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Archive for July, 2011

The History of the Honda Civic

July 27th, 2011

The Honda Civic is one of the most successful and longest-running model lines of all time, with around 19,000,000 units sold through its rich history. To celebrate the introduction of the all-new 9th-generation Civic let’s take a quick look back at what made the car so special over the years.


Honda Civic History 1970s

The pint-sized front-wheel drive Honda Civic made its debut in 1972 as a 1973 model. The new car was unlike anything available on the market, managing to be small and fuel efficient without feeling boring, a trait that would come to define the Civic. The low-emissions CVCC (Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion) engine did not need a catalytic converter to pass U.S. smog regulations at the time of its introduction in 1975.


Honda Civic History 1980s

Introduced for the 1980 model year, the new 2nd-generation Civic grew in all dimensions and in power while still retaining excellent fuel efficiency. Three-door and five-door hatchbacks were later joined by four-door sedan and wagon models. All models were now powered by 1.3 or 1.5-liter engines using the CVCC design.

The 3rd-generation Civic was introduced for 1984 and has proved so durable that many are still found tooling the world’s roads today. Hatchback, sedan and wagon body styles were joined by the Civic CRX, a 3-door hatch known for its sporty handling, light weight and fuel efficiency besting many of today’s top models. The fuel-injected Civic Si and CRX Si offered DOHC engines and were tuned for drivers seeking higher performance.

1988 brought the 4th-generation Civic (pictured above). The new car featured an advanced double wishbone four-wheel independent suspension system bringing better handling than competing FWD compact cars. All North American models were now fuel injected. The extremely light EF-chassis hatchback still commands high prices on the used car market for its model year and has become a favorite with tuners.


Honda Civic History 1990s

For the 1992 model year Honda brought the 5th-generation car, which threw out the boxy lines of previous models for a more streamlined look. Proving the car’s widespread appeal, these Civics are consistently among the most frequently stolen cars today. A huge variety of engines powered the Civic in different world markets, with the DOHC VTEC B16A2 leading the charge.

For 1996 the Civic was redesigned again, though stayed close to the philosophy of its predecessor. By this time the Civic was one of the top selling cars in the U.S. and abroad. Competing American models could not match the car’s perfect blend of performance and economy, so the 6th-gen car cemented Japan’s status as kings of the compact.


Honda Civic History 2000s

The 7th-generation Civic debuted for the 2001 model year. The car was similar in size to its predecessor but had a softer, more refined feel and gained power. The patented double wishbone suspension system was replaced with MacPherson struts in the front. Honda’s excellent reliability and resale value continued, as did the Civic’s sales success. The first Civic Hybrid was released to the North American market in 2002.

For 2006 the 8th-generation car was introduced, bringing with it much more modern styling. Now at the larger end of the compact segment, the car was a far cry from the tiny CVCC hatchbacks from the Civic’s long history. Worldwide sales success continued, though competitors offered improved models that began to eat into Honda’s market share.


Honda Civic History 2012

Honda’s all-new 9th-generation Civic is upon us, and as Japanese production returns to pre-quake levels the cars have begun arriving on dealership lots. The car’s styling is perhaps too reminiscent of the 8th-gen car, though you can’t argue with the car’s outstanding fuel economy, especially in the HF and Hybrid versions. Does Honda’s latest in the long line of illustrious Civic cars have what it takes to end up in your garage?


2012 Ford Mustang: Specs, Features and Pricing

July 26th, 2011

When the Ford Mustang first started appearing on American streets in 1964 it immediately was a sensation. Sure Chevrolet had its Camaro and Plymouth had its Challenger. Still, it was the Mustang that captured the imagination and helped to develop a whole new classification of autos — the muscle car.

