Monday, December 31, 2018

Long Term Wrap-up: 2016 Honda Accord Touring

With every new year, the saying is always "out with the old, in with the new." Since 2019 is only a few hours away, I figure, why not do just that? Towards the end of the year, East Brother and I made the decision to part ways with our 2016 Honda Accord Touring ahead of schedule. We bought the car for two main reasons, and over the course of nearly two and a half years, both of those reasons became moot with further developments within our personal lives.

The first reason we decided to get the Accord back in June of 2016 was because I was working in West Los Angeles at the time. Anyone familiar with traffic in LA knows that driving from anywhere into West LA during practically all hours of the day is a nightmare. Even though my commute was only 14 miles one way, it often took nearly an hour and a half each way. This meant I was spending approximately three hours every day on the road. Doing it in my S2000 was getting draining after about two weeks, so I decided that I needed a daily driver to help me get to and from work. In August of 2017, I changed jobs and started working locally again, bringing my commute down to 15 minutes each way. I did continue to daily drive the Accord up until about a month ago. 

Our second reason for getting the Accord was because East Brother needed a supplemental vehicle to use that could take him beyond the 80 mile range of his then Ford Focus Electric. Being a gasoline powered V6, this was obviously no problem at all for the Accord. East Brother did take the Accord on a few longer trips but in October of last year, he acquired a 2017 Chevy Bolt to replace the Focus. With a 250 mile range per charge, East Brother suddenly had little use for a gasoline powered car for longer trips as his Bolt could take him on longer road trips, with some careful planning. 

Now that our two primary reasons for having the car are no longer valid, and with the value of the car being worth more than what we owed, we figured we would go ahead and part ways with the car ahead of schedule. This was also a boon for me since the insurance for the Accord kept creeping up every six months, despite having a clean driving record. We ended up taking the car to our local CarMax, where we were offered quite a pretty good sum of money for the car, and parted ways with it. Within less than a week of being posted, the car was sold. I can't say I'm really surprised since East Brother and I took very good care of the car. With the exception of a prematurely dead battery (which seems to have happened to a lot of our Honda/Acura vehicles), the car was in perfect shape. 

Now that the car is no longer in our possession, I figure now is a great time to take a look at what was great and what was not so great about our 2016 Honda Accord Touring.

What Was Great

Overall, the Accord was a fantastic and comfortable car to drive. It was loaded to the gills with tech, offered ample power, was well equipped for a non-luxury branded car, and was a really great car to look at. The best part was for the price, it offered more luxury, power, and tech than most luxury cars in the same size class worth twice the amount. I do want to focus on a few specific details about what made me like the Accord so much. 

Even though we are already on the 10th generation Accord, and even though I think the 10th generation Accord is a relatively handsome car, I really do like the look of our 2016 Accord more. The Touring model, with the 19 inch wheels, LED headlights, and various sporty touches made it the sportiest looking Accord to date. With its 3.5 liter V6, it also had the power to actually match those looks. When we first acquired the car, I had some wild thoughts about doing a lot of under the skin upgrades because it already looked like it could pass for an Acura Type-S vehicle.

The interior of the car was actually quite good for its price. In fact, East Brother and I often commented on how the interior of our Accord looked like it could have easily passed for an Acura. This, of course, is not actually a good thing for Acura, and we've often told various Acura sales representatives as much. With the 10th generation Accord, that luxury gap is even smaller than before, but I digress. 

One of the last things I really enjoyed about the Accord was the inclusion of Active Cruise Control and Lane Keep Assist. When I was using the Accord for my daily commute to and from West LA, these two driver assist features saved my bacon quite a few times. It was also fantastic having these two features on long road trips, and they also did a fantastic job of optimizing fuel economy. Despite having an EPA highway rating of 34 MPG, we often saw the car easily hit 36 and better on long road trips while letting the car accelerate and brake on its own. 

