By on January 14, 2016

2016 Honda Civic Sedan (29 of 34)

TTAC reader Brennan writes:

Hey Mark,

Long-time reader, first-time e-mailer. This might be a question for the TTAC’s Best & Brightest.

This all started when I was looking over the specs for the 2016 Honda Civic after reading your first drive review and really liking what I saw (both the car and your writing). I wanted to see how much of a size difference there was to my wife’s 2001 Honda Accord coupe, which is getting on in age and will need replacing soon. It turns out they’re almost identical in size.

That got me to thinking, how much bigger is the 2016 Accord than the 2016 Civic’s cabin and trunk?

Doing a quick number check of the specs, there only seems to be about a 3-percent size differential between the two (aside from the hip room in the back seats of the Accord).

This leads me to my question: Why would one buy an Accord over a Civic (if a V-6 is discounted as a reason). They’re almost the same size interior-wise, have very similar features, the Civic gets better gas milage, similar horsepower numbers if you go with the turbo, has a smaller overall footprint and is cheaper. 

When did compact cars become the new mid-sized cars?

Will the Civic become the Accord? Will that new model be called the Civic-Accord?

(I did look at the size difference between a Mazda3 and a Mazda6 out of curiosity, and while the 6 was bigger by a larger margin, they were still pretty close together.)

Mark answers:

Flattery will get you everywhere! Or at least on the pages of TTAC. Thank you!

Cars and trucks tend to grow with the birth of each new generation of almost any given nameplate. There are exceptions, but that’s typically the rule. Consumers equate “bigger” to “better,” especially in North American markets. If the next Civic isn’t better than the last — read: bigger, as it’s technically classified as a midsize car now along with the Chevrolet Cruze and Sonic, Dodge Dart, Hyundai Elantra, etc. — a repeat customer might not see much reason to trade-up to a newer model.

But you weren’t asking about that.

To put it simply, the Civic will never be the Accord, but you shouldn’t discount the Accord’s ability to grow in subsequent overhauls to maintain a healthy gap between itself and its little brother Civic. However, Honda needs to be careful how much it grows its midsize Accord, and it only needs to look to Ford on lessons in growing a model outside of its market.

The Ford Taurus, once one of the most popular vehicles in America, probably won’t be offered in our market much longer. The once-midsize sedan and wagon grew and grew until the Fusion took over the vaunted midsize spot in Ford’s lineup. The Fusion was now the prime-time sitcom; the Five Hundred/Taurus moved to the Friday Night Death Slot.

For an even starker example of the same phenomenon, look at Nissan. The Altima, now one of the roomiest midsize sedans money can buy, measures in at 101.9 cubic feet of interior volume. The “larger” Maxima? 98.6 cubic feet. Even worse, the Maxima is effectively newer than the refreshed Altima. Nissan had the chance to grow the Maxima last year to give the Altima some space — but didn’t.

And here’s why: The biggest dimensional comparison between the Altima and Maxima isn’t interior volume. Both models have the exact same wheelbase and track, giving them the exact same footprint.

If you’ve been around TTAC longer than I have, you might remember Derek Kreindler’s explanation of Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations and how footprint plays a massive role in how those averages are calculated:

Unfortunately, the footprint method has the opposite effect; rather than encouraging auto makers to strive for unprecedented fuel economy in their passenger car offerings, it has incentivized auto makers to build larger cars

Now, remember, CAFE takes sales volume into consideration. The Altima’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder — which arguably outsells the V-6 models and the Maxima — gets 31 mpg on the combined cycle, according to the EPA. The Maxima, which is only available with a V-6 engine, manages just 25 mpg. So, while it would make sense to grow the Maxima to better achieve CAFE targets, it makes even more sense to grow the more-efficient Altima and pick up some CAFE credit thanks to its massive sales volume.

So, to answer your question: the bigger, more fuel-efficient Civic is currently ensuring the existence of the Accord V-6, in a roundabout way. And while we will never see a “Civcord” come to fruition, discord between models is a reality, and one that needs to be fixed quickly before the great unwashed catches on and starts buying too many high-po Accord Coupes.

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117 Comments on “Ask the Editor: When Will the Civic Become the Accord? Drink Your CAFE and I’ll Explain...”


