Honda Civic Now Best Selling Vehicle In The Country

The era of the pickup truck is over. For the first time in 15 years, the Ford F-Series has lost its position as the nation’s top selling vehicle. The new king is the Honda Civic, followed by three other economy models. That’s right: the F-Series plummeted to fifth place in sales last month.

Ford says it plans to sell F-Series trucks “at employee-discount prices this month,” according to Bloomberg, but that’s too late to help Ford return to profitability this year.

Declining pickup sales contributed to Ford’s announcement last month that it would abandon a target of returning to profit by next year. The company had combined losses of $15.3 billion in 2006 and 2007, mostly because of its North American unit.

The automaker is slashing North American production for the rest of 2008 in response to the lower truck sales.

GM, the largest U.S. automaker, said today that it will close four truck plants, build more small cars, and may drop its Hummer brand of large sport-utility vehicles. The company’s May sales fell 28 percent, including a 37 percent plunge for pickups, SUVs and vans.

Here are the top five spots for May sales, from the Kicking Tires blog:

  • Honda Civic: 53,229 (including hybrid)
  • Toyota Corolla: 52,826
  • Toyota Camry: 51,291 (including hybrid)
  • Honda Accord: 43,728 (including hybrid and coupe)
  • Ford F-Series: 42,973

“Honda, Toyota Cars Outsell Ford’s F-Series Pickups” [Bloomberg]
“Honda Civic Best-Selling Car in the Country” [Kicking Tires]
(Photo: Kevitivity)

Comments

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  1. Time to jump on the bandwagon and buy me a Honda!

  2. annelise13 says:

    I heart my Civic – the only car to ever consistently give me BETTER mileage than advertised. (And no, it ain’t even the hybrid kind.)

  3. serreca says:

    I’ve been driving a Civic since ’02! 35mpg (highway), baby!

  4. pmathews says:

    My wife drives one and we estimate she gets over 30mpg in her 2004 4 cylinder Accord. We plan on getting her a newer one next year so she can give this one to her little sis. We’re torn between the Accord Hybrid and the Civic Hybrid, but we’ll see what the 2010 models have to offer.

  5. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    I think all automakers are feeling the pinch of rising gas prices. I think I read somewhere that even Toyota is scaling back on their truck and SUV production.

    Also, this could be the after effect of the sub-prime disaster and a general slump in new housing construction. Construction workers, contractors, and anyone that needs a full size truck for work probably don’t need a big truck and the huge gas bill that comes along with it, particularly if they’re not working steady gigs.

  6. Bladefist says:

    @LatherRinseRepeat: I visualized all the construction workers showing up to build a house in their honda civic and almost shot coffee through my nose.

  7. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    @pmathews:

    Rumor is that Honda will release a Fit Hybrid. And it’s supposed to be cheaper and more fuel efficient than the Civic Hybrid. So definitely wait and see what comes out in a couple years.

  8. LucyInTheSky says:

    civics are great, but my i heart my prius. it gets about 40 mpg, sometimes 50+ mpg on long trips. plus it is super comfy and surprisingly roomy.

  9. I miss my old 98 Civic (lost in a flood). Wanted to buy another one, but hated the way it looked, both inside and out. Ended up with a 4 cyl Camry. Still cost $60 to fill up a nearly bone dry tank yesterday morning.

  10. pmathews says:

    I@LatherRinseRepeat:

    That would be nice. I like the idea of the fit but according to fueleconomy.gov it wasn’t that impressive in terms of mpg when compared to the civic. Then again, as we’ve all seen those numbers can be misleading.

  11. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    @Bladefist:
    It’s funny you say that. A friend of mine works in construction. But he’s more of a foreman type. He’s got a long commute, so he drives his wife’s Civic to the job site. And his wife gets to drive his Chevy Silverado to her office job.

  12. boomerang86 says:

    @ pmathews: Accord hybrids are discontinued.

    The upcoming hybrid car from Honda (early 2009) will NOT be a Fit, it’s going to be an all new U.S. model, priced BELOW the Civic hybrid. It’s #1 on my list when my 2006 Accord VP comes off lease next year!

  13. RBecho says:

    Averaging 64mpg’s this tank on the wife’s Prius, normally I get 33-35 mpg’s in my matrix (which toyota counts in their corolla numbers).

