Trends in the auto industry change as often as preferences in the world of fashion. IHS Automotive tracks changes in the industry. It divides the automobile marketplace into 6 basic body styles. It says the hatchback is poised to make the largest percentage gain in popularity in the near term.
While showing off some press pictures of the Europe-only Civic diesel, Honda fan site “All About Honda” claims to have received word that the 2016 Honda Civic and Civic Si will be 100%, all-new for 2016 – and that the company has plans to move all Civic production to the US.
Presumably, that means that all Civic variants (not just the sedans) will be built in East Liberty, Ohio. A move that would, in theory, free up Honda’s Alliston, Ontario plant to focus on the exploding small-SUV segment and production of Honda’s Civic-based CR-V.
Parsing the Engrish over at All About Honda seems to indicate that the next-generation Civic will be a global car without a dedicated “US” and “Euro/JDM” version. That’s the same thinking behind the new-for-2015 Honda Fit, as well, lending credibility to the idea that a 4-door turbocharged hatchback Civic Si is, indeed, coming to America.
Time will tell, I guess.
In the meantime, let us know what you’d think of a turbocharged 2016 Honda Civic Si that’s made in the USA (and, of course, how much extra you’d pay for a McLaren version) in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!
“Ain’t nobody’s soul ever been saved by the Unitarians,” is what my friend, Mark, said while we walked around Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple in Oak Park, IL. It was a bit unexpected, because (despite our long friendship) we rarely talk religion. All the same, it was an oddly fitting comment, because the car I drove to my latest FLLW adventure was the 2014 Honda Civic – and, to paraphrase someone a lot smarter than me, “Ain’t nobody’s ever become a car enthusiast behind the wheel of a 2014 Honda Civic.”
“That’s not to say they’re bad people,” said Mark, who grew up in a predominantly Baptist part of southern Georgia. “While I still believe no one’s ever been saved in a Unitarian Church, one of my best religious experiences was in a Unitarian Church in Athens. There were 2 elderly identical twin brothers who I had a clear view of, the way the sanctuary was set up, semicircular, and they had handlebar mustaches and tilted their heads back and forth to the rhythm of the pompabombasticated speech flowing from the pulpit. Oh, and I saw my calculus teacher in there. We nodded to each other.”
I nodded back at Mark, again struck by the weird similarities between his feelings about the Temple and mine towards the Civic. As such, I’ll try to keep that theme going and see where it takes us.
Driving the 2014 Honda Civic
The first thing I noticed when I slipped behind the wheel of the 2014 Honda Civic EX-L was the weird, double-decker dashboard. While the split dash is cleverly designed and didn’t actually hinder my forward view, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was missing something. As such, I suspect that the Civic’s unconventional dash is very likely a love-it or hate-it affair – but should point out that, by the end of my week with the little silver car, I barely noticed it.
Something I did notice was the 2014 Honda Civic’s 1.8 liter, 143 HP engine, which feels like it has quite a few more than 143 horses pushing it along thanks to the company’s excellent CVT “automatic”.
Honda’s new CVT weighs less, has less internal friction, and offers a 22% wider ratio spread than the 5 spd. automatic in the 2013 version. That contributes to better acceleration and throttle response, as well as a bump in fuel economy, from 28 city MPG in last year’s car to 30 city MPG in the 2014 Honda Civic (and that’s without pressing the big, green “Eco” button).
All of that’s great, of course. It’s very mature, even, but it’s not going to inspire a the legion of fans that led to Honda’s
Riceboy Revolution Civic Nation commercial. There is nothing fast, or furious about this Civic, and I honestly wonder whether or not the sportier, Si version of the 2014 Honda Civic can deliver on the Si legend built by the Civics, Preludes, and CRXs of yore.
And that’s OK.
The Unity Temple
Back to the Unity Temple for a moment. Our tour guide explained that it was a great example of Wright’s “mature” Prairie Style that benefitted from Wright’s experimentation in several earlier Oak Park and Chicago-area buildings.
