Author Archives: Administrator

Alliston

Honda Civic weathers crossover tsunami, grows its market share

By: John Irwin
Source: Automotive News Canada
Published: July 09, 2019

Honda’s compact-car hero is made of metal, glass, plastic and rubber, but it might as well be made of Teflon. It shrugs off all challengers, including the current utility-vehicle wave that has so far drowned many other small-car labels.

The Civic remains a strong seller in Canada and the United States, which is critical for the stability of the Alliston, Ont., assembly plant that builds the car, Honda Canada CEO Dave Gardner says.

“It’s pretty evident me that the success of Civic and the ongoing sustainability of Honda Canada manufacturing are closely linked Gardner said.

The Civic has been Canada’s top-selling car for 21 straight years and was the country’s third-highest-selling vehicle in 2018 behind only the Ford F series and Ram pickups. Last year, Civic sales in Canada were essentially flat at 69,005 units as the car market as a whole shrank 7.2 per cent, boosting the Civic’s share of the Canadian new-vehicle market to 11.6 per cent.

Its share continued to grow in the beginning of 2019. Through June, Honda sold 32.398 Civics. While that’s down 8.8 per cent from a year earlier, the car market as a whole declined, and the Civic’s share grew to 12.2 per cent.

MADE WELL, MADE HERE

2019 Honda Civic Sedan Touring

Bob Redinger, general manager of Ready Honda in Mississauga, Ont., attributes the Civic’s strong sales to its reputation as a reliable vehicle and to its being made in this country.

“It meets the needs of the average Canadian in terms of size, features, functionality,” Redinger said. “You have a broad range of customers, from students to couples with a child and retirees as well. It’s a broad range that it meets.”

Robust sales of the Civic are good news for the Alliston assembly plant amid growing concerns about the health of Canadian auto manufacturing. General Motors, for instance, will stop vehicle assembly at its Oshawa, Ont., plant by year’s end, while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to cut a shift at its Windsor, Ont., plant by September.

Honda employs 4,200 hourly workers at its three Alliston plants, which produce the Civic and CR-V crossover.

ALLISTON WELL-POSITIONED

Redinger said that even as the new-vehicle market declines in Canada, Alliston could prove to be even more important to Honda, especially since it plans to close a United Kingdom plant that builds the Civic by 2021.

As well, Gardner said the plant — designated as the global lead plant for the Civic when the current generation was released in 2016 — has been an education.

“The experience that we gained for the first time ever being the lead plant I think has helped to develop our associates and the capabilities of HCM (Honda of Canada Mfg.) up there in terms of positioning us well for the future,” he said.

Changes are coming for the Civic, however, including a redesign, and Honda has said it will cut the variations of the Civic and other models to one-third of current levels by 2025, which is part of a larger plan to streamline manufacturing processes and free up resources.

Gardner said he doesn’t expect the changes will have much of an impact on either manufacturing at Alliston or when it comes to sales in Canada because only a handful of configurations sell in large quantities anyway.

“The substantial bulk of your sales are covered by very few” of the model variations. Redinger said cutting back on options will help make shopping simpler for Civic buyers. Honda will “figure that out and eliminate the [trims] that aren’t really necessary. I think that’s a good thing. It’ll make it easier for customers to choose from inventory and easier for dealers to stock.”

honda-crv-subaru-forester-101-1559235915

2019 Honda CR-V vs. 2019 Subaru Forester: Which Is the Stronger Compact-SUV Choice?

By: Car & Driver Source: Mike Sutton
Published: June 3, 2019

The latest Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester are quite similar as solid examples of their kind, but one is better than the other.
honda-crv-subaru-forester-101-1559235915

2019 Honda CR-V Touring

Highs: Strong turbo engine, responsive handling, lots of cargo space.
Lows: Noisy engine, clunky shifter, not as efficient as the Forester.

2019 Subaru Forester Touring

Highs: Smooth ride, great visibility, attractive cabin, stingy on fuel.
Lows: Slow, floppy handling, annoying driver-attention monitor.

Within the compact-crossover class, both the 2019 Honda CR-V and the 2019 Subaru Forester are high-profile stalwarts that float toward the top of a crowded and hotly contested segment. As one of Honda's big sales guns, nearly 380,000 CR-Vs found homes last year. While Subaru moves only about half that many Foresters, the brand's conservative development approach means that Subie devotees should continue to find the fresh-for-2019 Forester entirely agreeable. Setting brand loyalties aside, which of these two is actually the better small SUV?

honda-crv-subaru-forester-105-1559236551

The Matchup

To find out, we lined up top-level Touring models of each and broke out our microscopes. All Foresters come standard with all-wheel drive, but adding it to a CR-V tacks on an extra $1400, which brought the as-tested prices of our two examples to near parity at a smidge more than $35K. Neither vehicle offers any factory options other than paint color at this loaded level. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the entry-level CR-V LX starts at $25,395 versus $25,270 for the starter Forester 2.5i.

Aside from their different engine formulas—a 190-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-four in the Honda to the Subaru's 182-hp naturally aspirated 2.5-liter flat-four—both test vehicles are remarkably similar on paper. Both have continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) and a 29-mpg combined fuel-economy estimate from the EPA. Their exterior dimensions and five-seat interior packaging are pretty much the same. And at this price point, both come well stocked with convenience amenities, plentiful touchscreen infotainment tech, and each brand's suite of active-safety gear, including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, automatic forward emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist. The CR-V's anti-collision warning system is easier to excite into action than the Forester's, sometimes annoyingly so (something we also noticed with our long-term 2018 Honda Accord). But the Subaru's standard DriverFocus driver-attention monitor is equally quick to yell at you if it thinks your eyes are wandering away from the road.

honda-crv-subaru-forester-103-1559236986

On the Road

With the Honda's modest weight advantage over the Subaru combined with its greater abundance of low-end torque—179 lb-ft peaking at 2000 rpm versus the Forester's similar twisting might peaking at 4400 revs—the CR-V’s 7.4-second zero-to-60-mph time is more than a second fleeter than the Subie's. But it's also noisier, emitting a 77-decibel groan at full throttle that only drops to 72 decibels at a 70-mph cruise. Both readings are 4 decibels louder than in the Forester, although Honda's CVT does limit high-rpm droning better than Subaru's does. The Forester earns marks for its better stopping performance from 70 mph—168 feet to the CR-V's 176—as well as for its 32-mpg return on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test, 1 mpg less than its EPA highway estimate. The CR-V only managed 29 mpg, 4 mpg less than its EPA highway score.

Both SUVs go down the road with good overall competence and comfort, although the Subaru offers a more relaxing temperament for cruising with its plush ride quality and expansive greenhouse that makes for excellent visibility. The Honda is by no means rough-riding or hard to see out of in comparison, yet it does respond better to pavement undulations and directional changes when being chucked into corners. Along with linear and precise steering, there's a feeling of responsiveness and composed body motions in the CR-V that are lacking in the Forester, which is better suited to plodding along with traffic. While neither of these utes is in any way performance oriented, we like the CR-V's willingness to be driven spiritedly without incurring serious compromises elsewhere.

honda-crv-subaru-forester-106-1559237156

The Inside View

Honda has given the latest CR-V's cabin a rather clean and straightforward design layout, with its greatest demerit being the large, clunky shift lever poking out of the dash, which doesn't feel up to par with the rest of the cabin. Aside from some cheap-looking fake-wood trim, this is a solidly assembled and attractive environment. The Forester feels similarly good inside, has a less obtrusive shifter on the console, and is dotted with pleasant materials, albeit ones that come together with a bit more complexity. The Subaru makes the stronger initial presentation of the two, and the Touring's 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system (a 6.5-inch unit is standard) is more responsive and better organized than the Honda's 7.0-inch unit, which lacks the tuning knob of the brand's latest system found in the Accord.

honda-crv-subaru-forester-104-1559237291

The similarities between the CR-V and Forester extend behind the front seats to airy and comfortable rear quarters that are equally capable of housing two adults with ease and three abreast for shorter trips. Both SUVs have rear climate-control vents and power outlets in the back of their center consoles, although the Subaru also features heated outboard rear seats whereas the CR-V does not. With its greater front-seat space, the Forester caters more to passengers in terms of overall space. The Honda is slightly more adept at hauling cargo, thanks to its larger storage cubbies throughout and five additional cubic feet of cargo space in back. We squeezed 10 carry-on suitcases behind the CR-V's second row and 25 with the seats folded. The Forester can accommodate 11 carry-ons behind its rear seats but only 23 behind the fronts.