    Just don’t accelerate hard and coast and you can stretch it.

  14. foxbat2500 says:

    Perhaps now I will have a better chance of actually being able to see when I back my hatch-back from a parking space.

  15. pmathews says:

    @boomerang86:

    I just looked on Honda’s website. Are you referring to that CR-Z concept car? Other than that they only mention a new hybrid in 2009 but no other info.

  16. barty says:

    @LatherRinseRepeat: Actually, that appears to be the only sector still buying trucks in significant numbers.

    I almost fell out of my chair laughing when Wagoner (GMs CEO) said the core of their rebuilding plan 2.5 years ago would be led by trucks and SUVs, despite there being no sign of fuel prices easing then either. Perhaps we’re seeing the end of SUV mania and people will go back to buying trucks purely as work vehicles and driving small and mid-sized cars for the commute.

  17. Mistrez_Mish says:

    Hondas are pretty sweet. Still, I’m eyeing the Toyota Prius.

  18. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @Bladefist:

    My brother is a commercial electrician & uses a 94′ Accord sedan as a work vehicle. It’s basically a toolbox on wheels.

  19. MrsLopsided says:

    My Texas city is dominated by SUVS and pickups with bumpers at door handle height on Honda Civics. I’ll downsize when my neighbors downsize – otherwise is suicidal.

  20. spinachdip says:

    “Ford says it plans to sell F-Series trucks “at employee-discount prices this month,”

    I’ve wondered about these “employee discount” sales – it must do wonders for your morale when any schmuck off the street can take advantage of a perk you’ve had to work for, just because your bosses aren’t very good at marketing cars.

    And when is it ever a good idea to depend on discounts for the sake of market share?

  21. balthisar says:

    Uh, the article is misleading. The price reductions on the F-150 are to run through existing inventory. There’s a new model coming out later this summer that I can’t imagine will be discounted.

    Why are they coming out with a new model now of all times, you ask? Heck, these thinks take time. It’s not like they’re going to ditch three years of planning.

  22. forgottenpassword says:

    if it has four-wheel drive & can do as well as my jeep in winter (ice/snow storms)…. then I’d possibly consider getting one. However I doubt it does/can. Maybe if I lived in californy…

  23. mc101 says:

    There are numerous articles in business week, etc., indicating that there is indeed a Fit hybrid coming out…I have an older Honda Odyssey that’s a wonderful vehicle, albeit maybe not the best on gas. I think the Fit is a great little car and this would a great buy-the hybrid I mean…

  24. @Bladefist: There used to be such a thing as a compact pickup. I had one once. They typically got mileage in the high 20s, and could handle most people’s trucking needs. The difference between a Ford F-150 and a Mitsubishi Mighty Max (my old red truck – discontinued since the mid-90s when gas got really, really cheap) was mainly testosterone.

  25. chriscombs says:

    Pedantotron: The following passage:

    “The new king is the Honda Civic, followed by four other economy models. That’s right-the F-Series plummeted to fifth place in sales last month.”

    … doesn’t add up.

  26. Mayor McRib says:

    I just dumped my full-sized truck for an 08 Accord sedan. I miss my truck but miss filling it up less. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Note to fellow v8′ers, prepare to get bent over for your trade, if they will even take it.

  27. pmathews says:

    @Mayor McRib:

    There are days I’m tempted to dump my V-6 sports car for something more practical. But it’s a hard choice. I might just go for an affordable motorcycle instead.

  28. ekthesy says:

    Boy, there are going to be a glut of cheap used SUVs on the market over the next 12 months.

    I am planning on driving my 30 MPG Protege until it dies or I do, but I would definitely take a long look at the Fit hybrid. I hope they restyle it a little, though, I don’t really love the way it looks. My wife has a Civic (and it seems that the Fit is just a Civic hatchback) and I hate to drive it. The hood slopes very dramatically and there are pillars in the way. But it’s very fuel-efficient.

  29. rpertusio says:

    Very happy with my ’07 Civic Hybrid. Currently 47mpg and rising as the summer temps increase. Until June 30th, there’s still a $1,050 tax credit (which drops to $525 after July 1st.) I was able to take advantage of the $2100 tax credit for 2007 tax filing.

  30. Gann says:

    @Bladefist: @LatherRinseRepeat: Funny, when my brother and I worked construction for a couple of summers we’d always take his ’83 honda accord. Surprisingly we never got any crap for it.

