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Old 05-01-2011, 12:31 AM   #3
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What I Drive: 1997 Olds Cutlass Supreme

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I like the Focus better myself, but it's mostly a matter of personal preference. I like hatchbacks for hauling big stuff. I'm not too concerned with rear seat room, cause I won't be sitting there. I like the DCT concept. It's a similar concept to the automated manual transmissions in heavy trucks, like the Eaton Autoshift and ZF Meritor Freedomline. They have been around for a dozen years or so, and have proven to be quite efficient and durable. I like the idea of direct injection, because it's similar to the common rail systems on modern diesels, which have also proven durable and efficient. In both cases, a lot of mechanical complexity has been replaced by simpler designs that can accommodate more complex software. I don't like conventional automatics. I think they're the most failure-prone component in modern vehicles, particularly in Hondas, and they're messy to maintain and expensive to repair. Also, the Focus has a lot more flexibility in the way you can option it out. I can get a Focus configured almost exactly the way I want. I want a 300A SEL hatch, with winter package, keyless entry pad, and exterior protection package; no more, no less. The closest civic models that I could get would either omit options that I want, or include options that I don't want. I'm going to wait a while and see if a 1.6 ecoboost option is added. That would seal the deal.

On the other hand, I can easily see why somebody would choose a Civic over a Focus. I think a lot of enthusiasts are underestimating the new Civic. It looks to me like the new Civic is targeting the huge number of babyboomers who are retiring and downsizing, but still have plenty of money to buy a new car. These folks will be turned off by the Focus's boy-racer styling , its hatchback model (they'll recall cheap '80's hatchbacks), and its strange/new/scary direct injection and DCT. Compared to the Focus, the Civic has more conventional styling and drivetrain, better mileage, and a better brand reputation (deserved or not). Everybody knows that Honda can do no wrong. Honda is trying to attract customers who would have gone for a Corolla (best selling car for good reason), but are turned off by Toyota's recent problems and the Corolla's dated design and lackluster gas mileage. This new Civic is going to sell in droves, and that's fine. Give the people what they want.
1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme SL. 3100 v-6. Auto. 4-door. Green.
2004 Chevrolet Silverado. 5.3 v-8. Auto. 4wd. Long bed. White.
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