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Filed under: Hybrid, Sedan, Japan, Technology, Honda, First Drives

How Honda Is Working To Get Its Groove Back

For decades, Honda successfully cultivated a hard-earned reputation for technological innovation and thoughtful engineering, but the Japanese automaker has seemingly grown content to let other automakers lead the way with new technologies in recent years. To this point, Honda has stubbornly resisted the engine-downsizing movement, direct injection, as well as more sophisticated gearboxes and hybrids, instead focusing on refining existing technologies and relying on its lighter weight vehicles to keep their models' performance metrics in the hunt.

Honda is hard at work on a hybrid evolution of the company's already trick Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system.

No more, says CEO Takanobu Ito. Honda has embarked on a multi-tier technology binge that Ito says will have Honda at the forefront of fuel economy metrics worldwide within three years. On the table? More advanced everything, from the aforementioned powertrain technologies including a new small-displacement diesel and a new CVT, to direct injection and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Of course, we've seen similar products brought to market from other automakers already, so excellence in execution will need to be Honda's differentiator. But we tend to expect more innovative thinking from an automaker with such a rich history of elegant engineering, so we were pleased to learn that Soichiro's crew is hard at work on a hybrid evolution of the company's already trick Super Handling All-Wheel Drive serving in vehicles like the Acura TL, RDX and MDX.

In addition to the torque-vectoring rear axle already in production, Honda is incubating a new three-motor hybrid AWD architecture that it says will offer V8 power and a more nimble driving experience than typical all-wheel-drive systems, all while delivering four-cylinder fuel economy.

Just ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show, Honda bussed us to its Twin-Ring Motegi racetrack to sample its radical new SH-AWD system in an Accord mule.Continue reading We try Honda's cutting-edge electric SH-AWD system

We try Honda's cutting-edge electric SH-AWD system originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 07 Dec 2011 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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