Leading the lineup for '99 is the all-new Odyssey, the largest minivan that Honda has ever produced. On the small end of the scale, Honda has announced it will build the S2000 sports car and will sell a gas-electric hybrid in the United States later this year.
1999 Honda OdysseyEnlarge Photo
The S2000 is a front-engine, rear-drive sports car with a 2.0-liter dual-overhead-cam VTEC four-cylinder engine rated at 240 horsepower (hp) and certified as a Low-Emission Vehicle. Honda says it will have a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission, push-button starter, and a 50/50 weight distribution for optimal handling. It will be on sale here in the fall.
Also coming is the hybrid vehicle that Honda says will achieve more than 70 mpg in combined city/highway driving and will meet California's Ultra-Low-Emission Vehicle standards. It will get a five-speed manual transmission.
For those looking for more fun in a Civic, there is also a new Civic Si, featuring a double-overhead-camshaft, variable-valve-timing engine rated at 160 hp way up at 8000 rpm and 111 pound-feet of torque at 7000 rpm. It also gets a sports suspension and a price of $17,445.
The 1999 Odyssey minivan is all-new and a giant step forward. With an overall length of 201.2 inches, it's virtually identical in length to its rivals and almost 14 inches longer than its predecessor is. One thing that hasn't changed; it still has the "magic" third seat that folds out of sight into a well in the floor at the rear and never has to be removed. The engine is a 3.5-liter V-6 with a four-speed automatic transmission. Using premium fuel, the engine is rated at 210 hp and 229 pound-feet of torque. On regular gasoline, those figures are 201 hp and 217 lb-ft of torque. Rounding out the features are dual sliding doors (which are power on the uplevel EX), individual climate control and personal reading lamps at every seating position. It features head restraints and three-point seat belts at all seven seating positions.
The Accord, which was completely redesigned for 1998, gets foldaway door mirrors on all LX and EX models and new seat fabric for the sedan. Styling on the Civic gets sportier. Inside, there are easier-to-use electronic controls for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, and amber instrument panel illumination for easier night driving.
This model year, the CR-V adds 20 more horsepower, bringing it to 146 hp. New features include illuminated power window switches and a column shifter with overdrive switch for automatic transmission models.
The Passport stays as is. The Prelude adds five more horsepower, bringing it to 200 hp with the manual transmission and 195 hp with automatic. Styling changes include a new grille, new colors and new interior fabric.