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Honda Civic and Ridgeline Win More COTY Honors

New vehicles from American Honda have swept the 2006 North American Car and Truck of the Year Awards. The all-new Honda Civic won the Car of the Year Award adn the Ridgeline Sport Utlity Truck won the Truck of the Year Award. The Civic has been on sale since late Fall 2005 and Ridgeline was introduced in Spring 2005. Both are 2006 models.
These awards mimic Car and Truck of the Year Awards by Motor Trend magazine announced earlier.
The new Civic replaces what may be the most lackluster Civic of all time. The Civic had devolved into a typical econobox that sold on the basis of its stellar image and name, not because it was the hiighly desirable Civic of the past. The new Civic corrects that. VehicleVoice and AutoPacific analysts rate the Civic as one of the best small cars on the road today… aspirational, exciting, and fun to drive.

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The Ridgeline has not sold up to the expectations that Honda announced when the truck was introduced. Having slightly weird styling and being based on the Odyssey minivan platform, the Ridgeline is a great driving pretend truck. Full of innovative ideas that impressed the Car of the Year judges, Ridgeline deserves to succeed. It has not sold up to expectations likely due to its relatively high price point… substantially higher than “real trucks” like the Ford F-Series and the Chevrolet Silverado.
American Honda may use the early lack of success of the Chrysler Pacifica as a case study. Pacifica was overpriced when it was introduced. People did not know what kind of vehicle it is. The idea that Pacific was a “sports tourer” did not mean anything to anybody. But Chrysler played around with its positioning and Pacifica now sells in respectable volumes.
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It’s interesting that Honda’s press release announcing its achievement is pretty matter-of-fact. Ho-hum.


Honda Sweeps “North American Car and Truck of the Year” Awards
2006 Honda Civic and 2006 Honda Ridgeline Take the Top Honors
Detroit, January 8, 2006 – The 2006 Honda Civic and Honda Ridgeline have earned the prestigious 2006 “North American Car of the Year” and “North American Truck of the Year” awards respectively, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced today. This marks the first time ever that a single brand has won both awards in the same year, and it marks Honda’s first win in either category.
The North American Car of the Year and Truck of the Year Awards are given by a group of 49 international automotive journalists. The awards are unique because instead of being given by a single publication, radio or television station they are given by automotive journalists from the United States and Canada. Presented each year at the opening of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, they recognize the most outstanding car and truck of the year based on factors including innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar.
“We set out to have the Civic and Ridgeline become benchmarks in their respective segments, and having them chosen as North American Car and Truck of the Year certainly validates that effort,” said John Mendel, senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the reaction to both vehicles. This will be great news to the Honda associates in North America who build them.”
The 2006 Honda Civic establishes new segment standards for safety, technology and performance. Clean and efficient i-VTEC™ engine technologies deliver more power while still achieving an EPA-estimated highway fuel economy rating of 40 miles per gallon. In keeping with Honda’s “Safety for Everyone” initiative, the Honda Civic features advanced standard safety equipment including side curtain airbags, front side airbags and the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) Body Structure, at all trim levels.
The most noticeable features of the 2006 Civic include its expressive exterior styling, a high-tech and spacious interior, and fun-to-drive performance. The Civic further rewards drivers and passengers with as many as seven ways to enjoy audio entertainment – including XM ® Satellite Radio, MP3 and WMA support and an accessory Apple ® iPod ® adapter that connects the popular music player to the Civic’s audio controls.
The Civic Hybrid provides the ultimate in clean and efficient technology with a 1.3-liter i-VTEC engine and a new generation of Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) technology that helps the hybrid achieve an EPA-estimated city/highway fuel economy of 49/51 miles per gallon and an Advanced-Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) rating. Additionally, the Civic Hybrid can deactivate all four of its cylinders and operate using only the electric motor in certain low-speed cruising situations.
The Civic Si showcases the high-performance potential of the Civic platform and offers a 197-horsepower, DOHC 2.0-liter i-VTEC engine connected to a 6-speed manual transmission and a limited slip differential.
Since its introduction in March of 2005, the Ridgeline has re-defined the truck segment through its innovative and exclusive new features. Designed to meet the needs of a growing population of consumers purchasing trucks to support their active, outdoor-oriented lifestyles, the Ridgeline delivers a proportional mix of overall truck capability, towing performance, ruggedness and value in a fun-to-drive and responsible vehicle built around Honda’s standards for reliability, safety and performance.
Standard features on all Ridgeline models include a 247-horsepower VTEC V-6 engine; 5-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission; advanced Variable Torque Management four-wheel drive system; air conditioning; tilt steering wheel; power side windows, power sliding rear window and door locks; cruise control; keyless entry; automatic heated wiper zone; 6-speaker 100-watt audio system with CD player; 60/40 split lift-up rear seat with under-seat storage; all-weather floor mats; 5-foot cargo bed with six heavy duty tie down cleats and 4 bed lights; an 8.5 cubic foot secure, lockable In-Bed Trunk; and dual-action tailgate.

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