Way, way back at the turn of the 21st century, Honda ruled the roost. At least in the eyes of myself and my cohorts, the company could do no wrong. We dreamed of the day we’d be able to call an NSX or S2000 our own, although even being able to afford the various baubles and bolt-ons from Japan we all yearned for seemed like a distant dream at the time.
Honda unveiled the concept versions of the 9th generation 2012 Civic models at the 2011 NAIAS. Set to go on sale this Spring, the 2012 Civic will be available in traditional gasoline models, 2 Si models, as well as a hybrid and CNG models.
For a generation of enthusiasts who know Honda four-cylinders like our parents knew American V8s, the unveiling of the CR-Z was a gut shot, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Ford unveiled the Mustang II.
It takes about six seconds to travel from the stop box to the “time writer” official at a NASA Mid-Atlantic autocross (or “NASA-X”). If you’re in it to win it, those six seconds are excruciating. What should really be a short time might as well be an hour-long debriefing. Six. What did I screw up that time? Five.Did that wobbler back at the offset box fall over? Four. Did I tap one in that second slalom? Three. Does Jon Felton hate Miatas? Two.
But this time, I don’t give a damn. I’m not playing for keeps. Brian, this heat’s time writer, is smiling and shaking his head as he leans in to his radio. He writes it on a post-it note and reaches out toward my driver-side window as I roll up. “You are consistent.” He tells me, laughing. I know what that means before I take the slip from him.
That’s a healthy six seconds off what would be my normal pace for a course this size. I normally peak mid-way through my session, and if I’ve settled to a 67.49 on run four, it’s pretty much a given that I’m not going to improve much from here. So why the lack of concern? Simple. Today, I’m not driving a Mazdaspeed3 or an RX-8 or a NA Miata. I’m not even driving our Focus.
I’m driving a 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour. And let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like hanging out the ass end of a 4100lb hatchback-on-stilts.