The Bottom Line

With much to like and so little between them, you can't really go wrong with either the Honda CR-V or the Subaru Forester. Both are excellent examples of modern compact SUVs. But the Honda is more powerful and satisfying to operate as a vehicle while remaining perfectly agreeable, which is a quality we appreciate even in basic driving appliances. Along with its well-rounded list of attributes, that’s enough for the CR-V to edge out the Forester in our ranking of the segment.

Specifications

2019 Honda CR-V Touring AWD

VEHICLE TYPE 
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback 

PRICE AS TESTED 
$35,195 (base price: $35,195)  

ENGINE TYPE 
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection  

Displacement
91 cu in, 1497 cc  
Power
190 hp @ 5600 rpm 
Torque
179 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm  

TRANSMISSION 
continuously variable automatic 

CHASSIS
Suspension (F/R): struts/multilink 
Brakes (F/R): 11.1-in vented disc/10.2-in disc 
Tires: Hankook Kinergy GT, 235/60R-18 103H M+S   

DIMENSIONS 
Wheelbase: 104.7 in  
Length: 180.6 in  
Width: 73.0 in  
Height: 66.5 in  
Passenger volume: 101 cu ft  
Cargo volume: 35 cu ft  
Curb weight: 3565 lb  

C/D 
TEST RESULTS
Zero to 60 mph: 7.4 sec 
Zero to 100 mph: 20.2 sec 
Zero to 120 mph: 38.5 sec 
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 8.0 sec 
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 4.1 sec 
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 5.5 sec 
Standing ¼-mile: 15.8 sec @ 90 mph 
Top speed (governor limited): 124 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 176 ft  

C/D FUEL ECONOMY 
75-mph highway driving: 29 mpg  
Highway range: 400 miles   

EPA FUEL ECONOMY 
Combined/city/highway: 29/27/33 mpg

2019 Subaru Forester Touring  

VEHICLE TYPE 
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback  

PRICE AS TESTED
$35,270 (base price: $35,270)  

ENGINE TYPE 
DOHC 16-valve flat-4, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection  

Displacement
152 cu in, 2498 cc  
Power
182 hp @ 5800 rpm 
Torque 
176 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm  

TRANSMISSION 
continuously variable automatic with manual shifting mode  

CHASSIS 
Suspension (F/R): struts/multilink 
Brakes (F/R): 12.4-in vented disc/11.2-in vented disc 
Tires: Falken Ziex ZE001 A/S, 225/55R-18 98H M+S   

DIMENSIONS 
Wheelbase: 105.1 in  
Length: 182.1 in  
Width: 71.5 in  
Height: 68.1 in  
Passenger volume: 108 cu ft  
Cargo volume: 33 cu ft  
Curb weight: 3601 lb  

C/D 
TEST RESULTS 
Zero to 60 mph: 8.5 sec 
Zero to 100 mph: 23.7 sec 
Zero to 110 mph: 31.8 sec 
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 9.0 sec 
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 4.3 sec 
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 5.9 sec 
Standing ¼-mile: 16.6 sec @ 86 mph 
Top speed (drag limited): 127 mph 
Braking, 70–0 mph: 168 ft 
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.83 g   

C/D FUEL ECONOMY 
75-mph highway driving: 32 mpg  
Highway range: 530 miles   

EPA FUEL ECONOMY 
Combined/city/highway: 29/26/33 mpg

By: KBB.com Editors Source: Kelly Blue Book®
Published: Nov 12, 2018

Compact SUV Best Buy of 2019

By: KBB.com Editors Source: Kelly Blue Book®
Published: Nov 12, 2018

  • Honda’s venerable compact crossover is practical, efficient, and easy to drive
  • Most models come standard with Honda Sensing suite of safety features
  • Honda CR-V pricing starts at $25,345 (including $995 destination charge) 
  • On sale now | See CR-V models for sale near you

What’s the most recommendable small SUV for the most people? Once again, the answer is the Honda CR-V. In the five years the Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards have existed, Honda’s compact crossover has won its category four times. Given that the small SUV segment continues to grow in popularity with each, that’s no mean feat.

Standing Out Amid a Raft of Rivals

Winning this category also means the Honda CR-V bettered some dozen competitors, including all-new versions of formidable challengers like the Subaru Forester and long-time archrival the Toyota RAV4. The Honda CR-V excelled in every category, from its class-above interior size and flexibility to its fuel efficiency and safety features. Throw in useful tech features and a sterling reputation for reliability and resale value, and the CR-V continues to pull ahead of the pack. Whether you’re looking for a safe, practical, easy-to-drive and easy-to-own car for a younger driver or a leather-laden mainstream SUV that could give some luxury vehicles a run for their money, there’s a CR-V to meet your needs.

The CR-V itself was totally revamped just last year, and with the all-new model came a small but efficient turbocharged engine, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone compatibility, and the Honda Sensing system that bundles active safety and driver-assistance features like automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. Skip the base LX model and you’ll get all those features standard, plus unexpected creature comforts like 12-way power operated and heated driver seat.

Outsized Interior and Excellent Efficiency

Practical by birth, one of the CR-V’s best traits is just how much room there is in its otherwise compact footprint. Presenting 75.8 cubic feet of usable space with the rear seats folded flat, the CR-V’s cargo space remains near the top of its class. That figure even edges the larger, all-new 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe, itself a highly recommendable crossover SUV with a larger footprint that is good for growing families.

Also impressive: the MPG the 2019 Honda CR-V returns. The older, 2.4-liter engine used only in the base LX model still gets up to 34 mpg on the highway. The new, smaller, and more powerful 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that is used (and recommended) in the rest of the lineup is only a tick behind, boasting up to 33 mpg. Whichever powerplant or trim you choose, you can get all-wheel drive for added traction and more confidence on slippery, weather-fouled roads.

Enviable Resale Value and Reliability

No writeup about a Honda would be complete without mentioning the brand’s strong reliability and resale value. These two characteristics are especially noteworthy in the CR-V. Its reliability has been enviable over its 20-plus year existence, and it’s a mainstay among Kelley Blue Book Best Resale Value Award winners.

There are now more than a dozen small crossover SUVs competing for space in your garage. Almost all have at least one standout trait, but none are more well-rounded or more recommendable than the 2019 Honda CR-V.

More 2019 Honda CR-V

Build and price your own 2019 Honda CR-V to see this week’s Fair Purchase Price, 5-Year Cost to Own and more, or check out the CR-V models for sale today at dealers near you.

accord-action-pajo-1542296460

The Honda Accord has appeared on our 10Best Cars list a record 33 times.

The Honda Accord has appeared on our 10Best Cars list a record 33 times. Such an achievement is no accident; it’s the culmination of Honda’s fastidious fine-tuning and dogged attention to detail.

While agreeableness is a given in most new cars, the Accord’s dynamics are several degrees beyond the agreeable, with finely tuned primary controls, a light helm with good feedback, and an optional and precise six-speed manual shifter. The delicate, well-placed pedals work so naturally as to disappear. Likewise, the Accord’s controlled body motions and supple ride quality encourage its occupants to relax during the everyday slog. So how can it be so much fun to fling the Accord through challenging corners?

We can imagine Honda’s engineers working late into the night, fretting over minutiae as their uneaten dinners grow cold at home.

Their fine-tuning extends to the Accord hybrid, which joins the regular models on this year’s list. Its clever direct-drive gearbox and arrangement of motors and clutches help propel the car partially, or solely, on electrons, and the integration of all the pieces is seamless.

q2a2328-edit-1542296461

To the naked eye, the 2018 Honda Accord hybrid is a virtual doppelgänger of its standard-issue sibling. Aside from special wheels and a few subtle hybrid badges, there’s little outward evidence that a hybrid powertrain hides under this Accord’s sheetmetal. Five minutes behind the wheel, however, and its unique personality is evident.

q2a2345-edit-1542296460

Like all current Accords, the hybrid impresses with its solid feel. Thanks to the added weight—our hybrid test car tipped the scales at 3404 pounds, some 250 pounds heavier than a manual Accord Sport 1.5T we recently tested—and the location of the battery pack and attendant hardware under the rear seat, the Accord hybrid displays a touch of that dense, stable sensation that in bygone days automakers touted as “road-hugging weight.” We were impressed with the hybrid’s quiet ride, an observation confirmed by its 69-decibel interior-noise level at 70 mph—matching our long-term 2018 Honda Accord 2.0T EX-L. And the hybrid shares the regular Accord’s supple, isolated ride over nearly every type of road surface. Most potholes pass underneath without undue disturbance, and larger imperfections are diminished by its rigid structure and refined suspension tuning.

q2a1853-1542296457

In its quest for maximum mpg, the hybrid wears low-rolling-resistance 225/50R-17 Michelin Energy Saver A/S all-season tires, and they’re not particularly grippy. Although the steering is reasonably direct and turn-in is snappy, the front end starts to push in even moderately aggressive cornering. The Accord hybrid registered just 0.83 g on our skidpad; that’s compared with 0.86 g for our long-term Accord and 0.90 g for the Accord Sport, a model that delights in such maneuvers.