Now it is 46 years later and the 2012 Ford Mustang is poised to wrinkle asphalt across the U.S. The newest Mustang line includes a GT that will be powered by a 412-horsepower 5.0 liter V8 that also happens to develop an “excuse me, my name is torque and I brought 390 lb-ft worth of friends”. Strategically placed jets spray oil onto the bottom of the pistons to cool them as they provide combustion.  Buyers have a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

[Visit the Authoritative Ford Mustang Forum Here]

Car enthusiasts who have test driven it say that true Mustang fans should opt for the manual over the automatic. That is, as long as fuel economy is not an issue for you.

Inside the car and sitting behind the wheel one will see patterned-metal inlay, chrome-ringed electroluminescent gauges. And should you forget that you are inside a Mustang, the gauges sport the running horse emblem that has become so famous. A Ford Sync System is included. And those of you who want the breeze running through your hair, there is a convertible version included in the line.

Base price for the GT is $33,310*. For those Mustang fans who may not be able to take the excitement of the GT, there is a plain-Jane vanilla version that has a MSRP of $22,310*.

To see Ford’s complete 2012 Mustang lineup, click here.

To see Ford’s latest incentives on the 2012 Mustang, click here.


GM Confirms 45-mpg Chevy Cruze Diesel

July 25th, 2011

Chevrolet Cruze Diesel Coming in 2013

General Motors CEO Dan Akerson has confirmed to USA Today that a diesel version of Chevrolet’s hot-selling Cruze will be coming to the United States in 2013. The Cruze would be the first diesel-powered passenger car from an American automaker in the U.S. market since the 1980s and should offer a compelling reason for traditionally diesel-averse U.S. buyers to make the jump.

The Cruze Diesel, expected to be powered by a 2.0-liter turbodiesel making around 140 horsepower and 200 lb-ft. of torque, will be good for fuel efficiency in the “low-to-mid 40’s” on the highway with an automatic transmission, Akerson says. A manual version, if offered, would presumably offer even greater efficiency.

The gas-powered 2011 Chevrolet Cruze has proven a big hit for GM and was the top-selling passenger car in the U.S. last month.


Video of a 2011 BMW 3-Series Being Built in 4 Minutes

July 25th, 2011

Ever wanted an inside look at just what exactly happens on the assembly line as a new car is built? Follow the journey of a new 2011 BMW 3-Series as it is crafted by humans and robots at BMW’s Munich plant where the 3-Series is built. Courtesy of time lapse video, the whole process from stamping to paint to interior and powertrain assembly takes just over 4 minutes.

After the whole shebang, highlighted by the famous BMW Roundel emblem being carefully placed on the hood, the car roars off into the distance, ready to be paired with a happy driver. Very cool!


2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In: Pricing, Specs and Availability

July 25th, 2011

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In

Toyota’s exciting new Prius Plug-In will be hitting dealership floors soon, and a few more concrete official details have come in by way of a report from Bloomberg News. The Plug-In ditches the standard Toyota Prius‘s small nickel-metal hydride battery pack for a beefier, heavier lithium-ion unit, giving the ability to run for around 13 miles on electric power alone. Regenerative braking can recharge the batteries past the capacity necessary to power the car in hybrid form, meaning on some trips drivers should see more than 13 miles of EV-only cruising.

Let’s look at pricing. Toyota’s Jana Hartline confirmed to Bloomberg the new model will retail for $3,000 to $5,000 more than the standard Prius. But, a Federal tax credit of “at least $2,500” will apply, Hartline says, as will state incentives like $1,500 and carpool-lane access in California. Toyota expects to sell at least 16,000 units in 2012.

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Engine Detail

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Quick Facts

Engine/Electic Motor: DOHC 16-valve 1.8-liter 4-cylinder/Permanent-magnet electric motor (Combined 134 horsepower)
Transmission: CVT
EV-Only Range: Approx. 13 miles
Post-EV mpg: 51/48/50 city/highway/combined mpg
Charge Time: 3 hours (Standard 110V), 1.5 Hours (240V)
0-60: 11.3 seconds (Standard Prius is 9.8 seconds. Plug-In approx. 330 lbs. heavier)
Base Price: Est. $27,000 before Federal and state incentives
Release Date (Nationwide): “Very early” 2012