Civic tops our Honda news for December

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback passes my drive review with flying colors.

With a much anticipated arrival of the manufactured in England 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback,  the 44 year compact icon bettered its sales position in the United States. Actually, Civic was the best selling compact sedan in North America for 2016. We first experienced 2016 Civic behind the wheel in Malibu, California.

And although American Honda doesn’t disclose individual variant sales numbers,(sedan, coupe, hatchback) I’ll step out on a limb here with a qualified guess that the November arrival of Honda’s turbocharged 5-door hatchback pushed the lineup into a world-class-compact competition, with very positive sales results.

On a personal note: 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Touring was my Honda-Torque News pick for Honda’s most surprising car offering in 2016.

That’s a big deal with American Honda no leading the sales race with 4 contenders taking #1 in class: Honda Accord, Civic Sedan, CR-V SUV and Odyssey Minivan. In short, the buying public has made Honda the fastest growing automotive brand in North America. And crossover/SUV fans: 2017 Honda CR-V arrives with a welcomed surprise or two.

When we look to the numbers, Honda not only builds well over 95% of cars sold in North America, in Canada, Mexico and the U.S., but, when looking to domestically sourced parts percentage, your North American Honda contains a higher percentage of “Manufactured in the U.S.A.”parts than Chevrolet, Dodge or Ford.

As to the engine: Honda’s dedicated to manufactured in the U.S. low displacement, super low friction and near-zero emissions turbocharged 4 cylinder gasoline engines throughout the re engineered lineup. This holds true for the exceptional manufactured in England turbocharged 5-door hatchback. Reflecting on my initial drive time, I find Civic Hatchback to be the most refined offering in the 10th generation lineup. Speaking of auto-innovation, take a look at Honda Clarity.

As to Honda’s latest Civic offering: Say what you will, I appreciate the utility of a compact hatchback; Honda’s quirky good looks, and what I now consider to be the most comfortable power adjusted driver’s seat in the Civic brand.

Was it love at first site? Well no! But much like the proverbial ‘girl next door,” she grows on you.

Why Honda Civic is Kelley Blue Book’s most awarded car for 2016

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For those of us who have driven the reinvented 10th generation Honda Civic, there remains little mystery as to why Honda’s latest Civic lineup is soon to cross into the books as the best selling Honda Civic of all time.

With no lack of financially affordable, fuel efficient competition rolling within the ranks of America’s compact sedan and coupe segment, Civic continues to buck the crossover/ SUV purchase trend with unprecedented sales — despite cheep and plentiful gasoline, low purchase interest rates and dealer purchase incentives for larger fuel-thirsty vehicles.

I believe Civic’s sales success is due to Honda’s willingness and manufacturing capacity to produce an affordable, quality, fun to drive compact sedan — featuring midsize interior-like ergonomics, elbow room, and measurable drive and ride comfort. Furthermore, Civic ‘bests’ the compact sedan segment with class topping good looks, engine performance, and what has been called the finest working CVT  (constant variable transmission) available in the auto industry today. Agreed!Honda_Civic_McCants

But for me, a truck, and SUV owner, the 10th generation Civic effectively takes “tiny” out of the drive and ride equation. Remarkably for me, a 6 foot 5 inch tall driver, I find adequate seat adjustment, Head, leg and shoulder room in Civic sedan and coupe, that wasn’t always the case. Furthermore, Civic’s ride and overall road handling dynamic is best in class — all at a very attainable MSRP ($18,740 LX to $26,600 Touring.) How does 2016 Honda Civic hold up in the long run?

Today in Honda-Torque News

Today in Honda-Torque News we discuss why 2016/2017 Honda Civic is Kelly Blue Book’s most awarded car for 2016. When we were first introduced to the 10th generation Honda Civic back in the fall of 2015, on first look it became very evident that Honda bench-marked BMW 3 Series, Audi 4 and other compact European sedans in designing  a new beginning for this made in America iconic brand.

Takata Airbag News: Fed directs 300,000 Honda owners to ‘park it’ until it’s repaired

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Your 2000 Accord may hold a funky, potentially deadline airbag system.

