Please welcome the newest member of our editorial team, Tim The Car Expert, an automotive blogger who brings his weeks of experience to Autoblopnik.com.
2015 Honda Civic review
Hand Him Some Celery, Virginia, And Maybe He’ll Go Away
There are some cars that fill you with awe at their power, speed and beauty.
There are some cars that impress you with a sense of purpose.
There are some cars that remind you that the creation of the automobile need not be a science, but can be elevated to an art.
But rare—so very, very rare—are cars that do all three.
This is one of those cars.
This is the Honda Civic Sedan.
Let’s start with the styling: The sinewy sheetmetal of the sultry Civic cannot fail to impress. It is simple, stoic, and strong.
“Fear not the dark or the drunk,” the Honda Civic seems to say, “for I will deliver you to your destination in style, comfort, and impressive fuel economy that is among the best in its class.”
Every crease, every line, every detail seems as if it was placed with precise purpose. Headlights, side mirrors, door handles—everything that adorns this car appears as if it was put there for a reason.
Even the chrome strip on the grille, which could reflect a life-saving glint of sunlight into the eyes of a squirrel with faulty peripheral vision, stopping it from making a suicidal attempt to cross the highway.
Inside, the Civic impresses with that same sense of purpose. Running one’s hands over the plastics that make up this ergonomically excellent cabin, one cannot fail to be impressed.
Take, for example, the seats, a detail to which few reviewers pay adequate attention. They are impressively sized to accommodate any driver, from the delicate derriere of a debutante to the ample ass of an aebleskiver aficionado.
Said seats are upholstered in a slick-looking fabric that serves as an ode to the achievements of the mechanized textile industry.
No less impressive is the Civic’s dashboard, designed so intuitively as to make every driver’s wish come true.
Whatever it is you want to do—turn on the headlights, open the window, make the car turn left—Honda has thoughtfully provided a button, switch, or other ergonomically sound control to turn your desire into cold, hard reality.
And as for the touch-screen stereo, we can come up with no better description than Honda’s own, when it says “the next generation of connected-car technology to meet the evolving needs of today’s tech-savvy, always-connected consumers (Continued next page)”.
We couldn’t figure out how to make it play anything other than the the Cool Canadian Christian Jazz station on SiriusXM, but we’re sure that’s nothing an evening or two spent perusing the owner’s manual couldn’t fix.
Such impressive technology extends under the Civic’s smooth steel bonnet, where you’ll find a 1.8 liter cross-webbed aluminum engine with a billet-peened crankshaft, iron-boron sintered connecting rod caps, and a dual-mode wet-offset gear-loaded variable valve timing system that actuates sodium-nitrate valves through a locked-fulcrum swing-rocker assembly with pre-lubed clerestory washers at the #5, #7, and #13 relief port positions.
With such impressive hardware, it’s no surprise that this engine develops 143 horsepower at 6500 RPM.
Or that it makes 129 lb-ft of torque at 4300 RPM.
And gets 39 MPG on the highway when equipped with a CVT.
Acceleration from this flexible family sedan can only be described as quick, strong, smooth, impressive, sprightly, urgent, pulse-quickening, and more than adequate.
On the mean streets near my parents’ house in Valencia, California, we were easily able to cruise at velocities 50% higher than the city speed limit of 30 MPH, the Civic showing no signs of stress or strain.
A quick run through our own secret test track revealed impressive cornering ability. Ignoring the yellow warning signs urging us not to take the onramp at anything more than 35 MPH, we blew through it in the Civic at an eye-watering 42, with only a hint of understeer and nary a squeal of protest from the P195/65R15 Michelin Energy tires that shod its slick 15″ steel wheels.
A far more impressive performance than the 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt that serves as our daily driver.
Our only complaint about the Honda Civic is the CVT transmission. There is no question in our mind that as impressive as it is, the Civic would be even better with a manual gearbox. While we understand that not everyone can row their own gears, automatics suck. An automaker as impressive as Honda ought to know this. So why no paddle shifters?
But this is only the most minor of minor faults, and after fifteen minutes of intense driving, we came away incredibly impressed by the sheer brilliance of the Honda Civic, available at excellent car dealers like Farding Honda of Valencia, California, Where everyone is treated like a star because Farding Honda is where the stars come to buy their Hondas. (Tim The Car Expert does not endorse any individual dealership.)