Multi-Mode Motivation
A cleverly configured drivetrain employs two electric motors and an Atkinson-cycle, port-injected, 2.0-liter inline-four engine making 143 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque. Total combined output is 212 horsepower. As we explained in our review of the mechanically similar, previous-generation 2017 Accord hybrid, this enables three distinct driving modes: an EV Drive mode using only battery power, a Hybrid Drive mode that uses electricity to propel the car with the gasoline engine powering the generator, and an Engine Drive mode employed under certain conditions that clutches the gasoline engine in at a fixed ratio. Although complex in concept, it’s simple in execution if a tad unrefined at the ragged edge.

q2a1869-1542296460

In concert, the powertrain trio performs agreeably and nearly imperceptibly under mild requests, but it can grow coarser as more performance is asked of it. Mat the pedal and the sensation of agreeable work-sharing cedes to mild disorder, the combustion engine revving wildly while occasionally accompanied by a low-frequency grunting. Lifting your foot from the accelerator brings a sudden silence.

At the track, the Accord hybrid hustled to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds and cleared the quarter-mile in 15.5 seconds with a trap speed of 90 mph. Surprisingly quick given the slightly schizophrenic soundtrack, the Accord hybrid bettered the manual Accord Sport 1.5T’s zero-to-60-mph time by 0.1 second and matched its quarter-mile time. The 2.0T automatic Accord is the speed demon of the family; we reached 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds and posted a 14.3-second quarter-mile time in our long-termer. The Accord hybrid’s archrival, the Toyota Camry XLE hybrid, was a bit pokier in our testing, requiring 7.9 seconds to hit the 60-mph mark and 16.0 seconds flat to complete the quarter-mile.

The Accord hybrid’s brakes are a mixed bag. While the pedal exhibits almost none of the inconsistent travel and erratic feel that formerly beset hybrids, the stopping performance could stand improvement. Coming to a halt from 70 mph required 189 feet but without a hint of fade over repeated attempts. The Accord Sport 1.5T did the same in a remarkably short 162 feet while our long-term 2.0T EX-L required 183; the Camry hybrid stopped in 180 feet. Before you chalk up the difference entirely to the Accord hybrid’s low-rolling-resistance rubber, consider that the last Kia Optima hybrid we tested stopped in 175 feet while wearing similarly efficiency-oriented Kumho Solus TA31 Eco tires.

Casual deceleration can be facilitated by four levels of regenerative braking selected by the right-hand steering-wheel paddle. Smooth in engagement, the max-regen mode effects consistent slowing action while recapturing as much energy as possible to bolster the battery-charge level. Each additional tap dials back the regenerative action for a more free-wheeling vibe. Given the right topography, it makes an addictive game out of recapturing energy on long, steep descents.

q2a1853-1542296457

Fuel Economy: Its Reason for Being
But it’s really efficiency that excites most hybrid buyers, whether in the form of savings at the pump or just for the sheer satisfaction of extracting as much energy as possible from a unit of fuel via the technical wizardry of a hybrid-drive system.

As an indicator of how adept the Accord hybrid’s propulsion system is at applying the most efficient engine, motor, or engine/motor combination for the motive task at hand, consider that the 2018 Accord hybrid earns an EPA fuel-economy estimate of 47 mpg in all three metrics: city, highway, and combined. In typically enthusiastic Car and Driver testing, it returned 40 mpg overall, exactly matching our results with the Camry XLE hybrid. Both represent a substantial improvement over the 31 mpg we earned in the Kia Optima hybrid. In our real-world, 75-mph highway fuel-economy test, however, the Accord hybrid, at 42 mpg, fell short of the Camry hybrid’s 44 mpg.

What this efficiency is worth is a subjective question. Our top Touring trim sported a sticker price of $35,605, nearly a $10K premium over the $26,670 total for the manual Accord Sport 1.5T. The hybrid Touring’s price, however, includes nearly every available option: leather-trimmed seats and steering wheel, premium 10-speaker audio, navigation, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a power sunroof, a host of safety and driver-assistance systems, and about a dozen additional minor features. For 2018, Honda has expanded the hybrid powertrain across four trim levels—starting with the base sedan at $25,995, the EX at $29,785, the EX-L at $32,335, and finally the Touring tested here—so those less concerned with creature comforts can get their Accord hybrid for significantly less dough.

A similarly equipped Camry XLE hybrid rings in at $37,245, which brings us back to some very familiar territory in the realm of mid-size sedans: Accord versus Camry. In the hybrid round, we’ll take the Honda.

q2a2337-1542296457

Human creations are rarely entirely perfect. Despite the Accord’s fastback profile, the slinkier Mazda 6 is still prettier. And none of us would complain if Honda obsessed over a better solution than the 10-speed automatic’s clumsy shift buttons.

But the current-generation Accord, now in its sophomore year on this list, convincingly exhibits Honda’s obsessive-compulsive approach to mass-market carmaking. The model continues to balance engagement, quality, and practicality more consistently than any other car.

5c60e6c4262898095b0c5c62-1536-1152

We drove a $49,000 Honda Pilot, one of the best family SUVs money can buy. Here are its coolest features.

Honda Pilot

In the midsize-SUV segment, one of the most competitive in the US auto market, the Honda Pilot has long been one of the most popular offerings, but its sales have lagged behind those of the Toyota Highlander and the Ford Explorer.

The third-generation Pilot has been around since 2016. However, Honda decided to give the family hauler, built in Lincoln, Alabama, a midlife refresh for the 2019 model year.

“The Honda Pilot is the epitome of excellence in this genre of automobile,” we said. “The third-generation Pilot was always a strong competitor in the segment. But the updates for the 2019 model year have corrected some of most glaring faults and bolstered its position as one of the finest family SUVs money can buy.”

The base 2019 Honda Pilot LX with front-wheel drive starts at $31,450. Our top-of-the-line all-wheel-drive Elite-trim test car starts at $48,020, and a $995 destination-and-handling fee pushed the as-tested price to $49,015.

Here’s a closer look at its coolest features.

1. Awesome engine: All Pilots are powered by a 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter, naturally aspirated VTEC V6 engine, which is velvety smooth and delivers a solid punch off the line. Honda said our Pilot Elite should be able to deliver 22 mpg of fuel economy in mixed driving. We struggled to get above 17 mpg, but the cold weather might have been to blame.

Honda Pilot

2. Retuned transmission: One of the updates for the 2019 model year is a retuned nine-speed automatic. It worked, delivering quick shifts that were virtually imperceptible. Lower trim levels get a six-speed automatic, while the Touring and Elite trims get the nine-speed.

Honda Pilot

3. New infotainment system: Most Pilots have an 8-inch touchscreen running Honda’s newest infotainment system, while the base LX trim gets a 5-inch screen.

Honda Pilot

The new system is a marked improvement over the previous unit. It’s clearly organized and crisply rendered. Though we were happy to see the return of a volume knob in place of the touch panel, we would have also liked to see a tuner knob.

Honda Pilot

4. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

Honda Pilot

5. A digital instrument display: I wasn’t a huge fan of its looks, but it was easy to use and presented all the information the driver needs.

Honda Pilot

6. Quiet cabin: The Pilot’s interior was remarkably quiet thanks to its active noise-cancellation system, which uses microphones to detect noise from the engine and the exhaust, then uses the vehicle’s stereo speakers to send signals to cancel it out.

Honda Pilot

7. Honda Sensing: All Pilot trim levels come standard with the Honda Sensing driver-assistance tech package, with adaptive cruise control, collision-mitigating braking, forward-collision warning, road-departure mitigation, and lane-keep assist.

Honda Pilot

8. A multi-angle rearview camera.

Honda Pilot

9. 4G LTE WiFi hotspot capability.

Honda Pilot

10. CabinTalk: The system, from the Honda Odyssey minivan, allows the driver and the rear passengers to communicate using microphones in the car’s interior. That way, folks in the front won’t have to yell at people in the back, and vice versa. It’s also a handy way for parents to listen in on what their kids are doing in the back.

Honda Pilot

11. Panoramic mirror: Now the driver can see everything happening in the back.

Honda Pilot

12. A rear-cabin entertainment system …

Honda Pilot

… with a 10.2-inch high-definition screen. It comes standard on the Touring and Elite trims.

Honda Pilot

It’s controlled with this remote or the infotainment screen on the front dash.

Honda Pilot

You can plug in wired headphones or use the wireless pair that comes with the car.

Honda Pilot

There’s a Blu-ray player built into the dash, or you can stream video using a host of apps through the Pilot’s onboard 4G LTE WiFi hotspot.