What Could Have Used Improvement

Despite being stuffed to the gills with new and advanced tech features, some of them could have used some work. My biggest complaint with the Accord was with its infotainment system. I've actually had the infotainment system crash on me a few times over the course of the two and a half years we had the car. There was even one instance where the system crashed and threw up an error message that looked like something straight out of a Windows error message dialog box. Though a major crash like that only happened once, it was still one time too many. There was also some smart phone integration issues that I encountered over the course of our time with the car. I went through three different phones while we had the Accord, and every phone always encountered some kind of issue when trying to use Android Auto. Most of the time, the Bluetooth would spontaneously disconnect, requiring me to have to restart the car to get things working again. 

While performance was good and the car was comfortable to drive, don't expect to be doing much canyon carving with the Accord. Even though the car had the upgraded dampers from the Sport trim, the weight of the V6 simply made doing any hard cornering in the Accord Touring a nerve wracking affair. If the car only had something to compensate, like a limited-slip differential, or the all-wheel steering from the Acura RLX and TLX. Even though our 2014 Acura RLX was a larger and much heavier car, the addition of all-wheel steering made the car a fairly competent canyon carver by comparison. Especially considering how sporty the Accord Touring looked, what with its 19 inch wheels and low profile tires, one could easily overestimate the car's handling prowess. 

Overall, the Accord was a fantastic vehicle. Both East Brother and I loved it and we were both sad to see it go. It was, however, even sadder to see it not used to its full potential, so it honestly made more sense to let it go to a new home. While the Accord did get replaced by something else, it was something that was purchased against our recommendation. Still, we will begin long term testing of said vehicle at the beginning of 2019. 

To the new owner of our Accord, we hope you enjoy the vehicle as much as we did. It served us well, and we believe it will continue to serve you well over the next few years. 

And to our readers, have a happy and safe New Year's Eve, and a happy and prosperous 2019!


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Test Drive: 2019 Acura ILX Premium A-Spec

When the Acura ILX first debuted back in 2013, Acura touted it as the "return of the Integra." What we were supposed to get was a compact, sporty, Civic based sedan with an injection of luxury to separate it from its parent company sibling. Instead, what we got was a dud. Bland design, an under-powered and wheezy base engine strapped to an ancient transmission, a painfully slow hybrid with barely any fuel economy advantages, and Civic Si powered version that didn't sell because it only came with a six-speed manual (which was admittedly good for us enthusiasts). Acura tried to turn the ILX around in 2016 after three years worth of poor sales. The first refresh saw an updated exterior and interior, and a very slightly de-tuned drivetrain lifted straight out of big brother TLX. Sales initially surged for a few months but quickly dropped again.

By now, most people would suspect Acura would have completely killed off the ILX, or at least redesigned it using the newer 10th generation Civic's platform. If your guess was either of those, you'd be very, very wrong. Instead, Acura chose to facelift the ILX for a second time (anyone else getting second generation RL vibes?), sticking to the same aging platform. Despite being on the same platform, the ILX looks like a completely different vehicle on the outside. The front end now sports the updated "diamond pentagon" corporate grill, and the rear end looks unlike anything Acura has ever designed in the past. Overall, it is a much more sporty and aggressive looking package, especially compared against the debut version of the ILX from six years ago.

The refreshed ILX also brings back the A-Spec treatment to the compact sedan. Unlike the A-Spec that debuted on the RSX, the third generation TL, and the second generation RL (which included handling upgrades along with visual ones for all three vehicles), the modern iteration of A-Spec is strictly visual. Available on the TLX, MDX, and RDX, the ILX A-Spec, like its siblings, adds visual flairs and more aggressive wheels to make the car appear more sporty. Overall, the A-Spec equipped cars all look quite good, and the ILX is definitely no exception. Now if only Acura would finally bring back the Type-S moniker and throw the Civic Type-R engine with SH-AWD into the ILX.

Speaking of engines, the ILX does remain largely unchanged mechanically. While it is still using the 2.4 liter inline-four and eight-speed DCT from the TLX, they have been tweaked a bit to deliver better power delivery. The result is a car that is surprisingly peppy off the line and has some good mid-range pull. The transmission blips the throttle on downshifts to smooth things out, regardless of whether or not the transmission is in normal or sport. But just like every other car equipped with this engine, including the last generation Civic Si, power seems to peter out towards the top end of the rev range. Realistically though, it's a bit of a non-issue since most people who would buy this car will never rev the car anywhere near its redline anyway.

