2017 Civic Type-R carves a path through California’s Avenue of the Giants

Civic_Type_R_Redwoods
2017 Civic Type_R takes on Redwood Country

Compact ultimate performance hatchback meets worlds tallest tree: So it goes. Yet another week in the seat behind the wheel of Honda’s latest and greatest Civic performance hatchback. “Ultimate,” is an interesting word, with vast implications as well as a plethora of applicable meaning. Believe it or not, comparing the mighty coastal Redwoods to Honda’s latest and most powerful Civic manifestation is not that much of a stretch when we look to the unique, segment breaching, performance attributes presented in 2017 Honda Civic Type-R Touring.

Well, at the least, California’s original coast highway provides an exceptional, scenic backdrop for Type-R. The road itself is well maintained, narrow, twisty, and fast enough — keep an eye out for the trailer towing tourists. They’re generally slow driving, and many in number. Last week we took a 1,000 mile, 48 hour road trip to Humboldt County, where Civic Type-R carved a path through the historic Avenue of the Giants.

The Coffee Girl at Starbucks loves the edgy look of 2017 Civic Type-R

True enough, on our recent foray from Eugene, Oregon south to Humboldt County, California, Honda’s top of the performance mark Civic Type-R drew more attention than Mick Jagger at a Rolling Stones concert. Even the hardcore Subaru WRX fans came out for a look — walking away grinning after gaining a few minutes of seat time in Honda’s 306 horsepower, turbocharged, limit slip differential, 6 speed manually shifted FWD wonder car.

The 10th generation Civic world platform Type-R lives up to all the media hype

It’s  rare that I drive a new car offering that meets or exceeds the stated performance attributes, handling prowess, and fuel efficiency touted by the maker. This is the first Civic to ever wear the Type-R badge in the United States. Yes, a European Type-R with a stated 316 horsepower has broken track records in Europe and Asia, but that’s not the 10th generation Civic platform Type-R that became available for the Honda die hard 2 short months ago.

Our leather and cloth trimmed, cream white, and red and black interior 2017 Civic Type-R test mule is manufactured in England; features a manufactured in Alabama Earth Dreams gasoline engine, and is shifted by a very good close throw, 6 speed manual transmission made in Japan. 2017 Civic Type-R is a world car, manufactured by a world-auto-manufacturer. Frankly, it’s club-car track ready right out of the box.

Civic Type_R in Redwood Trees
2017 Honda Civic Type-R takes on the Avenue of the Giants.

For $36,000 and change, Civic Type-R is an exceptional, fun to drive performance bargain that’s very happy on the street, thanks to 3-drive modes, including “comfort,” and what I soon discovered to be a very comfortable racing style bucket seat. Me, I’d like power adjustment, but that’s just me.

The Type-R suspension and driving attitude is firm, but not painfully stiff. The instant-on torque and track-sticky cornering traction is a bit of a mind blower, considering that Type-R is a front-wheel-drive car. Honda engineering does a commendable job of reducing torque steer. — sure there’s some there, but it’s very manageable.

On start up, Type-R defaults to “sport” mode. Here you’ll find a stiffer steering feel,  a bit more pedal, and reasonably firm suspension.  Going on the track, toggle into “R” drive. It’s pretty extreme, and as my Chiropractor will tell you, a bit taxing on the bones. I like what Honda engineering did with Type-R’s exhaust tone, although the deep baritone growl can get a bit load at times.

Visually, Civic Type-R teeters on Bat Man stunning! However, everything you see on Type-R has a purpose, from its whale-tail hatch fin, down to the best looking 20 inch alloy painted wheels in the compact performance segment — Brembo calipers included.

48 hours, 1,000 miles, still smiling Civic Type-R darn near perfect

Once again, Honda’s latest and greatest Civic Hatchback does not disappoint. Read my latest Torque News article as we journey through the California coast redwoods and beyond.

 

Why Honda CR-V tops USN and World Report’s ‘2017 Best New Cars for Teens’

Best_Selling_SUV
The best selling SUV in North America

Nineteen, 16 year old teenage drivers die every day in the U.S. resulting from traffic accident fatality; many of these accidental deaths are avoidable; and more often than not the result of distractions; texting while driving; talking on cellphones, and infotainment related activities.

With Honda Motor Company targeting 2025 as its “ZERO auto related death or major injury target year, 2017 Honda CR-V earns US News and World Report’s “Best New Car for Teens” award. What makes CR-V exceptional in a sea of very good compact crossovers? Read on.

2017 Honda CR-V in any trim variant, is the most advanced 2-row SUV in maker’s history.

Without question, the latest advent of Honda’s best selling SUV in it’s turbocharged glory, is a pleasure to drive; good looking, and multiple task capable. Beyond that, Honda’s near midsize 2-row comes with one of, if not, the most comprehensive active safety suite option in the sub-premium SUV segment.

