• Honda

Midland Honda

868 King Street
Directions Midland, ON L4R 0B8

  • Sales: 1 (888) 378-0641
  • Service: 705 526 1344
  • Parts: 705 526 1344

Macky's Minutes


Counting on Honda's Service 
Network

 The cottage life experience can be more than warm lake water, barbecues, games and bug bites. Lynn and I found out how much more the other weekend when we were heading home from our friend's cottage on Lake Shawanaga near Parry Sound. The cottage is at the end of Running Bear road. A twisty, up and down dirt track that was pockmarked by water, rocks and sticks, about one and a half cars wide. We were taking it easy, following our host in his Nissan SUV, stopping occasionally to close road gates. The end of the 5Km was almost reached when we heard, "Thump, Thump, Thump", from the rear of the car. Stop we did and I hopped out to check the source of the wheel-well noise. Wow, a very large steel spike had punctured the middle of the tire and one end of the spike was almost through the tire's sidewall. Hmm, what to do? Yanking on it didn't seem to help and it was just as well that I didn't pursue this line of investigation. Needed the tire to remain inflated for a little while yet. We proceeded, driving gingerly on the last of the dirt road to Lorimer Rd to a point just across from the Tim Horton's Memorial Camp. Our friend suggested a towing company in Parry Sound that we could call and I replied that from this point onwards we would be relying on Honda Road side assistance to get our car safely on the road again!

Checking my Midland Honda key fob I found the 1-800 roadside assistance number and then dialed them up. A pleasant woman from Quebec took my call and asked first if I was O.K. then what the problem was. Soon she began to zero in on where I was parked. Honda can find your location by your cell phone co-ordinates, but we relied on Google maps, the road name and the Tim Horton's camp location. The operator dispatched a towing company from Parry Sound and guaranteed that they would be fixing my car in 55 minutes. Presto, the gears were in motion to fix the tire. All I really had to do was remember to complete the Honda satisfaction survey that was to be emailed to me in a couple of days. That was easy.

Well, it was a nice afternoon so I decided to take the cooler out of the back and start preparing the spare for the service guy. I unraveled the tools and placed the car jack under the jack lift point just forward of the bad tire. I looked at the small 'J'tire iron and thought I should have packed my iron cross. It's more substantial and it would allow for more leverage for the removal of the wheel lugs. A passing thought for a driver who probably could have changed the wheel on a nice summer day but decided to take the easy way out. I'm glad I did.

Jonah from Constable Towing and Recovery arrived fifty minutes later. He immediately brought over a professional garage jack, an electric air pump, a cordless impact driver and a professional torque wrench for the lug nuts.  Jonah topped up the pressure on the skinny spare then proceeded to swap the tires. While tightening the nuts back on the car he explained that if you do use the supplied car jack you need to block the front tires to prevent the car from rolling. He also mentioned the lug nut tightening procedure with the wheel off the ground and on the ground. Most importantly he did remind me that I should only travel around 80Km per hour and when on the 400 use my emergency flashers to warn trucks they were approaching a slow vehicle. Some good tips from the young dude who finished the job in twenty minutes. We were on our way back to Midland Honda for a tire replacement at an uncomfortably slow speed.

I was travelling between 80-90 km per hour in the slow lane and constantly looking in my rear view mirror for faster traffic. This was a challenge on the 400 series highway and I found myself wide-eyed at some lug heads that made the decision to change lanes just before clipping my rear bumper. I think the big rigs appreciated the hazard light heads up. Well, we made it and rolled into Midland Honda on a Monday afternoon and the store was super-busy as usual.

Being busy has never stood in the way of Midland Honda's service desk working with you quickly to solve your car issue. Steve House had my tire rolled over to the parts desk where Mike Safko and a repair technician shook their heads at the nasty spike. My Dunlop tire was unfortunately not in stock and a replacement tire couldn't be ordered for delivery until the following day. This was a problem for us because we were heading back to Toronto.  Mike started diligently working the phone and the computer checking other dealerships between Midland and Toronto and found that Bolton Honda had my tire. With contact info in hand we left in a dash to get to Bolton before closing time. Mike's Honda networking was more than just finding out where I could find a tire at a dealership. His conversation with Cameron Lynch, the service advisor, at Bolton Honda guaranteed that a valued Midland Honda client would be taken care of before their closing time.

Did I say 80 km max speed; well let's just say the spare performed beautifully at 95Km per hour. Cameron kept a technician past 5:15 pm and we were able to have our new tire replaced and the car washed by 6:30. It was a great client hand off between two Honda dealerships. Looking back on the day the Honda experience was a seamless series of successful handoffs from the first contact with Madame Roadside assistant to the moment I shook Cameron's hand and said thank you for your service. The Honda/ Client touch points were definitely enhanced because we had the tire and rim repair and replacement insurance on the CRV. This coverage reduced my repair costs considerably. You tend to forget about the tire and rim coverage but when accidents do happen you remember and say to yourself, no problem.