Honda Pilot

13. Wireless charging.

Honda Pilot

14. Automatic tailgate: The Pilot has a hands-free tailgate that will lift automatically if the driver swings their foot under the rear bumper.

Honda Pilot

15. Ample cargo space: Behind the third row is 16 cubic feet of cargo room.

Honda Pilot

With the rearmost seats folded, cargo volume expands to 46 cubic feet. With the second row folded, that figure expands to 82 cubic feet.

Honda Pilot

16. Glass roof: The large two-piece glass sunroof bathes the cabin in natural light, even on a cloudy day.

Honda Pilot

17. Roomy cabin: The Pilot can seat up to eight. However, our Elite-trim tester came optioned with the second-row captain’s chairs, dropping the occupancy count to seven.

Honda Pilot

18. Updated styling: The 2019 Pilot’s styling updates include a refreshed front end with new LED headlights and a redesigned bumper and chrome grille …

Honda Pilot

… while the rear gets new tail lights, a new bumper, and chrome accents.

Honda Pilot

Comparing Civic Vs Elantra

2019 Honda Civic Sport vs 2019 Hyundai Elantra

2019 HONDA CIVIC

2019 Honda Civic

Models

DX, LX, EX, Sport, Touring, Si

Price range

$17,790-$28,990

With the Canadian-built 2019 Civic, Honda proves it’s possible to pack desirable features into every nook and cranny while still offering a spacious interior that doesn’t skimp on cargo capacity. On top of that, it’s gorgeous to look at. Complementing its restyled front end, its aggressive stance, sleek lines, and low-slung body invite drivers in with hints of the top-shelf performance ready to be unleashed. The 10th-generation Civic comes to life with a choice of two 4-cylinder engines: a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre i-VTEC® and a 1.5-litre turbocharged option that tops out at 205 hp on the Si trim. In addition to the 6-speed manual transmission, trims featuring Continuously Variable Transmission also boast G-Design Shift Logic and are outfitted with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for engaged driving no matter which Civic buyers choose. Inside, Civic’s multitude of features will leave driver and passengers alike feeling that every need is satisfied. Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™? It’s got that. Display Audio System with HondaLink™? It’s got that, too. Touring and Si trims offer even more: a 10-speaker sound system with subwoofer, SiriusXM™, and heated rear seats. Add in plenty of cargo space and innovative storage options, and customers are primed and ready for an extra-long road trip or intense trip to the grocery store. Whatever Civic drivers are up to, they’ll feel safe and secure with the Multi-Angle Rearview Camera and the many active safety features of the standard Honda Sensing™ suite1. With so much driving enjoyment to unlock, it’s little wonder that Civic has been Canada’s best-selling car 21 years running.

DX, LX, EX, SPORT
TOURING
SI
Engine type, displacement
2.0-litre port-injected DOHC i-VTEC® 4-cylinder
1.5-litre direct-injected DOHC turbocharged 4-cylinder
1.5-litre direct-injected DOHC turbocharged 4-cylinder
Compression ratio
10.8:1
10.6:1
10.3:1
Horsepower
158 hp @ 6,500 rpm
174 hp @ 6,000 rpm
205 hp @ 5,700 rpm
Torque
138 lb.-ft. @ 4,200 rpm
162 lb.-ft. @ 1,700-5,500 rpm
192 lb.-ft. @ 2,100-5,000 rpm
Transmission
6-speed manual transmission (DX, LX); Continuously Variable Transmission (Available on LX; Standard on EX, Sport)
Continuously Variable Transmission
6-speed manual transmission
Fuel economy, L/100 km (city/hwy/combined)
9.3/6.5/8.0 (DX-M/T, LX-M/T); 7.9/6.1/7.1 (LX-CVT, EX-CVT); 8.2/6.5/7.4 (Sport)
7.8/6.2/7.1
8.4/6.2/7.4
We’ve been giving this generation Civic top marks since its debut three years ago, and there’s nothing else out this year that’s going to steal the car’s title belt.

THE 2019 CIVIC SPORT: A CLOSER LOOK

ADDING SOME SPICE TO THE MIX

The new-for-2019 Civic Sedan Sport trim lends Canada’s best-selling car an inspired, more aggressive look to reflect its engaging driving dynamics.
Here’s a look at some key features and attributes that help the Sport trim stand out.

civic-sport

2019 HYUNDAI ELANTRA

2019 Hyundai Elantra

Models

Essential, Preferred, Luxury, Ultimate

Price range

$16,999-$27,399

The first look at the 2019 Hyundai Elantra will be a long one, as its radical redesign adds a strong dose of visual excitement to the compact-sedan segment. Hyundai’s latest design language lends the vehicle a bolder, more upscale presence. A curved hood flows into a new front end that integrates sharply defined headlights into its all-new grille for a look that stands out among its class. Under the hood, the 2.0-litre Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine is mated to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC® manual mode that provides drivers with a deeper connection to the pavement and plenty of driving fun.

Elantra’s interior affords passengers relatively spacious accommodations, as well as a sizeable trunk space. On the technology front, higher trims offer Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™, a wireless phone charger, and the BlueLink® connected car system. Occupants can also feel at ease with the available Hyundai SmartSense™ suite of safety technologies. From the SUPERSTRUCTURE™ to available features like Driver Attention Warning, safety is a major part of the Elantra, from its very core to how it interacts with the driver. Plus, on the top-spec Ultimate trim, there’s the segment-exclusive Safe Exit Alarm that will warn occupants of approaching vehicles before you open your door to the street. The result is a compact sedan that customers will feel confident driving through any road conditions.

ESSENTIAL, PREFERRED
LUXURY, ULTIMATE
Engine type, displacement
2.0-litre port-injected DOHC Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder
2.0-litre port-injected DOHC Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder
Compression ratio
12.5:1
12.5:1
Horsepower
147 hp @ 6,200 rpm
147 hp @ 6,200 rpm
Torque
132 lb.-ft. @ 4,500 rpm
132 lb.-ft. @ 4,500 rpm
Transmission
Standard 6-speed M/T; optional 6-speed A/T with SHIFTRONIC® manual mode
6-speed A/T with SHIFTRONIC® manual mode
Fuel economy, L/100 km (city/hwy/combined)
9.2/6.5/8.0 (M/T) 8.3/6.4/7.4 (A/T)
8.3/6.4/7.4
The Elantra is…an all-rounder — solid in most departments though not a particular standout in any.

HONDA CIVIC SEDAN SPORT VS HYUNDAI ELANTRA LUXURY

EXTERIOR

CIVIC

Civic

Model shown with optional accessories.

SPORTY, PREMIUM LOOK
Civic certainly raises the exciting possibilities of what a compact sedan can be. Its low, wide stance sends a message that this compact sedan has performance to spare. By comparison, the 2019 Elantra boasts a thorough refresh that plays up its compact sporty character and projects a sense of nimbleness, ideal for winding through city streets.

ELANTRA

ELANTRA

civic

18-INCH WHEELS
Though Civic may be a compact sedan, its aluminum-alloy wheels are anything but, measuring 18 inches. These wheels showcase a split-spoke design and dark finish that draws the eyes of onlookers, while conveying swiftness with their aerodynamic design. As far as size goes, Elantra’s alloy wheels aren’t too far behind at 17 inches, though its design is relatively flat and conservative.

Elantra

Civic

CAPLESS FUELING SYSTEM
Civic makes filling up at the pump simpler with its capless fueling system. The innovative capless mechanism opens and closes as you insert and retract the nozzle, so there’s no more need to fumble with a dirty fuel cap or worry about inadvertently emitting harmful vapours. You won’t find such a thoughtful fueling system on Elantra, which features a conventional fuel cap.

Elantra

Civic

HONDA LANEWATCH™ BLIND-SPOT DISPLAY
Civic drivers can drive more confidently thanks to LaneWatch™. A camera mounted on the passenger-side mirror allows the driver to view hard-to-see areas by displaying a video feed on the Display Audio System. LaneWatch provides added peace of mind when switching lanes or making right turns, and Elantra offers nothing like it.

Elantra

civic

LED TAILLIGHTS
Civic makes itself seen more clearly at night with dazzling LED taillights, standard across all trim levels. These lights offer several advantages over conventional incandescent bulbs, including reduced power consumption, longer life, and improved environmental friendliness. Hyundai customers must step up to the top Elantra trim to enjoy the benefits of LED taillights.

Elantra

Civic

CENTRE-MOUNTED EXHAUST
Civic’s sporty looks are all-encompassing, with a centre exhaust outlet that perfectly complements the athletic aesthetic of the dynamic face. In rather stark comparison, Elantra’s purely functional exhaust outlet is tucked out of sight, signalling its less sporting intentions.