  • avatar
    Pch101

    The marketplace will decide what size of cars to buy — the decline of the Taurus is a prime example of this downsizing at the larger end of the mainstream scale. (Presumably, much of the demographic that would have purchased large family sedans have moved to SUVs/CUVs.)

    The footprint standard encourages higher MPG for a given platform. That means start/stop systems, hybrids, weight reduction programs, cylinder deactivation, turbos, etc. If customers don’t want an Accord that is larger than it is now, then it won’t be made any larger.

    The footprint standard also does NOT eliminate fleet-wide targets (although they are fungible.) It isn’t just about the footprint.

    In any case, HMC does not have fleet-wide fuel economy concerns, as its sales are dominated by engines with average power and it has a limited presence in the gas guzzler market.

    • 0 avatar

      “In any case, HMC does not have fleet-wide fuel economy concerns, as its sales are dominated by engines with average power and it has a limited presence in the gas guzzler market.”

      No, but other automakers do, and I’m sure Honda would be willing to sell their credits to other OEMs.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “I’m sure Honda would be willing to sell their credits to other OEMs.”

        Which only makes CAFE even less onerous than it used to be (not that it meant very much.)

        The new rules allow a thirstier OEM to buy its way out of it without the stigma of a fine. (Not this ever bothered the Germans, who just paid the fines.)

        The point remains that the new CAFE does not encourage automakers to just enlarge their cars, because the overall fuel economy of the fleet remains relevant — the earlier TTAC article got that wrong, as I demonstrated in the comments section. However, the old CAFE allowed automakers to offset gas guzzlers simply by selling other units that guzzled less; it is no longer quite that simple.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The point of the footprint scheme was to make companies like Honda bear the brunt of efforts to save fuel. Their fleet targets were higher than makers of bigger cars, which they’re addressing by building bigger cars. You can’t even figure out why you and Obama were wrong when this was proposed now that it’s coming to fruition with Civics that have 106.3 inch wheelbases. The 2012 Civic was smaller than the 2006-2011 Civic. Honda had gone as far as they wanted with model bloat. Now we have the biggest Civic ever, a direct result of bad laws made by a malignant narcissist at the behest of corrupt domestic manufacturers to take advantage of mentally defective voters.

      • 0 avatar

        “You can’t even figure out why you and Obama were wrong when this was proposed now that it’s coming to fruition with Civics…”

        Yes, Obama and I work together all the time on this.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          CJ the nutjob must believe that the Civic was upgraded from a kei car because of Obama. Apparently, HMC anticipated his presidency 30 years before the fact and prepared accordingly.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            ZOMG, that was quite the casually fevered comment of his.

            He’s only getting worse because he insists on living near the nuclear Navy. All that radon…

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Mark,

          I was replying to Pch101, who defends whatever Urkel does without critical thought. My folks rented a Sonata when they visited me recently that had rear seat legroom for an NBA center and headroom for someone less than 5’9″. I suppose Hyundai built this car because their engineers huff glue and not because Obama’s CAFE is as degenerate as every attempt at defying markets by people stupid enough to think they’re smarter than markets.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’m impressed that you managed to make it through high school and college without learning how to read.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            When, exactly, did you think CAFE was created?

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            DrZ,

            Do you know when the footprint scale was added to CAFE? No? Then go find something you’re qualified to comment on. Good luck.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The footprint concept was introduced to CAFE as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, and was signed by the president at that time.

            Quiz question: Who was president back in 2007? (I’ve made it easy for you.)

            a. George W. Bush
            b. George W. Bush
            c. George W. Bush
            d. One of the above

            Poor CJ will need a double dose of his meds to cope with that one.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Here’s the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-110hr6enr/pdf/BILLS-110hr6enr.pdf

            As you will discover, there is no reference to vehicles’ footprints, or tracks, or widths, or wheelbases. On page 8, you will find that authority was created to decide on a means of assigning fuel economy requirement:

            ‘(3) AUTHORITY OF THE SECRETARY
            .—The Secretary shall—
            ‘‘(A) prescribe by regulation separate average fuel economy standards for passenger and non-passenger auto-mobiles based on 1 or more vehicle attributes related to fuel economy and express each standard in the form of a mathematical function; and
            ‘‘(B) issue regulations under this title prescribing aver-age fuel economy standards for at least 1, but not more than 5, model years.

