Archive for September, 2019

Sedona Weekend Trip, Brochure Re-Creation, & Junkyard Visit to Desert Valley Auto Parts

Posted in Arizona, Integra, Legend, National Parks, NSX, Road Trip, SLX, Vigor on September 16, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  218,802

Trip Distance:  291 Miles

I have a few fun features to share today.  Mom planned a trip down from southern Utah in her new (to her) 2016 Acura RLX.  We met up in one of Arizona’s red-rock gems, the town of Sedona.  It was about a 2 hour drive for me on Saturday morning.  We enjoyed the seclusion and solitude of an Airbnb room about 5 miles up Oak Creek Canyon from the hustle and bustle of the town’s shopping plazas.  Saturday evening, we dined at Javelina Cantina and then enjoyed the sunset from atop the Airport Mesa.

On Saturday, after breakfast at Indian Garden (I highly recommend the “ranchero bowl”), we went to Slide Rock State Park, a recreation area just a few miles up Highway 89A from where we were staying.  The place gets its name from the slippery nature of the Oak Creek’s bed – after years and years of erosion making the surfaces smooth, coupled with mossy deposits, there is some great slipperiness to be enjoyed.  We saw a few people tumble to a very wet riverbed in what looked to be painful experiences!

The rocks were nice and warm, but the water was chilly!

The last stop on our weekend tour of the region was a quick jaunt out Highway 260 toward the small town of Pine, where we were anticipating the arrival of a friend who was running a 100-mile (!) race.  Unfortunately, as the day went on our timelines were crunched and mom had to head back to Utah, and I had to return to Phoenix.  I’m happy to report that our crazy friend did complete his event though.

ILX + RLX at the Airbnb

Shopping at “Tlaquepaque.”  We love saying that one.

I decided to have a little fun bright and early on a Sunday morning and stage my cars in “brochure” fashion like a photo that might have appeared in a 1991 through 1993 full-line pamphlet from Acura, since the 6 cars included there are the full 6 body styles that were available during those years.  Luckily I only had one neighbor drive by at 6:00 a.m. while I was on top of my step ladder looking like a goofball.

1992 Integra GS-R 251,000 Miles

1992 Integra GS Sedan 73,000 Miles

1994 Legend LS Coupe 566,000 Miles

1994 Legend GS Sedan 161,000 Miles

1994 Vigor GS 114,000 Miles

1992 NSX 115,000 Miles

Lastly, I took the chance to pay a visit to “DVAP” – better known as Desert Valley Auto Parts.  It’s a junkyard that was featured as part of a TV series called Desert Car Kings back in 2011.  I visited in 2018 with my friend Dane, and the video that I captured became quite popular, so I decided to go back and give it another whirl.  I filmed 20 minutes’ worth of banter and it received over 10,000 views in its first 10 days online.  A box office hit!

Have you ever heard of a Dodge Seneca?

Nice looking old pickup truck!

Some cool back ends on these next two Chrysler products.

This one looks pretty mean.

And some Chevy Bel Airs for good measure.

Guess what? The SLX got new leather.  Here’s a pic and video as the saga continues.

Thanks for reading, watching, and following, as always!  Have a great week!

Drive to Five Review: 2019 Honda Civic 1.5T Touring Sedan

Posted in Civic, Vehicle Reviews on September 10, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Civic):  4,000

The other day, I was enjoying a rare, quiet, movie night at home and ended up picking the 2006 flick “Employee of the Month,” starring Dane Cook.  One of my favorite lines in that movie refers to a Honda Civic.  A 1981 Civic, to be exact.  After a golf ball attack ensues, the proud owner of a rickety old Civic proclaims, “This is an ’81 Honda – how dare you?!”

That car (and clip) make me think of this brilliant magazine ad from back in the day.

