Yearly Archives: 2016

First Drive: 2017 Honda CR-V

All-new, fifth-generation compact SUV has its fuel-sipping sights set on segment-leading status

Date: December 2, 2016
Source: Driving.ca
Author: Andrew McCredie

  • 2017 Honda CR-V

JORDAN RIVER, B.C. — Since it’s debut in North America two decades ago, the Honda CR-V has been a performer of Olympic-like proportions. Not only has it been on the podium most of those 20 years as a top-three segment leader, like the global sporting event, a new model has come around every four years.

For Canadian sales, the 2016 CR-V is wearing the bronze medal, with the Ford Escape capturing silver and the Toyota RAV4 on the top of the podium. For Honda, that’s simply not good enough for a vehicle that is made in this country and has captured gold in the past.

So, with the four-year cycle of the fourth-generation CR-V complete in 2016, the all-new fifth-gen is out this month – and it’s clear the 2017 CR-V is in it to win it. Honda is the first to admit that the outgoing model had a … well, not necessarily flabby, but certainly not flattering exterior physique when posing beside the muscular and aggressive-looking new-gen RAV4 and Escape.

Likewise, the CR-V’s cabin was dated, both in design and content, and certainly not up for the challenge of competing with the tech-brimming Escape and the sophisticated style of the RAV4 interior. And finally, the performance of the 2016 CR-V just didn’t cut it in either sprints or marathons with those top two contenders.

So, Honda engineers and designers went back to the gym and worked out some of the styling and performance tips from the company’s current gold medal segment performers — like the the Civic and the HR-V — to sculpt an all-new CR-V that the company believes is ready to take on all comers and reclaim the gold.

To make it, in their words, “the Civic of the segment.”

And so Honda gathered automotive journalists from across the country on the southern edge of Vancouver Island this week to unveil the all-new 2017 model, and lunchtime chatter after the morning drive seemed to indicate Toyota and Ford will be hearing footsteps in the coming year in the subcompact SUV segment.

A segment, by the way, that is the largest by volume in Canada and shows no indication of giving up that title anytime soon. And so Honda has brought its A-game to this redesign, and have addressed all the shortcomings — perceived and otherwise — of the outgoing CR-V.

2017 Honda CR-V

The bland exterior has been replaced with a toned and taut new body, with muscular wheel arches and all-new LED lighting front and rear. The plain interior is now a sophisticated space with luxury level trim quality, sculpted design elements and all the tech goodies the competitors offer.

And improvements to the chassis — new from the ground up — combined with a peppy turbocharged four-cylinder engine have replaced the boring performance of the outgoing model with a more dynamic driving experience. The new 1.5-litre turbo-four — the same block as the 2016 Civic — but 190 horsepower and 179 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,000 rpm, compared to the Civic at 173 horsepower. The transmission is a continuously variable unit with a feature called G-Shift control

Thanks to that new bold body style, the new CR-V looks bigger than the 2016 model. It is, but only slightly longer, wider and taller, and its ground clearance has expanded by 38 millimetres. The most important increase is that of a 40-millimetre-longer wheelbase, which translates into 53 millimetres being added to rear seat legroom. That larger size also allowed for bigger rear seats. Those seats also underwent a redesign, so that they now fold flat to create the best-in-class flat cargo space at over 1.8 metres.

And accessing that cargo space has been improved too, as Honda has taken a page from Ford and developed a hands-free power tailgate – though did their competitor one better by creating a tailgate height adjustment, a helpful thing for shorter drivers and if you are opening the tailgate in a garage with a low ceiling.

2017 Honda CR-V

Honda also took the advice of its current gen CR-V owners, many of whom voiced their displeasure at the touchscreen volume control for the audio system. That’s something all new model Hondas have, and while it might seem to be a ‘tech-friendly’ way to adjust the volume, in practice it is a real pain. Bring back the dial, owners pleaded. And Honda listened! Expect to see that humble little volume dial — the kind you twirl between your fingers — to make its way into the rest of the fleet in the coming years.

New standard features include remote engine start, dual-zone climate control, an electric parking brake, rear USB charging ports, a front passenger seat with four-way power adjustment, plus a driver’s seat with eight-way power adjustment and four-way power lumbar support.

In terms of trims and pricing, the base front-wheel-drive CR-V LX starting at $26,690, while the top of the line model is the AWD Touring with a price tag of $38,090. In between are the EX and EX-L trims, both AWD models.

According to Honda, 90 per cent of CR-V buyers in this country will opt for an AWD model. Those Canadian buyers will also be able to get some Canada-only content in the top two trim levels, in the form of a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats and a massive panoramic sunroof.

Driving Impressions

Our drive route took us from the Oak Bay suburb of Victoria up to the surf mecca of Jordan River, then back down and over the Malahat Highway to Brentwood Bay. So, a very diverse day of driving, with a good mix of city streets and highways, some decent elevation changes and even some twisty blacktop to test out the new chassis.

I came away from the day’s drive with a number of lasting impressions. First, I still find myself surprised at how impressive sub-2.0-litre engines are today. Sure, this little 1.5 four-banger is turbocharged, but it never left me feeling underpowered nor did it rev high to complain about the effort.

Second, I was equally astounded at the gas economy figures I recorded on the four legs of my drive, ranging between 50 and 90 kilometres. Not using the ‘Econ’ mode, I posted 7.2, 7.1 and 6.3 L/100 kilometres on three of the legs, and on the last – from Brentwood back to Oak Bay up and over the Malahat – using ‘Econ’ mode, 7.2. Honda claimed the 2017 CR-V would have class-leading fuel economy, and my numbers certainly back that up.

img_9298

Third, the cabin was very quiet, this despite being warned that due to the winter tires on all the testers, road noise might not be true to all-season tires. And finally, this compact SUV was fun to drive. Which also shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as the RAV4 and Escape are also fairly fun.

All that said, I did find the centre console to be a pain on my right knee as it intrudes a little into that space. I could adjust how I sat so it wasn’t an issue, but I know from experience that on a long haul I would find this quite uncomfortable.

One quibble, though, and not a major one.

I won’t go as far as awarding the gold medal before seeing the rest of the competition in full stride, but it must be said that the Honda CR-V will be moving up a step up, or possibly two, on that podium.

Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado, Toyota Tundra flunk IIHS headlight test

Date: Oct 25th 2016 at 10:14AM
Source: http://www.autoblog.com/2016/10/25/ford-f-150-chevy-silverado-toyota-tundra-iihs-headlight-test/
Author: Joel Patel

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety put pickup truck headlights to the test and found that the majority of them were equipped with subpar units. The 2017 Honda Ridgeline was the only truck to earn a rating of “good.”