            The “attributes related to fuel economoy” were later defined by Obama’s regulators to be track and wheelbase, but that wasn’t part of the law as it passed under Bush. Sorry. You’re wrong again. It doesn’t seem like you ever tire of it though.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Are you sure that you went to college? You sure don’t know how to do your homework.

            Section 102 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007:

            The Secretary shall: (A) prescribe by regulation separate average fuel economy standards for passenger and non-passenger automobiles based on 1 or more vehicle attributes related to fuel economy and express each standard in the form of a mathematical function

            The “mathematical function” IS the footprint, defined as wheelbase X track width.

            The footprint had already been defined in 2006.

            http://www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/Rulemaking/Rules/Associated%20Files/2006_FRIAPublic.pdf

            By now, you should already know that George W. Bush was president in 2006.

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        “bad laws made by a malignant narcissist at the behest of corrupt domestic manufacturers to take advantage of mentally defective voters.”

        Really?

        I most certainly hope you were being deliberately hyperbolic when you wrote that.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Pch101,
      I tend to agree with your view regarding market influence on the supply and demand side of the business. But, alas, it is far more complicated than you are suggesting.

      However I do believe regulatory constraints does impact the consumer in what choices are available to them and what is selling. CAFE is a classic example of the impact on a whole industrial sector in a country and how it impacts products that are most attractive to the consumer.

      I can cite a number of examples on how government intervention via regulatory controls and tariffs does shape what is available and most economical for the auto manufacturers to produce and sell. Even transport infrastructure and access to public transport affects the motor industry.

      These governmental controls for the auto industry ranges down to how the states and counties entice manufacturers to set up shop in their regions, to simple and harsh controls like the Chicken Tax.

      Your view is a very simplistic view. In theory you are correct, but in reality these controls do shape what is sold to the consumer.

      If this wasn’t the case then all countries would drive pickups and drive large SUVs/CUVs/cars, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @BAFO – The tail doesn’t wag the dog. Regulations and tariffs subtly suggest, but if all we want is 700+ hp screaming Hellcats or other crazy monsters, by god every drive way and garage would have one.

        If enough wanted global pickups from China, India and all over, we’d have them. All of them.

        “Demand” is a key element here. Remember the Mini-Truck Craze of the ’80s? Yep, the Chicken tax was there too, front and center. Other than “demand”, what’s changed?

        By the time CAFE got around to attacking huge gas guzzling, land yachts, we were already tired of them and they were a fashion fopa.

        Airbags, traction nannies, etc, were forced, but consumers demanded those things anyway.

        The rest of the world can keep their crappy little, gross polluting, 30 hp diesel cars. That’s not what we’re generally into. I’m not sure any European really is.

        The point is, the US market is the absolute freest, most accepting and inviting to foreign car makers, of any meaningful markets. Except US consumers have to demand and accept the autos first. But if it’s crappy, don’t bother bringing it. We’ll put it right back on the boat.

        • 0 avatar
          colin42

          “US market is the absolute freest, most accepting and inviting to foreign car makers, of any meaningful markets.”

          Except for….

          Chicken tax
          Different safety standards to the rest of the world (excluding Japan)
          Different lighting standards
          Different emissions standards
          Different rules on fuel economy aka CAFE
          Different rules on engine and body style configuration

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Don’t forget proles cannot import anything foreign under 25yo.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            OK then name a freer market that’s also meaningful.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Colin needs to learn about the world. If he did, then he might figure out that they have rules and tariffs, too.

            (Except for the lighting comment, the post is totally off the mark.)

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Actually our lighting standard are different, but we’ll accept their amber turn signal while they won’t accept all red. They also force a side/fender blinker on us.

            And we’ll accept right-hand-drive and they won’t go both ways. They only import left-hand-drive into the US, for marketing reasons.

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      >The marketplace will decide what size of cars to buy

      It’s just a matter of time before the Civic stretch limo hits the market.

  • avatar
    George B

    Brennan asks: “Why would one buy an Accord over a Civic?” Rear seat room for rear-facing car seats and tall adults.

