Good news, everyone! Updated Mitsubishi Mirage coming in 2017


If you think you see a 2016 Mitsubishi Mirage, it’s a mirage. That’s because the dreadful subcompact is going away for the new model year. But don’t worry, super-cheap-but-terrible-to-drive compact car fans, the Mirage will make a triumphant return with a few updates.

According to Car and Driver, an updated Mirage will launch early in the 2017 model year with powertrain and chassis enhancements. That’s a good thing, since the current car is pretty darn horrible to drive. Also coming for 2017 is the Mirage sedan, a car that’s already sold in other markets. Mitsubishi already confirmed the sedan’s arrival, and considering how popular the base Nissan Versa sedan is, this should only improve the Mirage’s sales here in the US.

Speaking of sales, the Mirage isn’t doing too bad in our market, despite being awful. It’s the second-best-selling Mitsubishi product currently, beating the Outlander and Lancer through July of this year. An updated version and a sedan model will help, too. And hey, maybe this refreshed one won’t be so dreary.

NHTSA won't open new Toyota unintended acceleration probe


US safety regulators have rejected an electrical engineer’s request to investigate low-speed unintended acceleration in Toyota and Lexus cars. The petition was the latest in a string of claims that Toyota vehicles can accelerate on their own dating to 2009. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in documents posted Friday, said that three crashes cited in the engineer’s request are consistent with drivers mistakenly hitting the gas pedal instead of the brake. The agency also says the issue was examined carefully in two previous government studies.

Gopal Raghavan of Thousand Oaks, California, who has a doctorate degree from Stanford University, filed a petition seeking the investigation in June. He contended that his 2009 Lexus ES350 sedan surged suddenly in a parking lot while being driven by his wife, crashing into some bushes and smashing the front of the car. He wrote in his petition that she did not press the gas, which was documented by the car’s event data recorder. He believes the car’s electronic throttle control malfunctioned.

Raghavan also cited event data recorder information in two other crashes involving Toyota vehicles and asked NHTSA to do a more detailed analysis of the cars’ hardware and software. But the agency wrote that his petition was based on “misconceptions” about how the event data recorder samples and records data before a crash. “The crashes are all consistent with pedal misapplications by the driver mistaking the accelerator pedal for the brake when attempting to park the vehicle,” the agency wrote.

Raghavan said Friday that the event data recorder shows no movement in the gas pedal until one second before the crash, which he says doesn’t make sense. NHTSA, he said, told him that the gas pedal was being pumped between the samples taken every second by the event data recorder, a contention he disputes. “It’s a great coincidence that it just happens right in the middle,” he said.

Complaints have brought investigations and recalls totaling 10 million vehicles as well as multiple lawsuits and a $1.2 billion penalty for hiding information from NHTSA. The recalls were for mechanical problems – faulty brakes, sticky gas pedals and floor mats that could trap the accelerator. But although Toyota has denied it has problems with electronic throttle controls, allegations of problems have lingered.

In May, NHTSA rejected a Rhode Island engineer’s request for a similar investigation after his wife got into a crash in a 2010 Toyota Corolla. The agency said it put over 2,000 miles on the man’s car but could not find any problems with the throttle or transmission systems. A message seeking comment from Toyota was left Friday for a company spokeswoman.

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2016 Honda Pilot earns IIHS Top Safety Pick+ score


All-new 2016 Honda Pilot Earns a 2015 TOP SAFETY PICK+ Rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

Aug 21, 2015 – TORRANCE, Calif.

2016 Pilot offers the most comprehensive set of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies ever available on a Honda vehicle

Available Honda Sensing™ suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies combines camera and radar systems to help detect vehicles, pedestrians and roadway markings

Honda’s aims to reduce collisions, injuries and fatalities involving its vehicles, using Honda Sensing™ technology

The fully redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot (automobiles.honda.com/pilot/) has received a 2015 TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) when equipped with optional front crash prevention, bringing Honda one step closer to fulfilling the company’s goal to be the first three-row mainstream SUV with the highest available U.S. government (NCAP) and IIHS safety ratings. This IIHS distinction includes a top rating of GOOD in five IIHS crash test modes including a top score of GOOD in the Insurance Institute’s stringent small overlap frontal crash test. The 2015 TOP SAFETY PICK+ designation is awarded to vehicles that also have an available front crash prevention system that earns an advanced or superior rating from the Institute. The 2016 Pilot offers an available frontal crash prevention system that earns a top rating of superior.