Elantra

The 2019 Hyundai Elantra comes in many flavors, but the vast majority are plain vanilla — not even vanilla bean or country-style vanilla

UNDER THE HOOD

Civic

MORE HORSEPOWER AND TORQUE
Civic makes good on its aggressive exterior by providing drivers with 158 hp and 138 lb.-ft. of torque courtesy of its 2.0-litre i-VTEC® 4-cylinder engine. Lightweight yet power-dense, it uses natural aspiration and features Honda’s patented i-VTEC valve control system for enhanced performance and increased efficiency. At 147 hp and 132 lb.-ft. of torque, Elantra’s 2.0-litre Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine packs decent pep but offers slightly less powerful performance.

Elantra

Civic

CONTINUOUSLY VARIABLE TRANSMISSION (CVT)
Civic’s CVT features an infinitely variable ratio range to ensure the optimum pulley ratio for a more natural feel. Its dedicated Sport mode uses aggressive transmission mapping for better pep, and the G-Design Shift Logic offers more immediate acceleration response than conventional automatic transmissions, including Elantra’s 6-speed.

Elantra

Civic

INDEPENDENT REAR SUSPENSION
The sporty demeanour of the Civic is derived in large part from its independent rear suspension, helping create a smoother, more refined ride that provides better traction and stability. Hyundai outfitted Elantra with a more traditional torsion-beam rear suspension setup that results in diminished comfort, agility, and stability, and can also contribute to more noise, vibration, and harshness in the cabin.

 

 

FEATURE
NOT AVAILABLE

Civic

AGILE HANDLING ASSIST

Agile Handling Assist adds turning control and helps amp up the driving on the Civic. This system applies more braking force to the inside wheels to generate greater turning force while reducing understeer. The result is better initial turn-in response, and there’s no equivalent to Agile Handling Assist on the Elantra.

 

 

FEATURE
NOT AVAILABLE

Civic

VARIABLE-RATIO STEERING
Civic’s Variable Ratio Electric Power-Assisted Rack-and-Pinion (EPS) can modify the steering ratio for improved steering feel and manoeuvrability. It determines the appropriate amount of assist to dish out based on the driver’s physical steering input and adjusts accordingly using an electric motor. Compared to Civic’s low 10.93:1 steering ratio, Elantra’s is locked in at a higher 12.7:1, leaving its steering feeling relatively light by comparison.

 

 

FEATURE
NOT AVAILABLE

The Elantra isn’t as youthful or fun to drive as a Honda Civic

INTERIOR

Civic

UPSCALE CABIN
“Premium” is the watchword of the Civic cabin. The thoughtfully designed interior outfits its space with the choicest materials to strike a seductive balance that’s both attractive and durable. While Elantra’s interior certainly looks the part of a more upscale vehicle, a closer inspection reveals various hard plastics and trim pieces that betray the overall impression.

Elantra

Civic

SIMULATED LEATHER/FABRIC SEATING SURFACES
Civic occupants settle comfortably into seating surfaces made from simulated leather/fabric for an ideal blend of luxury and sportiness. Plus, their rugged design was made for longevity, which makes for a perfect complement to their heated capability. Elantra’s leather seats are attractive yet hard to the touch, and the jury’s still out on whether their materials will hold up to years of wear.

Elantra

1476395067

DRIVER INFORMATION INTERFACE (DII)
Civic drivers enjoy the customizability of the bold, 7-inch colour centre meter display with Driver Information Interface. Using the steering wheel-mounted controls, it’s simple to scroll through all sorts of relevant information, including fuel gauges, vehicle temperature, and navigation. Unfortunately, Elantra’s gauge cluster doesn’t compare favourably, with a much smaller 3.5-inch colour LCD that lacks the vibrancy and information capacity of Civic’s screen.

1476395068

1476395069

STEERING WHEEL-MOUNTED PADDLE SHIFTERS
Civic sports steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters to give the driver more complete control over gear selection. They not only keep the driver’s hands on the steering wheel, but they also keep the engine in the sweet spot of the rev range. While Elantra offers a somewhat similar feature with SHIFTRONIC® mode for its automatic transmission, it’s not as engaging as Civic’s paddle shifters, requiring the driver to remove their hands from the steering wheel and manually move the shift lever.

 

 

FEATURE
NOT AVAILABLE

1476395070

HONDA SENSING™ SUITE
Civic drivers enjoy the peace of mind provided by the robust Honda Sensing™ suite of active safety features. These driver-assist systems include such useful technologies as Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow (LSF), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), and more. Elantra offers a similar suite of safety tech with SmartSense, but it lacks some of the same features found on Civic, such as Road Departure Mitigation (RDM).

1476395071

The mixed materials and colors remind me of the gaudy 90s and lack the upscale
vibe we’ve come to expect from Hyundai.

VERSATILITY

1476395074

POWER DRIVER’S SEAT
The power Civic drivers enjoy isn’t limited to vehicle performance. It also plays a role in the comfort and convenience of an 8-way power driver’s seat. Elantra drivers are stuck with less convenient seating, being forced to adjust their throne with 6-way manual controls.

1476395075

1476395076

ELECTRONIC PARKING BRAKE (EPB)
The Electronic Parking Brake makes it easier than ever to engage and disengage the parking brake. Effectively functioning as a traditional mechanical parking brake, it can be released simply by applying the accelerator. This saves real estate on the centre console, helping make the area less cluttered. In comparison, Hyundai Elantra’s parking brake doesn’t offer this level of convenience.

1476395077

1476395078

MULTI-ANGLE REARVIEW CAMERA WITH DYNAMIC GUIDELINES
Civic drivers will appreciate the utility of their Multi-Angle Rearview Camera, which features dynamic guidelines that pivot based on the steering-wheel angle to aid reversing manoeuvres. Not only does it allow easier observation of hard-to-see areas, its multi-angle configuration affords drivers more comprehensive sightlines and increased safety. Elantra offers a rearview camera and dynamic guidelines, too, but lacks the multi-angle capability.

1476395079

1476395080

MULTIFUNCTIONAL CENTRE CONSOLE
Civic’s multifunctional centre console offers drivers abundant storage space that’s also easy to access. With an overall capacity of 7.2 L and a reconfigurable console designed to meet a variety of owner needs, the Civic provides no shortage of storage conveniences. The centre console on Elantra is a bit farther back and harder to access, and also lacks the ample storage capacity Civic’s console provides.

1476395081

1476395082

VOLUMINOUS TRUNK
Civic outfits its owners with a generous 428 litres of trunk space, and its large opening helps facilitate loading and unloading of cargo. Meanwhile, Elantra’s trunk capacity only manages 407 litres. Even though it’s not considerably smaller than Civic in terms of overall volume, there will be times when Elantra owners have too much cargo to pack away and feel the pinch of their smaller trunk.

1476395083

In-cabin storage is decent, but there are cars that do it better in the class, especially with the lack of anti-tip design for the cupholders.

POINT

COUNTERPOINT

Though it sounds impressive, the Atkinson cycle is simply an efficiency play, which is why it’s primarily used on hybrid vehicles. When it comes down to the real meat of an engine’s capability, Civic surpasses Elantra with more horsepower and more torque. As an added bonus, Civic’s engine is more fuel-efficient, too.

Elantra occupants enjoy multiple conveniences like a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, and a hands-free Smart Trunk.

Elantra boasts connectivity features like Apple CarPlay®/Android Auto™, wireless charging, and BlueLink® connected car system.

Like Civic, Elantra offers Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ capability to maximize smartphone connectivity. Elantra’s wireless charging is only on the Ultimate trim, which Civic matches by offering it on the Touring trim. And, while Elantra’s BlueLink® is a fully featured system, its functionality is limited to Luxury and Ultimate trims, whereas HondaLink™ is included on Civic LX and up.

With the available SmartSense™ suite, plus helpful safety tech like Parking Distance Warning and Blind-Spot and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning, Elantra occupants are well-protected.

SmartSense isn’t available on the base Elantra trim, unlike Honda Sensing which is standard on every Civic. Even the SmartSense system itself falls short, as it still lacks the Road Departure Mitigation featured on Civic. SmartSense is also missing some innovative systems that are exclusive to Honda, such as Civic’s LaneWatch™ blind-spot display.

Impressive though Elantra’s cargo hold is for a compact sedan, Civic’s trunk outdoes it at 428 L. Unlike Elantra, which features a puzzling “hump” between the trunk’s cargo load floor and the base of the rear seatbacks, Civic enhances storage convenience by offering a flat load floor for easier cargo loading and unloading.

