Monday, December 22, 2008

Long term update: 2008 Honda Civic LX

Finally time for a 6 month update on our 08 Honda Civic. We've wrangled up a nice 4,000 miles on the Civic in the last 6 months. Here's what we have to report.
With the biggest thing on every one's mind being gas mileage. We're reporting an average of 23-24 MPG with our LX tester. Honda gives a combine rating of 29 for the Civic broken down to 25 City/36 Highway.

Overall performance is adequate from the 1.8 liter 4 cylinder. Honda rates the engine at 140Hp, but it actually feels much much less. Especially on hills. This leaves you in some situations where you feel you can't get out of your own way. The 4 speed automatic trans leaves a lot more to be desired. Tha lack of a manual shift kick over disappointed us as this might have helped a little with the performance.
Ride is ok, a little on the harsh side but not bad. Handling is excellent. Our car was fitted with 16 inch 5 spoke alloys that really set off the refrigerator white paint. Disc brakes all around with ABS keep things under control. One complaint we have is the low ride height. The springs are set so soft that if we had our equipment in the trunk or more than one person in the car when pulling out of the garage, we were greeted with a loud bang and scraping noises from the car bottoming out. Our permanent fleet includes a modified 1999 VW New Beetle that is lowered with a sport suspension that doesn't even come close to doing this.

Moving inside, there is an interior that is very futuristic. It reminds me of some GM concept cars from the late 1980s-early 1990s. The leather interior is supple and comfortable with a nice driving position. The steering wheel is covered in perforated black leather and is more of a squared oval design rather than the typical round circle. It has a very nice feel to it and has the added bonus of thumb controls for the radio, cruise, and blue tooth set up. The instrument cluster is uniquely laid out with the odometer set right above the steering column and the speedo further up near the top of the dash.

It takes a little time to get used to this setup. The speedo does cause a glare at night that drove some of us crazy. To the point we would take another car from the test fleet at night. Round out the interior with MP3 player jacks, Sirius/XM satelite radio, in dash cd, Scan Disc slots, blue tooth, and touch screen navigation and it makes for a very nice in car entertainment package.

I'd be lying if I were to say that I was sad to see the Honda leave us. But it is a nice little car for what it is. Especially with the lightness it leaves on the wallet at the gas pump.

Out of 5 stars we give it 3 and a half.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Motorsports being shaken to the core. Not stirred

If there is not a further sign that our economy is in peril, then look no further than to the motor sports community. In the last couple weeks we have seen most major forms changed. We have Honda pulling out of Formula 1. Then Suzuki pulls their World Rally Championship program. Followed a few days later by Subaru.

Next Audi and Porsche suspend racing in the American LeMans Series, with a triple blow by the announcement canceling the 2009 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix after its short two year stint after nearly a decade off the circuit.

Nascar is pretty much in shambles because of the Detroit Big 3 cutting spending.

And now off road racing is feeling the effects. Land Rover is canceling the G4 Challenge.

While we do hate to see this happen. But given the current economic conditions it is understandable to see major changes like this. Especially since that is the reason given in each case. Hopefully 2009 will be prosperous for the economy and many of these series will resume to normal operating procedures.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Save General Motors!

I'm am sure by now, everyone has seen the failure of the Auto Industry (Not a Bailout) Loan. Like many of you. I myself work in the auto industry and am very scared about the goings on in both Washington and Detroit. Now is the time to put aside personal differences and bias to a particular manufacturer.

The U.S. Auto Industry is the backbone of America. The auto industry stepped up to the plate at the beginning of World War 2. They stepped up after 9/11. Killing the Auto Loan Bill in Washington is killing the American Spirit at its best. Both General Motors and Chrysler have begun to seek bankruptcy lawyers. Can you picture a world with GM? I can't.

Detroit lost their chance by a simple 8 votes. Now is the time to stand up an be heard. This is OUR time to make history. It is time for us as U.S. citizens to make a difference. is a grassroots campaign started by a friend. All proceeds go directly to General Motors. It may not be much, but at times like this. Every little bit counts.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

We have arrived at the end of the road. The U.S. Auto Industry Officially Dead

It's not often that you will get a rant out of me like this.

Thanks to our wonderfully stupid, thinking nothing but themselves politicians in Washington. And the lying folks over at the UAW. The United States Automobile Industry is now dead in the water.

8 Votes. 8 Votes. That's all they needed to get the 60 required for the government to get some much needed cash to the Big 3. 8 Votes.

52 ayes, 35 nays. We find it unbelieveable that there are that many uneducated and uninformed people in our government. "We don't want to have to take this money from our taxpayers" one Congressman said. Uhm, aren't the people who work for GM, Ford and Chrysler taxpayers? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that the lineworkers and other folks working for the Big 3, would want to keep their jobs. Surely they wouldn't mind.

The Asian markets are already falling. In a few short hours Wallstreet and the European markets will open. And surely mass chaos will ensue.

We're absolutely at a loss for words with this one. This is it. Game over.