  31. battra92 says:

    I hate to place people in stereotypes even though I know a lot of people really love to do so (oh that person has an SUV so they are teh eVil rich white Ummerican!!!!) but I do feel that part of the reason Americans went with pickups and SUVs was just the fact that some things are next to impossible to take in a Civic.

    Towards the end of her life my grandmother was living with my parents and they had to bring her wheelchair everywhere they took her. She could ride in the car so we didn’t need a handicap vehicle but there was no way her chair could fit in a Civic. At the time an SUV made sense.

    Now my dad has a Tacoma and while it gets decent for its size (22mpg) it’s still light years behind my Elantra (34mpg) but they have different purposes. If I need to buy lumber or get a washing machine or whatever, I gotta call my dad for help.

    The people using trucks and SUVs as penis replacements are the ones I get ticked at.

    Of course most contractors I know either have panel vans or well used trucks as their company expense far exceeds showing off the new vehicle.

  32. battra92 says:

    @ekthesy: My wife has a Civic (and it seems that the Fit is just a Civic hatchback) and I hate to drive it. The hood slopes very dramatically and there are pillars in the way. But it’s very fuel-efficient.

    Guess I’m not the only one who hates driving Civics. Honestly, I found them to be the most cramped and uncomfortable of all cars I test drove.

  33. skahead says:

    I just did a 300 mile trip in my matrix and averages 40mpg!… No hard breaking, no quick acceleration, and I tried to keep it around or below 60 with cruise control. Took about 10 or 15 minutes longer to get to my destination but that’s about a 10mpg increase in fuel economy.

  34. redgreen21 says:

    I drive a v6 toyota solara, and even their v6′s get great mileage. Averaged out since I have got it is about 27 mpg. Though I do miss the 4 banger 2001 solara I traded in. At least 32 in that thing.

  35. MrsLopsided says:

    Chrysler is hoping its $2.99/gallon gas incentive (on selected new cars & trucks) will help sales. Fill up with their credit card and they will prorate to $2.99 – up to 15,000 miles/year for 3 years. At $3.99/gallon a 20mpg car would generate up to $750 annual savings… ($1,500 @ $4.99/gallon).

  36. theblackdog says:

    Now they just need to make a Toyota Matrix Hybrid…

  37. WraithSama says:

    Most of the Honda Civics I see driving around are retarded teenagers and early-twenties with aftermarket rims, a fart can muffler so big it looks like it used to be a Foldgers can, and a bolt-on wing on the trunk so big it’s actually taller than the roof of the car. Euro-style taillights are also popular. Of course, most of them have been debadged, too, but they’re still obviously Civics. I think most of these people never quite got the fact that their car is a 4-cylinder econobox.

    The Fast and the Furious was apparently a very successful 2-hour long Honda Civic commercial. Impressionable kids who know nothing about real cars bought into the hype, and now every punk with a jersy, sideways hat and an attitude thinks their “pimped out” Civic is the baddest thing on the road.

    Can you believe I actually saw one of these Civics with a Fast and the Furious decal on the quarterpanels? *rolls eyes*

  38. spinachdip says:

    @WraithSama: Dad?

  39. skahead says:

    @theblackdog: Unlikely.. Toyota/GMC missed the mark with the new matrix/vibe… while the design looks nicer, and has a faster engine, the thing suffers from 5 to 8 mpg less then the last model. Even with a hybrid they would need to fix the mess up

  40. frari489 says:

    @battra92: If I need to buy lumber or get a washing machine or whatever, I gotta call my dad for help.

    Unless your doing that sort of thing all the time, that’s what U-Haul is for.

  41. WraithSama says:

    @spinachdip:
    Har. Don’t get me wrong, I’m only 25 myself, but I can’t help but chuckle and shake my head every time I see some kid with a done-up Honda Civic and acting like it’s the coolest thing around. I mean, seriously, is there actually some kind of inside competition about who can bolt on the most ridiculously huge wing? I’m gonna’ be laughing my ass off one day when one of these stooges clip that St. Louis Arch on their trunk they call a wing on some fast food drive-thru awning, or maybe a low bridge.

  42. theblackdog says:

    @skahead: Now that sucks that they’ve screwed up the redesign because my boyfriend has an ’07 Matrix and absolutely loves it.

