2017 Civic Type R will start at $34,775 according to Monroney photo

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The wait for the Civic Type R is almost over, and now we know how much it will cost when it arrives at dealers. A member of the CivicX.com forum found a lot full of new Type Rs near a port. According to his post, he saw someone attaching window stickers. Window stickers of course show prices, so he went over and snapped a picture of a stock one without options. As you can see below, the car will start at $34,775. The sticker also says the model shown is a Touring trim, which suggests there may be a better-equipped model above it. You can see the photo at CivicX.com along with photos of the cars waiting to be delivered.

This price makes the Type R the cheapest of the hardcore hot hatches. It’s over $2,000 less than the Ford Focus RS, and nearly $5,500 less than the Volkswagen Golf R. Whether it’s the better value is still up for debate, though, since both of the Type R’s primary competitors have two more driven wheels, and the Ford makes over 40 more horsepower than the Honda. As far as driven wheels go, though, the Civic Type R does have some bragging rights thanks to taking the Nürburgring record for front-wheel-drive cars.

Mobile parenting tool | 2018 Honda Odyssey First Drive

Minivans are made for parents, and there’s something about having children that changes one’s perspective about minivans. What was once an embarrassment becomes an object of desire or a source of quiet pride. Even if one doesn’t have kids, certain minivans can be appealing, be they guilty pleasures or not.

Take the Chrysler Pacifica, for instance. We’re not ashamed to say we think it’s a fine vehicle for hauling baggage or bodies (alive ones, of course), or that we found the plug-in Pacifica Hybrid to be downright exciting. Pacifica set a standard for a new generation of minivans at a time when crossovers have nearly cemented themselves as the popular, less-embarrassing family vehicle. The new Honda Odyssey has its work cut out for it, then, despite being the best-selling minivan in the US for the past six years. A trip to the Big Island of Hawaii with wife and toddler (and car seat, and stroller, and various toys, and lots of spare diapers) in tow was our test case to see if the Odyssey has what it takes to win over parents.

The styling of the minivan is nothing too adventurous, though it’s more complicated than the Pacifica. Exterior lines have a number of curves and bends, making it more interesting to behold, if slightly less elegant than the Chrysler. That feeling carries over to the interior of the Odyssey as well. The angular central touchscreen and the controls below it form the visual focal point, giving the cabin a tech-forward feeling, as does the all-digital instrument panel. In the Elite trim level, a strip of mood lighting separates the upper and lower dash, accentuating the futuristic look. As busy as it appears, though, it all ends up being very intuitive to use, and the Odyssey contains a number of swell features that add to its functionality, as we’d come to learn over the course of our time with it on the island.

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Under the hood, Honda’s 3.5-liter V6 provides 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It doesn’t sound as macho as the Pentastar in the Chrysler Pacifica, but it does its job just as well. Most Odyssey trims mate the engine to a nine-speed automatic transmission, but Touring and Elite instead use a brand-new 10-speed automatic. We found that the 10-cog box in our tester makes the Odyssey easy to drive smoothly, as it finds the right gear without hunting around. The transmission knows when to hold onto a gear, which makes climbing several thousand feet up the mountains of Hawaii an easy, smooth task. It also drops to the correct gear for quick acceleration without having to poke the D/S button into Sport mode, though having that option is a nice touch, too.

For those who want to take control over swapping gears, the Odyssey is equipped with a pair of paddle shifters mounted to the back of the steering wheel. We found these useful when descending mountain roads, using lower gears to keep the load off the brakes, but with one flaw: in the amount of time it takes to get to a lower gear, the lack of resistance from the engine is long enough that gravity causes the Odyssey to accelerate. This gives the powertrain more momentum to overcome when the gear engages.

The Odyssey’s dual-pinion electronic power steering system has a tighter steering ratio than the outgoing model, with an 18-percent reduction lock-to-lock. The steering didn’t feel any quicker than we expected, but it did feel natural and appropriately responsive. There wasn’t much feedback beyond a progressive buildup of weight as we dialed in steering angle, but the Odyssey reacted smoothly to our inputs, again making it easy to drive calmly. Its suspension keeps larger body motions in check, maintaining composure over large bumps and swells, though the Pacifica feels better at soaking up some of the higher-frequency road irregularities. We found that not only was the Odyssey a breeze to drive, despite its size, it was sometimes even (dare we say it?) fun as we piloted it a few thousand feet above sea level through the scenic mountain roads of the Big Island. Furthermore, your author’s wife noted that it was the least carsick she has ever been as a passenger on curvy roads, in the heat, with the air conditioning on blast – a combination that usually adds up to a lost lunch and the remainder of the day completely ruined.