“The 2016 Pilot is not only the most technologically advanced Honda vehicle on the road today, but the top choice for family SUV buyers interested in safety performance,” said Jeff Conrad, Honda Division senior vice president and general manager. “No other midsize mainstream SUV on the market today can match the comprehensive suite of Honda Sensing™ advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies on the new Honda Pilot.”

Available on Pilot EX trims and above, Honda Sensing™ can help improve drivers’ situational awareness with its various systems, which include the Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Road Departure Mitigation (RDM). These systems benefit from the adoption of a sensor fusion technology integrating the capabilities of a windshield-mounted monocular camera and front grille-mounted millimeter wave radar system to provide enhanced sensing with the ability to identify and anticipate multiple collision scenarios, including those involving a pedestrian. When the system anticipates a collision or road departure, it can initiate warnings and, in certain instances, initiate emergency braking and steering.

“The Pilot demonstrates Honda’s commitment to achieving the highest levels of safety performance,” said IIHS president Adrian Lund. “The Pilot’s crashworthiness ratings set a high standard, and its optional front crash prevention system will help drivers avoid some kinds of crashes to begin with.”

In addition, the 2016 Pilot adopts the latest generation of Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure along with a new “3-bone” underbody frame design and new hot-stamped ultra-high strength steel door rings. Together with Honda Sensing™, these engineering features and technologies deliver major gains to the Pilot’s collision avoidance and collision protection capabilities.

Standard safety equipment on all Honda models include Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) electronic stability control system, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Brake Assist, frontal airbags, side airbags, side-curtain airbags and a front seat design that can help reduce the severity of neck injury in the event of a rear collision. Honda is also leading the industry in the deployment of rearview cameras, which are standard equipment on all model year 2015 and newer Honda vehicles.

The third generation of Honda’s popular three-row SUV Pilot was designed and developed by Honda R&D Americas, Inc., in Los Angeles and Ohio, and is manufactured exclusively by Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, LLC, in Lincoln, Alabama.1

About Honda
Honda has a long history of leadership in the development and application of advanced technologies designed to enhance the safety of all road users, including automobile occupants, motorcycle riders and pedestrians. The company operates two of the world’s most sophisticated crash test facilities, in Ohio and Japan, and is responsible for numerous pioneering efforts in the areas of crashworthiness, airbag technology, collision compatibility and pedestrian safety.

1 Manufactured using domestic and globally sourced parts.

# # #

Redesign takes 2016 Honda Pilot to IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ list

ARLINGTON, Va. — The redesigned Honda Pilot, a midsize SUV, has aced the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s small overlap front test. With an available front crash prevention system earning a superior rating, it qualifies for the 2015 TOP SAFETY PICK+ award.

The 2016 model’s good small overlap performance is a dramatic change from the earlier generation Pilot, which rated poor.

In the test of the latest model, the driver space held up well, with maximum intrusion of 4 inches at the parking brake pedal. The dummy’s movement was well-controlled, with the front and side curtain airbags working well together to keep the dummy in place and protect the head from contact with intruding structure and outside objects. Measures taken from the dummy showed a low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of this severity.

In contrast, when the 2014 Pilot was tested, the driver space was seriously compromised. The parking brake pedal moved nearly 17 inches inward, and the door hinge pillar moved in about 14 inches. The dummy’s head barely contacted the front airbag before sliding off to the left, as the steering column moved to the right and toward the driver. The side curtain airbag didn’t extend far enough forward to protect the head.

Like the old version, the new Pilot has good ratings in the Institute’s four other crashworthiness evaluations — moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints. When equipped with front crash prevention, the redesigned SUV qualifies for TOP SAFETY PICK+.

Vehicles must earn a good or acceptable small overlap rating and good ratings in the four other tests to qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK. The plus sign is awarded to vehicles that also have an available front crash prevention system earning an advanced or superior rating.

The Pilot’s optional system is rated superior. The autobrake prevented a collision in the Institute’s 12 mph track test and cut the vehicle’s speed in half in the 25 mph test. The system also includes a forward collision warning feature that meets criteria set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.