The large pickup truck test was comprised of the: 2016 to 2017 GMC Sierra, 2017 Nissan Titan, 2016 Ram 1500, 2016 to 2017 Chevrolet Silverado, 2016 to 2017 Ford F-150, and 2016 to 2017 Toyota Tundra. The Sierra’s headlights earned a rating of “acceptable,” the headlights found on the Titan and Ram 1500 were found to be “marginal,” and the ones on the Silverado, F-150, and Tundra were rated as “poor.”

IIHS claims the F-150 was the most disappointing out of the large pickup trucks as both its halogen and optional LED headlights failed to provide adequate visibility during testing. The Ridgeline (which earned a “good rating”), is usually considered a midsize or small truck, though IIHS included it in the field of large pickups.

The headlights on the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado, 2016 GMC Canyon, 2016 Nissan Frontier, and 2016 to 2017 Toyota Tacoma, which made up the small pickup truck group, all earned a rating of “poor.” The IIHS claimed the Colorado had the worst headlights of any truck that was tested, as the base vehicle’s units were only able to illuminate up to 123 feet in front of the car. The Ridgeline’s headlights, for reference, were able to illuminate up to 358 feet in front of the vehicle.

To conduct its test, the IIHS utilizes a special tool to measure how far light is projected out of the headlights in different driving situations. The trucks’ headlights were tested in a straight line and in corners, while vehicles with high-beam assist were given extra praise.

The headlights on the pickup trucks also mimic the testing that was done on small SUVs and cars earlier this year. Next year, automakers will need to fit their vehicles with headlights that earn a rating of either good or acceptable to earn the IIHS Top Safety Pick+.

U.S. News Announces the 2016 Best Cars for Families

Source : U.S. News – March 11, 2016

Highlights from the 2016 Best Cars for Families

U.S. News & World Report, a nationally recognized publisher of consumer advice and information, today announced the 2016 Best Cars for Families. U.S. News evaluated 256 vehicles and named winners across 21 categories. The awards are published on the U.S. News Best Cars website at http://usnews.com/cars-families.

The 2016 Best Cars for Families winners have the best combination of safety and reliability ratings, excellent reviews from the automotive press and the space and features that keep the entire family happy. New high-tech features, such as in-car wireless Internet, teen driver controls and smartphone apps, were considered alongside traditional criteria such as passenger and cargo space.

Mercedes-Benz and Honda tied with the most awards won by individual brands, taking home four awards each. Mercedes-Benz won half of the awards in the eight luxury categories. What sets the brand apart from its competitors are features in the C-Class, GLE and GLC – such as in-car Wi-Fi, rear-seat USB ports, tri-zone climate controls, hands-free liftgates and rear sunshades – that make traveling with a family more comfortable.

Honda's models are among the top picks for families because of their large cargo spaces – ideal for strollers, grocery bags and more. For the sixth consecutive year, the Honda Odyssey won Best Minivan for Families, the longest streak in the awards' history. The Odyssey's available features, such as a 16-inch rear-seat entertainment screen that can show two different movies side-by-side, a built-in vacuum and a power liftgate, can make life a little easier for parents who have their hands full. In addition, professional car critics say the Odyssey has great driving dynamics, unlike other minivans.

Two award categories, Subcompact SUVs and Luxury Subcompact SUVs, are all-new for 2016, with the Honda HR-V winning Best Subcompact SUV for Families and the BMW X1 winning Best Luxury Subcompact SUV for Families.

"Finding the best family car can be a time-intensive process," said Jamie Page Deaton, managing editor of U.S. News Best Cars. "Whether you need extra room for car seats or want to monitor your new teen driver, the Best Cars for Families have options for every type of family."

Of the 21 Best Cars for Families winners, six are also winners of the 2016 Best Cars for the Money awards because of their excellent long-term value.

Highlights from the 2016 Best Cars for Families

Highlights from the 2016 Best Cars for Families

For the full set of winners and finalists, visit http://usnews.com/cars-families.

The award methodology combines professional automotive reviews, safety and reliability ratings, seating and cargo volume and the availability of family-friendly features. Within each of the 21 automotive categories, the vehicle with the highest composite score is named the Best Car for Families in that category.

Award Contact: Jamie Page Deaton, (603) 717-2992, jdeaton@usnews.com

Media Contact: Lucy Lyons, (202) 955-2155, llyons@usnews.com

About U.S. News Best Cars
Since 2007, U.S. News Best Cars, the automotive channel of U.S. News & World Report, has published rankings of the majority of new vehicles sold in America. Each year, U.S. News publishes the Best Cars awards, including Best Vehicle Brands, Best Cars for the Money and Best Cars for Families. U.S. News Best Cars had over 45 million unique visitors over the past year, with over 65 percent of visitors actively shopping for a car. Eighty percent of active shoppers reported that the U.S. News Best Cars site influenced their car purchasing decision.

About U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is a digital news and information company that empowers people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. Focusing on Education, Health, Personal Finance, Real Estate, Travel, Cars and News & Opinion, www.usnews.com provides consumer advice, rankings, news and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. More than 35 million people visit www.usnews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Honda Tops List of Best SUV Buys Under $25K

Source : The Detroit Bureau – March 04, 2016

Honda CR-V

New vehicle sales are still red hot and sport-utility vehicles are among the vehicles generating the heat these days, in particular compact SUVs.
Small SUVs offer buyers a lot of upside: elevated ride height and four-wheel drive capability as well as good gas mileage allowing buyers to hedge against a return to gas prices above $3 a gallon some day.

Picking up on the Trends!
Perhaps their best selling point is the selling price: a well-equipped small SUV can be had for less than $25,000.
“The country is having a love affair with small SUVs right now, and Kelley Blue Book visitors are especially infatuated,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com.

“Balancing an SUV’s elevated driving position, superior cargo versatility and available all-wheel drive with the efficiency and affordability of a mainstream sedan, today’s small SUVs offer multifaceted appeal. It’s no wonder that it is one of the fastest-growing segments in the auto industry.”
In fact, there are more than a dozen choices in that segment and selection, which is best can be a dizzying task.
However, KBB.com’s editors have taken the time to drive all of the offerings and provide a top 10 list of what they think are the best choices and the Honda CR-V came out on top. Not surprisingly, it’s also one of the group’s top 16 Best Family Cars of 2016.
“The CR-V was again an easy pick for this top spot,” one of the editors noted. “Honda’s small SUV is roomy, reliable, refined, efficient and just about everything else you might be seeking from a small SUV.”

