By on December 12, 2017

2016 Honda Civic Sedan - Image: Honda

We all have our perversions, and here’s mine: I will always have a soft spot for ugly-duckling products that were eclipsed by the competition or cannibalized by their own relatives. First example: the Apple 3 (properly yclept Apple ///). We don’t have time here to discuss how and why the “business-focused” 8-bit Apple failed, but I will forever cherish the fact that Apple put out a service bulletin for improperly seated microchips where the fix was to pick it up and drop it like it was hot — because it was, in fact, too hot.

I could go on… and I will! The Fender Jazzmaster, the Omega Seamaster, the Members Only jacket that cost slightly more because it had a zipper breast pocket instead of the elastic-clinch one, the F-111. Show me something that didn’t quite catch the imagination of the public, and you will have my complete attention. If the reason for that lack of public attention has to do with the product involved being just a little bit too complex, demanding, fussy, or eccentric — well then, my friend, we are really cooking.

One such example of that in the automotive world was the fifth-generation Maxima, sold here from 2000-2003, with particular emphasis on the 3.5-liter, six-speed, limited-slip bad boys produced in the second half of the run. Those were slick-looking, powerful, deeply satisfying automobiles… that had absolutely zero appeal for the credit criminals and shifty-eyed fast-food night managers who, by my scientific calculations, make up ninety-six-point-three percent of Nissan’s customer base. Those people didn’t see the reason to buy a Maxima when they could get an Altima for less.

As a consequence, the sixth-generation Maxima became a giant Altima, the seventh-generation Maxima became a rarity, and the eighth-generation Maxima became a rental car.


Robert asks,

Something’s been bothering me ever since the new Civic came out. A couple of recent articles illuminate: “Camry Crusher”, and “Over the first 11 months of 2017, U.S. Camry volume tops tha IIIt of the Accord by just over 43,000 units.”

Civic “crushes” Camry, and Camry outsells Accord. Is the Accord’s biggest competition the new Civic? It’s practically as big as an Accord, and a very nice place to spend time in. I’ve seen this movie before, with the Altima and the Maxima. It didn’t end well for the Maxima. Is the new Civic too good?

There’s no doubt that today’s Civic is larger on the outside, and not that much smaller on the inside, than the Accords that made Honda an everyday sight across this United States. My little three-piece family does just fine in an Accord Coupe, which means we would also do just fine in a Civic sedan. The modern Civic is faster, quieter, and more feature-laden than those Accords of old, too. Combine that with the 10th-generation Accord’s partial metamorphosis into a near-luxury sedan, and it’s reasonable to ask if Honda hasn’t accidentally cut its own throat. Surely an Accord is more profitable than a Civic, and surely Honda would rather sell an Accord than a Civic. That’s tough to accomplish if the cheaper car meets the needs of most customers.

What I’d like to suggest in response to Robert, however, is this: The reason the Civic is outselling the Accord has very little to do with the Civic and absolutely everything to do with the CR-V. As the current base of Accord buyers ages, they are more and more likely to swap out for a higher seating position and less perceived hassle of operation. While I don’t personally believe that a CR-V matches an Accord for space and utility — hell, I’m not sure it matches a Civic liftback, come to think of it — the B&B have repeatedly assured me that the CR-V is, in fact, superior to the Accord in most ways.

In a world where the CR-V didn’t exist, or in a world where the Accord Crosstour had been handled a little better, you’d see Accord volume of 600,000 or more in this country, no sweat. Just add the CR-V and the Accord volume together to get an idea of how many they’d sell. It would be the modern equivalent of the chart-toppin’ 1977 Cutlass Supreme. The current sales strength of the Civic, Accord, and CR-V combined indicate that the Big Three have finally lost their remaining hold on their legacy sedan customers. There’s nothing unusual or controversial about buying a Honda anymore. Anyone can do it — and pretty much everyone does, sooner or later.

Speaking personally, I’ve been considering whether or not I wouldn’t be quite happy downsizing from my Accord to a little neon green Civic Si. It’s a neat car. The only reason I’m probably not gonna do it is this: My Accord is almost paid off, and with 53,500 miles on the odometer it still does a passable imitation of a new vehicle. Switching to a Civic would actually cost me money, not save me money. Plus, the Accord Coupe is just so… left-field these days. A two-door, V6, stick-shift front-driver? That’s like… the Apple /// of cars!