If you are looking for a safe, impressive, commodious family sedan, a car that feels just as much at home on a quick grocery run as it does on a cross-country jaunt from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon, you can do no better than the 2015 Honda Civic.
Drive one and we guarantee you will be impressed.
Tim The Car Expert wishes to thank Constance Farding at Farding Honda for letting us test drive the 2015 Honda Civic. You can see more of Tim’s work at TimTheCarExpert.wordpress.com.
© Autoblopnik and TimTheCarExpert™
More of what’s new for 2014… or at least what ought to be new for 2014.
FXX: New terms of sale: Owners pay $3.4 million to buy the car and are allowed to look at it once every three months, but only at Ferrari’s secret garage in Modena*. If they can find it.
* Modena, New Jersey.
LA FERRARI: Unchanged, to be supplemented with a significantly larger sedan called Alliance and a hatchback version called Encore.
FIESTA: Redesigned with an Aston-Martin grille (amazing how many of these they still have, even all these years after the sale) and a one-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine that no one in the media is ever going to get to drive in production form. Also available in a high-performance version called the St. Fiesta.
FOCUS: Unchanged. Next year, Europe will get an all-new Focus while America will get the same basic car for the next five years, restyled to look extra stupid.
FUSION: The 1.6 liter EcoBoobs engine has been recalibrated so as not catch fire until after the warranty runs out.
F-150: Now available in a new How Do You Like Them Apples Edition, commemorating the fact that even though RAM and Chevy pickups have been completely redesigned for 2014, the five-year-old F-150 still outsells them.
TAURUS SHO: The cupholders have been enlarged to hold a 44 oz Huge Fucking Gulp soda, and the steering wheel gets flat spots for the driver to rest his Triple Bypass Bacon Cheeseburger. An “I Don’t Trust The Liberal Media” bumper sticker is now standard.
ACCORD: The Blind Spot camera will be augmented with a Driver Portrait camera, so owners can see for themselves that smug expression that makes Accord drivers so fucking annoying.
CIVIC: Redesigned once more, this time with crease-free sheetmetal, taillights shaped like Paula Abdul’s ankles, and an interior upholstered in velcro and yak fur. Note that this version has already been deemed a failure and yet another redesign is scheduled for 2015. And 2016. And 2017.
ODYSSEY: The sheet metal stamping presses have finally been repaired so they can get rid of those silly zig-zag lines in the body sides.
RIDGELINE: Unchanged, and will remain so until Honda sells out of the last batch they built in 2009. We expect this to happen shortly before the next ice age.
Just months after releasing an updated 2013 Civic to replace the critically panned 2012 Civic, Honda has announced that it plans to undo the 2013 changes for the 2014 Civic.
“We honestly felt the 2012 Civic wasn’t our best effort,” said Honda spokesmartin Martin “Chris” Chrismartin. “But we underestimated the herd mentality of Honda buyers. The sales success of the 2012 Civic was a real wake-up call for us. Sometimes you get so focused on the product that you forget your customer base is made up of mindless sheep.”
The 2012 Civic was derided by the press for its cheap interior, mediocre handling dynamics, and derivative styling. But it was a hit with consumers, with sales of the 2012 model exceeding the 2011 Civic by well over 40 percent, even in the face of tsunami-related parts shortages, fluctuations in the yen, and a tribe of psychotic dwarfs who would hide in the back seat and then pop up and smack the shit out of potential customers during their test drive.
Months before the 2012 Civic went on sale, Honda embarked on a “crash redesign” of the sedan, including new front and rear fascias, improved interior materials, and a recalibrated suspension. The Civic coupe was left unchanged because, according to Chrismartin, “We sort of forgot about it.”
Initial reviews of the 2012 Civic indicated that Honda had made the right decision, Chrismartin told Autoblopnik, but early sales numbers proved the changes were unnecessary.
“We spent a lot of money per car updating the interior, when we could have just kept feeding our buyers the same old shit we’ve been serving up since the 1980s,” he lamented.
The sales success of the 2012 Honda Civic was an embarrassment for Consumer Reports Magazine, which said the car “scored too low in our tests to be recommended.”