    I’ll continue to keep my options open.

  43. P_Smith says:

    What amazes me is American unwillingness to drive cars, popular in other countries, that are more fuel efficient than the Civic, like the Smart Car, the Peugeot 206, the Honda Fit, etc. The myth of “car = freedom” will come to a crashing halt with the reality of the dumb being free of cars because there’s no affordable gas, or no gas period.

    By the time the new Ford Fiesta hits the market in 2010, gas will be at least $6-8 per gallon and even a 50mpg car may be too expensive to drive. It’s $8 per gallon in Europe now and some transportation companies (including fuel transport trucks) are on the verge of going belly up.

    That’s what the riots in France are all about. “Coming soon, to a city near you!”

  44. spinachdip says:

    @WraithSama: I’m just messing around. I personally don’t care about cars as long as they get me from point A to point B in safe and efficient way and it seems stupid to invest so much in something that inevitably and constantly loses value. But I get that for a lot of people (and not just tuners), their car is an extension of their identity, and it’s hard to resist an opportunity to needle someone for a “Kids these days!” rant.

    FWIW, Civics were the ricer/gearhead choice of car for customizations before the Fast and the Furious franchise came out. Something about how the engine’s pretty decent and it’s structurally easy to mess around. That’s what I hear anyway, but I wouldn’t know.

    While we’re talking about the Civic, do people still call UC Irvine the “University of Civics and Integras”?

  45. P_Smith says:

    @WraithSama: Har. Don’t get me wrong, I’m only 25 myself, but I can’t help but chuckle and shake my head every time I see some kid with a done-up Honda Civic and acting like it’s the coolest thing around.

    If the World Rally Championship were widely popular in the US, you’d probably see the same thing with Ford Focus hatchbacks and Suzuki SX-4s. The engines in the street models have a third of the power of the rally cars but look the same and some people act as if they are the same car. The only rally racing car that’s close to the street legal version is the Subaru Impreza.

  46. AskCars says:

    I edit the blog KickingTires for Cars.com. Here’s the info on Honda’s official hybrid plans:
    [blogs.cars.com]

    There will be 3 new hybrid models joining the Civic Hybrid over the next few years.
    The new, redesigned Fit will get a hybrid version.

    There will be an all-new gasoline hybrid model that will resemble the FCX Hydrogen car. This will be the Prius fighter at a price supposedly below Prius.

    There will be a sport hatchback hybrid based on the very cool CR-Z concept.

    They should all get better mileage than the current civic hybrid.

  47. tgpt says:

    A few comments:

    - Once you correct for driver age, smaller cars (in general) do not have appreciably higher fatality rates than big SUVs, so “I need a big car because my neighbors are driving them” is a sham. It turns out the decrease in crash safety is made up for by the fact that it’s easier to avoid getting in an accident to begin with. It turns out that the best way to avoid dying in an accident is not to get in one.

    - The Accord and the Camry are economy cars? They may be relatively fuel-efficient, but when you can still purchase a brand new car for less than $10,000, I think calling either of these models “economy” is a bit of a stretch. I’m hard-pressed to even include the Corolla or the Civic – they may be small(ish) cars, but their base prices seem to be about 50% higher than the models I think of as “economy”. In the past month, I’ve seen the Focus and the Accent for $9995 and the Aveo for $8995. Like them or not, these are economy cars.

  48. RINO-Marty says:

    @battra92: The Fit absolutely is not a Civic Hatchback. They are completely different cars that share no components at all that I’m aware of.

  49. RhymePhile says:

    I have a 2002 Civic LX coupe, and my mom is going to be selling her 97 coupe to upgrade to a new Civic. The Civic was my very first new car (having driven used cars in the past) and I’ll continue to stick with them as long as they keep making Civics.

  50. ekthesy says:

    @RINO-Marty:

    I said that, battra92 was quoting me. My point was really about the nose of the car. I can’t tell the difference from a Civic and a Fit from the driver’s side window to the front fender, and perhaps I’m not paying close enough attention. Either way, the severe slope of the hood is extremely disconcerting while driving. I like to see some car in front of me.

  51. lalaland13 says:

    But if the manly mens in Texas downgrade from their Big Manly Trucks, their penises will shrink. It’s a scientific fact. You can’t argue with science.