Let me review the costs without protection. My new Dunlop tire retails at about $245.00 plus tax. Installation would have been around $20.00. Total cost - $265.00 plus tax. With my plan I paid Bolton Honda $69.00 plus tax as a result of the damaged tire's depreciated value caused by tire wear. There would have been no cost to me at all if the tire had been fairly new. Consider this scenario. Let's say that I had picked up that spike on the 400 and shredded the tire at speed causing rim damage. A new touring CVR rim is $400.00 and so the cost keeps climbing to $750.00 tax in. Hard to believe a fifty-cent spike can have that much impact on your bank account.

I paid $400.00 for my 48-month tire and rim repair and replace insurance package. The plan keeps working throughout the term, even if you have multiple tire or rim failures. Car rental and accommodation expenses are also available if necessary. Purchasing my tire and rim insurance was the right decision for me when I leased Furyossa from Midland Honda. Yes, that's right, my copper coloured CRV is named Furyossa. Now, after our summer driving adventure, my little beasty is lookin' good, driving well and ready for more country miles near cottage country. Next stop, Bark Lake for a fishing excursion with some friends. 

I hope everyone has good driving experiences this summer but if you do have a car problem away from home feel confident that you can rely on the Honda roadside service network and Midland Honda to help get you and your family where they need to go.

Until next time….Macky

 

 
2017 Honda Civic Si

Racing has been a core part of Honda's DNA for over sixty years and this year Honda has gone to great lengths to offer different shades of that racing heritage in their Civic line-up. The heart of a racecar is evident in the U.K. produced Civic Hatch Sport the awesome Civic Type R and in the North American designed Civic Si. If you are a person who loves cars than one of these Civics will sharpen your senses and improve your driving skills.

The unveiling of the 10th generation Civic Si has kicked off a vigorous debate amongst Civic Si fans about whether this new version of Honda's affordable racer is indeed an improvement over previous models and more importantly does the 2017 Si match up to the competition. There seems to be a great deal of concern expressed on blogs, like CivicX.com, about the lack of performance which is based on the less than sizzling horse power "HP" figures announced in Honda's roll out of the car. The HP and torque numbers were not that surprising for the Si fan base who may have been dreaming of a de-tuned 2.0 litre Turbo Type R engine for the Si. The Civic Type R definitely raised the bar of expectations for Si fans and this has led to some disappointment and confusion on where the Si model is going even before the cars become available for sale.  Not only was 205 HP and 192 lb. ft. of torque less than awe inspiring, the adoption of turbo technology has been seen, by some die hard Si aficionados, as blasphemous.  They believe that Turbo technologies shouldn't be part of the Si bloodline. Hey now… these are of course the super-enthusiasts!

When cars had carburetors the novelty of fuel injection was worth marketing and Honda played up the association of Sports cars and engine tech in the mantra 'Si' or Sports Injected. This term became synonymous with Honda's high revving VTEC engines that symbolized the strength of the brand. Si owners enjoyed the scream of the engine as peak power output was achieved at high RPMs. Car tuning magazines and after market products helped support the notion that Si culture was primarily about high rpms at top speed. The introduction of the 1.5 Liter turbo engine into the Si world then has been a shock to the prevailing belief system.  The old engine scream has been replaced by the new sound of the turbo spool up and the engine output is now achieved at a lower RPM.  Those shaking their heads at this change complain that the new Si will not be able to compete with the likes of the 220 HP VW GTI, the 252 HP Ford Focus ST or the 268 HP Subaru WRX.  Well, maybe not in a straight drag race, but the new Si was not designed and powered to be a straight-line street racer.  I'm sure that the 'fast and the furious' contingent of the Si owners group will use after market parts on the 2017 Si to achieve higher HP outputs and in the end will be satisfied with their modifications, or maybe they will consider moving up to the 300 HP Civic Type R. The upgrade would be more money up front but that said you would be able to achieve dependable extreme grunt off the line without worrying about paying for non-factory engine modifications.  

Honda has made a conscious effort to make the 2017 Civic Si a great every day performance car. Fun doesn't have to be expensive.  There are many features in the 2017 Si that make it a more balanced road handling car than its competitors with more HP.  Honda engineers have been focused on creating a Civic Si engine that has a very favourable power to weight ratio in order to optimize driver engagement and chassis dynamics. Having a smaller 1.5-liter engine helps keep the curb weight down to under 2,900 lbs. This is very good in comparison to other manufacturers in this market segment. A lighter car that is not nose heavy is more balanced going into and out of corners. The Si has a different flavour of performance, it is meant to feel more nimble and precise. The adaptive dampers work in conjunction with 30% more rigid stabilizing bars up front and 60% more rigid bars in the back. The Civic Si has solid front and rear compliance bushings and ultra-rigid front upper control arms that it shares with the Civic Type R.  The suspension in the normal or default driving mode initiates a ride that is more comfort oriented yet well controlled while in the Sports mode the suspension damping characteristics plus steering and throttle response are adjusted for a more taut and direct driving experience. 

Engage Sport mode when you feel like hunting for the perfect corner apex. As you enter that apex the large, 12.3 inch front disc brakes will have finished setting up your turn… you quickly downshift, then turbo your Civic Si around and out of the corner in the mid range of your power band. Peak horsepower arrives 1300 rpm lower in rev range than the previous Si engine and the increased peak torque is produced at 2300 rpm earlier and this is sustained over 70% of the rev range. A driver's smile is guaranteed after negotiating your favourite corner with the short throw six-speed gearbox!