Although the occasion of “death from airbag” is rare, it does happen, and in the view of Honda Motor Company and the U.S. Federal National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) once is too often.

Saturday’s Honda News found yet another Takata airbag related warning from the U.S. federal government. According to the source 300,000 high risk turn of the century Honda drivers, those specifically living in wet, hot and humid area’s, have failed to heed Honda’s Takata Airbag recall — a process that’s been in place since 2008, and on hyper drive for the past 24 months. Read the full story here.

8 million Takata airbag systems replaced or repaired in 2015

While that’s a big number, its been estimated by the Fed that 20% of all cars on the road today in the U.S., that’s 50+ million cars and light trucks, have in the past or now carry a defective, possibly life threatening airbag unit.

Why take a chance? The repair, while an inconvenience is free to you the car owner,  And in the long run, could save yours or the next owner’s life in a collision. Also, the day will come (soon) that if your vehicle is not recall compliant, it won’t be transferable at time of sale or trade in.

The models identified by NHTSA include: 2001-2002 Honda Civic, 2001-2002 Honda Accord, 2002-2003 Acura TL, 2002 Honda CR-V, 2002 Honda Odyssey, 2003 Acura CL, 2003 Honda Pilot.

 

 

Honda and Acura racing dominates Pikes Peak and PWC in June

 

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2017 Acura NSX EV Concept

In recapping Honda and Acura news for June 2016, besides the market roll out of several 2017 Honda and Acura car, light truck and crossover models, RACING was the buzz in Honda news.

Coming off of an unprecedented winning streak for Honda powered Indycar, the co-sponsor and safety arm of the 100th running of the Broadmoor Pikes Peak Hill Climb classic came to the annual race to the clouds with three 2017 Acura NSX supercar variants. Catch my latest Acura racing article here.

From what I read

One 4-motor electric and torque monster modified NSX platform racer running in “Electric Modified,” one near stock NSX running in “Time Attack 2,” and the third? I can’t find any news on it. Here’s my read on Pikes Peak.

The short story here is that 2017 Acura NSX in its first official competition of any kind, drove away with a first place finish in its class, as did the all electric modified NSX.

Getting real with Realtime Racing

In other news we find our friends at “RealTime Racing” taking the podium in Pirelli World Challenge round 12 and 13 at Road America in owner Peter Cunningham’s home state of Wisconsin.

With driver of the #43 TLX-GT car Ryan Eversley taking 1st place in both races and Peter #42

taking 2nd and 4th place respectively, Acura, Honda Performance Development and RealTime Racing just ran their best race in 2 years. Love it!  Catch my latest article on Acura racing here. Wishing you a safe and sane 4th of July weekend.

 

A suggestion or two for increasing your combined driving fuel efficiency

 

On the road with 2016 Civic Coupe
2016 Honda Civic Coupe on the back roads of San Diego, California

Although my news beat is the world of Honda car, light truck and motorcycle development, most if not all drivers could financially benefit from improved fuel efficiency.

In my latest Honda-Torque News article, I address the concerns of 10th generation, 2016 Honda Civic coupe and sedan drivers — they want more! More fuel efficiency, more horsepower and torque, more interior utility and room, and in short — more Civic for the dollar spent.

The tips for achieving higher fuel efficiency found here apply to all internal combustion motivated cars and light trucks.

2016 Honda Civic Sedan is “North American Car of the Year”

Civic didn’t achieve that lofty accolade by remaining simply a “good” compact sedan. Honda’s 10th generation Civic, designed in California and built in America is constructed on Honda’s ” World Compact Car Chassis,” and is arguably one of if not the greatest visually compelling compact car value found in the segment today.

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Hondapro Jason and i take a closer look at the turbocharged 2016 Honda Civic Touring.

2016 Civic proves that greater fuel efficiency and power can go hand in hand

There was a time when greater horsepower and torque meant lower MPG (miles per gallon,” that was a given and consumers looking for greater sport were willing to lose fuel efficiency in a quest for high output engine performance.

2016 Honda Civic presents a near premium, measurable performance drive and ride package at an attainable price point through the technical advancements of low friction engine components, direct fuel injection, turbocharging and computer controlled CVT (continuous variable transmission) no shift transmission technology.  It’s astounding.

