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…)

By on June 22, 2016

Honda Civic Bing Maps Eastern Passage

We live on a small cul-de-sac with 19 other families. Until this past weekend, there were 33 vehicles parked in our street’s 20 driveways, not including the always different manufacturer-supplied press car parked in front of GCBC Towers.

But one family that already owned one Honda Civic just doubled the size of its fleet with another Civic, and in so doing also doubled the number of driveways on our 20-home street with two Honda Civics. This brought the total number of Honda Civics on our small cul-de-sac to nine, equal to a 26 percent share of the market.

Yes, it’s an extreme version of a typically Canadian story. Assembled in Honda Canada’s plant in Alliston, Ontario, the Civic is a long-running powerhouse, a reality intensified in our decidedly non-premium, working class community.

Meanwhile, the Honda Civic is climbing the leaderboard in the United States, as well. (Read More…)

By on June 10, 2016

2017 Acura ILX blue

There is a new Honda Civic on a new platform with a very well-equipped Touring trim available. The tenth-generation is a hot seller and it claimed top sales honours among passenger cars in April.

Yet sales of another car, based on the old Honda Civic’s platform, are on the rise. Indeed, sales of the Acura ILX, admittedly updated for 2016 but very much a close relative of the ninth-generation Civic, have risen nine percent in a car market which tumbled eight percent through the first five months of 2016.

Why? (Read More…)

By on May 18, 2016

2016 Honda Civic sedan

Though growth in the American new vehicle market slowed in the first-third of 2016, U.S. sales of SUVs and crossovers jumped 9 percent, a gain of 173,000 sales, year-over-year.

Matching the rate of expansion seen in calendar year 2015, the highest-volume year on record for the U.S. auto industry, was never going to be easy. It’s made all the more difficult by decreasing interest in the largest corner of the market: cars. Sales of passenger cars are down 5 percent so far this year, exacerbating a trend that was already set in stone a year ago.

Yet sales volume in Honda dealers is rising rapidly in the first four months of 2015. Honda just reported record April auto sales, not because of popular utilities such as the CR-V and Pilot, but because of cars. (Read More…)

By on May 10, 2016

2016 Honda Civic Coupe

Remember when Every. Single. Car. Model. came in a two-door version?

Sure, the days of luxurious and lengthy Olds 98 two-doors and Lincoln Town Coupes are long gone, but it wasn’t long ago that coupe offerings stretched from one end of the compact car market to the other.

A buyer was once able to choose between the forgettable Ford Escort and equally forgettable but nicer-looking ZX2. You could get the bland Nissan Sentra or the slightly less bland 200SX. And so on and so forth. (Read More…)

By on May 6, 2016

Honda-ARC-Line-2

Henry Ford’s way of building cars was so 20th Century, so Honda tried something new.

Workers at the automaker’s new Thailand plant now stay in motion all day, moving with the vehicle as it travels down the assembly line, Automotive News reports. (Read More…)

By on May 3, 2016

Hyundai-Elantra-Sport

Hyundai just revealed its Korean-market Avante Sport, but it’s also a preview of what North American customers can expect in their Elantra lineup.

The Avante is what people in Seoul call an Elantra, and the new performance model puts the automaker in a better position to fend off competition from the likes of Honda, Volkswagen and Mazda.

The redesigned 2017 Elantra Limited we tested had improved styling and a better ride, but was lacking in power. The Sport model’s Korean specifications shows 204 horsepower from a turbocharged and direct-injected 1.6-liter four-cylinder, as well as a multi-link rear suspension. (Read More…)

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