Any accurate cornering would cause G-forces that could only be subdued by the impressive Si badged bolstered driver and passenger seats. The sport seat with the red stitching locks the driver comfortably into a good driving position.  Feeling great while driving makes the experience memorable. Looking great in a Civic with a little zing is also good for the soul.  Honda has injected sports car cues inside the cabin to set this Civic in the race zone.  The red sports stich carries through on the doors, the steering wheel and leather shift boot. The shift knob is aluminum and so are the driver's pedals. Dry metal Carbon trim is used to accent dash and door areas. The list of car operating features is comparable to Honda's touring trim level but two things stuck out as being new for the Si, remote engine start and walk away door locking. I'm puzzled about the remote start with a manual transmission.  I will always remember starting a sporty manual four banger in gear without depressing the clutch, whoa!  Lurching the car forward is an embarrassing surprise. Honda must have a secret way.

The whole line-up of 2017 Civics appears to me to have been sport injected. You can see the low slung aggressive stance with sleek lines both in the coupe or Sedan.  The pinched in side panel under the door centerline just makes the Civic look like it going to pounce its way down the thoroughfare.  The Civic Si brings more sportiness to the table with a front aero package that brings the car closer to the ground. The 18 inch two tone alloy wheels, with lower profile tires really enhance the race feel for the side profile. LED headlights and taillights will make the Civic Si a real head turner on the highway.

Choosing either the Civic Si sedan or coupe could be the toughest decision one makes if you are in the market for this hot Civic.  You may feel like that James Hinchcliffe looking actor in the Honda ad with his wife in the passenger seat. Your dreaming I want this to be a monster green two-door coupe that I can eventually drive at Mosport. What traction, what acceleration, what fun…and then you realize that you also need to make room for a couple of kids, so you decide in favour of the black four door sedan and get a little more practicality without losing any of the performance or handling! Both the Honda Civic Si Sedan and Coupe have the heart of a racecar!

I'm looking forward to test driving the 2017 Civic Si from Midland Honda. Soon after I will probably mention to Richard Davies, "I just had a phenomenal drive!"

Until next time

Macky

 

When was the last time you saw a silver hubcap lying in the brown grass near the side of the road. Back in the day I suppose you would have seen many and if you were very lucky you would have seen a full sized maroon Mercury Marquis lose one while careening around a corner. That was always amusing to watch. The cap flying off, rolling and teetering to a unknown resting place. Sadly today this sort of humor has left the byways of our great province primarily because most car manufactures wrap their tires around aluminum wheels instead of steel wheels.

Now let it be said that steel wheels are still offered on lower trim models and most people who have winter tires put them on steel rims. A heavier rim creates more un-sprung weight and this helps the rubber bite the snow harder. Having a car with dampened acceleration and agility and a lower centre of gravity helps promote the sense of control and certainty while driving in poor winter conditions.

We are now ready to cast off the steel rims that have helped us through the winter months in favour of the most appealing, light and sporty aluminum wheels that Midland Honda has stored away for you. Time to pump the tires with nitrogen and get back some of the agility and acceleration that your Civic Si or touring Accord was designed to show.

Some people have shoe fetishes while others have rim obsessions. I can relate to those drivers who find that hot wheels make and finish the look of a sedan, an SUV, a truck or a hatchback. Even a Honda Odyssey looks better in a sporty set of wheels! All manufacturers have been improving the look of their wheels for many years. It is now a common practice for companies to create rad wheel design patterns thereby upping the ante in the war to attract customers. Its a given that if the rim looks fast and sporty then the wheels on that Honda Fit could help break the Nurburgring's sub-compact car lap record! It is a visual tease, but I like it.  The thing is, Honda doesn't design and make these important visual components for their cars. Just like many other parts, like electric harnesses or air bags, wheels are made by OEMs (Original Equipment Manufactures). Honda contracts the wheel manufacturing to companies such as Enkei and BBS.  Valued OEM partners that help shape the success of each Honda model. 

OEMs rely on their ability to drive down the cost of production through economies of scale. Using an OEM allows Honda to obtain needed components or products without owning and operating a factory. Unlike the American big three - GM, Ford and Chrysler, where suppliers continually battle the manufacturer on price, design, quality and delivery, Honda has a supplier relationship based on 'Keiretsu'. Close knit networks of vendors that continuously learn, improve and prosper along with the parent company. This model, born in the culture and society of Japan, has been successfully replicated in the Honda supplier webs in North America. Consequently, Honda enjoys some of the best supplier relations in the N.A. auto industry, maintaining the fastest product development processes, reduced costs and improved quality year after year.  The new Honda CRV's greatness is due in part because Keiretsu creates innovation and cost effectiveness that is passed on to the consumer. In other words Honda provides the customer more than what is expected for the vehicle's price.