You may learn a bit more about new age automotive technology here.

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Honda Ridgeline

This week further finds the dealership release of the 2nd generation 2017 Honda Ridgeline Pickup. Arguably the most unique light truck offering in the midsize pickup truck segment. Ridgeline is sure to be a sales winner.  Check out my latest article on Honda’s unibody pickup truck here.

The people behind the brand: Honda’s 2015 Pikes Peak winner Mr Jeff Tigert

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A determined Jeff Tigert *Photo Attributions Randel’s Media, Jeff Tigert 2015.

Last summer while attending the “Honda Dream Garage” event in San Diego , California, I was afforded the opportunity to not only ride with one of the highest regarded racers in motorcycles today, but a true advocate of the sport.

Jeff Tigert is just a guy, pretty much like you and me, with the exception of a national , international race win trophy or two on the shelf — Jeff lives and breathes 2-wheels.

Motorcycles, and the racing of them, is Jeff’s life-time passion. He’s also a proud husband , father. and lifetime motorcycle enthusiasts, with perhaps one of if not the coolest jobs on the planet. 

Jeff currently serves as off-road media coordinator for American Honda, specific to the off road play and work department, quads, side by sides, and the occasional African Twin or two.

From where we sit, Jeff Tigert is as much at home ridding a 50 cc Honda Grom as he is on the seat of a factory race prepared Pikes Peak International Hill Climb assault bike. That’s what’s truly cool about Jeff, he leaves his well earned ego at home — remaining truly approachable and subsequently likable, despite a decades-long road race winning track record.

Form follows function.
Form follows function.

Following the “Honda Dream Garage” event we kept in touch with Jeff, and fired off an emailed question or two as to what it takes to race the highest and perhaps, most dangerous road course in North America.  Jeff’s won in his class twice, something that very few racers have accomplished on the annual “Race to the Clouds.”

Unfortunately, following 2015’s tragic crash related death of Pikes Peak veteran Carl Sorensen, the rules have changed as to what motorcycle frame set up will be allowed to race the hill in the future. “Clip-on” handlebars are outlawed in a quest for greater road control, racers like Jeff have kept relatively quiet as to the change in rules, with a wink and a nod as to this seemingly nonsensical ruling.

Parks: “looking to your bike, I see a race prepared machine, can you share with our readers some of the modifications and costs associated with building the Pikes Peak challenger?”

Jeff: We start by removing all of the street based parts off the bike, such as the lights, mirrors, plastic fairings, and then replace the parts with racing fiberglass bodywork which costs about $1,000 for a complete body set. Next step, we replace the front suspension internal parts, as well as replace the rear shock with a more adjustable race shock.

That modification costs about $3,500 including labor to install. To increase engine performance and reduce weight, the stock exhaust is replaced with a titanium race exhaust, which costs about $2,500 and loses 10 lbs. For 2015, we opted to keep the engine stock for both reliability and ease of riding — as too much power becomes hard to ride.

For fuel we run a special race gas, it increases horsepower about 5% but costs $25/gallon. To make the fuel and exhaust work the best together, a fuel injection/ignition tuner is added, which allows us to change fuel mapping and ignition timing at different RPM and Throttle positions. Cost is $1,000 which includes both parts and labor, and spending time on the dyno to make that custom map.

One other electronic aide is the quick shifter, which allows full throttle up shifting. The tires we use are slicks which provide maximum traction, which cost about $500/set. I went through 4 sets over the course of the week and race. [$2,000]

Parks: Jeff, please expand a bit on the support effort. What does it takes for a privateer, or a team sponsored rider to effectively assault Pikes Peak? [Number of crew members, experience of crew, back up bike, equipment, mobile shop, etc.]

Jeff: It requires a huge effort to make this event happen.

I had 3 crew members dedicated for me, to help eliminate any additional work on my end — and allow me to focus only on the race. Having experience there is critical. The first year I ran in 2013, we had consulted one of the top motorcycle teams to help get us up to speed with all the unique aspects that come with racing up the mountain.

