Having driven the C30 T5 a couple of years ago and loved it, I couldn’t pass up the unique opportunity to drive another (this time a C30 VER 2.0) while on a business trip/vacation in California. The manual transmission in the C30 T5 is one of the sweetest and slickest gearboxes available; however, since probably 90% of these cars are purchased with an automatic transmission, this provided a valuable opportunity to experience the other side. With the intended sightseeing route, I figured it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to drop the transmission into D and just go.
Having grown up in the UK for the most part, the Mini has always been an integral part of the road-scape for me. Although it had a bit of a cult following over here in North America, there were numerous versions of the Mini in Britain and Europe. From the familiar and traditional 2-door version to a station wagon (Clubman), to a panel van version and a pickup – the mini was everywhere. The Post Office had what seemed like millions of them and they seemed to be standard issue for every traveling salesman. And let’s not forget the movie “The Italian Job” – it just wouldn’t have been the same if they’d used VW Beetles, would it?
The next-generation Honda Civic arrived late in 2005 as a 2006 model, and as with the previous generation, it is available as a coupe, 4-door and as a hybrid. Although Honda has since discontinued the Accord hybrid, they continue offering it in the Civic. Over the past year I’ve had the opportunity to road test Ford, Lexus and Toyota’s take on the hybrid, so I was long overdue to give the Honda hybrid a work-out. Visually, the only way to tell the hybrid from the regular Civic is by the 15” full-face aluminum rims that look like wheel covers and the tiny wing on the trunk lid along with the hybrid badge on the back.
Mazda call the MAZDASPEED3 “The Wild Child“ – they even have a cool commercial that we’ve included at the end of this road test! When I picked up the MAZDASPEED3, I’d just finished a week of terrorizing the neighborhood with the MAZDASPEED6. I was blown away with the 6, but I wasn’t expecting the 3 to be this much fun! Calling it a Wild Child describes this car perfectly. If you have a need for speed – this is your car!
Based on the present-generation Honda Civic, the Acura CSX is made in Canada for Canadians. Why Honda chose to design and build an entry-level Acura just for the Canadian market doesn’t make much sense to me, but who am I to question one of the most successful automotive companies in the world? Perhaps Acura wanted a car that was priced between the Honda Accord and the up-coming Acura TSX. I first drove the Canada-only Acura CSX back in December 2005. I sampled the 5-speed manual as well as the paddle-shift automatic in the middle of a snow storm, but came away thoroughly impressed by Acura’s entry-level cars. When I found out there was a Type S version available I just had to book one for a week to put it through its paces in the middle of summer.
The Honda Civic has been around for numerous generations now. It’s probably safe to say it’s Honda’s bread and butter car. It’s gone from being a cheap entry-level import from Japan, to where it is now – a desirable, quality-built, relatively inexpensive car to purchase and maintain that people actually want to own. Although no longer imported from Japan, Honda quality has continued to improve and has become the benchmark for many other manufacturers to strive for.