HYUNDAI ELANTRA: IN SUMMARY

The 6th-generation Elantra presents a compelling combination of attractive looks, competent performance, spaciousness, and advanced infotainment and active safety features. Even with all those positive attributes, Hyundai Elantra fails to live up to its surface appeal. It restricts its more attractive features to higher trims, making base models feel stripped down and leaving customers disappointed. You’ll have to pay for a higher trim to enjoy features such as Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto™, or a wireless phone charger. But not even the highest trim level can mask the fact that Elantra falls behind in the performance department. It returns excellent fuel efficiency to match Civic, but does so at the expense of driving excitement. Furthermore, while the sheet metal is impressive for a compact car, the overall experience doesn’t elicit the same kind of emotional response as Civic.

A WORD ABOUT THE TOYOTA COROLLA

1476395094

The Corolla possesses a long-standing pedigree as one of the top compact sedans on the market. The latest iteration plainly reflects this heritage with its distinctive nose and LED headlamps, while its power-adjustable heated side mirrors with integrated signal lamps balance function and flair. On the performance end, Corolla’s 1.8L 4-cylinder engine develops either 132 or 140 hp and is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission or Continuously Variable Transmission for a smooth, comfortable ride that proves quite nimble while driving in the city. Corolla occupants will appreciate the spacious interior, particularly in the rear where passengers can stretch out with ample legroom. Drivers enjoy an upright dashboard with integrated 6.1-inch infotainment touchscreen that can be upgraded to a 7-inch screen on higher trims. Corolla is also outfitted with plenty of safety features, many as part of Toyota Safety Sense™ P. From automatic emergency braking that detects pedestrians to lane-keep assist and active cruise control, Corolla drivers will find peace of mind in every ride.

1476395093

12TH-GENERATION COROLLA:
THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA
Arriving in the spring of 2019, the 2020 Toyota Corolla will look to build on the nameplate’s legacy. While its features and appearance have been consistent and respectable, the vehicle has been outdone by competitors in recent years. Performance has been singled out as a major drawback for Corolla, with sluggish pickup and less-than-par ride quality that leaves Corolla drivers watching competitor vehicles leave them behind on the road. For the new 12th-generation Corolla, Toyota will be making a big bet on their electrification strategy with a new hybrid option. The 2020 Corolla will also address many of the current model’s other shortcomings, giving Toyota a much more compelling entrant in an increasingly competitive compact-car segment.

2019 TOYOTA COROLLA SE CVT XSE PACKAGE VS 2019 HONDA CIVIC SEDAN SPORT

POINT

COUNTERPOINT

Corolla is light on drivers’ wallets thanks to its fuel-sipping 1.8L 4-cylinder engine.

While Corolla’s engine specs are nothing to dismiss, it’s still less fuel-efficient than Civic’s 2.0L engine. Plus, Corolla’s engine produces less power and torque than the Civic’s, giving the Honda an even greater advantage. Whereas Corolla buyers must sacrifice enjoyment in the name of fuel economy, Civic customers enjoy the best of both worlds: minimum fuel consumption and maximum driving fun.

Corolla’s sporty XSE trim accentuates its more athletic elements.

XSE enhancements are certainly attractive, but their benefits are largely cosmetic. And the few mechanical improvements on Corolla, such as solid rear disc brakes, come standard on every Civic. Besides, Civic Sport is no slouch when it comes to striking athletic appeal. One look at the gloss-black trim, 18-inch darkfinish aluminum-alloy wheels, black-painted decklid spoiler, and centre-mounted chrome exhaust finisher will excite any driver.

Corolla provides niceties like an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, push-button start, and power moonroof.

Indeed, those features are so convenient, Civic features each of them for its occupants, too. Civic takes things even further by adding an Electronic Parking Brake (EPB), multifunctional centre console, and more.

Corolla outfits its cabin with tech like a 7-inch touch panel Display Audio with navigation.

Unfortunately, Corolla’s infotainment interface is conspicuously dated, particularly when compared to Civic’s 7-inch Display Audio System. Corolla also lacks Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility. So, while Corolla includes an embedded navigation system, Civic offers its customers the convenience of turn-by-turn directions using apps such as Google Maps or Waze — all on an interface that’s familiar and intuitive to Apple or Android users.

Every Corolla features standard Toyota Safety Sense P.

Civic matches up well with Corolla’s safety offerings by providing standard Honda Sensing™ suite across all trims. But Civic goes one step further by adding Road Departure Mitigation (RDM).

TOYOTA COROLLA: IN SUMMARY
The 2019 Corolla continues the nameplate’s respectable tradition, offering Toyota shoppers supremely practical, reliable transportation at a bargain price. But in its current, 11th-generation form, and amid a profusion of compact-car competition, its allure has faded. It’s simply gotten too long in the tooth, making it ultimately a hard sell in the face of more compelling competitors, particularly the best-selling Civic. Performance can be singled out as a major factor hampering Corolla’s appeal. Sluggish pickup and less-than-stellar ride quality will give Corolla drivers ample opportunity to check out their competition — as it leaves them behind on the road. Corolla provides excellent safety features, but Civic outdoes it. Corolla’s comfort and convenience offerings are perfectly respectable, but the vehicle is simply outmatched by competitors. While not a bad vehicle, the case for buying a Corolla sedan is drowned out by other sedans that provide more features and offer more performance with eye-catching style to boot.

civic-vs-elantra

Totally transformed Camry gets uppity with better-than-ever Accord

We compare the Honda Accord 1.5T Touring and the Toyota Camry XSE

DSC04348.JPG
The Honda Accord 1.5T Touring and the Toyota Camry XSE.

It was always a given that the Honda Accord appeals equally to engaged drivers and to those who simply want a dependable, user-friendly transportation appliance. The Toyota Camry, on the other hand, always prioritized the appliance side at the expense of driver appeal. Then came their 2018 redesigns and the decades-old plotline underwent a total rewrite. The Accord is better than ever … but overnight, the Camry acquired honest-to-goodness driver appeal, too. Enough to challenge the Accord? Did the Camry lose any left-brain virtue in the process? To find out, we drove the highest-trim base-engined versions of each contestant.

2018 Honda Accord 1.5T Touring

  • Price: $35,790 (base); $35,790 (as tested)
  • Engine: 1.5-litre turbo four-cylinder
  • Transmission/drive: CVT/front-wheel
  • Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 8.2 city/ 6.8 highway
  • Alternatives: Buick Regal, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Mazda6, Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy, Toyota Camry, Volkswagen Passat

Looks
Like Toyota, Honda penned a fastback shape, but its softer contours and extended side glass (daylight opening, in car-designer-speak) lend it a long-and-sleek look. The Touring trim includes even-wider 19-inch rims than the Camry’s, plus LED front fog lights, but no skirts and spoilers.

Accord-dash
Some may find the Accord’s driving position a little low.

Interior
The Accord’s 2018 do-over scooped even more space out of an already roomy car – enough to reclassify it from mid-size to large based on interior volumes. The Camry pips it for rear headroom, but the Accord has more shoulder room, and especially leg room, out back. Some may find the driving position a little low and the dashboard design is unadventurous, but the ergonomics – gauges, switchgear and free-standing touch screen – are almost impeccable. Front storage space is better than in Camry, too.

 There’s more leg room in the Accord’s 2018 do-over.
There’s more leg room in the Accord’s 2018 do-over.

Performance
Last year’s base 2.4-litre “four” is displaced by a turbocharged 1.5 that generates 192 horsepower and the same number of “torques,” the latter spread generously across a broad rev range. Matched to an equally new-age continuously variable transmission, the little engine delivers steady, linear acceleration en route to 97 km/h in 7.3 seconds (according to Car and Driver).

Most of the time the transmission avoids that tedious CVT “slipping clutch” feel; on full-bore acceleration, it mimics the stepped shifts of a conventional. Manual transmission is available on several trims but not on the Touring. What the Touring may lack in overt powertrain driver appeal, it makes up with the brilliant handling: quick steering, decisive turn-in, taut body control, and stubborn resistance to understeer no matter how hard you lean on it. For those who have a different concept of “handling,” the Accord’s steering is a tad heavier than the Camry’s, but it needs less twirling in tight manoeuvres.

Technology
In the connectivity/infotainment ledger, the Touring trim has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Siri and Navi, SiriusXM, HD Radio and WiFi hotspot. On the driver-assist side, the Honda Sensing package includes adaptive cruise with stop and go, forward-collision warning and mitigation, multiangle backup camera, parking sensors front and rear, road departure mitigation and active lane-keeping assist.

 The Honda Sensing package offers a multiangle backup camera.
The Honda Sensing package offers a multiangle backup camera.

Cargo
The Accord trunk’s 16.7-cubic-foot volume is best-in-class, although the cavity is a bit irregular in shape; the floor is narrower between the wheel housings than the Camry’s, but there’s more floor space in Accord aft of said housings.