Granted,  you and I may not eagerly share our brand new CR-V Touring with the newest driver in the family. However, US News and World Report ranks 2017 Honda CR-V, when equipped with optional Honda Sensing ™, the “Best New Car for Teens,” in the ever expanding crossover, SUV vehicle segment. Read my latest CR-V drive impressions here.

2017 Honda CR-V when properly equipped, will avoid collision

While not 100% Autonomous, 2017 Honda CR-V when optioned with Honda’s award winning Honda Sensing ™, will not only assist your teenage driver in keeping within the driving lane when distracted (often,) but mitigate collision avoidance by applying the brakes, often a split second before the driver becomes aware of pending doom.

There’s also, roll-over- prevention, via heightened electronic suspension stability, ABS, electronic brake aided non-skid quick stopping, and much more. Me, I like the adaptive cruise control and “Lane Keep Assist.” Read more about active safety features here. You will find full 2017 CR-V specifications and trim level MSRP here.

*Portions of this article appeared in my Honda-Torque News column 

 

2017 Honda Civic Si most powerful in maker’s history

2017_Honda_Civic_Si
The first ever turbocharged Honda Civic Si. American Honda Motors 2017

On first look the 10th generation 2017 Honda Civic Si is the maker’s most powerful and refined mainstream compact performance car offered to date.  And frankly, the turbocharged horsepower and torque numbers are but a small part of what makes this Civic Si. a dynamic performer.

1.5 Liter turbocharged 4 cylinder VTEC engine, limited slip diff, 6-speed manual

What makes 2017 Honda Civic Si the most powerful Si offering in Honda history is the torque characteristics of the manufactured in America alloy block and head EarthDreams turbocharged VTEC engine. According to our friends at Honda engineering, maximum torque comes on at 1850 RPM (just a tad above idle) and stays there through 4800 RPM.

When this engine characteristic is combined with Honda’s short-throw 6-speed manual transmission, and limited slip differential, it’s magic time! Honda-Torque News: Read more about 2017 Civic Si here.

Honda improves ride dynamic with electronic “drive mode’ reactive dampening (shocks)

Well, I won’t be driving Civic Si until mid May, so , I won’t expand on the ride quality today. However, I’ve sat behind the wheel of the reinvented 2017 Civic Si, and can attest to not only the historically correct Si color scheme, but the comfort of the high bolstered driver’s seat, visual appeal of the red-light dash array, perforated race-like foot pedals, and the roomier, comfortable accommodation of the 10th generation Civic platform derived interior. No shortcuts noted, this Civic looks quality!

Taking it back a notch. We look in on HondaPro Jason

Our “go-to” Civic Si expert is no other than Jason Richmond, A.K.A. HondaPro Jason. A proud Civic Si owner, Jason’s very excited as to the new found power, assumed approved handling, and uptick segment bench setting refinement discovered through Honda’s latest and greatest Civic Si. Take a look at Jason’s Project Orange here.

Civic _Comparison
9th generation Civic Si Vs 10th generation Civic Touring.

Although American Honda Motors has not announced exacting dealership date of arrival or prince-point, I believe we’ll see 2017 Civic Si arrive sometime in late May 2017, with an MSRP hovering very close to $25,000. Si will be available in performance coupe and sedan variants. One engine, one transmission, oversize brakes, and limited slip front differential. Personally, I can’t wait to drive it!

 

 

The latest from Honda-Torque News

 

Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

 

This week in Honda-Torque News I share Honda Motor Company’s sales report for February, yet another record sales month for American Honda.

Light truck sales, the Fed’s designation for any light-truck-like crossover or SUV drove the brand to a record February with 2017 CR-V SUV outselling Accord and Civic, for the first time in memory. Noteworthy is a double digit increase in sales volume for Honda’s HR-V subcompact CUV, and continued momentum for Fit, the entry portal to the American Honda lineup. Read my latest take on 2017 Honda HR-V here.

Parks McCants with 2016 Honda HR-V in Miami, Fl..

American Honda embraces alternative propulsion

For the second month of 2017, we note an interesting development on Honda’s electrification front, with 2017 Accord Hybrid posting a 385% sales gain over February 2016. Does the uptick indicate sustainable growth through the driving public’s acceptance of the electric car, or are Californian’s simply easing their way into a less crowded, quick moving Diamond Lane?

While Clarity FCV and Accord Hybrid owners do benefit from an environmentally friendly pass, as to congested L.A. and Orange County traffic congestion, I do believe the general appeal of a high-torque clean burning auto to be a bit broader than the outskirts of L.A., so do the engineers at Honda. Read our latest slant on Honda auto electrification here.

Clarity Battery Electric

As earlier reported by Torque News and others, the 3rd generation Clarity Fuel Cell manufacturing platform further expands into a gasoline/electric hybrid varient, and a battery electric offering. Honda, while not specific as to the near future application of electrification, has indicated that a crossover, SUV, or pickup truck may be in the works in the not too distant future.