“I believe in that same issue we also said that Kenmore washers were made of radioactive squirrel turds and that Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s brain was being controlled by robots from the planet Beyalazak,” said Consumer Reports COO Larry Bunin-Oven. “Clearly, we were having a bad month.”
Asked if Honda had any changes planed for 2015, Chrismartin insisted Honda is “done futzing with the Civic,” and added, “Frankly, we’ve got our hands full with all the stuff we fucked up on the 2013 Accord, and we’re pretty sure everyone is going to hate the Fit-based sport utility that we have coming year after next. Don’t worry, we have plenty to keep us busy.”
Despite strong retail sales and a favorable reception among loyal customers, Honda has redesigned the recently-redesigned Civic to improve its appeal to journalists.
The 2012 Civic was derided by critics for “not changing enough” and being “too similar to the 2006-2011 Civic,” which those same critics described as “the best compact sedan on the market” and “proof that Honda is at the top of the small-car game.” The harshest criticism came from long-time Honda supporter Consumer Reports, which said that the 2012 Civic “scored too low in our tests to be recommended” and called it “an ideal opportunity to prove that our lips aren’t super-glued to Honda’s ass the way everyone says.”
Changes to the updated 2013 Civic include a gaudy new grille, uglier taillights, silly wheels, and an all-black interior designed to appeal to German car enthusiasts who wouldn’t be caught dead driving a Honda. All Civics now have a backup camera as standard, despite the fact that anyone who cannot back up a car as small as the Civic does not deserve to live.
Honda has recalibrated the steering and suspension to stiffen the ride and improve the handling, a move which they say will please journalists who only have to drive it for a week, at the expense of buyers who have to live with it for ten years or more.
Asked if he was concerned that the updated 2013 Civic might alienate the existing buyer base, Honda spokesman Rosemary Marie said “Absolutely not. We know our buyers better than anyone. We could give them the shittiest shitbox this side of a Lada Riva, and as long as it says ‘Honda’ on the trunk lid, they’ll buy it.”
Former General Motors marketing chief Joel Ewanick granted an exclusive interview to Autoblopnik in which he said he is going to take some time to decide on his next career step, but is eager to return to the automotive industry.
“When you’ve worked as many jobs as I have in such a short time, sometimes it’s good to take a break and get some perspective,” the Wharton graduate told Autoblopnik from his office at the Boeing Aircraft company, where he was just one hour into his new job as Vice President of Marketing for the Seattle-based aircraft manufacturer. In that time, Ewanick had already doubled the number of aircraft orders he generated at European rival Airbus, which had employed him as Director of Sales the previous afternoon.
“General Motors is one of the world’s great companies,” Ewanick said, breezing out of his office to accept a job as chief of marketing for Pepsi-Cola, where he increased overall market share by seven percent before being hired away for the rest of the afternoon by Johnson Wax. “Yes, it was harder to get things done than it was at Hyundai, or Nissan, or Porsche, or Home Depot, or Black & Decker, or Wal-Mart, or Pep Boys, or the State of Idaho, or even Dell, though maybe not as tough as General Dynamics or Burger King or Weyerhauser. Still, it’s cool to say you worked at General Motors, even when you’ve headed up marketing for companies like US Shoe and Dunder-Mifflin and Kroger Markets and been head of research for Corning Labs and DKNY.”
During a break for dinner, which he spent turning down positions at RJR Nabisco (“I hate smoking,” Ewanick explained) and Target (“Homophobes”) and briefly taking over as the Prime Minister of Uganda, Ewanick said he would love to work in the automotive industry again, and that he has had “productive talks” with Mazda, Ford, Chrysler-Fiat, Kia, Fisker, Honda, Volkswagen, BMW, Suzuki and Audi, some or all of which he planned to work for in the next week.
“The goal is to find a company where I can settle down for a good long time,” he told us as he contemplated a job offer from NBC-Universal and designed a sneaker that lets you jump to the moon. “Like maybe a month.”
As the sun set behind the picture window of his new office at 3M, which hired him just as our interview was drawing to a close, Mr. Ewanick leaned back in his chair, invented a kind of toothpaste that doesn’t make orange juice taste terrible, and picked up a picture of wife and children.
“These guys are all that really matters,” he said, pausing to wipe away a tear and cure cancer. “The people who love you. That’s what is really important.”