    • 0 avatar

      I would also add that the current Accord is really good looking, and looks more “adult”, while the Civic looks like a funkier car for the kids. The same with the 3 and the 6, though I think the 3 hatchback looks like a cheap, lowered CUV.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m not a fan of the refresh. Jack’s Accord looks better.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I like the refresh; however, as CoreyDL mentioned, the wheel designs are far worse. And now that I’m at the point in my life where I’m not a total snob for leather, sunroof and smart keys, if I needed a new sedan and Honda offered the Accord Sport with LaneWatch and CarPlay, thats where my money would go (although I’d downsize the wheels).

          The coupe does not look good with the full LED lights.

          • 0 avatar
            Ben

            I know this wasn’t the meat of your comment, but I was just thinking the other day how terrible Honda’s wheel designs have gotten.
            I like the new Civic and current Accord, but what is UP with all the terrible wheels??

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The Accord Sport would be the perfect trim if it only had a sunroof. Living where all light went to die 8 months of the year I do love a sunroof.

        • 0 avatar

          Despite being obsessive, I somehow wasn’t aware of the refresh. I mostly see them from the back in traffic. I don’t like the new front either.

        • 0 avatar
          formula m

          Jacks accord doesn’t look that great.

      • 0 avatar
        Ltd1983

        I think Suto has it.

        I like to be as pragmatic as possible, and left car shopping intending to look at a Civic/Sentra/Elantra. By the time I got one optioned the way I liked, a mid-sizer equipped the same was within 10% of the price of the compacts. Plus, my insurance is actually cheaper for the midsized cars versus the compacts. MPGs were identical or less than 5% different.

        But the icing on the cake was image. I can’t help but see the compact Japanese sedans as student/retiree cars, and the midsized sedans as the cars for the working professional.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I agree…especially since they’re all tadpole shaped. You can also add the Focus and the 2017 Cruze to that list. The only compact sedan that I think looks mature is the Jetta, with its Audi-lite styling…but of course, the Jetta is overpriced and still feels cheap, even after the 2015 refresh.

  • avatar
    Chan

    The 2016 Civic is bigger, cheaper, safer and about as powerful as the 2001 Accord.

    I should also point out that the 2013 Accord shrank by just a tiny bit, as Honda felt that the 2008 Accord had become too bloated. The 2013 is a very tidy-looking car and looks to be the optimum size for the US market. Today’s “midsize” cars barely fit in garages and parking stalls.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    The current Civic is a more capable car than the 1999 Accord, but then again, it does cost a lot more and it has all the latest technical advances.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    The market drives how cars are marketed and by the market, I am talking about the size of American’s posterior.

    In all seriousness, there has been growth in cars since I guess maybe the 80’s? Just look at the Corolla, the 3-series, the Civic, on and on. Cars seems to swell up and then new cars are inserted where the vacuum was left.

    From a value propositon, I see your point about why chose the more expensive over the (seemingly) very similar lower model, but often there are also differences in the material, technology, options available, ride and handling, and refinement of the two, such as in your Civic to the Accord example. My mom purchased a top of the line Corolla over a Camry. Yet when I drove the two, there seemed to be another inch or two of head room in the Camry. If I were even looking in that segment, that would have made my decision for me.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      My observation is that the 5-Series with the thicker Multi-contour Seats (a.k.a Comfort Seats) actually has *less* rear room than does the 3-Series in any guise.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      “Cars seems to swell up and then new cars are inserted where the vacuum was left.”

      Agreed. Having owned a bunch of Hondas beginning with a brilliant 91 Civic DX hatch, the Fit has replaced that particular need. If I were a broke college student today (I WISH) there could be no better dorm-room mover and road-trip eco-shuttle.

      The HRV sort of takes over for my first-gen CR-V which refuses to quit (srsly, they’re still on roads in silly numbers around here). However, there’s just not enough funky (picnic table, anyone?) in Honda these days.

      • 0 avatar
        Chan

        That’s because companies are spending more and more on marketing research. The chief function of marketing research is to tell companies to make all their cars look the same, or else risk “confusing” the customers.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        Fit < Civic < Accord
        HR-V < CR-V < Pilot

        When the new "thing" comes out everything else shuffles around. As the Civic got bigger it made room for the Fit. And since the CR-V and HR-V are based on those models they followed the same rules. Thus I assume at point the CR-V will become so big that something else will slot in under it… and by then maybe the HR-V will be so big something will fill its role.

