Blame the Rebels.
Nissan’s Rogue was the best-selling vehicle without a pickup bed in December of 2016, largely thanks to a massive advertising campaign that tied into one of the two recent Star Wars movies where only teenaged girls can be trusted to save the universe. Behind it, you had the usual suspects: CR-V, RAV4, Camry, Accord, Civic, Corolla. But even that state of affairs is a major change from business-as-usual a decade or two ago.
You can learn a lot about American society by looking at the best-selling car in any given year. So if we discount the Rogue’s Yavin IV-style moonshot performance, what’s changed about us since, say, 1967 — and what’s stayed the same? More importantly, who killed the Camry?
As I drive the new 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback through the yellow leaves of Ontario’s autumn, a very tired metaphor comes to mind. You probably know the one. It includes a guy with the initials R.F. — and no, not the one who founded this particular corner of the internet.
I’m going to refuse this inspiration. Leveraging The Road Not Taken in automotive journalism is as banal as quoting Dom Toretto.
Instead, let’s talk about something else entirely: The ’70s.
How ’bout that new Civic sedan? I don’t know about you, but I think it’s the boldest mainstream design I’ve seen from a Japanese manufacturer since Honda got rid of the hidden headlamps on the Accord back in ’92. It’s got a ton of surface texture, a vicious fastback profile with a tiny trunk opening, and big wheel arches like a show car.
There’s only one problem; it’s a clear and present riff on the Audi A7. But as we’ll see, this is a game Honda has played before.
Yaw A writes:
Second time caller, long time fan. I have a 2009 Civic EX five-speed sedan I bought about 18 months ago and am hoping to drive into dust. I bought it instead of the Si because the EX gets slightly better gas mileage, uses regular gas instead of premium, and isn’t as … extreme?
Yet, naturally, I threw all the EX’s comfort out the window and let my inner ricer take over.
Starting next Monday, North American shoppers will be able to stroll into Honda dealers across the nation and take delivery of a Civic Hatchback. Mercifully, it looks a lot better than the pug-nosed, bent-nail-shifter Si oddity of the early 2000s.
The Honda CRX is one of my all-time favorite cars, especially the first-generation 1984-87 models. I have owned quite a few of them and found that the CRX’s combination of reliability (if you didn’t overheat and blow the head gasket), driving enjoyment, fuel economy, and cheap purchase price was impossible to beat for a daily driver in the 1990s. CRXs are rare in self-service junkyards now, most of them having been used up and discarded decades ago, and the few that I see get stripped to nothingness within days of hitting the yard.
Here’s an unusually complete ’86 that I found in a Denver yard last week. (Read More…)
Where do I start?
So, Honda unveiled a shoe yesterday, and it’s the next best thing to owning and driving a 2016 Civic.
At least, that’s what we’re led to believe. The limited edition…shoe…is a collaboration between Honda (maker of 3,000 pound vehicles that can drive places and are way pricier than pants), lifestyle-oriented digital media company Thrillist and menswear company JackThreads.
Yes, it’s called the HT3 Driving Shoe, and it premiered alongside the car that inspired it at a Thrillist-hosted Los Angeles shindig. We can’t confirm rumors that rioting broke out due to shoe anticipation.
The first-generation Honda Civic sold like crazy in California, and could be found everywhere in the Golden State from the mid-1970s through the mid-1990s. These Civics are now virtually extinct, both on the street and in the junkyard, because they were used up and summarily discarded.
The 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback has bowed in prototype form at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, and will be getting its U.S. welcome at the New York International Auto Show on March 22.
After having images leaked two days ago, the prototype offers a clearer look at what buyers can expect when the 10th generation Civic hatch goes on sale. Just don’t expect the ornate, go-fast trappings of this version to be found on anything approaching a base model.
TTAC Regular David Holzman writes:
My here-to-fore bombproof 2008 Honda Civic (stick) with 84,000 miles just suffered an air conditioning failure. I’d planned to drive it until spring before getting the AC repaired — I drove my ’99 Accord for almost four years after the AC quit — but a clattering noise led me to contact my friend who owns a garage for advice. He told me that unlike my old 1999 Accord, the Civic and most other cars these days run the AC off of a serpentine belt that also powers the alternator and water pump (if any of the above info is wrong, it’s my fault, not Marc’s). In other words, I could get stranded, quickly. So, I was forced to get a new compressor to the tune of $1,300 due — in large part, I understand — to environmental regs and lousy refrigerant that meets such regs.
CivicX is reporting that Honda has ordered a stop sale on all 2-liter four-cylinder-equipped 2016 Honda Civics. To blame: piston pin snap rings, which may be incorrectly installed or not installed at all.
This is the first recall of Honda’s tenth-generation Civic and includes 33,735 units in the United States and an additional 8,000 units in Canada. The recall has not yet been disclosed by the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration or Transport Canada.
According to an official Honda communication to dealers, the missing or incorrectly installed piston pin snap rings “may cause engine stall or failure.”
Honda received much flogging from the press for the last-generation Civic. The 2012 model was the result of Honda improperly reading the Magic 8-Ball amid the global slowdown. Honda’s decision makers assumed shoppers would be looking for something more modest, perhaps even austere, and changed direction to suit. The competition, assuming shoppers would be looking for greater creature comforts in a smaller package, went the opposite direction and doubled down on luxury features.
The conventional wisdom has been that Honda “stepped in it” with the ninth-generation sedan. Journalists complained about the plastic quality, the styling and … customers paid little attention. The Civic’s sales dipped slightly in 2011 during the changeover, but rapidly rebounded to over 315,000 units a year since. Some would say that Honda’s “emergency refreshes” were the reason for the sales success, but I propose a different answer: the continued sales success of the lesser-than Civic and an increase in sales of “premium” compacts showed there was plenty of room in the segment for both.
Whatever the reality, one thing is for certain: When it came time to design the tenth-generation Civic, Honda had “austere” removed from the company dictionary.