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Despite its size, the Odyssey is surprisingly easy to place within its lane, tracking straight and true on the highway to an impressive degree. The EX trim level (starting at $34,800) and above offer adaptive cruise control (with which we didn’t encounter enough traffic to offer an opinion on) and lane keep assist (which we had plenty of miles to use). While the latter is not quite as refined and precise as, say, Mercedes-Benz’s system, the Odyssey’s augmented driving helper does an excellent job of keeping this big brick of a car, full of your most precious cargo, right where it should be on the road. It’ll nag you if you it senses you’re not providing steering input – as it ought – but it does a fantastic job of aiming this car along a curvy highway. Not only does lane keep assist provide an extra margin of safety to an attentive driver, it reduces the already minimal amount of corrections needed steering through turns. Passengers prone to motion sickness will commend your driving abilities in the Odyssey, especially with the help of the line-watching aids.

A huge part of the Odyssey’s comfort is in its quietness. Very little road noise comes in through the chassis, and the acoustic glass (windshield on EX-L and above, plus the front side windows on our Elite) means wind noise is at an absolute minimum. With the radio off, the test kid asleep, and the Hawaiian panorama of lava fields and grazing wild goats whizzing past the windows, this car is downright serene. We’re hoping for a near-future test drive in a lower trim level, on Michigan’s crumbling roads, with Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast piped through the speakers to see how this scenario holds up outside of a tropical paradise. We think it still sounds like a fine Sunday drive – we can always find goats at the nearby petting zoo.

One of our favorite, most useful features in the Odyssey is the Magic Slide seating in the second row. You can remove the center seat, and then slide the outboard seats from side to side, and forward and backward. It allows easy access to the third row, especially if a child seat prevents you from folding the chair forward. It also lets second-row occupants sit together, or, in the case of fighting siblings, separately in outboard positions. For our time with the car, with just one test toddler in the back, we found the feature helpful for getting him in and out of his rear-facing car seat. We could slide the chair to the door to put him in, then slide him back to the center of the vehicle, where it’s safest, and easier to pass snacks back to him. Little guy loves snacks.

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The aforementioned infotainment touchscreen features prominently on the center stack, jutting out from the dash to make it easy to reach with just a glance out of the corner of one’s eye. While its angular geometry isn’t the staid, conservative design some might expect from a family hauler, it provides a bit of character without sacrificing its usefulness. It’s certainly a more thoughtful layout that should help people like this guy keep from flipping their lid, even if having the drive select buttons on the center console takes some getting used to. There’s even a regular old volume knob within easy reach of the driver (the lack of which can actually be a deal-breaker for certain customers according to our own anecdotal evidence). The touchscreen is easy to use, and snappy in its response. It uses large, square tile icons for the various apps, and they can be dragged around to arrange them as the driver likes. Three of the apps can be moved to the top corner of the screen as more permanent shortcuts for the features the driver uses the most. If you hate that – and you won’t – just use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

Our second favorite parent-focused feature, besides those sliding seats, lives within the touchscreen. It services that latent gene that triggers when a parent drives their newborn home from the hospital – you know, the one that makes you wish you had eyes in the back of your head, or at least one of those giant mirrors bus drivers use for glaring at kids. To satisfy this biological imperative to keep an eye on our young passengers, Honda offers the CabinWatch system in the Touring trim and Elite trim levels. This overhead camera offers a bird’s-eye view of the rear occupants – even rear-facing ones – displaying its images onto the infotainment touchscreen. Mom or Dad can pinch to zoom in on a specific kid, and it even has freakin’ night vision. If the kids are up to something, you can hit the CabinTalk icon (available on EX-L Nav trim and up) on the touchscreen to project your reprimands through the car speakers, or even through the Odyssey’s available wireless headphones. Our rear-facing test kid thought it was hilarious to hear his Papa’s voice through the speakers, so we used this function a lot on our drive trying to earn that belly laugh from the back seat.

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For those longer journeys, there’s also an app that lets passengers control rear entertainment and climate control through their mobile device, or even add songs to the car’s audio playlist (the driver gets a veto vote on the infotainment touchscreen). This all helps keep them from bugging Mom and Dad to change the music or the temperature while they’re driving. There’s also a trip-tracking feature that shows the progress to your destination on the rear entertainment screen, similar to the flight tracker airlines offer on their back-of-the-seat displays. That app is called, appropriately, “How Much Farther?” (Apparently, “Are We There Yet?” is already copyrighted.)

