Honda Civic Named Motor Trend Car of the Year

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Honda’s four exciting new Civic models have been collectively named Motor Trend’s 2006 Car of the Year.

“Honda deserves a standing ovation for not playing it safe again,” said Angus MacKenzie, editor-in-chief of Motor Trend. “With the sizzling Si, a sleek coupe, an elegant sedan, and a Hybrid that averages 50 miles per gallon, each model shines through with what Motor Trend looks for when crowning Car of the Year. The engineering passion that Honda Motor Company was founded on radiates from these new Civics.”

This year, the editorial staff of Motor Trend conducted testing on 28 new models ranging in price from around $14,000 to nearly $75,000, including the Audi A3, BMW 3 Series, Buick Lucerne, Cadillac DTS, Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Chevrolet Impala, Dodge Charger, Ford Fusion, Honda Civic, Hyundai Accent, Hyundai Azera, Hyundai Sonata, Infiniti M35/M45, Kia Rio, Lexus GS, Lexus IS, Lincoln Zephyr, Mazda 5, Mazda MX-5, Mercedes-Benz CLS, Mercedes-Benz R-Class, Mercury Milan, Mitsubishi Eclipse GT, Pontiac Solstice, Toyota Avalon, Volkswagen Jetta, and Volkswagen Passat.

They were looking for “the automobile that best represents exceptional value, superiority in its class, and the most significant development on the new-car scene for 2006.” The 2006 field, Motor Trend’s largest to date, included a huge variety of vehicles from sports cars to minivans. “Only truly new or substantially revised cars were considered with the condition that they be available for public sale by January 1, 2006.”

The most exciting entry in the new Civic offerings is the totally redesigned Civic Si. With an i-Vtec motor that produces nearly 200 HP, double wishbone suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, and a curb weight of only lbs., the Si establishes itself as the car to beat in the ultra-competitive FWD import sport class.

The interior is well designed, as one would expect from Honda. The many available bells and whistles (including an excellent GPS navigation system still not offered on the S2000!) are well integrated into the dash/console, and all controls are designed for ease of use and functionality. The Si race inspired seats are quite comfortable as well as reasonably snug for active motoring.

I recently had a chance to observe the new Si put through its paces at Southern California’s Buttonwillow Raceway. (I was in an S2000 directly behind) The car has ample power in the straights and could pull nearly as well as the S2000. While it suffered a bit in difficult turns to the S2000’s phenomenal handling ability, the car was a more than adequate track machine and should provide thrills aplenty for your daily commute or weekend road trip.

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