The rest of the top 10 included:

  • Mazda CX-5
  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Kia Sorento
  • Subaru Forester
  • Honda HR-V
  • Toyota RAV4
  • Nissan Rogue
  • Jeep Renegade
  • Jeep Wrangler

Perhaps the biggest surprise on the list is the Tucson.

“A no-show on this list last year, Hyundai’s small SUV grabs the number three slot this year on the strength of a complete redesign that makes it more refined and even more stylish,” the site said.

The Best Cars, Trucks, SUVs, and More for 2016: Editors’ Choice Awards 2016 Honda Fit

Source : Car and Driver 2016 Editor’s Choice – February 22, 2016

2016 Honda Fit

The Fit proves that a small car needn’t be punishment for spending less, successfully mixing economy, versatility—and even a little mischief. Its 1.5-liter four-cylinder makes 130 hp; a slick-shifting six-speed manual is standard, while a CVT is optional. The chassis is willing to play when you are, but the brakes are merely average. Rear-seat legroom is ample, and thanks to rear seats that fold flat, cargo capacity—at 53 cubic feet—is impressive, too.

2016 Honda Fit

Instrumented Test

2016 Honda Fit

Will it fit?: Determining whether Honda’s new tiny hatch can fill its predecessor’s enormous shoes.

If the personal-transportation choices of Americans were based solely on need and practicality, we’d have a much narrower spectrum of vehicles on our roads. From the hundreds of models available now, we’d need just four: 50-cc mopeds for single people, bitty five-door hatchbacks for couples, minivans for larger families, and pickups for those who pack nail guns or pilot a Ditch Witch. In fact, we’re pretty sure this is how they do it in Europe.

If they ever put us in charge, the Honda Fit will be mankind’s hatchback. Since it appeared on the scene in 2006, the fun-size Honda has been our reflexive recommendation for pretty much everybody on a budget, including the old lady in the shoe. To date, this spacious, bodacious cube has pulled in seven 10Best trophies and three comparison-test wins. So its redesign for 2015 makes us nervous. Can the new Fit possibly live up to the untouchable standard set by the old?

2016 Honda Fit

It sits on a new platform, it’s powered by a new engine spinning new transmissions, and it wears a new look. That last point, at least, is a definite plus. For the first time, aesthetics seem to have been a prime consideration in the Fit’s design. As with the styling of many minicars, it’s polarizing. But the past two Fits haven’t polarized anybody; they’ve looked dorky to everyone.

The 2015 Fit seems much bigger than its predecessor, but it is actually the same height, 1.6 inches shorter, and just 0.3 inch wider. The engorged appearance comes from a dramatically reduced glass-to-body ratio. The greenhouse is shorter, even if the car itself is not. This gives the Fit a more substantial appearance. And it is more substantial, although only slightly. This car’s curb weight of 2572 pounds is up 52 from the last Fit we tested. As far as cars are concerned, that’s just water weight.

2016 Honda Fit

In spite of the small increase in mass, the car sees big gains in rigidity. It’s still a playful chassis for an affordable stuff-shuffler. There’s little roll, and wheel and body motions are well controlled even when you smack a mid-corner bump. Without an available rear anti-roll bar like that on the outgoing Fit Sport, the 2015 model isn’t quite as neutral. But it’s fun, and certainly more so than any of the nonexistent cars that offer a Fit-sized interior at this price. The rack-mounted electric power-steering motor takes orders from a sturdier shaft; while a modicum of feel remains, it’s a bit muted and less immediate than before, and this flattens the fun on turn-in. Both the 0.79-g skidpad grip and 178-foot stopping distance are average for its B-segment cohort (Chevy Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Mazda 2). But the brakes are actuated by a pedal that is squishier than the last Fit’s, again sapping a touch of the old car’s charm.

There’s a shade less zeal underhood, too. While more powerful, the engine is missing the touch of rasp that reminded its driver of other high-profile VTEC screamers. It still displaces 1.5 liters, but that’s about it for similarities between Fit engines new and old. Now it’s stuffed with direct injection and dual overhead cams (where before there was port injection and just one lobestick). In addition to i-VTEC’s dual-profile intake cam, the 1.5 packs VTC, or Variable Timing Control, which retards intake valve timing at low rpm and advances it at high engine speeds. New oil jets cool the undersides of the pistons, and the crankshaft has been lightened 27 percent through smaller journals and a 50-percent reduction in counterweights, from eight to four. An additional 13 horsepower and 8 pound-feet of torque, for totals of 130 and 114, respectively, don’t sound like much gain for all of that effort, but this is just a 1.5. That increase in power and shorter gearing drop the zero-to-60-mph time from 8.4 seconds to 8.0. At 16.2 seconds and 86 mph in the quarter-mile, the Fit would have outrun every car in our last comparison test of this class [“Appetizers,” November 2011]. Fuel economy with the manual hits 29 mpg city and 37 highway. Shifting primarily at the 6800-rpm redline, we logged 30 mpg.

Grabbing those shifts is both a joy and a frustration. The Fit finally gets a long-overdue sixth gear, and the shifter itself enjoys short throws and tight movements. But the clutch takeup is softer, more vague, and higher in the pedal’s travel than the previous Fit’s. And while there are six gears, sixth is the same ratio as the old fifth. There’s no calming of the engine on the highway because the final-drive ratio is also the same. At 75 mph, the Fit’s four-pot turns a frenetic 3600 rpm. A Chevy Sonic turbo’s overall gearing in fourth is about the same as the Fit’s in sixth; at 75 in sixth, the torquier Sonic is turning 1300 fewer rpm. The Fit is no noisier than a Sonic, even if the high-rpm buzz gets tiring in a way that lower frequencies don’t.

But while the Sonic and other classmates might challenge this new Fit dynamically, the Honda is still in a league of its own in terms of packaging, mainly because its fuel tank is still located under the front seats. Step inside and you’ll notice that its unexpected combo of downtown-friendly footprint and Penske-van interior volume has been dramatically reallocated. Honda stretched the wheelbase 1.2 inches and redesigned the rear suspension with shorter trailing arms, so the Fit’s rear seat is now an astounding 4.8 inches farther back from the front. That improvement is awfully close to the difference between long- and short-wheelbase Audi A8s or BMW 7-series. Never mind the one-size-up Civic; the Fit now has more rear-seat legroom than the already limo-like Accord. This is no less of a miracle than the packaging breakthrough that made the first Fit such a hit.