[Image: Honda]

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106 Comments on “Ask Jack: Isn’t The Civic Just… Smashing?...”


  • avatar
    OzCop

    I would love to be able to contradict, even a tiny bit, the revelations made in this piece…But no, in my opinion your analysis is spot on…the exception being an affinity for the lime green of the new Civic Si…

  • avatar
    18726543

    The Altima/Maxima conundrum was always fascinating to me, especially since I was wrenching at a Nissan dealership from 2000-2004. The new-for-2002 Nissan Altima was so supremely different and more exciting looking than the previous Altima models because it was based on the JDM Maxima of the time. The US market customers didn’t know that, so when the new-for-2004 Maxima models showed up here it appeared the Altima had set the stage for sedan design and styling cues were traveling up-stream to the new Max instead of the traditional “migrate design cues downstream from the flagship” mentality. The reality was that the Altima actually was styled after the Maxima, only not the one we had on our shores. When the Maxima finally showed up, it was doomed from the start…never mind the fact that you could get the Altima with the same engine as the Max.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    “and surely Honda would rather sell a Civic than an Accord.”

    I think you need to rearrange that one, Jack. I’m sure you meant the opposite.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    “While I don’t personally believe that a CR-V matches an Accord for space and utility — hell, I’m not sure it matches a Civic liftback, come to think of it”

    I don’t understand your angle. The interior volume measurements are defined. The CR-V has significantly more interior cargo volume than the 2018 Accord and Civic hatchback, with and without the rear seats folded.

    In what other way do you believe the non-hatchback Accord has more utility than the CR-V?

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I would say, passenger space. As a person sitting in a car, you definitely have more space in Accord. Go check. The rear hip room in Accord is about 5 inches more

    • 0 avatar
      Lampredotto

      Interior volume ≠ utility. Crossovers like the CR-V may have a lot of numerical interior cargo volume, but the actual cargo area tends to be shallow and tall. Meaning that you have to stack items on top of each other. OK for luggage, but maybe less useful on a Costco run. The cargo space of a sedan or wagon, while it may have less gross cargo area, in many cases may have more usable space.

      • 0 avatar
        sirwired

        You actually look in the back of a CR-V? It’s not shallow. You are thinking Golf vs. Jetta. The CR-V does not shorten the trunk available in the Civic Hatch.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        “OK for luggage, but maybe less useful on a Costco run.”

        In case you’ve forgotten, Costco provides buyers with cardboard flats and other boxes, often stackable. My mother’s CR-V, in particular, swallows stacks of these very well.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      This caught my attention too. I think most of us think of “utility” as ability to haul stuff besides human cargo, or being able to haul a mix of human and non human cargo at the same time. It’s hard to make the argument that the CRV doesn’t beat the pants off of the Accord sedan or Civic and its small hatchback trunk. The CRV could also do a passable job driving down a forest access road (one with some snow on it especially). You’d have to be much more careful in a current Civic or Accord attempting the same feat.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      I think you could make an argument either way for Accord vs. CR-V. But I don’t know what Jack was smoking when he said he wasn’t sure about the Civic Lift-back. A casual glance shows that the CR-V has more space/utility than it’s diminutive cousin.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    does Honda break down sales of the hatchback vs sedan vs coupe? Another thought: I wonder how much of the Civic’s sales lead is due to the liftback as well as the coupe. A big issue with the Accord (and many other modern sedans) is the comically small openings for gigantic trunks thanks to their sloapback designs. Loading and unloading from deep in the trunk is a reach and a chore. The tall, wide openings and relatively shallow cargo areas of CUVs, and hatchbacks to a lesser degree, are far easier to load and unload. The Civic Hatchback also has more cargo space than the Accord. the Accord has a bigger back seat, but if the Civics is “big enough”, its larger cargo area may win out.

    The other factor I was thinking of is the loss of the Accord coupe. I know coupes are a niche market, but Honda now basically has a monopoly. I can’t think of any other mainstream FWD two doors for sale other than maybe the Veloster (if you want to consider it that). I know people that resolutely refuse to buy sedans. There’s not many of them, just like there aren’t many hatchback buyers, but when you have a monopoly, they all come to you.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “Surely an Accord is more profitable than a Civic, and surely Honda would rather sell a Civic than an Accord.”