    (I’m from Texas, and if I’ve had a particularly bad day, I like to shout “Your penis is shrinking! Your penis is shrinking!” as I pass a big truck or SUV on the highway. Oh heck, screw if I’ve had a bad day. I do it most days).

  52. Paladin_11 says:

    @P_Smith…

    American unwillingness to drive cars like the Smart car have everything to do with the different use we put our cars to here. The Smart car would be great for New York City. But if you had to drive it on the interstate for miles and miles, or during a South Dakota winter it wouldn’t measure up.

    They might put up with riots in France, but over here our trucks and SUV’s are armed to the teeth. That gun rack in the pickup ain’t just for show boy… ;-)

  53. Bladefist says:

    @Steaming Pile: I used to drive an s10. Dont know if that counts or not for a mini truck. But it was a low-liter v6, so I imagine it got great gas mileage.

    It’s just, the worst thing about driving a civic, is having to tell your parents that you’re gay.

    I KID I KID.

  54. RINO-Marty says:

    @ekthesy: I agree – it takes some getting used to.

  55. Trai_Dep says:

    Chris – That’s the most inspired photo caption to a story I’ve seen EVAH!
    Really good job!

  56. howie_in_az says:

    @WraithSama: I mean, seriously, is there actually some kind of inside competition about who can bolt on the most ridiculously huge wing?

    The wing is providing downforce so your rear wheels get more traction, thusly allowing the car to accelerate faster and corner better. You’ll note that most professional racing series (Formula 1, GP2, A1GP, etc) have rear and front wings used for aerodynamic purposes. Formula 1 cars generate enough downforce to be driven upside down in a tunnel, although no one has yet proven it.

    Of course all of this makes absolutely no sense in a torque-steering front-wheel drive car that will never see track duty. I especially like how the really riced-out Civics are nearly always mated to automatic transmissions.

  57. notallcompaniesareevil says:

    “The new king is the Honda Civic, followed by four other economy models. That’s right-the F-Series plummeted to fifth place in sales last month.”

    Um, are you calling the F-Series an economy model? It’s the fourth one after the first place Civic. You should proofread more.

  58. notallcompaniesareevil says:

    @howie_in_az:”Formula 1 cars generate enough downforce to be driven upside down in a tunnel, although no one has yet proven it.”
    I think I smell a mythbusters segment!

  59. quagmire0 says:

    I’ve had a Civic for about 6 years now and bought a Prius about two years ago. Even I didn’t see the possibility of $5 gas!

  60. spinachdip says:

    @ekthesy: In a past lifetime, I drove a handmedown ’91 Civic. It was an okay car, except the pillars created blind spots in all directions. I recently drove a late model Civic and same thing – bling spots in more or less the same locations. You’d think they’d eliminate those after 15+ years of R&D.

    @Paladin_11: That, and according to a review on NY Times, it drives like shit:

    If the engine is mediocre, the five-speed automated manual transmission is an engineering embarrassment. You could practically squeeze a half-inning of baseball into the maddening delay between the release of one gear and the engagement of the next. The Smart loses momentum in the pause, lurching passengers forward, and then Barcalounges backward when it oozes into a higher gear…

    …Compared with suburb-dwellers, the urban single or family is also more likely to rely on one do-it-all car. That means the versatility to carry friends, escape for a weekend and deal with cargo.

    That’s where the Smart gets really dumb. For roughly the Smart Passion’s well-equipped price of $15,510, one could have several pint-sized models – the terrific Honda Fit or Nissan Versa come to mind – that are sportier, hold twice as many people, up to six times the cargo and get nearly the same mileage.

  61. Chris Walters says:

    @notallcompaniesareevil: I should proofread in general.

  62. howie_in_az says:

    @notallcompaniesareevil: That’d be pretty lol — the F1 cars are several million bucks each, and there’s no buy-one-get-one-free option like there are for some houses in California :(

  63. WraithSama says:

    @P_Smith:
    Right, and the Impreza is a nice car. And yes, this is a sweeping generalization, but most of these kids don’t really seem to care about power or performance, they seem to be trying to buy ‘street cred’ and associate themselves with the tuner scene when all they’ve done is slapped on a fancy rim, a fart can, and a wing, none of which really affect the performance of the vehicle.