Certainly there are many of us who can relate to the protective attitude about our vehicles.  My younger brother drove a hand-me-down 1984 Civic 1500 “S” hatchback in high school – a hand-me-down from my great-grandmother.  This was what our family’s driveway looked like 20 years ago.  Two Legends, a Prelude, and a Civic.  Those were the days!

The Civic has been around as Honda’s compact vehicle offering since 1972 and it has been in its current (10th!) generation since the 2016 model year.  My current 2013 Acura ILX rides on Civic underpinnings and so I can already attest that the level of reliability is all it’s cracked up to be.  Where the Civic differs greatly from its Acura sibling is in sheer volume of sales:  In August 2019, here were some select stats:

  • Civic:  34,808 units
  • Accord:  30,558 units
  • ILX:  1,439 units
  • RLX:  38 units
  • NSX:  25 units

The only vehicle that sold more than the Civic was the CR-V at 44,000 units.  Honda has a home run on its hands, and I set out over the past several days to find out why.

My test-car was powered by turbocharged 4-cylinder engine coupled with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).  The Touring trim level brings nice amenities including leather interior, 10-speaker audio system, and a host of tech like cameras and navigation.  It also has nice looking 18″ alloy wheels, LED headlights & taillights, and a rear decklid spoiler to set things off cosmetically.  Total MSRP including destination and handling runs $28,220.

I had the chance over the past 7 days to put about 500 miles on the car in a combination of city and highway driving environments, and took the chance to assemble some ‘goods’ and ‘bads’ along the way.  To keep things simple, I’ll just dish out the review in that format.

Likes, in random order:

  • Tech – The window sticker on this car reads like Acronym City.  Check some of these out, and study them for the quiz later:
    • ACC – Adaptive Cruise Control
    • CMBS – Collision Mitigation Braking System
    • LDW – Lane Departure Warning
    • LKAS – Lane Keeping Assist System
    • RDM – Road Departure Mitigation
    • FCW – Forward Collision Warning
    • EBD – Electronic Brake Distribution
    • VSA – Vehicle Stability Assist
      • Basically, this Civic almost drives itself.  Do you like all that “helpful” tech, or are you against it?  I’ll let you decide for yourself.
  • Audio – SXM, bluetooth compatibility.  I was driving along and heard an amazing song I liked on the radio.  When the song concluded, I pulled into a church parking lot, paired my iPhone, found the song on YouTube, and blasted it again.  That kind of tech compatibility is awesome!
  • Camera (right side + rear).  Did you know that this car activates a passenger sideview mirror-mounted camera every time you turn on the right turn signal?  It’s pretty sweet.  The back-up cam also has nice resolution.
  • Looks – LED front end – to me, the car “looks” high end from many angles.  The whole front end is graced with LED lighting treatment.  I like the black grille, and the wheels seem borrowed from the sporty “Si” trim model and have a nice look to them.
  • Value / Packaging – I remember being excited about some of the aforementioned features when I first tested the 2014 Acura RLX (a $60k car).  Here we are a few years later talking about how they are available on a < $30k compact.  It’s pretty sweet.
  • Interior Ergonomics – The more I got acquainted with the Civic, the more I liked how things are placed inside the cabin.  I was pleased that there is a compartment for a cell phone below the instrument panel.  And the center armrest opens up to a HUGE storage bin with removable cup holders.
  • Highway Driving Dynamics – The Civic is super smooth at anything above 55 or so.  It would make a great long-hauler.  Perhaps why my friend James took it to LA and back when he tested it a few weeks ago.
  • Anonymity – Sometimes you just want to blend in, and this car does a good job of that – especially in the color that I tested.  I’m also going to put this attribute on the ‘Dislikes’ section.

