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I'm curious about what's happening with sales generally in the auto industry. Newsweek just printed an article about how new models of all SUV/trucks, by all makers, in the pipeline for the next few years, are still big and thirsty. What the article didn't point out, but others have, is the lag time between significant market changes and auto makers' manufacturing response, and that sales of all under 20mpg vehicles are hugely down in past two months compared to last year. With the RL and all other makes and models, in the past few months there seems to be an inverse relationship between fuel economy, which is as much as anything else a function of how heavy is the piece of metal one is trying to move down the road, and price. I think that is what's happening with the RL's precipitous price drop. Can anyone tell my why the RL is 4500 lbs curb weight while, say, a Highlander is 3400? Of course the weight is specifically for hauling and towing ability, but exactly where is the extra weight? The worst gas guzzlers all weigh around 5500 lbs (or more, such as the (shudder) Hummers). You may be sure that Honda right now is asking how do we trim weight on our vehicles, cz if gas goes to $4 or $5 per gallon and stays there, weight, after hybrid and fuel cell issues, is going to be the issue in car design. Can the RL be made lighter and still do what most suburban dads want it to do?
 

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People, and magazines, are always going to complain about vehicles that have lower mileage, but in the end, it's going to come down to a matter of practicality. I traded in my 2003 Honda Accord EXV6 coupe for my Ridgeline because I needed more room for my son, and I wanted to be able to haul stuff. I knew up front that I was trading mileage for utility. People don't generally buy a truck or SUV only to be suprised by the mileage they get out of the vehicle, and people are always going to need SUVs and trucks, so for Newsweek and other magazines to bag on trucks and SUVs is about as effective as people protesting the war in Iraq (I fully support our troops, but protesting the war isn't going to end it).
 

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A lot of weight in modern cars have to do with government safety standards. Those 6-8 airbags in our trucks add up weight. The additional bracing, safety beams etc all adds weight. Those 5mph bumpers aren't light. ABS components, etc etc etc.

Then there's capabilities: heavy duty coolers, beefy suspension components, that boxed frame on the bottom of our unibody, etc. all add weight.

Then there's size. would you have bought the ridgeline if it was the size of a highlander? I wouldn't have.
 
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