AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
After recently announcing plans that it would once again return to challenge for the title in the British Touring Car Championship, Honda has now released the first photos of the car it intends to do so in.
The Next Generation Touring Car (NGTC) Civic is based on the European Civic hatchback model (not on our new 2012 Civic model) and is hitting the track for its first public test today at Brands Hatch in the UK.
“This is the first opportunity we have had to get behind the wheel to really see what the car has got. The team are really pleased with the results from the test at MIRA last week and I can’t wait to finally start putting the car through its paces,” said triple-BTCC champion Matt Neal. “It will be interesting to see how the car performs, but I’m optimistic that we’ll walk away from today confident we have a championship winning car.”
The first race of the British Touring Car Championship will take place at Brand’s Hatch on April 1st.
GALLERY: 2012 Honda Civic BTCC Race Car
You may love that new car smell, but don’t breathe in too deep – it could make you sick.
Automakers sometimes use volatile chemicals in its cars’ interiors and there’s a study out from the Ecology Center that lists the worst offenders and the safest bets. The problem with that “new car smell” is that it contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are bad for breathing, especially when it’s confined to such a small place – like a car.
Making the worst list are the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, the Chrysler 300C and the Kia Soul. In the Mitsubishi Outlander, the Ecology Center states that its interior “contained bromine and antimony-based flame retardants in the seating and center console; chromium-treated leather on several components; and over 400 ppm lead in seating materials.”
But you can breathe easy in certain vehicles. On the safest cars list, from an interior chemical standpoint, are the Honda Civic, the Toyota Prius and the Honda CR-Z.
You can see what cars make the worst and best lists after the jump.
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]
Just as Honda announced it’ll be refreshing the Civic for next year, hoping everyone will quickly forget about the 2012 model, Consumer Reports goes and gives the 2012 Honda Civic Si a “Recommended” rating in its latest report.
Now let’s keep in mind that Consumer Reports were one of the first outlets to give the 2012 Civic such low ratings. In fact, they reiterated their thoughts on the base model Civic by saying “while other models like the Hyundai Elantra have gotten better after being redesigned, the Honda Civic has dropped so much that now it ranks near the bottom of its category.”
But the base model Civic isn’t the one that sports the 2.4L, 201-hp powerplant. In fact, our review of the Si was favorable – read the review here – and Consumer Reports agrees that the Si offers “terrific acceleration” more low-end torque and a slick-shifting six-speed manual gearbox. As a result, the Si model scored much better than the base model awarding it the Recommended title from Consumer Reports.
Funny enough, the publication still believes that while “the Civic Si has a great powertrain, it needs a better car wrapped around it.”
GALLERY: 2012 Honda Civic Si
In a completely unprecedented and unexpected move, Honda has announced to its dealers to expect a new Civic by the end of next year. That’s right, the all-new 2012 Honda Civic that just came out is already getting a makeover.
Honda is clearly doing damage control by saying that the revamp is coming early in order to stay ahead of the competition. But there’s little doubt it’s coming because the all-new Civic was so disappointing. In fact, many believe that it was a step backwards from the previous generation’s offerings and that Honda really missed the mark on their iconic model.
At least Honda is being proactive in recognizing that a change needs to be made, hopefully it’s for the better.
As for what we can expect, Honda recently previewed a new lineup of engine and transmission technologies, including a new direct-injection 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine. In addition, Honda has produced a new CVT transmission for use in compact cars and so its possible that will replace the current 5-speed automatic unit. These changes come as a part of Honda’s new Earth Dreams Technology plan where it aims to deliver vehicles that are not only fuel economy leaders, but performance leaders. too.
GALLERY: 2012 Honda Civic Sedan
It hasn’t been a particularly good year for Honda, especially where it concerns its bread and butter Civic. Introduced just prior to the March 11 Tsunami and earthquake that hit Japan, supply shortages crippled production, leaving dealers starved of their best selling model in many cases.
To make matters worse, the 2012 model, in the process of redesign when the global economy tanked in 2008, received a number of cost cutting measures, such as reducing feature content and using cheaper materials, particularly inside the car, including the dash and console.
Although Honda is now ramping Civic production back up again, including adding a second shift at it’s Greensburg, Indiana plant, it’s also taken to heart some of the criticism leveled at the new car. As a result, originally planned mid-cycle updates are scheduled to take place sooner, rather than later.
According to John Mendel, executive vice president at American Honda Motor Co. said updates will happen next year instead of 2013.