        As someone else mentioned this is the result of marketing. When a new model comes out something must be different. And more often then not that change is "oh wow look, the new one is bigger". Up until now even the Miata was suffering from this problem. Prime example: full size trucks are now so big that mid-sizers are making a come back, because honestly these new mid-sizers are the size of the original full size trucks of like 25 years ago.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          >because honestly these new mid-sizers are the size of the original full size trucks of like 25 years ago.

          In what dimension? Comparing apples to apples (say, an extended cab/6 or 6.5′ bed 4×4), a modern midsize is still smaller than a 1991 K1500 or F-150. They only look bigger because of taller hoods and bedsides (not that those are necessarily a good thing, but they don’t contribute to the actual size of the vehicle).

          Full-size trucks hit the width ceiling of 78-80″ in the early ’60s, and hit the wheelbase ceiling of 145″ (for a “normal-length” vehicle like a crew cab/5.5′ or ext cab/6.5′) in the mid-late ’00s.

      • 0 avatar
        Ben

        apparently squared off cars aren’t wanted by buyers. the sloping roof of the HRV has to cut into the furniture-carrying capacity.
        Honda Elements sold really well here in Canada, and then were dropped.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The Accord comes with a better interior and more available options, as well. I think this is even more true for Accord v. Civic disparities than it is for Camry v. Corolla. The Accord has to span a larger price range, and compensate for the fact that Honda does not have an Avalon competitor.

    I have always thought they should have made one, way back when in the 90’s. Could have been called the Concerto.

  • avatar
    Edsel Maserati

    The Accord was officially designated a “Large” car a few years ago, wasn’t it?

    The 500 and its later nameplate, the Taurus, was a silly, awkward design. It’s clear they wanted to give a sedan the height of an SUV. It is popular with the New York police, I’ll give it that. Anybody else?

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I would now take an Accord over a Civic to get the naturally aspirated 2.4 liter engine.

    • 0 avatar

      The K20 with the manual in the Civic is fantastic, though.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      You might soon have to move to Mazda to get Japanese car without a CVT or turbo.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      CJ

      I’m just going to drop this here and go put on an asbestos jacket. I think the 2.4 is massively overrated. I’ve been involved with several 2.4’s, most recently an accord sport and an si (but plenty of others over the years). I’ve endorsed their purchase on many occasions. However, as it stands now all I can really say about them is that they are smooth and reliable. These are great things to be, but they are not enough to impress given the size of the vehicles in question nowadays.

      My bil’s accord sport is a great car (truly great even), but could easily be improved with the substitution of several competitor drivetrains. His exact quote was, I dont regret the car, but I wish it had the fusion or passat engine, both of which he was pricing out at a lower cost in his area.

      It’s down on torque in a massive way vs its turbo competitors, it exhibits excessive rev hang in the accord manual and frankly it wants nothing to do with the revs it needs in the accord at least. I liked it much better a few years ago. I’m at the point now where I prefer vw’s 2.5 (un-modified), which had all of the same issues but at least was designed to operate in that Rev range from the get-go.

      In the si the 2.4 is an abject embarrassment. Everything else is better at everything. This is where they should have gone turbo first, not with the 1.8 replacement.

      • 0 avatar
        JBF

        Only issue with that analysis….facts! Accord 2.4 with cvt keeps up(.1 sec slower to 60) with fusion 2.0 240hp turbo, with 6mt bye bye fusion although that’s only important to a few is these days. Now comparing similar trim levels you end up with smaller turbo in the fusion it gets skunked by the 2.4. For the si the engine is not the main issue,the civic just kinda sucks relative to options focus and fiesta St and gti…Honda went soft on chassis tuning etc.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          @JBF

          For balls-out acceleration, it is all about hp. Wind the thing out and it will go. But torque matters more in everyday driving. It’s nice to not HAVE to wind out the motor.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    The Fusion has the same wheelbase as the Taurus and is just under a foot shorter. That’s why the Taurus doesn’t need to be.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Weird – I was at a Honda dealership last night, looking to buy a used car. There was a MY14 Civic there. I commented to my wife that it’s amazing how big the Civic has gotten, why it’s about the same size as our old Accord – which was a MY01 Coupe.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    When will the Civic become the Accord?