2016 Honda fit

Of course, there is a trade-off. Honda netted more people space at the expense of cargo room. The volume behind the rear seat drops from 21 cubic feet to 17, relegating what was once the segment leader to midpack standing. But dropping the Fit’s rear seats creates a cargo hold that, while smaller than its predecessor’s (53 cubes versus 57), is still bigger than that of any competitor in our last roundup. It’s more than you’ll find if you fold down the third row in a GMC Yukon. Unless your friends are mostly bags of mulch, though, it’s hard to view the shuffling of interior space as a negative. Particularly when there’s still so much of it.

But it’s not only more spacious; this Fit enjoys a marked uptick in material quality and design. The doors and dash boast luxurious soft-touch panels; and matte-finish “fauxluminum” flourishes accent the dash, door handles, and air vents. Along with the upgrade in appearance comes an upgrade in standard and available equipment. Not that the new bodywork limits visibility that much, but a rearview camera is standard. Keyless-entry and -start and—finally—satellite radio are now optional. The base car starts just $100 higher, at $16,315. Fully loaded models outpace the last generation by about $1000, but the extra content is worth it.

2016 Honda fit

The new Fit has us torn. Its edge has been slightly dulled, leaving the handling a little less sharp and the engine note a touch less provocative. The clutch takeup is muddier and the brakes are a little squishier.

We hate to see a beloved car even feint in the direction of dynamic mediocrity, but at least the soul of the Fit has survived. Its practical improvements are remarkable, putting the car even further ahead of its class. Nobody has yet matched the Honda’s incredible versatility at this price, nor has any competitor yet packaged anything remotely as useful atop a chassis that offers this much fun for so little money.

2016 Honda Fit

Will it fit?: Determining whether Honda’s new tiny hatch can fill its predecessor’s enormous shoes.

Grabbing those shifts is both a joy and a frustration. The Fit finally gets a long-overdue sixth gear, and the shifter itself enjoys short throws and tight movements. But the clutch takeup is softer, more vague, and higher in the pedal’s travel than the previous Fit’s. And while there are six gears, sixth is the same ratio as the old fifth. There’s no calming of the engine on the highway because the final-drive ratio is also the same. At 75 mph, the Fit’s four-pot turns a frenetic 3600 rpm. A Chevy Sonic turbo’s overall gearing in fourth is about the same as the Fit’s in sixth; at 75 in sixth, the torquier Sonic is turning 1300 fewer rpm. The Fit is no noisier than a Sonic, even if the high-rpm buzz gets tiring in a way that lower frequencies don’t.

But while the Sonic and other classmates might challenge this new Fit dynamically, the Honda is still in a league of its own in terms of packaging, mainly because its fuel tank is still located under the front seats. Step inside and you’ll notice that its unexpected combo of downtown-friendly footprint and Penske-van interior volume has been dramatically reallocated. Honda stretched the wheelbase 1.2 inches and redesigned the rear suspension with shorter trailing arms, so the Fit’s rear seat is now an astounding 4.8 inches farther back from the front. That improvement is awfully close to the difference between long- and short-wheelbase Audi A8s or BMW 7-series. Never mind the one-size-up Civic; the Fit now has more rear-seat legroom than the already limo-like Accord. This is no less of a miracle than the packaging breakthrough that made the first Fit such a hit.

2016 Honda fit

Of course, there is a trade-off. Honda netted more people space at the expense of cargo room. The volume behind the rear seat drops from 21 cubic feet to 17, relegating what was once the segment leader to midpack standing. But dropping the Fit’s rear seats creates a cargo hold that, while smaller than its predecessor’s (53 cubes versus 57), is still bigger than that of any competitor in our last roundup. It’s more than you’ll find if you fold down the third row in a GMC Yukon. Unless your friends are mostly bags of mulch, though, it’s hard to view the shuffling of interior space as a negative. Particularly when there’s still so much of it.

But it’s not only more spacious; this Fit enjoys a marked uptick in material quality and design. The doors and dash boast luxurious soft-touch panels; and matte-finish “fauxluminum” flourishes accent the dash, door handles, and air vents. Along with the upgrade in appearance comes an upgrade in standard and available equipment. Not that the new bodywork limits visibility that much, but a rearview camera is standard. Keyless-entry and -start and—finally—satellite radio are now optional. The base car starts just $100 higher, at $16,315. Fully loaded models outpace the last generation by about $1000, but the extra content is worth it.

2016 Honda fit

The new Fit has us torn. Its edge has been slightly dulled, leaving the handling a little less sharp and the engine note a touch less provocative. The clutch takeup is muddier and the brakes are a little squishier.

We hate to see a beloved car even feint in the direction of dynamic mediocrity, but at least the soul of the Fit has survived. Its practical improvements are remarkable, putting the car even further ahead of its class. Nobody has yet matched the Honda’s incredible versatility at this price, nor has any competitor yet packaged anything remotely as useful atop a chassis that offers this much fun for so little money.

The Best Cars, Trucks, SUVs, and More for 2016: Editors’ Choice Awards 2016 Honda Civic

Source : Car and Driver 2016 Editor’s Choice – February 22, 2016

2016 Honda Civic

Sweet-handling and fun to drive, the Civic deserves serious consideration from enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike. The base engine is a 158-hp 2.0-liter four; a 174-hp turbo 1.5-liter is optional. The 2.0-liter has a six-speed manual, while a CVT is optional. Sadly, the turbo offers only the CVT. Both engines are peppy, but the turbo is definitely the hot rod of the two. The coupe shares the sedan’s powertrains and has a sportier ride with quicker steering. The back seat, though, is tight.

2016 Honda Civic

First Drive Review

2016 Honda Civic

Chapter two of the Civic renaissance.

According to Honda research, buyers who prefer coupes to sedans are primarily seduced by styling and image, feeling that the absence of that second set of doors suggests that both car and driver possess a sporty persona. That’s not always the case, but the dynamic character of the new Civic coupe vindicates the sporty part of the proposition.

The coupe’s sheetmetal is even edgier than the sedan’s, a welcome departure from the caution that has marked so many Honda designs—with tidier dimensions, more sculpting, and wheels that fill their wheel wells right to the edge of the fenders.

2016 Honda Civic

The coupe shares the sedan’s 106.3-inch wheelbase, a sizable 3.1-inch stretch versus the previous generation. But at 176.9 inches, the new coupe is an inch shorter than its predecessor, 1.8 inches wider at 70.8 inches, and a smidge (0.1 inch) lower at 54.9 inches. It also has much wider tracks: 60.9 inches front and 61.5 rear. Although overall length has shrunk, the overhangs have diminished even more, and compared with the new sedan, the coupe is 5.4 inches shorter—all of that chopped out of the rear overhang—and almost an inch lower. The net is a coupe that looks compact in the athletic sense—squat, taut, and ready to rock.

