By on June 19, 2017

2017 Civic Type R (European Version)

You’re not likely to find another car sporting over 300 horsepower and a price below $35,000 with the same kind of visual impact as the Honda Civic Type R. Call it over the top, call it arresting, or call it exactly what you’ve been waiting for.

Honda designers and engineers know what buyers they want to reach — as many as possible. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have decided to spice up its every-popular Civic with warm (Si) and hot (Type R) variants. With both models, deciding on power and price meant walking a fine line. Honda wants the Civic to be a big tent model. Nothing too exclusive, thank you very much.

Regular Civics for the masses, a 205 hp offering for the lively commute type, and a 306 hp hatch festooned with go-fast add-ons for the wannabe (or legitimate) racers. Seems like a pretty good range, right? Nope, there’s still white space in need of filling, says the Civic’s head engineer. (Read More…)

By on June 13, 2017

2017 Honda Civic Si Coupe Red and Blue, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

After a four-hour journey that included a ferry ride across the Northumberland Strait from Prince Edward Island, we arrived at one of the largest import car meets in Atlantic Canada in Bedford, Nova Scotia. There, owners showed off rows upon rows of cars in varying states of modification and personalization, from tasteful to tasteless.

My car club friends and I walked though to say hello to other folks we’d only previously chatted with on our local import forum, all the while gawking at some of the wildest vehicles east of Quebec. Body kits, massive turbo setups, and convoluted engine swaps ruled the day. But I only remember one vehicle vividly, parked at the end of a row and free from the usual slack-jawed, drooling masses: a pristine, unmodified, 1999 or 2000 Honda Civic Si Coupe (actually an SiR in Canada) still wearing its factory Electron Blue Pearl paint.

To me, back in 2007, this was automotive perfection.

Fast forward some 10 years later. I had the chance to meet the 2017 Honda Civic Si, a quicker, more mature, and more usable younger sibling wearing a similar shade of blue — then proceeded to act like a 22-year-old again and drive the ever-living snot out of it.

(Read More…)

By on June 5, 2017

2017 Honda Civic Coupe Si – Image: Honda

Not everyone was blown away by the new Honda Civic Si’s 205 horsepower, especially after a year of rumors suggesting output could fall in the 220-hp range. While the hotter (but not hottest) version of Honda’s 10th-generation Civic possesses the same horsepower rating as its predecessor, albeit with significantly less displacement, many Big H aficionados had hoped for more.

Nah, you don’t want that, Honda says. The Si’s massaged 1.5-liter turbo does offer increased torque (192 lb-ft) compared to the previous 2.4-liter model, but the automaker claims the addition of more ponies would have harmed the model. (Read More…)

By on June 1, 2017

2017 Civic Type R (European Version), Image: Honda

Earlier this month, Honda announced pricing for its hotter Civic Si sedan and coupe, both of which carry an after-delivery price of $24,775. However, at 205 horsepower, the 2017 Civic Si’s powertrain could leave some front-drive sporty car lovers wanting more.

Not to fear, the Civic Type R will arrive on dealer lots imminently. Offered on North American shores for the first time, the Type R adds an extra 101 hp to the Si’s power output, all thanks to a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Torque tops out at 295 lb-ft, and a hatch is the only bodystyle available.

According to new photos of a fresh-from-England batch of Type Rs, the cost of that extra power amounts to about $100 per horse. (Read More…)

By on May 1, 2017

hondata-2017-honda-civic

Honda’s new Civic is a heck of a car, even if the styling is polarizing. But it’s not a performance car like Civics of old, where mixing and matching engine and transmissions from other models could yield a very quick ride with a stratospheric redline. Enthusiasts are anxiously awaiting the Si and Type-R trims, which promise plenty of power — but what of those who already have a car, or need features the high-performance cars don’t have?

Enter Hondata, the firm that’s been tuning Honda engine management systems for years. It’s been the industry leader for those looking to do those engine swaps, and has developed software and devices to add performance to the factory ECU.

Recently, Hondata released its FlashPro for the newest Civic powered by the 1.5-liter turbo engine, and I had a chance to drive a Hondata-tuned 2017 Civic.

Even stock, the new turbo Civic is faster in the quarter-mile than the previous-generation Civic Si, so the extra performance should be impressive.

(Read More…)

By on April 24, 2017

2017 Civic Type R (European Version)

“Tested on the Nürburgring,” is just the latest eye-rolling claim to be adopted by automakers desperate to instill a new product with an air of sportiness.

“Nürburgring?!” being the anticipated reaction. “Well, the Germans aren’t going to let just any minivan on that track … ”

There’s much guilt to go around. Just as a Ram maintenance truck trundling down the runway at Edwards Air Force Base is not a space shuttle or F-35, running some laps on the famed circuit does not a supercar make. Still, the track’s allure persists, especially among marketing types.

Sometimes, an achievement crops up that makes the typing of “Nürburgring” an acceptable practice — specifically, the setting of a record. (Read More…)

By on April 12, 2017

2017 Honda Civic hatchback - Image: Honda

Canadian passenger car sales are falling, not unpredictably, as SUVs and crossovers continue to earn an increasingly large chunk of market share.

And yet at the top of the passenger car leaderboard, Canada’s two best-selling cars are selling at a record pace, with no small amount of help from new hatchback body styles.

Bucking the Canadian, North American, and global anti-car trend most distinctly is the Honda Civic, Canada’s best-selling car in each of the last 19 years.

Indeed, so strong have Civic sales been through the first-quarter of 2017, we’re ready to make a projection. Make it a confirmation. We’ll say it with certainty. Honda Canada’s Civic streak will reach a full two decades, twenty years, as the Civic becomes Canada’s best-selling car in 2017.