    It already is, at least for a couple of generations compared to the Accords of the mid-90s.

    As far as the recently-refreshed Accord, I really like them, for they refined the styling a great deal. The Civic? I’m waiting for the newest, because the outgoing model is pretty ugly. Now it looks kind of like a new Malibu.

    Back to the Accord: The styling is what kept me away from it in 2012 when I was looking around for a new car to replace my 2004 Impala. Those awful dog-bone-shaped door handles pushed me over the edge, but seeing all the weird angles on the grille and lights gave me pause.

    Anyway, I wound up buying what I have now, a 2012 Impala – Chevy made me a deal I couldn’t refuse. IF I would have waited a month or two after the refreshed Accord came out, I may just be driving one now.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Zackman,
      In the early 70s it was. The Accord was a premium Civic.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        No, the Accord was a slightly larger vehicle.

        Sorry.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Cut and paste,
          “The first generation Honda Accord was launched on May 7, 1976 as a three-door hatchback with 68 hp (51 kW), a 93.7-inch (2,380.0 mm) wheelbase, and a weight of about 2,000 pounds. It was a platform expansion of the earlier Honda Civic at 162 inches (4,115 mm) long.”

          • 0 avatar
            RHD

            It was marketed with the slogan, “The Civic has grown a trunk!”

            The Civic has grown a lot more since then, too.

          • 0 avatar
            Slow_Joe_Crow

            From personal experience, the first generation Accord was considerably bigger than the first generation Civic. The Accord was roughly VW Scirocco sized while the Civic was close to an original Mini but taller. There was a lot more interior space in an Accord and a lot more power (that said my only seat time in a Civic involved a Hondamatic). The second generation Civic confuses things a bit because they are styled like a shrunken Accord and are slightly larger.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I’m not a Honda man and never will be. Honda is similar to Toyota, except Honda tend to sell itself at a premium over Toyota.

    Our neighbour when I was a teenager back in the early 70s had a bright yellow Civic. This vehicle was tiny, as it has evolved, it has grown in size. The Accord was a Civic with four headlights and a cassette player and cloth seats.

    CAFE!

    As can be witnessed the pricing of fuel has a far bigger impact on vehicle size than does CAFE. A classic example of this is the Energy Crisis of the 70s.

    All CAFE has done is reduced the maximisation of existing technologies via the introduction of new technologies unnecessarily. Does it matter if a knife and fork is made of stainless or silver? This is how I view CAFE.

    The simplest method to control fuel usage is setting the price of fuel to change and re-shape the market. As I have stated above the Energy Crisis is a classic example of this.

    I do believe in “anything goes” for vehicle design. Just use fuel pricing to regulate and control average FE. Who cares if you have a big block V8 in a Fiat 500, or a 2.5 litre engine in a F-150. If you can afford to maintain a vehicle it really isn’t the governments role to shape the vehicles in which we drive, other than use fuel pricing to shape the market.

    CAFE also impedes competition to a degreee within the US. My view is CAFE will essentially create a nation of vehicles that differ from what the rest of the world will be using. This is not good for a global market. This will eventually destroy the US auto industry.

    The US will gradually comply to what the rest of the world is doing in the auto industry. It will have no choice if it wants to succeed.

    Vehicle harmonisation globally is the future, and I believe the Chinese will sooner rather than later have a big piece of the pie and influence what is occurring more and more. The Chinese are also moving in the direction of global harmonisation.

    CAFE sucks and is not good for the US auto industry.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      The problem with using fuel pricing to achieve the effects of CAFE in a car-centric, wide open place like the US is that it acts as an incredibly regressive tax. Rich people still drive whatever they want and poor people pay a huge percentage of their income to get to and from work even if they buy a tiny tin can to do it with. In Europe, it’s much denser and public transport opens options for people who can’t afford 10 bucks a gallon. In the US there *are* no options, and the problem is compounded by those with low incomes living furthest from their jobs *and* driving older, less efficient cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        PeriSoft,
        I’m not talking EU levels of taxation.