    @howie_in_az:
    You are only partly correct. It does provide downfoce which increases the car’s ability to adhere to the track while cornering. However, you’re dead-wrong about enhancing the car’s acceleration. The corollary to downforce is that it increases drag on the car, actually *slowing* acceleration. That’s why it’s absolutely hilarious to see these gargantuan wings on these little economy cars. Even in a race, I seriously doubt these cars will see the kind of speeds that necessitate a wing, and with that tiny little 4-banger straining to accelerate the car quickly, you’re actually harming your engine’s performance with the unnecessary drag.

  64. TechnoDestructo says:

    I’d like to see figures for fleet and non-fleet sales of both the Civic and F-150. I’d bet the Civic has been beating the F-150 for sales to individuals for decades.

  65. barty says:

    @P_Smith: Unfortunately the Smart car really isn’t all it is hyped to be. I had folks in Europe telling me that when I saw my first one about 3 years ago. They were great for the small streets and parking spaces there, but really didn’t do anything else that other less expensive cars could in terms of economy.

  66. bilge says:

    I’m going to use my stimulus check on a spoiler for my Civic.

  67. MrsLopsided says:

    @tgpt:

    [www.theautochannel.com]

    SUVs have higher roll over deaths but in multi-car accidents it’s better to be in the larger/heavier vehicle.

  68. Birki says:

    I’ll always miss my ’88 Honda Prelude but the Civic EX I’ve been driving for the last 9 years kicks ass; I’m going to drive it as long as I can. It’s a comfortable, peppy car with lots of trunk space and I can actually fit two car seats in the back, no problem. Great gas mileage. When the time comes, I’ll most likely purchase another Civic.

  69. Don Roberto says:

    @boomerang86: How do you lease a VP Accord? Just write a check and take the resale in two years.

  70. TechnoDestructo says:

    @RBecho:

    Coasting (in neutral) is usually illegal. Going down long grades, it’s actually dangerous. Coasting to a stop in neutral just slows down your reaction time if you need to speed up to avoid a collision (it happens)…it’s not AS bad, but I’m pretty sure it’s still illegal.

  71. lestat730 says:

    Civics are nice but I’m still happy that I chose to get a Mazda 3 instead

  72. TechnoDestructo says:

    @howie_in_az:

    Keeping the rear wheels planted matters in FWD cars, too. Just not as much.

  73. hardisonthefloor says:

    im 6 foot 2, and 250 lbs. ill keep my F-150, thank you.

  74. synergy says:

    *victory lap*

    Guess what car I have!

  75. synergy says:

    @foxbat2500: “Perhaps now I will have a better chance of actually being able to see when I back my hatch-back from a parking space.”

    Thanks for bringing that up! It annoys me to no end! Especially when it’s a truck that’s essentially a car with a bed! That annoyed the crap out of me the other day. These people in the 2 cab could’ve easily fit in a Civic, but heaven forbid they get a normal-sized car!

  76. synergy says:

    @battra92: I’m not sure what you were doing with the wheelchair, but I’ve gotten bikes INSIDE the car and 6ft-tall ladders.

  77. Grive says:

    @Steaming Pile: Funny enough, you can still get some economic trucks in other markets.
    @WraithSama: Well, to be fair, the Civic has always been popular, F&F only brought it to the mainstream…er audience. It’s popular because in older versions, there was bolt-on performance and aesthetics accessories galore. Want a turbo? Sure, let’s just loosen these nuts, put it right smack here, and tighten again.
    @P_Smith: Yeah, it surprises me, too. There are dozens of smallish cars with great fuel economy, cheap to purchase, cheap to run, and actually quite stylish everywhere in the world… except in the US.

    What baffles me the most is that these cars won’t limit your freedom at all. I took a 5000+ mile roadtrip on an rebadged old Opel Corsa through route 66, and the only thing I missed was the burbling sound of a v8… and not that much. The stereo was playing way too loud for me to hear it.
    @hardisonthefloor: So am I, and I’ve found that the Civic (And smaller cars) are quite roomy enough. You’d be surprised of all the interior space the driver gets.

  78. jtsisyoda says:

    @WraithSama: @howie_in_az:
    The wing is a little more complicated than you might think. The downforce and the drag do not increase at quite the same rate with higher speed.