Enkei produces a lot of wheels for Honda and they also make wheels for the after-market buyer. Their relationship with Honda engineers and designers is shrouded in mystery. It is difficult to discover who or what team of people is in charge of this important design challenge. I have learned that Honda and Toyota engineers give their tire suppliers vague specifications for new tires. Honda doesn't spell out the level of resistance it expects from a tire, it will only say that the tire has to have the right feel and that it will be adjusted as the vehicle is designed. Toyota's engineers have developed special words to describe the effect of tires on passengers. They use gotsu gotsu to refer to the low-frequency, high impact motions tires transmit to passengers' lower backs and buru buru to describe the high-frequency, low-impact vibrations they feel in their belly. Each company expects suppliers to understand and translate their terminology to identify design solutions.*

 I can imagine Honda asking an Enkei engineer, we need a light-weight, stiff, aluminum alloy wheel that says Hayaku Hayaku (fast faster) to the consumer.  Enkei, using their Durville Die Casting and MAT process would turn out a daring design that would have the technical OEM specs suitable for the Civic R.  The engineering and design process between Honda, the tire OEM and Enkie would be an interesting video for Honda to share with its customer base. Let's hope Honda World starts producing some entertaining and informative vignettes for their web site.

Until next time …Macky

*Harvard Business Review: Building deep supplier relationships, Jeffrey Liker, Thomas Y. Choi

 

Let's take a drive near Swindon

 

The beauty of the English countryside near the county of Wiltshire is alluring. If you're lucky enough to be planning a drive on the M4 from London to Bristol in a 2017 Civic Sport hatchback, enjoy the rural area near Swindon first before bolting to the coast. Not only will you experience the charming towns and villages in the surrounding area but you will also find the drive on the secondary roads exhilarating. The 180 HP Civic hatchback has the power and agility to carve through the hills and valleys at a good clip. Be prepared for the stare when you arrive at the Stonehenge parking lot in southern Wiltshire. Visitors to this ancient site will find it difficult not to give the Civic's fast back silhouette a second look.  Indeed, the hatchback's modern, eye catching, chiseled appearance is manufactured at the Honda UK Manufacturing plant (HUM) in Swindon.


The HUM plant started life as Vickers Aviation, a factory that produced the famous Spitfire fighter during WWII. One runway is still in used today as part of Honda's on site test track. Rover automotive sold the factory to Honda in 1986 and by 1994 Honda began making and exporting Civic models to the European market. Today, the factory has a fantastic role to play for Honda internationally.  All models of the five door Civic hatchback and the super Civic-R will be manufactured here. Engines made at the Anna Engine Plant in Ohio are delivered to HUM then fitted to Civics on the assembly line. The U.K. built Honda hatchbacks are starting to make their way to Midland Honda right now. All of the Civic hatchback models will offer more space, more versatility and more excitement compared to other brands in this market segment.  


The 2017 Civic hatchback skillfully blends sporty European styling with five-door practicality. Its world-class vehicle dynamics delivers a fun, entertaining drive that is at once thrilling to pilot and yet sensible to own.  This car moves with conviction while sipping fuel at an outstanding low rate.  Honda has created the best of both worlds in the Civic hatchback.  Here is a short review of some superior design features in the 2017 Civic Sport model, the top hatch back choice for 2017.


Creating a sparkling personality within the Civic family is about combining distinctive design elements with new engine, transmission and braking technology. The rear hatch is the centrepiece of this new Civic. Large enough to allow for the easy pass through of packages and gear into 1308.2 Liters of storage space.  The 60/40 split rear seats offer the right amount of versatility for any cargo situation that may arise even out of the blue. The impulse buy at the antiques shop should be confidently accommodated in the roomy Honda Hatchback.  Keeping your purchases covered from view is neatly accomplished by Honda's new Tonneau cover.  The side to side, extend/retract cover is an easy one-hand operation that can be set up for either side of the vehicle.  Other hatchback brands tend to use the traditional solid cargo cover that is tied to the tailgate. They lift up when you raise the hatch. This approach requires more effort to remove and replace it if need be.  Dealing with a hard cover on the fly away from home is not convenient.  Honda is in front of the competition with their rear cover solution.


When you use the word 'Sport' in a vehicle's model name you better have the power plant specs to back up the claim.  It should come as no surprise that Honda has invested design and manufacturing capital into producing a small displacement turbo engine that has a wide power band range. Having broad power delivery provides the 2017 Civic Hatchback great acceleration at low speeds and superior power for passing at speed on the highway.  The turbocharged 1.5-liter, DOHC direct-injected inline-4 engine produces 180 HP with 162-177 lb. ft. of torque, depending on whether the engine is paired with a manual six speed or CVT transmission.  I once had a WW Golf hatch with a puny 98 HP engine and a manual stick and that was fun…always gearing up and down, playing with the revs to get the most from the engine.  It would be a blast to drive the new Civic hatch with a manual, however, the CVT transmission would be my high tech choice now. The following explanation is from Honda's powertrain press kit for the 2017 Civic hatchback.


G-Design Shift Feature


The Civic Hatchback's CVT is designed to provide the optimum gear ratio for the driving conditions, and to offer a more natural driving feel than some previous CVT transmissions that may have something of a disconnected "rubber-band" feel compared to a conventional automatic transmission.


The CVT has a new generation of special G-design shift logic that is designed to offer more immediate acceleration response than either conventional automatics or other CVT designs. When abruptly applying power from a steady-state cruising speed, the CVT immediately sends power to the drive wheels while simultaneously adjusting the gear ratio (seamlessly and progressively downshifting) to smoothly bring the engine to its horsepower peak in a linear way.