    I am still wondering how that is gonna work?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “Speaking personally, I’ve been considering whether or not I wouldn’t be quite happy downsizing from my Accord to a little neon green Civic Si. It’s a neat car.”

    Tried one out a couple of weeks ago…I’m not sold. I’m a fan of the coupe’s styling (in profile, the proportioning and general shape are stunning, I’d say), loved the engine note and and the general low-slung, boy-racer ambiance.

    Hated the instrumentation, though, and unless you wanted to do some tuning, the Si would take a SOLID beating from your Accord. It just isn’t that quick.

    I’d stick with the Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Oh thank you FreedMike!!! “…the instrumentation…” That hideous instrumentation. “…I’m not sold…” – So am I. Well, OK. Turbo, instrumentation, another 5 things. There were just too many things that I didn’t like to buy it. In fact, I would rather get the old style Si.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      The Civic is notably downgrade in its interior quality too. Not far off from the Fit, due in part to some cheesy design choices. If an interior is going to be cheap it should at least have a tasteful design.

      By contrast, Jack’s Accord is easily on the level of a 3 series in terms of overall refinement and attention to detail, even in base LX trim. The new one probably blows it out of the water.

      My pick? Wait for the next ILX. The Accord is a great car, but it is needlessly massive (both in 9th and 10th gen spec). The 9th gen’s design was clean but I found its size to be offensive. It did not wear its size well.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        I agree on the Civic, it isn’t quite as nice in person as in photos, but I’d be just fine with it for the price.

        “Jack’s Accord is easily on the level of a 3 series in terms of overall refinement and attention to detail, even in base LX trim.”

        Having recently sampled said LX and a 328, I have to strongly disagree on that one. There has been much pimping of the outgoing Accord’s interior and it doesn’t live up to the hype. There was literally nothing there with the possible exception of the gauge cluster that made me think anything other than “yep, $23K mainstream car”. The thinly padded armrests and flimsy-feeling marginally-supportive seats (unusual for Honda) were particularly disappointing. The Sport conceals some of this by going all-black, but it’s the same stuff.

        The 328 was quite disappointing for a $40K+ luxury marque (particularly in light of what $20k gets you in a VW Golf), but is notably nicer than a CamCord.

        An inlaw just purchased a 2018 Accord EX. I only had time to poke about for a bit, but like the new Camry it’s a significant step up from the 2017. Nice materials up front and the infotainment display is great eye candy. Seat fabrics are nothing special, and they’ve taken the cost-cutting measure of downgrading the rear door trim to hard plastic, so it’s good but I’m not sure it puts much distance between itself and the Mazda6.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          My problem with ’17 Accord is not so much quality but operation of its controls. Steering, Gear shifter, clutch, brakes – all feel better in Mazda6. I can also say, “Honda Dashboard” is worst in business. Another day drove friend’s 525i. This is where controls feel like Mazda. Was very similar driving experience besides, of course, power. I hope, this is what new turbo Mazda6 will feel like. Although Mazda not going to have “22-speed transmission”, like BMW.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Maybe my crushing disappointment for the F30 has shaded my memory a bit. But I rented both for a couple of days and came away as impressed with the Accord as I was disappointed in the 3. I’ve also had the current Golf and Mazda 3. Of the 4, at least to my eyes, the 3 had the highest quality design.

          I think what really put me off in the Bimmer was the Rubbermaid™ texture of the fake leather. My friend has a 228i with red leather and while I’m still not convinced that the plastics are much better the leather does make it feel a lot nicer.

          For my money though, no question- GTI uber alles, except my current G37.

  • avatar
    SSJeep

    The Honda Accord 6MT is a hard-to-find and satisfying car to drive. The Civic SI is also satisfying, albeit not as rare, and probably more expensive once dealer markup is factored in. I agree that the Civic itself isn’t cannibalizing Accord sales – it is the CRV and HRV (and maybe the sad new Pilot) contributing to this trend. Everyone wants more room and better visibility, damned if it costs a few miles per gallon and complete disengagement from the driving experience. This is happening across all automakers lines nowadays.

