The 2020 Honda Civic Si is getting an update that comes with fresher styling and more safety features. It also gets a shorter final drive gear ratio to help its 205 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque deliver quicker acceleration. Unfortunately, the change also appears to have sacrificed fuel economy. The EPA just released the numbers on the new Civic Si, and fuel economy has dropped by 2 mpg in all driving scenarios for 26 in the city, 36 on the highway and 30 combined. The reason for the drop is likely because the shorter final gear ratio means the engine will be running at higher rpm for any given speed, and thus be using more fuel at any given speed. Despite the dip in fuel economy, the Civic Si is still about the most efficient sporty compact with a manual (the Si's only transmission) on the market. Among similarly priced and powered small cars, the Fiat 500 Abarth ties the Civic's combined fuel economy of 30 mpg, but with better city fuel economy at 28 and worse highway mileage at 33. The Veloster Turbo with a manual gets 29 mpg combined followed by the Jetta GLI at 28, the GTI at 27, and the Mini Cooper S at 26.
It probably comes as no surprise that manual transmissions are on uncertain ground these days. Fewer models are offered with them, and public perception is that rowing-your-own is more of an enthusiast thing. But carmakers do not stick with automatics for no reason: expected and realized demand tells manufacturers if it's worth engineering a three-pedal variant. A good example is the new Toyota Supra, which only comes as automatic. There's surely a justified reason for the omission of a manual option, especially when we take a look at these manual take-rate figures provided by CarBuzz.
You can buy the Corolla sedan and hatch as a manual, just like the Tacoma, Yaris sedan and the 86 coupe. CarBuzz discussed the manual gearboxes' popularity with a Toyota representative at a Supra launch event, and the numbers are telling.
According to Volkswagen, the new 2019 Arteon is the spiritual, not literal successor to the swoopy CC sedan. Another clue: the company will position the Arteon as the brand's flagship vehicle, rather than one of their strong-selling SUVs or crossovers. One VW rep said sales would be closer to the outgoing, niche Beetle than the volume-selling Tiguan or Atlas. Is the Wolfsburg brand crazy to emphasize the dwindling sedan market as most carmakers flee it? Listen up as we unravel the mystery of the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon.
When you look at the Arteon's underpinnings, VW's desire to separate it from the CC (or at least keep it at arm's length) starts to make more sense. While the CC was essentially a Passat with a lower roofline and snugger cabin, the Arteon rides on the more advanced MQB platform. The chassis gets five more inches of wheelbase, 2.9 more inches of rear legroom, and nearly double the cargo capacity. Here's another clue to the sleek four-door's place in the VW universe: Arteon's name derives from the Latin artem, which means "art." The wordplay suggests more of a design showcase than an appliance, a conveyance intended to make a statement and stand out. And stand out it does: from the Arteon's grille strakes that cleverly integrate into the LED headlamps to its uninterrupted character lines and elegantly tapered haunches, the attractive fastback manages to defy its relatively reasonable starting price of $36,840. This is not your father's Passat; The Arteon is a serious looker.