Despite its performance though, the one thing that seems uncharacteristic for a Honda/Acura vehicle is how the engine sounds. While I've always felt Honda needs to work on the exhaust tuning for many of its four cylinder cars, the intake sounds has always been nice and throaty. While the engine itself is certainly far from the wheezy, under-powered mess than powered the 2013 ILX, it sounds like an asthmatic struggling for air. I do wonder if this is intentional though since we're supposed to see some sort of high performance version eventually.

On the inside, the ILX does see some improvements over the 2016 refresh. The first thing I noticed is that the materials look and feel somewhat better than the 2016 version. Despite the improvements though, is it's still barely an improvement over a Civic Touring. Then again, the same could be said about the Accord Touring versus the TLX too, but that's a problem Honda/Acura will need to admit to first if they ever want to sell more Acura vehicles. Another thing that bothers me about the ILX is the infotainment system. A big issue with the ILX since its debut back in 2013 is that the tech inside the car always seems to be a generation behind the rest of its competition. For 2019, the ILX still carries over the old dual screen infotainment setup, albeit with a newer version of the software powering the screens. At least the car finally has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Oh, and that steering wheel...it feels great in the hand as it's nice and thick, but holy crap its got a lot of buttons. Let's face it, most cars these days have a similar amount of buttons. Our 2016 Honda Accord Touring probably has a similar amount of buttons too. The main issue is how the buttons are laid out on the steering wheel. It looks and feels like a cluttered mess.

Thankfully, the car feels way more sorted than its steering wheel button layout. Like pretty much
every other electric power steering equipped Honda these days, the weight feels good but there is almost no road feeling. I suppose this is fine considering the target audience of the ILX and has essentially become the status quo for electronic power steering these days. No use in beating a dead horse. Despite not being able to really feel what the front wheels are doing, potential ILX customers will be happy to know that the front wheels do rotate the car without much complaint. If the car were equipped with a limited slip differential, I would probably feel a little more confident in tossing it into a corner at higher speeds, but let's face it: never gonna happen. Body roll is fairly limited and the car actually handles surprisingly flat. The car doesn't absorb bumps and road imperfections as well as I'd like it to, but that's probably more due to the 18 inch wheels and tires rather than the suspension. Compared to the rest of the handing characteristics of the ILX though, braking feels quite awkward. It all feels fairly normal at first, with the car braking progressively harder as you apply more pressure to the brake pedal. Once you reach a certain point though, the car seems to stop abruptly. It's a little jarring, to say the least. It could just be a case of needing to get used to it.

The one major improvement over the 2016 ILX, other than the looks, is the inclusion of Acura Watch on every trim level. This means that the 2019 ILX uses the latest version of Acura's driver assist package, offering such features as active cruise control, lane keep assist, collision mitigating braking, and a whole other suite of features. The one feature noticeably absent is low speed follow. This is due to the fact that the ILX, being built on the older ninth generation Civic platform, does not have an electronic parking brake. It's a bit of a bummer, but the rest of the system works quite well. I tested the updated system on a long stretch of road with a 45 MPH speed limit, and the ILX's updated system seemed to perform better than in our 2016 Honda Accord Touring. For a stretch of two mile long road, the car did a fantastic job of staying in the center of the road and maintaining a two car length distance from the car in front.

At the end of the day, I think my reaction to the 2019 Acura ILX is going to be the same as the 2013 and 2016 version: I want to like the car, but I just can't seem to bring myself to do it. Sure, it has better power delivery, more tech, and is a better bargain than its competitors in the same class, but there's just something about this entire class of vehicle that bothers me. I think the excessive cost cutting to meet a price point is the biggest issue. At an MSRP of $31,550, the Acura ILX is over $4,000 more than a Honda Civic Touring, which has similar, if not better equipment, an interior that is just as luxurious, and has a newer and more potent drivetrain. Not to mention, its driver assistance package is more advanced thanks to the inclusion of low speed follow.

If having that luxury badge is really that important for your compact luxury car, then you definitely can't go wrong with the ILX. It's probably the best vehicle in its class, as long as you aren't looking at high performance models like the Audi S3 or the Mercedes-Benz CLA43 AMG. Honestly though, if the badge really isn't that important to you, get a Civic Touring. You'll probably be much happier with the extra money in your pocket.