    Hopefully the Stinger GT doesn’t get subjected to the crossover conundrum…

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      “Everyone wants more room and better visibility, damned if it costs a few miles per gallon and complete disengagement from the driving experience. ”

      Ugh. Not all crossovers are terrible to drive (all Mazdas for example), and many if not most standard spec mainstreamers are close to terrible to drive. You’re not losing much going from a Sonata to a Santa Fe Sport. And there’s nothing wrong with people wanting to disengage from the driving experience; this has been the basis of luxury car design from their inception. Sorry to pick on you but this refrain is so tired; enjoying driving doesn’t make us better people.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “enjoying driving doesn’t make us better people”

        I’m not piling on SSJeep when I say this, but amen. There’s a strain of tiresome elitism promoted by a subset of commenters here that doesn’t need to exist. You can be hyper-engaged with your driving interests without assuming other people who don’t share that interest are drones.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Don’t you, people, think that Nissan successfully achieved exactly what they wanted to achieve:

    1. Moved Maxima into near-luxo category, and sell it for more $$
    2. Made Altima mainstream family sedan-sized and sell it for more $$

    Because original Altima was somewhere in the middle, between compact and mid. Now, they have Maxima in Avalon category. Yea, Nissan is not Toyota to sell as many. But still. I think, there is no Altima-Maxima issue. It might was one day until they sorted things out. And their Sentra is one of the biggest compacts out there, doesn’t eat into Altima at all.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      There was a lot that was wrong with that analysis. That Maxima was at the tail end of a low point in Nissan’s trajectory. They hail mary’d the brilliant VQ and made sure the touchpoints were nice. But the 95-03 Maximas had economy car spec bones, and it showed.

      In 2001 I was a college freshman and a lot of my friends got the Altima V6 as soon as it was available. For our purposes- impressing college aged girls, modifying and street racing- they were brilliant. But even back then I found their cheap plastics and flimsy, hollow construction to be a bit below standard. The 04 Maxima also had its flaws but it felt notably nicer than that Altima, which seems to be validated by the fact that I still see nice Maximas of that vintage today, which I can’t say of those Altimas.

      I think Nissan really got its clock cleaned by the ascension of the Koreans and domestics. They were never on Honda/Toyota’s level, but the lack of competition gave them breathing room. Cheap credit and the newfound legitimacy of Korean/American brands turned the screws on them. Again this is demonstrated by how successful many of their truly awful cars from the late 90s were. And I say this as someone who owned 2 95-99 Maximas- The Bonneville Of The East™

  • avatar
    NG5

    It would be very hard for me to move from a ~50,000 mile probably mid ’10s Accord that was basically paid off, unless it was into a very different vehicle, lacked features I missed every day, or had safety features that made me worried about myself or others in my current car.

    The new 10th gen Civic probably wouldn’t make that cut, but I haven’t driven the new Si and don’t know how transformative the redesign is. The 9th gen Si had a really fun motor that I probably would have kept til I didn’t need that type of car anymore, but even then I don’t think I would walk away from a paid off car to buy it.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      I test drove the new Si and was so happy to get back in my OLD Subaru. So much for my “buy a Civic” plans.

      • 0 avatar
        conundrum

        If you’re driving an 05 LGT, I can understand completely. I have an 08, and every test drive even up to a C300 MB has been underwhelming to say the least. I’ll happily take your word on the Civic, save me wasting my time trying one out and being disappointed for about the tenth time in three years. The ones in the wild look surprisingly tinny and cheap anyway.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    For the general driving public the CR-V is absolutely superior to the Accord. How is a huge cargo aperture, 2-3x the cargo room with the rear seats up, and easier ingress/egress not better for the average driver?

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      This. People who can afford it are happily moving over to crossovers, and it’s not because everyone is just so vain and wants to look “adventurous” (to be fair many are absolutely against minivan ownership). a modern compact CUV is a genuinely useful “do it all” vehicle. Compact to park, can haul stuff home from Ikea, efficient enough, and the security/capability of optional AWD. Argue that point all you want, snow tires blah blah (believe me, I get it) but in much of the US, the convenience and ease of driving something on reasonable all season tires with AWD trumps all the car guy arguments.

      • 0 avatar
        Demon Something

        That makes perfect sense, but the market seems to be getting to the point where non-crossovers aren’t receiving the same R&D and attention as as before. So people who don’t much care or don’t want a crossover are hitting the point where there are stagnant or decreasing options aside.

        Also, didn’t we already go through this in the 90s? Wonder what will finally stop the current crossover trend, because nothing lasts forever….