Power-to-Weight

Smaller dimensions and extensive use of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel in the body shell ought to add up to reduced mass, but the official specifications are a little murky on this score. Honda’s listed curb weights for the old coupe range from 2754 to 2916 pounds. Depending on trim level, the 2016 coupes will weigh between 2735 and 2896 pounds, according to Honda.

Nevertheless, the new coupe should have a performance edge over the previous generation, thanks to its new engines—a naturally aspirated 158-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder (in LX and LX-P models) and a 174-hp 1.5-liter turbo four (EX-T, EX-L, and Touring). In our test of a new sedan equipped with the 1.5-liter turbo and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), we logged a 6.8-second zero-to-60-mph sprint. That’s just 0.3 second behind the last Civic Si we tested, and Honda insiders say that in development testing the coupe has been a little quicker than the current Si. This leads us to wonder how much power the new Si will bring to the game when it makes its appearance, as well as what its body style will be—coupe? sedan? hatchback? all three?—but Honda isn’t talking about that yet.

Our initial experience with the new coupe was confined to turbo-powered versions with Honda’s torque-converter-enhanced CVT, and the impressions were much the same as those logged in our sedan test. Stomp on the throttle and once the turbo spools up, the Civic’s front tires emit a healthy chirp and forward momentum builds in a hurry. The spool-up is quick with the transmission in D, but for even quicker results, slip the lever into S. At wide-open throttle the CVT delivers simulated upshifts and exhibits little of the slipping-clutch sensations that often accompany transmissions of this type. Paddle shifters aren’t part of the deal, however, and the driver is still aware that it’s a CVT.

2016 Honda Civic

Somewhere East of Julian

Is the coupe any quicker than a similarly equipped sedan? We’ll need a test track to nail that down. But we don’t need a test track to identify an area of performance where the coupe holds an edge over its four-door cousin—as well as its rivals. That would be on the mountain roads near Julian, California, east of San Diego, where the coupe impressed. While the sedan’s unibody gets high marks for its robust structure, the coupe takes chassis rigidity a step further, with selective stiffening around the front and rear suspension pickup points.

Suspension elements—dampers and springs—are also stiffer, varying by trim level. The basic LX model, for example, gets firmer damping and increased front roll stiffness. The LX-P and EX-T have increased spring rates as well as more authority in the dampers; EX-T and higher trim levels get 17-inch wheels. The EX-L and Touring models get refinements of the foregoing, including hydraulic rear bushings for better road isolation and lighter wheels for reduced unsprung weight.

While the dynamic distinctions among the various trims are subtle and hard to quantify in short driving stints, the bottom line is a coupe that’s quick on its feet, responding promptly to steering inputs, with modest body motions and absolutely no drama. It’s easy to be precise with the steering, as well, thanks to an electrically assisted rack-and-pinion system that’s exceptionally quick (2.2 turns lock-to-lock), accurate, and tactile. The steering wheel further enhances the process with its just-right rim thickness and grippy feel.

Pushed hard, the coupe will do exactly that—push. It’s agile, but like most front-drive cars, sporty or not, the weight bias is decidedly forward, and it’s not very difficult to provoke noisy protest from the front tires in enthusiastic cornering. A more performance-oriented tire would probably raise the understeer threshold—all models are shod with all-season rubber—and also shorten braking distances. It’s easy to modulate pressure at the brake pedal, and fade is not an issue, but we don’t anticipate much improvement over the sedan’s 178-foot stopping distance from 70 mph in our test.

The new coupe posts solid marks on the comfort scorecard. Although the suspension tuning is distinctly firmer than the sedan’s, it’s also compliant enough to take the edge off sharp bumps and expansion joints. And Honda’s extensive efforts with sound insulation pay off here, just as in the sedan. The new Civics raise the bar for quiet operation among compacts.

2016 Honda Civic

Waiting for Manual

Honda insists Civics equipped with the 1.5-liter turbo engine also will get the six-speed manual-transmission option currently available with the 2.0-liter. We got a very brief experience with a manual-equipped turbo mule, a sedan in heavy camo, and found it to be typical of Honda shift-for-yourself gearboxes with short throws and crisp engagements. But the product planners get cagey about precisely when it will arrive; our best guess is late in this model year.

The new infotainment and safety features that made their debut with the sedan carry forward to the coupe. Of the latter, the lane-keep assist system is particularly annoying—it’s a little random in picking up the edge and center lines, and a little too eager to intervene when it does see them.

Inside, the coupe sustains the high quality of materials established by the sedan, including first-rate bucket seats, as well as a rear seat actually habitable by adults. Although the new coupe is shorter than its predecessor, the stretched wheelbase allowed Honda to expand rear-seat legroom by 5.1 inches.

Like some other elements of the ongoing Civic saga, pricing remains an unknown—at least until the mid-March on-sale date. We have estimates, but that’s complicated by the revised trim levels—there are now five, culminating in the new Touring model. But this much is certain: The new Civic coupe makes the outgoing version as forgettable as last year’s curling-tournament results. And the sportiness goes well beyond mere appearance.

The Best Cars, Trucks, SUVs, and More for 2016: Editors’ Choice Awards 2016 Honda Pilot

Source : Car and Driver 2016 Editor’s Choice – February 22, 2016

2016 Honda Pilot

If a stylish, useful, and trouble-free ride is what you’re after, well—ladies and gentlemen, this is your Pilot speaking. The 280-hp 3.5-liter V-6 powers the front or all four wheels through a six-speed automatic; top-level Touring and Elite trims get a nine-speed. The all-wheel-drive system offers torque vectoring for better handling and modes for snow, sand, and mud. The Pilot’s three rows provide plenty of room for all and a host of active-safety tech is available to keep everyone safe.

2016 Honda Pilot

Instrumented Test

2016 Honda Pilot

The family-value story

The new Honda Pilot rolls into the 2016 model year with a pricing spectrum that spans five trim levels and $16,425 from one end to the other, each step up tempting the prospective buyer with more goodies, right up to the fully loaded Elite model.

The big Honda clearly is aimed at folks whose motoring agendas include lots of hauling. It can tow—up to 5000 pounds with all-wheel drive, 3500 with front-drive. But more often than not, the payloads entail kids. We probably don’t really need to add that even though minivans are superior in almost all aspects of family hauling, Pilot prospects would rather donate their kids to science than be seen in something with those telltale sliding side doors.