The Civic’s lead is already insurmountable. (Read More…)

By on April 10, 2017

2017 Mazda 3 5-door – Image: Mazda

Mazda hasn’t always proven capable of winning hearts and minds in the U.S. marketplace. But in buff book comparison tests, Mazda possesses a recipe for success.

Possessed.

Nine months ago, for instance, a 2016 Mazda 3 i Grand Touring spanked the Nissan Sentra and scored substantial victories over the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze LT and 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited in a five-car Car And Driver comparison test. Only the 2016 Honda Civic EX came close. Car And Driver was quite right in pointing out the Mazda 3 overachieved “in a world where excellence isn’t always rewarded with sales.” TTAC’s east coast reviewers came to the same conclusion four months ago.

Indeed, U.S. sales of the Mazda 3 fell to a 10-year low in 2016. Now, with sales in 2017 on track to fall to a 13-year low, the Mazda 3 has lost a comparison test.

And not just to one car, but two. (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2017

2017 Honda Civic Coupe Si – Image: Honda

Honda isn’t one to dish details on a new product miles ahead of a debut, but information has a way of springing leaks.

An email sent to Honda aficionados from the automaker has ended up on the CivicX forum, and its description of the upcoming Civic Si’s torque rating is apparently legit. However, those fans wish it wasn’t, as the number isn’t exactly that of a performance monster. (Read More…)

By on February 22, 2017

2017 Honda Civic LX Coupe

It wouldn’t have escaped your attention that there have been some bumpy years in #CivicNation. Honda acknowledged this itself, scuttling back to the drawing board for an “emergency refresh” in 2013 after the people with adenoids Consumer Reports pulled its Recommended rating.

What caused the problem? A misfire in focus groups? Bean counters? Aliens? Alien bean counters in focus groups? We may never know. What we do know is the 2017 Honda Civic is quite good, so let’s see how the coupe version stacks up in base LX trim against its higher-spec brothers.

(Read More…)

By on January 16, 2017

2016 Honda Civic Sedan - Image: Honda

The first Honda Civic made its way to the United States during the Nixon administration. Honda began building Civics in the United States in 1986. Two years later, Honda of Canada Manufacturing began Civic production, as well.

In 2016, with an assembly plant in Greensburg, Indiana, and Alliston, Ontario, Honda is building more than 38,000 Civics per month in North America.

Yet seven years after Honda discontinued the Civic in its Japanese home market, Civic production is returning to Japan.

Civic sales resume in Japan this summer, and some of those Japanese-built Civics, Automotive News reports, might make their way to America. (Read More…)

By on December 14, 2016

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback vs 2017 Mazda 3 5-Door - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

Until recently, American car shoppers generally treated hatchbacks with a level of disdain normally reserved for that fetid cheese you forgot about in the back of the fridge.

It made sense; most of them were base-model penalty boxes with all the charm of plain oatmeal. Now, though, the market is awash with five-doors featuring content levels and power outputs formerly reserved for much more expensive machinery.

Honda recently re-entered the hatchback game with its 2017 Civic, while Mazda has been hawking a five-door 3 since its introduction a dozen years ago. Last week, the stars aligned and the press-fleet gods shone upon TTAC by placing a Honda Civic Hatchback and Mazda 3 5-Door in the grubby hands of Tim and Matt during the same week.

While the two cars were optioned differently (a CVT-equipped Civic LX and a manual-equipped Mazda 3 5-Door Grand Touring), we nevertheless took the opportunity to get these two hatchbacks together and ask the question: “Which is gooder?” (Read More…)

By on December 7, 2016

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

As I exited the grocery store this past Sunday night thronged by late night shoppers, the expressions on the faces of those who walked past the 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback LX, parked right in front of the store, were not difficult to discern.

Then, as it became obvious I was the “owner” of said Civic, previously repulsed glances shifted toward me, now full of pity. Can’t say I was surprised. The exterior design Honda foisted upon an otherwise excellent car is downright horrifying.

I wanted to shout across the grocery store parking lot, “It’s not mine.”
(Read More…)

By on December 2, 2016

2013 Toyota Avalon Limited, Exterior, Avalon badge, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

“Well, I bought that car last night.” Craig has this unnerving habit of simply appearing at my cubicle while I’m trying to do something productive, like texting people or reading random articles from the Last Psychiatrist archive on my phone. He’s a soft-spoken fellow, entering late middle age the same way that I am but not showing nearly as much evidence of blunt trauma, well-compensated in his engineering job but modest in appearance and disinclined to spend money.

Regarding my life and temperament, I like to follow the example of Robert Bly in quoting Cesar Vallejo: “Well, / On the day that I was born / God was sick / gravely.” I suspect that on the day that Craig was born, by contrast, God was in perfect health and settling down with the newest issue of Consumer Reports. About a month ago, Craig started seriously thinking about replacing his 150,000-mile Honda CR-V. It’s been a faithful companion for a freeway commute that takes about an hour in each direction, but even the most prosaic of Hondas eventually reaches a point where the cost of maintenance starts to become a factor. Not in money, necessarily, but in time.

Knowing that I dabble a bit in things automotive, Craig had asked what I thought about the new CR-V. This was a subject on which I was glad to speak, because I absolutely despise the “cute-utes” and will take every opportunity to rooster-block the purchase of one.

(Read More…)

By on November 15, 2016

2017 Honda Civic Coupe Si – Image: HondaWe’re far removed from the 91-horsepower 1984 Honda Civic Si.

Honda, on the eve of the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, introduced the Si version of the tenth-generation Civic in prototype coupe form. Honda plans to bring the Si to market as a 2017 model next year with both sedan and coupe bodystyles.

Expect very few changes for the coupe when this “prototype” becomes a production car next year. In Honda vernacular, “prototype” is as close to production as a production car can be without actually being the production car. (Read More…)

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