Despite current low-fuel pricing, for Honda Motor Company, and other makers positioning for market share in California, still the world’s largest auto market, electric is the viable future in high-torque-output, super low to no exhaust emission, environmentally friendly, personal and commercial transportation.

You will see, and possibly drive, or ride in, a fully autonomous, (hands-free, sensory, computer controlled) long-range electric car within the next decade.

I’ve experienced high-speed hands-off-the-wheel driving behind the wheel of this car. 2017 Volvo S90 is like no other car on the road today.

it’s a trip!

 

Today from Honda-Torque News

Following yet another round of segment leading awards for Pilot, Ridgeline and the reinvented 2017 CR-V crossover, Honda- Torque News and yours truly take a look at the benefit of turbocharging Honda’s best selling compact crossover.

I had my first opportunity to experience Honda’s next best seller on the back roads and highways of San Francisco and Monterey Bay, California – stunning! And, so is Honda’s most refined compact CUV to date. In danger of reading like an advertisement for 2017 Honda CR-V, frankly, I found nothing but positive accolades for this much improved compact crossover segment best seller.

Following the lead of 2016 Honda Civic Touring, buyers will now find a turbocharged engine option as well as Honda’s much improved G-Shift logic CVT transmission. What turbocharging does for 2017 Honda CR-V performance.

Beyond the confines of arguably the most refined and ergonomically correct cabin found in the compact crossover/SUV segment, buyers will enjoy the much improved soft and hard touch surfaces, an enlarged center-stack touch screen, multiple cellphone O.S. pairing capabilities, an uptick sound system, and top of segment “Honda Sensing” active safety options.

For our readers living in colder climates, when equipped with all-wheel-drive, CR-V claims a 50% greater torque efficiency to rear wheels when traction loss is detected – seamlessly. I like that.

As to the 5th generation CR-V exterior look, I believe that the reinvented CR-V speaks for itself. Honda engineering injects the design language of the reinvented A.H.M.C. lineup into CR-V without loosing the essence of the made in America best seller. I’m impressed by the balance of line, the wide-track stance, available wheel selection and slightly increased ground clearance. The understated urbane fighter ‘look’ works very well .

For more details as to features, options and MSRP read my initial 2017 CR-V drive impressions here. In short, with Car and Driver voting 2017 CR-V “Best Compact SUV,” CR-V has earned your test drive when considering the purchase of a new fuel efficient compact crossover.

 

Future Honda Civic Type-R drives performance buzz into 2016

1.5 million of our closest family and friends from around the globe read Honda-Torque News in 2015, that I know of.  Perusing the world-wide-web I discover countless pirated, or legitimately shared article links, in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America. I am very grateful for the readership. Thank you all.

With that said: The most read Honda-Torque News article in the U.S. is credited to a car that will never be marketed in the states, the European based Civic Type-R. Civic Type-R excitement is driving Honda performance buzz into 2016 and beyond.

In speaking with my contacts at American Honda Motors, I don’t anticipate the arrival of the 10th generation Civic based Type-R prior to mid year 2017, as a 2018 model.

According to the online buzz, the U.S. specified 2017 or 2018 Civic Type-R ( Honda hasn’t committed to a production date) will be turbocharged, front-wheel-drive, shifted manually and produce north of 300 + b.h.p. Cost? Estimated to be close to $40,000 U.S..

Civic_Type_R
Paris Motor Show 2014

 

That’s a bit conservative in my view when taking into consideration the current 2016 Honda Civic Touring price structure. But, if this Ford Focus ST, Subaru WRX killer comes to market as hot as anticipated, even priced at $50,000, Honda will sell as many Type-R as they can produce in North America. You may read my latest Civic Type-R article here.

Today on Honda-Torque News

Winter_Honda_Civic
Winterize your Honda Civic

In Honda Torque News today: With winter 2016 weather conditions coming on hard, a reader or two has come forward with a question as to “winterizing” their older Honda Civic. While Civics do take intermittent service cycles in stride, winter weather can take its toll on Civic and driver if not prepared for the seasonally inclement weather; specifically driving on icy, snow covered roads, frozen windshield washer fluid plastic wells and sometimes bursting plastic lines, Ts and clamps.

Living in the Pacific Northwest residents of Eugene and Portland Oregon rarely deal with the harsh winter weather conditions of eastern and northeastern North America.

Honda_All_Wheel_Drive
Honda all-wheel-drive takes most driving conditions in stride

But ice and snow does inundate the region on a yearly basis. I have a few tips for increasing your road visibility during cold, and sometimes foggy driving conditions.

And then there’s that ever present tire issue. We have a suggestion or two for Civic owners on a limited budget, including affordable All-Weather tires.  Check my Honda-Torque News article and drive safely this Winter.