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…)

By on November 8, 2016

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback white rear through trees, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

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.

(Read More…)

By on October 14, 2016

Burning Car by NathanWert

There’s a single BMW X3 out there that could burst into flames at any moment.

That, Mercedes-Benz offers EV charging with no wires or plugs, Toyota pours staff into Texas, and Honda wants its Civics to stand still … after the break! (Read More…)

By on September 29, 2016

New Civic Type R Prototype breaks cover in Paris

Honda has provided a glimpse of the U.S.-bound Civic Type R at the Paris Auto Show, albeit in concept form (though the automaker prefers the near-production term “prototype”).

This Type R — designed in Japan, built in the UK, and destined (at last) for America — uses the Civic Hatchback as a canvas, then adds every visual performance indicator the automaker could get its hands on. Reportedly, it will have the power to back up its looks. (Read More…)

By on August 29, 2016

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback

Not since the sixth-generation Honda Civic of 1996-2000 has American Honda made a hatchback available as a conventional part of the Civic lineup.

Yes, there was the British-built Civic hatchback of 2002-2005, but it was an Si-only model with limited appeal and little connection to the broader Civic lineup.

The new 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback that’s now reaching North American shores — it’s built at the same Swindon, England, plant as the aforementioned Civic Si — is another thing altogether. It’s not merely a two-door hatchback entry into the Civic fold, as the Civic hatch so often was in the distant past. Nor is the new Civic Hatchback exclusively meant to be a performance-oriented hot hatch, though it will form the foundation of North America’s first-ever Civic Type R.

No, the new, turbo-only, four-door Civic Hatchback closely mirrors the upper-trim levels of the established tenth-generation Civic lineup. Presumably, then, the new Civic Hatchback, with all of its flexibility and practicality and tailgate possibilities, will steal sales from the regular Honda Civic sedan and coupe?

Honda says no. (Read More…)

By on August 15, 2016

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback front three quarter

American Honda has wisely revealed studio images and announced a level of detail regarding its 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback. After pictures (from an unfortunate angle) of the new car’s early shipment filtered to America last week, the tenth-generation’s third body style looks significantly better in Honda’s official shots.

Honda’s 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine will power all U.S.-bound Civic Hatchbacks across LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, and Sport Touring trims. The LX, Sport, and EX will be available with a six-speed manual transmission. Until now, the 1.5T upgrade in the tenth-gen Civic was linked exclusively to a continuously variable transmission. (Read More…)

By on August 11, 2016

2017-civic-hatchback

The third addition to the Honda Civic lineup was recently spotted at a UK port, providing a glimpse of a vehicle we’ve only seen in prototype guise.

The Honda Civic hatchback shown at the Geneva Motor Show in March wasn’t a production model, but images posted on the CivicX forum show what American buyers can expect. (Read More…)

By on July 25, 2016

1986 Honda CRX in Colorado Junkyard, LH front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

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…)

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