2016 Honda Pilot

There’s irony in this vehicular phobia, since the Pilot is a close cousin of Honda’s Odyssey minivan, structurally speaking. But image rules in this realm, and image is rarely rooted in rationality. Speaking of image, there are some within our walls who prefer the blockier looks of the previous generation to the slicker styling of the new. But slick is where the entire crossover segment is headed.

Our first test of the generation-three Pilot involved an Elite model, which includes everything in the vehicle’s extensive inventory of features. This time, we’re looking at one of the less expensive versions. If you draw your budgetary line at a Pilot EX, what do you get? What do you forego? Is there a performance sacrifice? And what do you save?

Quicker Sprints

Let’s start with performance. All Pilots are propelled by the same engine, a 3.5-liter V-6 rated for 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. That displacement is familiar—the previous Pilot powerplant also was a 3.5 V-6—but the new engine essentially is the same as that used by the Acura MDX, and direct fuel injection gives it a 30-hp edge over its predecessor. This in a vehicle that’s substantially lighter, by as much as nearly 300 pounds, according to Honda. It’s also substantially quicker off the line.

What you don’t get with the lower trim levels—LX, EX, and EX-L—is the slick new nine-speed automatic transmission that comes with the Touring and Elite models. The LX, EX, and EX-L are equipped with a six-speed automatic. That’s one cog more than the previous Pilot, but the nine-speed does a better job of keeping the engine in the sweet spot of its power band. And it includes shift paddles, which aren’t part of the deal with the six-speed.

2016 Honda Pilot

At the track, this front-drive EX model clocked a zero-to-60-mph time of 6.2 seconds, a whisker behind the all-wheel-drive Elite, even though the EX weighed 254 pounds less. (Blame the powerful V-6’s eagerness to spin the front tires during aggressive launches.) But all things being equal under the hood, the EX’s advantage in power-to-weight shows up as the drag race continues: It was a second quicker to 100 mph. Not that many owners are likely to push their Pilot to triple-digit speeds. But for those so inclined, we can report that the Pilot inspires confidence as speeds climb, right up to the governor-limited 112-mph top speed.

There’s confidence around bends, too. The new chassis is stiffer than its predecessor, spring rates are higher, and shock-absorber damping is firmer than that of the previous generation. This doesn’t make the Pilot a sports car; pushing hard in a set of switchbacks will still provoke moderate rock and roll, as well as abundant understeer. But as with exploring the Pilot’s top speed, the likelihood of owners testing its limits of adhesion is slight, particularly with kids onboard. And doubly so for those with kids prone to motion sickness.

Athough the steering could be quicker (3.2 turns lock-to-lock) and more informative at around-town speeds, the Pilot’s responses in emergency maneuvers are respectable by the standards for this class. Those maneuvers might not be quite as prompt in the lesser trim levels, a distinction we attribute to tires. Touring and Elite Pilots wear 245/50 tires on 20-inch wheels, whereas our EX test example was equipped with 245/60-18 tires. The setup produced a softer ride, at the expense of grip (0.75 g versus the Elite’s 0.80). Braking distances were almost identical for both vehicles and about average among three-row crossovers. This is not to say good. Let’s call it adequate.
More Dimension, More Room

As noted in our test of the Elite model, the new Pilot is bigger than its predecessor, dimensional increases that translate directly to the interior. There’s even enough room in the third row for a couple of adults to perch without too much whining, although getting three people of any size to ride back there for more than a few miles is likely to provoke civil war. (In the Elite trim level, second-row seating is a pair of captain’s chairs, reducing the potential passenger count to seven.) Nonetheless, this is a distinctly more comfortable Pilot generation, its increased roominess augmented by more soft-touch surfaces and a much more attractive dashboard layout.

2016 Honda Pilot

Although the cabin’s appearance has been improved, we can’t say the same for its function, owing to Honda’s relentless commitment to a touch screen for all secondary controls, great and small. Adjusting audio volume or changing stations in a moving Pilot, for example, is a hunt-and-peck challenge, no matter how smooth the ride quality. At least the Pilot is exceptionally quiet at all speeds—parental units won’t have to raise their voices much to yell at their kids. EPA ratings for the front-wheel-drive Pilot are 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, up 1 mpg in the city and 2 mpg on the highway from the previous model. (Ratings are 1 mpg higher in the city with the nine-speed and 1 mpg lower all around with AWD.) We managed to beat the EX’s city rating, logging 20 mpg overall.

As noted, there are essentially five trim levels. But typical of Honda, the five are subdivided according to particular items of equipment. Thus, there are four different versions of the EX: 2WD and 4WD, with or without Honda Sensing (a package of collision-avoidance tech). There are no options or option packages. Each sub-category is treated as a separate model. At $34,330, our two-wheel-drive EX with Sensing was four rungs above the bottom of the Pilot pricing ladder, which begins with the two-wheel-drive LX at $30,895.

Honda Sensing includes automatic emergency braking, which will track the Pilot’s closing rate on traffic ahead (via camera and radar), decide whether the driver is paying attention, flash a warning, and apply the brakes if/when the driver fails to respond. It also includes adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and road-departure mitigation. The last two include system intervention to nudge the vehicle back to the middle of the road when it even thinks the Pilot is approaching an edge line. Its warning is a steering-wheel shudder that feels as though something might be coming undone in the front suspension—and is particularly annoying on two-lane back roads. The whole Sensing package adds a grand to the bottom line.

All-wheel drive, which is standard with the Elite, adds $1800. It’s available on all trim levels. Other fancy Elite standard features that are absent in the EX trim level: LED headlights, a panoramic power sunroof, an 8.0-inch touch screen with navigation and voice recognition, heated and ventilated leather power seats, a 540-watt 10-speaker premium audio system, a second-row DVD entertainment system, second-row heated leather captain’s chairs, and a power rear liftgate.

The EX isn’t exactly stark, with a standard features inventory that includes the 8.0-inch touch screen (minus navigation), seven-speaker audio with HondaLink infotainment, Pandora interface, fog lights, Honda’s passenger-side Lane Watch camera, remote engine start, and, in this test unit, the Honda Sensing package. So as always, it gets to be a question of what a prospective buyer considers essential in a family vehicle. Can you and your family be happy without a giant sunroof or navigation? Obviously, that one’s your call.