    At speed zero both drag and downforce are zero. At high speed downforce is useful for cornering, but acceleration at high speed is not limited by traction (unless you’re also cornering), because it’s harder to accelerate at the same rate as your speed gets higher. There is a sweet spot (a mid-range speed) where you’re going fast enough to get traction benefit from the wing for acceleration so as not to spin your tires, but not so much drag that it slows you down.

    For F1 racing, there are lots of turns, and exit speed out of a corner is paramount (as any Gran Turismo gamer can tell you). For NASCAR, the turns are extremely gentle, so who needs wings.

    I learned all this from GT3 video game instructions, BTW. Just kidding– I have a physics degree, too.

    After a nerdrant like that please respect the obligatory awkward moment of silence rule. Thanks.

  79. FLConsumer says:

    Can someone explain to me why people buy Toyota Camrys? I’ve been helping a friend with their car shopping and the Camry was just… lackluster? Nothing overly bad about the car, but nothing great either. Fit & finish was well below comparables.

  80. Grive says:

    @FLConsumer: Well, because it’s nothing overtly bad, but nothing great, either.

    It’s a safe choice. It’s a toyota, so there’s the perception that the chances of a lemon are low (Even if the V6 does have it’s issues). It has decent space, a decent engine, and it seems decent styling, even if I personally despise it.

    It’s just… decent. Which makes it a choice for those who want a dealership point-a-to-b’er vehicle with the creature comforts the camry offers.

    Of course, that’s exactly why I wouldn’t buy it. I prefer to get emotional regarding my car, even if explosive rage is sometimes the choice of the day.

  81. cerbie says:

    The Ford F-150 was the best selling vehicle in the U.S.?!

  82. I guess noone has pointed this out, but chances are good that people who would normally buy f-150s probably aren’t abandoning them, they’re just waiting for the completely redesigned 2009 model. Unless you get a great incentive, what’s the point in buying a truck that’s going to noticeably be “the old model” when the new generation comes out?

  83. lekhni says:

    I wonder if this is really a permanent dip in pickup truck sales. Methinks not. All you need is a dip in oil prices, or the roll-out of a truck that does better in fuel economy, for sales to pick up again. We are still not addressing the underlying issues that cause our oil prices to go up..

  84. IrisMR says:

    Honda Civic? They’re a plague. Plague of little brats that just got a driving license and feel cool because they now have a car and added a zomg wing on their lame car’s ass. and then you see them race around looking fresh at the wheel of the lamest, most overrated car ever thinking they’re cool.

    Don’t custom your civics. You look silly.

  85. P_Smith says:

    @WraithSama: Right, and the Impreza is a nice car. And yes, this is a sweeping generalization, but most of these kids don’t really seem to care about power or performance, they seem to be trying to buy ‘street cred’ and associate themselves with the tuner scene when all they’ve done is slapped on a fancy rim, a fart can, and a wing, none of which really affect the performance of the vehicle.

    I do not understand the need for a flashy wannabe image rather than substance. If I were going the stupid macho streetracer route, I’d do it the Steve McQueen way – have a more powerful engine in the car than people expect, such as a torquier V8 engine in a Mazda RX-8. Either that, or get the new VW Scirocco (rumours persist of a 3.6L V6 280bhp 265tq version).

    It’s damned hard being a petrolhead *and* be concerned about the environment….

    @Grive: Yeah, it surprises me, too. There are dozens of smallish cars with great fuel economy, cheap to purchase, cheap to run, and actually quite stylish everywhere in the world… except in the US. What baffles me the most is that these cars won’t limit your freedom at all.

    Such cars don’t limit people but the US mindset is “bigger, faster, louder, and mine”. Although people were appalled when he said it, many Americans still buy into the idiocy of George Bush Sr. at the Rio conference in 1992: “The US standard of living is not up for negotiation.” People are convinced they need a bigger, faster, louder and more personal car than is necessary.

  86. vladthepaler says:

    This is a step in the right direction. I look forward to the day when the best-selling vehicle is a public bus.

  87. crackle says:

    who knows. rising gas prices and an economic downturn may be the best thing that happened to this country.

  88. BlazerUnit says:

    @crackle: Crazy as it sounds, you’re not far off at all. Oil prices will push everyone toward better efficiency in practically everything. Higher prices and less money (or reduced buying power) will make people prioritize what they spend money and time on.