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Except that the new CR-V is like to be repaired in 30+ repairs per 100 visits says Truedelta.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      I will say, even as a rabid CUV apologist, that trim for trim, the Accord is generally a quieter vehicle on highway or backroads than the CR-V.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    Clearly American car companies have lost ability or desire to compete in the space of cars even in America. Main reason is these non US based companies have to make cars to compete in their own countries. While for American car companies what we want are SUVs and Trucks.

    More than anything, Jeep Chrysler was ahead of time. Sedans are dead. Long live the SUV and Trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Not sure about all American car companies but one is breaking your sterotype.

      “Crossovers, strong SUV sales and a record November for GMC Denali sales helped the company’s average transaction prices (ATPs) surpass $37,000 for the first time ever. GM’s ATPs were about $4,500 above the industry average…” December GM Press

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      *CUV. True SUVs, their market having shrunk, have gone back to filling a smaller but more loyal niche, which is better for the segment and the buyers.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Everybody who isn’t a follower of the industry calls all of them SUVs. Say “CUV” to any person in the general public and they have no idea what you’re talking about. They sort of get it if you say “SUV made on a car platform” or “SUV made on a pickup truck platform.”

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      So, the Fusion isn’t sold in other countries as the Mondeo? Nor is the Focus or Fiesta? And the Malibu isn’t based on a platform sold worldwide? And the Cruze and Sonic aren’t sold elsewhere, even if under different names? Many of these cars are quite successful, even if it doesn’t fit your narrative.

      I get that you wanted to turn this into an “AmeriCANT cars sux” rant, but not only does it have nothing to do with the subject at hand, your reasoning (and thus your conclusion) is heavily flawed.

      • 0 avatar
        pmirp1

        JohnTaurus, lol, you must live in the Midwest. In no other parts of the country the cars you mention (Fusion, Focus, Malibu, Fiesta) are in the same class as Toyotas or Hondas. Fusion can’t compete with Accord or Camry. Even Ford outsourced making it to Mexico, because it is not critical to Ford. Soon GM will stop making Impalas.

        As for Focus, again not in same class as Civic or Corrolla. Fiesta is already dead (in America).

        Not only that but American cars are not even competitive with Koreans any more. I take a Genesis G80 or G90, any time over that overpriced Fusion you call Lincoln Continental.

        Like I said, Chrysler-Fiat was right in killing cars. America needs to focus on SUVs and Trucks where we have the edge because that is what we drive (I am excluding sports cars and pony cars from this discussion).

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          The Fiesta is the top selling car in the UK, and the Focus is the 3rd top selling car there. Luxury wise, the MKZ’s YTD sales in the US beat every luxury midsizer that isn’t a Lexus ES, E-Class or 5 Series (i.e. the benchmarks)-
          and the new Continental beats out a lot of midsize stalwarts as well. Lexus just cancelled the GS.

          Domestics uninterested and unable to make competitive cars? Thanks for boldly announcing that you have zero idea what the hell you’re talking about. What a joke!

          • 0 avatar
            pmirp1

            Who cares if Fiesta and Focus sell well in UK. In America Ford decided not to sell Fiestas moving forward. The Focus production is moved to Mexico. The MKZ is built in Mexico. Ford doesn’t care about cars in America. Their bread is buttered by F150 and SUVs. That is true for all American car companies.

            Domestics can’t produce good quality cars in America. This act and tough talk is pointless. Toyota and Honda, with supporting cast of Koreans and Subaru and Nissan are the only car companies that can make dependable and quality cars in America.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            You said American companies “have lost ability or desire to compete in the space of cars”… not true, as shown by Ford’s domination of the market in the UK and Ford + GM’s car lineups here. The cars are competitive and Ford/GM are committed. Chrysler has always been crap with some glimmers of excellence so using them as indicative of anything is bogus

  • avatar
    cwallace

    Hard to believe that the car industry has become so homogenized around SUVs that driving an Accord is the idiosyncratic choice, but here we are.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “I’ve been considering whether or not I wouldn’t be quite happy downsizing from my Accord to a little neon green Civic Si.”

    Or, defer the watch/guitar budget for six months and buy a Challenger T/A 392.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Jack –

    “Surely an Accord is more profitable than a Civic, and surely Honda would rather sell a Civic than an Accord.”

    Is that second part of the sentence correct? Or should Accord and Civic be switched?

    /I’m ESL so…..