The Best Cars, Trucks, SUVs, and More for 2016: Editors’ Choice Awards 2016 Honda Odyssey

Source : Car and Driver 2016 Editor’s Choice – February 22, 2016

2016 Honda Odyssey

The Odyssey has charmed our staff for years with its unrivaled road manners, smooth powertrain, and accommodating interior. With room for up to eight passengers to sit comfortably, the Odyssey is also fuel-efficient, thanks to the cylinder-deactivation feature on its 248-hp 3.5-liter V-6. Perhaps most exciting is the built-in vacuum in the cargo area. Featured on certain models, it’s so obvious in its usefulness you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Cheerios everywhere, beware!

2016 Honda Odyssey

Instrumented Test

2016 Honda Odyssey

Still the cr�me de la cr�me of minivans.

As much as we wished this review of Honda’s refreshed-for-2014 Odyssey minivan focused solely on the rig’s awesome built-in HondaVac vacuum cleaner, it wouldn’t have been very useful to those of you actually interested in how well this minivan, you know, does minivan things. (We did, however, cover the vacuum in a separate, slightly informal test.) Given that none of the 2014 Odyssey’s changes are mechanical in nature, consider this test a refresher on all things Odyssey.

Lightning Bolt, Lightning Bolt!

The current-generation Odyssey first opened its dual sliding side doors to the world four years ago, and our long-term test of a 2011 model was our last full report on the van. For 2014, buyers can choose from—count ’em—seven trim levels: base LX, EX, spicier EX-L (basically the EX plus leather), EX-L with RES (EX-L with a rear-seat entertainment system), EX-L with Navi (leather-lined EX with navigation), Touring (bundles the EX-L’s rear-seat entertainment system and navi), and the focus of this test, the range-topping Touring Elite.

All Odysseys now have headlights with darkened trim, LED-lit taillights, and updated wheel designs, plus the latest front fascia, hood, and grille. While not drastically changed in appearance, the van still looks quite sharp for a big box, and it retains its low and wide front end and snazzy “lightning bolt” side window-line zigzag.

2016 Honda Odyssey

The dashboard is reconfigured with easier-to-read gauges and now accommodates a second, low-mounted central display—devoted only to audio and phone functions—on EX models and up. We find the new dual-screen setup a bit ridiculous and unnecessary; you can, for example, have audio information displayed on both screens at the same time. The lower screen is operated by touch, whereas the upper unit is manipulated via hard buttons confusingly located below the lower display. That the two screens’ resolution and graphics aren’t matched is almost a secondary complaint.

A carry-over 3.5-liter, SOHC V-6 powers the front wheels of every Odyssey, sending its 248 horsepower through a six-speed automatic. The six-cog unit was previously available only on upper trims, leaving lesser versions with a five-speed and lower fuel-economy figures, but now all examples have the better EPA-bestowed ratings of 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway. Our loaded Touring Elite managed a decent 22 mpg over more than 1300 miles of driving.

People (and Seat) Hauling

Rejoice, parents afraid of giving up any semblance of driving pleasure by switching to a minivan: The Odyssey remains among the very best minivans to drive. Our recorded test numbers paint a rather mediocre dynamic picture—0.75 g around the skidpad, a long 197-foot stop from 70 mph—but seat-of-the-pants impressions convey a buttoned-down and willing performer. Unfortunately, Honda hasn’t sped up the van’s slow steering, which makes for lots of arm-flailing during parking-lot maneuvers. It feels out of step with the lively and capable chassis, although to be fair, hair-trigger turn-in is between a lift kit and deployable pontoons on the wish lists of most minivan shoppers.

The transmission is another carry-over item we wish Honda had tweaked. It upshifts as early as possible, which is understandable in a world rife with tightening efficiency regulations, but it also stumbles over itself finding the right gear when you call for a downshift. The eons it takes to select a cog—usually not the one wanted or needed—means many passing opportunities will go missed. The automatic even manages to flub upshifts, at times introducing a lumpy, ill-timed short shift while the driver is still accelerating. Luckily, the smooth V-6 mitigates the transmission’s sins and yanks the 4618-pound Odyssey to 60 mph in an impressive 7.5 seconds.

2016 Honda Odyssey

To go along with its sporty chassis, the Odyssey continues to hold plenty of mainstream appeal thanks to its smooth and comfortable ride. The third-row seats smoothly fold into the floor to create a flat cargo hold, although we noted that removing the second-row chairs is cumbersome, taking us upward of 10 minutes and requiring a second person. Because they don’t fold into the floor, the Odyssey’s second row must be removed entirely and in three heavy pieces. With every seat in place, there’s plenty of room for up to eight pieces of human cargo.

Just Call It the Acura TLV—Or Would That Be VDX?

At $45,280, the Touring Elite isn’t cheap, but it could convincingly wear an Acura badge. Leather, navigation, tri-zone automatic climate control, second- and third-row sunshades, a sunroof, power-sliding side doors, a power-opening tailgate, a rearview camera, HID headlights, a 10-way power driver’s seat, a 650-watt 12-speaker audio system, the awesome vacuum, and a rear-seat entertainment system with a 16.2-inch display and wireless headphones are all included. Onboard safety gear includes lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, and front and rear parking sensors.

If you can do without some frills or safety features and seating for only seven, the basic LX brings the same essential goodness for $29,655. (To see what comes on other Odysseys, read our breakdown of the 2014 lineup’s pricing.) Regardless of which model is chosen, the Odyssey performs its duties far more effectively than would almost any three-row crossover, and it’s more stylish than direct competitors like the Dodge Grand Caravan or the Nissan Quest. If you need a family box, we’d say look no further than this Honda.

The Best Cars, Trucks, SUVs, and More for 2016: Editors’ Choice Awards 2016 Honda Accord

Source : Car and Driver 2016 Editor’s Choice – February 22, 2016

2016 Honda Accord

The playful and engaging Accord offers more than you’d expect, which helps make it a 10Best winner for 2016. A 185-hp 2.4-liter four and a six-speed manual are standard in both the coupe and sedan; Sport models get a slight bump to 189 hp. A CVT is optional, as is a 278-hp 3.5-liter V-6 with a six-speed automatic; the coupe offers a six-speed manual—our choice. EX and above models feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but some may find the button-less infotainment system annoying and fussy.

2016 Honda Accord

Instrumented Test

2016 Honda Accord

A compelling argument for buying off-the-rack.