Looking at the Unity Temple, you can see a successful implementation of elements like the sculptural columns, the corner openings, the big, and the cantilevered overhangs. Similarly, this newest Honda has a greenhouse that’s instantly recognizable as a Civic, even if it’s the first time you’ve seen the 2014 model. The headlights, too, manage to look fresh while being, essentially, several generations removed from the latest and greatest thing.
God is in the Details
In the Unity Temple, there are small details in the lights and the windows that set it apart from even the most avant-garde, brutalist structures. In the Honda, as well, tiny details that help set it apart from the rest of the compact car pack abound. Up front, the new-for 2014 Honda Civic’s lights feature jewel-like reflectors, the split chin spoiler offers a unique look, too, and the mirror-mounted cameras – part of Honda’s clever LaneWatch system – work perfectly, once you get used to checking your stereo to see if anyone’s in the lane next to you. As neat as those things are, though, it was the Honda’s Pandora integration that really got my attention.
Pandora, for those of you who are unfamiliar with it, is an online radio app that allows users to custom-tailor their listening experience by giving the app a song or artist to build a radio station around. Listeners then fine-tune the station by giving songs a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” rating, until (after a while) you’re only listening to songs you like, even if you’ve never heard them before. It’s a great thing, and the HondaLink Pandora app does a great job, with album cover art, ratings, and an easy way to flip between your custom stations.
Other carmakers do Pandora well enough, sure, but – with, maybe, the exception of GM – not as well as Honda.
2014 Honda Civic EX-L, Final Thoughts
Honda did a great job redesigning the Civic for 2014. The 2014 Honda Civic is visibly more exciting than the much-maligned (but mostly the same) 2012/2013 version, but even so, it’s a very adult experience. It lacks the visceral appeal of earlier Civic Sis, even in Si trim, and it’s certainly not going to bring back fond memories of the 90s Hondas that started the FWD performance revolution … and that’s all great news.
The 2014 Honda Civic is an utterly grown up, adult experience that still seems to have enough joy built into it to appeal to a more sophisticated modern youth. The plastic rolly-up-and-down handles that I grew up with in compact cars are long gone, except in the most base of base Chevy Sparks or Mitsubishi Mirages. Which is just as well, because I can’t imagine my youngest sister or, God help me, oldest kid putting up with those for a minute. They’re a lot more advanced, it seems, than I was at their age, when all I was doing was counting valves per cylinder and specific output. They’ll be excited about the car’s ULEV-II and PZEV emissions ratings, the ease with which they can connect their iPhones, and – of course – the ability to down-vote a crap song on Pandora at 70 MPH.
So, outside of the Star Trek TNG-style dashboard, I have nothing but good things to say about the new Civic. For better and for worse, it’s not the old Civic – but that shouldn’t stop you from checking it out, because it’s every bit as solid-feeling as the Chevy Cruze, and a lot more fun to drive than the new Corolla or latest VW Jetta.
Original content from Gas 2, with special thanks to the FLLW Trust.
The 2014 version of Honda’s CNG Civic sedan debuted quietly in Chicago this week, with very little of the pomp and fanfare that accompanied, say, the Kia Soul EV’s launch. Despite being a Honda fan, I’m OK with that. The cool kids know what it is, and that’s what matters. Right?
For 2014, the CNG Civic features an upgraded interior and bright blue badge work that does a better job of playing up Honda’s Earth Dreams motif than, say, the NGV stickers did on the 2011 model. Additionally, where the previous version(s) of the CNG Civic have felt a little bit like they were built as fleet specials for companies who didn’t want to save money, the newest version seems to have embraced the idea that “going green” isn’t a punishment. As such, Honda has seen fit to upgrade the interior materials and plastics of their new alt-fueler, and have added leather and alloy wheels to the mix, as well …
… the trunk space, however, is still radically compromised by the addition of the CNG tanks. While that’s not much of a problem for a company car that’s meant to shuttle project managers between job sites, it does mean that someone shopping for a clean-burning city car to put their growing family in (*ahem!*) can’t consider the CNG Civic a realistic option. Not if they’re trying to get a baby stroller into this …
… so, that kinda sucks.