 The cavity is a bit irregular in shape.
The cavity is a bit irregular in shape.

The verdict
8.9

If cars this good can’t entice buyers out of crossovers and back into mid-size sedans, nothing will. Hats off to Honda, too, for continuing to offer a manual gearbox.

2018 Toyota Camry XSE

  • Price: $35,090 (base); $35,630 (as tested)
  • Engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder
  • Transmission/drive: Eight-speed automatic/front-wheel
  • Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 8.5 city/6.1 highway
  • Alternatives: Buick Regal, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Mazda6, Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy, Volkswagen Passat

Looks
This is a Camry? The new shape bulges with muscular assertiveness, amplified on the XSE by a black mesh grille, “go faster” body kit and brawny 19-inch wheels. Not to mention the black roof, which is a $540 option with some colours.

 The boldly styled dashboard may scare Camry traditionalists.
The boldly styled dashboard may scare Camry traditionalists.

Interior
Last, year the Accord and Camry were equally roomy mid-sizers. But while the 2018 Accord has upsized inside, the Camry has lost a couple of cubic feet. The back seats are still plenty roomy for adults, but not as expansively so as the Accord’s. Up front, the Camry’s driver’s seat is a little more accommodating if you want or need to sit high. The boldly styled dashboard may scare Camry traditionalists, but the mix of conventional and touch controls on the asymmetric, shiny black centre stack functions well (although Toyota seems to assign “Home” and “Menu” the opposite meanings to every other auto maker).

 The Camry’s back seats aren’t as roomy as the Accord’s.
The Camry’s back seats aren’t as roomy as the Accord’s.

Performance
The Camry’s old-school naturally aspirated 2.5-litre “four” normally makes 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft, bumped up to 206 and 186 respectively on the XSE. With 203 hp, Car and Driver measured 0-97 km/h in 7.9 seconds while our own impromptu drag race had the 206-hp Camry virtually neck and neck with Accord.

Generally, we prefer naturally aspirated engines and (in the absence of an available manual box) conventional automatics and the Camry certainly feels hot to trot. But it’s also a little rough around the edges: noisier than you’d expect even driving gently, while the transmission occasionally shunts its shifts and lingers too long in the lower gears. But the handling is a revelation. Response, grip, steering feel – Toyota finally “gets it.” And all without compromising ride quality.

Technology
The Camry XSE lacks the industry-standard smartphone integration ( CarPlay etc.); instead, you get much the same result by signing up for Toyota’s proprietary Entune App Suite Connect and subscription-based GPS Scout (only the range-topping XLE V6 has embedded Navi). For Luddites, Toyota still includes a CD player. On the driving co-pilot side, Toyota Safety Sense package is similar to the Accord’s Honda Sensing but adds pedestrian detection.

 Toyota still includes a CD player.
Toyota still includes a CD player.

Cargo
The Camry’s 15.1-cubic-foot trunk is a tad below class average and notably smaller than Accord’s. Its flat floor is wider than Accord’s at their narrowest points, but the seats-folded pass-through is shallow.

 The Camry’s trunk is notably smaller than the Accord’s.
The Camry’s trunk is notably smaller than the Accord’s.

The verdict
8.7

It used to be that you could have fun driving an Accord and none in a Camry. Now, you can have fun in a Camry, too – yet still without sacrificing any left-brain attributes. For hard-core gearheads, the Accord may still have a slight edge, but for most of the market the difference is no longer enough to matter.

Two epic rivals setup their sedan game

History has its fair share of epic rivalries. Coke vs. Pepsi, Tupac vs. Biggie, Batman vs. Superman. In the automotive sphere, Honda Accord vs. Toyota Camry is one of the most hotly contested rivalries there is.

Both cars have been wrestling for family-sedan supremacy for decades and have come fully overhauled for the 2018 model year, so of course it was time to bring them both together to see which one is the better car. Style On the design front, Toyota has been going on a rampage recently after getting a mandate from its CEO to stop making boring cars. Some might not like the Camry’s new look (its designers had the audacity to call it sexy), but it definitely can’t be classified as boring anymore. While some people find its design overwrought with too many fake vents, a massive in-your-face grille and a mishmash of seemingly random angles, others find it aggressive and attractive. Its new available quad tailpipes, rear diffuser and contrast black roof might be a bit overkill on a family sedan.

The Accord takes a more understated approach. With a new sportback design, the Accord has an easyto-digest and less polarizing cohesive design that helps it look more expensive than it actually is. The design of the Honda isn’t perfect — the grille dominated by a chrome unibrow and a lot of black plastic doesn’t quite sit right — but its cleaner lines, swoopy curves and tidy proportions could appeal to more people simply because it might age better than the Camry. While some people accuse the Honda of looking boring, others prefer its simple sophistication. Same story inside The Camry’s risktaking with design is also obvious inside. With an eyecatching asymmetrical dashboard layout and the availability of bright red leather seats, it certainly stands out from the crowd in a good way. Except for a few cheap-feeling plastics, the materials used inside are also high quality and everything seems screwed together tightly.

Honda definitely didn’t take as many risks with its more traditional layout and design, but the materials used are all close to meeting luxury car standards and the build quality is obvious. The interior as a whole is more thought out and exhibits a higher attention to detail than the Camry. With the Accord, it’s the little details that make its interior smarter than the Camry — stuff such as buttons that are more clearly labelled and intuitively placed or a wireless charging pad that can be hidden away just make it more user-friendly. All the tech you could want Camrys come standard with Toyota Safety Sense P, which includes important safety features such as collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control that works in stop-and-go traffic, lane departure alert with steering assist and automatic high beams. Camry does. In terms of safety, the two cars are pretty equally matched. The Accord’s adaptive cruise control, however, is smoother to use and feels more natural. The Camry’s system leaves too much space between you and the car in front, even on its least sensitive setting. Cars just end up cutting in and then it slams on the brakes, making the whole thing a bit jerky.

Both cars are also available with features such as wireless charging, mobile hot spot capability, and a head-up display, although the Honda has a few things the Camry doesn’t, like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a capless fuel filler, ventilated seats, and NFC communication.

I also prefer Honda’s new infotainment system over the Camry. The graphics are cleaner and more modern, the menus are easier to navigate, and the intuitive setup makes it easy to master. The Camry’s system is just a bit more confusing and seems a generation behind Honda’s, but it’s still a big improvement from before.

With 437 litres, the Accord has a bigger trunk than the Camry, which has 428 litres. The back seats in both sedans are also very generous with their passenger space, although the Accord’s sportback design seems to allow for a bit more headroom. The drive It’s easy to be impressed by how the Camry drives now because it feels completely different than it used to. Toyota actually made me drive the new Camry on a race track, which it wouldn’t have done unless it was trying to prove a point.

The point is that the Camry isn’t a spongy mess to drive anymore.

No, it wasn’t fun to drive on a track, but the improvements to its driving dynamics became immediately obvious.

The steering has a heavy weight to it and exhibits a new-found responsiveness, and the suspension is even a lot stiffer than it used to be, which means the sedan feels more confident and less sloppy in a corner than it used to. The four-cylinder model is punchy enough, although Toyota is bucking the trend by continuing to offer a V6 option. The optional 3.5litre V6 makes 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque and it’s hooked up to a smooth eight-speed transmission. The base engine is a 2.5-litre four-cylinder model — interesting because it’s not turbocharged yet still feels pretty alive with 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. With both engines, passing someone or getting up to highway speeds is no issue at all, and the V6 offers some much-appreciated urgency.

The Honda also gets two engine options, although unlike the Camry, it is no longer available with a V6. The base 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which gets a CVT or a six-speed manual, outputs 192 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque, which is more than the previous model. The upgraded 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine outputs 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque.

Historically, the Accord has always been the better driver of the pair, but with this new generation of models, the differences are less stark.

The way the Accord drives isn’t too different from the way the Camry drives. I have no real complaints about driving dynamics for either. They’re both smooth, predictable, easy and very good at doing what they’re supposed to be doing, which is operating in the background without any drama. Like the Camry, the Accord has a heavier steering setup and a more rigid chassis, so it too feels better in a corner. Driven back to back, the Accord’s steering, handling, and body control seem sharper than the Camry, but it’s not a huge difference. The Sport mode in the Accord also makes more of a difference, making the car a bit sharper in all regards. The Camry’s sport mode doesn’t seem to do that much.

The four-cylinder Camry LE has a fuel economy rating of 8.1 L/100 km city, 5.7 highway, and 6.9 combined, which is not too far off from the 1.5L and CVT-equipped Honda Accord’s 7.9/6.3/7.2 L/100 km.