Thursday, September 27, 2018

Comparison: 2018 Honda Accord Sport 2.0T vs 2018 Honda Civic Si Sedan

Ever since Honda announced in 2013 that the Accord would come in a Sport trim, with available six-speed manual transmission, I've often wondered if the Accord Sport would be a better deal than the Civic Si. For starters, both cars were very similarly priced and had essentially the same engine. For the price, the Civic did come with more features, a little more horsepower, sharper handling, and a limited slip differential. With the Accord, you got a much larger and more grown-up looking car, and that was pretty much it. Ninth gen versus ninth gen, I would have gladly taken a Civic Si home before taking the Accord Sport home.

Things are different with the tenth generation though. Both cars are much more feature rich than their predecessors, and the Accord Sport now actually has two engine options: a slightly up-tuned version of the 1.5 liter turbo four from the Civic coupe, sedan, and hatchback, and a de-tuned version of the 2.0 liter turbo four from the Civic Type-R. Unlike the previous generation though, the price difference has become much more significant. The Accord Sport 1.5T starts at an MSRP of $25,700 while the Civic Si stars at an MSRP of $24,100. I actually looked at the Accord Sport 2.0T, which adds an additional $4,580 on top of the base MSRP, making the Accord Sport 2.0T a $30,000 car. So the question isn't so much which is the better car for roughly the same price. The question has now become, "is the Accord Sport worth the extra $6,000 over the Civic Si?" As luck would have it, a local Honda dealer had both an Accord Sport 2.0T and a Civic Si Sedan available, so I decided to take a look at the cars side-by-side to determine if the Accord is worth the extra money.

Exterior


I'm not going to go too deep into the design elements of both cars since design is highly subjective, and probably won't justify the price difference alone. I will say that I do like the looks of both cars, and that like the previous generation, the Civic is much more aggressive and sporty while the Accord is much more grown up and reserved.




What I will talk about though is what you get going from the Civic Si to the Accord Sport. The main thing you get going from the Civic to the Accord, besides getting an obviously larger vehicle, are LED headlights. Even though the Civic in Touring trim also has LED headlights, the Si still gets halogen bulbs in projector housings. Other obvious things are the larger wheels and tires, but from an actual content standpoint, the exterior probably doesn't justify the extra $6,000.

Interior


When it comes to the interior of both cars, this comparison is a little difficult. Both cars sport a very similar single screen touchscreen infotainment system and an LCD gauge cluster. Both cars are largely swathed in cloth and plastic, though the Accord does get some leather accents. What you do lose going from the Civic to the Accord is the Si exclusive red stitching and the better bolstered seats. Both cars have comfortable seats, but the Si's sport buckets do a better job of holding the driver in place.

The Accord makes up for its lack of flare with lots of space. Even though the 10th generation Accord is physically shorter on the outside than the last gen car, its wheelbase is longer, allowing Honda to increase the interior volume yet again. Climbing into the back of the Accord, it felt even more cavernous than our ninth gen Touring, which was already very spacious already. That's not to say the Civic is tiny. While the Civic is quite roomy, it doesn't really hold a candle to the Accord. Let's be honest though, we're talking apples and oranges here since it's two different class of car. Really, the interior comparison comes down to what's more important to you: space or panache. Still, extra space and what is objectively the same equipment (OK, the sound system in the Civic is better) doesn't quite yet justify the extra $6,000.

Performance


Here is where the Accord starts to justify its extra cost. The Civic Si is no slouch, making 205 horsepower and 192 lb./ft. of torque. Many auto websites and publications have taken the Si to a dyno and have confirmed that they were getting those numbers at the wheel, indicating that Honda underrated the crank power figures by around 15%. With its de-tuned Civic Type-R engine though, the Accord is obviously going to be faster, especially considering that the same auto websites and publications that dynoed the Si were also getting Honda's "on paper" power figures at the wheels. That's 252 horsepower and 273 lb./ft. of torque to the wheels, by the way. So we know the Accord is going to be significantly faster than the Civic, but does it at least handle the same?