Still, the continuation of the CNG Civic is great news for drivers who care about their carbon footprint and want that legendary Honda reliability. While I might lament the lack of, say, an AWD CNG Honda CR-V, however, I’m sure Honda knows what they’re doing. Expect to see more CNG Hondas in the future, then- especially if President Obama’s comments about expanding America’s natural gas infrastructure turn out to have legs. In the meantime, check out some excerpts from Honda’s official press release, below, and a few more CNG Civic pictures under that.
For 2014, the sophistication and value of the … Civic Natural Gas is enhanced with a host of new standard features, including new Display Audio with 7-inch touchscreen that allows users to pinch, swipe and tap just like a smartphone to access audio, phonebook, media, vehicle information and available navigation features. The touchscreen display is also the interface for the next-generation HondaLink™, an application-based platform that allows a seamless integration between a user’s smartphone and the car, providing access to online and cloud-based content and information both inside and outside the car.
New for 2014, the Civic Natural Gas Leather Navi model gains additional premium features such as leather seats, heated front seats, heated side mirrors and a six-speaker audio system. The Civic Natural Gas’ standard interior has also been upgraded with more premium seating materials and door panel trim.
The 2014 Civic Natural Gas will be available at Honda dealers in 37 states on February 15 with an MSRP starting at $26,640 ($29,290 for the “Navi” model) and a combined EPA rating of 31 MPG.
Original content from Gas 2.
Three years ago auto reviewers panned the then-new 2012 Honda Civic as a not-so-good car, and Honda responded with a sudden and unexpected makeover. The improvements carried on in 2013, and in 2014 Honda has made even more changes to the Honda Civic that have resulted in improved horsepower and fuel economy, keeping America’s favorite compact competitive.
Honda revealed the 2014 Civic in coupe guise, one of the few automakers still offering a two-door model for America;s compact market. Honda made some fairly significant changes to the exterior to enhance the overall look of the 2014 Civic, and it certainly feels bolder and more aggressive than the outgoing model’s softer look.
The big change to the drivetrain is the availability of an all-new CVT transmission, which improves fuel economy marginally. With the 1.8 liter engine, the 2014 Honda Civic gets 30 mpg in the city and 39 on the highway for a combined rating of 33 mpg compared to the 28/39/32 rating of the 2013 Civic. There were no changes to either the Honda Civic Hybrid or Natural Gas models, alas.
A better exhaust improves power a teensy bit, though most drivers are unlikely to notice the difference. However, the 2014 Honda Civic HF has been tuned to deliver almost hybrid-like fuel economy, with a 31/41/35 rating that is the best-in-class. While not exactly earth-shaking news, the Honda Civic remains America’s most popular passenger car, and it’s the standard to which other automakers build their cars.
As the Civic goes, so goes America? Not quite, but Honda is at the very least making a statement with the third set of upgrades to the Civic is as many years. That statement? We take the Civic, and any criticism directed at it, very seriously, and it will take more than just one bad model year to knock the Compact King off its pedestal.
As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to expand access to alternative fuels and give American consumers more fuel options that save money and reduce harmful carbon emissions, the US Department of Energy has launched a new mobile app to help drivers find ethanol, biodiesel, CNG, LPG, and quick-charging EV stations to keep their alt-fuel vehicles “topped off”.
While this alt-fuel finder app is a fantastic move that should help everyone, it could have come a few weeks earlier, for my purposes. See, few weeks ago I was in San Antonio, Texas driving Honda’s excellent new 50 MPG Accord hybrid. While I was there, I talked to Honda’s PR people about organizing a leaf-peeping trip out to New England in Honda’s ultimate alt-fuel offering, the CNG Civic.
