Honda Civic: Engine Recall for 2016, Hatchback Coming for 2018

civic-hatchback

The Honda Civic hatchback is on just about anyone’s list of cool European cars that Americans can’t have.

The car is built in Europe, for Europeans, and there’s been no sign that Honda would offer it up to a clamoring American public. Why is that? Money, of course.

Adapting the car to fit American tastes and to comply with American crash and emissions standards would simply cost too much, not to mention the costs associated with building in Europe and shipping to the United States.

The math didn’t add up, so the car never came here.

But guess what? Honda has announced that it will ship the next-generation Civic hatchback from its factory in Swindon, England to the United States for the first time ever in an attempt to inject some life into its struggling European division.

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Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro and Ram Power Wagon: The Bad Boys of Chicago

2017_Toyota_Tacoma_TRD_Pro

Maybe you’ve never stopped to think about this, but the Toyota Tacoma has become the size of a Ford F-150.

Sort of.

Let’s compare some numbers:

The smallest 2006 Ford F-150 is 211 inches long.

The smallest 2016 Toyota Tacoma is 212 inches long.

There are countless trim levels and sizes for each truck, but we have to acknowledge that the current midsize Tacoma is nearly the size of a full-size truck from a decade ago. And it’s still growing.

At the Chicago Auto Show this week, the Tacoma and another shamelessly large truck, the Ram Power Wagon, showed that downsizing isn’t an option.

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Kia Aims to Be Korea’s Performance Brand, With Hybrids

2017 Kia Niro

Kia, as we know it, is distinguishing itself from its Hyundai parent by becoming Korea’s performance brand. Its introductions at the Chicago Auto Show further indicate where the brand is heading.

But wait, you might protest. Didn’t Kia introduce two hybrids at the Chicago Auto Show? Yes, but hybrid no longer means dowdy. Have you seen the Toyota Prius Super Bowl commercial? It’s not that far off the mark.

Developments for fuel efficiency can easily translate to performance enhancements. Kia’s two introductions demonstrate that.

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LC 500 Ushers in Change for Lexus

lexus-lc-500

“Lexus is like Neiman Marcus. The quality isn’t that much better than what you’d get at a discount store, yet it’s incredibly expensive.”

Those aren’t my words, mind you. I’ve owned a Lexus and found it exceptionally nice, though certainly not overly thrilling. Those are the words of my lovely wife, who has very engrained perceptions about certain car brands.

She associates Lexus with spiffed-up Toyotas and doesn’t see the added-value proposition of the L logo on the grille.

That’s a sentiment that obviously isn’t widely shared, because Lexus remains one of the best-selling luxury car brands in America. Lexus has, however, suffered from a lack of performance and design credibility, especially when compared with BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz.

Lexus knows it has a problem in those areas and has determined to do something about it.

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How to Enjoy a New England Winter Weekend Without Snow

2016 New England Int'l Auto Show Press Day

CarGurus was honored to attend yesterday’s press preview of the 2016 New England International Auto Show. With more than 600 cars from 37 manufacturers valued at over $22 million, we were able to see and get into a bunch of brand-new vehicles for the first time. The show offers any car fan with an interest in new vehicles an unbeatable opportunity to take a close look at and ask experts questions about the wide world of cars available to American buyers.

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Five Biggest Impacts from the 2016 Detroit Auto Show

Last week I wrote about seven Detroit Auto Show debuts to watch. The only one I got remotely wrong was the 2017 Chrysler Town & Country, but that was only because FCA pulled a fast one and changed that vehicle’s name to the Chrysler Pacifica.

Here are the five vehicles that made the biggest impact at the North American International Auto Show, which runs through Jan. 24 at Detroit’s Cobo Hall.

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New Honda Ridgeline Could Redefine the Midsize Pickup

2017-Honda-Ridgeline

The Honda Ridgeline is all the truck you’ll ever need.

Not the truck that languished on dealer lots between 2003 and 2014. That Ridgeline lasted far longer than it should have and became something of a laughing stock in the truck world.

It’s unfortunate, really, because the past-generation Ridgeline was good enough at doing the things most truck owners do with their trucks. By which I mean get stuck in the same traffic jams as the rest of us, sometimes while hauling a couch.

The new Honda Ridgeline, which debuted at the North American International Auto Show, is similar, but could also revolutionize how we see midsize trucks.

If people buy it, that is.

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Buick’s Terrific Trifecta: Avista, Cascada, and Envision

buick_avista_concept

In 2008 I thought Buick should be sent to the chopping block. Its vehicles were aged, staid, not exciting, and overly bland for the tastes of most young Americans.

Yet instead of discontinuing the Buick brand, GM thought it would be more beneficial to send Pontiac packing. Pontiac was just beginning to get its chops back thanks to the beautifully crafted G8 GXP, but it died at the hands of a bankrupt GM that desperately needed to reorganize.

And reorganize it did. Here we are in 2016 and Buick is not only still here, it’s becoming a real player in the affordable luxury market.

This year we have three Buicks in particular to thank for that, though only two will likely be available for purchase.

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Detroit Auto Show Debuts to Watch

Location Front Quarter Volvo S90 Mussel Blue

We’re in the midst of an intense one-week period in the automotive industry that’s unmatched the rest of the year: The Consumer Electronics Show is currently in Las Vegas, and the North American International Auto Show in Detroit kicks off Monday with press days.

It’s a period that sees more new vehicles and concepts introduced than at any other time of year. The news is already out about vehicles like the production-ready Chevrolet Bolt and the Farraday Future FFZERO1 concept.

Now it’s time to look ahead to Detroit and its reveals. Here are a few that will make a big impact.

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2017 Ford GT: Who’s Ready for a $400,000 Ford?

2017_Ford_GT

In 2006 a friend’s dad bought a new $150,000 Ford GT. It was low to the ground and sleek. I stood next to the car and towered over the roof as I wondered how a guy could afford to buy such an exclusive supercar.

A week later he bought one for his wife.

I never got to drive either of the cars, but I did see them every day as my friend was picked up from work by one of her parents. That was when I fell in love with the GT.

The GT was only produced for the 2005 and 2006 model years, then silently slipped into the past. Today those cars are worth far more than they were a decade ago, with some selling for upwards of $300,000 each.

At last year’s Detroit Auto Show, Ford surprised show-goers with a concept for an all-new GT. This year we could see the production-ready version, but this time prices might make used versions look downright affordable.

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