    The SUV trip to the suburban mega-mall will be getting much more expensive. In the larger contexts of physical health and well-being, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

  89. Grive says:

    @P_Smith:
    I guess. Not being american, chances are I miss a certain something of the psyche.

    I can’t actually disagree too much with Bush’s quote. After all, lowering your standard of living isn’t progress. What I’ve felt (owning at some point a small, zippy hot hatch myself), however, is that such a car isn’t against it.

    Then again, the bigger part can’t be argued, not even with “pretty good interior space and a lot of practicality”. After all, cars are sold on perception, not on truth. An SUV is safer. Bigger is better and more comfortable. A Bigger exterior means a bigger interior. It might not be necessarily true, but it seems so.

    Maybe what baffles me is this part of human psychology.

  90. P_Smith says:

    @Grive: I can’t actually disagree too much with Bush’s quote. After all, lowering your standard of living isn’t progress. What I’ve felt (owning at some point a small, zippy hot hatch myself), however, is that such a car isn’t against it.

    I most certainly can.

    Imagine the Earth is a trust fund, or even just a bank account. If you live a humble life and live off only the interest, it will last forever. But if you spend principle with no thought for the future, eventually it’s going to run out and reality is going bite harder than it needs to. The analogy runs out, though, when the Earth runs out of resources and we can’t get another planet, unlike a spoilt brat who can go out and get a job.

    We are spending principle like the Earth has infinite resources, and when oil and other natural resources run out, we’re collectively going to sit there and whine, “But nobody told us!” We can cut back now, or we can be cut off cold turkey later. Pretending that one or a few nations have a “right” to high living is an insult to other nations. These colours don’t run the world.

    @Grive: Then again, the bigger part can’t be argued, not even with “pretty good interior space and a lot of practicality”. After all, cars are sold on perception, not on truth. An SUV is safer. Bigger is better and more comfortable. A Bigger exterior means a bigger interior. It might not be necessarily true, but it seems so.

    An SUV is only “safer” in the same way carrying a gun is “safer” when everyone else has knives. Once everyone else gets a gun, you’re no safer. If gas prices dictate a trend toward smaller and slower vehicles with less weight and horsepower, then the roads will become safer as a consequence without us having to try.

  91. RISwampyankee says:

    I heart Honda. My last Honda died last September with 349,000 miles.

  92. Hybrids, in their current form are stupid. I will NOT buy one. Here’s why:

    The cost of buying one outweighs savings by a LARGE degree… Look – Base Civic = $15,010 and Hybrid = 22,600…

    WTF?! 7,000 dollars? and for that you get… 45mpg instead of 36mpg? Not to mention those batteries wear out, losing their ability to hold a charge. The batteries make the car heavy and slow.

    The only thing that will tear me away from my roomy, speedy, solid 2.5i Subaru Legacy (30mpg) will be an all-electric car.

    I WANT MY ALL-ELECTRIC NOW!

  93. Grive says:

    @P_Smith: The problem here might be that I do believe it’s possible to have as good a -or even better- standard of living than what we currently have without being as damaging or wasteful.

    Cleaner technologies can reduce our oil dependency without limiting us – and we will get a cleaner atmosphere.
    Healthier foods can reduce the amount of chemicals dumped – and we will be healthier.

    That was my argument. The standard of living of people shouldn’t be reduced. But that doesn’t mean that the current wasteful, harmful system is a sacred cow. On the contrary, I think that it should be the first thing slaughtered and replaced by better options. That was my stated argument – limited to cars, but implying more – when I stated that I agree we shouldn’t lower our standard of living… but that dumping wasteful cars for more efficient yet fun vehicles is not lowering anything.

    As for the SUVs… thank you, you’ve made my point. I was talking about how cars sell on perception, not facts. SUVs are “safer” – I directly state it’s not necessarily true, but that’s irrelevant, because it’s the public’s perception. I said it was not “necessarily true”, as an SUV could be made safe, so I won’t shoehorn every single vehicle in that category into the deathtrap group.

  94. Titan0 says:

    I had an ’06 Civic for about six months and absolutely hated it. I sold it to my mother for 8k less than I paid just to get rid of it quickly.

    My mid 90s BMW 318 gets even better gas mileage anyway. And it doesn’t feel like I’m driving a tin can that started rattling after 3k miles.