The Civic Si really shines on the handling front compared to the Accord. Being a smaller car on a shorter wheelbase already gives the Si an advantage in handling. Also working in the Civic's favor are the standard adjustable dampers. In eco and normal, the Civic Si is pretty comfortable, and in Sport mode, the dampers stiffen up nicely and make the car handle much more confidently. Being a larger car, the Accord unfortunately doesn't handle as well. While the Accord does come with the adjustable dampers, it is unfortunately only available on the Touring trim. It makes no sense why they would be left out of the Sport trim since the Accord Sport is supposed to be the sport sedan of the Accord bunch. I will say that while the Sport doesn't handle as well as the Si, it does handle better than our ninth generation Touring. Having the smaller and lighter engine up front definitely helps.

Some other performance based factors are the brakes and transmission. The Civic's brakes feel much more firm and seem to stop the car harder and faster. This is no surprise considering it is a smaller and lighter car. The Accord's brakes feel just about as good as they were on the ninth gen Touring, which is to say they're decent, but I wouldn't spend a day canyon carving with them. The transmission is a bit of a mixed bag between these two. The actual transmission in the Civic Si feels far superior to the Accord Sport. It feels more precise and the throws are shorter. The Accord's transmission feels a little plasticky and mushy by comparison. However, the clutch is where the cars flip flop. The Civic's clutch feels extremely light and the engagement point is relatively high up in the pedal travel while the Accord's clutch feels nicely weighted with the engagement point about half way up the pedal travel. I'm curious as to why they couldn't just take the good parts of both transmissions and apply it to both cars.

Technology

At first glance, it would appear that the technology included in both of these cars is fairly similar...and that's actually correct. Both cars sport a large center touch screen complete with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, electronic parking brake, LCD gauge clusters, backup cameras, and everything you'd expect to be standard on a modern day automobile. Where the Accord trumps the Civic is with its power seats and LED headlights, and where the Civic trumps the Accord is its better sound system. The Civic still uses the "Lane Watch" camera, which has a rear pointing camera mounted on the passenger side mirror. The Accord takes a page from sister company Acura and switches to conventional Blind Spot Monitoring. Really though, the technology in these two cars is fairly similar, so I'd call this category a wash.

Driver Assistance

I wanted to look at driver assistance as a separate topic because today's driver assistance packages are far more complex than just simple cruise control.

Every Honda Accord, regardless of trim, now comes standard with the latest version of Honda's driver assistance package, dubbed Honda Sensing. This includes Lane Keep Assist, Active Cruise Control, Road Departure Mitigation, and Collision Mitigating Braking. In models with CVT and automatic transmissions, you also get Low Speed Follow, which allows the vehicle to come to a complete stop and start again with the flow of traffic. On manual equipped models, like this Accord Sport, Low Speed Follow is left out as it would cause the car to stall if the driver didn't shift gears in time. With all four systems active, the Accord exhibits level 2 autonomous capabilities. This means the Accord can accelerate, brake, and steer the vehicle on its own, provided the driver's remains alert with their hands on the wheel.

So let's take a look at the Civic Si's driver assistance package...oh...wait...it doesn't have it. Just standard cruise control. Sad considering Honda Sensing is available on all other trims of the Civic (except the Type-R). Womp womp.

Is It Worth It?


After all this comparison and analysis, the question remains: is the Accord Sport 2.0T really worth the extra $6,000 over the Civic Si? For an extra $6,000 you get a larger, more mature looking car, a much more powerful engine that makes the car a hoot to drive, LED headlights and a level 2 autonomous driver assistance package. What you lose is sharper handling, adjustable dampers, and, arguably, a better sound system. If higher performance in your daily driver is what you're concerned with, then the Civic Si is probably the better choice. With the money saved, you can spend $695 to get the ECU re-flashed and make the car nearly as quick as the Accord. If you want a good mix of performance and comfort though, the extra $6,000 you would need to spend on the Accord Sport would probably be worth it. At the end of the day, it really just boils down to what your needs are.