Dislikes, in random order:

  • City Driving Dynamics – As much as I tried to make the most of the Continuously Variable Transmission, I just couldn’t love it.  One morning on my commute to work I was so discouraged to get blasted off the line by an aggressive-driving old Altima.  I didn’t stand a chance.  I like my torque delivered more rapidly when hitting the accelerator.
  • MPG – I admit to being heavier on the throttle than most people would be, but I still only got about 29 mpg which is quite a bit lower than the 33 mpg combined on the EPA rating.
  • Tech Nitpicks – I didn’t like the clicky sound the steering wheel volume audio button made, or where it was located.  I also think there should be a “manual” button or knob somewhere on the dash to advance the track / radio station.  It would mean being able to keep eyes on the road a little better.  Finally, when the right-side cam is activated via turn signal, you can’t do anything with the audio system unless you hit the Home or Audio button to go back to that screen.
  • Anonymity – This is on the bad list, just like it’s on the good list.  Since I was driving a Civic, I started noticing Civics, and, they’re everywhere.  I guess that goes back to the fact that Honda is selling over 30,000 of them every single month.  I like to stand out a little more.

Main takeaways:

For a comfortable, tech-packed compact commuter, it’s tough to do much better.  The Civic is economical without being completely uninspiring.  It looks good both coming and going, the connectivity is modern, and the chassis is nimble and precise.

As an enthusiast, I need a little more engagement from the powertrain – quicker off-the-line swiftness and more tangible connection with how the engine is revving and when.  Perhaps there’s a way to configure an Si model (manual, please) in a way that blends everything I like about the latest Civic into one package.  I’d say go ILX for about the same price, but the ILX doesn’t have a stick anymore.

For now, I am happy to recommend this car to anyone who wants a compact car with exceptional bang for the buck and effortless reliability.  A little anonymity on the streets isn’t always a bad thing either.  The sheriff will never even see you coming.

Video:

Beating the Heat: Mogollon Rim Campout + SLX & RL Updates

Posted in Arizona, ILX, RL, Road Trip, SLX on September 2, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  218,415

Trip Distance:  250 Miles

I’ve left town every weekend for the last 6 weeks.  Exhausted doesn’t begin to describe how I feel.  But when it comes to making the most out of my summer, I live by a motto my mom emphasizes:  Carpe diem!  For this past weekend’s excursion, I ventured to the Sitgreaves National Forest in the mountain ranges about 2.5 hours northeast of Phoenix.  It’s a spot where temperatures typically range about 20 or more degrees cooler than the Phoenix valley.

Four friends and I found a great campsite just off Young Road, a couple of miles down a narrow dirt road that overlooked the Mogollon Rim and offered fantastic views to the south.  We set up camp and stoked the fire, then cooked burgers & brats over the flames.  Nobody had any particularly good ghost stories to tell as dusk fell, but we spent a good chunk of time proposing potential names for my friend Adam’s soon-to-be new dog.  More to come on what he ended up deciding.

We managed to avoid any run-ins with local wildlife, and the overnight low dipped to a pleasant 60 degrees.  Woody whipped up some delicious breakfast burritos with ham, bacon, and green salsa for breakfast the following morning.  All too soon, it was time to pack up the site and head back down to civilization.  The ILX fared well on the dirt road, though high grass in the median occasionally tickled the undercarriage due to ground clearance issues.

Thanks for coming along!

Camp all set up

Evening sunset looking south across the Mogollon Rim

Breakfast is served!

A relaxed Saturday morning

Soaking in the view

Headed out toward Payson, then Phoenix

Turning 218,000 miles

The vehicle I probably should have taken on this trip is the 1996 SLX.  I’m still getting comfortable with it – trying to gain a little more confidence in its roadworthiness.  I actually took a 350-mile road trip with it on Saturday, including a stop in a little mining town called Superior about 70 miles east of Phoenix.  It did great!

I like this old dealership.  Maybe a good investment as a place to store / display cars for someone?

I rolled 140,000 miles on the way home.

I also spent some time this weekend working on the RL.  Here’s an update video I filmed today, illustrating current condition and recent maintenance.  The engine bay got a detailing!

Hope the holiday weekend treated you well!