“We take feedback seriously, regardless of who it’s from, and we will act accordingly quickly,” he said in a recent interview, though he also stated that he doesn’t know how much Honda can do to improve the car’s image, nor how quickly.
Civic was still the most shopped nameplate in the US in June, though demand since has fallen faster than many analysts predicted, with much of that believed to have come from a downgrading by Consumer Reports, which dropped the Civic from it’s “Recommended” list for the first time in memory.
[Source: Automotive News]
With the 2011 SEMA Show just around the corner, we’ve been getting fed tons of teasers and sneak peeks of finished projects that will be making their way to the big aftermarket expo in Las Vegas. But forget teasers, here’s the full reveal of Fox Marketing’s 2012 Honda Civic Si, boasting a wickedly clean widebody and packing over 450-hp thanks to Full-Race’s turbo kit.
The custom widebody and body kit is courtesy of carbodykits.com, while Fox Marketing opted to have the entire body resprayed by BASF’s R-M Ultrasonic Blue Pearl. Handling suspension duties are springs from Road Magnet while SSBC contributed a brake upgrade to the Si Coupe. For wheels, Fox Marketing opted for a custom 20-inch setup from Vossen. CV3 wheels adorn each corner of the project wrapped with Toyo Proxes 4 tires.
On the inside, Yonaka Ronin racing seats found their way inside after being reupholstered with factory Civic Si fabric inserts in the front and the rear. AutoGuide.com will be sure to check out the finished project up close in person starting on November 1st.
GALLERY: Fox Marketing 2012 Honda Civic Si
Discuss this story at 9thGenCivic.com
One of the complains that has been leveled against the new 2012 Honda Civic is that it isn’t very dramatically designed. In fact, we said as much in our review of the Civic Si, commenting that this “boy racer” needs an injection of testosterone.
This may just happen, and far sooner than anyone could have predicted, with rumors that the 2013 model year car will get a styling update well-ahead of the usual mid-cycle refresh. According to one source a “very refreshed, and more aggressively styled Civic,” is set to hit the market in December of 2012 as a 2013 model year car. The news comes from a “grassroots” meeting between West Coast Honda dealers and corporate big wigs, where the dealers expressed their concerns with the new car’s styling and were reassured with the above comments from corporate.
With Honda having just launched the new Civic, the 2013 model year car is said to arrive late in the year, perhaps as far away as December of next year, giving Honda as much time as possible to revamp the car to help it compete better against popular new models like the Cruze, Focus and Elantra.
GALLERY: 2012 Civic Si
Being the savvy multinational corporation Honda is, it has to take its knocks with some tact. And with its reputation marred by Consumer Reports’ dragging of the 2012 Honda Civic through the muck, it’s no surprise that Honda has issued a statement claiming that they “fundamentally disagree” with the magazine’s review.
Both Honda and Consumer Reports, of course, have valuable reputations in the minds of consumers. And so, “they are definitely finding fault with someone they have shown a lot of love in the past,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for Honda North America.
Mendel picks apart the CR review and finds that “Consumer Reports’ own testing found that Civic’s smooth and efficient powertrain returned “…an impressive 30 mpg overall on regular fuel and 47 mpg on the highway. Only one other compact car the magazine tested did better.” In addition, “as noted in Consumer Reports findings, the Civic excels with a long list of important safety features that are standard on all trim levels.”
Rival publication Motor Trend, “which knows a thing or two about ride and handling,” picked Civic 2nd among eight compact cars in a recent comparison test. This, Mendel says, is proof that the Civic is still a player in the already-competitive small car market. “However, we disagree with Motor Trend as well—we think there is no better compact car than Civic.” Hey now, don’t get greedy!
Lastly, Mendel notes that CR only reviewed one model of the Civic, the LX sedan, while there are six different models across three trim levels. While this could be construed as a fair point, we doubt that some of the Civic’s greater shortcomings could be drastically improved with the ticking of an options box.
Click here to read AutoGuide’s 2012 Honda Civic review or hit the jump to watch the video:
Honda has taken a beating from critics over its new 2012 Civic model, but the buying public could just as easily shrug off the elitists views of a few buff books were the level-headed and notoriously impartial heads at Consumer Reports to anoint the Japanese compact car with a Recommended rating. But they didn’t.
In the latest issue of Consumer Reports, the Civic is tested alongside the new Focus and the Kia Forte, both of which earn a “Very Good” rating. The Civic, however, scored too low to rank on the Recommended list. Dropped 17 points from the previous generation car, the new model gets just 61 points, dropping from “Very Good” to “Mediocre”. In fact, the only compact car to score worse was the unanimously panned Volkswagen Jetta.
