Saturday, November 16, 2013

2013 KLIMS Coverage : Honda Malaysia Booth

Finally I have the time to begin my coverage of the 2013 Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show which began yesterday (Nov 15th 2013) at the Putra World Trade Center and will run for another 8 days until November 24th. As expected, I begin my coverage by looking at the Honda Malaysia booth.


The photo above is a panoramic shot of the Honda booth. For this show, Honda's official press release says that they are showcasing their latest 'Advanced, Everyday, Efficient' technologies. A total of 5 vehicles are on display at the spacious booth so there will be plenty of space to move around. The 5 vehicles covers a nice mixture of niche and mainstream - new models, enthusiasts, motorsports, future technologies.


The centerpiece of the show is the new EV-STER concept car, a slightly larger than K-car sports convertible, a modern day Honda Beat. Hardcore Honda fans will know by now that this concept car has now grown to become the new S660 sports convertible which Honda will launch in the near future (it is being shown at this year's Tokyo Motor Show). The EV-STER provides a nice glimpse into an enthusiast-centric, future model from Honda. 

However, the 'star' of the Honda Booth is the new 5th generation Odyssey which Honda Malaysia is launching here, barely two weeks after it's world premier launch in Japan. This is of course what is hidden behind the curtains at the center of the panoramic shot above (of course the display structure itself is already a giveaway). We will provide details of the new Malaysian market 5th Gen Odyssey in another article later.

In between the EV-STER and the Odyssey is the Mugen CR-Z RR (or Honda CR-Z Mugen RR as Honda Malaysia prefers it to be called). This is the actual vehicle from Mugen (M-TEC) in Japan, shipped down specially for this show. I had tried to take close up photos of the car thinking to prepare a nice article about it but was rejected when I asked to open the bonnet/hood. Reason given was that the car was on loan from Mugen/M-TEC and if they gave me the preference to open the bonnet/hood, then everyone will want to do that. So, sorry, no special coverage of this well known car. However, towards the closing of the show, I happened to try the doors of the car and found they were unlocked so I did take a few photos of it close up. The photos will be published later.

On the other side of the Odyssey booth is the HMRT (Honda Malaysia Racing Team) Honda Jazz (Fit) that competed in the S1K or the Malaysian Sepang 1000km endurance race, Honda Malaysia's exhibit for the motorsports arena. HMRT originally built two cars for the competition, using standard chassis from the factory. The actual builders of the cars were a mixture of a local tuning shop and Honda Malaysia staff. The engines powering both cars are surprisingly the original '1st Gen' L15A, i.e. using the 12V-16V SOHC i-VTEC system. Why chose this over the (very) slightly more performance oriented '2nd Gen' L15A which is full 16V with a normal and hot cam profile on the intake side ? Thanks to the fact that one of the tuners is a friend, I was told that the 2nd gen L15A is less 'tuneable' due to its integrated header (i.e. header is built into the cylinder head with provision for the attachment of the catalytic converter directly onto it) whilst the 1st gen L15A can be fitted with a specially designed race header. So there is more avenue for tuning with the 1st gen. I understand the valve train was modified and the 12V-16V system was (as expected) no longer used. ECU used is Mugen and tuned by Mugen engineers, fine-tuned on the Sepang race track itself.

One engine was built by Mugen and the other built by the local tuning shop. In absolute terms, seasoned Honda fans will know that the power potential of the LSeries engine is rather limited when in NA mode. Still the car delivered reasonable results in its first outing at the S1K last year. However I do not know the details of this year's entries as I did not participate in any of the PR events from HMRT.

The final vehicle on display is the full electric Honda Accord PHEV, the new 9Gen plug-in electric Accord. For Honda, this car represents the future as we move away from total dependence on fossil fuel to 'renewable' sources of energy. To complement this futuristic display, Honda also has their 'Honda Smart Home System' (HSHS) which is Honda's vision of a comprehensive energy management system for the future household. 

In follow-up articles, we will provide first an overview of KLIMS itself, followed by coverage of selected booths from other manufacturers. In the meantime, more photos of Honda's exhibits will be gradually uploaded to our TOVA Facebook page over the next few days.

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