Which one would I take? If it came down to it and I absolutely had to pick one, I would take the Accord over the Civic. While the transmission bothers me a bit, the fact that the Accord is a larger car with a more powerful engine is really what pushes me towards it. Having a larger vehicle with a softer suspension setup is really what I'm looking for in a daily driver after all. The extra horsepower certainly helps too. While I do like the way the Civic Si looks, I much prefer the Accord's cleaner lines over the Civic's more aggressive and angular look. There's a good chance I probably prefer the Accord over the Si because I'm getting old too.

*Special thanks for Carson Honda for letting test drive the Accord and Civic back-to-back for this comparison.



Friday, July 27, 2018

In Memoriam: Sergio Marchionne (June 17, 1952 - July 25, 2018)

News broke this morning that the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Sergio Marchionne, had passed away on Wednesday from complications related to shoulder surgery. Marchionne made his last public appearance on June 26 of this year and took medical leave soon after for shoulder surgery in Zürich, Switzerland. The surgery was for an invasive shoulder sarcoma, which he had kept concealed from his colleagues. On July 21, when the severity of his situation worsened, Marchionne was replaced at FCA, Ferrari, SGS (Société Générale de Surveillance) and CNH Industrial. He is survived by his partner, Manuela Battezzato, and his two sons, Alessio and Tyler.

For anyone in the automotive world who isn't already familiar with Marchionne, he was the chairman of Fiat since 2004 and oversaw the acquisition of Chrysler. His blunt and outspoken personality allowed him to turn a dysfunctional Fiat and a bankrupt Chrysler into a successful global giant. Known around the world for his classic wool, black sweaters (much in the way Steve Jobs is known for his black turtlenecks), Marchionne was especially well known in the enthusiast community for bringing us such vehicles as the Charger/Challenger Hellcat and Challenger Demon. Under his guidance, Marchionne also brought us a Hellcat powered Grand Cherokee, and third generation Viper, and various Ferraris, Fiats, and many other successful and amazing vehicles.

Marchionne was always an interesting character. As mentioned, he was always very blunt and outspoken. He was never keen on the idea of autonomous cars or electric cars. When asked if an autonomous Ferrari would ever be a possibility, he said "you'll have to shoot me first!" He also implored people to NOT buy the Fiat 500e electric car as it was built simply to satisfy California regulatory requirements and FCA was losing money on it. Marchionne also reportedly spent a good portion of 2015 on a quest to merge with another large automaker to reduce inefficiencies and lower costs. General Motors was one of the targets of this quest, but that obviously never happened.

It's hard to imagine many other people who would be able to pull off what Marchionne did for the automotive world. His recovery of Fiat, acquisition of Chrysler and the subsequent creation of a global car empire are nothing short of amazing. If there were two faults with him, it was the fact that the man was ruthless and a bit of a workaholic, both of which probably weighed on him towards the end of his tenure. Nonetheless, Marchionne spent 14 years at the helm of Fiat and then FCA, making him one of the longest serving chief executives in the automotive industry.

With Marchionne's passing, one thing is certain: the automotive industry just lost one of its most interesting people.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Test Drive: 2017 Nissan Maxima SV

We arrived at Dulles early in the evening on a Friday. The Emerald Aisle selection was slim pickings, especially if we wanted a car with reasonable cargo space that was not a crossover of some kind. The thought occurred to me to ask for something particular, but I eventually settled on the one car in the line-up I had not driven yet, the loan Nissan Maxima. With its legacy of being the 4-door sports car (4DSC as the marketing mavens at Nissan called it back in the day), the current Maxima has an awful lot of history to live up to, especially considering that the last one I drove back in the early 2000s seriously failed to live up to expectations.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Road Trip: Lake Arrowhead

She's not a fan of photos...
We don't often get to take our pup out of the local area where we live, so every once in a while, we make the effort to find a place to go that is within driving distance and is pet friendly. Last year, we were out in a more rural part of San Diego county, near the Temecula wine country. This year, we decided to try for a weekend in the mountains of San Bernardino County. Lake Arrowhead, one of several lakes nestled in the San Bernardino National Forest, was a place that we frequently visited as kids. I have fond memories of various trips with family so it seemed fitting to do a trip there, though this would be a much nicer and much more outdoorsy trip than the ones of my childhood.

