Posts tagged ‘Honda’

Text and photos by James Wong 

Somehow, the CM1 in the #LenspeedOwned fleet hasn’t gotten much attention nor love.

A photo during one of the first few weeks of ownership!

I guess it’s because it was in my hands for a short while, before I decided that it was too slow for my hot-blooded veins. It then went to my sister, and now it runs as a family banger.

Tints made it look like a mafia wagon

So it never really received much care or concern. Yet, it ran pretty much flawlessly aside from the usual wear and tear items.

Interior has an exotic brown/black combination which is a nice touch

I purchased it in 2016, when it had about 133k on the odometer and PQP was a not inconsiderable $50kish. Having only 1 past owner and being in rather honest condition (read: crappy paint, but clean and unmodified exterior/interior), I renewed COE on it. It felt expensive back then (when you could get a MkV GTI on cheaper depre, which I did afterwards), but it seems reasonable now especially when JDM prices have climbed. It now has 213k on its clocks and still runs strong and true.

It performed several roles in the last 6 years, and its early life was a tough one, transporting heavy packs of F&B wares almost as a company van. It managed to graduate from that to do more palatable daily chores like the school run and the odd drive to Malaysia. It now has somewhat of a ‘retiree’ life being driven only when the other cars need to be serviced or break down. It’s been rather good at that.

In that span of time, wear was remarkably slow even though the car was put through harsh conditions. Many times, I felt pity for it, but also was not compelled to do anything as it isn’t mine, technically.

In early 2021 it got some love by having a much-needed paint job, and it looks so much better afterwards. It still deserves a nice set rims and twin exhausts, but I shall indulge on it a little if I have any additional funds. With the stock market looking this way, it’s looking to be a long way still.

More recently, it gave up the ghost after its years of hard labour due to overheating. I thought at first that an animal climbed into the engine bay and got stuck somehow, but I later found out that the noises were caused by a failed radiator. It’s now a chance to refresh the car and get other items done at the same. I’m looking forward to how the car will drive after!

Any rim ideas? Feel free to comment or DM us on social for suggestions!

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Haval Jolion

Treat Haval as the Huawei of the vehicle world. Tech-laden features not seen in this price bracket will keep driver and passengers entertained. China-backed Great Wall Motor (GWM) is not shy introducing as many gadgets as they could in this compact SUV – a 12.3-inch centre console, HUD, 14 sensors and 5 cameras – it’s a numerical arms race in the tech department. Pound for pound, it is priced 10 – 15% lower than the HR-V and Corolla Cross. We reckon that should Singapore entertain interest from Haval, most of them should roll off its Rayong factory – a 2-hour drive South-East from Bangkok.

Ora Good Cat

At first glance, this cute little hatch also from GWM looks like a combination of Nissan’s Figaro front and Honda EK9’s rear. We’re glad that this looks nothing like MINI as one could easily perceive this as a “knock off”, but we are confident of GWM’s intention to provide good value and quality. When viewed in its entirety, it does look pretty convincing, with smooth lines from A to C pillars supplying a very modern and striking silhouette. Base-spec packs a 47.8kWh battery, which charges to 80% in 30 minutes. With a range of 400km, it should be a fuss free compact hatch for quick market runs. It is priced similarly to the Corolla Cross / HR-V in Thailand, making it a sensible financial decision if you want a full EV that doesn’t break the bank.

Honda HR-V

It’s only a matter of time Kah Motor brings this new HR-V in. Our IG story poll suggests that more prefer the previous gen’s looks over this – could it be due to the increasingly common rear light strips also present in Ora’s Good Cat (and Lexus’ IS / NX range)? Lenspeed feels that it’s about time for the new HR-V to ply local roads to spice up the hybrid segment – keen to see how e:HEV with Lithium-ion battery stacks up against Toyota’s Nickel-metal Hydride hybrid. We reckon this tech should have no issues achieving more than 20km/l on expressways even with the fairly small battery pack.

Toyota Corolla Cross

Pictured is Toyota Corolla Cross’ GR Sport variant – top spec with suspension work tuned by Gazoo Racing alongside other cosmetic mods. We’re more keen on regular models for this compact SUV. 1.8 NA hybrid should be perfect for Singapore roads, with the battery doing most of the work from standstill, and petrol motor kicking in when roads open up. At least for now, hybrid sounds more relevant to quell range anxiety of full EVs. Ideal for families who need a step up from the Yaris Cross (not available in Thailand) in terms of storage. We might not need to wait long though – Borneo Motors might bring it in by June 2022.

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I recall a couple of years ago when I managed to try a FD Honda Civic equipped with an automatic gearbox, and came away thoroughly impressed by how relevant this engine/gearbox partnership was for local tarmac. Now, we sample the same engine version, but with a 5-speed stick shift – did we like it?

