not quite the proof-of-life we seek for Honda’s mojo, there are other indications out there of what may be coming down the pike. As things stand, Honda appears to be working on a performance version of the CR-Z, the NSX-II and a third project rather mysteriously kept under wraps. All that sources tell us is that it will be a vehicle that will slot in below the Acura TSX (European Honda Accord) and will be performance oriented and along the lines of the Lexus IS 350.

The news of CEO Takanobu Ito stating that Honda has resumed work on the NSX is old hat by now. This has been covered by multiple news sources and, after all the back and forth regarding the project over the last two years, the new information seemed not to generate any excitement but rather appears to have evoked mockery at best. The NSX redux will not be a continuation of the front-engined HSV-010 supercar but is expected to be equal parts of performance and hybrid. Whatever the ratio split between performance and gas mileage will be, we hope it will be as path breaking as the original NSX.

The Honda CR-Z - photo courtesy of Honda

Details have been scarce on the CR-Z Type R, Si or whatever Honda will call it. All that has been said in brief remarks to the press is that it will continue to utilize a hybrid drivetrain. Will this be able to overcome the inherent shortcomings of the CR-Z? Only time and Honda can tell.

The third Acura performance vehicle that is expected to slot in below the TSX is what has us racking our brains. The fact that it is smaller than the TSX bodes well, but then comparing it to a Lexus makes it sound like the mother of all oxymorons. For all intents and purposes, the Lexus vehicle is more luxurious and in a different class altogether than the TSX which is the entry-level Acura. What such a vehicle would be and how exactly it would fit into a slot currently occupied by the Civic Si/Type-R remains to be seen. Also as this is expected to be sold as an Acura, it will be interesting to see how this vehicle will fit into the Honda product mix globally. I guess anything goes as long as it’s not a baby ZDX intended to compete with the BMW X1.

What do you think? Will Honda be able to deliver a product worthy of the fine cars from its past or will we be subject to cars whose names are a jumble of alphabets that fade from our memories even while the cars are being made?

While Honda chips away at rediscovering its mojo and while the world and all of us sit here speculating possible outcomes, somewhere a CRX-Si and a Honda S2000 are setting the back roads ablaze. Both cars no longer in production and both displaying a bumper sticker that reads “HONDA’s LOST MOJO.”

References: AutoBlog and Car and Driver

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