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “In a world where the CR-V didn’t exist, or in a world where the Accord Crosstour had been handled a little better, you’d see Accord volume of 600,000 or more in this country, no sweat.”

    If only the Crosstour hadn’t had that disaster of a rear view (from inside, I mean), and their electronics hadn’t had such useless UX…

    (I test drove one, and the guy from the dealership had no idea how to pair a phone to the audio system; took me a few minutes to find it.

    There’s *no excuse for that crap* in a modern car, especially not with Honda’s budget.

    Though equally I can only assume the Civic has the same ghastly system, and likewise the Toyota one is horrible but people still buy ’em.

    Between that and the lack of rear visiblity – which the camera, oddly, didn’t seem to make up for, for me – it was a no-go*.

    Shame, since it actually drove pretty nice.

    * I mean, it was also smaller than I ended up wanting, but even within its size category, it just couldn’t compete.)

  • avatar
    bunkie

    Ah, yes, the Apple ///…

    It had a new operating system (SOS or sophisticated operating system) with software drivers for peripherals. This was one of its failings. It shared a bus design with the Apple ][ so as to use its expansion cards. But it ignored Wozniak’s brilliant design of putting the operating code on their peripheral cards themselves in ROM. This caused a lot of incompatibility, limiting the function of a computer that had, effectively, no native applications beyond VisiCalc. Most Apple /// users were stuck with compatibility mode wher the /// acted like lame ][ with its own compatibility issues. Couple that with high cost, the well-known overheating issue and the fact that an 80-column video card and external hard drive made the ][ just as capable and you have a classic recipe for failure.

  • avatar
    Fred

    The thing about “ugly” cars is that you can’t see it when you are in the drivers seat. If the car is good after awhile you grow to love it’s “beak.”

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    The glorious F-111. In concept, scope, and execution, the F-35 of its day. One plane to rule them all.

    The Aardvark turned out pretty well though, the Aussies only recently retired theirs.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Yeah, but I think it worked though.

      • 0 avatar
        True_Blue

        Yeah – eventually, it did. There were a *lot* of teething problems on TFX in the beginning… swing wings, crew ejection pods, making it work on carriers, terrain radar. It tried to be too many things to too many people.

        I’m no LockMart apologist, but even the ubiquitous F-16 went through development hell itself and kills pilots on a regular basis.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          It was General Dynamics

          • 0 avatar
            True_Blue

            Sure, but the F-35 is Lockheed Martin. I stated that as it sounds like I’m making excuses for the ridiculous overruns in cost, schedule, and IOC for the JSF. I’m definitely not.
            I’m stating that even the “picture-in-your-head-a-fighter-jet-and-what-do-you-see” F-16 was called “the electric lawn dart” for a reason.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          “picture-in-your-head-a-fighter-jet-and-what-do-you-see”

          Interesting question.

          My first answer would be – you don’t want to know.
          But – then… Saab? Either Mig29 or F15 would be my default jet fighter.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “It tried to be too many things to too many people.”

          I agree.

          While the F-16’s trials are noted, I’m not an aircraft historian but I believe the F-18 fared better in its time.

          Nice F-15 article:

          http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/a4627/4231807/

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @28:

        Actually, it did…it morphed into the F-14.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Didn’t know that.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Originally, the F111 was supposed to have Air Force and Navy variants, but the Navy rejected it (it wasn’t tough enough to endure carrier duty, and it wasn’t agile enough to operate as a fighter plane).

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Dynamics%E2%80%93Grumman_F-111B

            The basic swing wing concept was kept, along with a lot of the F111’s basic tech (radar, weapons, engines, etc) and then redeveloped into the F14.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thanks for sharing, I like these kind of anecdotes.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Still going to get more features on the Accord, along with (hopefully, as I’ve not sat in a new Accord) a higher-quality feel. Memory for the power seats in a Civic? Dream on! (Even though auto-brights and rain-sensing wipers are available if you spring for a Civic Touring, but there’s no adjustment for the lumbar support.)

    Yes that’s a deal-breaker for me, as even though I’m a one-driver household, when the car goes in for service, the scrawniest serviceperson they have ends up moving the seat, and it takes me two weeks of fiddling to get it right again!