By comparison, a conventional automatic is slower to respond and loses time making multiple downshifts. Since the automatic transmission has a limited number of separate, discrete ratios, even when fully downshifted, it can only approximate the optimum engine rpm as speed increases. This cuts into acceleration.


During full throttle acceleration, the new generation of G-Design shift logic employs stepped ratios as the vehicle speed increases. This helps give the transmission a more "connected" feel as the engine rpm and vehicle speed increase together. This stepped operation also improves acceleration performance incrementally.

 

Steering-Wheel Mounted Paddle Shifters


Whether in D (Drive) or S (Sport) position, special transmission logic programming allows the use of the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, which are standard on the Sport Touring trim of the Civic Hatchback and CVT equipped Sport models. When the driver operates the paddle shifters while in Drive, the transmission responds to the driver's shift command by selecting one of the available seven fixed ratios, and then returns to its normal fully automatic Drive mode if further paddle shift inputs are not made within a short time. This special logic makes it easy for the driver to command a quick downshift without leaving the convenience of Drive mode.


Getting the most output from your engine either through regulated programmed settings or through more direct driver inputs is the mark of a sports car. I would love to experience these driving options.


The last technical design feature that I would like to mention centers on the car's handling.  Autotrader.ca has said that the steering is light but communicative and the Civic turns into corners with dog-like obedience.  This is in part due to Honda's Agile Handling assist. This effective brake vectoring system uses components of the Civic's Vehicle Stability Assist to selectively apply the brakes to aid cornering precision, enhancing vehicle stability and help the driver more easily trace their desired line through the corner. It's imperceptible to the driver but subtly improves the vehicle's initial turn in response.  The pleasure of successfully entering and exiting a corner without losing control is directly related to the g-force felt in the turn. This is part of the sports car experience. It is comforting to know that Honda technology is quietly working in the background helping the driver feel more alive.   


Swindon and Midland, both have some great driving roads near their town centres. The 2017 Civic Sport Hatchback would be an ideal vehicle to enjoy and explore the countryside in both countries.  Explorers also need space to bring home found goods.  There is no doubt that the Civic Hatchback is very capable of handling the load.


Until next time


Macky.

Honda Civic-R Design


 

30 years ago I don't think many people would have said Honda builds excitement.  Even though Honda was always successful with auto and motorcycle racing their racing heritage was never fully realized in a passenger car until the debut of the 2017 Honda Civic-R.  I would humbly say that this is the hottest looking hatch back on the market right now.  Sure, the Civic-R exterior design is on steroids, but this forward leaning design shows that Honda is more than ready to be the industry leader in car design.  Consider the Civic-R as the flag bearer for all other Honda models that are being refined or newly designed for 2017.  I believe that Honda's current design vision is to create cars that are exciting to view and fun to experience.  A design philosophy established by Soichiro Honda and currently expressed by Daisuke Tsutamori, the lead exterior designer for the Civic R.

Mr. Honda had some requirements for good design*. Universality: basic body forms remain even after yearly versions.  Innovation: be ahead of the design curve, design should always be fresh. Service Orientation: design must align with the trends in human society and of the era. The design must be a symphony appreciated visually that incorporates shapes, lines and colours that create a personality that is the most amazing at present.  Although balance and harmony should be highly regarded, one should not be pre-occupied with a design unity in order to please everybody. True design should elevate the appeal and beauty of any dissonant parts while also having them completely satisfy the requirements for practicality.  Soichiro also believed that design is about understanding what it takes to be loved, in other words how can a designer please people and make them fall in love with your product. 

Mr. Tsutamori's design for the Civic-R elevate defines the notion that form and function are one. The efficient design reflects a car developed to perform at speed.  A purposeful stance and a focus on aerodynamics ensure high speed stability and high down force.  Every feature of the external design has a meaning, and all of the features are functional.  The improved driving performance requires a wider front with trapezoidal lower air intakes for aerodynamic control and brake cooling.  The front splitter attached to the bumper helps reduce lift and directs air across the flat bottom to the rear aero diffuser.  A striking rear airfoil has been wind tunnel designed to optimize down force without a significant increase in drag at higher speeds.  The rear wing is functional and dazzling and it serves another secondary purpose. Mr. Tsutamori comments, "from a non-functional, non-designer perspective - it looks pretty bad ass", and that my friends, is one reason why some car enthusiasts will fall in love with this vehicle.  

Today, the sporty and dynamic Civic and Civic-R designs embody the lessons of the past and incorporate new remarkable, innovative and distinctive design features that provide the customer a 'Honda experience' that will surely enrich their life's story.

Until next time

Macky

*Shin'ya Nagasawa, Wasenda Business & Economic Studies,  Design Management Seen at Honda, Permeating a Design Mindset, 2013

The Power of Dreams

 

Honda Canada and Midland Honda are poised to harness the power of dreams to realize and fulfill distinct goals in 2017 and it all starts with the 'Honda Way'. The Joy of creating quality products that have a positive impact on all our lives is the Honda Way.

Midland Honda has just announced that the new Honda dealership store will be located at the corner of Jones Rd and Highway 12! Right across from the new LCBO. Plans are now underway to build a store that will be beautiful and energy efficient. The premium design will create a modern environment that will engage clients, providing them with a high level of service that is convenient and trusted. The Midland Honda staff will be working together to make this dream a reality by 2020!