Honda’s response was, in hindsight, predictable. I can sum it up with “Would you be able to find filling stations along the way?”
My response, “That’s the whole point- it’s an adventure!” did nothing to alleviate anyone’s fears, and I get that. If I could do it, drive across America with no headaches in a nearly emissions-free vehicle on about $0.62/gallon (last time I checked), I’d be a superstar. If I couldn’t find a station when I needed one, even if it was my fault, it could paint the little Civic in a negative light- and neither Honda nor the website pushing for something (damn near anything!) other than oil wanted the car to be a star.
Fast forward to today, and I’ve used the alt-fuel finder app to map a route from Oak Park, IL all the way to New Britain, CT, and- thanks to the new iOS app from the DOA, I’ve found 29 filling stations within 30 miles from the optimum route. That’s more than enough to get the sensible Civic from here to there without incident, especially if you play the “never let it get below 1/4 tank” game. Here’s what that route looks like …
… now the only problem is that we’re well past the “prime peepin'” leaf season and we’re getting into the “horrible, midwestern lake effect” snow season. I wonder how many CNG stations there are between Oak Park and Orlando, I wonder.
What you see here is the new Honda Civic Tourer – a thinly-veiled “concept” version of the company’s upcoming Civic diesel wagon, which is set to bow as a production model in 2014. Because of the car’s ultra-efficient, high-mpg, 1.6 L diesel engine – which is good for 118 hp and a solid 221 lb-ft of torque, by the way – we’ll probably never see this sexy, Rodimus Prime stand-in on this side of the pond.
Why not? Honda will keep this diesel wagon in its European markets for the same reason Ford won’t give us the new diesel Ranger pick-up:
it will eat into the profits from their hot-selling, low-tech offerings in the US ‘muricans don’t want diesels.
Jalopnik thinks the Honda Civic Tourer diesel wagon concept is pretty much “there”, but posits that the full-width taillight probably won’t make it, not will the heavily-styled, center-exit exhaust. I just hope it makes it to the US. In red. With flames. And maybe 400 more lb-ft of torque.
That’s just me, though.
Source | Photos: Honda, via Jalopnik.
Natural gas could be an important stepping stone in America’s quest to develop domestic energy. The problem right now is that natural gas filling stations are expensive and the home models can take 12 hours to fill your car. But major auto parts maker Eaton could bring a much cheaper, and faster filling unit to consumers homes in the next few years.
Affordable Domestic Fuel Filling Station For Your Home
Oil companies claim there is enough natural gas in shale formations beneath America to provide 100 years of “clean” energy. How true this is, I don’t know, though natural gas does have the potential to wean America off of foreign fuel imports. The problem is that so far there is just one CNG car on the market, the Honda Civic GX, and other automakers have been slow to commit new CNG vehicles outside of commercial and fleet sales. And while natural gas feeds heat into many American homes, those pipes run are an extremely low pressure, which means the $4,500 Phill filling stations Honda was pushing can take 12 hours or more to fill up the CNG tanks.
Eaton is approaching both the time, and cost issue with an innovative solution using a liquid piston to compress the low-pressure natural gas found in many homes. What is only described as “innovative heat exchanger technology” will supposedly improve efficiency and cut costs by as much as 90% over current filling stations. The liquid piston might also turn those 12-hour filling times into something much quicker. Eaton hopes to bring such a filling station to market around 2015 with a target price of $500, which is less than the floormats in some new cars.
…Coming Soon Enough?
A low-cost home fueling station certainly would be a big boon for those wanting to pursue an alternative to petroleum, and by 2015 there should be at least a few more options in terms of CNG vehicles. Yet on the same token, who knows where world energy prices will be by 2015. Oil prices could skyrocket, or they could plummet, major breakthroughs in battery technology could make EV’s more practical and affordable, and hydrogen fuel cells might even make a comeback. It’s too far out to make that call, and for that reason Eaton is also developing everything from hydraulic-hybrids to home charging stations for electric cars. That’s the right call if you ask me.