I drove one of our set-up sprinter vans that has all the tools and shop equipment plus my backup bike. The backup bike was only a rolling chassis (no engine installed) which allowed us to mount spare suspension, wheels, and bodywork to make transport easier. It was a real life-saver “because I wrecked my primary bike in qualifying.”

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24/7 preparation for the hill.

Parks: Is the motorcycle / motor rebuilt over the course of the event? Do you carry back up motors, is a competitor allowed more than one(backup) machine?

Jeff: The motor for this event was left completely stock internally; this was our direction to make sure we had an easy, reliable bike to ride. I didn’t even carry a backup motor with us. You are only allowed to tech one machine, so you can’t just roll a second bike out. It’s basically a parts backup.

Parks: You mentioned a 10 day involvement. Talk a bit about the impact on the family, wife, etc.

We touched on the delicate balancing act between family and racing priorities, Pikes Peak is not easy, with or without the support of a partner, wife or girlfriend.

Jeff: Another unique aspect is the length of time you have to spend at the race. Even worse for me, was that I was driving solo to and from the event which added a few days to the trip. This was especially hard for me with the family at home including my 13 month old, who still requires overnight wake ups and feedings. I was fortunate to have my mom come down and stay to help my wife with the kids while I was gone.

Parks: How did your father’s racing carrier impact you as a young adult, did you always want to race? Would you like to see your own children involved in racing?

Jeff: “I always looked up to my dad and his accomplishments”

Dad won the 1975 Daytona Lightweight Production class and was one of the top RD350 racers in the country. He started racing again when I was in high school on a “Two Brothers” Honda Hawk at the local races, and that’s when it hit me, that I wanted to start racing. “He brought me up riding dirt bikes and I was fortunate enough to get my first street bike at 16.”

Parks: Is your dad or other family members involved in the hill climb effort?

Jeff: Besides the bike preparation from my dad which started months in advance and a bit of babysitting help from mom, they have not been directly tied to the race. 

Parks: You’ve raced the hill in the past. Expand a bit on this and your racing carrier. What events do you prefer to race? G.P., dirt track,  desert endurance, etc…

Jeff:  “My first year at Pikes Peak was 2013, and for that year I decided to race a CRF450R motard bike. I figured that was a good entry bike for a first timer there.”

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Top of the mountain!

I ended up winning the class with a new class record, and received rookie of the year for motorcycles. Going back to my roots in road racing, my first race was in 1999 with the AFM at Sears Point in Sonoma. I only did 4 races that year, 2000 was my first full season, and I raced the lightweight twins class on an SV650.

I won the championship that year, and focused on moving to AFM 600 classes for 2001. The next 2 years I raced 600’s taking 3 championships over both years, which lead to my first year on 1000’s in 2003. I won 2 more championships that year, including the coveted AFM #1 plate for 2004.

“Unfortunately, I broke my ankle in the first race in 2004 which put me out for defending my titles.”

I was also in my second year at Honda R&D for testing and developing the CBR line-up, and this was definitely a turning point in my life, as I realized how important this job would be for my future.

For the next few years I dabbled in regional racing and even tried to put a full year of AMA Pro effort in 2006 — I ended up missing a few races for work that year though, which hurt my chances at a top ten championship finish.

Honda launched a new CBR1000RR for 2008 model year, and in 2009 I decided to race the entire WSMC (Willow Springs Motorcycle Club) and go after the #1 plate. We wrapped up that year with 3 more championships, the #1 plate, and the championship bonus was a Toyota Tundra Crew Max.

To top that #1 plate off, in 2010 I returned to AFM and won my second #1 plate with that organization.

“My first child was born that next year and I sold all my motorcycles which put me into retirement for a couple of seasons.”

Having good friends has been great over the years as I had a ride opportunity in 2012 to race for my crew chief’s shop.

In my comeback year, I won 3 more regional championships. with CVMA (Chuckwalla Valley Motorcycle Association), and we decided to run the West Coast AMA Supersport Nationals the following year in 2013. This was by far my most successful season, as I was able to get my first AMA Pro podium as well as wrap up 2nd in the championship that year.

I also had the win in the 2013 Pikes Peak 450 class that year. I took yet another year off while having my second child. When I was approached early this year. and asked if I was interested in doing Pikes Peak in the Open Class?’