The CR-V is celebrating its 20th anniversary and the dream of the fifth generation model becoming #1 in sales and customer appreciation is very reasonable when you consider that the 2017 CR-V is a brand new vehicle from top to bottom. Honda has pulled out all the stops to retain its leadership position in this market segment.

The 2015 CR-V won Motor Trend's Golden Caliper award for the best SUV. Honda's achievements were based on a careful reworking of the best seller, executed with typical Honda thoughtfulness. It was a winner that showed that the economical family car with a good dose of fun factor could maintain its market leadership. During 2016, the competition in this SUV segment was substantial. Toyota's Rav4, Nissan Rogue and the Ford Escape, to name a few, were all looking to be named best of breed. For 2017 Honda rightly decided to retire the 2015 repackaging strategy in favour of a plan that defined class above benchmarks. The commitment to re-define this SUV and raise the bar for consumers meant that the new CR-V components were created for the Civic platform.

The new CR-V's wheelbase is 4 cm longer and it is 3.5 cm taller and wider. This creates the feeling that the car has a larger exterior presence. Coupling this visual weight with sharper body lines and slightly flared wheel arches creates an overall impression of aggressive sportiness. The larger overall size yields improvements in the interior space - improved passenger seating legroom and a larger cargo area. The 60/40 back seats now fold flat to the rear cargo floor, which also can be raised or lowered to accommodate goods that need to be stacked in the back…a great new storage feature for 2017.

The body structure is stronger yet lighter. Overall car weight has dropped 26 kg. The C-RV, which utilizes the Civic chassis has been revised to provide less body roll and greater noise reduction. The multi-link rear suspension has a floating sub-frame that better isolates and reduces road noise. Fluid filled bushings also reduce road noise and harshness. Other car handling improvements include: a more powerful braking system and a quicker variable electric steering rack that requires less steering wheel rotation from lock to lock position - this means more precise steering at lower speeds.

Honda is offering the upper trim models the new 1.5 L turbo charged engine that outputs 190 hp and 179 lb feet of torque. Power is coupled to a newly designed CVT transmission that mimics traditional stepped-gear transmissions. I think this could be more of a psychological enhancement for the driver. The new CR-V power train has more get up and go and better handling at speed. Wheel slip caused by varying road and weather conditions is virtually eliminated by a newly designed AWD system. More power can now be sent to the back wheels when necessary. I always wondered how the power was being distributed to the wheels in my 2016 CR-V. Well wonder no more folks, Honda has added an instrument panel monitor that graphically shows the torque spread to all wheels. A fun digital gauge that CR-V drivers can observe while driving on a back country road.

Digital is now the operative word when describing the rest of the dash instrumentation on the upper trim CR-V models. Clean, bright and modern. Honda's sensing suite of safety features that help avoid on coming objects and lane departures now include driver monitoring. If the car notices that you are ready to have a micro sleep while driving a dash alarm lights up. A steaming cup of coffee is the symbol used to inform you of your tiredness. I predict that the 2018 CR-V will infuse the cabin air with the scent of freshly brewed coffee if you start to nod off. That was easy, now I'm awake.

A lot of new car reviewers are praising Honda for listening to their customers' complaints about radio volume control on the 2015-16 CR-V radio. This year the 2017 CR-V has added a volume knob to the new 8-inch infotainment screen. I'm just glad they have up-graded the navigation system to Garmin.

The list of new features goes on: Apple Car Play and Android Audio for the Entertainment system, more comfortable electric seats, even the co-pilot can have one now, better centre armrest storage area, 2 USB power jacks for passengers in the back row, low speed adaptive cruise control for stop and go situations, remote engine start, electric parking brake - three cheers for Honda, for removing the mechanical cumbersome brake by your left foot, heated steering wheel and heated back seats! This is just incredible. The CR-V is way out in front of the competition for 2017. Honda has definitely set a new benchmark for the mid-sized SUV. The dream has become a reality.

The Midland Honda Dream of a new home is just off the ground. Peter, Richard and the rest of the Midland Honda staff will be sharing more information about what will take shape on Jones Road in the months to come. Exciting times for Honda customers are about to commence.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Macky

Honda Civic-R design

 

30 years ago I don't think many people would have said Honda builds excitement.  Even though Honda was always successful with auto and motorcycle racing their racing heritage was never fully realized in a passenger car until the debut of the 2017 Honda Civic-R.  I would humbly say that this is the hottest looking hatch back on the market right now.  Sure, the Civic-R exterior design is on steroids, but this forward leaning design shows that Honda is more than ready to be the industry leader in car design.  Consider the Civic-R as the flag bearer for all other Honda models that are being refined or newly designed for 2017.  I believe that Honda's current design vision is to create cars that are exciting to view and fun to experience.  A design philosophy established by Soichiro Honda and currently expressed by Daisuke Tsutamori, the lead exterior designer for the Civic R.

