A Look at the Class of 2021

Vehicles, not college grads, that is.

By Gary S. Vasilash

There are lots of new vehicles that have been or will be introduced this year. So on this edition of “Autoline After Hours” we dedicate the show to talking about some of them.

And the “we” includes “Autoline’s” John McElroy; Jennifer Newman, editor-in-chief of Cars.com; Gary Witzenburg, president of the North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year Awards and freelance journalist, and me.

The GMC HUMMER EV Pickup (Image: GMC)

Among the vehicles discussed:

  • Acura MDX: Fourth generation of the utility. Three rows. Edgier styling. Solid suspension. What’s not to like? Apparently the True Touchpad Interface.
  • Buick Envision: A crossover with meticulous attention to detail, inside and out. Does the fact that it is made in China have anything to do with that?
  • Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing and CT4-V Blackwing: A lesser bat-out-of-hell (the 4 has a 472-hp engine) and a full-blown one (the 5 has a 668-hp engine).
  • Chevy Bolt EUV: The second electric vehicle (EV) in the lineup that looks more like an SUV, presumably to appeal to those who can’t get enough of that body style.
  • Ford Bronco: A hard-core off-road vehicle, coming soon to a driveway near you. Get the Sasquatch Package and get extra ground clearance and the approach and departure angles that make climbing rocks not an issue. Get the optional Honda
  • GMC HUMMER EV Pickup. 1,000 hp 11,500 lb-ft of torque. 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds. 350+ miles of driving range. Fast charge up to 100 miles in 10 minutes. You can’t get a reservation for Edition 1, which is coming out this fall and has an MSRP of $112,595. In the fall of 22 there will be more available with a reduced price: $99,995.
  • Honda Civic Sedan: The 11th generation appears to be what will bring Honda back to being Honda. Which should make sedan enthusiasts every enthusiastic.
  • Hyundai Santa Cruz and Tucson and IONIQ 5: whether it is a little truck-like vehicle, a compact sport ute that comes with two flavors of hybrid as well as a conventional ICE powertrain, or a fully electric crossover, seems that Hyundai is the Overachiever of the Year.
  • Kia Carnival: Don’t call this a “minivan.” Don’t.
  • Nissan Frontier: It has been a while since Nissan has brought out a new version of its pickup (e.g., the one that is out now appeared in. . . 1998), so they’ve clearly had time to get this one right.
  • Rivian R1T: Will this electric pickup from a startup be a success in the market?

And much, much more.

Which you can see right here.

A Driver-Oriented Space in the ’22 Honda Civic

While not full-on stark minimalism, Honda is recognizing the need for a more human-oriented interior in its 11th-generation Civic

By Gary S. Vasilash

One of the things that has been going on in interior design is that as the vehicles have become more tech-centric, there is a near feeling of driver claustrophobia.

The term typically used to describe the space is “cockpit,” as though the driver is actually trained as a pilot in an F-18 when, in fact, all that person really wants is to be able to go to the store to pick up a few groceries.

With its minimalist interior design Tesla has started a trend in this direction.

Inside the ’22 Honda Civic. (Image: Honda)

The interior of the 2022 Honda Civic is the latest example of a driver-not-pilot approach.

On a macro level, that there are pulled back A-pillars, a low hood and a flat dash, as well as a low, flat beltline, means there is a more spacious view to the outside (a good thing when behind the wheel).

Honda is calling approach “Man-Maximum, Machine-Minimum,” which is something that they followed year ago, but seem to have forgotten over the years, as they tried to stay of the moment.

There is an available 9-inch color touchscreen—the largest screen in any Honda (you would imagine this would be in something like the Odyssey or Pilot)—that runs “a simplified navigation structure with fewer embedded menus.”

What’s more, there is a physical volume knob and hard buttons for Home and Back.

It is understandable that OEMs would chase consumer electronics in terms of interfaces, but it is also clear that in some cases things have gone to far. While you look at your phone when making a selection; if you’re driving a vehicle you should be looking at the road ahead. Thus something like a knob to crank up the sound is an ergonomic solution for a car, while it would be inappropriate for a phone.

And they’ve put a 0.8-inch finger rest on the bottom of the touchscreen, something that is car-appropriate.

2022 Honda Civic Sedan Breaks Cover

Yes, small(ish) sedans still matter to some companies—and some consumers. After all, there were 55,903 Civics sold through March, and that is notable

By Gary S. Vasilash

While I must confess I don’t completely understand the “breaks cover” term for a vehicle reveal, it seems that that is de rigueur in headlines for events like that, so I figured I’d use it. Breaks cover.

2022 Honda Civic. It will become available later this year. (Image: Honda)

There isn’t a whole lot of information about what will be the eleventh generation of the venerable Civic (any car that’s been around for 11 generations gets that honorific—at the very least).

It will be a model year 2022.

The sedan will be produced at Honda of Canada Manufacturing, which is in Alliston, Ontario.

There will be a Civic Hatchback coming a few months after the Civic Sedan. It will be produced at Honda Manufacturing of Indiana in Greensburg.

Honda will offer more information about the Sedan on April 28, during its first 20th anniversary Honda Civic Tour event, headlined by H.E.R. One wonders whether the fans at the concert will be interested in specs of the songs.

This, of course, will be a virtual tour.

The car, which has, to remind you, broken cover, will be real.