Honda Civic & Mazda 6

| May 1, 2017

honda.civic.2016.2

By Kelly Foss

Honda Civic| Starting price: $18,700

The creation of this new 10th-generation Civic represents one of the most comprehensive and ambitious new-model developments ever undertaken by Honda. The change is truly transformational and buyers now have a totally new Civic.

The Civic is a world car so the new design has to play well everywhere… and it does. The dramatic styling is the first visual cue as to how different this model is. The line has changed from a handsome yet somewhat timid vehicle to a full out “look at me” car. The styling, as dramatic as it is, also puts it in a different league. It’s a new vision of what a Civic can be. As well as the traditional “logical” reasoning that drove people to buy the Civic, there is now an “emotional” draw to the vehicle. The fact that this happened so quickly and abruptly is what has caught people off guard. Customers will now buy it emotionally as well as logically.

Some call it “Batmobile” styling and others call it a “lightning” bolt, but Honda calls it sophisticated. Regardless, the reality is that the new Civic is a much more refined and enjoyable car than before.

The new Civic comes in three models: a coupe, a hatchback and a sedan. Once you get past the styling, the car feels more substantial than before. That feeling is magnified by the composure inside the vehicle. I noticed that the NVH — Noise, Vibration, Harshness — of the car is greatly improved. The tactile feel while riding in and driving the car has taken a huge step forward. It also seems larger and roomier than previous models. The new Civic now feels like a miniaturized Accord, and in the past that was not the case.

The 2017 model offers a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine plus an optional 1.5 turbo that dishes out 174 horsepower and peak torque starting at a low 1,700 rpms. That connected to the excellent CVT transmission makes the car fun to drive and delivered 36.2 miles per gallon fuel economy in my week of real-world driving… very very good!

The interior materials have been upgraded and Honda has followed the industry trend to offer high end equipment on a compact car. They have discovered that there are lots of buyers who want a small car for city living yet still want upscale equipment.

In this regard, the Civic does not disappoint. The new car comes in four trim levels… LX, EX, EX-T and EX-L. The prices range from $18K to $24K.

So, what does a fully loaded EX-L sedan costing $24,000 include? Here’s a rundown of the features: Automatic dual zone climate control, rear view camera, remote engine start, keyless entry, moonroof, the 1.5 liter turbo engine and the CVT transmission, heated leather seats, 8-way power driver’s seat, rear deck spoiler, navigation system and Honda Sensing which includes road lane departure warning, lane keep assist, collision mitigation warning and braking system, adaptive cruise control, a pretty good audio system and navigation. Pretty nice.

The new Civic is good enough and competitively enough priced that it has changed the game and will force the come.

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mazda.6.

Mazda 6| Starting price: $22,000

Accolades follow the Mazda 6 wherever it goes. This highly acclaimed midsize sedan has successfully staked a claim in the rough and tumble, highly competitive midsize sedan marketplace. With over a dozen competing models, the Mazda 6 still sets itself apart as a very appealing and interesting vehicle.

Much of this segment is dedicated to economical conveyance, meaning merely getting from Point A to Point B in city traffic. But the people from Mazda ask… can’t you have safe, reliable transportation and fun too?

The Mazda 6 is a skillful blend of all those worthwhile attributes. It has efficiency to match the best of them, plus a reliability rating superior to most. It’s also spacious and comfortable and easily accommodates the requisite five passengers, but it does it with a dash of drama. The trunk is certifiably huge!

The styling is not just another timid, blend-in-with-the-crowd passenger vehicle. Rather, the designers at Mazda gave it verve and style and chose to shape the vehicle in an attention-getting form rather than something more nondescript. As the saying goes… when designing car body parts such as fenders and doors, it doesn’t cost any more to produce a good-looking car than it does to produce a bad-looking one, so why not make a good-looking one?

Mazda has heeded that advice and compared with most of the competition, the 6 would win the automotive beauty pageant in this segment. But those good looks don’t diminish the efficiency of the vehicle. It’s designed as a fun car to drive. That means that it rides very well but also effortlessly handles curves and dips in the road without complaint.

The surprisingly light weight of the vehicle plus the Mazda’s SkyActiv technology delivers a very responsive drive train and excellent fuel economy. The modest 2.5 liter 4 cylinder delivers a respectable 184 horsepower accompanied by a perfectly matched 6-speed automatic transmission. Add that to the vehicle’s relatively light weight and the 6 moves along at a very rapid pace. Additionally, even after a week of spirited driving the onboard economy computer of my test vehicle registered an amazingly high 30.6 miles per gallon overall fuel economy number!

On the Grand Touring model, the optional i-ELOOP regenerative engine braking system designed to improve fuel economy is offered. Like most of these systems also offered by other manufacturers, they deliver no material improvement in fuel economy; they only add unwanted complexity.

My Touring Plus model carried the full suite of safety systems including Smart Brake Support, Smart City Brake Support, Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Distance Recognition Support, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning and automatic High-Beam dimming. These modern safety systems are developed to the point where they are now both useful and reliable.

The Mazda 6 is elegant, roomy, stylish, fun to drive and reliable. That’s a winning combination for buyers.

For information on these and other vehicles visit MyCarData.com


Category: New Automobiles

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