You generally can separate new-car buyers into one of two groups: those who pore over the order sheet with painstaking detail and deliberate over each option, and those who just want the pain to be over as quickly as possible. By default, those of us with tastes that lean toward more sporting transportation are generally forced into the former group, a fate automakers—and salespeople, naturally—are quite happy to let us suffer as we dig a financial grave via the order sheet. The Honda Accord Sport, however, takes a more sensible approach. By zeroing in on a few key standard features focused on upping the sporting quotient—we’ll get to the specifics in a moment—while keeping an eye on the bottom line, it’s actually possible to leave the dealership with a well-equipped, yet technically option-free, Accord sedan for around $25K.

Assume the Position

Honda positions the Accord Sport in between the entry LX and mid-level EX trims, so we’ll use that jumping off point to see what makes the Sport the pick of the litter. First off, the Sport utilizes a high-flow exhaust with dual tips that manages to squeeze a bit more horsepower and torque from the 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder that it shares with its brethren, making for total outputs of 189 horsepower and 182 lb-ft (versus 185 and 181 elsewhere in the lineup). Does it result in a noticeable seat-of-pants increase in performance? Not really, but we appreciate Honda’s dedication to the concept. Next up are the 19-inch wheels, which dwarf the 16-inchers on the base car, as well as the 17-inchers on the EX. In fact, the only other Accord to get 19-inch rolling stock is the top-dog Touring, which starts at more than $35K. The brakes get the first-class treatment, too, with 12.3-inch ventilated front rotors and 11.1-inch solid rotors in the rear. The LX makes do with 11.1-inch units all around, and the EX and EX-L get an 11.5/11.1-inch combo; the only other Accord trim to get the large front binders, again, is the Touring. Cosmetic touches for the Sport include a body-colored decklid spoiler and rocker-panel extensions (both also shared with the Touring). Inside, the Sport gets exclusive aluminum pedals and a leather-wrapped steering wheel borrowed from the EX-L models and above.

2016 Honda Accord

Theoretically, it’s possible to add some options to the Sport. For instance, Honda Sensing—the maker’s batch of driver aids that includes lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and collision mitigation—is available on the Sport, but choosing it requires opting for the continuously variable automatic transmission, which adds nearly $2000 to the bottom line and certainly isn’t very sporting (even with its shift paddles). Let’s remain focused on the six-speed manual Sport in off-the-rack trim.

Walking On Sunshine

The Accord’s typically fluid ride-and-handling balance is in full effect here, as is reasonably communicative electric power steering, which combats the Sport’s nose-heavy 59/41-percent weight distribution with light but never limp steering action. Acceleration is seamless if not exactly quick, with the zero-to-60-mph dash consuming a full 7.0 seconds and the quarter-mile run requiring 15.5 seconds with the Sport clearing the traps at 92 mph. While those results easily top the 7.6- and 15.9-second times we extracted from a 2016 Accord EX with a CVT automatic, we should note that better numbers might still be possible, as our Sport’s engine was particularly green, with only 164 miles on the odometer. (For results on a mechanically similar Accord, see our recent long-term test of a manual Sport; that car hit 60 in 6.6 seconds and covered the quarter-mile in 15.2.)

Fresh-baked though it was, the six-speed manual transmission was already a polished performer, the shifter sliding from gate to gate in typically intuitive Honda fashion. The Accord lineup received moderate updates for 2016, and the manual is said to benefit from tighter internal tolerances, improved synchronizers, and a new linkage that reduces the amount of free play in the lever, which made selecting gears a joy. (Old-school Honda owners take note: Honda says a “constant-mesh helical reverse gear mechanism” has been implemented to significantly reduce the sometimes-unavoidable and unwelcome grunch noise that can occur when shifting into reverse. In our experience, it works.) Those aforementioned Sport-exclusive aluminum pedals? Put on your boogie shoes, because they are perfectly placed to dance on.

2016 Honda Accord

The Sport’s lateral-acceleration number did little to disrupt the Accord roadholding status quo, its 0.86 g of grip bettering the aforementioned EX’s 0.80 number, but also laying a tiny smackdown on the 0.84 g we extracted from the 2016 Accord coupe V-6—results you’d expect from a model named “Sport,” right? Braking performance, however, doesn’t stick to the plan. Requiring 183 feet to stop from 70 mph, the Accord Sport consumed five more feet than the 2016 Accord EX, despite the EX being equipped with smaller, 11.5-inch front rotors. We suspect the problem was the Continental ContiProContact all-season tires; although the rubber was capable of delivering decent cornering performance, our tester singled out the tires as the primary culprit in the substandard braking number.

Overall, then, the question is: Does the Sport’s cherry-picked list of features transform the Accord into a value-priced, ready-made sports sedan? That answer depends largely on what you are looking for and where you are coming from.

Buyers familiar with the Accord’s light-and-precise nature; spacious, conservatively styled interior; and attractive value/performance balance—the very attributes that have landed the Accord on our annual 10Best Cars list more times than any other single vehicle—likely will find what attracted them to the car in the first place, only refined and honed for a slightly more engaging experience. People looking for a low-cost alternative to a brawny, rear- or all-wheel-drive Teutonic pavement-pounder will need to realign their sensibilities to the Accord Sport’s lithe, front-wheel-drive demeanor. But for those interested in getting behind the wheel of a true fun-to-drive four-door sedan without pillaging junior’s college fund, the Accord Sport’s $25K price of entry is pretty compelling—and the only decision to make is the color.

Honda Civic wins Canadian Car of the Year

The Civic was significantly updated for the 2016 model year. Under the hood, it  is available with a turbo engine for the first time in Canada.

The Civic was significantly updated for the 2016 model year. Under the hood, it is available with a turbo engine for the first time in Canada.

By: Special to the Star, Published on Thu Feb 11 2016

 

The Honda Civic has been chosen as the 2016 Canadian Car of the Year by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and the Mazda CX-3 won Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year.

The announcement was made Thursday morning ahead of the opening of the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto.

The other two finalists in the car category were the Volkswagen Golf R and the Volkswagen Golf Sportwagon.

In the AJAC evaluation process (described below), one category is “Market Significance.” By that count alone, the winner of AJAC’s Best New Small Car in the over $21,000 category had to be a favourite, given it has been Canada’s best-selling car for 18 years.

The new Civic is a significant departure from the previous model. Increased interior space, more styling character and a revised suspension for sportier handling add to traditional Civic traits of comfort, reliability and value.

The 174 horsepower turbocharged engine in EX-T and Touring models provides more entertaining urge when the pedal is pressed.

A Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), usually not a precursor to driving enjoyment, reacts with more precision than most.

It all suggests that the Civic will add one more notch to its metaphoric lipstick case when sales results for 2016 are tabulated.

It is also appropriate that Canada’s Car of the Year is actually assembled in Canada, at Honda’s Alliston, Ont. plant.

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