And what about pricing? It’s gone up a bit from last year, but Honda packs the new Accord with more standard features, which helps justify the increase. Pricing for the 2018 Honda Accord starts at $28,212 and tops out at $40,612, while the Camry starts at $28,105 and tops out at about $42,205. The Verdict: 2018 Honda Accord vs. 2018 Toyota Camry They’re both exceedingly good at what they do — they drive decently, come standard with a bunch of really useful safety features and technology, and both offer a higher-end experience than they used to. The Honda Accord, however, just seems to be smarter, sharper, more user-friendly, and as a whole, offers a more complete and cohesive package.

Add in the fact that the style will age more gracefully, and it’s easily the best car in this segment. The Camry is a really good car, but the Accord is just that much better.

2018 Toyota Camry XSE V-6 vs. 2018 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T Comparison

What happens when the Accord and Camry get a little extra kick?
2018-Toyota-Camry-XSE-2018-Honda-Accord-2-0T-00

For more than three-quarters of family-sedan buyers, the base engine provides more than enough zip to get around town. Some like it hot, though, and for that remaining fraction, both Honda and Toyota offer powerful optional engines.

Comparing the mainstream powertrains for these two cars, we found the Accord to be the all-around superior vehicle. With the matters of rear-seat space, trunk capacity, number of USB ports, and smartphone integration already settled, we’ll focus singly on how well the versions with the big engines deliver on their sporting pretensions.

2018-Toyota-Camry-XSE-2018-Honda-Accord-2-0T-22

Honda replaced its 3.5-liter V-6 with a 2.0-liter turbo-four derived from the—wait for it—Civic Type R. Yes, Honda’s street-racing beast lent its engine to its sibling family sedan. At 252 hp, it’s down 26 hp on the old V-6, but the turbo breathes an extra 21 lb-ft of torque for a healthy 273, which comes on much lower in the rev range. You can have it with an all-new 10-speed automatic or a six-speed manual. It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for them.

The challenger walks loudly and carries a big stick. Under the SE/XSE bodywork remains Toyota’s potent 3.5-liter V-6, all 301 hp and 267 lb-ft of it. It’s available exclusively with an all-new eight-speed automatic, and on paper it looks to have the Accord beat. Such a potential advantage is loudly telegraphed by all the racy bits added to the car, including quad exhaust tips, black wheels, fake vents, and a fish-pout fascia that’s arguably more handsome than the gigantic grille that looks like an air-condition vent on the base car. The Honda, though not pretty, either, eschews the boy-racer treatment and lets its 2.0T trunk badge do the talking.

2018-Honda-Accord-2-0-front-three-quarter-in-motion-04

Despite the power disadvantage, the automatic Accord is 0.1 second quicker to 60 mph than the Camry, and it posts an identical quarter-mile time.

Although rowing your own gears is indisputably more fun, the Honda stick shift’s throws and clutch pedal travel are both long—likely to ease the commute drudgery of a quick-shift box—and this adds a half-second penalty both to the 0–60 and quarter-mile times. One ridiculous point: You must engage the electronic parking brake before you can start the manual-transmission Accord. Patch that, pronto, Honda.

Behind the wheel, the manual-transmission Accord feels the most aggressive—there’s no waiting on the torque converter to lock up. The Camry, meanwhile, doesn’t feel as sharp off the line but comes alive at 4,000 rpm and pulls hard to redline. The automatic Accord, meanwhile, is the Q-ship of the crowd, with a long, smooth pull of power. Its 10-speed also performs better on the way back down through the gears, offering downshifts more readily and smoothly than the Camry’s.

2018-Toyota-Camry-XSE-front-three-quarter-in-motion-05

It’s the same situation in the corners. The Accord, particularly the Touring model with its adaptive dampers, feels confident and planted. Even without the fancy dampers, high-zoot Accords have better tires than the base model, which helps highlight its excellent body control and surprisingly flat cornering. The seats on sporty Accords could use thicker side bolsters, but regardless, it’s a remarkably capable and fun family sedan on a back road.

The Camry, for all its bravura, is less capable when pressed. The steering is lighter but less fluid, with an aggressive ratio immediately off-center that makes the car feel darty and nervous. This and the high-end surge from the engine make it feel as though you’re going faster in the Camry when you’re actually not. It leans more in corners than the Accord, and body motions aren’t as well controlled, all of which is made worse by the flat seats that don’t even try to hold you in place.

In fact, this hotted-up Camry handles just like the four-cylinder Camry XLE, with just a bit more cornering speed, thanks to stickier tires. With the V-6 engine also available on XLE models, as far as we can tell the XSE is primarily a body kit and tires, not a true sport model—the lack of corner-entry downshifts are a disappointing omission. That said, we were able to hustle the Camry V-6 around a track faster than most people are going to do in the real world.

The skidpad tells the tale. The Camry XSE V-6 pulls only one-tenth of a g harder than the XLE four-cylinder and three-tenths of a g weaker than the Accord 2.0T Touring on average. The XSE V-6 uses its extra power to make up time on the figure eight, but the 2.0T Touring is right behind it pulling slightly higher average g.

It’s the same story in stopping. The Accord has a somewhat aggressive brake pedal with strong initial bite for a family sedan and little pedal travel needed to get the job done. Its significantly upgraded tires also help with stopping distances. The Camry, by contrast, has a long and soft brake pedal, which is partly responsible for extending its stop from 60 mph by 7 feet.

With the Camry XSE V-6 handling so much like the XLE four-cylinder, you might expect it to ride and drive the same, too, and you’d be right. The Camry rides somewhat firm for a family sedan, but the Accord 2.0T with fixed dampers rides about the same—but it does have better body control to eliminate the head toss of the Camry. Step up to the Touring’s adaptive dampers, and the Accord rides better, too. In tests zooming around a closed-course oval, the Accord felt more composed at 125 mph than the Camry did at 90.

Once again, it’s a clear win for the Accord. It’s quicker, handles better, and is more enjoyable to drive fast. It also rides better and costs less for more stuff, and you can even get it with a manual transmission. That’s two for two for Honda.

2018 Honda Accord Named 2018 North American Car of the Year

January 16, 2018 TORRANCE

  • 3rd straight year for Honda to win a North American “of the Year” award following Civic (2016) and Ridgeline (2017)
  • 2018 Accord honored for bold “new from the ground up” approach to remaking America’s best-selling car over the past 41 years
  • More than 11 million Accords made in America

TORRANCE, Calif., Jan. 15, 2018 – The all-new 2018 Honda Accord, the 10th generation of America’s most popular car, has earned the prestigious 2018 North American Car of the Year award. Accord’s win marks the third consecutive year that a Honda model has received top honors from the North American jury of automotive journalists, with the Honda Civic and Honda Ridgeline winning the car and truck awards in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

“Honda took a clean-sheet approach to reinventing America’s most popular car, and we couldn’t be prouder to receive this honor for Accord as the North American Car of the Year,” said Henio Arcangeli, Jr., senior vice president of the Automobile Division and general manager of Honda Sales, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “We’re especially proud for the production associates in Ohio where Accord has been built to the highest quality standards for over 35 years.*1”

The North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year awards honor excellence in innovation, design, safety features, performance, technology, driver satisfaction and value. Initiated in 1994, they are judged by 60 professional automotive journalists from the United States and Canada who work for independent magazines, television, radio, newspapers and industry websites.

Completely redesigned from the ground-up, the all-new Accord features a lighter and more rigid body structure, an advanced new chassis design wrapped in a more sophisticated, sleek and athletic design with top class interior space and comfort. The drivetrain options include two all-new, high-torque VTEC® Turbo engines, the world’s first 10-speed automatic transmission for a front-drive car and a new generation of Honda’s two-motor hybrid technology. The Accord also includes a host of new safety, driver-assistive and connected-car technologies.

2018 Honda Accord

About the Honda Accord
Over 10 generations and 41 years, American car buyers have made Accord the best-selling car in America, purchasing more than 13 million Accords. Accord was the first model from a Japanese automaker to be made in America, beginning in November 1982 in Marysville, Ohio, with cumulative U.S. production of Accord exceeding 11 million vehicles over more than 35 years. Accord also is an unprecedented 32-time recipient of Car and Driver magazine’s coveted 10Best award.

About Honda
Honda offers a full line of reliable, fuel-efficient and fun-to-drive vehicles with advanced safety technologies sold through over 1,000 independent U.S. Honda dealers. The Honda lineup includes the Fit, Civic, Accord and Clarity series passenger cars, along with the HR-V, CR-V and Pilot sport/utility vehicles, the Ridgeline pickup and the Odyssey minivan.

Honda has been producing automobiles in America for 36 years and currently operates 19 major manufacturing facilities in North America. In 2017, more than 93% of all Honda and Acura vehicles sold in the U.S. were made in North America, using domestic and globally sourced parts.