  • avatar
    turf3

    That 2000-2003 Maxima was a heck of a car. Far better looking than the weird turd that replaced it (that stripe of glass down the center of the roof, and the semi-circular roofline that betrays zero effort spent trying to make it look good). Fast. Comfortable. Smallish package yet with a high quality feel. I darn near bought one. I compared it to the Altima at the same time. The Altima was bigger and cheaper, but it felt like a big empty tin box that clanged and clattered over every bump. I don’t remember why we ended up not buying the Maxima but it’s a real shame they replaced it with what they replaced it with.

    By the way, when I test drove a next generation Altima a few years later, it still felt like a big resonant empty tin box. I was not impressed.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I think Jack hasn’t spent time with a CR-V (or RAV4, or Forester) in a couple of generations.

    The early CUVs had a lot of the same packaging issues as SUVs: high floors, huge wheelwells, narrow seats. But once it became clear that compact/midsize CUVs were going to become the new default car (formerly the role of the midsize sedan), some of the manufacturers really began to figure out in earnest how to improve packaging. Today’s better-packaged CUVs, including the CR-V, have legitimately spacious interiors and an amazing amount of utility. I’d prefer the driving experience of a Civic hatch, but I know it wouldn’t be nearly as useful.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      “legitimately spacious interiors”

      Still, not Accord-spacious. In fact, Accord is so vast, when I tried ’17 Sport, I could barely reach gear shiftier from my seat position. But don’t worry, Honda. Mazda6 solved that issue for you. :-)

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      And useful means what, exactly?

      90% of the time it means more air overhead and empty space over your groceries instead of a decklid.

      • 0 avatar
        pmirp1

        Jack, useful means when you go to Home Depot, you can easily put 6 bags of mini-pine bark nuggets, and treys of flower when you put the seats down in the CRV. Try that with your Accord sedan and the whole interior gets dirty if you try to fit it. Or when you go to Costco you can’t put all those boxes of toilet paper, paper towel, 40 bottles of spring water and Kleenex in the trunk of your little Accord. Furthermore, SUVs can have a hitch, where you easily carry your bicycles to beach, after loading hatch with beach chair and coolers and other stuff. Jack you need to live a little. The sedans can not compete from a form factor perspective with SUVs. Not even close.

        • 0 avatar
          turf3

          Although I am actually able to carry a double bass, bass amp, bass saxophone, duffle bag full of cords, music stand, fake books, and a tuxedo in my Volvo sedan, it is tremendously easier in the Outback.

          It is not possible to carry a 6 foot stepladder, a pole saw, and a 6 foot two man crosscut saw in my Volvo sedan. These fit without trouble in the Outback.

          I can fit a bike rack to the roof of my Volvo sedan and carry two bikes on the roof, where they are subject to rain and if I screw up and drive under something too low they are destroyed. Or I can lay down some cardboard in the back of the Outback and put the two bikes in there side by side (rear seats folded down). (I do not use bumper/hitch mount bike racks; I am not interested in letting some doofus behind me playing with his cell phone decide whether $2500 worth of bicycles will be destroyed today. True, I could drive under a low roof as described above, but then I know exactly who to blame. I trust myself better than the idiot behind me playing with his cell phone.)

          It is not easy to put 10 bags of mulch in the Volvo, and some of them are going to have to ride in the rear and passenger seats. No problem in the Outback. Plus passengers will not have to pick bits of mulch out of their clothing afterward.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “you need to live a little”

          Filling up my CUV with mulch, tulips, and 80 rolls of toilet paper does not sound very exciting.

        • 0 avatar
          TEXN3

          We do quite a bit of that with my wife’s Accord (I have a company issued truck). It even has a hitch for bikes and our lightweight Thule aluminum trailer. Mulch and dirt? Get that delivered in bulk and save money.

          But I do agree SUVs make life a bit easier, we’ll likely get a 4Runner when the kids get the Accord in a few years. It’s still the “right size”.

          The Accord does fine getting us around Idaho and parts of the PacNW.

          • 0 avatar
            turf3

            I would suggest you reconsider putting bikes on a hitch-mount carrier. Every time you come to a stop sign or stop light, whether or not your bicycles will be destroyed is in the hands of the idiot behind you playing with his cell phone. I have seen too many rear end accidents where the guilty parties abandon ship and run off, never to be seen again, to put my bikes on the back. An Accord is short enough that it’s easy to put them up top.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            I have a hitch mount on the Accord and I don’t mind putting my bikes on it.

            If somebody hits me then I have an excuse to buy a new bike!