Given that the car is 9.5 years of age, this FD Civic feels extremely fresh, with interior trimmings and leather all well in tact, apart from understandable wear and tear from the gear knob and handbrake lever. It has clocked 162,000km – a fair figure taking into account its age. But to be honest, we weren’t expecting the motor to be as creamy as newer units. But we were wrong! Just like any other Honda engines, this R18 unit feels very eager to rev. It might be torque-lite, but its flexibility spurs you on to push the needle clockwise, and you’ll be rewarded with a purposeful, linear surge from 3000rpm.

It might be lacking in tech gizmos, but it makes up for these with an honest driving experience, which is key (for us at least!) to put a wide smile on our face. With a character so undiluted, it endorses our stand that tech-laden cars are losing its focus on the driver, and concentrating on other aspects that target the tech-savvy public. But at Lenspeed, we prefer to turn back time to be involved with less complicated, more engaging cars just like this FD Civic – an emotive tool without compromising on family practicality.

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By The Lenspeed Team

By all accounts, the Lenspeed team are all excited about the new Civic Type R, as we have always been. Our staff FD2R has just left the fleet, which leaves a gaping hole for a high-revving, front wheel drive track special. Interestingly, when Honda released information about its new CTR, it emphasised “British-built”. We can’t help but draw comparisons to the FN2R and whether we can expect a more souped up JDM version.

What we currently know:

– Top speed: 270km/h. Clearly, the 180km/h JDM limit ain’t going to cut it here!

– Global debut at 2015 Geneva Motor Show

– 2.0-litre turbo. We’re really curious how it can keep the high-revving VTEC nature that we so love of the K series engines.

– Flat underbody

– 19-inch alloys. We’re not too excited about this – hope this doesn’t set a precedent for a jarring ride like in the FD2R.

– 4-piston 350mm drilled Brembo front disc brakes

110215-honda-The cut and scrape lines of the car is a departure from the FD2R’s cleaner profile.

110215-honda-bA 7,000rpm redline is impressive for a turbo engine, but can’t hold a candle to the K20A’s upper limits.

110215-honda-cCar looks unusually high above the ground here, but it could just be the angle.

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By Gerald Yuen

Can Lenspeed’s staff car survive the treacherous pockmarked tarmac around his neighbourhood?

Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 7.54.05 am

It’s Boxing Day, and usually busy streets make way for cleaner, emptier roads on a wet morning. From our point of view, this is, hands down, the perfect weather to hoon any member of our staff fleet, and we kick things off with the Honda Civic Type R.

The FD2R has been rather inactive the past few months, and with increasingly intense road works around my neighbourhood to accommodate a MRT station and a viaduct, it serves as a good opportunity to understand the dynamics of this car in a familiar area, yet littered with unfamiliar tarmac conditions.

Not that we must harp on this issue again, but the ride quality in the FD2R over bumps is still far from pleasant. Amplified with resurfacing works just 50m away from home, you could literally feel the suspension “working” with minimal travel before the fluids warm up, with the harsh damping always suggesting that it should best be left toiling on track. It’s a huge pity, really, because that impedes the way I want to wring its neck once the roads are patched up (hopefully by the end of 2015!).

Even when it gets a clear sighting of open roads, slight tarmac irregularities will still hamper my urge to keep the revs hovering as high as possible. The chassis is rock solid and only works well on tarmac as smooth as salt plains – no less than that. Actual fun begins on days where I actually find a clean-shaven piece of road, allowing me to utilise the K20A without fear of losing traction. Still potent and urgent, this engine, I dare say, is still one of the most flexible 2.0-litre powerplants I’ve laid my hands on – with an addictive soundtrack to match. Impressive, considering that it has now been given proper lashing well over six figures of mileage.

For now, it seems that I’ll have to live with bumpy roads for a year at least, before getting to enjoy the car right from the get go!

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By Gerald Yuen

FD2R Update pic-2-2

It has been quite a while since I last posted updates on the FD2R. That could work both ways… either that I’m not learning anything new from the car, or I’m busy wringing every drop of performance out of the K20A.

But it would be ridiculous to harp on the former, because the manner in which it delivers driving pleasure on an emotional level the past two years still engages me as a driver. We’ve made a couple of tweaks along the way. Most obvious change would be to swap the stock suspension for a set of aftermarket coilovers from APi Racing (tuned to the softest setting). I was against this idea initially, but it would be utterly selfish for me to make my family withstand a harsh ride during dinner outings. And my dad uses the car 80% of the time for work, so that works out to be a no-brainer.

The softer ride gives it more fluidity when darting through bumps and cambers, and I could keep it on the boil more regularly without the fear of the rear hopping wide, and this translates to more traction as the dampers labour to gather more grip. Initial turn in does not feel as sharp as before, with the front leaning more towards understeer on part throttle. But once you give it more angle, the stiff rear (although less jarring than the OEM setup) can still hold ground effectively.

It wasn’t easy switching from proven OEM setup to one that has yet to demonstrate its worth. But to be honest, I’m very satisfied with this swap. The OEM suspension is way too stiff on our pockmarked tarmac (the rear dampers are 300% stiffer than the regular FD2). Now, there’s more reason to utilise the K20A’s top end rush without the fear of losing traction over irregularities.

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