The reason for the low score, according to CR, include a lower interior quality, a choppy ride, long braking distances and “pronounced road noise.” It’s not all bad, they insist, listing positives like decent rear seat room and a 30-mpg average rating in their test (the second best).
“While other models like the Hyundai Elantra have gotten better after being redesigned, the Civic has dropped so much that now it ranks near the bottom of its category,” said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center in East Haddam, CT.
As perhaps a sign of an improving situation from its suppliers, Honda has announced it will be stepping up production of the Civic at its Greensburg, Indiana assembly plant by adding a second shift.
Since the plant opened in 2008, Honda has always planned to have two shifts running, however, a combination of supply issues from the natural disaster in Japan, along with having to re-tool for the 2012 model have meant that it’s only been possible to keep one shift running, as a result; availability of Civics so far this year has been at half the normal level, much to the chagrin of Honda’s dealers and customers.
Nevertheless, a spokesman for Honda, Ed Miller, said that the company has been working hard on fixing its supply problems and as a result is now able to commit to a second shift at the Civic plant.
So far this year, sales of small cars are up by 20 percent over 2010, spurred in part by higher fuel prices. Honda’s overall sales are up by 17 percent, as is demand for the Civic, so the news probably could not have come at a better time.
Honda previously stated that it expected full production capacity for all model lines (bar the Civic) to be achieved by August.
GALLERY: 2012 Honda Civic
[Source: Automotive News]
Discuss this story at 9thGenCivic.com
In light of post-earthquake supply disruptions, Honda Civics may be a bit scarce where you are, but in Canada where the Civic has been the number-one selling car for 13 years straight, they now come in giant cereal boxes – or so a Vancouver ad agency would have you believe.
Honda is already marketing the car to a younger audience with fantastical themes, but this takes it to a new level, and may become a trend in trying to get peoples’ attention in an age where many think we’ve seen just about everything.
A similarly larger-than-life ad was a facade for a recent tall Hot Wheels ad on a real highway made to look like a car could do a quick loop along its way.
See video after the jump.
Every time a new version of a car is introduced sales are expected to spike. That, however, is not the case with the all-new 2012 Honda Civic with American Honda Motor Co. sales boss John Mendel warning dealers in a memo that supply will be “severely restricted, with limited availability of certain models.”
Due to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the document sent to dealers states that production of the new car will, “be at significantly reduced levels at least during the summer months.” As a result, some industry experts are predicting that instead of the usual spike for a new model, Civic sales could drop below the 2010 figure of 260,000 units.
“With an all-new and improved model, Honda of course targeted to sell more,” says Christina Ra, Manager Honda Public Relations. Unwilling to speculate on exactly how much the restricted supply could damage sales of the Civic, Ra did admit that, “Obviously, if a customer really needs to make a purchase, wants the Civic and can’t get it… there are choices that must be made on the customer’s part.”
While serious problem for any car in any year, this could hamper momentum on the new Civic and hurt its long term success in an increasingly competitive market. Hyundai’s new Elantra is off to a strong start and while Honda used to be able to count on a lack of competition from domestic automakers, both Ford’s new Focus and the new Chevy Cruze are both credible threats in the marketplace.
With supply limited due to production, and not demand, the imbalance between dealer inventories and customer buying habits could cause prices to rise. Ra was unwilling to comment on how dealers will react to the admitted imbalance between supply and demand, instead commenting that as independent entities they would be left to govern themselves.
No indication was given on if availability of particular Civic models could be more affected by the shortage.
The good news, says Ra, is that, “there is a tangible end in sight,” with Honda’s goal of normalizing production by the end of the year.
Discuss this and more at 9thGenCivic.com
The 2012 Honda Civic is a crucial product for Honda. As the competition gets better and better, Honda will have to fight to retain customers in the compact car segment, an area where they were the undisputed champions for decades. But with the new Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai Elantra and Ford Focus nipping at its heels, Honda has been forced to double down its efforts and ensure that the Civic is a winner.
The lineups bread and butter will be the standard coupe and sedan models, which look visually similar to the outgoing car, but pack some interesting improvements beneath the skin. A new 1.8L four-cylinder with 140 horsepower will be the standard engine, with a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission on offer.
Fuel economy will be close to class leaders, with as much as 39 mpg available during the highway cycle. Buyers looking for even more miserly fuel consumption will have to step up to the HF model, which is available only with a 5-speed automatic transmission. The HF will get a unique spoiler, 15” wheels and underbody enhancements to help it achieve 41 mpg on the highway, 1 mpg higher than the Ford Focus or Hyundai Elantra.