There’s a ton of room in the Odyssey, too. Even the rear cargo space behind the third row is huge. Some people prefer a flat load space that is even with the bumper to easily plop in heavy items. The Odyssey, however, has a deep load floor. While it might make it a little more difficult to unload that 40-pound bag of cat litter, it provides more vertical room for storage, and has the added advantage of helping to keep your groceries from spilling out as soon as you open the liftgate. We were able to pile in a medium soft-sided cooler, a beach umbrella, two folding chairs, a stroller, a couple of large tote bags, a few loose beach towels, and some other random odds and ends behind the third row without it creeping up into our rear view. That deep well also accommodates the folding third row to fold flat if you need the extra space more than the extra seating.

Once your friends and their kids realize how cool the 2018 Honda Odyssey is, though, you’ll probably need to make full use of all available row of seats. Sure, the kind-of-hip Chrysler Pacifica feels poised to win over new converts to the minivan fan club. For buyers who are already all-in on the minivan concept, though, the Odyssey could be the more compelling choice. Especially in its top-of-the-line Elite trim, it offers parents – especially the one behind the wheel – and their young passengers a ton of features to make life easier.

Bear opens Honda door, locks himself in, honks horn to alert owner

Some days you never know what you’ll wake up to. Like, a bear sitting in your car in your driveway, honking the horn.

“I guess the bear thought it was Take Your Bear to Work Day,” said the car’s owner, Ryan McClanahan of Roanoke, Va. “It was a crazy morning.”

McClanahan woke around 5 a.m., heard honking, and quickly discovered it was coming from his own car, a Honda Pilot.

“I look out the window and I can see the car kinda shaking, and I hear noises.” Yeah, that’d be from the bear in there.

Apparently it’s not unheard of for a curious bear, likely following the scent of food, to luck out and open a car door. In this case, however, the bear managed to open the door, get in, then close and lock the door behind him.

Roanoke police Officer Chris Thayer arrived to find the black bear trapped in the car, apparently exhausted from his struggle to get out. The windows were fogged up, and the bruin had torn up the interior of the Pilot pretty good in his search for the door handle. Eventually, a car key was found, a door opened, and a bear who would rather walk than drive, freed.

[Source: Autoblog]

2017 Honda Civic Si goes on sale tomorrow, starts at $24,775

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Pricing for the all-new 2017 Honda Civic Si has finally been revealed, just in time for its dealership debut. In fact, the new Civic Si hits dealerships tomorrow, Saturday, May 13, with a very competitive base MSRP of $24,775. Although it’s down on power, the Civic Si undercuts competition like the Subaru WRX, Volkswagen GTI, and Ford Focus ST.

That’s no surprise, as the Civic Si has long been one of the most affordable sport compacts around. Though we haven’t had a chance to sample the car for ourselves, Honda is building on top of what is arguably the best Civic ever. In typical Honda fashion, there are no options on the new car, just pre-packaged trim levels. Both the coupe and sedan start at $24,775. Both models can be had with summer tires, bumping the price slightly to $24,975. $200 for a full set of summer tires is a really good deal.

The Civic Si comes with a turbocharged 1.5-liter inline four making 205 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque, though we have good reason to believe those are very conservative figures. Power is fed to the front wheels through a short ratio six-speed manual transmission. Curb weight is down for both the sedan and coupe, tipping the scales at 2,906 and 2,889 lbs respectively.

Standard equipment – the same on both models – includes dual zone climate control, heated seats, and push-button start. The Civic Si also comes with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. In addition to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, the display can show boost pressure, lap times, shift lights, and a G-meter. Stay tuned for our full first-drive review.

EPA beats Honda to revealing Civic Type R’s mpg: 22/28/25

The Environmental Protection Agency reports that there will be a version of the Honda Civic for 2017 powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. This, quite obviously, is the new Civic Type R, which is coming to America for the first time in its 20-year history. Honda has yet to provide detailed fuel efficiencyspecs, but that’s no problem – the EPA beat ’em to it. Expect official ratings of 22 miles per gallon in the city, 28 on the highway and 25 combined.

Let’s put those figures into some context. The Volkswagen Golf R is a direct competitor to the Type R, and it’s rated at 23 city and 30 highway with the DSG or 22/30/25 with the 6-speed manual. Oddly, while both its city and highway figures are better than the Civic, the VW gets the same combined figure of 25 mpg. Moving up a notch, the Ford Focus RS, which is quite a bit more powerful at 350 hp and 350 lb-ft, gets EPA ratings of 19/25 and 22 combined. It’s worth noting that the Ford and VW are both all-wheel drive while the Honda is front-drive only.