This would also be our first long distance drive in the Bolt so we took some extra precautions, charging up the Bolt's battery to full for the first time since we got the car. Google Maps showed our driving distance as about 100 miles with around 6,500 feet of climbing in the last 20 miles. We also spent some time to make sure we knew where the charging locations were along our route in case we needed to top off on the way back. My rough calculations indicated that we had plenty of range on the battery to make it to the top of the mountain, but it never hurts to be prepared. Of course, we needed not have worried as the Bolt performed admirably.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Test Drive: 2018 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T

I'll be the first to admit that we're a bit late to the party when it comes to reviewing the all new, 10th generation Accord. The car with the 1.5 liter turbo four cylinder has been out since late last year, and the 2.0 liter engine version has been around since about February. As the owner of a 2016 Accord Touring V6 though, I still felt it was relevant to review this car, as East Brother and I are considering it as a potential replacement for our current Accord. So how does it stack up to our current Accord?

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Editorial: Ford Phasing Out Small Cars and Sedans Except Mustang and Focus Active

Image courtesy of IMCDb.org
It's been some time since we've posted anything, but after reading that Ford announced it will be axing nearly all of its small cars and sedans in favor of CUVs and SUVs, something needs to be said. If you haven't seen or heard the news yet, check out this article from Autoblog:

https://www.autoblog.com/2018/04/25/ford-cancels-all-cars-mustang-focus-active/

Or this one from Jalopnik:

https://jalopnik.com/ford-will-phase-out-all-its-small-cars-in-north-america-1825544784

This is a HUGE mistake. Not everyone wants a tall and ponderous CUV or SUV. There are those of us that still prefer the stable, low center of gravity offered by a traditional sedan, coupe or wagon. People constantly argue the reason for getting a CUV or SUV is because of growing family needs or space needs. Wagons are perfect for that purpose! Unless you find yourself driving over large, irregular obstacles on a normal basis, what need do you have for a lifted vehicle? Are you an actual off-road enthusiast? Do you actually use the bed of your pick-up to haul things on a daily basis? Go nuts! Buy all the big vehicles you want! The rest of us will do just fine with regular sedans, coupes, and wagons.

Another issue is the fuel consumption equation. The cost of gasoline in the United States is lower than in most other developed nations, and we seem to take this fact for granted. As the supply of petroleum becomes lower and lower, and the price of gasoline steadily rises, consumers who jumped on the SUV bandwagon are going to regret their decision. Unfortunately for these people, trying to get rid of their inefficient SUV or CUV will be difficult since no one will want them anymore. So why do we do this to ourselves? Who knows...

The CUV/SUV apocalypse is upon us, and Ford has chosen to herald the demise of the small car. If FCA and GM jump on the bandwagon along with Ford, then we know we're doomed.

At least the Mustang will still remain.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Product Review: Anker Roav Dashcam A1

Ah...dash cams...an often unlimited source of entertainment, but also a Godsend when the inevitable accident occurs. There are all sorts of different types of dash cams available now. You have ones that replace your review mirror, ones you mount directly to you windshield, even ones with back-up camera capability. I've been driving my S2000 for quite some time without a dashcam, but the fear of getting hit while I'm on the road now that I'm driving my S2000 a little more often again prompted me to get a dashcam. The S2000, being a small car with a low and wide windshield meant finding a dash cam that would be low profile enough to not eat up too much real-estate and become a distraction. Thanks to after Christmas sales, I had plenty of options to choose from.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Happy 2018 and Happy 5 Years!

OK, so it is a little late for a "Happy 2018" post, but I decided to intentionally wait until this day because January 21st marks the fifth year that my brother and began actively working on this blog. I wanted to take the time to thank everyone who has been following us, and that has been reading our blog regularly. I know that we both haven't been posting as regularly as we did in the past, but we're both trying to work around our personal schedules to try and bring you more content. Thanks again for continuing to follow us through our wheeled adventures, and thanks for being patient while we write (and  maybe even film) more material to post. Until then, here's to a better year for all in 2018!

(And here's a pic of my washed and waxed S2000 to celebrate!)

- West Brother