Mr. Honda had some requirements for good design*. Universality: basic body forms remain even after yearly versions.  Innovation: be ahead of the design curve, design should always be fresh. Service Orientation: design must align with the trends in human society and of the era. The design must be a symphony appreciated visually that incorporates shapes, lines and colours that create a personality that is the most amazing at present.  Although balance and harmony should be highly regarded, one should not be pre-occupied with a design unity in order to please everybody. True design should elevate the appeal and beauty of any dissonant parts while also having them completely satisfy the requirements for practicality.  Soichiro also believed that design is about understanding what it takes to be loved, in other words how can a designer please people and make them fall in love with your product. 

Mr. Tsutamori's design for the Civic-R elevate defines the notion that form and function are one. The efficient design reflects a car developed to perform at speed.  A purposeful stance and a focus on aerodynamics ensure high speed stability and high down force.  Every feature of the external design has a meaning, and all of the features are functional.  The improved driving performance requires a wider front with trapezoidal lower air intakes for aerodynamic control and brake cooling.  The front splitter attached to the bumper helps reduce lift and directs air across the flat bottom to the rear aero diffuser.  A striking rear airfoil has been wind tunnel designed to optimize down force without a significant increase in drag at higher speeds.  The rear wing is functional and dazzling and it serves another secondary purpose. Mr. Tsutamori comments, "from a non-functional, non-designer perspective - it looks pretty bad ass", and that my friends, is one reason why some car enthusiasts will fall in love with this vehicle.  

Today, the sporty and dynamic Civic and Civic-R designs embody the lessons of the past and incorporate new remarkable, innovative and distinctive design features that provide the customer a 'Honda experience' that will surely enrich their life's story.

Until next time

Macky

*Shin'ya Nagasawa, Wasenda Business & Economic Studies, Design Management Seen at Honda, Permeating a Design Mindset, 2013

Midland Drive-In Customer Appreciation Night 

Friday September 9th 


There is something special about driving to the outskirts of your town or city to find and enjoy a Drive-In theatre. My last venture to the outdoor movies was to the 5 Drive-In near the Ford Plant in Oakville, and that was fun and nostalgic. The modern twist there was having the car radio produce the audio not the big old silver metal box that would hang from the driver's side window. The 5 Drive-in still had the film projection system that showed the goofy film trailers that encouraged you to enjoy a hotdog and pop before the movie started. Beneath the large screen there was a space for the kids to play. My young daughter was able to burn off some energy before the show started.  So it was with some satisfaction that I was able to experience the simple pleasures of a drive-in theatre again thanks to Peter & Richard at Midland Honda.

A nice display of Honda vehicles greeted all that made their way through the gates of the Midland Drive-In.  The ramp up bump for the car park is always a choice that tests your viewing preferences. Many Midland Honda owners were there in attendance lining up their grills like they were on parade. I had the opportunity to speak with a couple that came to the event in a new Honda Fit. Harry and Tracey Patterson moved to Midland not so long ago and they are happy to be living in a community that is safe and close to the beautiful countryside. Not only were they great boosters for growth and prosperity in Midland, Harry and Tracey are life-time fans of Honda cars.  Harry has been driving Hondas for 45 years. He owned one of the first Civic cars that came ashore that was sold in Saskatchewan. That lasted until he picked up an Accord sedan with a stick shift that he used as a first responder on the province's rural roads. The Honda took a lickin' but as the saying goes, it kept r ight on tickin'! Harry and Tracey tried another brand of vehicle but quickly realized the value of owning a Honda. They were pleased to show me the spacious interior of the new Fit. It was a pleasure meeting them both at the Drive-In.   

I also had the pleasure of meeting the staff of the Midland Drive-In just before the crowd really started to roll in. Darren, the manager, had a great crew working for the Honda event. Alyssia, Amber, Taylor and Cathy did their very best to make the event a success.  The girls must have popped at least 100lbs of corn kernels for the patrons in the line.  Taylor showed me the drive-in's new digital projector, which certainly made that big screen come alive. No more reels of film with scratchy prints. Today's films are all stored on hard drives that are plugged into the projector.  The Secret Life of Pets and Jason Bourne looked fantastic on the big screen. 

Settled in my 2016 CRV with popcorn in hand, we watched the kids in pjs and their families play Frisbee beneath the big screen as the daylight faded into the summer night. The show was about to start, the radio was tuned, the dash lights turned low, soon the out-door movie event would begin.  A moment of pure Canadianna brought to us all by the Midland Honda team.

 Midland Drive-In Customer Appreciation Night Friday September 9th

There is something special about driving to the outskirts of your town or city to find and enjoy a Drive-In theatre. My last venture to the outdoor movies was to the 5 Drive-In near the Ford Plant in Oakville, and that was fun and nostalgic. The modern twist there was having the car radio produce the audio not the big old silver metal box that would hang from the driver's side window. The 5 Drive-in still had the film projection system that showed the goofy film trailers that encouraged you to enjoy a hotdog and pop before the movie started. Beneath the large screen there was a space for the kids to play. My young daughter was able to burn off some energy before the show started.  So it was with some satisfaction that I was able to experience the simple pleasures of a drive-in theatre again thanks to Peter & Richard at Midland Honda.