Who knows what might happen in the next three years? 2015 is a long ways away, though anything that makes alternative fuels more affordable and accessible is OK by me. Hopefully this Eaton project pans out, and by then America will be well on its way to an affordable and sustainable future in alternative fuels.
Source: Green Car Congress
Honda’s 2013 Civic Hybrid may not be the most exciting hybrid Honda builds, or the cleanest car in the Japanese brand’s line-up … but, starting next year, this most mainstream of Honda’s hybrids may become the most “American” hybrid you can buy! Honda has just announced that it will be investing an additional $40 million into its factory in Indiana, adding about 1000 new jobs and expanding capacity by 50,000 units annually.
That increase in production capacity, by the way, means that 90% of the Honda-badged cars sold in the US will be manufactured in North America, which is good for American factory workers and good for Honda’s bottom line!
As a quick reminder, Honda’s Civic Hybrid makes use of a 1.5L 4-cylinder gas engine mated to a continuously-variable transmission and a small electric powerplant, good for a combined 110 hp at 44 EPA-rated mpg. Not bad, in other words … even if it’s not the sexxxiest hybrid you can lay your hands on.
Let us know what you think about all this made-in-the-USA Honda goodness in the comments, below.
Source: Honda, via Motorpasion.
The CNG Honda Civic GX has returned to the Chicago Auto Show this year. Named the 2012 Green Car of the Year by the Green Car Journal, the unassuming sedan looks just like any other 2012 Civic. The only indication that this is not a car running on standard gasoline is the CNG badge on the back, proudly but quietly claiming that this car is one of the cleanest-burning in the world.
CNG vehicles (NGVs) are still somewhat of a niche, mostly due to natural gas stations being a little hard to find (the US Department of Energy does have a locator application to find alternative fuel stations), but natural gas burns very cleanly. Just about the only way to be greener with your vehicle is to get something purely electric and then power it with solar panels alone.
In addition to being much cleaner-burning than gasoline-powered cars – the Civic GX has an AT-PZEV (Advanced Technology Partial Zero-Emission Vehicle) rating as certified by CARB – the mileage is great. The Civic GX has a 31mpg EPA rating (combined – 27mpg city and 38mpg highway, gasoline-gallon equivalent). The actual volume of fuel burned, since it’s natural gas, is a little higher, and that brings us to the one sacrifice that an NGV driver will be making.
The 2012 CNG Civic has not solved the problem of the 2011 CNG Civic, which is namely this:
There’s very little trunk space, since the fuel tank has to be quite a bit larger than a standard Civic. On the other hand, low emissions plus good mileage plus eligibility for energy efficiency incentives more than make up for a lack of trunk space in my book. The Civic GX is available in California, New York, Utah, or Oklahoma.
Questions or opinions? Let us know in the comments below the gallery.
Source | Images: 2012 Chicago Auto Show.
2012’s Chicago auto show was, in many ways, very similar to 2011’s Chicago auto show. For instance, GM is still pushing CNG commercial vans, the boys and girls at Scion found just the right mix of clever and whimsy to steal my heart, there was a new (boring) Honda that got upstaged by its super-slick CNG Civic understudy and the company’s own static engine display, there were ride-alongs and test drives in various Multi-Air Fiats and Chevy Volts, and (sadly) I did not make sweet, forbidden love to the business end of a Honda (nee Acura) NSX under the McCormick Center’s blinding stage lights.
Before you get to thinking there were no surprises, though, we did discover an odd truth about (most) hybrid sedans, and (with help from GM’s top marketing brass) we got a chance to explore the effects of various “chemical marketing aids” on a pair of jaded gearheads in an attempt to answer the oldest of age-old questions: how many sugary sweets does it take to make someone feel good about a new Buick?
We have the answer, but you’ll have to come back tomorrow.
Until then, do your best to enjoy this tiny “teaser” gallery, below, which Miss Charis and I will expand with an index of “Chicago 2012” stories, as they get published. We’ve got much, much more to come, kids. Stay tuned!
