Consumer Reports No Longer Recommends Honda Civic

2012 Honda Civic

Ever think you’d see that headline? That’s one I’d place right up there with, “U.S. Nearly Defaults” and “Obama Wins Re-Election.”

But these are crazy times we live in, and you just never know what’s going to dominate the headlines.

The Honda Civic has been one of Consumer Reports’ darlings since, oh, I don’t know, the Jefferson administration. It’s a car that has gotten progressively better since its inception in 1972.

Until now.

For its latest test, CR drove the $19,405 2012 Honda Civic LX. For comparison, the 2011 version of the car scored a 78 on the magazine’s scale, which meant a rating of “Very Good.” The 2012 version dropped a shocking 17 points to a mediocre 61. That’s lower than the Kia Forte and Ford Focus. In fact, it’s lower than everything except the redesigned Volkswagen Jetta.

So what happened?

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Why a Ford Focus Shouldn’t Have a Tow Hitch

Ford Focus on jack stands

There’s a Ford Focus in my neighborhood.

I realize that’s not particularly interesting, especially considering there are roughly 383,895 other neighborhoods, in my city alone, that can say the same thing.

The Focus in my area, though, doesn’t run. I’m guessing it’s a 2000 model. The car is perpetually sitting in its owner’s garage on jack stands with the hood open.

All I’ve ever done is drive by this car, but I’ve seen some clues as to what the problem might be.

First clue: There is a trailer hitch on the car.

Second clue: There is a cargo trailer in the driveway.

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Have a Teen? Make ‘Em Drive One of These

In case you thought it was impossible to make the Honda Fit look any weirder, check out the non-Photoshopped image above of the Honda Fit Shuttle.

The front three-quarters looks like a regular Fit, but the rear looks like the regular Fit has filled its diaper.

And what’s with the tri-color pointy C-pillar? The Fit Shuttle is certainly an odd duck, but as of now it is meant only for the Japanese market. Which is mostly OK with me, except I think it would make a perfect teen car here in the States. It’s ugly, not too fast, but reliable, and able to haul sports equipment and musical instruments. Because that’s what teens do with their cars, right?

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In-Car WiFi Coming Soon to Ford Focus

2012 Ford Focus

Ford Focus: WiFi hotspot

I freely admit, I get kinda twitchy when I’m away from the Internet.

Between my at-home service, the wireless hotspots at Starbucks and my beloved WiFi iPod Touch, it’s not often that the World Wide Web eludes me.

The one place WiFi has yet to infiltrate my life is in the car, which only recently became glaringly apparent when my online addiction kicked in and I happened to be at the one point on Earth farthest from all things WiFi: the middle of Wyoming.

Wyoming should be known for the two things it has in abundance: antelope and dirt. Unfortunately for me, neither of those is useful when the ultimate Facebook status comes to mind while barreling across a desolate freeway at 80 miles an hour.

If only a car company catered to online addicts by building vehicles that are also wireless hotspots…

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Buy Smaller, Buy Lighter, Buy Used and Save Money

A secret weapon against the war on terror?

It took a secretive and elite Navy SEAL team to finally put an end to Osama bin Laden’s terror-filled time on Earth.

Each of us has mourned 9/11 and lusted for vengeance in our own way since that day (one guy even decided looking like bin Laden would be a good idea). Now that the man behind the attacks is gone, we can shift our focus to other ways of winning the war on terror.

The meaning, relevance and politics behind bin Laden’s death are topics better discussed on other blogs, but one thing nobody can deny is how much U.S. gas money goes to the region where bin Laden the person became bin Laden the mass murderer.

I think the easiest way for every American to make a contribution in this fight is to simply use less gas.

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Ford’s Weird But Kinda Cool “Spokespuppet”

Doug has a thing for the ladies

Companies pay big bucks to secure top-notch talent as spokespeople. People like Lebron James and Eminem and Justin Timberlake command millions of dollars in exchange for an endorsement.

So what if a company wants a celebrity spokesperson, but not the sky-high invoice associated with one? The answer is simple: Make one. Out of a sock.

Instead of hiring an actual human, Ford’s masters of social media have created a “spokespuppet,” named it Doug, and given it the starring role in videos they hope go viral. As it turns out, though, the celeb star power is still there, just sitting behind the scenes and pulling the puppet’s strings. With writing help from the director of The Office, a writer from The Simpsons and talent from Reno 911, Anchorman and Curb Your Enthusiasm, Ford’s new videos are causing quite the comedic stir. But is it the kind that will sell cars?

I’m not so sure.

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