If you need to brush up on your Type R knowledge, know that it’s powered by a DOHC, direct-injected, turbocharged, i-VTEC inline-four that makes 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Equally as noteworthy, that peak torque is available from 2,500 to 4,500 rpm, which ought to make for great fun at passing speeds on public roads. And, with its Nürburgring lap time of 7 minutes and 43.8 seconds, it’ll be quite quick at the track, too.

[Source: Autoblog]

6 ways to make roads safer: Roundabouts top AAA’s list

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With traffic fatalities on the rise, AAA has produced a list of highway infrastructure changes that could save 63,700 lives and avoid 353,560 injuries over 20 years. In the organization’s list, six key areas account for 95 percent of the safety gains AAA predicts. Chief among them is the implementation of roundabouts.

According to AAA, converting traditional intersections to roundabouts covers 30 percent of the fatality and injury reductions. They do this by drastically reducing the number of ways and locations cars can collide with other cars or pedestrians. What points of collision remain for cars are also less severe, since T-bone or head-on collisions are unlikely.

The other areas of improvement AAA lists are fairly commonsense. Adding roadside barriers and removing roadside objects comprise another 20 percent of safety gains, as do adding sidewalks and pedestrian crosswalks with signals. The remaining safety improvements would come from additional median barriers on highways, shoulder and centerline rumble strips, and wider highway shoulders.

AAA estimates the cost of these infrastructure changes at $146 billion. That includes an upfront cost of $134 billion, and the rest of the money would be used for maintaining the upgrades over the following years. If you’re interested in digging deep into the AAA report, you can view it here.

Pedestrian deaths spike: Distracted driving – and walking – blamed

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Pedestrian deaths rose a projected 11 percent in 2016, reaching a total of nearly 6,000 people killed. That is the highest total in more than two decades, according to data out Thursday.

If it helps to think of that increase in terms of real people, it means about 620 more pedestrians were killed by vehicles last year than the year before.

The figures are preliminary, based on data from all states and the District of Columbia for the first six months of 2016 and then extrapolated for the rest of the year. During the first six months, states recorded 2,660 pedestrian fatalities — an increase from 2,486 deaths in the same time period in 2015.
But the preliminary figures would represent the steepest year-to-year increase since record-keeping began, both in number of deaths and percent increase.

The figures were prepared for the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety offices.

“This is the second year in a row that we have seen unprecedented increases in pedestrian fatalities, which is both sad and alarming,” said Richard Retting of Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants, who wrote the report.

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From 2014 to 2015, the number of pedestrian deaths spiked more than 9 percent. “It is critical that the highway safety community understand these disturbing statistics and work to aggressively implement effective countermeasures. The information in this report will help states and localities pursue engineering, enforcement and education solutions to reverse this trend.”

Traffic fatalities overall jumped 6 percent last year, their highest level in nearly a decade and erasing improvements made during the Great Recession and economic recovery, according to data released last month by the National Safety Council. The council estimates there were more than 40,200 traffic deaths in 2016.

But pedestrian deaths vastly outpace fatalities overall, climbing 25 percent from 2010 to 2015, according to Retting’s report. Total traffic deaths increased about 6 percent over the same period.

“This latest data shows that the U.S. isn’t meeting the mark on keeping pedestrians safe on our roadways,” said Jonathan Adkins, the governors safety association’s executive director. “Every one of these lives represents a loved one not coming home tonight, which is absolutely unacceptable.”

Several factors could be behind the grim trend:

  • We’re driving more miles thanks to an improved economy and lower gas prices.
  • We’re walking more for exercise and out of concern for the environment.
  • And the likely biggest factor: We’re distracted by smartphones and other devices, both in our cars and in our hands as pedestrians.
  • Alcohol is a factor. Surprisingly, 34 percent of pedestrians killed were intoxicated, and 15 percent of vehicle occupants.

Distraction as causality is hard to prove, of course. But it sure looks that way based on a process of elimination. Walking and miles driven are up only a few percentage points, said Retting. And alcohol use has not increased. Meanwhile, texting and other uses of wireless devices have exploded, he said.

“It’s the only factor that that seems to indicate a dramatic change in how people behave,” Retting said.

Access the full report, including state-by-state data, at www.ghsa.org/resources/spotlight-peds17.

[Source: Autoblog]