        We have even more wide open spaces and the same or similar levels of vehicle ownership as the US. I even think Australia had a higher level of vehicle sales than the US this year, per capita.

        Our fuel is taxed higher, but not to the point where you can’t afford a V8. Even Canada has V8s.

        Taxing consumption is fair. As for the less fortunate, they will still have vehicles. Many drive very old vehicles, this doesn’t impact the average age of the vehicle fleet. Our average fleet age is newer than the US.

        As Mark stated the “bigger is better” sentiment appears to be you line of thought.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      There is no good reason to have CAFE or to try to control the price of gasoline.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        thelaine,
        The taxation on consumption is the fairest tax of all. But this must be balanced with wealth and income as well.

        I agree CAFE sucks. An example of this is our Maloo utes with a supercharged 6.2 V8, even one third of Commodores and Falcons are equipped with V8s.

        I believe in emissions controls, safety regulations, etc. But not when they are used as technical barriers, like CAFE is used. I’m not stating that CAFE and the other technical barriers stop all trade, but they reduce the level of importation and competition.

        The biggest beneficiaries of free economic activity is the consumer. If we look after the consumer and not big business and unions you will find the economy will look after itself. It’s called supply and demand without undue influence, which is a negative.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          There is no “fair” tax and never will be. Taxes enable waste and sociopathic behavior.

          • 0 avatar
            PeriSoft

            So presumably you prefer to live in a country without them? I can think of some, but they don’t tend to be characterized by the absence of waste and sociopathic behavior. If you want to argue about whether it’s wise to use taxation specifically as a means to encourage or discourage certain type of economic activity, that’s reasonable. But acting like there should be no government at all (and opposition to all taxes means precisely that) is just wildly absurd.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The closest to something which seems to work is the example of Switzerland. Canton taxes vary, but the highest national rate is 16% and I believe that’s over 750,000 CHF.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Switzerland has a VAT (which, remember, applies at multiple stages of production for most products and services) to make up for the lower income taxes. Between the strong currency and the VAT prices in Switzerland can be as much as double what they are here. Total cost of living is far higher than it is in most places in the US.

            Places with truly low taxes do not tend to be nice places to live.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Switzerland’s VAT on most goods is 8%, which is reasonable by US standards and dirt cheap by European standards.

            On the other hand, Switzerland is an expensive country. Even if you were earning francs, you would still have to pay a fair bit more to maintain the standard of living that one would have in the US with the same money. (But things works extremely well; the place is dull but efficient.)

            It also should be noted that the US has relatively low taxes. Our extensive system of deductions makes for a modest marginal tax rate, and consumer goods here are cheap. It helps to have the reserve currency and the buying power of 300+ million people.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    In 2014 I shopped the Civic and Accord. Bought the Accord. In 2014 the Accord was still a bit bigger as well as a bit more refined and more standard equipment. Today I would shop both again, who knows what I’d buy again. I would not buy a car bigger than an Accord.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    So much wrong with this article.

    The Taurus did not grow and grow and grow until it became a large car. It stayed basically the same size for it’s 20 year run and once discontinured it’s name was lifted for a new large car that wasn’t doing very well with its silly name.

    The Accord did grow and grow and grow, and then shrunk, then grow and grow and grow, shrink, and not it is back to growing again.

    CAFE and footprint size have minimal effect on this situation at Honda. Honda had been growing it’s cars long before footprint was a part of CAFE. In the 70’s when it was introduced it was barely a compact (and the Civic was a subcompact)and made it to the large class before the footprint laws and actually shrunk by the time the footprint factor took effect.

    Plain and simple it is Honda’s way of moving a mark up the ladder without the idiot buying really knowing they are moving up the ladder. I’ve got a friend who has one of the large class Accords which replaced one of the barely a midsize Accord. He bought a new Accord because he had an old Accord. He didn’t even look at anything else because the old Accord was the right size and had been such a good car. Of course when pressed he then admits that it needed 4 trips on the tow truck in it’s ~150k miles. Once for an imploding distributor, once for a failed ignitor and twice for a failed main relay. All of which are known pattern failures for that particular year range of Accord and Hondas in general.