My only race this year turned out great, as I was able to wrap up that win. If I could, I would still be out there road racing, as it is my main preference, if I was to ride. But, without a road bike at the moment for that, I have been looking to just ride some dirt bikes at the tracks here locally.

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Tigert for the win!

My thanks to Jeff Tigert for granting me this interview, as well as his life-time dedication to the sport. Wishing you continued success, happiness and safe riding my friend.

 

2016 Honda Civic Coupe viewed on the streets of San Diego, California

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The second phase of Civic World Car roll out goes to 2016 Civic Coupe.

As recently viewed on the city streets and country roads in and around San Diego, California, phase two of Honda’s 10th generation 2016 Civic roll out is the totally redesigned ” World-Compact-Platform” Civic Coupe.

For 2016, Civic Coupe comes to market in late March 2016, not only larger in dimension, but a world apart from the departing 9th generation Civic — yet retains that “sportiness” exclusive two a 2 door compact coupe.

Honda design and engineering presents a one of a kind drive and ride experience, thanks the a slight wheel base stretch, widening of the track, and the lowering of the “hip point” by a full 1.5 inches. Thus creating a new “drive dynamic” for Civic Coupe fans, without the performance Civic Si price point.

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Upgraded refinement experienced throughout.

Honda engineering further refines and improves 2016 Civic Coupe to the point of encroaching on midsize car ride and interior comfort.

2016 Civic Coupe brings a much improved driver’s seat, smart wheel, standard multi-directional back up cam, huge trunk and added rear compartment legroom. Your Civic Coupe may now effectively serve as a family hauler, commuter and week end sport vehicle, without compromise.

Presenting a visual eye-candy design cue, and interior uptick refinement,  the all new Civic Coupe, in many Audi and BMW model comparisons, upstages the European compact car segment, through affordable premium accouterments and measurable performance.

I find the greatest value in the base LX variant

On the road with 2016 Civic Coupe
2016 Honda Civic Coupe on the back roads of San Diego, California

Sitting behind the wheel of 2016 Civic Coupe is an experience in its self. Put Hondapro Jason in the passenger seat, let the adventure begin.

While much has been made in the auto press as to Civic’s new found turbocharged engine power, I look to the measurable improvement in body style, interior size and subsedquent comfort, a class setting base passive and active safety package, as well as what many consider to be the easiest shifting manual 6 speed transmission in the auto industry today.

Hondapro_Jason_2016_Civic_Touring_Coupe

For 2016, the base Civic Sedan and Coupe come to the North American markets with an all new 2.0 Liter i-VTEC 4 cylinder gasoline engine, producing 159 horsepower, 138 ft-lb torque. This represents a measurable power increase of 12% over 2015, while increasing fuel efficiency. Catch my initial impressions of 2016 Civic Coupe here.

Torque is transferred to the road via one of if not the easiest shifting  6-speed manual transmission in the automotive industry today.  Honda engineering has effectively reduced peddle pressure while refining the shift pattern.

2016 Civic Coupe MSRP and fuel economy should follow Civic Sedan

So, if as predicted, 2016 Honda Civic Coupe comes to market in March with a beginning  MSRP under $18,500, while approaching 35 MPG in combined driving, 2016 Civic Coupe will be the greatest value found in today’s European inspired “C” segment!

While driving on the country two lane roads of eastern San Diego County, I found that “sweet spot” in 3rd gear, and played with the 2.0 liter engine, while enjoying that Honda 4-banger exhaust tone exclusive to high revving Honda mills.

And that’s all that I can share with you for now. Look for a full “first impressions” drive review, the last week in February.

2015 Honda CR-V vibration ‘fix’ may result in lost fuel efficiency

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2015 Honda CR-V vibration

 

Back in late November 2015, American Honda Motor Company generated a dealership service repair bulletin addressing the acknowledged vibration reported by consumers experienced in Honda’s 2015 CR-V SUV.

In the 19 page bulletin, Honda dictates a compulsory review of the customer’s unique experience with the vibration, multiple steps to remedy the problem with a step-by-step visual diagram and methodology for said repairs. There’s a lot to it!