Inside, features like a premium audio system, XM radio and a navigation system will be available. Honda expects the new Civic to get a 5-star crash test rating, in line with other cars in the segment, and while the car hasn’t been tested yet, we see no reason to doubt this. You can read our review of the 2012 Civic here and check out our New York Auto Show coverage for live photos of the car’s reveal.
Discuss the new 2012 Civic with the 9thGenCivic community.
GALLERY: Honda Civic Sedan
GALLERY: Honda Civic Coupe
Discuss the 9th generation Civic at 9thGenCivic.com
Honda will reveal the all-new 9th generation Civic lineup at the New York Auto Show on Wednesday. Totaling six models, the next-generation of the Civic will include a Coupe and Sedan, Si Coupe and Sedan, Hybrid, Natural Gas model and even a high-mpg HF model.
Powered by a 1.8-liter i-VTEC engine, the new Civic comes up just shot of the 2011 Hyundai Elantra with a 39-mpg highway rating compared to the Korean model’s 40-mpg number. Honda is able to achieve this number without direct-injection, a dual-clutch transmission or even six gears. Yup, the 2012 Civic continues to rely on a 5-speed auto-box.
Those looking for improved fuel economy can opt for a special HF model that makes use of special aerodynamic pieces to help deliver 41-mpg highway. Maximum Honda fuel economy is available with a new Civic Hybrid that gets a 4-mpg bump to achieve a 45-mpg combined rating, while those with a penchant for performance can turn to the Civic Si with a larger 2.4-liter 4-cylinder making 200-hp and 170 lb-ft of torque.
Look for full details on each car Wednesday, March 20th with AutoGuide’s 2011 NY Auto Show coverage here.
GALLERY: 2012 Honda Civic Lineup
[Source: Automotive News]
Get more news and info on the 2012 Honda Civic at 9thGenCivic.com
Honda has already announced its new lineup of 2012 Civic models, but with only limited info and photos. Thanks to some amateur spy photographers and videographers, however, we now have plenty more to see.
Spied during the shooting of a commercial or promo video is the entire lineup of 2012 Civic models, from the coupe and sedan, to the Civic Hybrid and even the Si. Honda has confirmed the Si will get a new 2.4-liter 4-cylinder with 200-hp and 170 lb-ft of torque, while the Civic Hybrid will boast a lithium-ion battery pack and a 45-mpg average fuel economy rating.
As for the standard coupe and sedan, they will get an impressive, though not-quite class-leading 39-mpg highway rating.
GALLERY: 2012 Honda Civic Lineup
Get more news and info on the 2012 Civic lineup at 9thGenCivic.com
See video of the cars after the jump:
Despite being known for its engine building prowess, Honda‘s new 2012 Civic does not live up to rivals in delivering the new 40-mpg benchmark number, set by cars like the 2011 Hyundai Elantra. In fact, Honda falls one short, with a 39-mpg highway rating.
Powered by a 1.8-liter i-VTEC engine, the new Civic may, however, have one surprise left, with Honda not yet disclosing city fuel economy. With the 1.8-liter a smaller powerplant than those used by rivals, the average fuel economy number may still come out on top.
What is amazing, is that Honda is able to achieve a number so close without the use of turbocharging, direct-injection or even a 6-speed transmission. Yup, the 2012 Honda Civic still relies on a 5-speed box.
Those looking for improved fuel economy can opt for a special HF model that makes use of special aerodynamic pieces, as well as Honda’s ECO Assist technology that coaches drivers on how to get maximum fuel economy to help deliver 41-mpg highway.
Maximum Honda fuel economy is available with a new Civic Hybrid that gets a 4-mpg bump to achieve a 45-mpg combined rating, while those with a penchant for performance can turn to the Civic Si with a larger 2.4-liter 4-cylinder making 200-hp and 170 lb-ft of torque.
GALLERY: 2012 Honda Civic
Get more news and info on the 9th generation Honda Civic at 9thGenCivic.com
Honda has just unveiled its 9th generation Civic for the 2012 model year, including a very fuel efficient hybrid model. With the standard 1.8-liter models expected to get a 39-mpg highway rating, the hybrid will achieve a 45-mpg average, making it the second most fuel efficient vehicle on the market, second only to the Toyota Prius.
Helping the 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and electric motor combo achieve an increase of 4-mpg over the current model is a lithium-ion battery pack – the first use of the more modern batteries in a Honda.