A nice display of Honda vehicles greeted all that made their way through the gates of the Midland Drive-In.  The ramp up bump for the car park is always a choice that tests your viewing preferences. Many Midland Honda owners were there in attendance lining up their grills like they were on parade. I had the opportunity to speak with a couple that came to the event in a new Honda Fit. Harry and Tracey Patterson moved to Midland not so long ago and they are happy to be living in a community that is safe and close to the beautiful countryside. Not only were they great boosters for growth and prosperity in Midland, Harry and Tracey are life-time fans of Honda cars.  Harry has been driving Hondas for 45 years. He owned one of the first Civic cars that came ashore that was sold in Saskatchewan. That lasted until he picked up an Accord sedan with a stick shift that he used as a first responder on the province's rural roads. The Honda took a lickin' but as the saying goes, it kept right on tickin'! Harry and Tracey tried another brand of vehicle but quickly realized the value of owning a Honda. They were pleased to show me the spacious interior of the new Fit. It was a pleasure meeting them both at the Drive-In.   

I also had the pleasure of meeting the staff of the Midland Drive-In just before the crowd really started to roll in. Darren, the manager, had a great crew working for the Honda event. Alyssia, Amber, Taylor and Cathy did their very best to make the event a success.  The girls must have popped at least 100lbs of corn kernels for the patrons in the line.  Taylor showed me the drive-in's new digital projector, which certainly made that big screen come alive. No more reels of film with scratchy prints. Today's films are all stored on hard drives that are plugged into the projector.  The Secret Life of Pets and Jason Bourne looked fantastic on the big screen. 

Settled in my 2016 CRV with popcorn in hand, we watched the kids in pjs and their families play Frisbee beneath the big screen as the daylight faded into the summer night. The show was about to start, the radio was tuned, the dash lights turned low, soon the out-door movie event would begin.  A moment of pure Canadianna brought to us all by the Midland Honda team.

 

The 2017 Honda Ridgeline

This might well be the right pickup truck for you.

Ridgeline fans have said it before and they're saying it again! It's more than a midsized truck; it's a Honda, after all. This means that first you're getting a precision built uni-body vehicle that offers a ride compliance that is a marvel of engineering. If you're looking for a truck with a rough, back jarring ride then don't pick the Ridgeline, pick a competitor with a solid, fixed axil. If you're looking for a truck that has a complicated four wheel drive system then choose another brand. The 2017 Ridgeline's traction control system is easy to use and dependable through snow, mud and sand conditions.

Truck enthusiasts will enjoy the ease of operation and they will also appreciate the Ridgeline's lifestyle features that set it apart from the pack. A two way open tail gate, a deep storage well with water drain and let's not forget about the speaker system integrated into the bed of the truck. I could easily see myself relaxing in the back of a Ridgeline at a Midland summer event, chilling with a cold beverage from the ice filled well while listening to my favourite tunes. Now that's progress!  

Now, Bro-country music fans may feel that the 2017 Ridgeline is too smooth. A soft car in trucks clothing and a little too much Accord for its own good.  It is true that the 2017 Ridgeline has an independent suspension but it has been upgraded and stiffened to take on the secondary roads with a heavy load and it also provides a highway drive that is unmatchable by any other mid sized truck. Comfort, utility and enough traction control options to manage challenging off road situations. Look at the Ridgeline. Honda has blended technology, practicality and fun into a winning truck package.  Tim McGraw might even say - 'Truck Yeah'.

2017 NSX

Ferrari LA Ferrari, Porsche 918 and McLaren P1 are the names of hyper-cars that will shock you with their performance and generate a sense of awe that will surely leave you wondering why car companies invest extreme amounts of money in order to create such a limited run of vehicles for their customers. It is astounding that there are car enthusiasts that will put down one million dollars to own one of these machines. Whether they know it or not, Arab princes, Italian moguls and Chinese businessmen, are part of an international race to find the most efficient way to transport the average person and cargo around the block, through the city and across the country.

Honda is part of this global race and like Ferrari, Porsche and McLaren they are developing hybrid engine technology to create highly efficient performance ratings for their racing and sports cars.  This cutting edge technology will trickle down to the Accord, the Civic and the Pilot sooner than you think. Honda's chief executive, Takahiro Hachigo, announced recently that by 2030 two-thirds of all Honda vehicles sold will have electric or hybrid engines. Honda is confident they can achieve this lofty goal, in part because they have already started refining their hybrid engine technology at Honda's Marysville Ohio Performance Manufacturing Centre. It truly is a showcase for engineering knowledge.

Honda's super-car, the 2017 Acura NSX, is built at the Marysville plant. Their motto is, "Precision Crafted Performance". The production of each NSX car is really a marriage between robotics and fourteen highly trained members of the assembly crew. On the one hand you have eight MIG weld robots that surgically complete 900 welds as the car's space frame rotates a full 360 to achieve superior weld accuracy. On the other hand in the Anna engine plant two master mechanics hand assemble each internal combustion engine, testing and breaking in each engine before it is installed.   

The NSX is designed with three electric motors. Two for the front wheels and one situated with the gas engine. What's really cool about the two up front is that the car's management system can apply power in varying degrees separately to each wheel, which makes for greater steering agility in varying driving conditions.  This is just one example of how Honda tests and implements high tech solutions for greater performance, safety and driving satisfaction. Lucky, are those owners of the 2017 NSX. They get to experience the ultimate expression of Honda's Hybrid vision right now!  Please take a look at Honda's Performance Manufacturing Centre.