My Honda-Torque News CR-V forum has received mostly positive reports as to the fix, yet a handful of CR-V owners remain a bit ruffled, claim their intent to rid themselves of CR-V, while holding Honda liable for lack of disclosure prior to sale.

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2015 Honda CR-V liftgate

Granted, not all 2015 CR-V owners will be happy regardless of Honda’s action. With radiator mounts upgraded, transmission main mounts replaced and lift gate harmonic vibration mitigated, two vibration generation components remain, the engine and the CVT transmission.

By “remapping” the engine, and specifically the CVT shift points, vibration generated from the engine is reduced. However, so is fuel efficiency. This may have more to do with how direct fuel injection, specifically low displacement 4-cylinder gasoline engines transmit a harmonic vibration frequency at certain RPM levels.

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The best selling SUV in North America

The downgrade in estimated fuel economy is marginal, estimated as less than 7/10 per gallon under most driving conditions. However, as reported to us by our readers, greater loss of fuel efficiency is possible.

American Honda Motors News: My favorite interview of 2015

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2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell = zero hydrocarbons

One of the perks of being a Honda Brand-specific auto journalist is access to Honda management. 2015 was a record breaking year for me and American Honda Motor Company, and with it came the opportunity to meet many exceptional people connected to the Honda brand.

With the timely introduction of the Fit platformed built in Mexico HR-V crossover to North American markets, came the opportune invitation to attend Honda’s HR-V national press reveal in Miami Beach, Florida. There I would interview Mr. Jeff Conrad, executive vice president A.H.M.C, and Honda’s environmental officer Ms. Angie Nucci.

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Parks and 2016 HR-V take Miami by storm,

We would speak at length as to Honda’s ongoing commitment to preserving the environment, and near future plans for the development and delivery of affordable, attainable zero or near zero emissions electrified personal conveyance to the world’s largest auto market.

The short story: Honda promises the relaunch of a much improved 1 engine, two electric motor 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid delivering 50+ MPG in combined driving.

Personally, I believe market acceptance of electrified vehicles, and a measurable increase in the retail price of gasoline must occur prior to the successful retail expansion of alternatively fueled and powered personal conveyance in the U.S..

None the less, Honda remains committed to the ideology of environment protection through the small foot print manufacturing of low impact vehicles.

Also in the works is a stand alone plug in electric Fit, Hybrid Civic and the 2017 Honda Clarity FCEV( Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle).  You may read the Conrad , Nucci interview here.

Honda_FCEV_Concept

 

 

2016 Honda Civic awarded ‘Car of the Year’ and ‘IIHS Top Safety Pick +’

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2016 Honda Civic Touring takes on Audi and BMW with exceptional styling and performance for under $25,000.

 

To say that American Honda Motor Company is on a roll,’ may be a gross understatement at this point. Coming off of record sales for 2015, the #4 best selling automotive brand in North America continues on an unprecedented reinvention of what may arguably be the most dynamic  lineup in the maker’s history.

Civic, CR-V and Accord sell 1,000,000 + units for 2015

That’s a big number for any maker. But to have the North America’s #1 selling SUV, compact and midsize car (retail) under one brand may be unprecedented in a world of 200+ brand name plates.

Selling within 7,000 units of #1 Toyota Corolla in 2015, the newly platformed, redesigned and more powerful 2016 Civic is on course for surpassing Toyota Corolla with superior styling, standard featured active and passive safety features, greater fuel economy, horsepower and torque.

This week in the news we find 2016 Civic named “North America Car of the Year,” and earning the IIHS ( Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) “Top Safety Pick +”rating for combined superior standard and optional safety features, (“ACE Body Structure,” “Honda Sensing” enabled accident avoidance, and top rated slight overlap frontal impact crash test ratings.

What makes 2016 Civic superior in the compact sedan class for many may be those features that one doesn’t see and hopefully never needs. For us, the bonus here is Civic’s cutting edge good looks, new found interior quiet, refinement and uptick performance.

Civic’s body and interior design effectively takes on Audi and BMW, doing so with a fully loaded MSRP of well under $25,000, something the competition can’t or won’t do. You may catch my latest 2016 Honda Civic first impressions drive review here.