Both the Civic Hybrid and the Civic HF (a special fuel economy model rated at 41-mpg highway) will make use of special aerodynamic pieces, as well as Honda’s ECO Assist technology that coaches drivers on how to get maximum fuel economy.
Get more news and info on the 9th generation Honda Civic at 9thGenCivic.com
For the first time the 2012 Honda Civic has been spied completely undisguised, with both photos and video showing the new compact sedan undergoing hot weather testing in Dubai. Looking not all that different from the current model, Honda seems to be moving away from its more provocative design language to a style that’s intended to not offend anyone.
The overall shape looks to be designed specifically for aerodynamic purposes and with a cabin that looks taller, there’s a resemblance to the first-gen Prius – although with harder lines.
According to Car Middle East, the cars being tested feature a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder, which is much smaller than the current 1.8-liter unit. It’s not yet clear if Honda is planning to use direct-injection with this smaller displacement engine in order to keep power at a suitable level. The car does, however, have an ECON button that would upshift the transmission sooner for improved fuel economy.
Other changes include an interior with push buttons for the climate control rather than the traditional knobs.
We’ll be sure to keep an eye on the Civic and see just how close the production models stick to these prototypes.
[Source: Car Middle East]
Check out the video after the jump:
As competition heats up in the compact car segment, Honda is hoping to lure customers with more than just the promise of a well-built, efficient and reliable sporty car. The Japanese automaker is also looking to appeal to your aesthetic sensibilities with a futuristic design similar to that found on the new CR-Z. This doesn’t surprise us as Honda has developed some more progressive designs lately, including the current Fit.
The next-gen Civic will more than just look like the CR-Z, however, with a hybrid variant getting a setup similar to the CR-Z’s, using the larger 1.5-liter 4-cylinder to deliver added power and fuel economy. Also planned for the 9th generation Civic is a 3-cylinder engine, although it’s not clear if that engine option will be available in North America.
Set to debut in 2012, the 9th generation Civic will go on sale as either a 2012 or 2013 model.
[Source: Car & Driver]
The 9th generation Honda Civic Si performance model may get a big update, moving from the current torque-less 2.0-liter to the 2.4-liter motor currently offered in the Acura TSX. News of this development comes via a source from the well-informed folks at Temple of Vtec, although even they aren’t confident in its credibility.
The K24 engine currently makes 201-hp and 172 ft-lbs of torque and in the smaller and lighter Civic (presumably offered with either a six-speed transmission) will make for an exciting package. Tuners already know this, with the K24 already established as the “go to” engine for those performing an engine swap.
Tuners have also discovered that the K24 has a lot more potential in it, meaning we could see a good bump in power over the current output as well.
Spy photographers have caught the new Honda Civic undergoing testing in Italy. Having already been ordered back to the drawing board by Honda’s CEO, the new Civic is set to arrive in early 2012, at which point the current car will already be long in the tooth.
Unfortunately, the engineering mules didn’t give away much information, as they were draped in the current generation’s body panels. Honda is certainly aware that the competition is fierce, especially from the Korean automakers, and the Civic must be at the top of its class if it wants to regain customers who have gone elsewhere.
[Source: Auto Express]
The next-generation Honda Civic will be delayed until 2011, possibly as a 2012 model year car. This will put the Civic significantly past the typical five-year cycle, stretching until six or possibly even seven years before the ninth-generation car debuts. The current Civic arrived back in September of 2005, making it already quite dated.
Honda COO Tsuneo Tanai admitted at last year’s Tokyo Auto Show that significant changes were being made to the Civic, which was already getting close to production.
The reason for the drastic updates is due to significantly tougher fuel economy targets says American Honda Motor Co.’s VP John Mendel. The move is also, no doubt, attributed to serious competition from unfamiliar foes like the Ford and Chevy, which have both promised 40-mpg versions of the Focus and Cruze. While Honda is often known to be a fuel economy leader, as it stands the current lineup of cars is set to be outmatched by emerging domestic rivals in the sub-compact class; and improvements of just one or two miles per gallon won’t be enough to put Honda on top.
Rather than bring the planned Civic to market and have it fail, Honda is choosing to hang on to the current model (which, luckily for them is already quite good) in order to plan and come out with something better.
The news follows a report that Honda CEO Takanobu Ito is “not satisfied” with his company’s performance and the complacent attitude that has set in among its leaders.
As for the CR-V, Mendel confirmed that it will stock to a five-year production cycle with a redesign coming next year.
[Source: Autmotive News]