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            And if they run, Jack has an excuse to perform the PIT maneuver. At least I hope that’s a valid excuse in court. It should be.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Sedans are great for groceries. Furniture and home improvement supplies, not so much.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        How’s that any different from the Civic hatch?

        And just because you don’t use your trunk much doesn’t mean everyone does. My wife goes antiquing every weekend, and I regularly make trips to the local dump, as well as to Lowe’s for wood for my projects. Crossovers are also much easier to load kids into. This fight has already been lost man.

  • avatar
    NN

    Not to mention, the argument for buying “domestic” doesn’t even exist anymore. Your Honda/Toyota/Nissan is much more likely to be made in the United States, with higher domestic parts content, than nearly anything coming out of the former big 3. They’ve been excellent corporate citizens and deserve the business they get.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I haven’t even opened my truck since Halloween.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick_515

      Maybe you need to live a little, ajla :)

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I didn’t know what life was all about until I became a MULCH BARON and could upright transport a fully assembled Char-Broil.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          There was something deeply satisfying to me about going to the bulk landscaping places and getting a yard of mulch dropped right in the bed of my Ranger. Knowing I got a good deal versus buying bagged mulch is a big part of it (nevermind the overall economics of buying a truck to own for 6 months), but it also tapped into some kind of boyish “playing construction in the sandpit” sort of thing. Same story when I rented a compactor and then a masonry saw this summer. Going down to the tool rental place in the hood, loading the tools, hauling it back. More recently I went with a friend to get a bed full of firewood (used his trusty ’98 K1500 stepside). Likewise there was this deep rooted sense of satisfaction of engaging both man and machine in the task of loading something hauling it somewhere and unloading.

          I AM the MULCH BARON.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Try 10 yards of gravel in an L700 18′ grain bed. :P

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            I got to take the wheel of an 80’s GMC Kodiak gasser not to long ago (just to pull it forward into a garage), it was magnificent.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Meh, I’d just have it dropped into a rented trailer behind my Golf. $10 for 4hrs at the local Home Depot.

            But who am I kidding – I don’t do yard work, I hire it done. Ain’t got time or energy for that crap.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “I haven’t even opened my truck since Halloween.”

      Corpse hasn’t started to smell yet?

  • avatar
    jc77

    In Europe where I come from, Honda itself is the Apple /// of cars. They build most of their models locally (in the UK) and have been desperately trying to market them for decades now; still, no one buys them.
    Even in Japan itself, where Honda obviously has a nice market share, no one would link this brand to “high quality”. They buy them mostly because they’re cheap.

    I rented a 2017 Civic once: after 1,500 feet, I totally understood why. The car might have been roomy and all, but it felt cheap, unrefined and clumsy. The interiors looked like a 1980s Citroën; it had a CVT, which some people might call “smooth”, but to me, it felt very slow and unresponsive (even in the dubious “sport” mode, which kept a laughably low gear ratio and was unusable at highway speeds). Some of its technical solutions, such as the 1.5T engine or the rear multilink suspensions, are nothing impressive: European constructors have been using them for a long time now. Honda acts as a fast follower, not an innovator.

    I also tried a Golf, and even a Mazda 3, and I feel either is a much better car overall: more refined, more responsive, quicker. I’d honestly find no reasons to buy the Civic if you can get either of those. Perhaps Honda has just nailed the perfect recipe for the average American driver, which is the only way I can explain its success here.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      We could answer this question by you coming to the United States and playing a little game that works like this:

      For every 1990 Mazda or VW that you see on the road, I will give you a hundred dollars.

      For every 1990 Honda that you see on the road, you will give me ten dollars.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Honda/Acura make garbage now, and just like it took some time for Honda to build a great reputation for building high quality vehicles (once upon a time), it will take some time for the commoner to realise Honda is no better, and in many cases now produces worse vehicles, than Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen, Mazda, arch-nemesis Toyota…

      ….but at least Honda doesn’t BUILD AMERICAN FLAG-FESTOONED PICKUP TRUCKS LIKE THE SILVERADO IN MEXICO, AND HAVE AMERICAN PRODUCT ADVOCATES LIKE JACK BARUTH BUY THEM PROUDLY!

  • avatar
    Danny

    I don’t know what an Apple /// is honestly, but I’ve been driving an IS300 sportcross since spring of this year, and so far left field seems like a pretty nice place to be..

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