Source: 2012 Chicago Auto Show.
Quieter, Cleaner, Cooler
The HS 1336i is Honda’s newest snowblower, combining a gasoline engine with two electric motors. The gasoline engine powers the snow-chomping blades at the front of the engine and charge the battery. Meanwhile, two small electric motors power the treads, freeing the gas engine from the torque-intensive duties of forward progress. The electric motors also double as generators during deceleration of the hybrid snowblower. While this isn’t the same hybrid tech found on cars like the Honda CR-Z, I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t at least some carryover in how the system was put together.
While Honda does not specifically mention how much in the way of fuel savings can be expected, power equipment is the next front in clean emissions technology. Current small-engine power equipment does not have to meet much in the way of emissions regulations (though that will change come 2013.) In addition to the hybrid tech, the Honda Snowblower also imports a few other goodies from its car cousins, like self-diagnostic monitoring system, which alerts the operator to conditions like low oil, carburetor problems, etc. etc.
It is likely this small Honda hybrid is just the tip of the iceberg. I expect to see hybrid lawn mowers (especially commercial mowers), ATV’s, and other power equipment to move either towards hybrid or alt-fuel technology as government regulations and high gasoline prices fuel interest in cleaner-burning engines. And aside from all of that, the hybrid tech lowers sound emissions as well, allowing for less noise on the job. As someone who has personally worked with big power equipment, I can say that any noise reduction is a boon to both workers and their neighbors.
Still, who would have thought a Honda snowblower would go hybrid? What power equipment would you like to see hybridized?
Need another reason to check out Honda’s new-for-2012, NGV-fuelled Civic GX other than cleaner emissions and high gas prices? If you live in California, you just got one: Honda’s CNG burning Civics will retain HOV lane access through 2015.
Conversion is a tricky thing, but it’s doable. Whether it’s a flaming pyre helping Elijah sway hearts and minds away from Baal or HOV access on over-crowded highways helping green car advocates sway the hearts and minds away from gas-guzzling SUVs, it always helps to have a little big-gun help from the man upstairs. In the case of the new Civic, that help comes in the form of an ILEV rating from California’s Air Resource Board (CARB), which qualifies the car for White Clean Air Vehicle decals, granting the cars access to HOV lanes which could significantly cut back on time spent idling in traffic and overall commuting time.
Similar programs had been in effect to encourage the widespread adoption of hybrid vehicles, but that program (Yellow Clean Air Vehicle decals) expired July 1, 2011, effectively eliminating HOV privileges for hybrid cars like Honda’s own Insight and arch-rival Toyota’s Prius.
You can read Honda’s full press release on the next page.
Honda, you’ve got my attention. Honda Motor Company President Takanobu Ito told Auto News that Honda is working to a “spiritual successor” to Acura’s former flagship supercar. With a mid-mounted all-aluminum V6, double wishbone suspension, aluminum monocoque chassis, and a passenger compartment influenced by the F-16 jet fighter, the original NSX was a marvel of automotive engineering. Honda has been planning a successor for some time, and while the original design was to be feature a front-mounted V10 engine, times are a-changing. Even exotic car companies like Porsche and Ferrari are getting into the hybrid game, and while Honda’s Civic Hybrid posts some pretty impressive fuel economy numbers, the CR-Z hybrid isn’t the sports car many were hoping for.
The next NSX will probably be a gas-electric hybrid, with a focus on being as light as possible. It may even employ a Kinetic Energy Recovery System, or KERS to provide a brief burst of power. Know what would make it really, really cool though? An NSX NGV, or Natural Gas Vehicle. Honda is the only company selling natural gas car at this time, and a natural gas supercar would really send the message “We’re on board with this alternative fuel thing.” Or they could pull a Tesla and develop an all-electric supercar for the street and the track. Really the options are endless…it’d be a nice way to separate from the pack of performance hybrids that are on the horizon.
Source: Automotive News
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.