    However back to the point. He bought an Accord because he had an Accord and was thinking he was getting the same thing but instead he had been fooled into moving from a midsize car to a large car.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      On the upside with your friends latest Accord, it wont rust deep into the rear seats.

      I always thought Honda made its cars bigger to appeal more to Americans, their old models weren’t always the best with legroom, getting in or out, headroom, etc.

      You’re not kidding about the “premium”, when Accords were still semi-small in the early 90’s they were pretty pricey even for base, no AC, no radio, crank windows, but you brought one because Car Magazines loved them, and we all know how trustworthy they are.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Well where we live rust isn’t a big issue.

        Yes many of the times that Honda increased the size of the Accord it was to make it more appealing to Americans. When the best selling car in the US switched from being the sub-compact Escort to the Mid-size Taurus Honda (and Toyota) started targeting that size. The Camry also started out in the compact class, moved to the barely a mid size to the upper range of the mid size category, but instead of making it a large car they made a larger version of it and gave it it’s own name Avalon. However Toyota was also banking on people replacing their Camry with another Camry w/o paying attention/knowing that the current Corolla was as big as their old Camry.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    The biggest thing I notice between compact and midsize sedans is the shoulder room and the 3 across space in the back seat. We had a 2014 Rav4 (built on a Corolla platform) between 4Runners. You can comfortably fit 2 adults in the back of the 4Runner with a child seat in the middle. In the Rav, you could fit, but it was way more crowded. As much as I liked our Rav, when it was totaled by a careless Ohio driver, I was looking at 4Runners and Highlanders in the Toyota stable since I have another 3 or 4 years of car seats.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    CAFE is great! It has never been easier to wash the tops of cars.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    It’s not even this generation. My 09 Civic has the same wheelbase and passenger dimensions as 90-97 Accords. Water finds its level and in this case it is passenger volume… this is why the “compact” segment is growing while the “midsize” segment is shrinking.

    Good point about the Taurus…. I completely forgot it used to be what the Fusion is.

  • avatar
    JBF

    Said another way, why would anyone by a civic turbo when you can by accord sport with 6mt for less(your not getting $4k discount of that civic)

  • avatar
    thornmark

    >>The Altima, now one of the roomiest midsize sedans money can buy, measures in at 101.9 cubic feet of interior volume.<<

    KBB has the Accord at 103 and the Sonata at 106.
    http://www.kbb.com/compare-cars/specs/2016-honda-accord-411891-vs-2016-hyundai-sonata-412238-vs-2016-nissan-altima-414435/

  • avatar
    thelaine

    As long as an army of regulators remain employed, limiting your choices and sucking down your sweet tax money, your masters are happy. Whether the regulation makes any sense is irrelevant. Your Mandarins will do the thinking for you. You are not even competent to choose your own lightbulbs, idiots.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      You forget the “regulators” are all of us. Most of us want safer, more fuel efficient cars. Yes that limits the choices for the minority that want to go hog wild, with no emissions controls. Or limits choices for those that want stuff way far off the mainstream. What’s up Vulpine?

      The regulators lean on and help out the automakers dragging their feet, but all automakers are determined to give consumers what we want, even if it’s not the exact fit for everyone.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        Agreed on emissions and safety DM, to a point. Regulators still have jobs after their good work is done. It is never enough. Ask anyone who is trying to run a business.

        It is not endless regulation vs no regulation. It is a metastisizing self-perpetuating bureaucracy which decides that nothing shall escape the gaze of Mordor.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Cars will continue to evolve for the better, and yes regulators will be there to insure new/future technology is done on time, not substandard, and by all car makers alike. Eventually, we all win and live longer, safer, healthier lives.

          Forced back-up cameras/monitors will be the next big thing, but they’re cheap gadgets now. Other new things will show up as they’re dreamed up and made widely available. It’s not a terrible thing, is it?

          Or would you rather all of us have the option/choice of driving around in new cars matching the safety and tailpipe emissions of ’67 Novas?

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Mordor didn’t have a gaze; Mordor was the land. You’re thinking of Sauron.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      They may take our lives, but they’ll never take…OUR LIGHTBULBS!

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    I’ll just point out that the last Taurus never felt nearly as big on the inside as it looked from the outside. It may have died because it just wasn’t well laid out.

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